1. Read the book, "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution" (2002), and read it through to understand the principles of the diet and the long-term maintenance you'll follow after reaching your goal weight. (The newer Atkins book, "Atkins for Life", is for people who have reached their goal, and are on Maintenance. It is not a weight loss book. It is great, but save that for later.)
2. Make the commitment to yourself that you want to lose the weight and then follow-through to maintain it for the rest of your life. This is not a "magic bullet" diet that you abandon once you've reached your goal weight.
3. Prepare your kitchen! Give away or throw out all foods that are not allowed on this way of eating. Food pantries and homeless shelters are always in need of donations for food that is unopened and non-perishable! Other ideas if you do not want to throw away good food - have a party, cook it all up and let everyone take the left-overs home in disposable gladware containers!
4. Plan for your first two weeks in advance. Using the Acceptable Foods List (What foods can be eaten on Induction?), plan out what you'll eat for the first two weeks. Where possible, shop for your foods at the beginning of each week to be sure you have them on hand and aren't "searching" for something you can eat when you're hungry.
5. Create "snack packs" of items that are allowed on Induction (the first phase) that are low or no carb treats to have handy if you're hungry and want a snack by portioning out into mini-ziploc baggies. Hard boil some eggs for quick snacks.
6. Use online sites to find low-carb recipes acceptable in Induction to keep your meals creative and varied...this will diminish boredom in the first two weeks and help to prevent "cheating". Don't eat the same old thing everyday - it will get boring fast!
7. Weigh yourself the morning of day 1 so you know where you're starting. Weigh yourself no more than 2 times a week the first two weeks!
8. Measure yourself so you know not only what your starting weight is, but also your starting measurements. Using a tape measure, measure around your upper arms, around your upper thighs, around the largest point of your calves, around the largest point in your hips, around the smallest section of your waist, and your chest - if you're male to measure your chest, measure at the largest point.....if you're female, measure first under your breast (where your bra is) and then also take a measurement over your breasts.
9. Plan strategies to overcome urges and cravings for carbohydrate and sugar-laden foods. Cravings come and go in the first two weeks, with the goal being to eliminate the cravings within the first two weeks by eliminating foods that traditionally trigger cravings. Before you start Atkins, determine what you'll do if you do have a craving - perhaps take a walk, call a friend or read a book....whatever you know will take your mind off of the craving and allow you time and space needed to get past it.
10. Determine what supplements you'll need to be taking. Because the first two weeks in Induction require the elimination of particular foods, that will be later re-introduced, but for the time being are "no-no's" you'll need to consider an assortment of supplements to insure you're getting all the nutrients your body will need to be healthy.
11. Have a blood workup done by your doctor to establish your starting cholesterol, sugar and other blood levels. This will provide a baseline for you as you follow Atkins. It will provide milestones of blood levels improving for you to have tangible results to see not only in what is seen on the outside of your body in terms of weight, but also what's happening on the inside that's good for your long-term health.
12. Talk to your doctor about the types of medication you may be taking and how dosage may change as you lose weight. Many medications are prescribed based on weight and lifestyle!
13. Keep a journal from day one. Whether your journal is hand-written or an online journal, this is a great way to keep track of what you're eating each day and will allow you, over time, to understand which foods (if any) cause you to stall or lose more slowly than you can. It would be good to purchase a nice, pocket-size food journal that can go with you everywhere.
14. Drink lots of water! Atkins, during the initial phases, places your body into a state of ketosis....to burn your dietary and body fat for fuel rather than the sugars from carbohydrates. By insuring your drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of plain water a day plus an additional 8 oz for every 25 pounds you need to lose, you'll keep the ketones produced in the fat burning process flushed from your body.
15. Print three copies of the Acceptable Foods List
. Place one in your purse or wallet for reference, place one on your refrigerator and keep one handy at work. Use the list while you're out in restaurants, shopping at the market or when you're not sure what is allowed and what isn't.
16. Measure everything you eat religiously the first two weeks. This will help you learn how large a portion is that is acceptable on Atkins. Because you're measuring, you'll better know how many carbs are in everything you're eating and those things that have no carbs at all.
17. Count every last 0.1g of carbs! The trace carbs, those that are just 10th's of a percent of one gram add up if you're not counting them!
18. Have access to a carb gram counter! Not all foods are labeled to tell you how many carbs are really in a given serving. Because the labeling laws are such that servings containing less than 0.5 g or 1 g carbohydrate may be listed on the label as "0 g" or "less than 1 g", respectively, you need to know where "hidden" carbs are - like in heavy cream (0.42 net carbs per tbsp).
19. Find support for your new way of eating! By utilizing online support boards you can ask questions, get help and even "show off" your weight loss to the community online!
20. Take a "before" photo on day one. This will give you perspective when you're losing over the short and long-term of how much weight you are losing. Often when we're losing, because we see ourselves everyday, we do not "see" the weight loss for how dramatic it really is -- having a photo to compare your "new" you to definitely helps you to see the difference!
21. Don't worry about fats during Induction! Set aside your disbelief for two weeks and include fats from butter, olive oil, salad dressings, etc. in your diet without trying to limit them or follow something "low-fat"....this will be counter-productive to the ketosis process your body is in.
22. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles wherever possible! Along the perimeter you'll find your acceptable dairy products, meats, cheeses and vegetables! Aisle shop only when you must.
23. Read every label carefully when buying food....check the carbohydrate total and the dietary fiber listed to understand if an item is allowed. For the most part, the first two weeks include few "pre-packaged" items - but those items that are packaged and with labels should be read carefully.
24. Avoid all low-carb and controlled-carb products made to replace the regular, high-carb items you're avoiding.....bread, candy bars, pancakes, muffins, cereals, etc......once you're past Induction and on your way to goal, use these products as occasional treats!
25. Exercise! Even if you only go for a short walk each night, begin to introduce some form of exercise into your day. Exercise is not only good for you because it gets you moving - it helps you burn more fat even when you've stopped moving! Muscles, after being exercised, continue to burn calories and keep metabolism levels higher than when you haven't exercised at all. In addition, new muscle will be built, providing tone to your body as you're losing weight.
26. Spread your carbs out throughout the day! Don't eat all 20g in one sitting, but enjoy them throughout your day....this will help your body adjust to the lower amount of carbs you're eating and also satisfy your desire for carbs initially.
27. Prepare yourself for nay-sayers and those who will tell you this way of eating will not work, is dangerous or will harm your health. This is something you WILL encounter and it's best to just not get defensive about it. Stick to your way of eating if it's working for you and let the naysayers naysay.
28. Prepare yourself for saboteurs - those who will actively look to sabotage your efforts to lose weight. Not every saboteur is obvious - so be prepared to stand your ground and eat what you're allowed and not fall to the temptation to take "just one bite" of something not allowed on the plan....long-term passing the temptations by is so worth it for your health and well-being!
29. Start on a day that will allow you to get through the "detox" period (about three days) without distractions - a Thursday is usually a good start day since the weekend will allow you rest to get past the "headachy" feeling you'll experience as your body rids itself of the glucose in your system and switches to fat burning ketosis.....you will get a headache, just be prepared for it!
30. Write down all the reasons you want to lose weight. Keep this list of reasons somewhere handy and refer to it when you're tempted to eat things not allowed at this point in time....having your own personal list of reasons at the ready, in black and white, can be a very strong motivator to say "no" to whatever it was you were thinking about eating if you stop for a moment, read your list and give it some thought before eating whatever it was you wanted to eat.
31. Enlist the help of a friend, if you can. Often losing weight and sticking to a plan is easier as a "team" - if you have a good friend you can do this with, you can help and support each other as you both progress through the different phases and reach your goals together.
32. Establish "short term goals" for yourself, with rewards for when you reach these short-term goals! No matter how much you have to lose, having a number of smaller milestones along the way will help keep you motivated - especially if you have a reward you'll give yourself at each successful milestone!
Maybe reward yourself with that book you want to read at your first 5 pound loss, the cool earrings you saw at the mall at the next 5 pound loss, the smaller size sweater at the next 5 pound loss, etc.....whatever you decide are milestones and your rewards are up to you - but reward yourself along the way without rewarding yourself with food.
33. Plan something "big" for when you reach your long-term goal weight....maybe a trip somewhere, or a special outfit, or a day at the spa - again, whatever you decide will work for you - it's your reward for sticking with it and seeing the plan through to your goal weight.
34. Keep track of "cheat-free days" - if necessary establish rewards for staying course for a set number of days (say, 90 days cheat free - three months) and let each day you don't cheat be one day closer to your reward.....and one day closer to your goals.
35. Do this ONLY for you. Only if you start a new way of eating for you will it work long-term....if you're looking to lose weight to please someone else, you'll never be happy with your loss since it wasn't for you.
36. Realize this isn't a "diet" - it's a way of eating (WoE) and a way of life (WoL). While you may begin this way of eating as a diet, it needs to evolve into your long-term way of eating for long-term success. You won't be in Induction forever and many of the things you're not eating now can and will be re-introduced into your way of eating later as you progress into Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Maintenance.
37. Record how much you lose the first two weeks on Atkins - this is the strongest predictor of how many carbs you'll be able to ramp-up to incrementally long-term. If you know how much you lost in your first two weeks, you'll have a good idea of how many carbs you'll be able to re-introduce into your way of eating for the long-term. You'll learn more about that when you're moving forward though!
38. Educate yourself as you go - learn more about the Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Load. Read up on the latest research available about low-carb eating. Learn about your metabolism and how it makes and uses energy from what we eat. Read about other low-carb plans etc. Remember, knowledge is power!
39. Ask questions! Part of learning is asking questions...finding answers. Low-carb is very different than how many have been taught to eat, and when you have a question, it's best to ask and find out why you're doing or eating something rather than just do it and not know why. Not only is the internet a great place to find information, but the message boards are filled with veterans of this way of eating who are happy to answer your questions.
40. BRAG! When you're losing - brag about it....don't be afraid to say "I did it - look at me go!"
Simba, you have forgotten me. You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Look inside your self Simba, you are more than what you have become, you must take your place in the circle of life. Remember who you are.... Remember.... - Mufasa
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SlushKitty's Journal:http://www.atkinsdietbulletinboard.com/forums/cheat-free-group/97529.htmThou shalt not weigh more, than thy refrigerator.