Since I am getting a lot of questions about Atkins, I thought I might address some of them at one time.
How long can I do the Induction Phase?
That really depends on how much weight you have to lose. If you have 30 or more pounds to lose you can stay on the induction for months on end. Once you start losing your momentum or plateau in your weight loss you will need to add some carbohydrates to your diet. If you get within 10-15 lb. of your goal weight you will want to start adding carbs and slowly lose the last few pounds. This allows you to stabilize at your new weight and keeps you from rebounding up in weight quickly.
Do I have to use the Keto-sticks?
Yes, in the first month or two. When you are tapering off the On-going Weight Loss phase (OWL) they aren't as important. If you ever gain back five pounds or more you must get back on the Induction Phase and start monitoring your ketosis. Make a 5-pound weight gain your upper limit for restarting the Induction Phase.
How often should I weigh and measure myself?
Once a week is the maximum you should weigh yourself and retake your measurements. I suggest you chart the following: Chest, abdomen (at the belly button), hips, mid-thigh, mid calf and mid upper arm (biceps). You should have your body fat tested once a month by either the caliper or impedance methods. Both of these are available at the office. If you are worried about your cholesterol and triglycerides you can get your blood tested every 3-6 months.
I'm doing the Induction Phase but I'm not losing weight.
First, make sure that you are not trying to do a low-fat version of the diet. You need to get those fats in your diet before you will start burning fats as a fuel. That is the whole point of the diet is to shift your body from sugar burning to fat burning.
Second, have I checked you to make sure that your thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, pituitary, etc. are working properly? Have you been checked for dysbiosis, yeast or parasites? All of the above could stop your progress on the diet.
Thirdly, do you need to lose less than 10 lb.? If you are only a few pounds over-weight it may be overkill to put yourself on the induction phase. You should instead be following the pre-maintenance phase of the diet. You slowly want to enter the maintenance phase by adjusting your carb intake up and down as needed until you reach your goal weight. The purpose of the lopsided design of the Atkins diet is to counter-balance years of dietary indiscretions. As you get closer to your goal weight, your diet should get more and more balanced. Add more veggies and fruit but still avoid the grains at first. Eventually, you may be able to eat the grains again, too.
Why do I feel dehydrated all the time?
It is probably because you really are dehydrated. Ketosis seems to increase your body's demand for water and minerals. If you are experiencing dry lips or skin, increase your water, mineral and oil intake. I've rarely had to use Chap Stick but the first month on the diet had me using it all the time.
I did great for months but now it has been two weeks since I lost any weight, what's wrong?
If you have been doing the Induction Phase and sudden stop losing weight you have hit a plateau. To get back losing again, try adding more carbs to your diet for a day or two. That may jump-start your weight loss again. If it has really been 2 weeks on a plateau, you can take a day and eat whatever you want then get back on the diet the next day. You may feel bloated and sluggish for a day but you'll get back into ketosis in a day or so and will start losing again. Don't get carried away with this and try to extend it for a whole week! Sometimes your body needs a dietary change to kick the metabolism up again.
How much can I cheat?
In the first two weeks the answer is none, zero, zip and zilch. Do I make my point clear? If you cheat you will not switch your body over to fat burning from sugar burning. You will not get into ketosis and worst of all, you will still have food cravings. Ketosis acts as a natural appetite suppressant and makes you less hungry. Cheating even a little will end this ketosis and you will have to start suffering through the first few days all over again. Also, even though you don't count calories on this diet, if you eat tons of food you will not lose as much weight. Try not to stuff yourself like you have in the past. Chew your food slowly and eat until you are satisfied but not stuffed. Eat at least 3 meals a day and don't let more than 6 hours pass during the day without eating.
If you have any other questions you can call the office or email me and I will try to help. You can also go to Dr. Atkins' web site at www.Atkinscenter.com.
Dr. Craig Reese, D.C.