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The South Beach Diet , Atkins and Confessions of an Emotional Eater: A Personal Reflection

South Beach Diet

Dr. Atkins died a few years ago weighing in at over 260 pounds, and had heart problems. The cardiologist who developed the South Beach Diet and a tiny man who took the Atkins plan and gave it a twist. The Emotional Eater is me, Katie Raymond, weighing in at…well that doesn’t matter right now.

I walk through the aisles of Atkins, Low-Carb and diet supplements at the local drug store. I didn’t always need to walk through and see what was on the shelves. There was a point in my life where I was a regular weight. My pediatrician said that I had a large bone structure, and even though I was just under 5 ft, I would never be as thin as the rest. Being a softball catcher, I was okay with this – -my hero was Yogi Berra, and he was always short and squatty. Nothing wrong in that.

But then I noticed something – -as my confidence level dropped as I began battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my weight started to go up. It’s fluctuated for the past few years, nothing extreme either way. With each day that went by I started to realize that I wasn’t eating because I was hungry, I was eating because I was upset. I was that emotional eater Oprah loves to book on her shows.

Dr. Atkins and Mr. South Beach Diet cannot fix that. No book or little bars in shiny gold wrappers can make me change. I have to change for myself.I heard once of a man who got extremely upset over losing his job in California. He spent his days and nights eating only Twinkies. One afternoon, after not getting his sugar fix from the treats he shot the mayor and the guy who took his job. Seeing what he had down, he tried to run out of city hall. One can only assume that those Twinkies had caught up to him and he didn’t get very far. He was found not guilty – -this was called the “twinkie defense” He was an emotional eater too. This isn’t to say that I would go out and shoot anyone if I didn’t have my chocolate chip cookie.

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I felt food was a comfort in my own self pity. Even though I had been accomplishing so much as a journalist and sportswriter, I didn’t feel any of that in my heart. When I would get a bad grade, I would grab some cookies. When the article didn’t come out as planned I would grab a soda. When I was upset at the world I’d grab a bag of chips. I’d often lay in my room away from my mom just eating constantly. When I would walk out of my room I would act as if nothing was wrong – -as if I hadn’t done a thing.

That’s another thing South Beach and Atkins cannot help you with. Your heart . Though the claims and stories of people who have been successful at Atkins are encouraging, any kind of diet like this is risky. When you are an emotional eater, all the pills in the world or all the low-carb diets will not ultimately make you lose the weight, and keep it off. It comes from inside.
Right now I am not at the lowest weight I have ever been at. That would be a lie. Over the summer I tried the Atkins diet, and even considered taking prescription medications for weight loss. Atkins did not work for me. I am stubborn, but inside I really didn’t want to make a change. The layers that I was growing made me very comfortable. It was something to hide under.
I looked at myself honestly for the first time in a long time. This could lead to on camera work and notoriety. I needed to lose weight. Atkins hadn’t worked, and from reading the south beach diet, limiting carbs and limiting saturated fats was appealing, yet I didn’t think I could conform.

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When you are an emotional eater, let me stress again – -these diets seem like a long shot. Sometimes, when you think the problem is just that you eat too much, or like the carbs too much, it’s really not only that. So I went to my doctor. After a long discussion about Atkins and various other diets out there she shifted the focus to something else: my mental health. With the right medication I have now dropped 2 sizes and have gained piece of mind. Am I still an emotional eater? Yes, but I keep it in check.

So before everyone runs off to try Atkins because they think that like too much pasta, tell them to take a look at their mental health first.