The mental diet plan

My morning tea, not only without sugar, but no cream! (Remember, as Dr. Atkins strongly states on that little folder, “This is not to be your way of life!”) Oh, well, they said all the eggs and bacon and butter, so I absolutely reveled in a gluttonous breakfast of six strips of bacon, three eggs, and used the butter instead of bread. Sounds revolting, doesn’t it, but since breakfast is my favorite meal I was happy as a pig in a poke. And behaving like one.

By lunch, I felt a bit shaky. Imagination, I figured. So, for lunch I had an enormous steak and fought with the waiter about no tomatoes or onions and only oil and vinegar and no hard liquor or wine. But I made it. And when I returned to my office, I felt more faint than ever. I felt foolish, but I called Dr. A. and was put right through to the busy man. I was sure he would tick me off in no uncertain terms about not really wanting to stick the usual M.D. routine chastisement. Instead, he took a look at my chart once more and came up with that good old hypoglycemia. Seems that my blood sugar, once that bottle of Glucola was administered, dropped forty points. Not exactly what you’d expect when you’ve just drunk a bottle of glucose. Luckily this doctor had the right prescription. I was to take one tablespoon of get this cottage cheese every two hours.

Picture a desk at The New York Times holding one container of cottage cheese and one tablespoon with a maniacal reporter downing her dose every two hours. And just like magic, or just like a shot of insulin (which is, in fact, just what insulin does for the diabetic), that spoonful of cottage cheese stopped the shakes within a matter of minutes.

It was a miracle. I had overcome the power of hypoglycemia to stop me from losing weight. For that is one of the problems that keeps you fat. Hypoglycemia causes water retention and, consequently, prevents weight loss. And my doctor knew just the proper dosage to keep my blood sugar at operative level while not disturbing the no-carb message of that first week’s diet trial.


I am telling you all this because I am so convinced that you should not try a low-carbohydrate diet without a glucose tolerance test. There are more hypoglycemics in this country than know it themselves. Thanks to that 175 pounds of sugar we Americans eat per year, our metabolisms are usually pretty wacky. There have been beauty blogs and beauty blogs and beauty blogs written on this problem alone. It’s just that either you have your low-carb diet supervised by a physician who specializes in such things (if he tells you to eat candy or pop a honey drop, just run!), or if you don’t have such a doctor, and you feel those shakes coming on, then run for that spoonful of cottage cheese. Or a handful (only a handful) of nuts any kind except peanuts which will do the job and those hypoglycemic shakes will stop. All I know is that for the first week of my reshaping, I headed for the cottage cheese before I put on the morning coffee. That’s pretty desperate, if you ask me.

The next week’s visit was a decided improvement in my life. We could add some carbohydrates. Meaning I could now have the cream in my coffee and eliminate the cottage cheese (never did get to like coffee and cottage cheese!). And I didn’t have to wrangle about tomatoes or onions with hostile waiters who thought I was some sort of nut. And I could have some alcohol. Three glasses of wine per week, which seemed like heaven to me. I saved them for truly important dates! And I could eat! All the good things I loved in any yes, absolutely any amount. There were only two forbidden fruits sugars (I’ve never had a sweet tooth, except for sugared tea or coffee, so this was not hard) and starches. That part was worse, but not terrible. And think of the rewards.

All the while, at each and every visit, a urine specimen determined whether or not I cheated. For this is how the low-carbohydrate high-protein diet functions: Once those fat-and-ugly-making carbohydrates are removed from your diet, your body begins to manufacture its own. From the fat you don’t want, anyway. And that’s the beauty part. It’s the fat you don’t want anyway that goes. Not the fat from your face or the fat from your neck, but the fat from your hips or your thighs or your stomach or wherever it has landed that is where you don’t want it to be. So that you end up (well, you never end this diet really you go on a maintenance routine) reshaped in your own idealized image.

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