The Atkins Diet is a low carbohydrate meal plan that fires up your metabolism and turns your body into a “fat-burning machine.”
How the Atkins Diet Works
Carbohydrates are the energy givers of the food you eat. Your body turns carbs to sugar, which you burn up in every activity, right down to moving your fingers. When you eat simple carbohydrates, such as a doughnut, your bloodstream gets an infusion of glucose, which is then metabolized by insulin. When you eat a carbohydrate-heavy diet, you’re sending your blood glucose levels into a yo-yo cycle with insulin production speeding up to stabilize the sugar rush. What you don’t use as energy, your body stores as fat.
By eating a low-carb, protein-rich diet, your body is forced to burn the fat, rather than the bagel you just ate. Your body doesn’t store more than a half-day supply of energy from glucose, so even if you eat complex carbohydrates, your body will store it as fat if you eat more than you burn.
Phase 1—Induction Phase: The Induction is the kick-off to your new low carb eating plan and it powers your weight loss, giving you incentive to keep going. Typically, Induction covers your first two weeks of dieting, but you can stay on it as long as you like. You get 20 net carbs daily and plenty of protein to keep you from getting hungry.
Phase 2—Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL): In Phase 2, you increase your net carbs a little bit more while you continue to lose weight. OWL adds variety--you can begin to eat a few kinds of fruit and a wider range of veggies. You stay in the OWL phase until you’re within 10 pounds of your goal weight.
Phase 3—Pre-maintenance: When you’ve arrived at Phase 3 you’re almost there and have only about 10 pounds left to lose. The aim of Phase 3 is to drop the last 10 pounds slowly as you learn the way to eat that will keep you slim for life. By the time you’ve reached Phase 3, you know what works for you and you will begin to introduce more carbs into your diet so you can learn your tolerance for them.
Phase 4–Maintenance: By Phase 4 you’re beginning your new life slim and empowered. Eating well has become your way of life and your only diet commitment now is to be in charge of eating healthy and staying on track for life.
Phase 1 Quick Breakfast Idea
Phase 1 concentrates on getting protein and healthy complex carbohydrates in your diet.
- Slice or chop a hard-boiled egg and roll it into a slice of ham.
Phase 2 Quick Breakfast Idea
In Phase 2, you can add low-carb dairy, nuts and some types of fruit.
- Mix fresh blueberries or strawberries into 3/4 cup of cottage cheese.
Phase 3 Quick Breakfast Idea
Phase 3 adds more variety. In this phase, you can have whole grains and a wider variety of fruits.
- Have a rich and filling bowl of oatmeal sweetened with a mashed banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Phase 4 Quick Breakfast Idea
Eat healthy in Phase 4 and enjoy the new you!
- Cut a microwavable breakfast sausage into pieces and add a few strips of bell pepper. Follow sausage microwave instructions and top with an ounce of cheddar cheese.