While there aren’t any “forbidden” foods on the Atkins lifestyle, there are foods that will put you on the path to fat burning and weight loss, and other foods that will stop your progress right in its tracks. It’s up to you to decide how important that donut or burger and fries or slice of pizza is to you in the long term. You can have a day of indulgence, but then it could take you four days to get back into fat-burning mode. Is it worth losing almost a week of progress just for a short-term sugar rush, not to mention the energy slump and guilt you might feel? Plus, there’s the possibility that the immediate gratification you get from that tempting treat you couldn’t resist may trigger cravings that send your healthy eating habits into a death spiral.
But, we are talking real life here. There will come a time when temptation becomes, well, tempting. If you learn how to plan for these situations, hopefully a moment of indulgence won’t derail your long-term progress. But, and this is a big “but”, unless you have already achieved certain milestones on your journey with Atkins, it is likely you could jeopardize the results you’ve achieved so far.
If You’re Not At Your Goal Weight:
If you are not close to your weight-loss goal or you have not had success with controlling your carbs, my personal recommendation is to hold off. You will never learn your carb tolerance if you continue to stray. There are plenty of ways indulge on Atkins without overdoing it on your carb intake, including delicious pizza and burgers, fries and chips, the cheesiest macaroni and cheese and chocolate donuts and cookies:
Enjoy all this delicious Atkins-friendly food, focus on your weight-loss goals, and you can revisit the possibility of straying once you’ve achieved your goals. And, you might find that you have no desire at all to stray…
If You Have Reached Your Goal Weight:
If you have reached your goal weight, most likely you have already learned how to make smart decisions during tempting or stressful situations (eating out, travel, holidays, unexpected schedule changes, work, etc.). You know how your body reacts to carbs, and you know how many carbs you can eat each day to maintain your weight. Stay right at or around that number, and your weight should not fluctuate beyond two or three pounds. The key to staying in this range is changing how you used to eat previously, managing your hunger and cravings and learning how to cope with real-world challenges. Once you have accomplished this, you can plan exactly when it makes sense for you to successfully stray off the plan, and enjoy every moment of it. Here’s how:
Plan ahead. Make the indulgences worth it, and let yourself go of the guilt to enjoy them.
- Cut back a few days before an event and then carefully choose a few favorite foods.
- Or cut back on carbs prior to a vacation or holiday to give yourself some leeway.
- Weigh yourself once a week. Choose a lifetime weight range of five pounds, the low number being your goal weight. The higher number will be your maximum allowable weight. And keep on eye on how your clothes fit. If you are at the higher end of your range and your pants are a little tight around the middle, it’s time to take action:
- If your temporary plan to stray from Atkins ending up longer than expected, 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