As you leave behind the regimen of Induction, it’s time to proceed with caution!
First of all, congratulations on reaching the first stage of your goal! Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) is where you’ll start tailoring the Atkins Nutritional Approach™ to fit your special tastes; it’s what makes Atkins so unique and such a pleasure. But if you have decided to move to phase two, it’s crucial not to cut loose and undo all the good work you have just completed. OWL has a couple of fundamental differences from Induction, but it is also very similar to it in that you will continue to derive the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables. You will add more portions of vegetables, and most people will be able to gradually add nuts, seeds and even some berries. It’s important to understand that you will not be shifting significantly away from protein and fat to carbs, although you will be slowly changing the ratio of carbs to that of fat and protein.
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 how to liberalize that regimen, you will be reentering 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.
But you need to be careful not 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. Once you learn how your body reacts and how quickly you can add new foods yet continue to lose pounds, you have the tools with which to enjoy of lifetime of slimness.
Although more lenient than Induction, OWL will continue to allow you to dissolve fat. Expect a gradual decrease in the rate at which the pounds and inches disappear—this is a deliberate part of the plan. An important caveat, however: Allowing a few more carbs at this phase is not a license to return to your old habits of dining on foods full of sugar, white flour and other junk carbs. The quality of the carbohydrate foods you eat continues to be as important as the quantity.
Before we get into the specifics of how you will actually do OWL, take a moment to focus on the positive changes you have already begun to enjoy. Now you—not that nameless, food-obsessed demon—are the one in charge of your appetite. And what delicious things you can have on your plate! In all likelihood, the crispy duck in Chinese restaurants or cheese omelets garnished with thick slices of avocado were among the luxuries you had to do without when you were watching your fat intake. Also remind yourself that you’re on a nutritional plan that’s healthier than any other one you’ve tried before.