The Program: Phase 2
Objectives of OWL
Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss—or OWL, as we like to call it—is the second phase of the Atkins Diet. You learned the basic guidelines of the low-carb weight loss program in Phase 1, Induction. Now, in this phase, you'll learn how to:
- Gradually up your Net Carb intake, starting at 25 grams of Net Carbs.
- Continue to stay in control of your appetite and lose weight.
- Slowly and safely increase the variety in your diet, usually starting with small portions of nuts and seeds (or more foundation vegetables), following the Carb Ladder.
- Find your Personal Carb Balance.
- Decide when to move on to Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance.
Explore Your Carb Tolerance
Your objective in OWL is to find how many carbs you can consume while continuing to lose weight, keep your appetite under control and feel energized. In this respect, OWL is the first step in discovering your tolerance for carbohydrates. At the beginning, the differences between Induction and OWL are relatively minor, but the gradual additions to your diet mark the beginning of your return to a permanent way of eating. Everything else remains the same as in Induction:
- You’ll count daily grams of Net Carbs.
- You’ll eat the recommended amounts of protein and sufficient natural fats.
- You’ll continue to drink about eight glasses of water and other acceptable fluids.
- You’ll make sure that you’re getting enough salt (assuming that you don’t take diuretic medications) to avoid experiencing fatigue and other symptoms of switching to a primarily fat-burning metabolism.
- And you’ll continue taking your multivitamin/multimineral and omega-3 supplements.
What Is Different from Induction?
There are, however, two key distinctions between the first and second phases of Atkins: the slightly broader array of healthful acceptable foods in OWL
and the gradual increase in overall carb intake. These foods include nuts and seeds (which you may already be eating if you spent more than two weeks in Induction), berries and a few other relatively low-carb fruits, a wider array of dairy products, a few vegetable juices and legumes such as lentils and kidney beans. Still, despite eating more carbs and gradually introducing a greater variety of them, it’s best to regard these two changes as baby steps. Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make when you move from Induction to OWL is to regard the transition as dramatic.