Phase 2 – Ongoing Weight Loss

Phase 2 is also called Ongoing Weight Loss or OWL. Most people spend the majority of their weight loss time in this phase. Initially the differences between Induction and OWL are very small. In OWL, the idea is that you gradually reintroduce other carbohydrate foods bit by bit, while continuing to lose weight.

  • Gradually add carbohydrates in the form of nutrient-dense foods, increasing to 25 grams of Net Carbs per day the first week, and moving up each week or every several weeks by 5-gram increments until weight loss stops.
  • Continue to stay in control of your appetite and lose weight.
  • Find your Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CLL) i.e the amount of carbohydrates you can eat each day and continue to lose weight.

Moving on..

It is really important that you do move into OWL and you do not stay in Induction until you have reached your goal weight. The reason for this is so that you find out what foods you can eat, whether there are carbohydrate foods you are intolerant to and get closer to what will be a permanent way of eating so you maintain your goal weight once you reach it. By the end of OWL you will have an individualised eating plan – it is based on what you have discovered during this process works for you and your body. This is all geared towards making sure that once you have lost the extra weight, it stays lost!

The Carb Ladder

The following carb ladder shows you the order in which you re-introduce carbohydrate foods in OWL. You will already be eating the foods from Rung 1 and Rung 2 from Induction (if you started in Induction). You reintroduce the other foods starting with Rung 3 in Phase 2:

Rung 1: Foundation vegetables – leafy greens and other low-carb vegetables
Rung 2: Dairy foods low in carbs – cream, sour cream and most hard cheeses
Rung 3: Nuts and seeds including nut and seed butters. Show more..

 Nuts and Seeds  Serving Size Net Carbs
Almonds 24 nuts 2.3
Brazil nuts 5 nuts 2.0
Cashews 9 nuts 4.4
Hulled sunflower seeds 2 Tablespoons 1.1
Macadamias 6 nuts 2.0
Pecans 10 halves 1.5
Pistachios 25 nuts 2.5
Walnuts 7 halves 1.5
Rung 4: Berries, cherries and melon (not watermelon) Show more..

Fruits  Serving Size Net Carbs
Blueberries (fresh) 37g 4.1
Melon cantaloupe balls 44g 3.7
Raspberries (fresh) 31g 1.5
Strawberries (fresh) 42g 1.8
Rung 5: Whole milk yoghurt and fresh cheeses, such as cottage cheese and ricotta Show more..

Dairy Serving Size Net Carbs
Cottage cheese 2% 115g 4.1
Milk, whole, evaporated 2 tablespoons 3.0
Ricotta cheese 123g 3.8
Yoghurt, Greek natural, unsweetened whole-milk 115g 3.5
Rung 6: Legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, edamame and the like Show more..

Pulse Serving Size Net Carbs
Black beans 45g 6.5
Broad beans 45g 6.0
Butter beans 45g 6.5
Chickpeas 45g 6.5
Haricot beans 45g 9.1
Hummus 2 tablespoons 4.6
Kidney beans 45g 5.8
Lentils 50g 6.0
Peas, split 50g 6.3
Pinto beans 45g 7.3
Refried beans, tinned 60g 6.5
Soya beans, black 90g 1.0
Soya beans, green edamame 40g 3.1
Rung 7: Tomato and vegetable juice “cocktail” and more lemon and lime juice Show more..

Juices Serving Size Net Carbs
Lemon juice 4 tablespoons 5.2
Lime juice 4 tablespoonsp 5.6
Tomato juice 120ml 4.2
Rung 8: Other fruits (not fruit juices or dried fruits)
Rung 9: Starchy vegetables such as winter squash, carrots, peas in pods
Rung 10: Whole grains (not refined grain products)

The foods on the lower rungs are the foods you should be eating most often. On the top rungs are foods that will put in an appearance only occasionally, rarely or never depending on your carb tolerance. So as you can see from the carb ladder and the Atkins food pyramid below you will continue to eat a variety of meat, fish & poultry as well as an abundance of vegetables as well as including healthy fats.

Tips for success

One important point to keep in mind with OWL is that you will be increasing the range of food you eat in OWL but does does not mean you will be increasing the amount by very much. As with Induction, you should definitely not be hungry so let your appetite be your guide.

The best way to do OWL is to introduce one new food from a group at a time. So for instance you might move on to berries and start by eating a small portion of blueberries. Assuming they cause no problems, you could move on to strawberries in a day or two. What you want to look our for and pay attention to is whether the new food reawakens food cravings, causes gastric distress or interferes with your weight loss. If a food does cause any problems, you can just leave it out and try re-introducing it at a later stage.

If you have been estimating carb counts, now is the time to start counting them. We would recommend that you write down what you eat each day along with the carb counts. That way you will know exactly where you are and it will make it easy to identify if there is a particular food that reawakens cravings or interferes with your weight-loss or causes any other health issues. Ordinarily most of us don’t pay enough attention to how we feel and what foods might have caused this but this is a great opportunity to do just that and keeping a food diary and introducing foods one by one makes it much easier.

Food in OWL

So in OWL you get continue to eat all of the lovely food from Induction and expand the food options even more. Check out the meal plans at the back of the New Atkins New You book or use the Meal Planner on the Atkins site. As you move through OWL the options increase more and more. Again, it is important that you make the time to find recipes and foods that you like and that work for your lifestyle – this is key to making sure you can stick to it and want to stick to it because you’re enjoying the food so much!

Now that you are in Phase 2 you can eat all of the convenient and delicious Atkins products including the delicious Endulge bars like the Endulge Chocolate Crisp, Endulge Peanut Caramel and the Endulge Coconut bar. Make sure that you have your Advantage or Daybreak bars or shakes on hand when you are out and about so that you don’t resort to eating inappropriate high carb foods.

Support in OWL

Here is an excellent information about how to deal with the inevitable slips, with weight loss-plateaus and the answers to other common questions:

We hope that our eatingAtkins Facebook page will be a support to you as well. Please do visit it and share your experiences with other Atkins followers. We look forward to hearing your story.

Read more about Phase 3: Pre-Maintenance here