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MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,347)
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2/25/14 9:06 A

If you start an exercise program and lose 30lbs, quit exercising and gain 30lbs, are you going to say exercise doesn't work?

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/24/14 11:32 A

I agree that doing Atkins for short periods of time is a very bad idea. And there is no diet that works once you are not using it any more, that should be obvious.
The idea is to start out very low with carbs (Atkins says 20 grams/day but many people are fine even with 50grams/day) and then increase slowly depending on how much weight you want to lose. The point at which you maintain is the carb level you keep for the rest of your life.
For me that is between 50-60 grams/day, for others it may be much higher or it may be lower.
Eating low-carb will improve insulin sensitivity for many people in the long run because it gives our pancreas a break.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
2/24/14 10:36 A


Yes, Atkins (and any low/restricted-carb plan) is and has to remain a lifestyle change. If you "try" it, or use it as a temporary band-aid, it's not going to be successful for you. Would a "typical / healthy" diet be successful, if you adopted it for a couple months and then went back to living on drive-through meals and junk food with soda? I don't think so. And yet, people like to vilify the LC method because they do exactly that, and then wonder how come "it" didn't work. Mystifies me.

Low (or restricted) carb "diets" (meaning what you eat, not "weight-loss plans") are low in carbs, but have pretty much normal protein grams, based upon the USDA recommendations. People say "high protein", but that's incorrect; it's high *fat*. The healthy sorts - non-hydrogenated and animal-source ones (yes saturated!).
The reason the initial stages of most LC diets are so low in carbohydrates is that there's a change in which your body "looks" for fuel it's been accustomed to getting from glucose to ketone bodies instead, which are what you metabolize when you're eating those healthy fats. Your body is going to think there's a famine going on, because it's going to keep looking for those carbs/sugars it's been accustomed to... and so long as you provide ANY, it's not going to look for other sources, and will keep telling you you're going to starve. Once you make the switch to fat-burning for fuel, then you can begin to add carbs back into your diet, in small increments, until you find whatever level your body can tolerate without stalling your weight loss. It's not a severely restricted-carb plan forever.

I agree with others about the commercial Atkins products. The only ones I use are their shakes, which are pretty good. Every other form of the "modern" Atkins stalls me or starts me creeping back up. And whether it says "Atkins" (or any other LC promotional phrases), processed is still processed. You're far better off to just eat real, whole foods. You might be amazed at how those things you used to love - and will continue to crave until you wean yourself away from them - begin to not seem like real food at all after a while. Things I used to love I can barely stand to put in my mouth now. And they *all* can make me sick if I insist upon succumbing to remembered pleasures with them.

For me, the best part of the lifestyle has been simple weight loss - all of which I achieved with no exercise at all (although I think exercise is a healthful thing to do... if I could). It's reduced my cravings and addictions to carbs, although if I do dip back into them I suffer for a couple days until I can get back on track. I've also been able to help manage my autoimmune condition with this improved nutrition. I'm supporting my dysfunctional immune system by giving it clean fuel, and I'm rewarded in it by reduced symptoms; it's not a cure, but it certainly is helping, and I'll take whatever good I can get along those lines.

All I can say to those contemplating LC is to give it an honest trial. More than a few days, or a week. Dedicate to it and stick with it for a couple months, and if you can't make it work for you, then move on to a method which will.
Luck and health to you!


Edited by: EXOTEC at: 2/24/2014 (10:37)
MARTHA324 Posts: 6,306
2/24/14 10:25 A

Yep, I've done it several times. When I was just starting it I'd lose weight and the last time I did it, I stuck with it about 3 months and did lose weight. My doctor encouraged me to see a nutritionist because the way I was eating just wasn't healthy. For me, once I started adding back the carbs the weight loss stopped.

BUT, if Atkins really worked, we wouldn't have to keep going on it. Personally I am a fan of making this a lifestyle change and not think of this as going on a diet. Eat real foods, lots of plants, and watch your portions and MOVE. The weight will come off and you'll have a sustainable way of living.

TIME_TO_SHINE1 SparkPoints: (12,974)
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Posts: 437
2/24/14 10:21 A

I find the Atkins Community Site confusing and I keep seeing the term Net Carb, what does that mean? I couldn't find it anywhere on the site, well it wasn't where I was looking. Thank you so much for all of the input.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/24/14 9:46 A

"When are people going to stop calling Atkins and other low carb lifestyles no carb?"

Maybe when people learn about carbs?

lol - in the very beginning I did not know veggies contained carbs! I thought carbs came from grains only - ha ha ha @ my salad days.

2/24/14 8:07 A

Well said RUSSELL.

When are people going to stop calling Atkins and other low carb lifestyles no carb? They are not no carb, even in the strict induction phase Atkins recommends, "to be sure you are getting your 12 to 15 net carbs in vegetables as well."

Phase 1: Induction - Acceptable Foods List

Also I just want to agree with the other posters about avoiding Atkins food products. Always eat real food.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 2/24/2014 (08:22)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/24/14 7:53 A

VIPRINCESS - Low carb was a failure for you personally, because you chose not to make it a lifestyle change.

The way you recommend low carb is dangerous. By going on and off the diet, you are just manipulating your weight by losing water weight, and then switching back to a regular diet, and gaining back water weight. This can do damage to heart, lungs, and kidneys over time.

Low carb is a diet that changes over time. I started very strict, and now eat a lot more vegetables, and fruit, and carbs in general. It is ONE diet, but their are many different levels. So a person who is on 20 grams of carbs a day, can be on the same diet as someone who is fortunate enough to maintain on 160 grams of carbs a day. They just have incorporated back into their diet some of the carbs they eliminated.

Atkins starts out sweeping everything carb-wise away except 2-3 cups of green leafy vegetables, and salad veggies( and eggs ), but after the second week, you start adding carbs back in, like cheeses, fruit, other vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and even eventually potatoes, bread, and even pasta if you can handle them.

I, personally can't handle bread, or pasta, but brown rice on occasion, and potatoes as part of mixed vegetables aren't a problem, and I have beans once a week.

Like any other lifetime diet, it changes as you get healthier. On a low fat diet, a person who was 361 lbs. might eat 3000 calories, and make shifts down to 1800 when they hit 185 lbs. Since you couldn't eat as many calories, you might choose lower calorie options.

Also over time, you might make changes to add fiber, increase servings of veggies, or improve nutrition.

This idea that low carb is a set meal plan that can't be shifted is just not true. I think you may have Atkins Induction in mind when you talk of it not being a long term plan, and if that is true, I agree. I did it for months, but like eating higher carb now, because I love vegetables, and the occasional fruit, as well as my weekly chili with tomatoes, beans, onions, green chilis, and mushrooms.

If you really want to do low carb, Induction isn't even necessary. It was put in to cause rapid weight loss, and prove to the dieter that low carb worked, as well as a " safe " place to return to when you messed up. Many people do so well at 30-50 grams that they start there, and work up to 80-100 grams a day quite quickly.

One team that I am on is Smart Carbing, and if you joined and talked to the people on the team, I find that most are at a higher carb level, since they have been following the diet for years.

As someone who has been doing the diet for almost 5 years, I consider it a lifestyle change.

You did not gain back your weight because you stayed on the diet too long. You gained back the weight because you did not stay on it long enough, and weren't flexible, which is what the diet is meant to be.. there are 4 phases to Atkins, not just 1.

As with any diet you will lose fast at the beginning, but that is water weight, and on low carb, which has a diuretic effect, it will be even greater. This is great to get that water weight off, as long as you don't go to far. You need to drink more when you start a low carb plan, because dehydration can occur, usually along with headaches and lack of energy, commonly called the low carb flu, but I only experienced it when I did not drink enough. Now that I drink 100 ozs of water a day, I feel fine, even if I drop back to Induction levels.

Going on and off Atkins, or any diet isn't a desirable option. You notice all the weight drops, and it feels great. 5-10 lbs. in a week! Unfortunately, when you quit, you gain it all back, and you are constantly dehydrating yourself, then re-hydrating, which isn't healthy.

This is why I don't just tell everyone to run out and do Atkins, without a plan. I struggled a LOT when I started because all I was concerned about was weight loss. Over the past 5 years, I have done well, but with a lot of bumps in the road, that planning would have helped smooth out. However, if you are going to do it, it should be as a lifestyle change, it should be done for a long time, hopefully for the rest of your life... the same as if you choose any diet.

If you follow a low fat diet, or whatever you choose to call it, you want to do it for life also. We don't blame the diet for the 75% failure rate. We note that the dieter failed to stick to the diet. The same is true of low carb. Now, the diet may not agree with the dieter, and that may be the cause. We aren't blaming the dieter. Personally, I binge on carbs, so while I think the low fat diet has helped those who can stick to it, it doesn't work for me.

I lost 17 lbs. in a month on low fat, while seeing a dietitian. Then I couldn't control my binges any more. The shortcoming were mine, and how I reacted to the food, not the diet. If I could have stuck to the diet, I might have reached my goal weight long ago, but I had to find a diet that worked for me.

In much the same way, if you had switched to a more liberal amount of carbs, and progressed with Atkins/low carb, you might have been successful.

If on the other hand, you can't stick to the diet, then I would recommend not doing the diet at all, or just employing some of the principles of the diet that work for you, like maybe choosing lower glycemic foods.

I can't sit here and say that I can't follow low fat because it doesn't work, and then say that if someone tries low carb and it doesn't work for them, that they should still do the diet.

Just because the diets did not work for us though, that does not mean it isn't a long term diet, and I would say that any diet not used as a lifestyle change is bound to end in failure. If you think of it as temporary, it will be, and you will just gain back the weight when you go back to your old, unhealthy way of eating.

So the goal is finding a diet that works, and that you can stick to, and that will be different for different people.

2/24/14 5:38 A

I was on a low / No Carb diet , you do lose alot of weight but in the long run it sets you up for failure because it's not a life style change .
I lost 80 lbs and gained even more back because I stayed on the diet for too long , I recommend that if you do it do not do it for long periods of time , the longest I will go on a low carb now is 1 month that's it and that's only to speed up my weight loss (which doesn't work as fast for some people ) .

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,347)
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2/24/14 3:40 A

I recommend LC for weight loss/maintenance when followed correctly.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/24/14 1:21 A

If you want to try low-carb I would stay away from any Atkins processed foods, shakes, bars, meals etc. and rather eat natural foods. Atkins induction is not necessary for most people to get the benefits except individuals who are very insulin-resistant. I have kept my carbs under 50 grams/day and have seen nothing but health benefits. One of the biggest ones is that I have lost all food cravings for sugary and starchy things and my body fat has gone down from 28% to 20% and blood lipids, blood glucose etc. are all much better.

LOVEXAVIE SparkPoints: (42,867)
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2/23/14 11:15 P

Years ago, I lost 50 lbs doing low carb. Not strictly Atkins, but very close to it.
I also used (and still do) some of the Atkins products (some are to yummy! some, not so much - so experiment).

However, after about 4-5 mos, it became very tough for me. I was about ready to rob a bread store! In the end, it was too hard for me, it just wasn't sustainable and I quickly gained it all back. Again, I didn't do it by the books and I'd look to Russel for your guidance as he's very knowledgeable and does well with it.

One thing I will say that might help you: both times when I lost weight & regained it (once w/ Phen Fen / once with low carb), I didn't incorporate a lot of fruits & veggies. And w/ Atkins, you have to be conscience of the fructose & starches in many fruits & veggies. Back then, I wasn't much of a veggies eater (I was woefully ignorant).

Flash forward to 2.5 yrs ago when I began w/ Spark. I did my own eating plan which naturally gravitated towards a lower carb (but not low carb) way of life but I flipped the switch on fruits & veggies. I eat 7-9 servings a day and I cannot tell you what a humongous difference it has made. I eat bread if I want but honestly, I don't crave it much. I have a sweet tooth and use Atkins products to quell that but I will also have regular sugared items, too. I just watch portions (most of the time). There's great sugar free stuff out there now but you have to be able to handle eating sugar free things (some people can't tolerate it or just don't care to go that route).

So basically, I just eat a lot healthier than when I was fat. It naturally is lower carb but not as restrictive as some LC diets are. But it's sustainable for me and I couldn't be happier. I've heard it said on this site that losing weight is simply a by product of eating healthy. I agree.

My thought is that everybody's different. For some, LC is a god send. Others would go stir crazy. I feel like my body certainly benefits from lower carb & this way of eating feels very natural to me.

Good luck whatever you choose.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/23/14 9:16 P

Lol @ Dragonchilde!! I referred someone in the Cafe to Russell tonite!!!

She had southbeach questions ;)

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/23/14 9:09 P

I actually do Atkins, and have for about 5 years now, and lost well on it.

It sounds like you want to make small improvements, and not go as strict as Atkins recommends, and that can be done just by cutting high glycemic foods, as well as sugary, and salty processed foods. Have an apple instead of a doughnut. Simple changes for the better will add up. Just do what you can.

I do have to add though that if anyone is thinking of trying Atkins products, I would recommend not doing so. In my opinion ( others can disagree ), they are garbage, and expensive garbage at that. Stick to regular food, and if you decide to eat a candy bar, just have a regular one. Eating candy bars and shakes, and telling yourself they are healthy just because it says Atkins on the package is no better.

Focus instead on increasing fruits and vegetables, and at every meal try to choose healthier choices. You may want to read up on glycemic index, and find that just eating these foods may be plenty. While I avoid all potatoes, maybe all you need to do is have a sweet potato instead of a regular potato, or green beans, instead of corn, or a veggies sub, instead of a Big Mac.

There are levels of health, and you there is no perfect diet. Make the best choices you can, and be happy. Over time, with small improvements, you may get down to a pretty low carb level, but maybe not. The goal is to be healthy, and at a proper weigh range, not to follow any certain diet.

You miay want to read some of the low carb books, and some of the ideas can be incorporated into the diet you formulate. I think some of the foods that are cut out are as important as what people do eat on Atkins. You may choose to eat 10-15 servings of vegetables like some Atkins dieters, or just borrow cutting out the worst offenders that cause you to become hungry. I can eat kidney beans, or even potatoes with no problem at all, but sugar will set me off on a 5,000 calorie binge.

Collect as much information as possible, and talk to your doctor, get a plan set up, and then do what is best for you, based on how you react to those changes. I chose Atkins/ low carb, because I like meat, and haven't ever like bread, or noodles on their own. That and the binges kind of made Atkins work for me big time, but if you don't binge, or have cravings, and love bread, and noodles, it most likely would be misery for you, at least for 3-4 weeks, and maybe forever.

Start with what you like to eat, and make a healthy menu of those foods, and see if you can follow it. Then start making even healthier substitutions, every so often, and do them till they become habit. Don't try to do them all at once.

I only say this because Atkins isn't something you can just do halfway. The first few weeks can be rough, and you seem to want to see improvements to your health, but can't really do anything drastic. Doing something is better than nothing though.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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2/23/14 9:02 P

The man you want is RUSSELL_40 --

He's a member who has had a great deal of luck with a low-carb diet based on Atkins, and is very knowledgeable about it.

ALVIE186 SparkPoints: (50)
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2/23/14 8:05 P

The Atkins snacks are pretty good it helps curve the cravings for chocolate and a sweet tooth.

TIME_TO_SHINE1 SparkPoints: (12,974)
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2/23/14 8:00 P

Thank you for the feedback, I was going to work it in like as on the go snacks and healthier options when I am away from home.

2/23/14 7:09 P

A lower carb diet has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss in many people. But not a better weight loss program. I would never encourage the use of the induction phase of the Atkins diet (it is far too low in carbs)...but doing a lower carb diet (35-40% of calories coming from carbs) and using "healthy" types of carbs---whole grains, beans, legumes, veggies, starchy veggies, fruit, milk, yogurt---can meet nutritional need and promote weight loss when you are in the correct calorie range.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

2/23/14 5:14 P

I do not do Atkins. I do however eat a diet lower in carbohydrates than the USDA and SP recommend.

I get most of my carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit. I get a minimal amount of carbohydrates from GF grains and sugar.

Read up on the diet. Borrow a few of his books from your local library and see if it's something you can follow through with. As the follow through is the most important part of any diet.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 2/23/2014 (17:17)
TIME_TO_SHINE1 SparkPoints: (12,974)
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2/23/14 5:02 P

I was just wondering if anyone tried it and if it worked. I was thinking about adding it to my program. All thoughts welcome. emoticon

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