To err is human. Even once you reach your goal weight, we know—and you know—that occasionally you’ll slip up. The following three situations should help you learn how to handle indiscretions, whether small or large.
You find yourself chowing down a cherry Danish, a raisin bagel or another high-carb food of dubious value.
Recovery tactic: If your weight has been stable for several months, it’s likely that such an indiscretion won’t impact your weight, although it might make you feel sluggish for a day or two. If you are still on the weight loss phases of Atkins, this kind of step off the path can cause an overnight weight gain, and potentially four days before the scale picks up pace again. Once you realize what you’ve done, don’t waste your time and energy beating yourself up. Simply stop immediately and get back on track with your healthful way of eating. Just be sure to memorize the outcome and how you are feeling so you think twice before trying that again .
A Week of Overindulgence
You spend a week in Cancun and succumb to the lure of quesadillas and margaritas.. Not only do you gain weight, you’re also plagued with carb cravings. Or you threw all reason to the wind and let yourself go over the holidays.
Recovery tactic: Since most of the weight gain from a brief episode of carb overindulgence is water, the best antidote is to reduce your carb intake. As soon as you get home, drop back to 20 daily grams of Net Carbs and stay there until the weight you gained comes off. Then you can start climbing the carb ladder again, and stay below your carbohydrate tolerance until you reach your goal weight. If the excess pounds won’t budge and you’re still experiencing cravings, Stay at 20 net carbs for more time until you get things under control.
Falling off the Wagon
An event such as a breakup with a significant other, a lost job or another major disappointment sends you back to your old, unhealthy eating habits. Even a positive event, such as beginning a relationship with someone who doesn’t follow the Atkins lifestyle, can trigger a lapse from your new eating habits. After several weeks and several pounds, you’re feeling disgusted with yourself. Your pre-Atkins symptoms have returned with a vengeance, and you can’t fit into your new clothes.
Recovery tactic: First of all, get off the guilt trip, which will just lead to more destructive eating. Instead, go back to a lower level of carbohydrate intake until your cravings are under control. Then slowly move back to your previous level to restore your weight loss until you reach your goal weight.
What can you learn from these hypothetical examples?
1. The longer you wait to take action, the more aggressive your response needs to be. A minor slipup may require no action other than to examine why it happened and plan future defenses. A binge or period during which you depart from your low-carb way of eating demands more proactive measures.
2. The line between your carb threshold and overdoing it is extremely thin.
3. A cascading series of events can threaten your long-term weight control program.
4. You can always reverse the tide, by regaining control. You do this by getting rid of the bully; excess carbohydrates.
When you’re new to Atkins, you may honestly believe you’ll never backtrack. Maybe you’re one of those remarkably strong people who never do, but if you’re like many of us, you’ll occasionally slip up. Just remember that you have all the skills you need to execute a fast reverse and then move forward with the rest of your life full of health and vitality. Try not to linger too long on the negative, and know you have at your disposal all the tools and skills to succeed.