The Induction phase of the Atkins diet is one of the most important stepping-stones to successful weight loss. In addition to the list of acceptable foods, there are a few rules that are important to follow during this period of the diet.
During Induction, you need to eat three regular-sized meals per day or four to five smaller meals. If you find yourself jittery and hungry between meals, try breaking down your meals into smaller portions and eat more frequently. In order to stave off carbohydrate cravings, you’ll need to constantly keep your body running on the proteins and vegetables on the plan. Never skip meals and never go more than six waking hours without eating.
You can eat freely from the list of acceptable foods. Do not restrict your fats and proteins. Eat as much of them as you like. Remember, the Atkins diet is not a calorie-restricted diet. The only thing you need to worry about is your level of carbohydrate grams. Make sure to count your carbohydrate grams when you eat vegetables, cheese and beverages with Splenda. At least 12-15 grams of your allowed carbohydrates should be from your vegetable list. While it may be tempting to eat them all in cheese, vegetables are important to your digestive system (especially while on this diet).
Avoid all fruit, bread, pasta, grains and starchy vegetables (like cauliflower or squash) during this initial period. These foods will be slowly introduced throughout the course of the pre-maintenance phase. Although beans are high in protein, they also include carbohydrates and should be avoided during this phase. If you feel that you must have some grain products, you should limit yourself to high fiber low-carbohydrate products. However, this may slow down your weight loss process.
Anything that isn’t on the acceptable food list is forbidden during the Induction phase. Don’t be tempted to just have “one bite.” Your one bite may turn into two, and then before you know it you’ll end up ruining your diet.
Remember to adjust the quantity of acceptable foods to suit your appetite. At the beginning of the Induction phase, you may find yourself eating much, much more than you will toward the end of the phase. As your body breaks its addiction to sugar and carbohydrates, you will be less hungry throughout the day. When this starts to happen, make sure to eat only what you need. Eat until you are satisfied and not overly stuffed.
Always read the labels of packaged products, even if they claim they are “carb free.” You may find that some products have hidden carbohydrates. The law allows manufacturers to round off to zero if a product has fewer than .5 grams of carbohydrates. Look at the list of ingredients for manufactured products to determine if there are hidden carbs. You’ll also need to watch out for hidden carbohydrates when you eat out. There are small carbohydrate amounts in gravies, sauces and salad dressings. The best bet is to eat your meat without sauce and eat your salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
Remember to drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water, in addition to anything else you might drink. This will keep your body hydrated and help you avoid constipation. You’ll also be able to flush out the by-products created by fat burning.
Keep all of these guidelines in mind when you start the induction phase and you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term success with the Atkins diet.