Make Your Goal Specific
You’ve set a goal now, and that’s great! But make sure your goal is specific. Planning to lose 35 pounds, for example, is far better than planning to lose “some” weight. You will likely lose some weight, but you probably won’t lose the full 35 unless you hold it in your mind as the destination of your journey.
The journey metaphor is apt. Imagine getting in the car to go on a family vacation without a clear idea of where you wanted to go. You’d drive around aimlessly, and you would certainly get somewhere, but it probably wouldn’t be the same place you’d end up if you’d chosen a destination at the start. It’s the same thing with weight loss. Any behavioral psychologist will tell you that you are more likely to achieve change in your life if you have a specific picture in your mind of how you want to change.
A Second Chance
I’d like to introduce you to someone who did get off the Atkins bus. Fortunately-in the long run anyway-he got back on the bus and has committed to being a permanent passenger. Back in 1979, Gary Rizzio, a computer programmer from Colorado who is now 45, lost 60 pounds doing Atkins. But while recuperating in bed from a broken ankle, he alleviated his boredom with all-out indulgence in the junk foods he used to eat. That broke the spell, and before long his weight was back up to 250, and there it stayed for the next eighteen years, when he had a mild heart attack. His family history in heart disease and diabetes ran deep. His doctor was blunt: “Diet and exercise,” he said, “or you’ll have a short life.”
What OWL Does for You
Your goal-for a large percentage of you, your destiny-of reaching your desired weight and staying there for life is best met by realistically considering which levels of carbohydrate intake apply to you. In OWL, you will take the physical and emotional well-being promoted by fat burning and combine that with the gustatory pleasure of an increasingly varied diet. Specifically, on OWL you will.
How to Do OWL
There are three key differences between Induction and OWL. The first is obvious: You will consume more carbohydrates. Second, whereas during Induction you ate your protein and fat foods, plus three cups of salad and other veggies (and the special foods such as avocado, olives and sour cream), OWL allows you much more choice. That means now you can craft a weight loss regimen that is uniquely yours. But it also means-and here’s the third key-that counting grams of carbohydrate is truly your responsibility.
If you don’t count, you could get in trouble. Fortunately, counting is easy with the help of the carbohydrate gram counter in this book, which will familiarize you with the number of grams of carbs in common foods. For a more comprehensive guide, refer to www.atkinscenter.com or purchase a copy of Dr Atkins’ New Carbohydrate Gram Counter. After you have been doing Atkins for a while, you will begin to have a natural feel for the carb counts of your favorite foods, but it is always a good idea to keep your carb counter handy so you can check out new or unfamiliar foods.
Your Own Private, Personal Number
Life in the twenty-first century means lots of numbers to remember, what with cell phone numbers, bank PIN numbers and the like, but I’m going to give you the tools to find out another number that is just as essential for your lifestyle.
The Wise OWL Mind Set
The OWL phase is all about choice. The choices you make should focus on healthy and pleasurable additions, with a strong emphasis on foods that contribute both. As you add foods in roughly 5 gram carb increments, you can probably move beyond vegetables to other foods, such as nuts, berries and possibly grains.
There are also many inviting recipes in this book, some using unique products designed for the person following a controlled carbohydrate regimen. Also see Dr Atkins’ Quick & Easy New Diet Cookbook and go to www.atkinscenter.com for even more recipes.
As Your Weight Loss Slows
As you keep raising your level of carbohydrate intake (and even if you don’t), you’ll notice a slowdown in the rate at which you lose weight. How soon you notice those changes is another major tipoff as to how great your metabolic resistance to weight loss is. During Induction (20 grams of carbohydrate), you may have been losing 5 pounds a week. In the first week to ten days some of that loss was water weight, since the program has a strong diuretic effect. If you continued doing Induction for a few more weeks, your weekly weight loss probably slowed down, as you were losing primarily fat, perhaps up to 3 pounds a week.
The body bums alcohol for fuel when alcohol is available. So when it is burning alcohol, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop weight loss; it simply postpones it. Since the alcohol does not get stored as glycogen, you immediately get back into lipolysis after the alcohol is used up. But keep in mind that alcohol consumption may increase yeast-related symptoms in some people and interfere with weight loss. If it does not slow your weight loss, an occasional glass of wine is acceptable once you are out of Induction so long as you count the carbohydrates in your daily tally. Spirits such as Scotch, rye, vodka and gin are acceptable, but do not mix with juice, tonic water or non-diet soda, all of which contain sugar. Seltzer, diet tonic and no aspartame diet soda mixers are permitted. If you have added alcohol to your regimen and suddenly stop losing weight, discontinue your alcohol intake.