The first piece of advice we can offer you, paradoxically, is to have no set expectations. Just because your best friend or spouse lost 7 pounds on Atkins the first week of Phase 1, Induction, don’t assume it will be the same for you. If you’ve been eating lots of poor-quality carbohydrates, this way of eating will be a significant change for you, and it may take some time for your body to adjust.
You may also be giving up many of your old high-carb comfort foods, which may leave you feeling emotionally bereft. Both reactions are normal. Record any such feelings in your diet journal along with a list of the foods you’ve eaten. You can find online support and answers to specific questions on the Community Forums during this transition (as well as at any other time) and link up with Atkins “newbies” and old hands.
Here’s what else you are likely to experience when you start Induction:
You’ll lose water weight. Most people lose a couple of pounds of water weight in the first few days, but you may lose more or less.
Then you’ll start to lose fat pounds. But don’t get hung up on the scale. Lost inches are just as significant as lost pounds. So if your clothes seem to feel a bit looser, even if your weight is constant, you’re on the right track. It’s perfectly normal for your body to vary from day to day, so we recommend that you weigh yourself just once or twice a week at roughly the same time of day and take your measurements. That way, you’re more likely to see positive and meaningful results. Weight averaging over the long haul is a better way of looking at weight loss. Daily fluctuations will drive you crazy.
You might experience certain symptoms that result from the diet’s diuretic effect, but you can minimize your chances of experiencing them with options discussed in The New Atkins for a New You. One suggestion is drinking a full sodium broth or miso soup daily. When water and sodium are flushed from your body, you could feel fatigue, light-headedness upon standing up or with exposure to heat, weakness, constipation, chronic headaches and/or leg cramps. Drinking broth will slow down water loss and you can side step those symptoms.
Your energy level may be low for a few days. If so, follow the advice above and hold off on or reduce your usual fitness routine. Let your body acclimate to your new way of eating and adapt to your new metabolism of fat burning before starting or intensifying activity.
You may feel hungry or crave high-carb foods for the first couple of days. If so, have a high-protein snack, such as sliced roast beef, a chicken breast or some cheese.
Your energy level improves along with a sense of well-being. This dramatic shift, usually occurs somewhere toward the end of the first or even into the second week. This is a clear Indication you have gotten into the Atkins Edge, which means you’ve made the transition to primarily burning fat for energy, and can begin to hone your low-carb skills.
Type 2 diabetes and hypertension sometimes improve dramatically when you are on a low-carb program, so the need for certain medications diminishes. Close cooperation with your doctor is essential so that you don’t confuse the effects of too high a dose of a medication with doing Atkins itself. Be aware that:
The diuretic effect of doing Atkins can lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension. Monitor your blood pressure carefully and communicate any changes to your doctor so that the dosage of any blood pressure drug can be adjusted.
Likewise, doing Atkins can have a dramatic impact on your blood glucose levels. If you take medication for type 2 diabetes your need for insulin may diminish. Monitor your blood glucose levels and stay in touch with your doctor.
Congratulations! You are about to discover a way of eating that will keep you satisfied, help you reach your weight loss goals, improve your health, and reverse the disease process. A powerful program that will change your life for the better.