The final step in the Atkins diet is Lifetime Maintenance, also called the Nutritional Approach.
By this stage of the diet you have discovered the foods that work best for you and the amount of carbs you can consume daily in order to maintain your weight, also known as your ACE (Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium), introduced in phase 3. Your ACE will be the most important number to you as long as you are committed to keeping the weight off. Sticking to this number will ensure that you stay at or around your goal weight, give or take 5 pounds, which is the objective of Lifetime Maintenance.
How to Stay Focused
Now that you have reached your goal weight, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you stay focused and committed to maintaining what you have achieved thus far. The first thing is to remain vigilant about what you are eating and how your body reacts to the food. You have now completed the “ladder” and introduced all the various carbohydrates back into your diet and recognized what you can and cannot eat. There may be foods that cause you to revert to your old habits of overindulging called “trigger foods.” These types of foods are what caused your weight issues in the first place. If you find that they trigger cravings or cause you to overeat, remove them from your diet immediately or restrict their consumption.
Staying on the Diet
Remember, you have made it this far by taking control of your eating habits and doing whatever it takes to keep that control, which is the key to Lifetime Maintenance. Here are some tips to keep you focused and on track:
- Bring along snacks. Whether you are going on a trip or just going to an office daily, being prepared is the best way to keep temptation at bay. Put some Atkins snack bars in your briefcase or bag for those times when you absolutely need a snack.
- Eat Regularly. Starting your day with a well-balanced meal, eating three healthy meals a day, and having a couple Atkins friendly snacks throughout the day will allow you to keep your appetite under control and not cause a slip.
The most important thing to remember during Lifetime Maintenance is that you are human and if you happen to exceed your ACE, it is not the end of the world. Do not get discourage and give up. You’ve come to far for that. If you find that you have deviated from the plan, resume as soon as possible and continue on with the journey of maintaining your new way of eating and the new body you’ve created.