How The Atkins Diet Works
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How The Atkins Diet Works

By Alan B. Densky, CH

The Atkins Diet is a very popular "low-carb" weight loss program, but it is often greatly misunderstood! Popular, if slightly exaggerated depictions of the plan portray dieters eating nothing but vast amounts of meat and fat. Although the diet itself may not be quite that simple, many people have used it to successfully lose weight and improve their health.

On this plan, dieters follow a highly specific program based on restricted carbohydrate intake. Emphasis is placed on the nutritional aspects of the diet over exercise and other factors, although exercise is encouraged. 

There are four stages in the Atkins diet:

Induction During this two-week phase at the start of the diet program, dieters can only consume up to 20 grams of carbohydrates each day. Dieters can consume high protein foods such as meat and eggs, fats such as oils and butter, and other foods with little to no carbohydrate content. Many foods containing carbohydrates are not allowed at all, including alcoholic beverages.  

This early phase is supposed to help the body switch from burning carbohydrates for energy, as it normally does, into burning fat stored in the body (a process known as ketosis). Most dieters start to lose weight during this phase.

Ongoing Weight Loss During the ongoing weight loss phase, dieters gradually increase their carbohydrate intake by adding 5 grams of carbohydrates into their diet each week. Dieters adjust their diet, losing weight to put themselves within 5-10 pounds of their target weight, before moving into the Pre-maintenance stage.

Pre-maintenance Dieters use the Pre-maintenance stage to find out the maximum amount of carbohydrates they can consume without gaining weight. During this stage, dieters increase carbohydrate intake by 10 grams a week. Once dieters reach their target weight and can maintain it for one month, they move into the Lifetime Maintenance phase.

Lifetime Maintenance For lasting results, the Atkins program is supposed to be maintained throughout the dieter's lifetime. Using the strategies that helped the dieter reach their target weight, the dieter maintains an eating and exercise program to stay at their goal weight. Individuals can revert to previous stages if they ever start to regain weight.

Dieters who can stick to the Atkins diet are usually successful in losing weight; however, many people cannot maintain the program and end up quitting early on in the induction phase. In general, most diets fail simply because dieters cannot stay on the plan.

Many people struggle to stay on diets because they experience strong food cravings, have problems with compulsive overeating, cannot control their appetites, or simply lack the motivation to lose weight. Overcoming these mental obstacles is the most challenging aspect of losing weight.

One reason why many people struggle to control their eating is because they are emotional eaters. Such individuals eat in response to their feelings, such as when they are bored or upset. However, this eating style programs a "conditioned response" into the unconscious mind. This means that when people experience the same emotion that made them overeat initially, they will feel compelled to overeat again and again.

Hypnosis works by helping our unconscious minds disassociate our eating habits from our emotions. To eliminate the conditioned response to overeat, a hypnotherapy weight loss program is used to break the link developed in the unconscious mind between overeating and certain "trigger" behaviors.

For example, if you tend to overeat when you feel bored, hypnosis can dissociate boredom from eating in your unconscious mind. Hypnosis can then be used to replace the overeating response with another activity, such as exercising. That way, the next time you feel bored, instead of going to eat, you will feel motivated to engage in physical activity.

Hypnosis is a powerful stress-relieving tool as well, helping us cope with our stressful emotions and relieve tension without eating. As a relaxation tool, it calms the mind, helps you develop strategies to cope with stress, and boosts your self-confidence to motivate you to lose weight.  

Hypnotherapy can also be used to eliminate the emotional anxieties that keep you from losing weight.  Many overweight people hide behind their weight for emotional protection. For example, after a painful end to a relationship, people might find themselves becoming overweight so they can avoid relationships and avoid experiencing emotional pain again. Through hypnosis, we can think more positively and focus on having better health instead of becoming overwhelmed by our anxieties. 

Not only is hypnosis a powerful motivation tool, it relieves stress, extinguishes conditioned responses that cause overeating, and can be used to overcome many mental obstacles that prevent weight loss. Hypnotherapy for weight loss is extremely effective at helping people stick to a diet plan, such as the Atkins program, and lose weight.

© 2007By Alan B. Densky, CH.  This document may NOT be re-printed without permission. All Rights Reserved.  We are happy to syndicate our articles to approved websites.

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