The Program: Objectives of OWL

Finding Your Personal Carb Balance in OWL

A key objective of Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) is to determine how many carbs you can consume and continue to lose weight, keep your appetite under control and feel energized. If you’re also working on health issues, such as high blood sugar levels, you’ll want to see continued improvement in your health indicators. Phase 2 also enables you to explore and decide which foods you can and cannot handle. All this is part of the process of finding your personal Personal Carb Balance: the number of grams of Net Carbs you can eat each day while continuing to lose weight.

A Broad Range of Personal Carb Balances
There is a tremendous range of personal carbohydrate balances. A high one could mean 60 to 80 grams or even more. Still others find that they can’t move much beyond the 25 grams of Net Carbs that initiate OWL. If you’re losing less than a pound a week on average, you’re probably close to your personal carbohydrate balance and should not increase your carb intake. If your weight loss rate picks up, you may be able to raise your carb intake slightly.

Your personal carbohydrate balance is influenced by your age, gender, level of physical activity, hormonal issues, medications you may be taking and other factors such as whether you’ve repeatedly lost and regained weight. Again, younger people and men tend to have an advantage. Increasing your activity level or exercise program may or may not raise it. No matter what your tolerance for carbs, however, it’s perfectly normal to lose in fits and starts. The scale isn’t a perfect tool to measure the positive changes you’re experiencing, which is why we recommend weight averaging.

Big Benefits
Your goal should be to enjoy as broad a range of whole foods as possible—but not at the risk of losing the benefits of controlling your carbs: continued weight loss, appetite control, the absence of obsessive thoughts about food, high energy and a general sense of well-being. It’s always better to stay slightly below your carb tolerance limit than to overshoot it and then have to back up. The delicate balancing act of finding your personal carbohydrate balance is crucial to truly understanding your metabolism so you can ultimately maintain a healthy weight. That said, it may take a bit more “backing and forthing” until you identify your personal carbohydrate balance. As long as you stay in OWL, you’ll remain at or around that number, and both pounds and inches should continue to disappear.

What You Can Expect
After a month or two in OWL, you should have a pretty good idea of where your personal carbohydrate balance will land. This in turn will likely predict the path that you’ll follow after this phase. If you find you can add back a variety of carbohydrate-containing foods, you’ll probably find that you can likely exceed 50 grams of Net Carbs a day without losing the Atkins Edge. However, if you find that you have difficulty introducing carbohydrate foods higher on the carb ladder and have a personal carbohydrate balance, you may well wind up somewhere between 25 and 50.

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Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this Site is intended to provide health care advice. Should you have any health care-related questions, please call or see your physician or other health care provider. Consult your physician or health care provider before beginning the Atkins Diet as you would any other weight loss or weight maintenance program. The weight loss phases of the Atkins Diet should not be used by persons on dialysis or by pregnant or nursing women.