Some Questions to Ask
Before you decide anything, let's review your results to date, and I don't mean just how many
pounds you have lost. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my appetite under control?
2. Am I experiencing food cravings?
3. Am I constipated?
4. Do I have leg cramps?
5. Have I noticed a difference in my measurements as well as in my weight?
6. Am I enjoying the food I'm eating?
7. Am I sleeping better? Do I have fewer aches and pains? Is my energy level during the
day more stable than before? Am I able to concentrate better?
Let's consider your answer to the first question. If you were hungry, you weren't
following my counsel to eat as much as you needed to feel satisfied. Remember: If you
have a tendency to become hungry between meals, pop a few olives, an ounce of cheese,
a scoop of tuna salad, a slice of pot roast or a convenient controlled carbohydrate bar or
If cravings continue, are you eating adequately and not skipping meals? Is there a hidden
source of sugar in something you are eating? If none of the above applies, and you are
just looking for a taste of something, consider a substitute product such as a controlled
carb bar or something made with controlled carb bake mix.
A certain amount of constipation is common during the first week, but it can be resolved
quickly and easily. As you progress to later phases where you increase your carb
consumption and thus your fiber intake, constipation should not be a problem.
Meanwhile, follow the instructions in the previous chapter (See "Rules of Induction,"
#12). If the problem isn't solved, you may try a tablespoon of wheat bran sprinkled on
your salad or other vegetables. If you are sensitive to grain products, add ground flaxseed
to a shake or psyllium husks to a glass of water instead. (None of these fibers contain the
kind of carbohydrates that impact on your blood-sugar levels.) Most important: Be
absolutely sure to consume a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
4. Leg Cramps
If you have leg cramps, it probably means you are losing too many electrolytes, which
are full of minerals. Starting any weight loss program has a diuretic effect, which is one
of the reasons it is so important to stay hydrated. Supplement with potassium, magnesium
and calcium in addition to your multivitamin, and the cramps should disappear.
I hope you've followed my suggestion to measure your chest, waist, hips, upper arms and
thighs with a tape measure. The loss of inches is an indication of real success and
sometimes occurs when weight loss is only marginal. Also, your weight can fluctuate
from day to day, even from hour to hour, depending upon fluid balance, hormonal cycles,
and the effects of medications, to name a few things. And exercise, if you go at it
vigorously-and I hope you are following my advice to get moving-can cause some weight
gain because it increases muscle mass, and muscle is denser than the fat it displaces. This
is a good thing.
Even if these various factors cause you to lose pounds more slowly than you want,
your tape measure will reveal that you are slimming down all over. Your loss of inches is
of fundamental importance, for it represents real fat loss-the emptying of your fat cells.
And I never underestimate the psychological importance of knowing one has made
progress. But as with the scale, do not become obsessed with the tape measure either.
You'll know the inches are disappearing because of the way your clothes fit. Pick an
outfit that you can barely get into because it is so tight, then try it on every week and see
if it doesn't start to feel more comfortable.
6. Food Preferences
Fortunately, most people enjoy protein food. If you are a strict vegetarian, you really can't
do the Induction phase. (The three later phases could be managed but the food selections
on a regimen that restricts carbohydrate and simultaneously excludes animal foods are
limited.) In general, I've found that a person who will not eat any animal foods will not
do Atkins permanently. They find it too boring. But if you are willing to eat fish and
chicken, plus eggs and cheese, you can certainly do Atkins without eating red meat.
The rest of you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying way of eating. That is not to say
that many people don't miss pasta and bread, as well as fruit and juice, the first two
weeks. Soon enough in the later phases you will be able to add back fruit and even
special controlled carb baked goods.
So why are people willing to do without foods that used to be so important to them to
continue on Atkins? Simply this: The upside is so much larger than the downside. Weight
loss, of course, but feeling physically better and in control of your eating are also
paramount issues. I challenge you to tell me honestly that you do not feel better now than
you did two weeks ago. And this is just the beginning.
7. Feeling Good
Now I want you to retake the test on pages 150-151 that you originally took in Chapter
10. If you have experienced improvements in some of these areas, this exercise will help
motivate you to continue to do Atkins.
If you've been overweight for a long time, you will almost certainly have suffered
some of the symptoms in this test. No doubt you thought them a normal part of aging.
Isn't it wonderful to see that you can make them go away simply by changing the way
Doing Atkins, you'll find that you're cleaning out a lot of metabolic garbage from your
life, in addition to excess pounds and junk food. Many of my patients have discovered
that instead of a weight loss program, this is for them a rejuvenation program. Now take
the test, and see if I'm right!