Diet : Atkins 101


Hey there!

I've tried Atkins for 2 months now, although not consistently, but I'm lost 8 kg in 2 months, so I think it worth it to try it out.

Atkins was introduced by Dr. Robert C Atkins, it is a low carbohydrate diet (low carbs) for weight loss and maintenance. The misconception about Atkins is that no carbs at all. That is not true. Atkins were divided by 4 phase, just like you can't go to high school without first completing your elementary school.

The logic of Atkins is, fat is not the one to make you fat. Sugar is. And when you eat all those carbs, they will turn into sugar in our body. Our body will burn the sugar first, then the fat. But most of our fat ass can't process this, therefore once our sugar has been used up, we feel hungryyy. Therefore by cutting these sugar and carbs from our body, our body will switch to burn fat. Kapish?

Okay, let's get started. I try to get as detailed as I could. All info taken from "The new Atkins made easy" by Colette Heimowitz and picture from google.

Getting started:

1. Take your initial weight, and measure out your breast,chest, hips, waist, thigh, calves, upper arm, forearm and neck. Record all down somewhere. I put it in my note. Although I did not take measurement at first, nor my initial weight. You could take the next measurement a week after, or daily. If you do take daily, averaging every 3 days could give more accurate reading.
2. Take a before picture! You'll want to look back at how far you go.
3. Read and reread this page or more to find out more about Atkins, and to make sure the weight come off easily.

Let's do this!

The carb rung

The Carbs rung.

The first is vegetables.
(1.5 is dairy food such as cream cheese, cream and double cream)
The second is nuts.
The third is berries, cherries or melon except watermelon.
The fourth is whole milk greek yogurt, ricotta, and cottage cheese.
The fifth is legumes.
The sixth is tomato and vegetable juice
The seventh is other fruit (but not fruit juices or dried fruits)
The eighth is higher carbs vegies
The tenth is wholegrain

1. Phase 1 (Induction) 

Sadly most people think phase one is the whole atkins diet, which is untrue. The purpose of this phase is to shift your body from burning primarily carbs to burning primarily fat, and kick starting weigh loss. Some people could lose up to 7kg/15 lb on the induction phase, but bear in mind most are water weight. This strict phase should be maintain for a minimum of 2 weeks, or if you have more to lose like me, as maximum as you can until 7 kg / 15 pound away from your desired weight. For example, if my desired weight is 55, I should move to phase 2 by 62kg. The reason? So that you could increase your carbs intake little by little until the max tolerance level. If you decided to stay on more than 2 weeks, please feel free to add nuts in.

* Note, on induction, some of us will get the Atkins flu, where you feel tired, nausea, headache. Drink a cup of salty chicken broth or put more salt on your food. I kinda forgot why, but probably due to the electrolyte being washed away from your body. Tehehe..

In this phase, you'll stick to 20 Net Carbs (NC) per day.Not less than 18 and not more than 22. This is indicated in the carbs rung (in phase two below). If you think it's not much, you are mistaken! Most poultry (chicken), fish and beef/lamb contains nearly zero carbs, but that doesn't mean you could eat as much protein as possible. If you ate too much, your body will try to burn those protein, not fat. The recommended protein intake is 115g to 225, depending on your size and activeness. Although you don't have to measure all the time, here's some guideline on the portion: 115g (4oz) : smartphone, 175g (6 oz) : computer mouse, 225 g(8 oz) : a slim novel.

Oil and fats are celebrated in Atkins, so rejoice! a typical serving is 1 tablespoon. You can choose from butter, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil, mayo(choose carefully) olive oil or sesame oil.

Cheese is okay too, up to 4 slices a day, or 115g (cubes of large dice). A tablespoon of grated cheese contains negligible amount of carbs. Select whole milk and avoid non fat, low fat, flavored cheese or diet cheese.

Milk is not recommended in induction, but you can have almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk (santan). However, cream, double cream, single cream or sour cream is okay. A tablespoon each contains 1 NC. It is said that milk contain lactose, thus having higher carbs, if I'm not mistaken.

It is recommended to eat around 12-15 NC of vegetables per day. About 175g (6 oz) of salad leaves and 200-300 g (7-11 oz) cooked vegetable. 85 g (3 oz) salad leaves is a rounders ball and 85 g (3 oz) cooked vegetable is a billiard ball size.

Billiard ball

Rounders ball

Here are some list of vegetables to get you started.

Nuts are recommended to add if you stay on induction for more than 2 weeks. Start replacing 2-3 NC of vegies with nuts. List are, peanuts, cashews, soy 'nuts, almonds, brazil nuts, coconuts, macaddamias, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachois, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Look online on their carbs contents.

You can also add 2 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice per day. Sauces if they are no sugar added, and any herbs you like (without added sugar of course).

For drinks, you can drink plain water, coffee, expresso, tea, herbal teas, diet fizzy drink such as diet coke, as long as everything sans sugar.

For packaged food, you need to read the nutrition fact carefully. NC is counted by looking at the carbs and and if there's a dietary fiber underneath it, you have to deduct the fiber from the carbs to get NC.  For example, Total carbs on above patty is 26g, you have to deduct the dietary fiber of 9g, so the NC is 17 g. (If I'm not mistaken). I usually buy burger patty with less than 2g NC.

For snacks, I ate seaweed, cut up vegies, coleslaw, or egg mayo.

My story : When I first started, I was eating egg most of the time, since I'm busy on some other stuff. But now, I kinda switch it up a lil bit. For protein, you can fry/baked/soup but not deep fried, breaded, battered, or coated in flour or added sugar. I sometimes eat burger patty without bun, on a salad or wrap the patty in lettuce and cheese. Sometimes when I'm pressed for time, I boiled some eggs, cut them up and put mayo, black pepper and a dash of salt, then I put it in lettuce leaves. I fried chicken, baked them in oven, makes meatball in spaghetti sauce.

For a week I tried eating without vegies, only protein. My weight stalls, staying at 88's and 89's. I rationalize that I've been working out a lot in the farm, and ate high carbs food such as rice and potatoes, although the amount is just a quarter of what I used to ate. My weight continues to stall, so I restart induction phase, and I lost a kilo the first two days from 88.6 to 87.1. When I see instant result, I start to stick with atkins plan.

I still eat out. I did not make other dish unless there's nothing I could eat. I ate at KFC, Marrybrown, Chicken Rice shop. But I ate a whole lot smarter. At KFC I only ate the chicken. I did not eat the cheesy wedges, the whipped potatoes. Yes to the coleslaw. At chicken rice shop I ordered the chicken and the vegies only. Eating out, I'll have salads or chicken, sometimes fish. And I ate a lot more than I ate during non-atkins, and I keep losing weight or I did not gain any weight. I still have another 32 kg to go, and I will try my hardest in 23 weeks time. My goal is to be 55 kg on my birthday.
2. Phase 2 : Ongoing weight loss(Balancing)

We could move on to Phase to after two weeks in Induction or until you are 7kg away from your goal weight. The purpose of this phase is to lose weight and find your personal carbs balance. During induction, most people will lose weight eating the same thing. However we all have our personal carbs tolerance, and this phase is all about trying to maximize your carbs intake while still losing weight.

Typically you start at 20 NC, but add 5 NC per day for a week and see your weight/body's reaction. If you are still losing weight, add 5 NC more until you reach 50 NC. You could add more food here, and slowly by using the carbs rung.

The Phase one the carbs rung started with vegetables and nuts.

Oh I forgot, if you move on to second phase after 2 weeks, please start with adding nuts first.

Start adding 5 NC of nuts per day, starting with 1 type of nuts for three days at least. If you continue to lose weight, add 5 NC more or stay on 25 NC but change the type of nuts. List are, peanuts, cashews, soy 'nuts, almonds, brazil nuts, coconuts, macaddamias, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachois, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Look online on their carbs contents.

Berries, cherries and melon except watermelon are the first to add in. They can be eaten fresh, frozen, tinned (not in syrup). Always have these with cheese, cream, greek yogurt or nuts to temper their impact on your blood sugar.

More dairy such as cottage cheese, ricotta, yogurt or greek yogurt and whole milk up to 4 tablespoon or evaporated milk up to 2 tablespoon. Greek yogurt is the lowest in carbs, and flavored yogurt are full of sugar, so add fresh or frozen fruits to the plain yogurt.

Legumes, such as black beans, black eye peas, broad beans, butter beans, chickpeas, edamame, haricot beans, hummus, kidney beans, peas, pinto beans and soybeans.

Tomato, 50 ml lemon or lime juice, 125 ml of tomato juice.

To succeed moving on to the second phase, continue to consume a min of 12-15 NC of foundation vegetables. However, reintroduce the food one by one, following the carb ladder. Such as adding back the food in one rung one by one as well. For example, in cherries and melons, add strawberries in the first three days, then add blackberries, then add blueberries. When there's no weight gain, add cantaloupe, then honeydew. Try to increase the NC in 5 to 10 gram increment. Most importantly, continue tracking Net Carbs and weigh and measure yourself weekly.

To stay in control when you reintroduce carbs food, put aside certain food in portion control tupperware or plastic bag. I usually put away 30 almonds per day. Or you can add nuts in salad. Swap fresh cheese in phase one to aged cheese. Treat berries and melon as garnishes Top berries with greek yogurt. The list go on.

3. Phase 3 : Pre Maintanance (Fine Tuning)

We moved to Phase 3 when we are 4.5 kg away from our goal weight. Just like phase 2, continue adding in 5 to 10 NC of higher carbs. When you get to your goal weight, maintain them for one month before moving to the final phase. Here, you will add on rice, potatoes, and all those stuff that you have been missing for the past __ days. BUT! Do exercise caution and add one by one slowly just like in phase two, or you'll end up fat again, or worse, fatter.

Make sure to add legumes before moving on to fruits. However if you hate legumes, just skip them and go straight to : fruits. Have them in small quantity, starting with one time and once a day. Tropical fruits such as banana and mango are higher in carbs so wait on them, and try on these first. Apples, apricot, grapes, kiwi, oranges, papaya, peaches, plums, watermelons, pomegranates. Dry fruits are much more concentrated in sugar, as 1/2 fresh apples have 7.9 g NC while dried apples (30g) is 23g NC. Remember always accompany fruits with some fat or protein to temper their effect on you.

Next rung is starchy vegetables. Although they are high in fiber and antioxidants, they are also higher in carbs. For example half a sweet potato and half baked white potatoes are 12.1 g and 10.5 g. Others are, beetroot, carrots, corn, potatoes, yams, turnips, squash. To curb the carbs, it is advisable to add grated carrots to coleslaw or salads, mash potatoes and cauliflowers together, make soup with 1 part potatoes and 2 part pumpkins, or roast cut up potatoes with several foundation vegies.

Last rung is wholegrain. Not everyone can tolerate grains and products made with them, so again, proceed with caution. The list are, barley, cornmeal, couscous, wholemeal flour, millet, oats, quinoa and rice (brown, red and wild). Baked goods such as bread, pitta, tortillas, biscuits and cereals are on the avoid list indefinitely, unless they are low carbs. By now, you can add in exercises as well to tone and built muscle.

4. Phase 4 : Lifetime Maintenance

You should stay in this phase foreveerrrr. Since now you know your tolerance level, you can swap and enjoy the food you love, but in smaller quantity. Continue enjoying foundation vegetables, proteins and so on. You'll be tempted to eat just like you did before atkins, but you 'll probably put on weight again. If you start gaining more than 2kg, start shaving off 10 NC of your total NC per day. Have fun with the new body, new health and healthy glowing skin!

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