I lost around 30 some lbs. on Atkins years ago when I was in my mid-30's (lost the accumulated weight from 3 pregnancies at that time).....and then about 20 years later I lost around 60 lbs. in my mid to late 50's on Atkins (and was on this site through most of it....this was just 2-3 years ago). The weight I'd gained between the two times was from a medication I'd been on that literally shut down my metabolism.
What was really interesting was that the first time I did Atkins successfully, I was able to use quite a bit of Splenda and eat quite a bit of cheese....and had no problem losing weight and remaining in ketosis. The second time around was a whole 'nother story. Now granted, I'd been 20 years younger the first time....but I don't really think that was the issue. I truly believe it was the problems with my metabolism that had developed....mainly from a medication I'd been put on.
Being on a metabolic diet like Atkins (and I happen to think Atkins is the best of all of them) is like doing a scientific experiment and I think that's because the critical element IS one's metabolism and there's a great deal of variation when it comes to different individuals....AND there can even be a variation for the same individual, depending on what things that have happened that might have altered or affected one's metabolism.
For me, the ketone sticks were critical. They were what let me know, day to day, how my body might be reacting to anything and everything I consumed. The scale, of course, was also a yardstick....but it could not be as closely correlated, time-wise, like the ketone sticks could.
Now...on Atkins maintenance....I don't really need the ketone sticks and the scale is my measuring stick....but when in active weight-loss mode, I had to use the ketone sticks.
And then there's Kim....who didn't use the ketone sticks because they never showed results (the sticks never turned color for her)...and yet she STILL lost the weight.....which just goes to show you the endless variations.
At first, the early Atkins book is your bible and your go-to-reference....until eventually, you have it literally memorized and totally understand the diet.
When it comes to carbs....you start to learn that all carbs are not the same....and to me this is critical to having success with this diet/WOE. For instance, I could literally eat quite a huge amount of approved veggie carbs and remain in ketosis and keep losing weight (both times).....yet with cheese and cream cheese....different story. And to further complicate it....it became much more severe when my metabolism became compromised and I had to severely limit dairy the second time (which I'd not had to really do the first time).
On the other hand, I have a sister-in-law who, after sticking to strict induction for the 2 weeks....progressed to the OWL levels but allowed herself one can of regular coke and one tblsp. of peanut butter daily and still lost quite a bit of weight. Go figure.
The second time I attempted to do Atkins...after having had such easy success with it 20 years prior to that....I absolutely could not get the diet to work. I tried over and over....and became more and more frustrated....as I already knew this diet like the back of my hand and couldn't figure out what was wrong.
Long story short....after much experimentation and help online....I discovered my metabolism had become so altered by the medication I'd been on, that I could no longer have more than 2 packets of Splenda daily. No more sprinkling Splenda on cream cheese, etc....I could ONLY have my daily coffee and that was it.
Now here's the thing with artificial sweeteners....in order to make them in powdered form, they have to add maltodextrin. Each packet has 0.5 Gm. carb in it but they can list the total carbs as zero because they can do that as long as it's less than 1 (per unit....which in this case is per packet). You CAN buy liquid artificial sweetener and don't have to worry about limiting the amount, really. As long as there's no maltodextrin, there is truly ZERO carbs in it......and things like crystal lite and diet soda usually use the liquid sweetener so there are no hidden carbs in them.
But....I'd developed a severe sensitivity to the carbs in the regular Splenda. However....what's really interesting is....after finally going into ketosis once the Splenda was almost eliminated.....eventually, after about 4 months, I was able to slightly and gradually increase the Splenda to about 4-6 packets a day and remain in ketosis. My assumption is that the really strict induction, over time, began to correct the damage that the medication had done to my metabolism.
Anyway...this is why I don't post that often...because I tend to write these long and boring diatribes......but after having such success with Atkins twice and now success with maintenance for several years now.....my advice for ANYONE on Atkins who might be having any problems is:
Buy the early Atkins book (I believe it's the 1972 one?), read it cover to cover before you start and continuously refer to it. Use it as your bible until you practically know the diet inside and out. You not only learn what to do but also WHY and HOW this metabolic diet works....some college-level physiology, really.
Get ketone sticks so that you can evaluate exactly how your body responds to various things. Everyone is different. I truly believe that Atkins, done correctly, will work for everyone but it works much better for some than others....and I believe that even for them it will work great as long as they take the time to learn all the ins and outs of what things work with their unique metabolism.
For me....not all carbs were equal. I could eat tons of approved veggies (spinach, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, etc.) and not even worry about the amount of carbs. But with dairy, esp. cheese and cream cheese, I had to be extremely careful. BTW, some have problems with mushrooms....but not me....I could eat tons of them with no problem.
The other thing for me was that I not only HAD to eat fat every day to maintain the ketosis and the weight loss, but it HAD to be either mayonnaise and/or butter. Just eating fatty meat or some fatty cheese wouldn't do it. I had to slather either mayo or butter on something I ate daily.
Most of Atkins is logical physiologically.....but there are a few things that you just have to figure out for yourself through trial and error. My advice is get the book, read the book, refer to the book, get ketone sticks and monitor carefully what foods do and don't work for you.
OK...sorry for the book. I have the horrible penchant to perseverate at length for some reason.