Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:17 am Post subject:
I've been surfing other low carb sites recently in order to see if there were any good tips I could bring back to the board. I've been noticing the same problems being reported on every board. People who say they are doing the Atkins plan and are having trouble stalling out. It got me to thinking about possible causes and what can be done to stop this from happening.
Most of the people reported good losses during induction but then a slowdown. At this point, they report that they began to cut their carbs and fat to jumpstart the loss again. Soon after they cut carbs/fat they reported that they stalled out.
First of all, the rate of loss will slow after the first few weeks. This is normal. The less you have to lose, the sooner you will notice the slow down. Secondly, it is not surprising that they stalled when they cut carbs, which can throw you into starvation mode, and fat because this is the fuel that keep our body's furnace burning fat. Let's look at this whole scenario and see if we can figure out why this situation develops.
When you start induction you probably are new to low carbing and will make a few mistakes. We eat mostly protein and fat and not many veggies. We are supposed to eat 3 cups of veggies a day but somehow that often gets forgotten. Some of us hadn't learned about subtracting the fiber count from the carb count so while we thought we were eating 20g we were probably only eating 10g. Drinking all that water was hard too so we probably didn't drink as much as we should. In spite of all the problems we lost weight. Why? When you eat a diet high in protein and fat while limiting carbohydrates your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat for it's fuel source. During this switchover you also detox from all the sugar and starchy foods you're used to eating.
Once the switch is made, the weight loss slows down. This is when people started cutting carbs and fat. In other words, they began taking fuel away from their body's furnace and lowered their metabolism with less food. As the body had less fuel, and the body thought the person was starving, it began to slow the metabolism even more and finally stopped altogether. If this situation continues some people even begin to gain weight.
What should you do instead? When you finish induction (2 weeks) you should start adding MORE carbs to your diet. Your body will still burn fat so it is important not to cut back on the good fats. You need fats to fuel the furnace. At this point, you should also begin to refine the way you eat a bit. You want to get your fat from things like olive oil, nuts, avocados, butter and NEVER from margarine, Crisco, and other hydrogenated fats. You want to add more non-starchy veggies to increase your good carbs and some fruit that isn't full of sugar. Things like berries, cantaloupe and other melons that are low on the glycemic index, etc. Hopefully you are now drinking half your weight in water too. You will continue to lose weight even though it will probably be at a slower rate than in the beginning.
During this time it is also important to monitor how your body reacts to different foods. Add new foods slowly and one at a time. If you find you stop losing after adding a certain food, it may be because that is a "trigger" food for you. It is not a good idea to put foods on your "trigger" food list just because someone else has identified it as a problem for them. Everybody has different "trigger" foods. Keeping a food journal where you list what you eat and how you feel is a good way to identify them.
Dr. Atkins talked about moving into maintenance. He stressed that everyone needs to find the carb levels where they feel the best without gaining weight. For some people this may be a low level of 25-30g but others feel best eating twice that many carbs. It is a very individual process and takes time. There are no shortcuts.
There are several other things that can cause stalls: certain medications, eating too little fat, yo-yo dieting which may cause thyroid problems, use of aspartame, caffeine, and alcohol. Doctor Atkins talks about all these causes in his New Diet Revolution Book in Chapter 25, where you can look up the complete answers. You can also research various topics on the Atkins Center website: http://www.atkinscenter.com/.
Remember these are general suggestions. Everybody is different and there is no one plan that works for everyone. If you have tried everything listed here and have not lost any pounds or inches for 6 months or more, or if you feel bad doing the Atkins Plan, it is possible that another low carb plan would work better with your metabolism. Diet hopping is not a good idea and can further mess up your metabolism so switch plans only as a last resort and after you've given it at least 6 months to work.
***NOTE*** If you haven't selected a plan and are just cutting carbs on your own, I strongly encourage you to check out the various diet plans using the Diet Plans button in the left- hand column. (lowcarbcafe.com) You can read an overview of several of the most popular low carb diets. Then go to your library and read the books that interest you. Once you have selected the plan that you think fits you best, buy the book and read it carefully. Keep it handy so you can look at it whenever you have questions or run into problems. As I read somewhere on the Internet, "Trying to do lowcarb without reading the book, is like trying to roller skate through a maze, blindfolded." _________________
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