Are you overweight and want to shed pounds? Are you not happy with your weight? Have you tried everything and not yet able to lose weight? For all such reasons, weight loss may be a problem for the majority of people.
The wait is over and this article is a complete guide on something which has won a million hearts for its effective effects. This program is called The Atkins diet. It is basically a low carbohydrate plan which focuses more on protein intake. It is highly recommended for abrupt weight loss.
What are the basic things to know?
The basic plan is to lose weight by eating as many proteins as possible. You are even allowed to eat fats as much as you can. The only thing you need to reduce is your carbohydrate intake. You need to limit the carbohydrate to a certain level.
There are so many diet plans available in the market, all of which claim for weight loss. However, the scientific research says that losing weight through crash diet can cause major health complications so this idea is not supported.
The best about Atkins diet plan is that there is nothing like a restricted amount of food. Only you need to set portions and leave a few things. It is a lot better than eating barely anything in the entire day and making your weight loss abnormal.
Who is the founder of Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet is formulated and presented by a nutritionist whose name is Dr. Robert C. Atkins. He wrote his bestselling book on it which was published in 1972. Now you know how this diet got its name.
Since 1972, Atkins diet has gained enormous success and best response by the people around the world. It has helped over millions of people, for which weight loss was next to impossible. Other than the original book, there are so many books published till the date, which explain the working of Atkins diet.
The early response to Atkins diet
At the start, Atkins diet was not given a good response at all. It is pretty normal to reject any revolutionary idea, historically evident. Atkins diet was not considered healthy. The health authorities opposed it for the high amount of statured fat consumption which was thought to be unhealthy. However, the later studies proved that they don’t cause any harm.
Only after knowing this, the popularity of Atkins diet faced no complication. Despite being of high fat intake, this diet doesn’t cause an increase in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol.
The thing which initiates the extreme weight loss is the low carbohydrate intake. It is helpful in the best possible way. All the energy and nutritional requirements are fulfilled by the proteins, which Atkins diet emphasize.
What is the Atkins diet plan?
The Atkins diet is a four-phase plan which is basically four different phases. Let’s look at each one of these individually.
PHASE ONE- Induction phase
You consume below 20 grams of carbs only for a maximum of two weeks. You can eat a high amount of fats and proteins. But carbohydrates are restricted. Which means that you can only eat low carbohydrate vegetables. This is the first step which kick starts the diet.
PHASE TWO- Balancing phase
This stage is when your body is already on the weight loss plan. It enables you to enjoy nuts, vegetables and some prescribed fruits only.
PHASE THREE- Body toning phase
The third step is when the body is on its track to lose weight and you are very close to complete your target weight. At this stage, you can add carbohydrates but the portion size should be maintained. At this stage, your body undergoes muscle toning for a defined physique.
PHASE FOUR- Maintenance phase
This is the last period which starts after you meet your targets. It enables you to maintain your weight so that your lost weight doesn’t show up again. You can continue it for as long as you can.
These phases are not that simple as they may show up. They are a little complicated and you should understand and know all the basic details before starting any of these. Some people skip phases or start from in between. However this may bring some results but for the accurate results, you should follow the prescribed pattern only.
Which foods can you eat?
You only have a limited number of food items available to you, some of which are as follows.
- Meat: Lamb, chicken, beef, pork etc
- Seafood: fish (salmon, trout etc)
- Eggs: Omega 3 specially enriched eggs
- Vegetables: Low carb veggies i.e. spinach, broccoli, kale etc
- Dairy: Butter, cream, cheese, yogurt etc
- Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds etc
- Fats: Coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil etc.
Which foods can you not eat?
Like there are foods which you are allowed to eat, there are foods which you cannot eat at any cost. If you still eat them, it will make your weight loss plan go wasted. Some of these foods are;
- Sugar: any food recipe with sugar including drinks, ice creams, and desserts.
- Grains: Wheat, rice, barley etc.
- Oils: vegetable oils i.e. corn oil, soybean oil etc.
- Trans fats and processed foods
- Diet foods
- The high amount of carbohydrates: carrots, turnips, bananas, apples, etc, however, you can eat them in induction phase only.
- Starch: Potatoes etc.
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils etc.
How to add the foods back in diet?
Once your weight loss target is achieved, you are at induction phase. The last phase of Atkins diet is the maintenance phase which tells you how to maintain this lost weight. As per Dr. Atkins. you should slowly incorporate the high carbohydrate foods in diet once you meet your goal.
Even this step needs administration. It is not just that you will start eating what you like. Rather a control strategy should be followed. This phase is flexible but you are not free to eat anything you see.
During the induction phase, a part of maintenance phase starts. Once the induction has is over, you should start taking healthy carbohydrate foods again. Go for healthier and nutritionally beneficial option rather than eating the unhealthy food combinations.
The best is to maintain a moderate low to medium carbohydrate-rich food even if you have lost your desired weight. If you will start eating what you used to eat before Atkins diet, you will go back to your old weight in no time. While this idea of diet will be useless in this way.
What can you eat rarely on this diet?
There are some food options which are not preferred but you can eat at some time. Some of these things are as follows.
- Heavy cream
- Cream cheese
- Dark chocolate
These are only a few examples and there are actually a lot of them. These foods generally look fattening foods but with a controlled portion size, you can occasionally eat them.
What are the choices for the drink?
If you think that it’s only the solid food that matters, you are wrong. The choices of drink matter equally. Here are a few options which are acceptable for Atkins diet.
- Water: You can take plenty of it.
- Coffee: You can take it but without sugar and less or without milk.
- Black tea: You can take it but without sugar and less milk.
- Green tea: It’s a very healthy option but doesn’t add sugar to it.
Try not to drink alcohol but a small amount of alcohol is fine. Do not use high carbohydrate alcohol like beer.
How can a vegetarian do this diet?
If you are a vegetarian or even vegan, there are possibilities to do this diet but it is comparatively difficult for such people. The proteins which you can eat are mainly soy-based proteins. You can eat more nuts and seeds. Use more oils for fulfilling your fat sources.
How to maintain Atkins diet when you dine out?
If you hang out a lot and are worried that you wouldn’t be able to carry out your diet there, here are a few tips which you can try.
- Order a high protein meal, preferably grilled with less oil.
- You can eat grilled or baked but not fried fish.
- Get a side of vegetables instead of bread, potatoes, rice etc.
- Eat some butter, olive oil or other forms of fats with your meal.
- Try to do walk or a little physical work when you get home.