Atkins 20®, Phase 2: Balancing Your Diet
Phase 2 is all about balancing your diet and maintaining your momentum from Phase 1 (Induction) to continue towards your weight loss goals. You’ll start to climb the Carb Ladder by slowly adding different foods like nuts, seeds, strawberries, blueberries, melon, cottage cheese, yogurt, and more. The goal is to reintroduce a variety of carbs until you find a healthy diet that’s right for you.
Learn more about how to balance your diet by following the links below.
This balancing phase is designed to help your body lose excess weight after the more rapid progress of Phase 1. While your list of acceptable foods will grow, the goal is to continue your weight loss in a way that will be more sustainable.
See details below on Phase 2 and how to balance your low carb diet.
Phase 2 typically lasts until you’re within 10 pounds of your goal weight. However, depending on your personal weight loss goals, you may choose to transition into Phase 3 sooner. Early transitioning is best for those who are vegetarian or looking to slow the rate of their weight loss.
While Phase 2 contributes to the greater purpose of losing weight, it focuses heavily on finding your personal carb balance. This is the maximum amount of net carbs you can consume while continuing to lose weight. Finding this number is essential to maintaining your energy level and appetite, which will help keep your weight down as you progress. You should keep in mind that personal carb balances vary based on age, gender, activity level, hormonal status, and other factors.
The goal of Phase 2 is to gradually introduce a broader array of carbs into your diet, helping you find your personal carb balance. You’ll start Phase 2 by eating 25 grams of net carbs daily, and then begin to increase overall carb intake in 5 gram increments. By the end of this phase, you may find that your personal carb balance sits between 30 and 80 daily grams of net carbs.
PHASE TWO TIPS FOR MAINTAINING WEIGHT LOSS
Below you’ll discover Low Carb Diet Tips specific to Phase 2. In Phase 2 you climb the carb ladder by adding different foods to your daily meal plan, helping to increase your metabolism and maintain weight loss. Read the diet tips below to help guide you along the next step of your Atkins Journey.
Vegetables are the foundation of the Atkins way of eating. Vegetables do contain carbohydrates but, in most cases, these are exactly the kinds of carbs you should be consuming.
Depending on your metabolism and weight-loss goal, this may be at weekly intervals, every couple of weeks, or even longer. Read more about the carb ladder by clicking here.
For example, reintroduce walnuts but gauge their impact, if any, before reintroducing almonds.
This can be done in 5 gram increments at weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly intervals, whichever works best for you
We recommend doing this on a weekly basis as your daily weight will fluctuate based on water weight.
PHASE TWO FACTS ABOUT EFFECTIVE WEIGHT LOSS PLANS
If you have questions about Phase 2 of Atkins, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll discover Low Carb diet facts and frequently asked questions about how to maintain a balanced diet. From what to do if you’ve had a slip-up to what to do about cravings that may have returned. Continue reading to learn more.
Here are some FAQs that you may encounter during Phase 2:
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. We all have moments of weakness, and maybe that plate of French fries your friend was eating was more than you could resist. Second, don’t play the game of “Well, since I’ve already messed up, I might as well go whole hog.” For the rest of the day eat appropriately. Don’t wait until tomorrow to get back on the wagon.
Without realizing it, as you gradually add back foods, you may be consuming far more carbs than you think you are. This can make you complacent about your intake until your weight loss stalls. Once again, tracking your carbs and portion sizes should help you avoid carb creep.
Usually cravings vanish by the end of the first week on Phase 1/Induction when you convert to burning primarily fat for energy. There are several reasons they may return. Women sometimes experience cravings a few days before their menstrual period. Going too long between meals or adding foods such as dairy products or peanuts may stimulate cravings. Stress can also destabilize blood sugar, triggering cravings for comfort foods. Adding a bit more fat, in the form of olives, half an avocado, or some cream cheese in a celery stick, can help you feel more satisfied, minimizing cravings.
Of course not. If you don’t like yogurt or chickpeas or tomato juice, so be it. Or if a whole rung on the Carb Ladder holds no appeal for you, just skip it. There’s still plenty of variety inherent in the whole foods you can eat on Atkins.
As discussed in regard to plateaus, your body has its own schedule and won’t share it with anyone. The important thing is to follow the program faithfully and the pounds will come off. Again, adding exercise helps some people lose weight, but not everyone. Be sure to take your measurements weekly. If you’ve lost inches, the scale is bound to catch up.
The reason we recommend that you not weigh yourself daily is that your weight can vary by as much as 5 pounds even within a day. As long as you’re following the program, you should see some weight loss every week or so, unless you’re on a plateau. If you stayed on track but gained a pound or two since the previous week, you’re probably retaining water or are constipated.
PHASE TWO SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGIES
If you’ve lost weight steadily and are now only about 10 pounds from your goal weight, it’s time to move on to Phase 3, because your long-term goal is to find a sustainable way of eating. And with 10 pounds to go, you have enough time to try to reintroduce the remaining carb foods.
If you aren’t yet 10 pounds from your goal, ask yourself which of these three scenarios describes you:
- You’ve reached a daily intake of about 50 grams of Net Carbs, have introduced Phase 2 foods, and continue to slim down without experiencing cravings and unreasonable hunger. If so, feel free to transition to Phase 3 now if you’re eager for more variety in your meals. If you stall out there, you can always return to Phase 2 to reboot weight loss.
- You still have more than 10 pounds to shed and are stalled in your weight-loss progress and/or experiencing cravings and extreme hunger before meals. By all means, stay in this phase until the cravings and hunger have vanished.
- Although you lost weight in Phase 1, your progress in this phase has been frustrating, and some Phase 2 foods are creating cravings and undue hunger. You may have even gained a few pounds. You may be extraordinarily sensitive to carbs and may have reached your carb tolerance at 30 or 35 grams of Net Carbs. Follow the advice above, be patient, and ramp up your activity level if possible.
LIST OF LOW CARB FOODS FOR ATKINS 20® PHASE 2
Welcome to freedom, variety and finding your personal carb balance. Combine the foods listed below with all the options listed on the Phase 1 Acceptable Foods List to keep working towards your weight loss goals. So enjoy, keep your eye on the end goal and welcome to Phase 2.
During Phase 2, you add higher carb foods back into your diet – 5 daily Net Carbs per week. You can move beyond vegetables to other foods, such as nuts, seeds and berries. Although you will be eating primarily natural, unprocessed foods, you will find an increasing number of convenience foods – choices that help even busy people stay on track during weight loss.
New Serving Size
1/2 cup or 4 ounces
Yogurt, Greek, Plain, unsweetened, whole milk
Cottage cheese 2%
1/2 cup or 4 ounces
Yogurt, Plain, Unsweetened, whole milk
New Serving Size
Hulled sunflower seeds
New Serving Size
Strawberries, sliced (fresh)
New Serving Size
New Serving Size
Great Northern Beans
Many of the foods listed above are available conveniently packaged to go at the market or convenience store – feel free to grab and go – just note the serving size, and subtract fiber from total carbs to get Net Carbs. Learn more about net carbs and how to calculate them here.
- Low Carb Diet
- Want to Lose Weight?
- Choose Your Atkins Plan
- Intermittent Fasting
- Immune Support
- Compare Diets
- Hidden Sugars
- Free Tools
- Low Carb Blog
- Library / Science
- Atkins Party Planner
Get the latest Atkins recipes, product updates, news and contest information delivered right to your inbox!