The Induction phase of the Atkins diet is one of the most important stepping-stones to successful weight loss. In addition to the list of acceptable foods, there are a few rules that are important to follow during this period of the diet.
During Induction, you need to eat three regular-sized meals per day or four to five smaller meals. If you find yourself jittery and hungry between meals, try breaking down your meals into smaller portions and eat more frequently.
How to deal with your carbohydrate cravings
In order to stave off carbohydrate cravings, you’ll need to constantly keep your body running on the proteins and vegetables on the plan. Never skip meals and never go more than six waking hours without eating.
You can eat freely from the list of acceptable foods. Do not restrict your fats and proteins. Eat as much of them as you like. Remember, the Atkins diet is not a calorie-restricted diet.
The only thing you need to worry about is your level of carbohydrate grams. Make sure to count your carbohydrate grams when you eat vegetables, cheese and beverages with Splenda.
At least 12-15 grams of your allowed carbohydrates should be from your vegetable list. While it may be tempting to eat them all in cheese, vegetables are important to your digestive system (especially while on this diet).
Avoid all fruit, bread, pasta, grains and starchy vegetables (like cauliflower or squash) during this initial period.
These foods will be slowly introduced throughout the course of the pre-maintenance phase. Although beans are high in protein, they also include carbohydrates and should be avoided during this phase.
If you feel that you must have some grain products, you should limit yourself to high fiber low-carbohydrate products. However, this may slow down your weight loss process.
Key Guidelines To Follow
Anything that isn’t on the acceptable food list is forbidden during the Induction phase. Don’t be tempted to just have “one bite.” Your one bite may turn into two, and then before you know it you’ll end up ruining your diet.
Remember to adjust the quantity of acceptable foods to suit your appetite. At the beginning of the Induction phase, you may find yourself eating much, much more than you will toward the end of the phase.
As your body breaks its addiction to sugar and carbohydrates, you will be less hungry throughout the day. When this starts to happen, make sure to eat only what you need. Eat until you are satisfied and not overly stuffed.
Always read the labels of packaged products, even if they claim they are “carb free.” You may find that some products have hidden carbohydrates.
The law allows manufacturers to round off to zero if a product has fewer than .5 grams of carbohydrates. Look at the list of ingredients for manufactured products to determine if there are hidden carbs.
You’ll also need to watch out for hidden carbohydrates when you eat out. There are small carbohydrate amounts in gravies, sauces and salad dressings.
The best bet is to eat your meat without sauce and eat your salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Remember to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water, in addition to anything else you might drink. This will keep your body hydrated and help you avoid constipation. You’ll also be able to flush out the by-products created by fat burning.
Keep all of these guidelines in mind when you start the induction phase and you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success with the Atkins diet.
Atkins Diet Explained
The basic principle of the Atkins diet is that a state of ketosis will help you burn your fat stores as energy. Many people, even those who are on low carbohydrate diets, don’t quite understand ketosis and why it works.
Most diets are calorie-reduction diets. They help you lose weight, but some of the weight is from fat and some of it is from lean muscle tissue.
While you may look smaller on the scale, your metabolism is actually slowing down. The more muscle you lose the slower your metabolism will be. This makes losing weight more difficult and gaining weight back even simpler.
The Atkins diet, on the other hand, is carbohydrate restrictive. It creates a state of ketosis in your body that burns only fat, and not muscle.
The primary source of your energy for your body will be fat in the form of ketones. Your liver will convert fat into ketones and it cannot be converted back. It will be excreted naturally.
Ketones are actual a normally and efficient source of fuel for the human body. They are created in the liver from the fatty acids that result from the breakdown of body fat.
These only appear when there is an absence of glucose and sugar. In the Atkins diet, you reduce the amount of glucose and sugar that is in the bloodstream.
As a result, your body produces ketones for fuel. When your body is creating ketones it is called ketosis.
Misconceptions About The Atkins Diet
There is a common misconception that following a ketogenic diet like Atkins is dangerous. The truth is that being in ketosis is a completely naturally state. The human body creates ketones to use as fuel in the absence of glucose.
In the Atkins diet book, Dr. Atkins suggests using ketone-testing strips to determine your state of ketosis during dieting. These small plastic strips are held in the urine stream and contain a special chemically treated absorptive pad.
This pad will change color if ketones are present in the urine. With the presence of ketones, the strip will change varying shades of pink to purple. There is a color scale on the label of the bottle that will help you determine your ketone levels.
Ketone strips are available in any pharmacy and can be found among the diabetic supplies. In some stores, they are kept behind the counter so you may have to ask for them. You won’t need a prescription to buy them though.
Once you open a package of ketosis strips they have a shelf life of 6 months. It may be helpful to mark the opening date on the box.
Ketone strips will let you know if you are progressing correctly on the Atkins diet. If you are following the Induction plan to the letter and aren’t seeing purple, don’t worry.
Some people never show trace amounts of ketones or they may show just above the minimum line. As long as you are losing weight and inches then you are successfully using ketones.
Also, if you’ve just exercised a few hours before using the strips, you may not see purple.
Some dieters may mistakenly believe that a dark purple result on the testing strips means that they are losing weight faster. Actually, the darkest purple color is a sign of dehydration.
It means that your urine is too concentrated and you need to drink water.
Ketones come from fat in the bloodstream, whether it is fat that you eat or fat that you burn.
So if you eat a meal heavy in fat and then immediately use a testing strip, then you’ll see a dark purple result. Use the strips as a guide, but don’t get hung up on the color.
Reaching a state of ketosis is key to success on the Atkins diet and it as simple as eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Make sure to follow the eating plan correctly and use the ketone testing strips as needed.