One of the most crucial steps to winning a struggle with weight is to learn how to fix it. It is all about defining what works and what does not. Whether you choose to capitalize on exercise, diet, supplements, or all, the real magic happens when you build and customize a plan that works for you.
There are numerous diet plans available in the market today when it comes to nutrition. While it is understandably hard to trust any, the Atkins diet plan for weight loss has been studied and verified by many specialists. So, what is the Atkins diet, and how does it work?
Understanding the Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet was discovered and driven by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, a cardiologist who understood the impact of carbohydrates on weight gain and loss. The main reason for adding weight, according to the doctor, is consuming processed carbohydrates.
Therefore, the Atkins diet plan is essentially a low-carb diet recommended for individuals struggling to lose weight. Its main principles assert that dieters will shed weight, maintain a proper weight, realize good health, and lay a permanent foundation for better immunity.
Since its introduction in 1972, the Atkins diet has undergone a series of research and upgrades to improve its effectiveness.
How it works
The technicality of the Atkins diet is primarily straightforward. When you take in fewer carbohydrates, your body will not have enough to burn. As a result, it will automatically start to burn stored fat to generate energy.
The process through which the body begins to utilize saved fats for energy is called ketosis. As ketosis occurs, fat deposits diminish, ultimately causing you to lose weight faster and achieve better health.
Forms of the Atkins diet
The Atkins nutritional approach comes in three layouts, namely, the Atkins 20, the Atkins 40, and the Atkins 100. Each of these versions has distinctive directions, foods, and restrictions. The Atkin 20 is for individuals who desire to lose over 40 pounds, have type 2 diabetes, or have a waist circumference of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
On the other hand, Atkins 40 is for people who want to lose less than 40 pounds, pregnant or lactating moms, and those who wish to have more foods to choose. Lastly, Atkins 100 is recommended mainly for people who are looking to maintain their current weight.
The guidelines recommend that any prospective user consults with their doctor before selecting the version they want to follow.
Phases of the Atkins diet
The Atkins diet for weight loss is designed to fit people with different behaviors and preferences. By subdividing the process into 4 steps, it allows freedom to explore what works for you at every stage. Note that a phase can last from as little as 2 weeks to months, depending on your specific target.
Phase 1: The induction
The primary purpose of the induction phase is to introduce you to the weight loss journey and develop your body into a fat-burning engine. This phase requires you to cut the amount of carbs intake to around 20g per day so that the body will turn to burn fats for energy.
The carbs you consume should come from vegetables that are low in starch as you capitalize on foods high in fats and proteins. If you do not seek to lose too much weight or you are a vegetarian, you do not have to start at phase 1. The guidelines advise commencing your journey at phase one if:
- You desire to lose over 14 pounds.
- You have a slow metabolism.
- You have regained lost weight.
Phase 2: The balancing
After induction, you are probably able to tell habits from hunger, and your appetite is tuned to your new cause. The next step is to establish the amount of carbs you can consume while shedding pounds at a steady and comfortable pace.
You can gradually add more varieties of foods to your diet, including nuts, seeds, specific vegetables, and fruits. Starting at this phase is recommended for:
- Individuals who want to lose less than 14 pounds,
- Those who seek to lose weight at a slow pace,
- People who still want to enjoy food varieties while still losing weight.
Add 25g of carbs during the first week of the balancing phase and 30g in each subsequent week until you stop losing weight. Reduce the intake at this juncture by 5g till your weight loss restarts at a slow pace.
Phase 3: The pre-maintenance
The third phase of the Atkins diet for weight loss is to slow down drastic loss and to help establish a long-term routine of eating that keeps you happy and healthy. It is all about building your carb tolerance with your ideal weight in mind so that you know what will work for you in the long-term.
Everyone is different, which is why you should take the time to listen to your body as you add your carb intake by 10g per week. By using trial and error, you will finally discover the amount of carbs that your body can work with while maintaining a slow weight loss pace.
Experts advise not to add intake past 100g, drinking eight glasses of water per day and using a carbs counter to monitor your progress.
Phase 4: The maintenance
Upon successfully achieving your weight goal, you can now eat as many healthy carbs as you desire as long as you are not regaining weight. Phase 4 of the Atkins diet lets you adapt and enjoy a new low carb lifestyle.
You may reduce your fat intake as you raise your carbs intake as necessary. Remember that staying active is as important as dieting, especially during this phase.
What to eat
The Atkins diet for weight loss is particular when it comes to the selection of foods to eat. Some of the recommended foods include:
- Meat: beef, chicken, bacon, lamb
- Seafood: salmon, sardines, trout
- Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
- Omega-3 enriched eggs
- Dairy: cheese, cream, butter, and full-fat yogurt.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, macadamia, sunflower seeds, walnuts.
- Low carb veggies: kales, broccoli, spinach, asparagus
The main focus is to balance what works for you while minding your happiness.
What to avoid eating
Dieters should stay away from:
- Sugar: soft drinks and cakes
- Grains: wheat and rice
- Legumes: beans and chickpeas.
During phase 1, be keen to avoid high-carbs fruits such as bananas, grapes, and apples.
When on the Atkins diet, the most accepted drinks are water, coffee, and green tea. If you must take alcohol, try only to use dry wines that have no sugars.
As low carb diets emerge from all corners of the world, researchers are always conducting studies to determine the legitimate ones. The Atkins diet plan for weight loss, which has been modified numerous times since its discovery, is, without a doubt, one of the most effective and popular diet plans out there.
As you adopt the diet plan, remember that it works best when coupled with regular exercise. To encourage permanent change, try to think of the program as a lifestyle rather than a process.