Atkins Induction Phase

How to Do It

The original Atkins Induction Phase of the Atkins diet is a powerful weight loss tool.  If your desire is to lose weight, improve your health and not be hungry while doing it, then following the INDUCTION phase of the Atkins diet is the way to go.

A lot of people confuse the Atkins diet with this first phase.  In fact, the Atkins diet is comprised of four phases.  The induction phase of the diet is meant to INDUCE ketosis and fat burning.   It’s the very first step.

The way to encourage fat burning and ketosis is to cut carbs way back.  In the absence of carbs, your body will burn its own fat stores.  Here’s an article I wrote which explains how that works.


Follow the Atkins Induction Phase
for a minimum of 2 weeks.


To ensure you get into ketosis, cut your carbohydrate intake down to 20 total grams or fewer.  It seems very restrictive but it’s not.  You will get used to it.  Depending on how much weight you need to lose, you will be in this phase for a minimum of two weeks.


What Can I Eat?


You can have unlimited amounts of animal protein from beef, pork, fowl, fish, shellfish as well as eggs and some cheese.  You can cook in butter and other fats or oils.  And you can eat vegetables in moderation. 

Here is the food list of what is permissible during the original Atkins induction phase.  I keep saying the word “original” because the newer version of the diet is much more liberal and in my opinion it does not provide the same results.


How Will I Feel?


The side effects of becoming fat adapted vary from one individual to the next.  People who have been eating a lot of carbs for most of their lives may find the first 3 to 7 days difficult.  Some people experience side effects for a little longer, maybe even two weeks.

Here are the common side effects of going from being a sugar burner to a fat burner.  Not everyone will experience discomfort.

·         Headache
·         Have to pee a lot!
·         Temporary lethargy
·         Flu-like symptoms
·         Less hunger between meals
·         Fewer sugar / carb craving
·         Leg cramping, particularly at night
·         Hair loss
·         Better mood

HEADACHE  Headaches are pretty common in the beginning.  You can ride them out or if they’re annoying, take something to relieve the pain.  Stay hydrated.

HAVE TO PEE A LOT!  Oh that’s for sure!  In the beginning, the diet has a strong diuretic effect.  Be prepared for frequent pee breaks.

TEMPORARY LETHARGY:  You may feel a bit draggy for the first few days. 

FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS: Some people experience aches and pains, as though they’re coming down with a bug.  It’s rare but it does happen.  Rest up, these symptoms will pass quickly.

LESS HUNGER BETWEEN MEALS:  That’s a very good side effect!!!  The diet, when done properly, is very satiating.  You eat until you’re full.  Protein and fat have a lot of staying power.  Don’t be surprised if lunchtime comes around and you forget to eat at your usual time!

FEWER SUGAR / CARB CRAVINGS:  This is another really good side effect!  When you don’t eat sugar or refined carbs, you don’t crave them.  If you just cut them down, you will always crave them.  The Induction phase does wonders for cravings because the carbs and sugar are eliminated.

LEG CRAMPING:  Leg cramps can happen, usually at night.  It’s a sure sign that you need a bit more sodium and/or magnesium.  I find adding a little extra salt to my meals takes care of cramping.  And a little magnesium at bedtime does the trick.   I use magnesium glycinate.

TEMPORARY HAIR LOSS:  Some people lose some hair.  This hair thinning can happen on ANY diet.  Your body perceives radical changes of any sort as a threat.  Even a big change in your way of eating can be perceived as a threat. This causes a stress reaction and the outcome for some people is temporary hair loss.  It all grows back and most often it grows back more luscious than before.

BETTER MOOD:  Many people report feelings of elation, as though a dark cloud has lifted.  Ketogenic diets have been used to treat depression so you may experience a better mood overall.  Yeah!


How Much Weight Will I Lose?


There have been many claims of massive weight loss on the Atkins Induction Phase of the diet.  The truth is, the weight you lose will depend a lot on your gender, how overweight you are, how metabolically damaged you are, if you’re on prescription medication and so on.

FACT:  Men lose weight much faster than women do.  It doesn’t seem fair but that’s how it goes.  If you’re a woman and you start this weight loss journey with your spouse, expect to have a desire to punch him somewhere painful when you decide to weigh in together.  He will lose more weight than you…at least in the beginning.

FACT:  If you have 50 or more pounds to lose, you will lose much faster than if you only have 10-15 pounds to lose. 

FACT:  Those of us who have dieted ourselves nearly to death with every fad diet out there... we are so metabolically damaged.  We hurt ourselves by eating very low fat, severe calorie restriction, over-exercising and yoyoing weight loss and weight gain…   For us, weight loss may be slower.  But permanent weight loss is achievable with a low carbohydrate lifestyle.

FACT:  Some people are slow losers on ANY diet.  I am a slow loser.  Probably because I'm almost 60 and I'm post menopause.  It's just a reality I have to deal with.  I'm OK with that.

FACT:  Certain medications interfere with weight loss.  Also know that this diet will change your requirement for certain medications, especially if you’re diabetic.   PLEASE TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before making any changes to your prescription medications.  

According to Dr. Atkins, men can expect to lose seven or eight pounds in the first week.  Women can expect to lose five or six pounds. 

In the first week, some of this loss is water weight.  But there is also fat loss.  This is where the Ketostix are fun to have on hand.  You can see you’re burning fat when the stick is anywhere from pink to purple.

In the second week of the Atkins Induction Phase, weight loss will not be as dramatic as the first.  Things will slow down but you will still be losing.

As I write this article I have about 45 pounds left to lose.  I will stay on the Atkins Induction Phase until I get to about 15 pounds from my goal (about 125 pounds).  How long that will take, I do not know.  I am a very slow loser and that’s OK.

Here is the food list of approved foods on the Atkins Induction Phase.

Let's see what happens when I move up the carb ladder to the second level.  More on that later.  Right now and for the next while I'm firmly in the Atkins Induction Phase and loving it.

Let's go from the Atkins Induction Phase back to the HOME page.



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