Why does the Atkins diet work?
By following the Atkins nutritional approach for a life time, you will achieve four things:
1. You will lose weight, it's hard not to. Both men and women who follow the Atkins approach to weight loss readily
take off pounds and inches. Optimizing body weight is a valuable element of any health-oriented program because;
by and large being significantly overweight is an indicator of potential health problems, now or in the future.
When you have taken the pounds off, you'll see the benefits and they will be far more than merely cosmetic.
2. You will maintain your weight loss. This is where the Atkins nutritional approach leaves most other diets in
the dust. Almost every experienced dieter has gone on a diet, worked hard, lost a lot of pounds and gained them
all back in a few months or perhaps a year. This is usually due to the expected consequence of low-fat/low-calorie
diets---hunger. Although many people can tolerate hunger for a while, very few can tolerate it for a lifetime.
Deprivation is no fun. Once the biological gap between hunger and fulfillment grows too large, the rebound can
be amazingly rapid as well as heartbreaking and humiliating. But that's the problem of diets that restrict quantities.
The Atkins program refuses to accept hunger as a way of life. The plan includes foods that have enough fat and
protein so hunger is not the huge issue it is on other weight loss plans. But it still allows dieters to maintain
a healthy weight for a lifetime.
3. You will achieve good health. The change is amazing doing Atkins, you meet your nutritional needs by eating
delicious, healthy, filling foods and avoiding the sugar and carbs that junk food is loaded with. As a result,
you become less tired and more energetic, not merely because of the weight loss, but because the physical consequences
of a truly dysfunctional blood sugar and insulin metabolism are reversed. Doing the Atkins. People start feeling
good even before they reach their goal weight.
4. You will lay the permanent groundwork for disease prevention. You will change your life, which, believe it or
not, is even more important than looking good on the beach next summer.
Rules of induction
This phase of the Atkins diet must be followed precisely for success!
If you do it incorrectly you may prevent weight loss and end up saying "here is another weight loss plan that
1. Eat either three regular size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six
waking hours without eating.
2. Eat liberally of combinations of fat and protein in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat,
as well as pure, natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable
3. Eat no more than 20 grams a day of carbohydrates, most of which must come in the form of salad greens and other
vegetables. You can eat approximately three cups - loosely packed - of salad, or two cups of salad plus one cup
of other vegetables.
4. Eat absolutely no fruit, bread, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables or dairy products other than cheese, cream
or butter. Do not eat nuts or seeds in the first two weeks. Foods that combine protein and carbs such as chickpeas,
kidney beans and other legumes are not permitted at this time.
5. Eat nothing that is not on the acceptable foods list. And that means absolutely nothing! Your "just this
one taste won't hurt" rationalization is the kiss of failure during this phase of Atkins.
6. Adjust the quantity you eat to suit your appetite, especially as it decreases. When hungry, eat the amount that
makes you feel satisfied but not stuffed. When not hungry, eat a small low carb snack to accompany your nutritional
7. Don't assume any food is low carb, instead read the labels! Check the carb count (it's on every package) or
use a carb counter.
8. Eat out as often as you wish but be on guard for hidden carbs in gravies, sauces and dressings. Gravy is often
made with flour or cornstarch, and sugar is sometimes an ingredient in salad dressing.
9. Avoid foods or drinks sweetened with aspartame. Instead, use sucralose or saccharin. Be sure to count each packet
of any of these as 1 gram of carbs.
10. Avoid coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine. Excessive caffeine has been shown to cause low blood
sugar, which can make you crave sugar.
11. Drink at least 6 to 8 8oz. (2 to 3 quarts if exercising) glasses of water each day to hydrate your body, avoid
constipation and flush out the byproducts of burning fat.
12. If you are constipated, mix a tablespoon or more of phylum husks in 8oz or more of water and drink daily.
Foods you may eat liberally
All fish including: tuna, salmon, sole, trout, flounder, sardines, herring
All fowl including: chicken, turkey, duck, goose, Poussin, quail, pheasant.
All shellfish including: oysters, mussels, lobster, clams, squid, prawns, crab meat.
All meat including: beef, pork, lamb, bacon, veal, ham, venison.
All eggs including: scrambled, fried, poached, soft boiled, hard boiled, deviled, omelet's
Processed meats such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, salami, hot dogs and other luncheon meats and some fish may be cured
with added sugar and will contribute carbs. Try to avoid meat and fish products cured with nitrates, which are
known carcinogens. Also beware of products that are not exclusively meat, fish or fowl, such as imitation fish,
meatloaf and breaded foods. Finally do not consume more than four ounces of fowl a day.
Other foods acceptable during induction
You can consume 90 - 110 g (3 - 4 oz.) daily of the following full fat, firm and semi soft aged cheeses including
cheddar, cow, sheep and goat cheese, cream cheese, gouda, mozzarella, roquefort, swiss.
You can have 230 - 340 g (8 - 12 oz.) per day
Alfa sprouts, bok choy, celery, chicory, chives, cucumber, daikon, fennel, lamb's lettuce, lettuce, mushrooms,
parsley, peppers, radicchio, radishes, rocket, romaine lettuce, sorrel.
These salad veggies are high in phytonutrients and provide a good source of fiber.
All cheeses have some carb content, the quantity you eat should be governed by that knowledge, the rule of thumb
is to count 30 g of cheese as equivalent to one gram of carb. Note that cottage cheese and other fresh cheeses
are not permitted during induction. No diet cheese, cheese spreads or whey cheeses are permitted. Individuals with
known yeast symptoms, dairy allergy or cheese intolerance must avoid cheese. Imitation cheese products are not
allowed. Except for soy or rice cheese - but check the carb content.
You can have 140 - 200g (5 - 7oz) per day if salad does not exceed 230g(8oz) these veggies are slightly higher
in carb content than the salad veggies artichoke, asparagus, aubergine, bamboo, bean sprouts, broccoli, broccoli
rabe, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery root, chard, courgettes, dandelion greens, french beans, kale,
kohlrabi, leeks, mange-tout peas, okra, onion, pumpkin, rhubarb, sauerkraut, spring
Onions, spring greens, spaghetti squash, tomato, turnips, water cress
If a vegetable, such as spinach or tomato, cooks down significantly, it must be measured raw so as not to underestimate
its carb content.
Salad garnishes crumbled crisp bacon, grated cheese, minced hardboiled egg, sautéed mushrooms, and sour
All spices to taste but make sure none contain added sugar
Basil, cayenne, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, oregano, pepper, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme
For salad dressing
Use oil and vinegar (but not balsamic vinegar, which contains sugar) or lemon juice and herbs and spices. Prepared
salad dressings without added sugar and no more than two carbs per tablespoon serving are also fine
Fats and oils
Many fats, especially certain oils, are essential to good nutrition. Olive oil is particularly valuable. All other
vegetable oils are allowed, the best being canola, walnut, soybean, grape seed, sesame, sunflower and safflower
oils, especially if they are labeled "cold pressed" or "expeller pressed " do not cook polyunsaturated
oils, such as corn, soybean and sunflower oil, at high temperatures or allow to brown or smoke.
Butter is allowed. Margarine should be avoided, not because of its carb content, but because it is usually made
of Trans fats (hydrogenated oils) which are a serious health hazard. (Some non-hydrogenated margarine is available
in health food shops) you need not remove the skin and fat from meat or fowl. Salmon and other cold water fish
are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
I cannot stress strongly enough that trying to do a low fat version of Atkins will interfere with fat burning and
derail your weight loss.
Clear broth/bouillon (not all brands; read the label)
Soda water, cream (double, whipping or single); limit to two to three tablespoons a day; note carb content.
Decaffeinated coffee or tea. Excessive caffeine may cause unstable blood sugar and should be avoided by those who
suspect they are caffeine dependent; everyone should try to avoid caffeine. Grain beverages (coffee substitutes)
are not allowed. Alcoholic beverages are also not permitted during induction; those low in carbohydrates are an
option, in moderation, in later phases.
Herb tea (without barley or any fruit sugar added).
Lemon juice or lime juice (note that each contains 2 - 8 grams carb per oz.) limit to 2 - 3 tablespoons.
You must determine which artificial sweeteners agree with you, but the following are allowed: sucralose (splenda)
saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame-k. Natural sweeteners ending in the suffix "-ose" such as maltose, fructose
etc. . , should be avoided. However certain sugar alcohols such as maltitol do not affect blood sugar and are acceptable.
Saccharin has been extensively studied and harmful effects were produced in the lab when fed to rats only in extremely
high doses. The U.S. Food and drug administration ( fda) has removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens, basing
its decision upon a thorough review of the medical literature and the national institute of science's statement
that there is "no clear association between saccharin and human cancer. " it can be safely consumed in
moderation, meaning no more than 3 packets a day. Saccharin is marketed as sweetex or sucron. We discourage the
use of aspartame (marketed as nutrasweet, hermesetas and candarel) because of questions about its safety.
My preference, however is sucralose (splenda) the only sweetener made of sugar, sucralose is safe non caloric and
does not raise blood sugar. It has been used in Canada for years, and the fda recently approved it after reviewing
more than one hundred studies conducted over the past twenty years.
Note that each packet of sugar substitute contains about 1 gram of carb, so don't forget to include the amount
in your daily totals.
Special category foods
To add variety, each day you can also eat ten to twenty olives, half a small avocado, one oz. of sour cream or
3oz of unsweetened whipping cream, as well as 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice. But be aware that these
foods occasionally slow down weight loss in some people, and may need to be avoided in the first 2 weeks. If you
seem to be losing slowly, moderate your intake of these foods.
Although it is important that you eat primarily unprocessed foods, some low carb food products can come in handy
when you are unable to find appropriate food, can't take time for a meal or need a quick snack. More and more companies
are creating healthy food products that can be eaten during the induction phase of Atkins. Just remember two things
1. Not all convenience food products are the same, so check labels and carb content
2. While any of these foods can make doing Atkins easier, don't overdo it. Remember, you must always follow the
rules of induction
Lipolysis testing strips (ketostix) proof positive
Lipolysis testing strips (lts) (ketostix) measure the ketone's- the markers that confirm your body is in lipolysis
and the secondary process of ketosis in your urine. The strips will change to pink or purple, depending upon how
many ketones are present. The more ketone's you excrete and therefore the greater degree of ketosis you are in,
the darker the color.
What if they don't turn color?
First make sure that none of your foods except your salad and other veggies contain carbs, meaning no hidden sugars,
no breading etc. Then strictly follow induction for five days, if the lts still haven't changed to at least pink,
measure your salads to make sure you are not eating too many veggies, still no change? Try cutting out the tomatoes
and onions, which are both relatively high on the glycemic index. Finally make sure you are not consuming excess
quantities of protein, when eaten to excess protein converts to glucose.
However should your lts not turn pink or purple, despite the fact that you are doing everything correctly, you
may still show a decrease in appetite, an improvement in wellbeing, a loosening of your clothes and a slow but
steady weight loss and reduction in inches. This simply means that you are not producing enough ketone's to register
on the lts but enough to burn fat. Remember the strips are tools, making them change color is not the sole object
of the diet.
Phase two - ongoing weight loss
If you are starting ongoing weight loss (owl), I know that you've succeeded doing induction. Congratulations on
reaching the first stage of your goal! Owl is where you'll start tailoring Atkins to fit your special tastes; it's
what makes Atkins so unique and a pleasure. Although less restrictive than induction, owl will continue to reveal
the wonders of dissolving fat. Expect a gradual decrease in the rate at which the pounds and inches drop off. This
is a deliberate part of the plan. I have to repeat one thing: allowing a few more carbs in at this phase is not
a license to return to your old habits of dining on foods full of sugar, white flour and other junk carbs. The
quality of the carb foods you eat continues to be as important as the quantity.
Make your goal specific
You've set a goal, and that's great! But make sure your goal is specific. Planning to lose 35 pounds, for example,
is far better than planning to lose some weight, but you probably won't lose the full 35 unless you hold it in
your mind as the destination of your journey.
In other words, once you've said you are going to lose 35 lbs., go even further and visualize how your body is
going to look, what new clothes you are going to be able to wear, keep in your mind how great you are going to
feel and look.
How to do owl
On owl you will continue to burn and dissolve fat, maintain control of your appetite, learn how many carbs you
can consume and still lose weight and eat a wider choice of foods.
Rules of owl
To be successful on owl remember to:
Keep protein and fat as the mainstays of your nutritional regimen.
Increase your daily carb intake by no more than 5 grams each week.
Add new foods in the order listed in the carb ladder.
Add one new food group at a time.
Eat a food group no more than 3 times per week to start, then eat daily stop new foods immediately if they provoke
weight gain and the return of physical symptoms lost doing induction or increased appetite or cravings.
Continue doing owl until you have 5 - 10 pounds left to lose.
How to follow phase 2
There are 3 key differences between induction and ongoing weight loss.
The first is obvious. You will consume more carbs.
The second whereas during induction you ate your protein and fat foods plus 3 cups of salad
And other veggies, owl allows you much more choice. That means you can now craft a weight loss plan that is yours.
But it also means and here's the third key -- that counting carbs is truly your responsibility.
If you don't count then you could get into trouble!!!
Your own private number
Life in the 21st century means lots of numbers to remember, what with cell-phone numbers, bank numbers and the
like, but I'm going to give you the tools to find another number that is just as essential for your lifestyle.
Remember these two basic principles when you do the Atkins diet your rate of weight loss is generally proportional
to the amount of carbs you consume. The level of carbs you consume can be measured, by attaching numerical quantities
to the carb foods you're eating, you know how much you can safely eat your daily threshold of carbs consumption
is your critical carbohydrate level for losing (ccll) stay below this number and you will experience ongoing weight
loss. Go above it and your weight loss stalls. Here's how you'll determine your ccll. Each week you will increase
the quantity of carbs you eat beyond the salad and one cup serving of veggies allowed during induction. These increments
should measure roughly 5 grams of daily carbs, representing one "level" during the first week on owl,
increase your daily carb intake from the 20 grams a day on induction to 25 grams a day----- going up one level
I recommend you add either another salad, half an avocado, a cup of cauliflower or 6 - 8 stalks of asparagus or
another veggie. Continue to eat this way for the rest of the week. As long as your weight loss continues steadily,
you can go up another level to 30 grams daily the following week. If you are a veggie lover, you may be happy continuing
to add more salad greens and other veggies. Or you may choose to add a half cup of cottage cheese, an oz. of sunflower
seeds, or a dozen macadamia nuts. If you have been feeling fruit deprived, now is the time to add berries, the
fruits lowest on the glycemic index. (13 average size strawberries contain 5 grams of carbs).
Look at the "power of five" set below for other suggestions of foods you can add to your daily menu.
Most people find it best to add back foods in a certain order what I call the carbohydrate ladder (see below)
Note that few people will be able to add back all these food groups in owl. Those on the second half of the list
tend to rank higher on the glycemic index and are more commonly introduced in pre-maintenance.
Following this order tends to minimize blood sugar surges that could reactivate cravings.
1. More salad and other veggies on the acceptable foods list
2. Fresh cheeses (as well as more aged cheese)
3. Seeds and nuts
5. Wine and other spirits low in carbs
7. Fruits other than berries and melons
8. Starchy veggies
9. Whole grains
Each week you'll go up another level, adding another 5 grams until eventually you'll reach a number at which you
stop losing. That's how you find your ccll. Above it you lose no more, or you begin to gain. Below it you continue
to lose. The lower your metabolic resistance to weight loss and the greater your level of physical activity, the
Number will be.
Once you calculate your ccll. You'll be able to say to another Atkins follower. "My critical carbohydrate
level for losing is 45 grams. What's yours?" or it might be higher - say 50, or as low as 25. To get an idea
of the range that is possible, see the table set below, as I've mentioned before, metabolic resistance is influenced
by age, gender, activity level, hormone issues, level of physical activity, prescription medications and other
factors, so the range in cclls can be great.
If you eat beyond your ccll, your scale and measuring tape will tell you that you've crossed a line and you'll
make adjustments accordingly. Most people simply drop back down to the prior level of carb consumption.
Lipolysis testing strips (ketostix) can help you ascertain your ccll in many cases. They generally stop turning
color at a point a little bit below you ccll. When that happens your ccll will be only a few carbs higher. However
you should be aware that once you are consuming 50 or more carbs a day, the LTS will no longer register a change
in color. So as
Long as you continue to lose pounds and inches and experience no recurrence of your pre Atkins levels of hunger,
cravings and other symptoms, rest assured that all is well. You are still functioning on a primarily fat burning
metabolism even though you may not be producing enough ketone's to show up in your urine.
Carbohydrate gram levels and metabolic resistance for losing
Metabolic resistance approx. ccll range
High <15 grams of carbs per day
Average 15 - 40 grams of carbs per day
Low 40 - 60 grams of carbs per day
Regular exercisers* 60 - 90 grams of carbs per day
"A regular exerciser is someone who does vigorous exercise five days a week for at
Least 45 mins
The wise owl mind set
The owl phase is all about choice. The choices you make should focus on healthy and pleasurable additions, with
a strong emphasis on foods that contribute both. As you add foods in roughly 5 gram carb increments, you can probably
move beyond veggies to other foods, such as nuts, berries and possibly grains. Although you will be eating primarily
natural, unprocessed foods, you will find an increasing number of convenience foods created for people seeking
to follow a low carb nutritional approach. Remember: read the label!
The power of five
These portions contain roughly 5 grams of carbs. Food groups are arranged in the general order in which they should
340g (12oz) cooked spinach
110g (4oz) red peppers
1 medium tomato
75g (2 ½ oz.) cooked broccoli
8 medium asparagus
75g (2 ½ oz.) cauliflower
40g (1 ½ oz.) chopped onions
½ hass avocado
120g (4 ½ oz.) summer squash
140g (5oz) mozzarella cheese
110g (4 oz.) cottage cheese
160g (51/2 oz.) ricotta cheese
110 ml (4fl oz.) whipping cream
Nuts and seeds
30g (1oz) of:
Macadamias (approx. 10 - 12 nuts
Walnuts (approx. 14 halves)
Almonds (approx. 24 nuts)
Pecans (approx. 31 nuts)
Hulled sunflower seeds (3 tablespoons)
Roasted shelled peanuts (approx. 26 nuts)
15g (½ oz.) of cashews (approx. 9 nuts)
37 g (1 1/3 oz.) blueberries
23g (¾ oz.) raspberries
60g (2oz) strawberries
60g (2oz) cantaloupe. Honeydew melon
60 ml (2 fl oz.) lemon juice
60 ml (2 fl oz.) lime juice
110 ml (4 fl oz.) tomato juice
You can select from the variety of convenience foods (bars and shakes are the two most available) but be sure to
determine the actual number of digestible carbs in any particular products.
Pre maintenance: prepare for permanent slimness
You are almost there! All your good work and healthy eating habits have paid off, and you now have only 5 - 10
pounds to go to reach your target weight. Give yourself a good pat on the back: you deserve it. Having said that,
I have to insert a note of caution. You may not like what follows, but it is vitally important that you hear it.
If you have been racing along the road to your destination, now is the time to put on the brakes. Much as it is
tempting to say "I can banish these last pounds in a few weeks now that I know how to do the Atkins"
I strongly advise you to do something that seems quite the opposite on pre maintenance, the all-important third
phase of Atkins. As you advance toward lifetime maintenance, my advice is to proceed so slowly that your weight
loss is almost imperceptible. I know that this snail's pace can be excruciating when the end is in sight. But remember,
getting to your goal weight is not your ultimate goal; your real goal is to maintain that magic number indefinitely.
Our focus is now different, there is little doubt you can and will reach your goal weight.
The only doubt is whether you will stay at that weight for life. The purpose now is to create the optimal lifetime
eating program, one that fits you so perfectly you will want to stay on it for life.
When you moved to owl, you deliberately slowed down your weight loss by adding more carbs and more variety to your
menus. Now I am going to ask you to slow things down even further. The more you learn about eating as you lose
those last few pounds, the better. Your next assignment is to increase your carb consumption until you are losing
less than a pound a week. The additional foods will provide increased nutrition. Ideally you should spend at least
a month or two in this phase.
There is method in what may sound like madness. If you search for the level that achieves a small amount of weight
loss, by the time you reach your goal weight you will in effect be on lifetime maintenance, at which time your
weight loss will naturally slow to a halt. During pre-maintenance you will both accustom yourself to your lifetime
eating plan and get a good indication of what it will be like. Think of this phase as a learner's permit, like
the one you had when you were just beginning to drive. You were allowed out on the roads, but only with a licensed
driver by your side. Pre maintenance is like that. You're out there doing it, but you still need some more hours
behind the wheel before it's safe to allow you on the highway all by yourself.
That's why it is crucial that you not make the assumptions that pre maintenance and lifetime maintenance must be
pretty much the same thing because their names sound alike. Not true: one is a training program, the other is the
rest of your life. If you have any misguided ideas about skipping this third phase and going right to lifetime
maintenance, I implore you not to do so. In fact I would go so far as to say that pre maintenance is mandatory
if permanent weight loss is to be achieved. Let me repeat that: if you omit pre maintenance you may well be doomed
to failure when it comes to maintaining your weight loss for the long term.
How to do pre maintenance
Pre maintenance is crucial to getting your weight under control for good, but it is also about far more important
things, the first of course being your health. To reduce your long term risk for conditions such as cardiovascular
disease, hypertension and diabetes there is nothing more effective than maintaining a healthy weight. But I'm also
thinking about such things as your ability to make choices that are right for you. When you realize you can be
in charge of what you eat, how you look and how healthy you are, it empowers you in all the other aspects of your
life. Instead of worrying about looking good to please other people you are likely coming to realize that what
matters is how you feel about how you look and feel. You are learning the skills that allow you to change your
When you were doing owl. You learned to increase your carb intake in increments of 5 grams. In this phase you can
shift into a higher gear increase your daily carb intake by 10 grams each week so long as you continue to lose.
See power of ten below.
If you introduce new foods slowly and increase your grams of carbs gradually, your ccll should increase gradually.
This new and higher ccll will reflect the fact that you are now losing weight more slowly. As you continue to make
10 gram incremental additions, you will rather quickly reach a point at which you will find that you are no longer
losing. If you are at your goal weight, stay at that level for a month or so before you increase your daily carb
consumption by another 10 grams to see if you can consume that level without gaining. Once you do begin to gain,
drop back 10 grams and you should have established your critical carbohydrate level for maintenance ( cclm ) on
the other hand, if after an incremental increase you find that you are gaining or are not losing and you are not
yet at your goal weight, you need to back down to the previous level. The line between gaining, maintaining and
losing is a thin one and you may have to
Play with your ccll and cclm for a while to understand what your body can handle.
While it may take as long as 3 months to drop the last few pounds and clearly establish your cclm, I reiterate:
this leisurely pace is critical to your ultimate success. Continue to add new foods slowly and carefully so you'll
be learning good eating habits at the same time.
Some variations on the rule
Another approach to pre maintenance is to continue eating as you were at the end of owl and to allow yourself a
20 gram carb treat 2 or 3 times a week. Ad a piece of fruit or starchy veggie, a serving of brown rice or sweet
potatoes, for example. You can also have a glass of white wine, a light beer or the white spirits.
Still another way to do pre maintenance is to average out your carb intake for the week. This is how it works:
if for example, your ccll is 80 grams, you might drop back to 60 grams on Tuesday, and then deviate with a beef,
potato and carrot stew the following night, pushing your daily total to 100 grams. (up till now, when weight loss
was essential, I have told you to spread your carbs out through the day, if you do have a heavy dose at one meal,
make sure there is enough fat, protein and fiber in the rest of the meal to slow the glucose load on your system)
however, if you find such deviations create cravings, it is probably best for you to stick to a steady number of
carbs spread evenly throughout the day.
Be careful! There are a couple of reasons why people sometimes get into trouble:
1. They don't recognize that this phase is still relatively restrictive of carbs, compared to the way they were
eating before they were doing Atkins.
2. They're startled to discover that without the wonderful advantage of deep lipolysis, appetite suppression has
diminished power of 10.
The following portions each contain roughly 10 grams of carbohydrates. Food groups are arranged in the general
order in which they should be added.
60 g almonds
30 g cashews
60g roasted shelled peanuts
50g pine nuts
60g pumpkin seed
55g sesame seeds
60g sunflower seeds
75 g carrots
230g winter squash
60g yams or sweet potatoes
60g white potatoes
60g kidney beans
60g black beans
60g haricot beans
60g broad beans
60g pinto beans
180g cantaloupe melon
230g fruit cocktail canned in water
40g long grain brown rice
100g sweet corn
1 slice whole meal bread
30g spinach pasta
All figures are for cooked veggies, starches and legumes
- The key to success on pre maintenance is advancing slowly, losing less than
a pound a week for 2 - 3 months
- Nothing will have a more significant effect on reducing your long term risks
for cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes than maintaining a healthy weight.
- Increase daily carb intake by 10 grams per week so long as you continue to
lose, adding new foods slowly and carefully.
- The line between gaining, maintaining and losing is a thin one, and you may
have to play with your ccll and cclm for a while to understand what your body can handle.
The bells should be ringing and the flags flying. You are there!!!!! You've arrived at the place where millions
of overweight people have never been since they were children at the weight you were meant to be, and the impact
on every part of your life is enormous. Am I right?
Now let me interject a reality check. Have you won the battle of the bulge? Or have you only graduated from boot
camp, in shape now for the battle ahead? I can personally attest to the fact that you have achieved the latter.
Recidivism among people who have lost considerable weight is such a well-documented phenomenon that many cynical
doctors advise their patients not to even bother trying to lose! Fortunately with Atkins, such pessimism is unwarranted.
This is not to say you don't need a lifetime maintenance plan accompanied by unceasing vigilance. The former is
the lifetime maintenance phase; the determination to succeed is your responsibility!
I would expect that as you travel along the slow pre maintenance path, one day you realized you were actually in
life maintenance: your weight remained constant within a pound or two for several weeks. The decisions to move
from induction to owl and from owl to pre maintenance were conscious on your part. But it is not always easy to
define the moment at which you leave pre maintenance and move to lifetime maintenance; the former segues naturally
into the latter. But from now on you will have conscious choices to make every day of your life.
What lifetime maintenance does for you.
By now you should know this by heart, but in this case a little repetition is a good thing. Lifetime maintenance
1. Provide you with a way of eating that allows you to stay slim for the rest of your life
2. Allow you to maximize the amount of healthy carbohydrate foods you can eat while staying within 3 - 5 pounds
of your goal weight.
3. Prevent re addiction to foods that have gotten you in trouble before by helping you to avoid frequent exposure
4. Teach you how to drop back to an earlier weight loss phase, when needed to achieve lifetime weight control.
5. Teach you how to make the healthiest carb choices, which will allow you to continue to stay in control of your
eating habits, feel your best and maintain improved blood lipid levels. Optimize your blood pressure, energy and
6. Teach you how to adjust your carb consumption when metabolic circumstances change, before you find yourself
7. Give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence that spills over into the rest of your life.
How to do lifetime maintenance properly.
Now that you've made it to your goal weight, you can continue to select from a greater range of foods and consume
more carbs than you did in the two earlier phases of Atkins. But as I've said at every transition: no way is this
a license to return to your old eating habits. All too often, people win the battle of weight loss only to lose
the war of weight control. To maintain your goal weight, you must know your metabolic needs. Your cclm which you
found during pre-maintenance lets you know how many carbs you can eat each day to maintain your weight. Stay right
at or around that number and your weight should not fluctuate beyond the perfectly natural range of 2 - 3 pounds.
Carbohydrate gram levels and metabolic resistance for maintaining
Metabolic resistance approx. cclm range
High 25 - 40 g of carbs per day
Average 40 - 60 g of carbs per day
Low 60 - 90 g of carbs per day
Regular exerciser 90 or more g of carbs per day
The nitty gritty of maintenance
What you should be asking yourself is " what level of carbs consumption do I feel best on ?" that's a
more rational goal than trying to find the highest number of carbs you can get away with. This may mean you actually
stay slightly below your cclm. Many people find they feel better on a low level of carbs, perhaps only 30 - 35
grams a day, than they do on the most liberal version of the plan. Other people feel best on twice that amount
of carbs and have the metabolism to support it, that is why cclms can vary so greatly from one person to another.
Remember your best carb level is the one on which you can be happiest and healthiest without experiencing cravings
and regaining weight.
Dealing with weight gain
Even with flexibility and great food, you can come upon a patch of trouble. What if you're happily eating away
and feeling great and then suddenly you notice those awful pounds and inches are staging a revival? Since you are
in lifetime maintenance, I know you've reached your goal weight. Therefore you're probably no longer in lipolysis
which by definition involves an element of fat loss. Newly slim people are no longer trying to shed pounds, and
so they don't burn fat for fuel most of the time because they're above their ccll but here's the catch that many
people don't see: there is very little leeway before you break through your cclm to the level at which you begin
to gain. A typical male of average age metabolic resistance may find he has a cclm of 50 grams. As long as he regularly
eats no more than 50 grams of carbs a day he will not lose more weight and become too thin. On the other hand,
if he starts consuming 60 grams a day, he'll be above his cclm and will start to regain weight.
At your goal weight you are in fact pretty balanced in your carb intake. Nothing is exact, of course. Life has
a way of changing and your weight will in fact constantly shift up and down by small increments. The most convenient
way to maintain your best weight now is to not ever let that "up" get too far out of hand. If it does
you may find yourself sliding down an uphill path. To coin a phrase.
I recommend that you know your weight, after all, it's one aspect of your general health that you can easily keep
track of. Getting on the scales at least once a week is a must for successful weight maintenance. When you find
that you've gone 5 pounds or more over your maintenance weight or that your clothes are getting tight, you must
put things back on their proper course. And you must do it without delay!
Don't get depressed and give up. Even if you do temporarily get off track, continue to exercise. It's crucial that
you don't surrender all control. Start with induction and stay on owl until you've reached your goal weight again,
at which time you should ease back into lifetime maintenance.
Remember going straight back to the induction phase is as simple as beginning Atkins in the first place. Do not
go back to life maintenance without losing all you have regained. It's simple. A salad a day. A portion of veggies,
plenty of protein and fat and voila! You've slashed your weight back in as little as 6 - 8 days, or two or three
weeks depending upon your degree of metabolic resistance.
Some parting recommendations
For those of you who have been successful, your nutritional voyage seems to be almost over. It will continue indefinitely.
I hope, but you're driving the car, I want to leave you with eight basic principles for your life time doing Atkins:
1. Be food aware, remember that fresh meat, fish, fowl, veggies, nuts, seeds and occasional fruits and starches
are the foods nature intended you to eat. That packaged refined carbohydrate stuff in the supermarket puts money
in somebody's pocket. And it puts garbage into your stomach. This is the only body you've got. Notice how good
it feels now! Notice how much better it looks! Keep it that way!
2. Be wary, endlessly wary of sugar and corn syrup and white flour and
Cornstarch. Look at the labels of any packaged food you are considering and avoid those containing sugar, corn
syrup and honey. And read those labels for the carb content of the foods you want to eat.
3. Individualize your personal eating plan. Try new foods. Increase the variety of foods that you like and enjoy,
it will help to prevent you from going back to eating foods that you enjoyed in the past, but which simply aren't
good for you. Use low carb alternatives.
4. Continue your already established and effective plan.
5. Consume caffeine and alcohol only in moderation.
6. Remember that addictions can be managed only through abstinence.
7. Take care of weight regain promptly and effectively by returning to the induction and owl phases for as long
as it takes to get back to your goal weight. Swear that you will never allow yourself to be more than 5 pounds
and two weeks' worth of induction away from your goal weight.
8. Make exercise a regular part of your life.
One final word. It is well known that virtually all individuals regain all or most of their hard last pounds within
5 years. But when a program changes the composition of the diet, not the quantity, and when pre maintenance teaching
and the 5 pound rule are consistently applied, recidivism is a rare phenomenon, indeed.
My experience resoundingly confirms this fact.
Instead of bouncing you back into the land of the fat, Atkins welcomes you permanently into the home of the slim.