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Making The Transition to OWL

February 13, 2011

GO SLOW IN ONGOING WEIGHT LOSS

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed why it’s important not to get stuck in Phase 1, Induction. I’d like to return to that topic with advice about how to smooth the move from the initial phase of Atkins to the next. There’s no question that Induction takes weight off quickly, but even if you stayed in Induction until you were close to your goal weight—which we do not recommend—your rate of loss would naturally slow. Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) lets you personalize Atkins to your tastes and needs, while slowly reintroducing the variety of foods you eat.

Because this phase allows you to gradually edge toward a sustainable way of eating, it’s the right place to lose most of your excess weight. It’s crucial that you understand that the best way to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is to make it as seamless as possible. And for most people, moving at a snail’s pace rather than rushing to add more and more new foods and higher and higher levels of carb intake is the road to success. Once you begin to lose weight on Atkins and realize that your goals are within reach, it’s natural to be impatient. But as with many things in life, being impatient can make you stumble. People who lose weight slowly are far more likely to banish those pounds for good. After all, would you prefer to be quickly consuming all your old favorite foods or would you prefer to slowly learn your limitations so you can become slim and energetic and know how to remain there? This is not simply a race to the finish; rather, the objective is to reach the finish line in your own good time. Plus, the finish line is just the beginning of the journey to maintain that healthy new weight.

In OWL, you’ll:

  • Continue to burn primarily fat for energy, just as you did in Induction.
  • Maintain control of your appetite so that you are in control of cravings, again, just like Induction
  • Learn your threshold for carb consumption, known as your Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CLL), which will allow you to continue to lose weight.
  • Eat a broader range of healthy foods, selecting those you enjoy most.
  • Learn to make the most nutrient-rich choices among carbohydrate foods.

To be successful on OWL:

  • Keep protein and fat as the mainstays of your meals and snacks.
  • Incrementally increase your daily carb intake by no more than 5 grams per week. That being said, staying at the same level for two or three weeks or even longer is perfectly fine as long as you don’t become bored by the food choices. If you’re resistant to weight loss, the slower approach is almost certainly the better alternative. Remember that moving at the pace that’s right for you in part of the personalization process.
  • Slowly climb the Carbohydrate Ladder, http://tinyurl.com/4zsl7km adding new foods that are increasingly higher in glycemic impact, adding only one new food group (such as nuts and seeds or fresh cheeses and yogurt) at a time.
  • Ease into eating each new food group. Some people will be able to eat unflavored whole-milk yogurt, for example, every day; others will find that initially having this “new” food no more than three times per week works better for them before working up to having it daily.
  • Make sure you’re fine with one food in a food group before adding another one. If you start with strawberries, have them a few times before trying blueberries, for instance. In effect, you’re experimenting with each food to make sure that it’s not creating any problems for you.
  • Stop eating any new food immediately if it provokes weight gain, the return of physical symptoms lost doing Induction or increased appetite or cravings. You may need to back down both in Net Carb intake and in terms of a food group to stimulate weight loss.
  • Stay in OWL until you have only five to 10 pounds left to lose.

Next week, we’ll talk about the hows and whys of weight-loss plateaus, which are almost inevitable in OWL, particularly as you get closer to your body’s natural weight.

Let’s Hear From You

Please share with the Atkins Community your success or challenges in moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2. Also, let me know what additional topics you’d like me to address in this blog. 

Register with Atkins today for additional tips, low carb recipes, and ideas on how to overcome your weight loss plateau.

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