Thursday, February 02, 2006

Does Ending Atkins Diet Cause Weight Gain?

I got another EXCELLENT question today from one of my readers and she basically asks the following question:

"Does ending the Atkins diet cause me to gain weight?"

The quick answer to that question is YES! If you think of livin' la vida low-carb as just a temporary "diet" to only help you lose weight in the short term so you can get back to your old way of eating, then you WILL gain back any weight you lose during your low-carb experience and very likely gain some additional pounds on top of that. That's why you constantly hear me talk about making low-carb living a permanent lifestyle change so often because it really is the key to your long-term weight loss maintenance.

Anybody who tells you to go on a low-carb program to lose weight and then switch to another plan to keep the weight off is misleading you. While the media and so-called health "experts" have been successful at incorrectly labeling the low-carb lifestyle as an unhealthy and even incredulously calling it a "dangerous" way of eating (PROVE IT!), especially over the long-term (that's what "Diet Detective" Charles Platkin erroneously thinks!), it is important to note that the people who make such bombastic statements do not have any evidence whatsoever to back up their wildly hyperbolized claims.

Undoubtedly, that's what precipitated this e-mail from a reader today:

I have been on the Atkins diet for 2 years with my husband. I started it primarily for him. I want to discontinue this program; but I am afraid that I will gain weight too fast. I want to go back to the counting calories. How do I convert my eating?

My weight is the same as before I started this program. By eating fruits and vegetables, and eliminating the "high" carbs (rice, pasta, bread etc.) will I gain weight? Thanks.

Hmmm, interesting questions aren't they? She wants to switch from low-carb to low-cal? Can it be done?

Here was my response to her:

THANKS so much for your e-mail. I appreciate your willingness to share with me your concerns about being on the Atkins diet and entrusting me with helping you with your specific concerns.

First off, let me applaud you for standing by your man while he has been livin' la vida low-carb for the past two years. Undoubtedly your commitment to do this with him provided him the motivation and inspiration to lose weight and get healthy. My own wife Christine has also stood with me on the low-carb lifestyle by sacrificing potatoes, pasta, white bread, and sweets. If she didn't do that, then I would not have been the success that I was. Never forget how important you were to your husband's low-carb experience by supporting him like you did.

With that said, let me ask you why you want to "discontinue this program." While your original intentions were to support your husband in his efforts to lose weight, I'm sure you have found this way of eating to be the most flexible and diverse diet in the history of mankind. That's been my experience. Unlike a low-fat diet, you get to enjoy lots of great-tasting foods, including many of the fruits and vegetables that you feel you are missing out on. Despite this common misconception about low-carb, you STILL get to enjoy LOTS of fruits and veggies when you are low-carbin' it!

From what I read in your e-mail, it sounds like you want to continue on with your low-carb lifestyle, but you want to lower the calories. There's nothing at all "wrong" with doing that if you feel it is what you want to do. But if you are following the "Atkins diet" as Dr. Robert C. Atkins subscribed, then you will get to enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods and you will naturally take in less calories than you would if you ate those "high carb" foods.

Instead of totally abandoning livin' la vida low-carb, why don't you try adding those fruits and vegetables you think you have been missing from your diet and keep an eye on the scale? If you want to keep track of how many calories you are eating, that's fine. But if you are like most people who get easily frustrated with doing that, I would watch your carb totals (which can add up quickly from the natural sugars in most fruits) and keep it at a level where you are able to maintain your weight.

The key is to not fall back into the old habits that make us all fat: fast food, quick sugary and carb-loaded snacks, high fructose corn syrup-laden sodas, starchy foods, processed foods, etc. If you avoid these things, then I don't see any reason why you would gain weight.

THANKS again for writing and best wishes to you and your husband as you keep on livin' la vida low-carb! God bless you!

In the end, I don't think she really wants to give up her low-carb lifestyle as much as she wants to feel like she is eating healthy. If you are maintaining your weight, then there is nothing wrong with eating just about any fruit or vegetable you desire. They are chock full of great nutrition and are an excellent addition to your low-carb eating program when you are maintaining.

Let me remind those of you who are on the "Atkins diet" to read the book. Don't just assume you are "on Atkins" unless you have read his books. Cutting back on carbs isn't the Atkins diet and neither is avoiding fruits and vegetables. That's the media's version of livin' la vida low-carb, but is as far away from the reality that so many of us low-carbers enjoy about this way of eating. And don't think eating a low-calorie diet is necessarily any healthier for you either.

Did you know a recent survey of real low-carb dieters found that their vegetable consumption actually DOUBLED when they started livin' la vida low-carb? Has the media even BOTHERED to report on this? Heck no because it doesn't fit their template of what low-carb is all about.

The lies and deceptions that continue to pervade our culture about the low-carb lifestyle is why I created this blog. We'll keep challenging these negative idioms with the truth about low-carb so that people who need to benefit from low-carb living can know that they know that this is what they should do for themselves to lose weight and keep it off permanently.

Got a question about livin' la vida low-carb? E-mail me at


Blogger Newbirth said...

Hey, I am really loving the Living the Low Carb Life book that you recommended. I've decided to make a feature of it by writing synopsis' of each chapter at my blog. I've finished chap. 1 and 2 and already did chap. 3 by accident early on. I'm currently reading about diet #2 out of the 17 in chapter 3.

GREAT book. This is the magnum opus of all low carb lifestyles!

2/02/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

It really is a GREAT book, isn't it Victoria? That's why I called it the MUST HAVE book for anyone who is low-carbing! It's too bad Jonny Bowden is now trying to distance himself from this awesome book. :(

2/02/2006 10:48 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I saw that! I can't believe he regrets writing something so full of information. He obviously put a LOT of work into researching it.

2/05/2006 8:00 PM  

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