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How to Start the Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet (officially called the Atkins Nutritional Approach) is not only a great way to lose weight quickly, but also a permanent lifestyle change. If you want to know how to start the Atkins diet right, it’s a good idea to get your hands on a copy of the newest book, “The New Atkins for a New You,” so that you have the most up-to-date info about this low-carb diet craze.

The four phases of Atkins:

The current Atkins diet plan consists of four different phases. Most people start the Atkins diet in Phase One: Induction, but where you start can depend upon a number of factors, such as how much weight you want to lose (and how quickly you want to lose it) and how far you are from your goal weight. Additional health issues and lifestyle choices may also affect which phase you start in. If you have more than 15 pounds to lose and would like to see results quickly, Induction is the best place to start because it is the most restrictive.

Many people confuse Induction with the Atkins plan in general, which becomes much less restrictive as you move through the four phases. You’ll likely lose less weight in phases two through four as you slowly add more carbs back into your diet. Going through each phase is important because it teaches you how many carbs your body can handle while still losing or maintaining weight. By phase four, you might be able to eat your favorite carbs again (hello cake and pizza!) in moderation, but others might find that the weight begins to creep back on. Acceptable carbs for nearly everyone during Phase Four: Lifetime Maintenance, include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Additional tips for how to start the Atkins diet:

Many people start the Atkins diet in an effort to lose weight quickly for a big event or vacation. While you’ll likely see quick results with the Atkins diet, its not a good idea to start this low-carb diet when you’re super stressed or actually on vacation. Although it’s not always possible, its best to start any new diet when you have more time to make your health and weight loss a priority. The night before you start the Atkins diet, have a few of your favorite carbs, because you won’t be seeing them again for quite some time if you want to reach your goal weight and stay there.

Then, remove as many carbs from your house as possible (family allowing) and stock up on acceptable Phase One foods, which include meat and poultry and low-carb veggies. Cheese and low-carb dressings can also be eaten in moderation. Eggs are a good choice because they contain few carbs and lots of protein, which is the heart and soul of the Atkins diet. To get you through those initial carb cravings, Atkins offers a wide variety of really yummy bars and shakes (just check the label to make sure that they are acceptable for all four phases).

You should now have an idea of how to start the Atkins diet, but be sure to get the book and read it from cover to cover before you get started. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect and are less likely to get discouraged or cheat (even unintentionally).