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How to Do the Atkins Diet Right?

2012-12-29 09:57

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Let me tell you something - if you are doing the Atkins Diet, you might be doing it WRONG. I have been on diet forums for years, have consulted thousands of people on low carb diets, and I am seeing it again and again. People don't know how to implement a low carb diet. Very often people fail to lose weight or to adapt to the low carb life style. Many people give it up after a couple of days because they don't know how to do it right. The Atkins Diet is the most famous low carb diet, but it is full of pitfalls just waiting for you to walk into.

Rule 1:

Calories DO count. You must count both carbs AND caloriesSome of you may believe that losing weight is just a matter of reducing carbohydrates. In fact, many do. Hunting for hidden carbs and totally neglecting the calories you eat is setting you up for failure. The only reason that low carb diets work is that they reduce your appetite. You end up eating fewer CALORIES, and lose weight.

The problem is that not all people start eating fewer calories after switching to a low carb diet. The only 100% bulletproof method of losing weight is by counting calories. Don't rely on simply reducing carbohydrates. Eat less carbs AND less calories. Count calories! It is much easier to restrict calories when you are on a low carb diet, because you won't feel as hungry as with high-carb diets.

Rule 2: Going straight to 20 grams of carbs per day is a NO-NO

The Atkins Diet has you eating only 20 grams of carbs a day during the first two weeks on the diet. After that, you are advised to gradually increase the number of carbs you eat. I strongly urge you to reverse the order of events. Start eating 80 or more grams of carbs per day, count calories and then reduce them more if you want to.

My reasoning for doing so is very simple. During the adaptation period you will lack energy because you have taken out the carbs, and you need time to make the fat burning enzymes to use more fat for fuel. If you suddenly start eating a super low amount of carbs, you will feel totally out of energy, because your body cannot manufacture quickly that many fat burning enzymes. However, when you reduce the carbohydrates GRADUALLY, you give your body a chance to adapt to the diet without the misery of being lethargic.

You can even start by eating 150 grams of carbs a day for the first week, and then reduce them to 100 grams for the second and so on. You won't be so fatigued, and because you count calories you are losing weight.You should expect a period of about one to two weeks when you won't have much energy, but this will pass. Don't give up just because you lack energy. This is temporary. If you listen to me and gradually reduce the carbs, you will experience a much less-pronounced drop of physical and mental performance.

Rule 3: Calories control your bodyweight, NOT carbohydrates.

If you eat less calories than you burn, you are going to lose weight no matter how many carbs you consume. You don't need to go super low on the carbohydrates to experience the typical loss of appetite that is so important to be successful at dieting. I eat about 50-80 grams of carbs a day year-round, and I have single digit body fat %. That's because I control both carbs and calories.

You won't be able to eat just 20 grams of carbs for a long time. It is too impractical, hard-to-do and unnecessary. You will do fine eating 80 grams of carbs a day, as long as you count calories.

Rule 4: Don't give up your Coffee

Atkins advises that you avoid caffeine and only drink decaffeinated coffee. This is totally unnecessary. If you are used to drinking coffee, just continue to do so. You will have a much easier adaptation period. Coffee makes your body burn more fat, and helps you adapt to fat burning faster. Coffee also suppresses your appetite, and has a mild thermogenic effect (you burn more calories). Last but not least, coffee is very addictive and hard to give up. I know a couple of people who gave up the Atkins Diet just because he says to stop drinking coffee! I am telling you - Coffee will help your weight loss efforts. It is totally unnecessary to give it up.

Rule 5: Don't avoid milk and yogurt products

Eating plain yogurt is associated with weight loss for some mysterious reason. Researchers speculate that it is the Calcium in milk products that helps with weight loss. Whatever the reason, milk and yogurt are good for your health and weight l

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