As you move into the Atkins Diet Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance you should be proud of yourself–you have made it almost to your goal weight and have only 10 pounds left to lose. You have also gained control of your appetite; no longer do you crave carbohydrates constantly and give them control. In order to move onto Phase 4 there are five main goals to achieve:
Goal 1: Shed the Last 10 Pounds
The objective is to lose the last 10 pounds in this phase, but the rate of loss is intentionally slowed in this phase. You may be anxious to shed those last 10 pounds quickly and that is understandable. Rushing to lose them, however, defeats the purpose and that is to take this time to learn exactly what it takes to keep the weight from returning. If this phase is done correctly, it may take a few months to lose the remaining weight and that is exactly the correct pace.
Goal 2: Testing Body Tolerance
In the second phase of the Atkins diet, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), you determined your body’s carbohydrate tolerance, also called the Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CLL). Upon entering Phase 3, you will determine what Carbohydrate level will slow the rate of your weight loss. You may find that your tolerance is significantly higher than your CLL, only somewhat higher or you may in fact find that you cannot increase it at all. In order to know for sure, what you will need to do is to increase your carbohydrate consumption by 10 grams in week or every other week, as you wish. If your weight loss comes to a complete stop or you find yourself extremely hungry or having cravings, this will let you know to decrease your carb intake by the 10 grams of carbs.
Goal 3: Introduce Additional Foods
In the Pre-Maintenance phase, you may introduce foods that have been off limits until now. Using the Atkins Carb Ladder, you may eat from the foods on the highest three rungs, such as fruit that contains more carbs, whole grains and certain starchy vegetables. You may have a high tolerance and find that you can eat all the foods listed, just a portion of them or not be able to eat them with any consistency. This is the time to figure out what you can and cannot eat and what foods best suits your particular needs.
Goal 4: Finding your ACE
ACE stands for Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium and simply means the number of carbohydrates you can consume each day to maintain your weight, not losing or gaining. This will be your number as you move into Lifetime Maintenance.
Goal 5: Maintain your Current Weight
Before your move into the Lifetime Maintenance phase your objective is to maintain your goal weight for one whole month. Staying at or slightly below your ACE should allow you to accomplish this.
While you move through Phase 3, remember that your final goal is to maintain your goal weight for a lifetime.