Overcoming plateaus on the Atkins diet
If you are experiencing a stall or plateau in your lo carb Atkins weight loss efforts, you are not alone. This occurs from time to time. However, you first must make sure that you have actually reached a plateau point.
A plateau means that you have gone an extended period of time without losing weight or inches. It’s important to take your measurements before you start your weight loss plan, in addition to your weight. On some weeks it may not seem like you are losing any at all on the scale. But a quick look at your measurements will prove otherwise.
On the low carb Atkins diet you are replacing fat with muscle, which is denser and heavier. You might actually gain a little weight because you are building muscle to replace your fat. The result will be an increase on the scale, but a decrease in your inches. Your body will be smaller and leaner, but you may weigh the same.
Before you start your program, measure your chest, waist, hips, upper arms, thighs and calves. You never know where you may be losing inches, so it’s important to have these comprehensive measurements to refer to. It is normal to go through periods where you body is readjusting. Remember that you are reforming the composition of your body and this process will take some time. Check your measurements once a week, just like your weight, and you can track your overall progress.
There may be periods of 3 to 4 weeks where you have a stall in weight loss, but a loss in inches. Or vice versa. Using both methods to track your fat loss is the best assurance for an accurate measure of your progress. These stall periods are not a reason to quit or to give up. They are natural parts of the weight loss process.
Stalls may occur more frequently if you are 5 to 10 pounds away from being at your goal weight. By following a low-carb, high-protein way of eating you have created a lot more muscle in your body. Your muscle-to-fat ratio is higher than ever before, so your body might be resisting losing anymore fat. It may be time to rethink your goal weight. Perhaps your body is trying to tell you something and its time to start maintaining your weight loss rather than trying to lose more.
There are some other possible causes of stalls and plateaus on the road to weight loss. If you’ve gone four weeks with no change in weight or measurements and you are nowhere near your goal weight, you can try a few different methods to get yourself out of the rut. First, make sure your carbohydrate level is in check. If you are eating too many carbohydrate grams per day, your weight loss will stall. Look for hidden carbohydrates in packaged foods, dressings and sauces to make sure they aren’t the culprits in your plateau.
Check your daily water intake. When you are dehydrated, your body will retain water and that can mimic a plateau. Water will also help flush ketones from your system and make more room for new fat burning ketones.
Undereating can also be a cause for weight loss plateaus. Make sure not to let yourself go hungry and eat smaller, more frequent meals. Remember, you are on a carbohydrate-restricted diet, not a calorie-restricted diet. Make sure to have some protein with every meal and snack. Never go more than 5 hours without eating something (except overnight of course). Also, eat freely from the acceptable foods. Don’t try to count calories or restrict your calorie intake. When your body gets too few calories, it goes into starvation mode and will hold onto fat cells.
Increasing your exercise level can help get you through a plateau as well. As your muscles get used to working out at a certain level, you’ll have to increase the duration or the intensity in order to keep challenging your body. Add a new exercise into the mix, or try increasing weight in resistance training.
Trying one of these methods will most likely get your weight loss back on track. Remember that occasional stalls are normal, but they do not have to last.
Is Atkins right for you
The Atkins diet is very popular, but is it right for you? Before you start down the low carb road, you should take some time to decide whether low carb is the right way for you to lose weight. Just because it has been effective for others doesn’t mean it will be right for you. No specific diet works for everyone, and you may even find that a type of low carb diet that works better for you than another. There are many things to consider before you start the Atkins diet.
First, evaluate your past dieting history. If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long period of time, you’ve no doubt tried a wide variety of diets. Take note of the different diets you’ve tried over the years. Write down the basics of each diet, what worked and what didn’t. Also, write down why you didn’t stay on the particular diet. Evaluate your experience with high carbohydrate diets. These types of diets include most low-fat and calorie controlled diets. How did you feel while on these types of diets? Were you hungry, obsessed with food or experiencing negative reactions? Or did you feel full of energy and generally good?
If you’ve had experience with low carb diets, write that down as well. Past the negative effects of the first week, how did eating low carb make you feel? Why did you stop using the low carb diet?
The answers to these questions will help you decide whether Atkins is right for you or not. If you’ve had good experiences with low-fat diets and bad experiences with other low carb diets, then Atkins is probably not for you. If other low-carb diets have worked but not without difficulty, then you may have been on the wrong type of low-carb diet and Atkins might work better. If you’ve had bad experiences with both types of diets, then you may have better success with a modified Atkins diet.
Your food and eating behaviors can also give you a clue to whether or not Atkins is a good choice for your weight loss efforts. Carb sensitivities are indicated by a certain set of behaviors. You may be carb sensitive if you feel like eating right after you’ve finished a meal. You will also feel strong urges to eat throughout the day. You may feel dizzy, fuzzyheaded and fatigued without getting a boost from sugar or another carbohydrate. Carb sensitivity is also shown when you feel sluggish after eating. This occurs especially after you eat a meal rich in sugars and carbohydrates. If you experience these symptoms frequently, you may have carb sensitivities. Try paying close attention to how carbohydrates affect you and if you continue to experience these symptoms, try doing a low carb diet.
Your success on the Atkins diet can also be determined by your medical and family history. If you have any pre-diabetic symptoms, or diabetes itself, a reduced carb diet like Atkins may be right for you. Significant weight gain can also be helped by the Atkins diet. Normally, the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high blood glucose.
If any member of your family has diabetes or is significantly overweight, this can also put you at risk for these conditions. Your tendency toward these conditions on a genetic level can mark a necessity for a low carbohydrate diet like Atkins. The Atkins plan has been shown to improve weight and control blood sugar issues. If these are problems in your family history, then you may want to consider the Atkins diet.
There are a lot of good reasons to try the Atkins diet. Whether you have responded well to other low carb diets in the past or you have a medical history that warrants a controlled carbohydrate diet, the Atkins diet can meet your needs.