The Atkins diet is one of the most straightforward weight loss plans to follow. Although the principles are set out in the books, some common misconceptions occur for dieters. These mistakes can make a big difference in the amount of weight you lose and the effectiveness of the diet overall. If Atkins isn’t working for you, or you find yourself suddenly gaining weight after weeks of effective dieting, make sure you aren’t making any of these common mistakes.
First, make sure to be patient with your weight loss. This is perfectly normal if you lose 8 lbs per week on the Induction phase and then slow down once you enter the ongoing weight loss phase. The level of carbohydrate grams that are acceptable on the Induction portion of the diet is not meant to carry you through the rest of your dieting experience. Induction is meant to break you of carbohydrate cravings and detoxify your body from sugar. Starting with the ongoing weight loss phase, you will begin introducing small levels of carbohydrate grams each week. This may slow down weight loss a bit from the level it was at during Induction, but this is completely normal.
Also, people are different and react differently to the diet. Some people lose weight in spurts, and others lose weight more steadily. A plateau can last for a few weeks, and then voila, you’ve lost five pounds in a matter of a few days.
Make sure you are avoiding caffeine in all of its forms, as well as aspartame, a common artificial sweetener. Both of these chemicals can impact blood sugar levels negatively. Look out for caffeine in coffee and diet sodas. Watch out for aspartame in diet sodas and sugar-free gelatin. These can cause cravings for sugar and take your body out of ketosis after just one serving.
Watch your daily intake of cheese. Although cheese is on the acceptable foods list, it does have a small number of carbohydrates. Your best bet is to limit your cheese intake to 4 oz per day. You can have more on special occasions, but it should not be used as your mainstay for protein. Meats, eggs, and tofu are much better choices and don’t contain carbohydrate grams.
Remember to emphasize vegetables during Induction and beyond. Your carbohydrate grams should be primarily derived from leafy, green vegetables and other acceptable vegetable choices. Vegetables fill you up without spiking your blood sugar. They provide essential fiber and nutrients that help your weight loss efforts and overall health. After Induction, you should have 3-4 cups of salad and 1 cup of cooked vegetables each day. Make sure the vegetables you are using are on the acceptable foods list. Eliminating vegetables from your diet can shut down your metabolism and cause your weight loss to stall.
It is also very important that you eat regularly while you are on the Atkins plan. Never go more than five waking hours without eating a combined snack of protein and fats. Two things happen when you skip meals. First, you cause a blood sugar drop that will have you craving carbohydrates like bread and sugar. Secondly, continued periods of not eating will slow down your metabolism and make it even harder to lose weight.
Finally, make sure you are drinking enough water each day. Water has a myriad of benefits for every human being, not just those on the Atkins diet. Thirst can sometimes be masked as hunger, so staying well hydrated will keep you from craving foods you shouldn’t be eating. Water also helps you avoid constipation, which is an occasional side effect of the Atkins diet. Drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day will also help you flush out the toxins from your system produced when you burn fat.
These common mistakes can make people frustrated with the Atkins diet when there is no need to be. If you are just starting out on a diet, make sure to prepare yourself for these mistakes. If you’ve been on a diet for some time, evaluate your eating habits and make sure you are following the program correctly.