In 1972, Dr. Robert C. Atkins published a book titled Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. This book refuted some of the popular theories about the types of food people eat and obesity. It also discussed a variety of conditions caused by or triggered by the foods people eat. Essentially, people were eating too many carbohydrates in the form of breads, pastas and refined sugars, and it was negatively impacting their health. This was contrary to the medical doctrine of that time, which stated that the average person needed to consume a certain amount of breads, pastas and sugars for their body to work properly.
The Atkins dietary program begins with eliminating all carbohydrates from the diet for at least two weeks. Then it gradually adds in foods with natural carbohydrates and sugars, starting with vegetables, then fruits, then breads and pastas. The idea is to determine the optimum carbohydrate level your body can process without causing fat to be stored. Once that level is discovered, you know how many grams of carbohydrates your body needs daily in order to either lose weight or maintain your current weight.
Let’s talk about the physiology associated with this. When you eat regularly, the body converts the carbohydrates, fat and sugar into energy. When you do not take in enough carbs, fat and sugar to provide energy for your activity level, the body uses the stored fat to make energy. This is how you lose weight and inches on a low-carb diet. This is different from calorie-based diet plans that include carbohydrates and sugars in the base diet.
Dr. Atkins appeared on The Tonight Show in 1965 to promote his new weight loss plan, but popularity of the diet didn’t take off until it was published in Vogue magazine in 1970. Its quick results and easy-to-understand regimen was a hit with Vogue’s female readership. A notable difference from other diets for many who tried Atkins’ approach was that they did not feel hungry and their energy increased as they lost pounds and inches.
However, Dr. Atkins did not intend for people to use this diet program as a quick way to shed pounds. The program itself is designed to change how and what you eat for your body’s maximum benefits. The introductory phase forces the body to reset and detox from all the processed and high-carb foods. Successive phases allow you to learn about your body and what foods it needs to function at its best.
A common misconception is that the diet is meat and fat rich and limited to those types of foods. However, there is a long list of foods that can be eaten in the first phase, such as green, leafy vegetables certain cheeses and low-fat proteins. When done according to the guidelines, the Atkins diet model is actually a balanced plan that includes all the foods that a body needs to stay healthy. Atkins Nutritionals has developed tools such as the Carb Counter that is easy to carry and to use and can be downloaded to your phone for when you are away from home and need to stay on-program.
Celebrities That Have Used Atkins
This is a diet that works as many people, including celebrities, have found. Celebrities are no strangers to the plight of losing weight, and they, too, have found that the Atkins diet is easy to use and quickly helps shed those unwanted pounds.
Alyssa Milano is the latest celebrity to partner with The Atkins Diet program as a spokepersons. In an interview on the Wendy Williams show, Milano discussed how she reduced the carbohydrates and sugars in her diet after the birth of her second child but struggled with those last ten pounds she wanted to lose. Her research on how to lose those last pounds led her to Atkins. She was so impressed with the overall program, she happily endorses it.
Milano follows in the footsteps of other celebrities like Sharon Osbourne and Courtney Thorne-Smith who have willingly and gratefully attached their names to the Atkins brand. Members of the Hollywood elite have adopted the program to maintain their celebrity figures. Kim Kardashian and Catherine Zeta-Jones both used the Atkins model to lose the excess weight that remained after the birth of their children. Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore used Atkins to shed unwanted pounds and keep them off during their high-profile careers, and Renee Zellweger turned to Atkins to shed the pounds she put on for her role in the Bridget Jones movies. Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell actually adopted the Atkins diet along with exercise to help her reverse her rail-thin look.
Atkins has also been used by male celebrities to lose weight and eat healthier. Singer Robbie Williams regularly uses Atkins to keep his weight and waistline in check, and actor Dennis Franz and former Vice President Al Gore subscribed to the Atkins diet plan to help them shed unwanted inches. Even Drew Carey found success using a low-carb diet and was able to bring his blood sugar under control and remove the pounds that marred his enjoyment of life.
How to Get Started
The Atkins Diet has changed slightly since its inception in the 70s. It has developed different plans that take into account busy lifestyles and various medical conditions that may not be conducive to entirely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet.
Read the book cover-to-cover. The first step in starting any new diet regimen is to read the book cover-to-cover. The books provide the science behind the success, giving details on why certain foods at certain points in the diet are necessary for maximum effect. It also will tell you why you will need to take certain vitamin and mineral supplements in the beginning to make sure your body is getting everything it needs.
Visit the Atkins website and read all the information provided there. This will help you understand the program fully and show the many ways Atkins Nutritionals supports anyone changing their life through their program. The information on the website is designed to give quick answers and a brief synopsis of how the program works but does not fully touch on the science behind the program like the book explains.
Decide which plan suits you best. Read the difference between the Atkins 20 and Atkins 40 and see which program fits your life. This is an important part of the process because it needs to fit into your life or it will not work for you.
Plan your meals and go shopping. You can use the simple meal planner on the website or develop your own based on your reading and the acceptable foods lists both in the books and on the website. It is recommended that you plan at least two weeks of meals with as much variety as possible so you don’t get bored. Boredom leads to binging, and carbs are usually the first food people reach for when binging.
Stick with it. It may seem hard in the beginning, but your body will quickly adjust to the lack of carbs, and you will soon be void of those cravings. Journaling what you eat and your weight-loss and measurements can help you stay on track with the program.
If it is possible to find the original 1972 publication of the book Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, it has many details on his studies relating to the effects of carbohydrates, starches and sugars on diabetes, obesity and other conditions effected by hormonal imbalances sometimes caused by the body’s inability to properly process certain foods. More recent books include newer research and alterations to the program for maximum health benefits, such as the influence of artificial sweeteners on increasing hunger and actually inhibiting weight loss. All the books have information as to why your body craves the carbs and how to remove those cravings from your life.
NOTE: In an interview with Jimmy Moore, Courtney Thorne-Smith admits to failing during her first attempt at the Atkins diet because she didn’t read the book. “When I finally went back and read the Atkins book, I was able to figure out what I needed to eat in order to be my own food judge. I eat a plant-based diet, and no starch or sugar. Of course, like on my son’s first birthday, I had a piece of cake – it’s just a rare treat – so to balance it out, I won’t have as much fruit the next day.”
There are other books that are great tools to help you along your journey with the Atkins diet:
• The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook is filled with 200 recipes that help you enjoy your new low-carb lifestyle.
• The New Atkins for a New You Workbook provides you with techniques and tips that help you gain maximum benefits from the program. It includes grocery lists with carb counts and an area to track your food and progress for sixteen weeks. It also has helpful tips to keep you motivated and for eating on the go.
• The Atkins Journal gives a 120-day record format to track your eating and progress so you can continue to monitor your weight loss and eating patterns.
• Atkins: The Ultimate Guide is considered by some to be the ultimate beginners guide because it has 330 recipes that fit into the Atkins program as well as a full month of meal planning to help those new to the program.
There are many other books available that make it easy to follow the Atkins diet program. There are also phone apps for you to quickly and easily track what you eat and upload it to your account on the website.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. has developed a variety of products that help keep you on track with the program. For those with busy lifestyles, these prepackaged products provide support while away from the house.
• Atkins frozen meals are an easy way to stay on the program while taking a meal at work. The website can help you find a store near you that sells the Atkins frozen meals and other products.
• Atkins meal bars are great for those who don’t have time to heat up or sit down to a meal. There are a variety of flavors, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Bun Bar, Peanut Butter Granola, Strawberry Almond and Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar. The meal bars are designed to fill you as if you had eaten an actual meal.
• There are also treats and snacks for when you need something sweet or something to control your hunger until meal time.
• The Harvest Trail Bars are the newest edition to the snack line. They provide enough protein and fiber to keep you from getting hungry until your next meal without all the sweetness that comes with the other snacks.
• The Atkins ready-to-drink shakes are an alternative to sodas or diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners which increase hunger.
• The Atkins Lift Protein Bars and Protein Drinks are gluten-free additions to the product line, offering whey protein and eliminating maltitol or erythritol.
Atkins Nutritionals has created a variety of flavors for their various products to represent the different tastes and needs of those following the program. They even offer kits for those who don’t have time to cook or cannot easily find Atkins products in their local area. These kits are also an easy way to start the Atkins lifestyle and determine which products you want to add to your routine.
Once you understand how the Atkins diet works and have adopted the principles of the diet into your lifestyle, it is easy to make healthier decisions on your own. Reading the books and using the tools available will help you achieve success with this or any diet plan, but it takes you to get started.