The Program: Objectives of Pre-Maintenance
FINDING YOUR ACE IN PRE-MAINTENANCE
Once you’ve achieved your goal weight in Pre-Maintenance, but before you move to Phase 3, Lifetime Maintenance, you need to find your Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium (ACE). In contrast to your Carbohydrate Level for Losing
(CLL), which relates to weight loss, your ACE is the number of grams of Net Carbs
you can eat each day, while neither losing nor gaining weight. Many people wind up with an ACE of 65 to 100 grams of Net Carbs, but some people have a considerably lower ACE and a very few people an even higher one.
It’s Not Just About Weight
Merely looking at weight loss can oversimplify the issue of carb tolerance. Even if you’re maintaining your weight with an ACE of say, 65 grams of Net Carbs, you might still be reawakening food cravings or blood sugar swings or experiencing lack of energy, which could make it difficult to maintain that level of carb intake long term. Your ability to concentrate and tendency to retain fluid must also be considered. Your objective is not to push your carb intake to the absolute limit but to advance to the point where you’re comfortable and don’t stimulate the return of any of the old symptoms that originally got you into trouble. Bottom line: finding your ACE is not just a matter of staying at the right weight; it’s also about being able to do so comfortably.
Keep the Edge
What’s unique about the low-carb way of eating compared to other diets is that adhering to first your CLL and later your ACE results in profound changes in your metabolism, enabling you to better control your intake of calories. The flip side is that if you exceed your ACE, you’re forcing your body to burn more glucose while blocking fat-burning. This makes it harder to control appetite and feel satiated, with the result that you’ll almost certainly regain lost pounds. You’ll lose the Atkins Edge
and the metabolic bully will rear its ugly head again. Stay at or just below your ACE and you’ll be able to stay in control of your appetite—and therefore your weight.