If you're not losing weight on the Atkins diet, you may not be following the program as closely as you think you are, or there may be physical reasons why your body is determined to hold on to those excess pounds. Taking a good, hard look at how you're dieting and what you're doing (or not doing) can help you get back on track.
Most of the time, if someone says they are not losing weight on the Atkins diet during the Induction phase, they actually mean they aren't losing as much weight as they'd hoped to. Articles and message board posts that say people have lost fifteen pounds or more in the first two weeks can be discouraging if you've only lost seven pounds during Induction, but you have to keep in mind that everyone loses weight at a different rate. If you have less to lose or simply have more insulin resistance to overcome, you may only lose a few pounds during the first few weeks. The key is sticking with the diet over time.
Once you've entered the Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) phase of the Atkins diet, your weight loss should slow down somewhat and be relatively steady. You will, however, sometimes have slow weeks as your body adjusts to changes in activity levels, carb load, stress, and many other influences. There are several things that can influence your weight, including:
Hidden Carbs - Although you may think you're controlling your carbohydrate intake, there are many, many foods that have hidden carbs. Thickeners in soups, breading, and processed food ingredients such as Maltitol can have carbs you aren't aware of. If you are not losing weight on the Atkins diet, review your food intake carefully and get rid of any hidden carbs.
Eating Too Little - It sounds counter-intuitive, but you may not be eating enough. Some people who give up carbs simply aren't substituting enough vegetables and lean protein. If your body thinks it is going into starvation mode, it will hold on to excess weight to protect itself. Try adding some fresh vegetables and low sugar fruits to your daily food intake.
Eating Too Much -If you haven't carefully read the guidelines, not losing weight on the Atkins diet could be the result of not understanding the limitations of the diet. Some people think the Atkins diet is a license to eat as much meat and fat as you want. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You need to assess what you're eating and replace some of those fatty foods and meats with healthy vegetables and fruits.
Poor Planning - Some people get frustrated about not losing weight on the Atkins diet because they haven't prepared properly in order to stay on the program. It's easy to look in your refrigerator and think, "I don't have anything good to eat for breakfast," then settle on a bagel or a few slices of toast. Wrong! Substituting a carb loaded food for even one meal can throw you off of the Atkins diet for days. Don't be tempted to cheat "just this once."
Excessive Alcohol Intake - It's important to keep your alcohol consumption at the lowest levels possible. Ideally, you won't have alcohol at all during Induction and you'll limit it to the occasional glass of wine or cocktail thereafter. Alcohol sugars increase insulin resistance, and there are lots of these pesky sugars in alcoholic beverages.
Muscle Development - If you're getting lots of exercise or are working out with weights, stalled weight loss may be the result of muscle development. Lean muscle tissue weights more than fat, so you could be losing weight but gaining muscle tissue. If you think this may be the case for you, try using measurements instead of the scale to track your progress. Some people will lose inches despite the scale being stuck at one weight.
Also keep in mind that not losing weight on the Atkins diet may be the result of your individual metabolism, your age, your body type and a number of other factors. If you've checked all other factors and still can't lose, you may want to go back to the Induction phase for a few days or weeks to jump-start your weight loss.