The Program: How to do Phase 2 Right / Troubleshooting
PUSHING THE LIMITS
Almost anyone who has followed Atkins (or any diet, for that matter) for a while finds himself or herself on a plateau, when weight loss inexplicably halts. But before you jump to conclusions, understand that there are a couple of other all-too-common reasons for a slowdown or stall.
First of all, you need to be sure you’re actually doing everything right. If you’ve not actually been counting your carbs, it’s all too easy to think that you’re consuming only, say, 45 grams of Net Carbs a day, for example, but actually be taking in 55, 60 or more. Go back to (or start) counting and remain at the level at which you last lost weight until weight loss resumes.
A Form of Self-Delusion
Unlike carb creep, you may be engaging in a conscious form of behavior that’s undermining your efforts. Perhaps you’ve found that you could have an occasional slice of regular bread or even sneak in a bowl of your favorite ice cream and still continue to pare off the pounds. “I have a really high metabolism,” you might tell yourself, “so I can push the limits and still have Atkins work for me.” Sooner or later—probably sooner, however—your weight loss will grind to a halt and you may experience renewed hunger and carb cravings, which then leads to eating more of the very foods you should avoid.
Don’t Sabotage Yourself
Both carb creep and knowingly eating inappropriate foods can undermine weeks or even months of hard work. Whether conscious or unconscious, such actions may conspire to
make you think you cannot stick to the program and to throw in the towel. Don’t do it! You now know you can trim down on Atkins. You just need to use the knowledge that you’ve gained. If certain foods—low-carb bread or fruit, for example—appear to be setting you up for cravings or you simply can’t stop eating them, eliminate them for a few weeks and then try to reintroduce them. Or not. There’s no rule saying that you have to push your Net Carb intake beyond the point that’s easy for you to manage.
And No Guilt Tripping
Don’t beat yourself up for falling off the wagon. Such things happen. But do try to figure out what made you vulnerable. Were you dining out? Did you come back from the gym and feel entitled? Were you ravenous and the right foods weren’t in the fridge? Were you feeling sorry for yourself for some reason and needed a “treat”? Whatever the reason, note it in your journal along with your plan of how to avoid getting into this fix again. Remember, the ability to burn off your own body fat is a valuable gift you’ve given yourself. Don’t abuse it.
Get Back on the Wagon—Fast
If you’ve had a bad day carbwise, simply eat properly the next day—and the following days. Your weight loss will likely slow down, and you may feel some cravings. If you’ve been completely out of control for more than a few days, you may need to return to Induction for a week or two until you get your appetite and cravings under control. If you eat a high-carb meal and are particularly sensitive to carbohydrates, it could take up to a week to return to burning primarily fat for energy. That’s a high price to pay for a plate of French fries!