Atkins 20®, Phase 4: How to Maintain a Healthy Diet & Weight
You did it! You’ve reached your weight loss goal and are finally in Phase 4: Lifetime Maintenance. This is not so much a phase as it is a continuing healthy lifestyle. In general, the foods you eat in this phase are the same ones you’ve already been eating, but there are some foods you unsuccessfully tried to reintroduce earlier that you can now handle. You can experiment with these foods at any time as long as you remain near your goal weight.
Many struggle with the question of how to keep the weight off after a low carb diet. Luckily, moving through the phases of Atkins 20® has prepared you to do just that!
See details below on how to maintain a healthy weight in Atkins Phase 4.
The purpose of Atkins Phase 4 is to transition to a permanent way of eating, so you should continue adding ingredients like full-fat yogurt, fruits, and whole grains to your diet. Finding more foods you enjoy will make it easy to maintain a healthy weight without getting bored in your eating routine.
The goal of this phase is to equip you with the knowledge to stay in control of your weight. While this could mean continuing your Phase 3 lifestyle, it might also include adjusting your carb intake if your tolerance changes or you regain a few pounds.
Browse our low carb recipes, exclusive resources, and free tools to kick start your weight loss journey. For additional guidance, register with Atkins to get started with our complete low carb diet.
PHASE FOUR: LIVING A LOW CARB LIFESTYLE | ATKINS LIFESTYLE
If you can accept that Phase 4 is a lifestyle and act accordingly, most likely you will never have to “diet” again. Does that mean you won’t ever regain a few pounds? Of course not. But now you possess the tools and skills to turn around any situation. Here’s why:
- You’ve transitioned from phase to phase, gradually increasing your carb intake, as you worked toward a permanent way of eating.
- By reintroducing foods one by one, you know which, if any, could spell trouble for you.
- You now know which foods you can do without and which you can love but must eat in moderation.
- You’ve learned how to be alert to signals of cravings or undue hunger and how to respond before you lose control.
- You’ve discovered how to substitute certain low-carb foods for high-carb ones, treat other foods as garnishes, and more.
- More important, you’ve come to trust the Atkins program and experience the pleasure of feeling good, both physically and emotionally.
PHASE FOUR TIPS FOR A LOW CARB DIET
You’ve reached your goal weight but maintaining weight loss can be a challenge for anyone. Read the low carb lifestyle tips below to help you stay on track.
Maybe you over-indulged a little on vacation or an injury prevented you from exercising. Not to worry. Cut roughly 10 grams of Net Carbs a day from your intake until you return to your goal weight. Give or take a couple grams, here are some options you can eliminate:
- ½ banana
- 1 cup watermelon balls
- ½ large grapefruit
- 2 carrots
- ½ baked potato
- ¾ cup beets
- ½ small sweet potato
- ½ cup cooked oatmeal
- ¼ cup brown rice
- 1 slice whole-grain bread
- Scant ½ cup lentils
- ¾ cup shelled edamame
- 1/3 cup chickpeas
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
To make entertaining easy, focus on dishes that you can make ahead and that are self-serve and require minimal utensils.
Prepare these easy low-carb dishes and your party will be a hit!
- Cheese and meat platters
- Veggie trays (low carb dip recipe)
- Antipasto trays (olives, peppers, marinated artichokes hearts and mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes)
- Relish trays
- Shrimp cocktail
- Deviled eggs
PHASE FOUR: CONTROLLING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Maintaining your ideal weight doesn’t happen by itself. Living healthy should always be top of mind but it’s helpful to keep a checklist handy to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and why it’s so important. Reference the list below to remain in control of your hard-won new weight.
- Stay at your carb tolerance level, the number of daily grams of Net Carbs you can consume while maintaining your weight. This is the threshold you discovered when you maintained your weight for a month in Phase 3 (Fine-Tuning).
- Continue to have a minimum of 12–15 grams of Net Carbs in the form of foundation vegetables.
- Continue to have 4–6 ounces of (cooked) protein at each meal.
- Aim for no more than two servings of fruit a day.
- Continue to see fat as your friend and integral to weight management.
- Combine carbohydrate foods with fat and/or protein to moderate your blood sugar response.
- Continue to drink plenty of water and other noncaloric beverages.
- Adjust your carb intake if you become less (or more) active.
- Distinguish between hunger and habit.
- Continue to weigh and measure yourself once a week.
- Never let yourself gain more than 5 pounds (unless you become pregnant) without taking immediate action.
- Add new foods one at a time to gauge their impact on cravings and appetite.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Portion out ahead of time any foods, such as nuts or cheese, that you might be tempted to overeat.
- Keep reading labels, especially on any new foods.
- Stay alert to the possibility of carb creep.
- Plan ahead if you decide to take an occasional departure from your low-carb lifestyle.
LIST OF LOW CARB FOODS FOR ATKINS 20®, PHASE 4
By now you’ve learned to eat foods that boost metabolism. Phase 4 on Atkins is not so much a phase as a low carb lifestyle. This phase is designed to make the transition from Phase 3 to [the so-called] Phase 4 practically seamless, so you should have no fears about moving on once your goal weight is stable.
The Acceptable Foods for Phase 3 are the same as those for Phase 4. Of course, you may not have reintroduced all the foods you’ll try in the months and years to come, but as long as you’re alert to the potential of any individual food to cause weight regain, cravings, unreasonable hunger or any of the other symptoms of carb intolerance, you know what to do. As long as you comply with the program and stick to your ACE—which may require some modifications as you get older or make some lifestyle changes—you’ll be able to maintain your healthy new weight and say goodbye to on-again, off-again diets once and for all.
Use the list of low carb foods below to guide you through Phase 4. Be sure to pay attention to serving size to guarantee you are not exceeding the net carb limit per day. Browse through our 1,600+ low carb recipes for meal ideas to make using these ingredients.
New Serving Size
Coconut, fresh, shredded
Pineapple, fresh, chunks
New Serving Size
Wheat bran (raw)
Oat bran (raw)
Whole wheat bread
Oatmeal (dry, steel cut)
Whole wheat pasta (cooked)
Oatmeal (dry, rolled)
Rice (brown, cooked)
* Be sure to check manufacturer’s food labels for most current NC count. Individual brands may vary.
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