Atkins - Induction Question




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yoyoma
12-14-2010, 05:57 AM
Back story: I was obese as a kid (back when that was very unusual), but lost weight on my own before high school, kicking off a lifetime of calorie counting and yoyo dieting (nearly 50 now). I reached my last low at about 130. But I am not happy with how little I can eat even when maintaining and I inevitably get sloppy, stop counting (though still eating crazy healthy by most standards) and regain. I have noticed that I need to stay away from starchy foods -- I don't eat refined carbs but even when I eat whole grain regularly, it means I am in trouble. I can choose to continue to yoyo, depending upon whether I am more miserable with how hungry I am or with how I look. But this last time I swore to myself that if I got back up to my current weight (my original first weight loss goal in a larger context), I would try Atkins. So, here I am!


I have read the 2002 version of the Atkins book. I plan on starting Induction at the start of the new year (will be staying with relatives the week before and don't want to attempt it before that's over). It is very hard for me to wrap my brain around this approach, and it will take some serious adjustment. But for now I have one area of confusion I'd like to clear up...

One of the rules of induction is not to eat more than 20 grams of carbs a day. At the same time there are limits on veggies. Not more than 3 cups of loosely packed salad greens (and only 2 cups if including a serving of one of the other acceptable veggies). So I have a question:

Can one eat more of the acceptable veggies as long as they count toward the 20 gram total? It does not seem as if that is allowed, but I have a hard time understanding why that would be. I am used to eating a *lot* more veggies than is allowed. I'd appreciate hearing your opinions. Thanks!


JerseyGyrl
12-14-2010, 07:27 AM
Atkins Induction is 20 net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber) per day with 12-15 of those 20 carbs coming from acceptable veggies & salads.
Personally, I've always eaten more salad & veggies than the "allowed" amount.
All the best to you!!!:)

yoyoma
12-14-2010, 08:36 AM
Thanks for the clarification! That's what makes sense to me too. And for the reminder about the net carbs vs total carbs. I do the math properly when I look at the nutritional analysis, but I forgot to write it the right way.

Now that I know I can eat more salad than the 3 cups mentioned in the book, I'm not stressing quite as much. :)


Deena52
12-14-2010, 03:09 PM
Hi yoyoma~

My experience was that as long as I didn't eat too much dairy (cheese, cream cheese, etc.) and stuck to mainly meats, fish, eggs, veggies and made sure to include butter and/or mayo every day (more important than most people realize)....I stayed in ketosis, lost weight consistently....and could pretty much eat as much and as many of the approved low-carb veggies I wanted without a problem.

I can only speak for myself, but for me, every single carb was not the same. Dairy carbs could be a problem and slow the loss.....but veggie net carbs seemed to cause no problem...no matter how much I ate. For me, the idea that "a carb is a carb is a carb" did not hold true. WHICH carb it was made a huge difference.

I was in commando-mode and wanted to lose the most weight in the least amount of time and get to maintenance ASAP.....so stayed in induction the whole 7-8 months and became very savvy at knowing which items slowed things down. And the approved veggies were ones that I could eat pretty much as much of as I wanted...and still maintain the rate of loss.
Basically, it was:

-use dairy sparingly only
-stick mainly with pure protein and low-carb veggies
-make sure to get your daily fat in....usually in the form of butter and/or mayo.

deena :tree::snowglo::tree::hohoho::tree:

fatklr
12-17-2010, 03:03 PM
Hi yoyoma~

My experience was that as long as I didn't eat too much dairy (cheese, cream cheese, etc.) and stuck to mainly meats, fish, eggs, veggies and made sure to include butter and/or mayo every day (more important than most people realize)....I stayed in ketosis, lost weight consistently....and could pretty much eat as much and as many of the approved low-carb veggies I wanted without a problem.

I can only speak for myself, but for me, every single carb was not the same. Dairy carbs could be a problem and slow the loss.....but veggie net carbs seemed to cause no problem...no matter how much I ate. For me, the idea that "a carb is a carb is a carb" did not hold true. WHICH carb it was made a huge difference.

I was in commando-mode and wanted to lose the most weight in the least amount of time and get to maintenance ASAP.....so stayed in induction the whole 7-8 months and became very savvy at knowing which items slowed things down. And the approved veggies were ones that I could eat pretty much as much of as I wanted...and still maintain the rate of loss.
Basically, it was:

-use dairy sparingly only
-stick mainly with pure protein and low-carb veggies
-make sure to get your daily fat in....usually in the form of butter and/or mayo.

deena :tree::snowglo::tree::hohoho::tree:

That's very interesting information - I need to start paying attention to the low carb items that seem to stall my weight loss. I have noticed that during the weeks I include butter and mayo in my daily meal plans I lose more than when I don't. Since I plan on doing Induction for more of an effective weight loss (goals, goals, GOALS) I will take your advice and cut back on the dairy. **One question: how much did and do you exercise??? I noticed that when I exercise faithfully, it seems to slow down the pounds on scale** Thanks so much!

yoyoma
12-18-2010, 06:10 AM
About the exercise, I'm not an expert on this board but exercise (especially strenuous) causes your muscles to retain more water and will appear to slow weight loss. It may affect your hunger and you might end up eating more so that could be an issue to watch. But Atkins strongly encourages exercise and in the medium to long term it should help your weight loss.

Deena, thanks for the extra tips! I am not trying to lose weight quickly (not that I'd mind!), but my focus is on finding a WOE that will work for me in the long run. Low calorie doesn't do that for me. I am pretty miserable when I limit myself to the amount I can eat in order to maintain at my low weight (about 130). I hope I can eat (full fat) cheeses, since that has been one of the things I am most excited about. But I guess I will try to keep an eye on them.

The idea of using butter and full-fat mayo still makes me shudder. I guess I really need to be hit on the head again and again because I keep slipping into low-cal mind set. I know Atkins says that his diet can't be done in a low fat manner and I know that even protein has some insulin response, but I am still having a hard time breaking a life long habit.

I am not planning on actually starting until January, but I have been in a sort of preparation/practice mode. During this time, I am eating up all the low fat foods that I have on hand (Laughing Cow wedges, egg beaters, etc). I used up the open envelope of NFPM that I normally use to whiten my coffee and tea. I have switched to cream which is a wonderful change, but I don't think that is allowed during induction.

I know that I am not doing Atkins at this point -- I'm not even counting the carbs, but I am not eating much that is not on the acceptable list. I have eliminated grains, legumes, unallowed veggies, sweets, processed foods with any significant carbs or any added sugar.

It's very difficult for me. One problem is that I am used to a volumetrics approach -- eating large quantities of very low calorie foods (e.g. really huge salads, entire heads of broccoli) . I have a hard time eating just reasonable portions now that I am eating high energy foods.

Another problem I am having is limiting the number of artificial sweeteners to 3 servings per day. I have stopped drinking Crystal Light, but I am not a water drinker. I do understand that a sweet taste could trigger a trained insulin response (psychologically, not physiologically), so it is important to do this to truly follow the diet. Also, I drink some coffee and a lot of tea. I am willing to switch to decaf, but strict limits on whitener and sweetener are tough on me. I ordered some liquid no-carb steevia (I've been using truvia), so that will help with the carb limit, but not the sweetener limit. Atkins doesn't explicitly allow stevia, but it wasn't approved at the time he wrote the book.

Supplements are another concern for me. I take the ones Atkins recommends and several more. My glucosamine/chondroitin alone contains 2g of carbs. There are several that don't list any carbs (e.g. calcium, resveratrol) -- I hope that means they don't have any else I might blow my carb limit in a big way. I'm really not willing to eliminate them.

At this point, I am not losing weight, but I am not really on the wagon yet so I have no reason to expect any. The good news is that I have noticed a big change in my cravings and energy levels which I attribute to level blood sugar.

Regarding the cravings, I am pretty amazed. I haven't had any problem resisting any of the usual temptations this time of year. Even practice mode eliminates both the slippery slope problem and any carb craving feedback loops.

Regarding the energy, I think I must have some sort of metabolic problem. In discussing this new approach with my husband, he noted that I was always (we met in college) very "crash"-prone -- suddenly losing all energy, sometimes even falling asleep in inappropriate places. That really hasn't happened to me since I have been eating in practice mode.

Anyway, sorry for being so long-winded. I am hopeful that I can find a more successful long term WOE, but I have ingrained habits that I need to overcome.

JerseyGyrl
12-18-2010, 09:14 AM
I have switched to cream which is a wonderful change, but I don't think that is allowed during induction.



Heavy cream most certainly is allowed on Atkins:) Keep in mind it is limited to 3 Tbsp per day.

yoyoma
12-18-2010, 09:56 AM
Hi Kim -- yes I knew it was allowed on Atkins, but I wasn't sure it was allowed during Induction. I'm not sure where my book is at the moment -- hubby is reading my copy to help provide support even though he won't be doing it with me (such a great guy!). But I'll be double checking everything once I knuckle down in January.

Later: I found the book and I see that cream is allowed even during induction (whew!), with the max limit of 3 Tbs as you said. That's still a tight limit for me. I usually have 2-3 cups of coffee and several cups of tea each day. I've been switching over to decaf and experimenting with how little cream I can use and still be happy. Looks like 2 teaspoons of cream in coffee and 1 teaspoon in tea. So 3 Tbs of cream could stretch to enough for 2 cups of coffee and 5 cups of tea.

Deena52
01-01-2011, 08:10 AM
Hi fatkir~

The only planned exercise I did (and still do) was/is walking. I love to walk while listening to my ipod. What I learned over the years is that exercise should be for my health, but not a cornerstone for weight loss. And furthermore, that IF it's a sort of exercise I don't love, and doubt I could maintain for the long-term, I don't force myself to do it. I am not a gym/work-out equipment type of person....and would have to force myself to continue to do it if that was my chosen form of exercise. But I absolutely love walking....and knew I could maintain it for the long term, so that's what I did...and still do. But when done correctly, the Atkins diet will result in weight loss with or without the exercise.
At this point, I continue to walk because 1) I enjoy it, 2) it's healthy for me and 3) I'm sure it helps maintain the weight loss to some degree....and 4) it keeps me in great shape. But I feel sure I could have lost the same amount of weight with or without the exercise....one of the great things about Atkins.

It's my personal opinion of course....but unless one is really super-athletic, I don't think it's a great idea to make exercise a significant part of one's weight loss plan......and that's one of the reasons I don't really watch "Biggest Loser" and shows like that. I feel that 1) those extreme exercises are not likely to be maintained by most of the contestants and 2) their focus needs to be on their eating plan. As for their exercise, I feel that they should view it as important to their health, rather than a critical part of their weight loss program. Plus.....I don't think it's all that medically safe to have individuals who weigh a great deal suddenly start extreme exercise. I think walking, or gradually working up to a work-out regimen would be much safer. I literally cringed when I saw obese contestants becoming extremely short-of-breath when forced to do extreme exercise....afraid they would collapse at any minute.....the main reason why I stopped watching.

I hope this made sense. Exercise is great to keep you in shape, improve your mood by releasing endorphins, improve your over-all health. But for weight loss, it's all about the eating plan IMO. Unless you are a gym rat....you should choose some sort of exercise that you love.....and can maintain for the long haul.

deena :)

Deena52
01-01-2011, 08:48 AM
Hi again yoyoma~

I agree that unless you are on a commando mission to lose the weight as fast as possible, one need not be in induction the entire time. I did it because I had done Atkins successfully before and had maintained the loss for 12 years (until a medication caused a 65 lb. weight gain)....so I already had lots of experience with doing the maintenance. My big challenge now is the dental issues I'm having due to multiple dental surgeries, etc....and having to tweak Atkins maintenance in order to be able to chew what I eat. But I think that if a person has a great deal of weight to lose, segueing into the OWL levels is probably a better way to learn about maintenance for the future and about an eating plan the person can maintain for the long haul.....esp. once one has reached goal.

I also had to severely restrict the number of packets of Splenda I could use this time around (much more restriction was necessary than the first time I used Atkins successfully....and I'm not altogether sure why). However....I've had no problem drinking crystal lite. Some things are unexplainable when it comes to Atkins, it seems.
There is also a similar powdered drink called 4C that is made with sucralose, rather than aspartame.
I would think that diet soda is probably sweetened with liquid sucralose or aspartame so truly has zero carbs. Any liquid beverage (rather than powdered ones you mix with water), artificially sweetened, most likely has liquid sweetener and not the powdered one with the maltodextrin (that is actually 0.5 gram per packet and not the zero grams they claim. They are allowed to put 0 carbs for anything less than 1 carb, unfortunately....but the half grams can add up when it comes to the powdered ones).

I saved my Splenda allotment for my coffee, which I love and must have daily to keep me happy. :D
And I'm also not a big water drinker. For some reason, I feel like I'm drowning/smothering when I drink it.....not to mention, I don't exactly love the taste of it.

Here is the basic principle I learned on Atkins:

Fat is not bad or dangerous for you, like it has been claimed for years. BUT, fat is definitely a high calorie item.... and will cause weight gain IF it is eaten with a high level of carbohydrates....esp. simple carbohydrates. When eaten with extremely low carbs, it can cause weight LOSS. But due to its high caloric content, it will cause weight GAIN if eaten with unrestricted carbs.

And this is critical to understand, because when one loses weight on Atkins and adapts to a low-carb eating style, one develops, over time, the impression that fat is not fattening. Which is not true. And it is critical, if one is not severely restricting carbs, to COUNT the calories in the fat one eats.

But due to a specific fat-burning metabolic process that occurs when ones carbs are very restricted, the calories in fat are not a problem....as long as one remains on a low-carb eating plan. And in fact, the fat is critical for the weight loss.

But it is all or none with Atkins. The "fat is good" concept cannot be combined with eating lots of carbs or eating simple carbs.....because then you will gain weight. Fat is great if carbs are restricted....but one has to be really careful with fat calories if one is not restricting carbs. If one wants to lose weight on a low-carb plan, one MUST restrict their carbs.

I can't remember the name of those diet shakes that were popular years ago....but an analogy to what I've said above would be: One can lose weight if one has a shake in place of a meal. But if one has the shake WITH a meal, one will gain weight. It is not the shake that causes weight loss....it is replacing an entire meal with it that causes the loss.

And it's amazing how many misunderstood this.....and thought it was the shake itself that caused weight loss. And similar to this.....regarding the whole "fat is good" concept that we develop while on Atkins.....Fat does not cause weight loss, no matter what one eats. One has to stick to very restricted carbs for it to cause weight loss.
And calories are not really critical when eating the low-carb Atkins way but ARE critical when not eating low-carb.

Fat + protein = weight loss
Fat + sugar = weight gain.

I hope this made sense. I tend to go off on tangents and pontificate/perseverate.:D

deena :)

yoyoma
01-01-2011, 10:04 AM
Hi Deena! Thanks for the informative responses. :)

About the exercise...

Like you, I've learned that exercise that I do not enjoy is exercise that I will not stick with. My exercise is a combination of walking and Curves, which I've done for years. I love walking in nice weather, but not so much in winter. Still, I have a dog, so she provides me with motivation to walk at least a little in all but the most inclement weather. This past week I've stayed in a city where I am not comfortable walking around and although I got the travel pass, I did not end up making the effort to find a local Curves. At home, I had been exercising a minimum of 45 mins/day. Here, pretty much nada. So I am feeling a bit guilty about that and wouldn't be surprised if it affected my results.

Even at home, Curves and walking is not the strenuous regime that would tempt one to think could form the cornerstone of weight loss. I have tried the approach with more strenuous exercise a few times, and discovered that I just got a lot hungrier and ate more and gained weight. And I hated the exercise to boot. So, I agree 100% with you -- exercise is important for health as well as appearance (thin and toned is a much better looking result than thin and flabby), but often doesn't work as the key to weight loss.

So, again, thanks for the response and I think we are pretty much in agreement on the exercise front. :)

yoyoma
01-01-2011, 10:13 AM
Deena says:

>Fat + protein = weight loss
>Fat + sugar = weight gain.

Thank you! Thank is the pithy sort of sledgehammer I need to keep my past (low fat) history from undermining my current efforts.

Having been in practice mode for a few weeks now, I have to say that I am less concerned about hunger than I used to be. I don't need the enormous servings of salads and veggies that I once wolfed down. By adding more fat to them, I get full pretty quickly and feel satisfied for much longer. So, at least this part of the Atkins approach is working for me! :)

JerseyGyrl
01-01-2011, 10:53 AM
You may want to look into the Leslie Sansone program called Walk Away The Pounds. It's an in home walking program. Some of the dvd's include light weights and resistance bands. It's an excellent program to get moderate exercise (not overly strenuous). I highly recommend it:)

yoyoma
01-01-2011, 11:13 AM
Thanks Kim! That's a good idea for those snowy/frigid/torrential days. Due to weather and time constraints, I've had to resort a few times to trotting around inside the house, which gets old very quickly. Maybe I should give myself a belated Xmas present! :)

meandmax
01-03-2011, 12:04 AM
Well, it's a new year and it's time to get back in the swing of things....I did pretty good with weight loss at the end of "last" year and kind of fell off the wagon in the month of December. Because my last diet was so expensive, I’ve decided to try Atkins....my sister-in-law has been very successful with this plan so I’ve decided to give it a shot. I'm really hopeful that this will work for me. I do get bored easy so I hope to get a lot of ideas....the one thing I find hard is eating salad every day for lunch...so if you have any advice....it would be very welcomed...

yoyoma
01-03-2011, 06:36 AM
Welcome! We'll be trying out this approach together. :)

I am far from experienced at this, but here's my two cents on salad.

I have always loved a good salad, and I always buy premium baby greens to maximize my enjoyment. Now that I can add a generous dollop of EVOO (which I used to be stingy about) and some grated parm along with fresh ground pepper, I am not anxious to find alternative lunches. But on Atkins, there is no reason you couldn't beef up a basic salad up with ham, hard-boiled egg, chicken, shrimps, and/or cheddar cheese to make an awesome chef's salad. Or you could make chicken/turkey/tuna/crab salad with mayo and serve it a bed of salad greens.

If this still doesn't do it for you, you could move your salad to dinner time and try some other Atkins-friendly lunches. I would recommend that you try to incorporate one of the other allowed veggies if you are moving the salad to dinner.

BTW, you might want to consider joining the folks on the V-Day challenge thread or the carb count thread for ongoing support. Good luck to us both!