Atkins Tips and Tricks
Found this on another forum - really good post
0. FORUM - Use this forum liberally! Read and take it all in. Reading the book is great, but it is also great to hear and share real experiences from people that have been on Atkins and learned on their own. This forum is the best I have found to share Atkins-related information. Don't be afraid to ask questions, we want to help as many people succeed in changing their lives and get healthier!
1. Sodium - Limit consumption of products loaded with sodium such as bacon, ham, sausage, salami, and hot dogs. The preservatives (sodium nitrates) used give these products a longer shelf life but eaten in quantities, they will cause water retention in many of us. If you eat bacon for breakfast, sausage for lunch and ham for dinner, you may wonder why you've stalled even though these foods are low in carbs. Salt will hold onto water for dear life. The more you eat, the more it holds onto water. If a prepared food has a long shelf life, it may have a lot of added salt preservatives.
2. Water - The proper amount of water to drink is until your urine runs clear. There's no magic amount, like 72 oz per day. It varies too much based on your body size, amount of exercise and sweat and other factors including what you eat. The darker your urine, the more deficient you are in your water intake.
3. Water Substitutes - A lot of people don't like drinking water. The only possible substitutes I know that pretty much count as water is club soda (no sodium) and spring water. Note that tonic water is not the same as club soda as it has sweeteners.
4. Sweeteners - Though sweeteners may claim to be 0 carb and 0 calories, they cause weight gain. I've come to learn it doesn't matter what brand of sweetener it is, whether it's aspartame, splenda, stevia, or sugar alcohols. These sweeteners will spike your blood sugar, increase the amount of insulin your body produces, and the extra insulin gets stored as fat. The 1 month I started drinking diet soda again, I gained 9 lbs more that month than any average month, despite intense exercise and keeping my diet the same as the previous 16 months. This extends to more than just diet soda, it includes crystal light, sugar-free jello, Atkins bars, Atkins shakes, tonic water, and possibly even chewing gum. You are limited to 3 servings of fake sweeteners per day on Atkins. The less you consume, the better it is for your weight loss.
5. "Stalls" during induction - What many people report is a lot of weight loss during weeks 1-2, and almost no weight loss during weeks 3-4. This is considered normal. The first 2 weeks, you will lose a lot of water weight. Weeks 3-4, your body is going through an adjustment period and is just beginning the fat burning process. If you stop losing weight during weeks 3-4, your experiencing what the majority of people here are finding. Stick with it, the weight will come off.
6. "Stalls" beyond induction - A stall is defined as 4 weeks with no weight loss AND no inches lost. With all the thousands of people I have seen do this diet, I've never seen anyone have a true stall that wasn't caused by too much sodium, too many fake sweeteners or just eating the wrong foods for this diet. Don't think you're that one person in a thousand that is immune to losing weight on Atkins. If you do it properly and watch out for the problem areas addressed in this message, you're going to lose weight. Everybody does.
7. Recording your weight - Record your weight on the first day of every month. You can still weigh yourself daily, but record it on a monthly basis. This will give you a much better idea of your progress. When I looked at my daily weight fluctations, I would get frustrated. However, when I looked at my MONTHLY weight loss, I was losing 8 lbs, 8, 7, 8, 13, 6, 7, etc. This gave me great comfort and I could almost estimate how much weight I would lose month-to-month. This is a very simple but I think important tip that gives you a much better idea of your actual progress and takes away the worries of daily fluctuations. Now when I go 3 weeks without losing any weight, I have no worries because I know I will hit my monthly average. I cannot emphasize enough how much this tip helped me.
8. Take your measurements - The body sometimes has difficulty losing weight and inches at the same time. It takes a lot for the body to shed excess skin. There will be times when your body will lose inches and stall losing weight during this process. A true stall in Atkins is considered 4 weeks of no weight loss AND no loss of inches. By taking your measurements, you can determine whether you ever reach a true stall, though it is rare if you are eating properly.
9. Exercise - Exercise won't make you lose weight much faster, since muscle replaces fat. You will typically lose 1 lb for every 3,500 calories burned. That would be about 5 hours of intense exercise on an exercise bike or treadmill. 30 minutes or an hour of exercise isn't going to translate in weight loss on the scale. It's still a good idea and will tighten your body faster than being sedentary. Just don't expect it to be immediate. On the Biggest Loser, they work out intensely between 4-6 hours per DAY so they'll lose 1 lb or more of fat per day plus a lot of water. I lost 100 lbs on Atkins just by diet alone, and absolutely no exercise. I exercise daily now, and am getting healthier and shrinking faster than when I didn't exercise. However, exercise won't necessarily make you lose weight faster. Atkins says exercise is not negotiable. I don't think it's mandatory and you can always start exercise when you drop some weight and have more energy. Lifting heavy weights may actually make you gain weight initially as your muscles will retain water. I opted for more cardio. This is a highly personal thing depending on your specific goals.
10. Dining out - Eating out can be very tricky. Certain restaurants do things to even carb friendly food that add carbs. Things I've seen are restaurants mixing pancake batter with their eggs to make omelettes, adding bread crumbs to hamburger meat, coating the outside of hamburgers with flour before grilling, injecting steaks with sugar, adding sugar to blackening spices, rotisserie chickens take a swim for 24 hours in a sugar and salt solution so a normally healthy chicken is now bad for the Atkins diet, and other tricks of the trade. This doesn't mean you shouldn't eat out. Over time, your body will become sensitive to sweet tastes where you shouldn't experience them, or a full feeling eating meat when normally you wouldn't get that full. I used to eat omelettes at IHOP on the weekends and would always get that uncomfortable full feeling. Sure enough, I did some research and found they add pancake batter to their omelettes. Try and look up nutritional info wherever possible, and use your tummy as your guide. Learn to know how you feel after eating a proper Atkins meal, and if you feel overly full eating out, you may have eaten more carbs than intended from a hidden source.
11. Supplements - I've tried practically every Atkins-recommended supplement during my 18 month journey. The supplements I would recommend are milk thistle (detoxifies and rejuvenates your liver, including removing fat from a fatty liver), CoQ-10 (wonderful for the heart and making the body burn fat for energy), CLA (a fatty acid proven to lose 9% of body of fat and increase 2% of lean muscle and I saw it change my physique a week after taking it). I also take magnesium and calcium (twice as much calcium as mag), not because I see it working but it's good for strong bones and preventing problems later in life. Don't take calcium without magnesium.
12. Why Can't I Eat More Protein? - The proper Atkins percentage of calories from fat/protein/carbs is 65/30/5. Carbs can be turned to sugar by the body which is stored as fat. 55% of protein you eat, when deprived of carbs, can be turned to sugar by the body and stored as fat. Fat is not turned to sugar by the body thus cannot be stored as fat. If you want to maximize your fat burning potential, try and eat your calories in the 65% fat/30% protein/5% carbs ratio.
13. Cravings - This varies among individuals and depends upon what you eat, but the longer you are on the Atkins WOE, your cravings for carbs/sweets will continue to lessen until they eventually go away completely. The first few months, I would get an intense craving for pizza or ice cream about 1 time a month. Cinnamon supplements are said to help deal with the cravings, along with eating something high in fat. It is month 18 for me, I rarely if ever get cravings. Even if you cheat, if you get right back to the diet, you will still lose weight.
14. Cheating - Oh no! I ate something I shouldn't! It's ok, the world hasn't ended. If you eat something that kicks you out of ketosis, go right back into eating properly. It may set you back a day or two, it might not even set you back at all. Just don't do it again lol!! Earlier in my diet, a cheat would set me back a couple of days. Now, it is barely noticeable. It is certainly not advisable, but it will probably happen at some point to many of us. The concern with cheating is that it will trigger more cravings or cause binge eating. That's why it's important to return to clean eating as soon as possible to minimize the possibility of further cheats.
15. Average Weight Loss - On the Atkins diet in particular, weight loss is very inconsistent. You can go several weeks without losing any weight, then all of a sudden, "whoosh", the weight flies off. This is, not coincidentally, called the whoosh effect. As your body loses fat, the fat cells don't like being lonely so they hold onto water. They can hold onto water for an extended period of time, sometimes several weeks. Then, all of a sudden and without warning, they will release the water and your weight loss will escalate. I often go 3 weeks without losing any weight and then it finally happens all at once. Average weight loss varies wildly from person to person. There's no telling how fast you will lose weight. I used to average a loss of 8 lbs a month. This has now slowed down to about 3-4 lbs per month.
16. Second Time Around - Some people return to their old way of eating after experiencing success with Atkins. I did, too. I had lost about 100 lbs, went back to my old WOE and gained it all back. Each subsequent time you do Atkins, it gets harder and harder to lose weight. The body seems to adjust each time you stop and restart Atkins. This is my 2nd time around, I've lost 156 lbs (so far) so it is possible to be successful. However, the weight definitely came off slower the second time around.
17. Do I Need Ketostix? - I never used them.
18. Clothes Size - I noticed a loss of an inch in my waist for every 10 lbs I lost.
If you are doing Atkins, commit to it as a PERMANENT lifestyle change, not just a diet. No diet will allow you to go back to your old eating habits because you will gain back the weight. Atkins is one of the very few diets that actually eliminates cravings of the foods that made us put on weight in the first place. That's why it's possible to stay on Atkins as a lifestyle change. Other diets require willpower. Atkins changes your actual desires.
Really Really likes to post!
- Rep Power
Diet: starting low carb
Start Weight: 11st3lb
Current Weight: 10st12lb
Goal Weight: 10st0lb
Total Weight Loss: 0st5lb
Weight to Lose: 0st12lb
% Lost 3.18%
this is fab thanks huni
Good post - thanks
Great post! Who do we see about making it a sticky?
" If at First".....
- Rep Power
Diet: Now, calorie counting
Start Weight: 13st8lb
Current Weight: 13st0lb
Goal Weight: 10st6lb
Goal Date: whenever
Start BMI: 33.7
Current BMI: 32.2
Goal BMI: 25.9
Total Weight Loss: 0st8lb
Weight to Lose: 2st8lb
% Lost 4.21%
Wow, thank you Spottydoris.
Likes to post
- Rep Power
Diet: Weight Watchers
Start Date: 05/01/12
Goal Weight: 9st2lb
Goal BMI: 22.7
Excellent post. Very informative
Thank you SO much for posting... I agree with Leanne, it needs to be a stickie! :-)
onwards and downwards
- Rep Power
Diet: Slimming World
Start Date: 08/05/2012
Start Weight: 17st6.0lb
Current Weight: 16st13.5lb
Goal Weight: 12st6.0lb
Goal Date: one step at a time
Start BMI: 41.9
Current BMI: 40.8
Goal BMI: 29.9
Total Weight Loss: 0st6.5lb
Weight to Lose: 4st7.5lb
% Lost 2.66%
Really happy you like it and find it helpful xx
Bump - how do we make this a sticky?
- Rep Power
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