No matter where a patient starts the Atkins Diet, following these 15 tips will help him/her stay on track:
- UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE EATING.
Atkins is all about eating right. You’ll learn which foods your body needs to lose or maintain weight, how to easily reduce the amount of added sugar and other empty carbs and in your diet, how to understand what that Nutritional Facts label really says and more. Download the Acceptable Food Lists for Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 on atkins.com.
- COUNT YOUR CARBS.
Understand what Net Carbs are and how to calculate them, using the handy Carb Counter in combination with the Acceptable Foods lists.
- BE SENSIBLE, NOT OBSESSIVE, ABOUT PORTIONS.
There’s no need to count calories on Atkins, but do use common sense. You probably could guess that too many calories will slow down your weight loss, but too few will slow down your metabolism—and therefore weight loss. You only need worry about calories if, despite following Atkins to the letter, you cannot lose weight. Depending upon your height, age and metabolism, you may need to play with the following calorie ranges to lose weight:
- Women: 1,500–1,800 calories a day.
- Men: 1,800–2,200 calories per day.
- EAT REGULARLY. THAT’S RIGHT, NO STARVING YOURSELF.
Regardless of which phase you’re in, eat three regular-sized meals plus two snacks every day. We’ll show you how to stay satisfied between meals. You can enjoy Atkins Advantage Bars and Shakes from Day One. Or, if you prefer, have four or five small meals throughout the day. Eating every few hours maintains your blood sugar and energy levels and keeps your appetite under control. Eat until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.
- INCLUDE PROTEIN IN EVERY MEAL.
Have 4 to 6 ounces of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tall men can have up to 8 ounces. The protein source can be red meat, poultry, fish or tofu and can be lean or fatty; even marbled cuts of beef are fine. When you eat leaner cuts, be sure to use plenty of olive oil or other healthy oils on your salads and cooked veggies.
- SAVOR FOODS WITH NATURAL FATS.
Fat makes food taste good and is filling so you eat less. In fact, dietary fat is key to the Atkins program, and to overall good health. All fats except manufactured trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) are healthy fats.
- STEER CLEAR OF ADDED SUGAR.
Added sugar comes in many forms and is found in most soft drinks and countless other foods. All are high in carbs and calories and empty of other nutrients. Instead, sweeten beverages with noncaloric sweeteners (stevia, sucralose—marketed as Splenda™– saccharin or xylitol.) Count each packet as 1 gram of Net Carbs and don’t exceed three a day.
- EAT YOUR VEGGIES.
Be sure to consume at least 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates in the form of foundation vegetables (see the Phase 1 Acceptable Food List) each day. Even in Phase 1, you’ll comply with the USDA’s recommended intake of at least five daily servings of vegetables. You’ll also be getting plenty of fiber, which plays a key role in blood sugar management, and, of course, regularity. Fiber also “scrubs” your arteries and, because it makes you feel full, helps with weight control.
- ENJOY EATING—AT HOME, IN A RESTAURANT, WHEREVER.
Unlike other diets that instill a fear of eating or require the purchase of expensive, pre-packaged meals, Atkins is all about eating delicious whole foods. You’ll learn how to choose the right foods whether you're dining in or out, whether you're at a fast-food place or an ethnic restaurant, on the road for business or on vacation. Soon you’ll know how to make the right choices and stay on track.
- DRINK UP.
Water and other fluids like tea and coffee (in moderation) encourage your body to let go of water weight—plus water is just plain healthy. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses each day
- TAKE DAILY SUPPLEMENTS.
In combination with a whole-foods diet, supplements ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for good health. Take a daily multivitamin with minerals, including potassium, magnesium and calcium, but without iron—unless your health care provider says that you’re iron deficient. Also take omega-3s in the form of fish oil or an alternative.
- GET MOVING.
There are countless benefits to physical activity and exercise as a natural partner to a healthy diet. Brisk walking, swimming and other fun activities are an integral component of Atkins. And the more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn. You may want to wait a couple of weeks after starting Atkins to begin a new fitness regimen—or ramp up your existing one. And if you have a lot of weight to lose, you may want to start slowly with short walks or water aerobics.
- TRACK YOUR SUCCESSES.
We’re talking about both pounds and health indicators. Weigh and measure yourself at the chest, waist and hips once or twice a week. Also, keep a journal of your food and fluid intake, as well as your feelings, challenges and victories. Numerous studies indicate journal keepers are more successful at weight management than others. Your health care professional will give you a check up and some baseline tests before you start Atkins—and a follow-up when you reach your goal weight. Prepare to be amazed at how much healthier you’ve become.
- LET FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORT YOU.
Alert your friends and family so they can support your weight-loss efforts. Let the important people in your life know how you’re doing and feeling. And if you need some encouragement, don’t beat around the bush—just ask. An Atkins buddy can share the ups and downs of you journey. Also, be sure to join the Community Forum at community.atkins.com/index.jsp.
- PLAN AHEAD.
Stock your kitchen with the right food and snacks. And decide on your meals before you go grocery shopping so you don’t fall back on your old (high-carb) food choices.