The Program: How to do Phase 4 Right / Troubleshooting


 To err is human. Even once you reach your goal weight, we know—and you know—that occasionally you’ll slip up. The following three situations should help you learn how to handle indiscretions, whether small or large.

Small Stuff

You find yourself chowing down a cherry Danish, a raisin bagel or another high-carb food of dubious value. 

Recovery tactic: Once your weight has been stable for several months, it’s likely that such an indiscretion won’t impact your weight, although it might make you feel sluggish for a day or two. Once you realize what you’re doing, stop immediately and get back on track with your healthful way of eating.

A Week of Overindulgence

You spend a week in Cancún and succumb to the lure of quesadillas and margaritas. Not only do you gain weight, you’re also plagued with carb cravings.

Recovery tactic: Since most of the weight gain from a brief episode of carb overindulgence is water, the best antidote is to reduce your carb intake. As soon as you get home, drop 20 daily grams of Net Carbs below your ACE. If the excess pounds won’t budge and you’re still experiencing cravings, return to OWL for a week or two until you get them under control. Once you get back to your goal weight, return to your ACE.

Falling off the Wagon

An event such as a breakup with a significant other, a lost job or another major disappointment sends you back to your old, unhealthy eating habits. Even a positive event, such as beginning a relationship with someone who doesn’t follow the Atkins lifestyle, can trigger a lapse from your new eating habits. After several weeks and several pounds, you’re feeling disgusted with yourself. Your pre-Atkins symptoms have returned with a vengeance, and you can’t fit into your new clothes.

Recovery tactic: First of all, don’t beat yourself up. Get off the guilt trip, which will just lead to more destructive eating. Instead, go back to OWL until your cravings are under control. Then move to Pre-Maintenance to restore your goal weight and maintain it for a month.

Object Lessons

What can you learn from these hypothetical examples?

  1. The longer you wait to take action, the more aggressive your response needs to be. A minor slipup may require no action other than to examine why it happened and plan future defenses. A binge or period during which you depart from your low-carb way of eating demands more proactive measures.
  2. There's an extremely thin line between your carb threshold and overdoing it.
  3. A cascading series of events can threaten your long-term weight control program.
  4. You can always reverse the tide, by regaining control.

When you’re new to Lifetime Maintenance, you may honestly believe you’ll never backtrack. Maybe you’re one of those remarkably strong people who never do, but if you’re like many of us, you’ll occasionally slip up. Just remember that you have all the skills you need to execute a fast reverse and then move forward with the rest of your life full of health and vitality.

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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.