The Atkins Advantage Program has three parts designed to work in concert: Nutrition, Motivation, and Fitness. Each week you’ll proceed through all aspects of the program. Can you lose weight by using only one or two? Sure. But the surest and fastest way to your goal is to employ all three in unison. They work in tandem as you progress through the program, gradually building to the experience of empowerment.
NUTRITION: THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Dr. Atkins’ revolutionary low-carbohydrate eating plan, founded on a single fundamentally empowering principle of saying yes, is at the heart and soul of the Atkins Advantage Program. When you do Atkins, you don’t do without, you do different. We think you’ll be delighted to discover that many of the foods you can eat in the first phase of Atkins are the same ones you couldn’t eat when you were trying to lose weight in the past. That is the Atkins way. Get ready to dine on roast chicken complete with crispy skin, or lamb chops accompanied by tasty broccoli and a salad topped with avocado slices and creamy Caesar dressing. Moreover, when you cut out refined carbs in the form of processed foods containing bleached white flour and white sugars, you’ll not only lose weight but reduce your risk factors for many chronic diseases.
Controlling carb intake is a crucial part of the answer to the nationwide epidemic of obesity and can be the solution to your personal struggle in the battle of the bulge, but it must be done correctly to reap the rewards. With the Atkins Advantage you’ll be on the right track from day one, and your results will show it.
MOTIVATION: THE WINNER’S EDGE
As you stand at the threshold of a new beginning, you will likely find yourself filled with optimism and determination. Take note of this feeling—that’s motivation. But as you probably know, sustaining this feeling of hope, energy, and optimism is the hard part. You may have felt hopeful and excited about other supposedly life-changing diets and fitness programs, only to find that none of them gave you the tools to maintain that enthusiasm long enough to see lasting results.
Changing your body means changing your mind, which is every bit as crucial as increasing your physical activity and improving your eating habits. Think of motivation as the key in the ignition: Without it, you can’t even start the engine, let alone go the distance.
Each week we’ll introduce targeted mental exercises that draw upon the best of sports medicine and motivational training.
You’ll learn to set realistic but challenging goals that will help you achieve all your dreams. You’ll give those goals a concrete shape by “seeing” yourself attaining them in guided visualizations. You’ll learn to replace the habit of negative self-talk with positive, personalized, verbalized self-reinforcement in the form of affirmations. Guided journaling activities will allow you to monitor your progress, refine your approach, and celebrate each milestone on your journey toward lifelong weight management and optimal health.
With the All-New Atkins Advantage Program you’ll achieve not just a new body but a new outlook—one that will enable you to reach out and embrace life to the fullest. These skills will empower you to eliminate excess pounds and rid yourself of the encumbrances that have held you back from realizing many of your dreams.
FITNESS: THE BEST YOU
Moving—and getting fit—is a prescription for a happier, healthier, more active and fulfilling life. But if you have tried to lose weight by exercise alone, you might have a very different perspective on exercise; you may recall the hours spent sweating on a treadmill, only to see little or no difference on the scale at the end of the week.
If you’ve tried exercise before and been disappointed, it’ll be different as part of the Atkins Advantage Program. Here’s why:
• You’ll look better. Working out promotes better posture and more toned muscles.
• Your results will be better. Research shows that most people who maintain their weight loss exercise regularly, and most people who regain weight loss do not. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so the more muscular you are, the more fat you burn even when not exercising! Exercise helps you stay focused when weight loss inevitably slows.
• You’ll feel better. Exercise increases your coordination, stability, and physical confidence—a boon if you no longer want to wake up feeling stiff and creaky or simply want to move more gracefully. It improves mood, decreasing depression, anger, and stress, alleviates sleep complaints, and has a calming effect on our minds and bodies. Exercise actually replenishes your energy reserves and makes you stronger so that you can more easily handle the activities of daily life.
• Your overall health will be better. Weight-bearing exercise increases bone density. Even moderate exercise boosts the immune system.
The All-New Atkins Advantage brings unique benefits that not only improve overall health, but deliver these benefits through proven techniques.
Diminish your disease risks. Physical inactivity is a major independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. Exercise has been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), triglycerides, blood pressure, and amount of body fat, all risk factors for heart attacks, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. It can also normalize blood clotting factors and also increase insulin sensitivity (a good thing) and HDL (“good” cholesterol). A study that followed more than 70,000 postmenopausal women for about three years found that those who exercised at least two and a half hours a week had a 30 percent lower risk of heart-related problems than the least active women. Another study of 2,600 elderly men found an average 15 percent decrease in risk of heart disease for every half mile the men walked each day. It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to make a difference. One study revealed that of all cardiac risk factors, the most significant indicator of risk of death is an individual’s exercise capacity.
You can eat more carbs! Anyone can tell you to control carbs, but only Atkins individualizes it so you eat the maximum amount of healthy carbohydrate foods your metabolism can handle while still losing weight. The Atkins Advantage Program includes a Fitness Rewards Chart (page 202) that offsets the time and effort you expend working out with additional grams of carbs you can eat.
This doesn’t mean jogging eight miles to burn off an ice-cream sundae. But would a piece of whole grain bread jazz up your lunchtime turkey and cheese rollup? By focusing on carbs, not calories, and by looking at exercise to help you raise your carb threshold, the rewards become meaningful and the goals become achievable.
It’s individualized. The fitness component of this 12-week program has been designed specifically so that no one will be left behind. In the same way that Atkins can help you lose weight no matter how far away you are from your goal weight, the fitness component of the Atkins Advantage Program will help you get into better shape—whether you already work out regularly or haven’t made regular fitness part of your routine. Whether your goal is to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day or run a marathon, you decide how high to set the bar.
It’s full spectrum. The Atkins Advantage Program offers you a fitness plan that incorporates stretching, cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, and strength (resistance) training, encouraging you to increase your overall activity. A study that followed middle-aged men for seven years found that those who engaged in moderate activities ranging from tennis to gardening had a 20 to 30 percent reduced risk of dying compared to those with less active lifestyles. Those who expended even more calories further reduced their risk. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a program should build strong habits, not just strong muscles.
In the weeks to come, think of this book as your coach, giving you professional, around-the-clock, personalized, hands-on care and attention—and the encouragement you need—to make fitness an integral part of your healthy lifestyle.
It’s fun! Even the best-designed program in the world won’t make you fit unless you do it. And you won’t do it unless you enjoy it. This program is fun, productive, and satisfying, because that’s the only way to ensure you’ll stick with it. After all, the objective isn’t simply exercise but adopting a more active lifestyle.