So you’ve decided that its time to bite the bullet and get started with Atkins. But where do you start? Well, before we start with the practical steps and the how-to part of it, it’s worth taking a step back to take a look at what you are trying to achieve. I’ll assume if you are reading this article that you want to lose weight and improve your health. And its probably safe to assume you want those extra few pounds/stone to stay lost? You may not know it yet but you should definitely expect that your health markers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure etc.) should show improvements and that you maintain these new healthy ranges.
So if these are your goals – to lose weight and maintain that weight loss and the health improvements then your attitude towards making the changes we are going to talk about are of paramount importance. Firstly, it is vital to understand that doing the Atkins diet is really about changing your eating habits for life. It is a way-of-eating for life rather than ‘a diet’ that you just follow for a few weeks or months. If you are just going on Atkins to lose a few pounds and are planning on celebrating your success in a few weeks with a chocolate cake or a large pizza and going back to your ‘regular’ diet you’re wasting your time and setting yourself up for disappointment when you regain the weight. You need to be approaching it from the point of view of making permanent changes to the way you eat on a daily basis. This is how you will lose the weight and this time make sure it stays lost for good! So your attitude is key.
So once you understand that you are working on changing your eating habits for life its just a matter of the practicalities of it and getting started. First of all, I’d suggest you get informed so that you have a plan and know what you are doing:
- Inform yourself:
- Our page on Phase One – Induction will tell you everything you need to know to do Phase One successfully. It includes tips and advice and lets you know which foods are off-limits.
- The Food List page shows you all of the food you can eat on Phase One – meat, fish, poultry, cheese, healthy fats and lots of veg.
- Read the first few chapters of New Atkins for a New You. This will definitely prove why Atkins works not only in terms of weight loss but also in terms of health.
- Plan your meals:
- Register on the UK Atkins site to use the meal planner there to plan your meals for week one. This will help you write your shopping list.
- Check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration for meals – its so important to find recipes you will enjoy. Its also a good idea to experiment with trying different recipes and cooking food in different ways, for example, try roasting or stir-frying vegetables instead of always boiling them.
- Do a food shop:
- Take the shopping list you have made from your meal planning above (and keep an eye on the Acceptable Food List for phase one)
- Don’t buy anything that is not on the Acceptable Food List!
- Stock up on your Atkins products
So this is one approach to starting Atkins – just biting the bullet and doing it! However, I know from speaking to some of our customers and from my own experience that this approach can be a bit overwhelming for some people. It really is such a big change to all of your meals at once. So I’m going to offer another approach – it does have its advantages but also some disadvantages so you need to weigh up (no pun intended!) which works best for you!
Approach number two is the more gradual approach. It still involves the step above on getting informed. However, instead of changing all of your meals at once, you can do it meal by meal. So for instance, you would start by just changing your breakfasts in the first two to three weeks and continue to eat lunch and dinner as you do now. Then after a few weeks you make your lunches Atkins-friendly and then your dinners. So by the end of two months or so you are following the Atkins way of eating.
The advantages of this approach are that it gives you more time to implement the changes and might make it more manageable for you especially if you are very busy. The goal of this approach is to have implemented these changes to your eating habits at the end of the 6- 8 week period. It is not to have lost weight. If you are expecting that you will change what you eat for breakfasts and that you will see changes in terms of weight loss even though you are not following Atkins for your other meals yet, this is not the approach for you. You will just become demotivated and disappointed. If you need to be able to see the results quickly, follow approach number one and implement all the changes together. That way you will see results much sooner. This approach is a slower way of getting there but a good idea if the idea of changing all of it together overwhelms you.
|Approach One – Just Do It!||Approach Two – Slow & Steady..|
|You will see much results much sooner – this varies for everyone but you could lose up to a stone in 2 weeks.||You should not expect to see any real results until you have made all of your meals Atkins friendly so this would start after 6 – 8 weeks.|
|You will start to see the health benefits sooner – our customers have reported everything from acid reflux and migraines disappearing, acne clearing up to PMS symptoms abating and energy levels and sleep improving.||It will take longer to see health benefits, although just changing breakfast will probably do wonders for your energy levels and eliminate mid morn sugar crashes.|
|Sugar cravings should disappear within a week or two – you will no longer crave bread, sweets etc.||As you are still eating these foods for a longer time the cravings will not disappear yet.|
|It may be harder to implement all of the changes and take more time and effort to do it at first.||It is much easier to concentrate on changing just one meal at a time.|
|It will become second nature much sooner.||As you change each meal and form your new eating habits, they will be second nature but will take longer before you get there for all of your meals.|
|You will be able to move on to Phase 2 sooner and introduce new foods.||It will take longer before you get to introduce nuts and berries and other foods from Phase 2|
|Great strategy if you want to get started and see results soon.||Excellent strategy if you look at approach one and think its all too much to take on at once or that you can’t do it if you need to make all of those changes together.|
So if you have read the pro’s and con’s of the two approaches above you probably know which one is for you depending on your approach to making life changes and your personality. If you have been looking at doing the Atkins diet and thought any of the following: “It’s just all too much change at once” or “I don’t have time to do all of this” or “The meals are so different to what I’m used to” then I would suggest Approach Two. Its an excellent approach, once you keep in mind it will take longer before you see results.
The important thing, whichever approach you choose, is that you achieve the results you want – becoming a slimmer healthier new you and staying that way!