What Is Your Goal Weight?
Ask yourself when in your life did you look and feel your very best? How much did you weigh then? Can you comfortably weigh that again? What size did you wear then? Don’t skip over these questions. As I always say, you’re the greatest expert on your body. Whatever that wonderful weight-and size-was, you can almost certainly reach it again. Was it 120? 140? 170? Most people have a pretty good sense of that number. They held that weight for a good part of their lives and found that they gained weight only after specific events, such as getting married, having kids, quitting cigarettes, starting or stopping medication or experiencing certain hormonal changes. Why not go for it? On the other hand, is that “perfect” weight unrealistic now that you’re couple of decades older? Menopausal women particularly often have a hard time staying as slim as they once were. So perhaps a more realistic approach is to ask what the weight you would be comfortable with today is. The trick is to come up with a figure that is attainable without setting yourself up for disappointment.
How to Keep It Going
Now, let’s talk about sustaining that weight loss, which you’ve so happily begun. You undoubtedly know exactly how much weight you lost during the first fourteen days of Induction. That number will help give you a general understanding of your personal degree of metabolic resistance. As you can see on the metabolic resistance table on page 158, a woman who has 40 pounds to lose and sheds 3 pounds in two weeks during Induction has a high degree of metabolic resistance as compared to a woman with similar weight loss goals who drops 8 pounds.
Before you even think about stepping up from Induction, consider the possibility of staying with it for a while longer. A lot of people think of Induction as only two weeks, but it can be followed for a longer time. If you have a lot of weight to lose or have difficulty losing weight, you might want to do Induction for quite a while. That way you’ll see dramatic progress before moving on to the more moderate phases of the program.
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Proceed With Caution!
If you have decided to move to phase two, I want to remind you not to regard it a time to cut loose and undo all the good work you have just completed. Ongoing Weight Loss has a couple of fundamental differences from Induction, which I will explain in Chapter 14, but it is also very similar to Induction in that you will continue to derive the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables low in carbs. You will add more portions of vegetables, and most people are later able to add nuts, seeds and even some berries. It’s important to understand that you will not be shifting significantly away from protein and fat and to carbs, although you will be gradually changing the ratio of carbs to that of fat and protein.
But the one thing we don’t want to do is get you out of lipolysis and halt your forward momentum. If that happened, we would have to resume Induction, or, as I chide so many of my patients, “It’s back to square one.” On the other hand, know that if you get into trouble, you can always return to Induction for a few days to get your metabolism fired up again.
Look at the Big Picture
In one sense, doing Induction is the easiest part of Atkins. You’re following a strict regimen that almost always works. Now, as you learn in the next few chapters how to liberalize that regimen, you will be re-entering the “real” world. That doesn’t have to be the bad world of junk food and uncontrollable cravings. But it is a world of greater choice, and certainly one in which you will be closer to the place where weight gain is a possibility.
If being overweight has been a big problem in your life, I don’t want you to muff this opportunity. Over the course of the next few months, you can teach yourself a whole new way of life that will keep you healthy for decades. That is what doing Atkins is really all about. When you begin OWL, you will be at a crucial stage for learning the parameters of your lifetime program. You’ll find out what’s the most liberal level of carbohydrate consumption your metabolism can handle while continuing to take off excess pounds. Pay close attention: This important number is your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL).