How Do You Follow the Atkins Diet?

The Atkins diet restricts carbohydrates and helps dieters shed weight quickly and healthily. The program is split into four phases that help people reach and maintain their goal weights.

  1. Kick-start your diet with the Atkins diet's first phase

    The first phase of the Atkins diet is known as induction. During this phase, dieters drop their intake of net carbohydrates to 20 grams per day. This forces the body to burn primarily fat instead of burning primarily carbohydrates. This phase usually lasts for two weeks.

  2. Continue with the balancing phase

    When dieters begin the second phase of the diet, they are allowed to gradually add other foods to their diets. These may include yogurt, blueberries, nuts and seeds. This phase usually lasts until the dieter is within ten pounds of their goal weight.

  3. Enter the pre-maintenance phase

    When a dieter is approximately ten pounds from their goal weight, it is time to transition to pre-maintenance. This step of the program allows people to gradually increase daily net carbohydrate intake in 5- or 10-gram increments. This phase lasts until the goal weight is achieved, and it's maintained for one month.

  4. Move on to the maintenance phase

    Once the goal weight has been achieved, it is time for dieters to begin the lifetime maintenance phase. This step in the program allows individuals to experiment with food in a healthy, safe way.