The Program: Objectives of OWL
How to ease the transition to OWL
Many people face the prospect of moving from Phase 1, Induction, of Atkins to Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), with mixed emotions. They may be eager to broaden their range of acceptable foods and eat more carbohydrates, but they have gotten used to the fast pace of weight loss and find the firm rules of Induction offer a certain security. As you move to the next phase, obviously you want to continue to reliably shed those excess pounds even as you broaden your food choices. Here’s how to have it both ways:
- Be sure to count. If you’ve been estimating Net Carb counts, now is the time to start counting those grams.
- Stay on a firm foundation. You’ll still be eating Induction-friendly foods, but you can branch out a bit, as long as you continue to get 12 to 15 grams of Net Carbs from foundation vegetables.
- Advance slowly. Move up in increments of 5-grams of Net Carbs daily every week or several weeks as long as weight loss continues and you don’t experience renewed hunger or cravings.
- Climb the ladder. Following the Carb Ladder, gradually increase your range of foods but not the daily amount of food that you’re eating by very much.
- One by one. Introduce only one new food at a time to gauge its impacts on your metabolism and appetite.
- Substitute instead of increase. As you add small amounts of carbohydrate foods, you’ll substitute some of them for other carb foods you’re already eating. For example, you can now have cottage cheese in lieu of some of the hard cheese you’ve been eating in Induction. Instead of an afternoon snack of green olives, you might switch off with macadamias.
- Watch the protein. Continue to make sure you’re not overdoing your protein intake, staying within the roughly 4-to-6-ounce range (unless you’re a tall man).
- Stay hydrated. Drinking enough helps moderate your appetite.
- Eat regularly. Don’t go more than four to six hours between meals or a meal and a snack; and the moment you feel you’ve had enough, stop eating.
- Monitor your progress. If weight loss stalls, drop back 5 to 10 grams of daily Net Carbs until it resumes.
You won’t necessarily be able to reintroduce all the acceptable foods for this phase; some you may be able to eat them only rarely. We can’t stress enough that writing in your diet journal is particularly important as you start to add back foods. This process doesn’t always happen smoothly, and you’ll want to know which food is causing which response, so, if necessary, you know which to back off from. Keep on noting what you’re adding, how much, and your reactions, if any. Follow these guidelines and your transition to OWL should be smooth sailing.