Wednesday, February 24, 2010

15 things to know when you're new to Atkins

1. You will feel like crap, but only at first.
This is not because of the unhealthiness of low carb! You are going through withdrawal from sugar. It is called Induction Flu. Within the week you will start to feel normal again, and within a few more weeks you'll feel better than you ever have before in your life, because you're no longer poisoning yourself.

2. This is not a zero carb diet.
It's a low carb diet. You start at 20 net grams (total carbs minus fiber carbs) per day and work your way up. Anyone who tries to warn you that your body needs carbs to run is not familiar with Atkins. (And you don't need carbs for energy, either -- guess where else your body can get energy from! )

3. There is no such thing as good carbs vs. bad carbs.
Bread, fruit, milk, potatoes, corn, pasta, and sugar all become exactly the same thing in your body. The only difference is that the "good" carbs take slightly longer to turn into fat.

4. Eating fat does not make you fat.
COMBINING carbs and fat makes you fat. Take away the carbs, and eating fat will make you lose weight. Do not avoid it on this diet. Eat bacon, butter, oil, and juicy marbled steak and watch the pounds melt off. Restricting yourself to chicken and turkey will actually sabotage your progress.

5. This is not a starvation diet.
EAT EAT EAT! Don't worry about calories. Don't worry about eating after 6pm. Don't worry about snacking between meals. You may decide to tweak those things later if you have problems, but there's no need to worry about it during Induction!

6. The way to win is: be prepared.
Have a house full of good meats and veggies ready before you officially start. Lack of willpower won't make you fail -- lack of convenient snacks will.

7. The book is a treasure trove of knowledge. READ IT.
If you're a member of the board for long, you will start to notice that the people who struggle and disappear within two weeks are those who seem confused about the basics covered in DANDR. Don't ignore this step. Even veterans learn something new each time they read it.

8. You can't cheat "just this once" and burn it off later.
This isn't like other diets. One slice of pizza doesn't mean an extra ten minutes on the treadmill. It means triggering the sugar addiction cycle and a slippery slide into obesity again. If you're doing it right, you're doing it for life.

9. The cupcake cravings will go away.
Remember, it's withdrawal. Eventually sugar won't have the same hold over you, and you won't need to feed your demon anymore. Supposedly, L-Glutamine supplements can help if the cravings are bad.

10. It doesn't matter how dark the ketosticks are.
The more water you drink, the lighter the color. Dark just means you aren't drinking enough. As long as it's pink, congratulations, you're in ketosis. If the sticks won't change color no matter how good you've been, there's a good chance they've expired and you need new ones.

11. Low fat generally means high carb.

Check the labels and go for the full fat stuff! Two notable exceptions: Philly Cream Cheese and Hillshire Farm Summer Sausage.

12. "Regular" does not mean "daily."
You're suddenly eating nutritionally dense food instead of "fortified" fluff. Your BM output is going to slow. If you feel this is becoming a problem, magnesium supposedly helps.

13. The carb counts on packages lie.
If the food has trace amounts of carbs, anywhere from 0g to .49g, they can label it as 0g.
If the food has .5g to .99g, they label it as <1g.
If the food has 1g-1.49g, it's labelled as 1g.
And so on.
But don't just go by the numbers, also check the ingredients lists. You want to avoid anything containing: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, maltodextrin, and anything ending in -ose (sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, etc.).


Foods to definitely avoid:
Baked goods, pasta, milk, potatoes, fruit, sweets, sugary or alcoholic drinks.

Induction Acceptable Foods:
- Unlimited meat. Beef, fish, poultry, pork, game. Be very sparing with deli meats and shellfish, since they have carbs, even if the package says 0.
- Eggs. Count them as about .6g each depending on size.
- Cheese. Limit this to 3-4 oz per day. All cheese has carbs, even if the package says 0.
- Vegetables. 12-15 grams per day (not counting fiber) of your 20g carb allowance should come from vegetables.
You can have 2 cups/day of salad veggies, including celery, cucumber, lettuce, mushrooms, peppers, and radishes.
You can have up to 1 cup/day of higher carb veggies, including artichoke, asparagus, avocadoes, bamboo, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, eggplant, kale, leeks, okra, olives, onion, pumpkin, rhubarb, sauerkraut, squash, spinach, tomato, turnips, and zucchini.
- Herbs and Spices (as long as they contain no added sugar)
- Oils and fats. Butter, oils, shortening, lard, mayo, etc. Do not be afraid of these! You are training your body to burn fat. Use them!
- Heavy Whipping Cream. Limit of 3 oz/day.
- Sour cream. Up to 1 oz/day.

15. This is not a crash diet. It is a way of life.
You'll lose a ton of weight within the first two weeks, then stall for a week or two. Give it time. Throwing in the towel will put the weight right back on. Carbs made you fat, and going back to them will make you fat.
Stick with it long enough to see that Atkins isn't a weird way of eating. It's what your body was designed to process. Your body will thank you. You'll see.

Congratulations on picking the best way ever to lose weight!

Thanks to Joy from Florida for sharing this list.

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