The Atkins Diet Rules Explained

By Kevin Urban

Following the Atkins Diet rules helped me to lose 120 pounds in about eighteen months. While I am thrilled with the results, I found that when I first started the hardest part was sticking with rules until I got a real feel for what I could and couldn’t do as I went through the four phases.

It sounds funny, but the part of the diet that I actually found easiest was also the strictest – the Atkins Diet Induction rules. I was on this phase for about two weeks, and it really kicked off my weight loss. The reason I found it so easy was because it was so strict. There was very little room for “fudging” the diet because the guidelines were so specific.

Induction Rules

The Induction rules are very straightforward: Lots of protein and a healthy amount of fats. No refined sugar or wheat products. Lots of water and liquids that don’t contain sugar or sweeteners (except some Splenda).

Eat till Satisfied, but NOT Stuffed

I ate three meals a day without fail – it was important to do this so that my body adjusted to burning off the fat and not going into a “fasting” mode when I went too long without eating. I also stuck with one of the cardinal rules of the Atkins program – I ate until I felt full and satisfied, but not stuffed. I found that over time that I had this feeling of satisfaction sooner rather than later, so I learned to really listen to my body.

Stick to the Allowed Foods on the List

I never ate margarine or hydrogenated oils or trans fats. Even a little bit of these can stall an entire day’s worth of eating properly according to the rules. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt were out, as was fruit and fruit juice. Grains were a big no-no, and I paid attention to these rules.

Eat the Proper Amounts

I also paid attention to amounts – for instance, only three or four ounces of cheese and no more. It can be tempting to eat a lot of the things you are allowed, but you need to keep the quantities in balance. If you’re still hungry and have already eaten your allowance of cheese, for instance, eat some meat or add more salad vegetables to your diet. This is easy to do because Dr. Atkins’ Induction diet rules call for up to three whole cups of salad greens every day!

Surprisingly, since I knew exactly what was permitted, it was easy for me to stick to the Atkins diet menu. I just kept a list of acceptable foods handy (a copy of the rules on my refrigerator and another in my wallet for eating out) at all times. I knew this was the strict portion of the diet rules and so I stayed within the boundaries all the time, including drinking eight glasses of water every day.

Phases II, III and IV

The other phases (Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Maintenance) were a bit trickier. The Atkins Diet Rules are always pretty clear, but as you move from phase to phase you have to listen more to your body and adjust amounts and types of food accordingly. One of the things that took me a bit of time was learning just how many carbohydrates I could eat in a day without stalling my weight loss.

The Diet is Not Hard to Follow

Following Dr. Atkins’ rules helped me to gauge what “low carb” meant for my particular metabolism, but it took some fiddling around with my diet for a few days. The nice part of it was that, with new foods allowed and more leeway, I had a lot of fun learning and adjusting. It really taught me how much of a pleasure the Atkins diet can be because I could eat so many things.

The most important part of the Atkins diet rules is understanding carbohydrates and how much of them you can or can’t eat. Fortunately, the book, “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” clearly outlined everything for me. It contained specific lists of foods that I could eat and even broke it down into a “ladder” so that I knew which carbs were best and which were only borderline.

For instance, according to the Atkins diet, seeds and nuts are lower carb than whole grains or starchy vegetables. The Atkins diet works for me because everything is broken down so clearly and you know exactly how to keep track of your carbs.

If you’re trying to lose weight, I encourage you to take a good look at Atkins. The Atkins diet rules make it easy because you start with a strict set of rules that will get your weight loss started – a real motivator! After you’ve started, the rules become less strict so that you can stick with it for a long time without feeling deprived. And finally, Dr. Atkins has written so much about the program that you can find an answer to every food question you could possibly have, making it easy to follow the rules!

About the Author:

Kevin Urban is the editor at Atkins-Diet-Advisor.com, a comprehensive guide on the atkins diet food plan. Find out what's on the allowed atkins diet food list and get a free copy of the atkins diet plan.

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