From the Atkins bulletin board - written by Elleth Faewen, administrator.


How Does Atkins Work? 

Carbohydrates, protein and fat provide for your body. 

When carbs are available, your body transforms them into energy first. Any excess carbs are stored as body fat. 

When you reduce your carbs to a certain level, your body primarily burns fat, including body fat, and you can lose weight or maintain your goal weight. In fact, Atkins is more effective for weight loss than low-fat approaches, as shown by recent scientific studies conducted at four research institutions (each lasting six months or longer). Research also shows that many people have seen improvements in both their cholesterol and triglyceride profiles. 

Controlling Carbs With Atkins Means: 

Finding your individual tolerance for carbs, both to lose weight and then to maintain your goal weight for life. 

Cutting out processed foods full of sugar and white flour, as well as restricting other high carb foods. 

Retaining good carbs full of nutrients, found in foods like green leafy vegetables (and many berries and fruits in later phases). 

Eating a wide variety of whole natural foods, including protein, healthy fats and good carbs. 

Eating the healthy low-carb way for life 

Controlling Carbs With Atkins DOES NOT Mean: 

Eating zero carbs 

Eating only steak, bacon and eggs 

Eliminating vegetables 

Eliminating fruit (fruit is added to your diet during Ongoing Weight Loss, or OWL) 

Eating processed foods frequently, such as bars and shakes 

Eating low-carb to lose weight quickly, then going back to eating carbs. 

The Four Phases of Atkins 

The Atkins Nutritional Approach (ANA) is an easy-to-follow four-phase program. Initially, you cut back significantly on carb intake to lose weight, then you gradually add back a variety of good carbs as you get closer to your goal weight. Once you reach your goal weight, you will find your individual 
ACE (Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium), meaning the approximate number of Net Carbs you can continue to eat without gaining or losing weight. Changes in your activity level, hormonal status or other factors may raise or lower your ACE. Here's how to do Atkins properly: 

(We strongly suggest reading chapters 1-11 of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, revised edition.) 

We recommend you do the first phase of Atkins for at least two weeks. Some people who have a lot of weight to lose may stay in Induction until they are 10-15 lbs. from their target weight. This is a personal decision that should be made by each individual. You will be staying at or below 20 grams of net carbs per day and should be strictly eating foods that are listed on the 
acceptable foods list. Eat three meals a day or four or five smaller ones, if preferred. Don't skip meals. Eat until you're satisfied but not stuffed. 

A sample menu for breakfast might consist of avocado-tomato omelet and decaf coffee with cream. For lunch you could have a salad with grilled chicken breast. Dinner might include broiled salmon and spinach sauted with garlic. 

Foods that combine protein and fat, such as poultry, fish, red meat and eggs, will be the foundation of your meals. 

Most of your carbs will come from nutrient-dense foods such as leafy green vegetables dressed in olive oil. 

Take a good multi-vitamin (without iron) every day. Other supplements you may want to research for your personal use are: Chromium, Essential oils, L-carnitine and CoQ10. Dr. Atkins discusses these in length in his book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution

Drink a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water (It's Official: What counts as water) each day to hydrate your body and flush out any impurities. We recommend that you add an additional 8 oz. for every 25 lbs. you need to lose. 

Exercise regularly, preferably combining an aerobic activity such as walking or running with an anaerobic activity such as weight training. Always check with your physician before starting any exercise program. 

Slow your weight loss by gradually increasing your carb intake in increments of 5 grams net carbs. Follow the outlined Carb Ladder (Chapter 14 of the DANDR) when adding in new foods. The first week, move up to 25 grams of 
net carbs per day. If you continue to lose weight, move to a daily intake of 30 grams of net carbs the next week, and so forth until weight loss stops for a few days in a row. Drop back 5 grams and you should continue losing weight slowly. Stay at this level of net carbs until you come within 5-10 pounds of your target weight. 

When you get within 5 to 10 pounds of your goal weight, move to Pre-Maintenance. By losing those last few pounds very slowly, you'll ease yourself into a permanently changed way of eating. Each week, add more grams (as much as 10) of carbs to your daily allotment, going, for example from 50 grams of net carbs a day to 60 the next week. As long as you continue to lose at an almost imperceptible rate, gradually introduce other fruits, such as grapefruit, kiwi or melon, whole grains and yams and starchy vegetables. When you achieve and maintain your goal weight for at least a month, you have found the net carbs level called your ACE and have effectively moved to the final phase of Atkins. 

To maintain your goal weight, stay at your newly found ACE. Your ACE may range from as low as 40 to 120 or more grams of net carbs daily, depending on your metabolism, age, gender, activity level or other factors. Continue to follow this healthful and satisfying way of eating and engage in regular exercise for effective weight control. Changes in your activity level, hormonal status or other factors may raise or lower your ACE. 

In short, Atkins begins as an easy-to-follow diet, then becomes a healthy way of eating for life. It is one of the most satisfying weight-loss diets out there as you do not go hungry and can eat a wide variety of tasty foods. We hope you will enjoy Atkins as much as we do!