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How it Works

Expert Tips

Alcohol on Atkins

•We recommend that you refrain from drinking first two weeks while the body is adapting to a new metabolism of fat burning.

•Then introduce alcohol if you wish in moderation. Keep in mind, your body will burn alcohol before fat so it could slow down your weight loss.

•Consider drinks such as spirits neat or on rocks with lemon twist, a light beer or a glass of wine with dinner. Beware of mixers like juice or soda that could contain hidden carbs.

Stock a Low-Carb Pantry

Keep these staple items close to reduce temptation and help you follow a healthy, low-carb lifestyle. You can find all of these items in any supermarket.

  1. Produce - Lots of vegetables and berries. The more colorful the better for phytochemicals and antioxidants.
  2. Proteins - Poultry, Fish, Meat, and Eggs. Needed to preserve and build lean body mass.
  3. Dairy - Cheese and Greek yogurt to get adequate calcium to fortify bones and metabolism.
  4. Healthy Fats - Avocado and dressings like olive oil to keep you satisfied for longer periods and help absorb the antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.
  5. Herbs and spices - to make things taste great!

Eating Out

Follow these simple rules and you should be able to enjoy your meal without sabotaging your low-carb weight-management program.

  1. Select simple grilled, broiled, or roasted poultry, meats, or fish.
  2. Avoid deep-fried dishes, which are breaded and may contain harmful trans fats.
  3. Pass on stews, which may contain potatoes or other starchy vegetables.
  4. Steer clear of gravy, which is almost always thickened with flour or cornstarch.
  5. In lieu of potatoes or another starch, ask for a side salad or an additional portion of (hopefully) fresh vegetables.
  6. Order berries and whipped cream for dessert once you're beyond Induction.
  7. Don't hesitate to ask what's in a dish. There's no need to explain why you're interested. Specify any changes you want, such as salad dressing and any sauces on the side; and ask that the bread basket, chips and salsa not be placed on the table.
  8. Just because a dish is listed as "healthy" or "low-carb" doesn't mean that it actually is. If carb counts aren't listed, take any claims with a large grain of salt.
  9. Exercise portion control. Most chains and many other restaurants have supersized their portions. You can always take leftovers home in a "doggie bag."
  10. Play it safe with a salad. Just be sure to order dressing that has an oil-and-vinegar base, whether French, Italian or Greek. Mayo is fine , as is blue-cheese dressing, which is either mayo- or, preferably, sour-cream-based. Get it on the side for portion control, and ditch any croutons.
  11. Ask your server about the dressing and pass on it if you're not satisfied with the explanation. Many packaged dressings are full of sugar, cornstarch or corn syrup.
  12. Preview the menu. Even smaller restaurants often post their menus online. Decide what you're going to order before you arrive, so you won't be tempted to order less-suitable dishes.
  13. Steer clear of temptation. If you're concerned that eating in a Mexican restaurant, for example, could tempt you with longtime high-carb favorites, go somewhere else.

Eating On-the-Go

  • Plan Ahead - If you have to be up with the dawn to get everyone out of the house, prepare a low-carb breakfast for yourself the night before and either eat it before you go or take it with you. If you only have a couple minutes, pop a delicious Atkins frozen breakfast in the microwave. Don't leave home empty handed or with an empty stomach.
  • Scout your route - Know where to find acceptable snacks or meals so that if you can't bring something from home with you, at you least know the location of a convenience store or fast-food place along the way that has some low-carb options.
  • Pack right - One item will do as a snack, but if you're putting together a meal, you'll need to include several items. Pack each item in a separate reseal able bag in an insulated carrier.
  • Eat properly - Read more here for snack ideas that will keep you satisfied and resist temptation: http://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/eating-low-carb-on-the-road

Breaking a Stall

  • Ensure you are consuming 12-15 g net carbs from foundation vegetables.
  • Decrease the number of grams of carbohydrate you are consuming by 5 or 10 grams.
  • Increase the amount of fat and decrease protein if you are consuming more than 4 to 6 ounces per serving.
  • Double-check your calories – shoot for 1,500-1,800 for women and 1,800-2,200 for men.
  • Try eating 5-6 mini-meals a day (or every 3-4 waking hours).
  • Find and eliminate "hidden" carbs in the form of processed foods that may contain too much sugar.
  • Increase your activity level.
  • Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
  • Look at which higher-carb foods you've consumed recently, and eliminate for a week. Perhaps you have a food sensitivity.

Avoid the Atkins "Flu"

As you begin your journey through the phases of Atkins, your body will need to make a number of adjustments as it focuses its priorities on burning fat. Most of these changes are completed within the first few weeks. After which you should be smooth sailing with few, if any, ongoing side effects.

In those first few transition weeks, you may experience a few common side effects (known as the "Atkins Flu"), but luckily they are pretty easy to manage.

  1. While you shift from burning carbs to fat, don't rush out and start a new or more intense exercise routine. Give your body 2-3 weeks to adjust before pushing yourself.
  2. Shifting over to fat metabolism and creating ketones, has a diuretic effect on your kidneys. This means they speed up the amount of salt and water they get rid of. Overall, that's a good thing, because you will feel less bloated. Those with high blood pressure often see their numbers come down nicely in the first few days or weeks. However, for many people this can be too much of a good thing. Particularly if you weren't bloated or have high blood pressure to begin with. The good news is that this is a cheap and easy problem to manage – all it takes is ample water intake and a cup or two of broth each day. This broth, which you can make for yourself at home or from bouillon cubes, keeps your circulation primed and ready for action despite the extra fluid and salt being released by your kidneys. Master this process from the beginning and you'll avoid headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weak legs, and/or constipation. If any of these symptoms do occur, ask yourself, "Have I had a cup of bouillon within the last 6 hours?" Most often you will find the answer is no, and when you make this your routine, these side effects will disappear. Eating your vegetables from the start will help with these issues as well.