The Program: Trouble Shooting in OWL
SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS IN OWL
Your opportunity to personalize the Atkins Diet begins in earnest in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL). Of course, in Induction, you could choose whether to have a hamburger, chicken, fish or tofu for lunch or dinner, and select from numerous vegetables, but OWL is a whole different ball game. You’ll get to personalize OWL
, but to a large extent, your age, gender, metabolism, level of activity, previous weight loss efforts and the number of pounds you want to lose will influence the pace of your progress. Take them into consideration in gauging your expectations.
How Much Time?
Individuals with less weight to lose typically spend a shorter time in this phase, compared to others with many pounds to lose. If you have only 25 pounds to lose and are young and active, you may have already lost 10 pounds in Induction and have only 15 to go. You’ll likely lose 5 pounds in a few weeks on OWL and be able to quickly move on to Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance. On the other hand, if you have many pounds to shed, are past middle age and lead a sedentary life, you may spend months in OWL.
How Many New Foods?
Again, your expectations should be based upon your personal situation. If you have an easy time losing weight, you may be able to move through all the Phase 2 rungs on the Carb Ladder.Perhaps you can add foods from a new rung each week, although you certainly don’t have to. However, if you’ve been on and off the diet merry-go-round for years and aren’t in the first blush of youth, you may find you’re stalling out after you add nuts and seeds, then berries and other low-carb fruits and fresh cheeses. If so, don’t get hung up on a certain food or decide that you will never be able to add it back—in moderation—to your diet. You may well be able to do so later. Just understand that both the fast track and the slow track are perfectly
How Many Carbs?
We’re beginning to sound like a broken record, but the range is enormous. The first hypothetical person we’ve described above might be able to move up by 5 grams of Net Carbs each week, settling in at a CLL of 60 or more. The other person might find he or she had to stay at one level of carb intake for several weeks before moving up and that weight loss leveled off in the neighborhood of a CLL of 40. You’ll find what works for you.
How Many Pounds?
Understand that the rate at which you lost weight in Phase 1 will naturally slow in Phase 2. This is deliberate and important to make your weight loss permanent. We recommend that you remain in OWL until you’re about 10 pounds from your goal weight. So if you transition to OWL with 20 pounds still to go. Ditto if you have 50 pounds still to go. After trimming off 40 pounds, you’d move to Pre-Maintenance.
Again, not everyone will be able to reintroduce all Acceptable Foods for Phase 2, and some folks will be able to tolerate some only occasionally and/or in small amounts. This is particularly true of legumes and low-carb grain products, which many people find that they cannot reintroduce until they’re in a later phase or possibly never. Sometimes a food that initially gives you trouble can be reintroduced later without adverse consequences.