Tuesday, July 05, 2005

St. Petersburg Times Writer Has Severely Jaded View Of Atkins Diet

St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer John C. Cotey has embarked on a weight loss journey for the whole world to see him attempt to slim down from his starting weight of 250 pounds on what he calls "The Public Scrutiny Diet."

Standing at 5' 11 1/2 inches tall, the 38-year-old Cotey is on a mission to find a way to lose weight that will work for him. He's keeping an Internet journal of his progress at a blog entitled "The Skinny: An Online Dialogue About Juggling Life And Calories."

This little publicity stunt by Cotey is undoubtedly expected to draw attention to the problem of obesity in a whimsical manner. While I can appreciate any attempts to bring the subject of obesity to the forefront, I am disappointed in Cotey's heavy criticism of the low-carb lifestyle. His jaded view of the Atkins diet is borne out of his own pathetic attempts to do it the wrong way.

Cotey will begin reporting on his progress in a special "Weighing In" column that will begin being published on Tuesdays starting on July 12. He hopes to renew his New Year's resolution (what he terms a "do-over") to lose weight now that half the year has already passed. Because he's had some recent chest pain that forced him to pay a visit to the emergency room as well as other healthy considerations, Cotey decided it was time to do something about his weight problem.

Cotey claims he's tried Atkins and other low-carb programs, but he admits he is "weak" and "worthless" when it comes to sticking with any organized weight loss plan. Well good luck trying to lose weight without some kind of plan to guide you along. Otherwise, you are doomed to fail!

Vowing to give up junk food and to start exercising, Cotey said his "stupid" idea is more an act of desperation than anything. He's never been considered fat his entire life (why can't we all be so lucky?!) and he's slowly evolved into a bigger version of his formerly physically active self. He rationalizes it by saying he was "like a lot of Americans" when he noticed his pants were getting tight as well as his belly and face starting to grow exponentially. He admits he allowed "laziness" to creep into his lifestyle. Can I get a witness? Been there, done that!

Interestingly, Cotey's first attempt at Atkins, which his mother calls the "woner diet," came in 1999 when he was 220 pounds. He described his experience on the king of all low-carb diets as "a six-year roller coaster ride" because of his inability to stick with it.

To his credit, Cotey admits Atkins "works," but he said he never gave it a chance to work for him because he would get off the plan every three days "wallowing in self-pity and eating everything in sight." Well, duh, if you get out of ketosis you can't possibly expect to lose any weight. Cotey, like so many others who claim low-carb has failed them, was unable to endure through the all-important Induction phase of two weeks to see how incredibly effective this way of eating can be towards losing and maintaining your weight.

Mocking low-carb by asserting he ws so sick of eating eggs for breakfast (so eat something besides eggs!), Cotey said he was drawn to eating cereal and doughnuts to satisfy his need for sugar. Overcoming your sugar addiction is vital to any weight loss program, but especially when you are livin' la vida low-carb!

Needless to say, this self-inflicted routine of on-again, off-again low-carbing did not work for Cotey. Surprise, surprise, surprise! He declared he "could never do [the Atkins diet] again," but I contend he never did it in the first place. Sorta, kinda doing low-carb just doesn't cut it and that's exactly what Cotey did. No wonder he failed!

Describing some of the low-carb foods he ate, Cotey said he stocked up on various items to help him on his low-carb plan. Yet his desire for "real food" shows his heart was never really into doing the low-carb thing in earnest because he'd cheat more often than he was on the diet. The transition from diet to lifestyle never clicked with Cotey.

Even when he tried other low-carb plans such as Sugar Busters and The South Beach Diet, as well as a brief stint on Weight Watchers, Cotey failed at them because he hasn't taken the issue of weight loss seriously enough in the past.

Nevertheless, Cotey boldly proclaims "in six months, I will be a new man."

Guess what his recipe for success is going to be? Controlling the portion size of his food as well as cutting out all sugar, fat, soda, white bread, pasta, and all desserts. All I can say is GOOD LUCK STICKING TO THAT PLAN! With Cotey's track record for failure on diets, this has got to be the worst possible plan of action he could take to try and lose weight.

He smugly proclaims that he "won't be doing Atkins" and will eat the "right" carbs, whatever the heck that means! He's cutting out fast food and will work out at the gym more than the once-a-month schedule he is currently on.

Describing himself as a borderline diabetic, this father of four children is hoping his latest dieting adventure will lead him to the weight loss promised land. While I wish him the best in his weight loss endeavor, I am afraid Cotey will find himself at a crossroads after the dust settles on this latest weight loss effort. He may lose weight, but he will be hard pressed to eat the way he has described for the rest of his life. Maybe someday Cotey will realize and discover that livin' la vida low-carb was not as hard as he made it out to be. It is probably the lifestyle change he's been looking for.

Send John C. Cotey an e-mail at and be sure to comment at his blog.


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