The Program: Trouble Shooting in Phase 4
MAINTENANCE: THE LONG VIEW
Even as you’re getting comfortable with your new lifestyle and feeling that the struggles with your weight are finally history, don’t forget this important point: the only constant in life is change. Some occurrences may make it easier to maintain your weight; others will require renewed dedication. In all likelihood, at some point, you’ll need to make adjustments to your Atkins program. As long as you know how to do so, you’ll do just fine.
Many people discover a new interest in physical fitness after losing weight on Atkins. Perhaps you join a swim team or start regularly jogging, playing tennis or engaging in another activity. Maybe you leave your desk job for one that involves more physical labor. Or you move from the suburbs to the city and walking becomes your usual mode of transportation. In any of these scenarios, it’s likely that you’ll increase your daily energy use, enabling you to eat a bit more—either as whole food carbs or as healthy, natural fats—to stay at your current weight.
Let’s say that you experience other changes. Perhaps you suffer a ski injury and spend several months in a cast. Or you have a new baby in the house and find yourself stressed and sleep-deprived. Maybe your doctor prescribes antidepressants to help you deal with a family crisis. Or a new job requires frequent travel, interfering with your fitness regimen. Chances are that any of the above will reduce your daily energy use, meaning you'll need to lower the ACE you discovered in Pre-Maintenance to maintain your weight.
The Longer View
If you’re 30 years old, exercise regularly and have no health issues, you may be able to
continue to manage your weight by staying at your ACE
for years to come. But numerous factors—some in your control and others not (including your genes)—influence your metabolism, which in turn determines your ACE. Aging tends to slow your metabolism; so can certain drugs and hormonal changes. As long as you’re attuned to the implications of such changes, you can stay in charge of your weight by either eating fewer carbs, upping your activity level (which works for some people) or both.
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