The Atkins Diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight-loss plan that helps you shed pounds quickly. Designed by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, the diet includes four stages, beginning with Phase 1, the induction phase and ending with Phase 4, the lifetime maintenance stage.
Popular for more than 40 years, the Atkins Diet claims to be a scientifically sound and healthy way to lose weight. The premise is that when you limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat, your body turns to burning fat rather than carbs for energy. Your body stores about a half-day supply of energy from what you eat, so when you consume more carbs than your body uses as energy, it stores it as fat.
The Atkins Diet reverses this concept by fueling your body with protein and complex carbohydrates that stabilize your blood sugar so you feel less hungry, have fewer cravings, are more energetic and burn fat faster.
Phase One (also called the Induction Phase) is designed to last about 2 weeks, but you can stay in the first phase as long as you like. This booster stage is where you lose weight quickly by supplying your body with lots of protein and by cutting all but complex carbohydrates. In Phase One can eat all varieties of fish, fowl, shellfish and meat. You can also eat eggs and cheese. You’re allowed a wide variety of vegetables, with the emphasis on green veggies, but fruit is not permitted. In Phase One you keep your net carbs to 20 grams per day.
Phase Two is called OWL, for Ongoing Weight Loss. In this phase, you can eat a slightly wider range of foods, including nuts and seeds, and limited fresh fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe.
Phase Three, also called Pre-maintenance, is the stage where you’re nearing the end of your diet. You begin the third phase when you’re within ten pounds of your goal weight. In this phase, you learn how to increase your intake of carbs while still losing weight, losing your last 10 slowly, helping your body adjust to your new metabolism.
Phase Four is the Lifetime Maintenance stage where you begin your new life slim and empowered with all of the tools you need to keep your new body for life. By the time you’ve attained Phase Four, you’ve learned what to eat, your tolerance for carbohydrates and portion control.
Sample Menu for Phase One
Breakfast: Southwestern Omelet
Snack: Atkins Advantage Shake
Lunch: Thai Coconut Shrimp
Snack: Sugar free gelatin cup
Dinner: Garlic Lime Bluefish with tomato salad
Sample Menu for Phase Two
Breakfast: Cheese Baked Eggs
Snack: Cucumber salad
Lunch: Beef burger with feta and tomato
Snack: 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Dinner: Florentine Style Porterhouse with roasted asparagus
Sample Menu for Phase Three
Breakfast: Bacon and onion omelet
Snack: 1/4 cup fresh cherries
Lunch: Tarragon shrimp salad
Snack: Peanut butter fudge Atkins Advantage Bar
Dinner: Grilled Italian Chicken with Lemon Squash
Sample Menu for Phase Four
Breakfast: Mustard scrambled eggs
Snack: Peach or small banana
Lunch: Greek chicken salad
Snack: 1/2 cup of black beans with pico de gallo
Dinner: Fresh tuna with ginger soy sauce and cucumber salad