Hometown: NYC, NY
Motivation: Helping people find a way of eating with low carb that promotes robust health outcomes and sustainable weight loss and maintenance.
Favorite Atkins Friendly Food: Cashew Trail Mix Bar
Tips for Success: Read your labels. Watch out for hidden carbs; to calculate the grams of carbs that impact your blood sugar, subtract the number of grams of dietary fiber from the total number of carb grams. Also double-check serving sizes on labels; some foods and drinks are actually two or more servings, so you need to add in those extra carbs and calories.

What To Do Before You Start Atkins

August 13, 2014

I write a lot about the many health benefits of low-carb diets and how to succeed while you’re doing Atkins. But what you do before you even start Atkins could very well be your best chance at losing weight (and keeping it off).

I’ve seen so many people jump right into their own personal version of what they think the Atkins Diet is—based on their opinion of what a low-carb diet is all about or outdated information about Atkins before it transitioned to its current form, thanks to new and evolving research. So, first of all, read the book. Or books. It won’t take long, but you will learn exactly how and why Atkins works, plus these books feature low-carb recipes and success stories to motivate and inspire you. You can learn about our latest books here: http://www.atkins.com/New-Book/New-Book.aspx

Next, take some time to explore www.atkins.com. You can learn more about the program, check out over 1,000 low-carb recipes and see what people are talking about in the Forums. Feel free to “lurk” as long as you’d like; you’ll learn what people experience in every Phase of Atkins. You can also post your own comments or ask for advice on how to get started. Be sure to check out the Free Tools at http://www.atkins.com/Free-Tools.aspx, where you can download our Mobile App, Carb Counter, Meal Planner and more.

Once you’ve gotten to know more about Atkins, it’s time to set some goals to help keep you stay focused during your weight-loss journey and beyond. Make sure your goals are realistic, yet still challenging enough so that you are actually making progress and seeing changes. For example, if you have 50 or more pounds to lose, it might be easier to break up your overall weight-loss goal into 10-pound increments. Average weight loss is typically 2.5 pounds a week, but depending on a variety of factors, including your age, activity level, sex, medications you are taking and metabolism, you may lose weight at a faster or slower rate.

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to decide which Phase to start in. You may choose to use Phase 1, Induction, as a brief weight-loss kick-start. Or you may want to stay in Induction and lose more weight before moving on. If you need to lose more weight or have certain health issues, start in Induction; otherwise you can start in Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss, or even Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance. Obviously, the more grams of Net Carbs you’re consuming—and you’ll add progressively more in each Phase—the more slowly you will lose the excess weight. But this also means you will have more variety and food options. Here’s a blog I wrote with more information on what Phase to start in:http://blogs.atkins.com/Blogs/colette_heimowitz/Archive/2014/6/5/264094.aspx

Once you’ve decided what Phase to start in, review the food list for that Phase. Next, clean out your pantry and kitchen of all the food that is not recommended for that Phase. This may not be realistic if you have family members who are not going to be eating low-carb with you, but you can keep their food in a separate spot so you aren’t tempted. And there are plenty of low-carb recipes and foods that your family probably will enjoy!

After you’ve cleaned out your pantry, plan out your first week’s worth of meals and snacks, make a shopping list and hit the store.

Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to start your Atkins journey!

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