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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Losing Weight With Atkins

No doubt you have probably heard of the Atkins Diet. Its official name is 'The Atkins Nutritional Approach' and it is a life-long eating plan centring around your daily intake of carbohydrates. In a nutshell, the Atkins Diet switches your body's metabolism into fat burning mode instead of sugar burning mode.

Losing weight with Atkins is easy but how does it work? Well, when you eat food your body digests and utilises the nutrients, fats, protein and so on. Your body's primary source of energy for everyday tasks is glucose (sugar). Sugars are hidden in food as carbohydrates and when eaten sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. When this happens the pancreas secretes insulin. It is insulin that regulates blood sugar levels so they are not too high or low. If your body doesn't use up all the carbohydrates it takes in, any excess can be stored as fat for the future.

What the Atkins Diet does is to use a process called ketosis. This is what happens when your body begins to burn fat. As fat cells are burnt ketones are released. Ketones can be detected in urine and urine testing stick can be used to ensure ketosis occurring. By reducing your daily carbohydrate intake your body will quickly use up what few energy stores it has then look for an alternative source of energy - stored body fat.

The Four Phases Of Atkins

Phase 1 - Induction

The induction phase lasts for two weeks. During this two week period you limit your daily carbohydrate intake to just 20g. This kick starts ketosis and starts the switch to fat burning. Each phase has a specific food list of recommended foods, of which induction is the strictest.

Phase 2 - Ongoing Weight Loss

After the first two weeks you continue to lose weight and will remain in ketosis. You now increase your daily carb intake by 5g each week. The aim of ongoing weight loss (OWL) is to get closer to your target weight. OWL can last as long as it takes and until you are happy with where you are weight-wise. The food list expands and you have more options.

Phase 3 - Pre-Maintenance

Pre-Maintenance is the phase you progress to when you are about 10 pounds short of your goal. Up until now your daily carb intake has been gradually increased and eventually you will get to know how many carbs you can have daily before you start putting on weight again.

Phase 4 - Maintenance

You have reached your goal, you know your carb limit for weight loss and gain. You can now carry on with life enjoying the great foods available and continue losing weight with Atkins

Is it bad for you?

The Atkins Diet has suffered a lot of bad press in the past, mainly claiming that Atkins is bad for you. There are many myths to dispel. To be honest, whilst it is a fairly drastic change in diet which changes your metabolism, it isn't actually that bad. Many people who criticise the diet don't really understand how it works.

'You can only eat meat and cheese and that you eat fry-ups all the time.'' OK, you can have a fried breakfast every day if you want to and you can eat meat and cheese as much as you like. However, many of the foods that are acceptable whilst losing weight with Atkins are healthy. For example, chicken salad with avocado, tuna fish, omelette, strawberries, raspberries, nuts. They are all foods that healthy diets include so how come they are suddenly bad for you?

'Eating a lot of fatty food is bad for you.' Ordinarily it can be but the Atkins Diet uses fat differently. It helps you burn more of it, remember? So the increased fat intake actually helps the diet work.

'When you start eating normal carbohydrates again, the weight will return.' Correct but the Atkins Diet teaches you to recognise good and bad carbs. It teaches you how to reduce your carb intake in order to lose weight. It is a life-time plan so of course, if you want to start eating cake again every day or bread and potatoes to excess that's up to you but your weight will creep up again. The idea of Atkins is that it is a low-carb diet that doesn't include normal carbohydrate intake.

There are many success stories out there and many people who have lost weight using the Atkins Diet and they have kept it off for years. I am currently on the Atkins Diet and find it successful, even though I don't follow it all the time. I usually turn to Atkins when the weight has crept back on under my radar and I suddenly feel the need to lose a few pounds.

I can highly recommend losing weight with Atkins - if in doubt, try it for yourself and see the results.

Losing Weight With Atkins
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