Hi everyone! Lately I observed that many has decided to join the Atkins diet, especially after the festive season. I have tried it before, but I’m not on Atkins diet now, as my eating style changes with my progress. A few of my friends have been asking. I would like to share my understanding about this diet. I think it is important to execute it the proper way to ensure it works.

Besides Atkins diet, I have also tried various other diet style before from juice diet (which lasted two days 🙂 ), Clean Eating Diet, and Paleo Diet. Now I have achieved my goal, hence my focus now is to maintain my body and health, improve vital stats, gain muscle mass and increase cardiovascular strength.

So what I do now is I try to eat as natural as possible, not necessarily organic though, just that I generally avoid fast food, processed food, refine-sugar, no molecules modified food (like margarine) and I try to avoid super-high-carb food, and avoid low-fat processed food as many low-fat food is actually high sugar, like low fat yogurt and low fat milk. And I also avoid deep fried food. Not that deep frying is not good if you do it correctly but because healthy oil is expensive, and deep frying need a lot of oil . I am less strict when I go to gathering and special occasion. Hoping that I can be discipline with this healthier choice :D.

Common Misconception About Atkins Diet

First, Atkins diet is not a no-carb diet. Our body needs some minimum carb to function. Hence, in Atkins diet, there are actually four phases with four different carb requirements depending on individual progress and individual current weight.

Secondly, vegetables and fruits have carbs. Some are low in carb, some high-carb. You may do a quick check with Google, or install a Carb-calculator app on your mobile devices to get an estimate of carbohydrate content of food items. Here is an online carb-calculator which I find quite okay as well.

Third, its not necessary to be in Atkins diet forever, though some do choose to be in ketosis stage as continuous maintenance, and for its other benefits. Check out this awesome keto-calculator that can help you to estimate your macros for weight-loss or for weight maintenance with keto-diet.

how to check carb content
Example of a quick check on carb content of food item on Google search. E.g: type “carb in eggs” at the URL section

So what Exactly is Atkins diet?

atkins low carb diet bread
An example of low-carb bread loaf I made using flax seed, pumpkin seed and blue poppy seed to add texture. Suitable for phase 2 onwards

Generally our body burn carb as fuel. Atkins diet is where we reduce and limit food that are high in carb like rice, bread, pasta, noodle,potato and sugar, and in turn our body will start to burn fat as fuel, instead of carb as fuel and eventually , this will reduce body weight.

The  four phases of Atkins Diet are:

  1. Induction/ Introduction
  2. Ongoing Weight Loss
  3. Pre-Maintenance
  4. Maintenance

Phase One Key Highlights:

  • Consume not more than 20gm carb a day
  • Usually body needs 2 days (48 hours) to enter ketosis mode, whereby, body start using fat as fuel. Some need more, depends.
  • Recommended duration is 2 weeks at least, up to 6 months to 2 years, depends on your weight. You can leave this phase and enter the subsequent phase once you are 6kg towards your goal
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of plain water
  • Eat 3 meals a day, or 4-5 small portions a day
  • No fruits, sugar, honey, sugary drinks, dairy products, junk food, fast food, any type of nuts (including soy, tempeh, tofu), high-carb veggies (like carrot, tomatoes, potatoes). No processed food, be alert on hidden carb in seasoning (onion, garlic, soy sause), in gravy, in marinades (like in satay and teriyaki).
  • Limit caffeine (in coffee or tea), citrus (lemon, lime)
  • Do not skip meals

Phase Two Key Highlights:

  • Add nuts, low carb/ sugar fruits (commonly berries), yogurt, fresh cheese, tomatoes and lime
  • Start to increase your carb intake by 5gm each week. The objective is to observe and identify your carb tolerance, i.e: daily carb intake without any increase in your weight.

Phase Three Key Highlights:

  • Start adding other fruits and veggies with higher carb/ sugar than phase two

Phase Four Key Highlights:

  • By now, you should know how much carb you can take everyday, to maintain your weight, based on your carb-tolerance.

Other highlights:

  1. Drink a lot of water
  2. Do exercise
  3. You will feel a surge of energy when your body is in ketosis mode. This surge of energy feels great. I love love love love, it! And your skin looks great too. I can’t stop saying how much I loved it!
  4. While transitioning from carb-source-fuel to fat-source-fuel, you might feel sick and tired, hang in there… your body will only store them carbs for 48 hours.

So thats all for now. When you want to do Atkins, make sure you do it correctly. Induction first, enter into the ketosis stage, then progress to the following phases. It is important to enjoy your meal, enjoy preparing your food, be discipline with your diet, do not starve, do not skip meals, and you do not have to be too restrictive if you face challenges on food preparation.  Wish you the best in your low-carb journey! xx, Nina.

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