The Induction Phase is your first introduction to Atkins. This is the time when you have the chance to jumpstart your weight loss, and it allows your body to become accustomed to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. If you succeed in Induction, the next Phases of Atkins should become progressively easier. Here are 10 suggestions for making Induction a success, and setting the stage for continued weight loss in the next three Phases of Atkins.
1) Count your Net Carbs. Make the most of your 20 grams of Net Carbs (the grams of total carbs minus grams of fiber, which has virtually no impact on your blood sugar.Don’t forget to count lemon juice and other acceptable condiments and include 1 gram of Net Carbs for sugar substitutes. And most important, don’t use your carb allowance for foods that are high in sugar and starches and low in fiber. And by all means, don’t cut your Net Carbs and substitute protein and fat.
2) Eat your veggies! Make sure you are eating 12 to 15 of your net carb grams in the form of foundation vegetables. If you’re not, you may be constipated, which may impact the number on your scale. The fiber and moisture in vegetables also help you feel full and satisfied. ). You could have a big salad at lunch, a side salad at dinner and still have several servings of your favorite cooked veggies.
3) Drink your water. Eight daily cups is the standard recommendation, but the larger and more active you are, the more you need. Two cups can come from coffee or tea (caffeinated is fine), herb tea, sugar-free sodas or broth. As long as your urine is clear or very pale, you’re drinking enough. Don’t ever skimp on fluids in a misguided effort to see a lower number when you hop on the scale. Not drinking enough water actually makes your body retain fluid as a protective mechanism.
4) Consume a little salt (or broth or tamari/soy sauce) to avoid experiencing weakness, headaches, muscle cramps or lightheadedness as your body transitions to primarily burning fat for energy. Since Atkins is a naturally diuretic diet, you don’t need to avoid salt to minimize water retention. The symptoms can be the result of an electrolyte imbalance caused by losing minerals along with fluid. Caution: continue to limit salt if you’re being treated for hypertension or your doctor has advised you to limit sodium intake.
5) Eat 4 to 6 ounces of cooked protein at each meal, depending on your height and gender. A petite woman may be satiated by 4 ounces; a guy may need 6 ounces. A very tall guy may even need a bit more. Eating too much protein—or eating only protein and not vegetables—or conversely, skimping on protein, will interfere with weight loss and/or leave you hungry and subject to carb cravings.
6) Eat enough fat to feel satisfied. You need dietary fat to help stimulate the burning of body fat. And if you skimp on fat and are eating the right amount of protein and carbohydrates, you’ll be hungry and give into urges for carbohydrates. Remember, natural fats are fine when you control carb intake. On the other hand, don’t assume you can eat as much fat as you want. Calories from fat do add up, even on a low-carb diet.
7) Watch for Hidden carbs. Simply by reading package labels, you can avoid those added sugars and other sneaky carbs. Just because a package says it’s low in calories doesn’t mean it’s low in carbs. Avoid low-calorie products unless they’re labeled as low carb. Likewise, use full-fat versions of mayonnaise, salad dressing and the like. Low-fat versions of packaged foods almost invariably add sugar to replace the flavor carried by oil. If the label is unclear, check out the food in a carb counter.
8) Write it down. Record what you eat in a diet journal every day or use all the great tools in the Community to monitor your progress and plan your meals. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) allows you to see patterns you might miss otherwise. You’ll also quickly see if you’re consuming more carbs than you think you are.
9) Watch your calories. Although you don’t have to count calories on Atkins, this does not mean you can indulge in a protein, fat and foundation vegetable free-for-all. Too much of anything will cause your weight loss to stall, or contribute to weight gain. If this starts happening to you, you may need a reality check. Women should shoot for a range of 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, while men should aim for 1,800 to 2,200. Cut your calories if you’re not losing weight, and if you are used to counting calories, you will know where your range is.
10) Look in your medicine cabinet. Certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs could slow your weight loss, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) cause water retention and may block fat burning. Cut back on these is possible. If you need additional pain relief, try acetaminophen (Tylenol or Panadol), which is not a NSAID.