The Atkins Diet was created by a Cardiologist, Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who kept seeing his obese patients come into his office who were Diabetic and Insulin resistant, and who could not lose weight. He saw that the typical low fat diet that was high in sugar (after all, ‘low fat’ typically means ‘high sugar’) and carbohydrates in general, and it was causing all sorts of issues for his patients.
This is the first Hub that I am honored to write. When I initially did the Atkins diet several years ago 98-’00, I was drastically successful. It changed my life, and I lost almost literally two hundred pounds. There are a lot of misconceptions about The Atkins Diet (formally known as The New Diet Revolution, now known as The Atkins Nutritional Approach). It is a low Carb diet that emphasizes carbohydrates that significantly raise blood sugars. So now I introduce you to a diet that works, has changed significantly over the years, and keeps you feeling satisfied all day long. For those Diabetics out there (myself included) there are significant blood sugar benefits.
The Four Phases of The Atkins Diet.
The Induction Phase
This is the strictest (and hardest) part of the diet. The good thing is that it can only last two weeks. Here is where the diet helps you rid yourself of addiction to Caffeine, sugar, and breads/pasta. You may laugh, but it really works. My wife buys ice cream, and even though it used to be a huge temptation to me, I don’t really look twice at the box any more. You get 20 net carbs a day, most of which (75%) needs to be used on fruits and vegetables. That is enough salad, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and mushrooms to last you for all three meals. You can do this phase for two weeks, but if you have a lot to lose, you may decide to stretch it out longer than that.
- The Ongoing Weight Loss (it used to be referred to as the OWL phase).
Yay for berries! Here is where you get to introduce some of my favorite fruits back into your diet, berries. Blueberries, Raspberries, and more. You also can have nuts. The trick in this phase of the diet is experimentation. You need to find out how many carbs you can have per day and still lose the weight. You start out at as many carbs you had previously, and bump it up by 5 more a day per week. When you find that you aren’t losing weight, or have gained a ‘bit of weight, then stop there (or go back down 5 if needed) so you keep losing weight slowly until you are able to move onto the next step.
You are almost there. You have just a little more weight to lose until you have hit your goal!Now you begin the phase of the diet that is going to prepare you to make this a life long way of eating. Here you have added most vegetables that don’t impact your blood sugars back into your diet, a lot more fruit, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, and brown rice back into your diet. “NO Carb” my tukus! You stay here until you are down to your target weight. This part of the diet is meant to be slow and steady.
- Lifetime Maintenance
You have reached your goal weight. Now it is time to stop dieting and eat all those Oreos that are stale from not having eaten them for a year! Wrong. In phase 3, you found out where your carbs should be to lose very little to no weight, and that is where you want to stay. I would suggest keeping a food journal to help you keep track of carbs. This is the goal of all dieters. The key is that a ‘diet’ suggests a finite amount of time. This is more of a life style change. And it works. It really does.
Is this diet for me?
I don’t know. You tell me. Or better yet, have your Dr. tell me. Well, they should tell you, actually, not me 🙂 It depends completely on the person. But heck, if you need to lose a lot of a little weight, why not try it for two weeks. If it works, continue. If it doesn’t, then stop and try something else. Just don’t keep going for a little (or long) while and then stop. That will not help anyone, especially yourself.
Well, I have lied in this Hub. I have used the word “Carbohydrate” a lot, but what I really mean is Net Carbs. You determine the Net Carbs by taking the amount of carbs in something, and subtracting the fiber. This Link can explain it much better than I can, and you will also find a nifty carb counter there, and an awesome and supportive community to help you through all four phases. This is the main site for the diet, and provides a ton of useful information.
- “But isn’t the Atkins diet just eating meat and cheese?” The NO Carb myth.
Well, to be honest, that is what the diet was back when I originally started this diet. You could eat Meat, Cheese, Eggs, and Lettuce. Eventually you could add some berries and nuts. To be honest, the most recent iteration of the diet is far more balanced than what it was ten years ago. They encourage you, even on the ‘strictest’ phase of the diet, to use 75% of your daily carbohydrates as vegetables. This is hardly just meat and cheese. My wife (who isn’t really doing the plan, but eats what I eat for the most part) and I can enjoy a steak with mushrooms and grilled onions, a salad with cucumbers and peppers topped with grated cheese, and a side of broccoli and cauliflower. If that is a diet, then sign me up. For breakfast I will have a “Muffin in a minute” whose recipe I will share later.
- “Won’t my cholesterol go way off the charts by eating all this bacon and eggs?!? And what about… constipation?
I can not speak for anyone else, but the last cholesterol test was ‘great’ compared to my last cholesterol test before I went back on this diet where my Dr. insisted that I make some serious changes in my diet. A large part of this is due to the “Muffin in a minute”. As far as constipation, I am only constipated when I don’t drink enough water.
- What about the vitamins and minerals you should be getting from fruit, vegetables, and milk?
Well, Multivitamins are a necessary part of this diet, and frankly most people should take them. Whatever your diet (or lack of diet) there are going to be minerals that you need more of. As far as vegetables, you honestly get plenty of veggies. And you can start eating berries after the strictest phase is over. Vitamin D is not just found in milk