At an ideal-weight goal for over TEN YEARS, thanks to Atkins.
Last updated May 13th, 2013
|Finally, someone to relate to! It is also very refreshing to be able to visit a
comprehensive low-carb site that is so non-intimidating and user-friendly - and you've
been on Atkins since 2001!
I am so happy that others can identify with me, because I know how important it is to be
inspired as you inch toward your weight loss goal. My supreme goal is to make this page - and
my entire website, for that matter - as thorough, informative, and enriching as possible, and
to make SugarFreeSheila.com a true one-stop "safe place" for low-carbers. Please know that
you can always come to me for tips, advice, or encouragement should you ever need it.
Sheila, can I write to you with all my Atkins-related questions - even regularly?
Sometimes I just need someone to talk to, someone who's been there and is still kicking,
about my experience and my progress. I've read the book and I know what I'm doing, but
this is so new to me, and I can feel a little lost sometimes ...
With respect to visitor e-mail, IMs, and texts, please read about the new changes to the
SugarFreeSheila.com site as of January 2011. All the e-mails I receive with questions about
Atkins not only inspire me and give me ideas to improve SugarFreeSheila.com even further
(hence the frequent site updates), this website is my labor of love and what I do! It's a true
honor and privilege for me to receive e-mails asking for help, tips, or just to share
experiences, or even if you just need advice on something - e.g., relationships, etc. Also,
allow me to say what an honor it is to hear from people from all over of the world - that is so
exciting for me! So, please, if you've questions or would like to relay your experience, write
away! All I ask is that you first read my SugarFreeSheila.com User Agreement, and look
through this FAQ, just to ensure that the answer isn't already discussed here. Who knows?
You might meanwhile find answers to other questions. In fact, for this very purpose, I
intentionally keep the queries of this FAQ page "miscellany-style" so that you will hit on
various points you may have not yet thought of to ponder.
If I have a question about low-carbing, may I IM you?
Of course! Again, all I ask is that you have signed up for SFS Weekly Access, and have already
read the Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution book, this full FAQ, and User Agreement prior to
contacting me with questions.
Didn't Dr. Robert Atkins suffer from a heart attack April 2002?
No, but a heart infection. Click here to get the true CNN story. Tragically, the late Dr. Atkins
passed away April 2003 from injuries sustained in a fall on slippery ice in Manhattan. A copy
of his death certificate can be found here.
Did Dr. Atkins die obese?
Only if you consider 195 pounds on a six-foot, 72 year-old man to be so. Here is another USA
Today article disputing this myth. Also, here is a copy of his death certificate.
You don't have to exercise on Atkins, right?
For those following Atkins by the book, Dr. Atkins states throughout the text that daily
exercise is "non-negotiable." My own regimen can be seen toward the bottom of this page,
or at the bottom of my Motivation / Beauty Tips page.
This page is huge! I know I need to read your Atkins FAQ first before writing to you, but
I work/travel/am a mom/student/have a busy schedule and do not have time enough to
get through it.
If you're always on the run, the audio book-style SFS.com EZ Audio FAQ CD Set is an option.
What is your opinion of Atkins Nutritionals filing Chapter Eleven a few years ago?
It has little to do with the Atkins way of eating itself - particularly since I do not use
processed low-carb products like bars, cereal, chocolate, etc., on a daily basis. (I bake my
own low-carb desserts on the weekends, but the remainder of my day-to-day menu is strictly
whole foods to maintain my results.) Please bear in mind that the Atkins company, formed in
1989, thrived until Dr. Robert Atkins' untimely April 2003 death. It is my personal belief that
those who took over the company, made low-carb snacks and products a chief focus, and
made major changes to the very foundation of the Dr. Atkins-created program, are
responsible for this unfortunate financial trouble. A few months after Dr. Atkins' death, the
Group (Atkins Nutritionals) was sold for a reported half a billion dollars, and almost
immediately the rules shifted of the Atkins program, revamped through the Atkins website
and via the new Atkins Essentials book. The group namely modified Atkins' first phase of
Induction, because for the first time since the '70's, low-carb chocolate, low-carb cereals, low-
carb bars, and even nuts became permissible during this 2-week period - items absolutely not
permitted and not on this finite list of allowable foods. That said, since 2002, misinformed
individuals have and continue to give a go at what they think is Atkins, then therefore focus
daily on the aforementioned processed low-carb snacks instead of real, whole food as
outlined in the original Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution text, stall on again what they think
the program is - and ultimately quit because little to no weight is lost. This Atkins group
bankruptcy is rather unfortunate, but it is my hope that those considering the Atkins way of
life will consult and follow the original text, Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, for instructions
on how to do the program as originally instructed, as this is the way to follow it for life.
Thanks for the Induction list!
No problem. The Atkins site again moved the one page I ever used from their website - the
one page that remains in accordance with Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution - and that is their
Induction Foods list. Solution? Making my own. That's something I'd been meaning to do for
years; so if anything, this was a kick-in-the-pants blessing in disguise. No ties anymore.
Is the Atkins Center or anybody else sponsoring this website? Why do you do all of this?
What's in it for you?
Nobody in any way sponsors, funds, or writes for this website but I. No banners, no popups -
none of that has any place here. For me, someone else sponsoring/funding/writing for my
website means controlling, limiting, or in some way influencing the content - which I have
and never will allow to happen. Notice that there is also no commercialism or advertisement
anywhere other than my own personal product suggestions - and I only suggest a specific
product if I feel there is absolutely, positively no substitute for it. I continue to have zero
endorsements, which explains why I am so reticent about sharing what brands I use. I'm not
paid to. So it's got to be special. SugarFreeSheila.com makes it possible for me to reach out
to people, to illustrate what I found for myself in 2001: a healthful, practical low-
carbohydrate lifestyle that not only enabled me to finally achieve my weight loss goal after
perpetual struggles with it since the age of 10, but to maintain it for a lifetime. (I made goal
in late 2001.) After all the grueling trial and error I endured, I have officially taken it upon
myself to do what I can to help others in this capacity. I also feel that it is important for
people to have available an altogether objective low-carbohydrate / Atkins information
website with no hidden agenda. I am genuinely here to help!
What is your ultimate goal with SFS.com? Aspirations?
First and foremost, I feel that I am doing this here and now, with this free and ad-free
website with no site donation requests, since the launch of this site in 2001. Also, as
someone who communicates even better in the flesh, I cannot tell you how much I would
love to travel throughout the U.S. and worldwide (wherever there is a demand for it) to
speak to groups on the benefits of low-carbing and especially self-improvement on every level
- achieving one's ultimate potential. Headlining a cruise would also be an excellent platform
for this - holding fun Q&A sessions, showing how one can not only maintain but easily LOSE
weight on cruises by doing Atkins, and making myself 100% available throughout the entire
duration to anyone who wishes to ask me questions on anything of the many topics SFS.com
covers ... just what one would expect here. My ultimate goal is to inspire and lift other
women up, and my relentless can-do approach makes that possible. It is a calling for me. To
inquire, please click here.
What do you think of the The New Atkins For a New You book?
As stated in this Atkins FAQ as well as in my User Agreement, Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution
is the only Atkins book of which I am a proponent. As with Atkins Nutritionals, whose
emphasis seems to be commercial low-carb products, any Atkins book penned by any
individual other than the late Dr. Atkins does not have my endorsement - or even interest.
I live in Tehran/Nuuk/Suva/Nicosia/Tombouctou, and low-carb breakfast bars, low-carb
bread, and low-carb candy are not available here. So that means I can't go on Atkins,
I lost my weight in 2001 - about two years before the magnificent boom of low-carb cereals
and packaged cookies came about - and had no trouble whatsoever losing the weight. You
see, these low-carb goodies are allowable treats on Atkins - but certainly not a necessity for
low-carb weight loss. I limit treats like these, which I bake myself, to just 3 days a week, and
focus mainly on natural, unprocessed whole foods on all other days of the week. This worked
for me while losing weight, and continues to work for me in Maintenance. But please
remember that low-carb treats are still treats and should be treated as such - and not with
every meal, every single day ... or worse, in the place of meals! With regard to the ability to
do Atkins in a non-U.S. country: if fresh vegetables and low-glycemic fruits like berries/melon
are made available, as well as adequate, fresh meats and nuts, then an Atkins lifestyle is
entirely and 100% possible.
You should put videos on YouTube!
I did recently add a photo slideshow there, with some never-before-seen "Before" pics, to
further get the word out on this website. However, as a copyright & creative control freak, I
have no plans to ever upload videos of myself on YouTube. Free Tip Clips are included with
my Super-Duper Bargain Package, as well as the Atkins Startup, and I am also available on
My doctor deems Atkins unhealthful & is convinced my cholesterol will skyrocket. What
Actually, studies consistently show that the opposite is true. In fact, take a look at mine.
It's so important that physicians be up on the latest studies regarding the actually quite
salubrious low-carbohydrate lifestyle. But you will also find that some health care providers
are misinformed about the very fundamentals of Atkins!
How should I handle people who tell me Atkins will kill me within a month, or that their
aunt's friend's husband's co-worker's cousin had kidney failure or a heart attack from this
way of eating?
Many anti-Atkins folks make this dramatic statement at some point or another. Immediately
insist that they offer proof to substantiate their dramatic claims - and prepare for a
dumbfounded expression and no concrete answer with valid proof behind it. The fact is, if
fallacious statements like these had any true, bona fide veracity, then, given the ever-rising
popularity of low-carb eating in the U.S., half the people in this country would be on dialysis.
It may help to refer uninformed individuals like these to my website as well, as it provides a
wealth of information regarding Atkins. That said, as you progress in weight loss while doing
Atkins, just remember this unquestionably accurate equation that will grow truer with every
dress size you drop: Losing Weight By the Book + Maintaining Goal By the Book + Having a
Copy of Your Improved Lipid Profile On-Hand = Nobody Ever Questions Your Way of Eating or
Success. I absolutely never get flak about the low-carb way I eat - not ever. In fact, I leave a
good 90% of the people I speak with in my daily life - male or female, and regardless of
whether their weight is high or low - saying that they're interested in checking out the book
for themselves. Make it your business to set an excellent low-carb example; it will only
benefit you and the reputation of the Atkins lifestyle.
How do you manage to stay on plan during the holidays year after year?
For one, I stay on plan on Thanksgiving day; in fact, Thanksgiving has been 100% low-carb for
me since Thanksgiving 2003, and I always prepare my standard spread. However, I do make
Christmas Day a "Fun Day." No off-limits treats before this day, no off-limits treats after this
day. Non-negotiable. As I discuss at more depth elsewhere in this website, the only rule on
a Fun Day, which I began incorporating after having made goal in late 2001, is that I eat
whatever I'm craving and stop when I'm full ... no carb-counting allowed. Relaxing on
Christmas Day - and enjoying once-a-month Fun Days in general - keeps me from the lame
"Woe-is-Me" / "Can't-Have-Anything" mentality both in the meantime and afterward, and
keeps me in a size 1 pair of non-stretch Levi's. Simply put: I continue to do this because it
continues to work for me.
Are you an expert?
Probably because it is so obvious that I am not an expert, I have never actually received this
question in an e-mail. People - be it online or otherwise - approach me for help & advice on a
myriad subjects. Merely considering myself a sort of "Go-To Girl Next Door," I have always
been more than happy to oblige. Since I feel I have a true calling & knack for reaching out to
others (women in particular), SFS.com has proven the ultimate vehicle for me to do so.
I'm reading Atkins Essentials. It says you can eat low-carb bars, low-carb shakes, nuts,
and more during Induction. But I'm stalled. What gives?
Atkins Essentials was written and released January 2004 by the Atkins Center - which was, of
course, after the April 2003 passing of Dr. Robert Atkins. If you are interested in the Dr.
Atkins-created program, the book actually written by Dr. Robert Atkins and not by the group
that was sold for a reported $500 million shortly after his death, please read the 2002 edition
of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution.
Is low carb dead?
On the contrary; Atkins is becoming more and more mainstream. Even more so than prior to
the big "Atkins craze," because now I can order my meals bunless & with extra helpings of
vegetables, or substitutions for vegetables, without the server even batting an eyelash. The
fact is, Atkins has been around since the early '70's & does not appear to be going anywhere.
But all in all, who cares if it's "dead" - it's healthy and it works.
Is this website mainly geared towards women?
Yes. However, for the most part, I do try to keep away from pink backgrounds so as to not
alienate my male site visitors. Apart from the obvious fashion and beauty aspect of SFS.com,
the information provided herein can appeal to both sexes - and again, I always reply to all of
my visitor e-mails. So, if your name happens to be Mick, you don't have to sign your name
Is Atkins bad for the kidneys?
Only with a preexisting kidney condition: Why Protein is Not Bad For Your Kidneys &
Low Carb, Atkins, & Kidneys
I need someone to talk me into doing Atkins because I just can't seem to get started.
That's where you come in! Does it work? Should I go on Atkins? No, I haven't read your
the book or your FAQ yet, but have some questions in the meantime while I mull over
doing so ...
I feel it's best to clarify this matter in the top portion of my FAQ. My time is devoted to
assisting those who've already sold themselves on the program, have read Dr. Atkins' New
Diet Revolution so that they are versed on the fundamentals of what Atkins entails, as well as
this FAQ. Once you are already on Atkins, I'm here to help for free via e-mail, IM, text,
Twitter, & Facebook. User Agreement
I use Half-and-Half instead of heavy cream. Is that okay?
Why use something with reduced fat & added sugar on Atkins? Please click here and here to
read a bit about the differences among the different types of creams. By the way, if you're
wondering what my favorite brand is, it's Target's own 32-ounce! By far the creamiest I've
tried, & the only brand I use.
What are your favorite casual restaurants & what do you order there?
My all-time favorite casual restaurant is Houston's. But Outback is great, too, if you're in the
mood for a steak. I'll usually order the 9-oz filet or 16-oz ribeye, rare, with no seasoning since
I'm salt avoider, with an off-the-menu side called "Loaded Broccoli" (just like a baked potato,
but with broccoli instead), & Caesar salad - no croutons, dressing on the side. (I like lots of
extra-virgin olive oil on my salad & to use the dressing as dip for the steak.) I eat it all & love
I love making shakes at home. What are some ideas of what I can use?
You've asked the right girl, because I love making shakes!! Here are just a few ideas to get
your wheels turning: I use fruit in my shakes sometimes, & tend to add various berries,
melon, lemons & limes ... as long as a fruit is low-glycemic, I'll use it! Tofu is a great add-in to
add both girth and volume to a shake, & some brands yield only 4 total carbohydrates for the
entire 12-ounce block. Woohoo! (Of course you only need half or less of the block for one
shake, & even that's a ton.) There are so many more things to add to a shake to make it
great. Coconut oil (has a butter consistency), coconut cream, those 3-ounce cream cheese
cubes, various oils like macadamia nut, of course Eggbeaters (use raw eggs at your own risk),
protein powders, psyllium husk granules, soy milk, flax seed meal ... If any of these
ingredients sound unfamiliar or you can't find them at an ordinary supermarket, try your local
health food stores or the Internet!
How did you decide on your goal weight?
Since I knew that beyond mere height, females differ in terms of not only age, but
musculature, bone size, & bone density, when it came to setting a definitive, arbitrary
number - especially since I'd never been there in my adult life - I thought better of it.
Therefore, I planned on knowing when I felt & looked my best once I arrived there. This also
did wonders for not feeling overwhelmed, because one huge number can be daunting for
anybody - so, I took it just one day and one pound at a time. Ultimately, I decided that being
under 110 was best for me. So, how will you know? Once you catch yourself in the mirror
stepping out of the shower & want to shout, "BRICK HOUSE!" you'll know you've hit on it.
More on individual ideal weight is discussed further down this page ...
Thanks for all the recent photos & I love that you are always updating your site. It keeps
me motivated whenever I want to cheat!
I wanted to be sure & add the above commentary that I very often get in the mail. Taking
photos is a huge chore, but necessary; I see it as essential that my site visitors see continual,
visual evidence of my ongoing success, because I know that it provides indisputable proof
that low carb success is attainable for not only me, but anybody who faithfully & consistently
adopts the principles outlined in Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution for life. To even further
reinforce my Atkins testimony, I include scans of my official body fat reading, as well as my
full cholesterol profile. These readings are far from unusual for loyal Atkins followers, & are
meant to show that if I can do it, ANYONE can. Regarding new photos, these can be found
throughout the pages of this website - and sometimes in places you might not expect!
I only have 10 pounds to lose. Will Atkins work if I'm not really overweight to begin with?
I'll put it this way: I didn't stop losing weight 10 pounds short of my goal!
Can I just skip Induction? I only have 10, 20, 30, 40 pounds to lose.
Pages 121-122 (the first two pages of Chapter 11) of the 2002 edition of Dr. Atkins' New Diet
Revolution elucidate exactly why this first phase is so important. Ultimately, it is a judgment
Could you tell me what you personally had for breakfast, lunch, & dinner during
Induction? Give me your whole menu! Did you watch portions - and do you now? What
did you eat then? How do you eat now?
These are far & away my most commonly e-mailed questions. I'll tell you one thing: I eat
essentially the same main dishes/entrées now as I did while losing the weight; I've just
incorporated even more portions of vegetables, as well as adding plenty of nuts & low-
glycemic fruits into the equation - and I've always baked low-carb desserts every weekend as
treats! Regarding portions: I never restricted the amount of food I ate - I have always
exclusively restricted carbohydrates. Please see my Original Low-Carb Recipes Page for lots of
free sample Induction & dessert recipes & meal ideas, as these can very easily be worked into
an effective low-carb menu & any phase of Atkins. I must have created a million of these
recipes on my way to goal! My Low-Carb Grocery List may be helpful, too. In addition, my
latest cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Induction Meals, contains 100% original, ALL
Induction-friendly recipes, & my dessert cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Desserts,
features the low-carb homemade baked goodies I created & continue to enjoy.
What are your thoughts on the hCG protocol?
To each his own; but I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I rely on low-carb/low-glycemic
foods & my fitness routine to maintain my low body fat & physique - that's it. As stated in
my User Agreement, Atkins is the only program to have ever worked for me, and is therefore
the only program of which I am a proponent.
Wait a minute, isn't the USDA Food Pyramid the healthiest, most balanced way to go?
Health expert Jonny Bowden, PhD, C.N.S., put it more beautifully than I ever could:
"The Food Pyramid is an invention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture [not even by
doctors, but essentially businessmen] in the late 20th century. Most of the foods on it did
not exist before the invention of agriculture. If the history of the human genus were a 24-
hour clock, agriculture was invented about 5 3/4 minutes ago. On this same clock, the Food
Pyramid is less than 17 seconds old. To assume it is the last word on the best kind of fuel for
the human body is, in my humble opinion, utter folly."
More proof that low-fat is not all it's cracked up to be? "Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health
Risks, Study Finds" - New York Times; also, Carbs may be worse for heart than fatty foods -
Diet & Nutrition - MSNBC.com; Why Butter is Better.
Okay . . . is there a Low-Carb Food Pyramid then?
Low-Carb Food Pyramid
Isn't low-carbing super-expensive?
The key to spending the least amount of money on groceries as a low-carber is to make sure
that you replace your poor habits of buying processed foods, rather than add on to them.
The question should be, rather, "Doesn't high-carb junk food get expensive if you're trying to
eat healthfully by low-carbing?" Coupons help, as does buying meats in bulk at wholesale
markets like Sam's & Costco.
I sometimes get leg cramps at night. Any suggestions?
It's very likely potassium you're lacking. Scroll down around to the middle of this page for
some great low-carb sources of potassium.
What can be done about "Keto Breath"?
I never had it personally because I ate all of the allotted vegetables (nothing worse for a
person's breath than a diet of just meats & cheeses!), & have found this issue typically also
stems from consuming excessive amounts of protein - so, please remember, as it bears
repeating, that Atkins is not a high-protein diet, but an adequate protein, low carb way of
eating. Also be wary of even the slightest dehydration. Since halitosis - rancid breath -
comes from the inside of the stomach as well as from odoriferous bacteria which breeds in
the mouth, it's probably best to work from there: try adding not only more vegetables, but
also some natural lemon juice to your water as a double-whammy tactic to get your breath as
pleasant as possible. Also, of course avoid cigarettes and mouthwash, as the alcohol in the
latter only serves to dry the mouth out ... thus starting the nasty breath cycle all over again!
I'm on Induction & love to try new entrées. What is something cool & different for dinner?
Buffalo steaks! Such a nice change from beef. Similar in taste, & not at all gamey. These can
be found at various health food stores & premium supermarkets. Also, roasting a duck or
turkey breast provides a wonderful change from chicken & tastes wonderful.
I know I should avoid trans fats, but what exactly are they? Where do I find them?
Trans fats are found in foods made or cooked with hydrogenated vegetable oil, & deemed by
the FDA as more than twice as unhealthful as saturated fat.
Below are some great informational links:
Trans Fats 101
Special Report: Trans Fats - Top Ten Foods To Avoid
Fat Facts: Trans Fats and Saturated Fats Are Not the Same
Ban Trans Fats
There's even a tiny bit in ordinary peanut butter - so small, in fact, that it doesn't even legally
register in each serving size. However, if you're a purist looking for ordinary peanut butter
with no partially hydrogenated oils whatsoever, here are some great brands: Crazy Richard's
Peanut Butter, Adams Peanut Butter, President's Choice Peanut Butter, Smucker's All Natural,
Laura Scudder's, Publix store brand, & the Kroger supermarket store brand.
My own personal take on trans fats? If you are a true Atkins follower (in other words, you
treat man-made foods as what they are: treats not to be enjoyed with every single meal!) &
eat mainly whole, real foods like meats, vegetables, nuts, and low-glycemic fruits, you will
find that the whole issue of trans fats simply is not a worry for you the way it is for someone
on a low-fat diet. Proof: observe closely what low-fat dieters eat. Chances are their diet
consists of many processed, reduced or non-fat foods not found in nature. Do the trans fat
links above reflect the foods a true Atkins dieter consumes on a daily basis?
I see milk isn't allowed on Atkins. Great, there goes my calcium.
Au contraire! Scroll down about 40%: Calcium Sources
How long does it usually take the body to get into ketosis after starting Atkins?
It ranges, of course, but I would expect anywhere from 1-4 days. For me personally, it took 2-
How much did you lose during Induction?
7 pounds the first two weeks. I remained on "loose" Induction until I made goal - meaning I
incorporated natural peanut butter every night, & enjoyed low-carb baked desserts on the
weekends - and it took me 5 months to get there. Once I got there, I added approximately 5
carbohydrates per week to my daily menu until I hit my 90-110-gram limit for Maintenance.
I've been maintaining my goal weight since late 2001!
What have you been having for breakfast lately?
Lots of omelets. When rushed, this is the best thing in the world since I've always loved
them & they take just 10 minutes to make - and this breakfast is Induction-friendly, too, by
the way! I like onions, bell peppers, garlic, white cheddar cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes,
avocado, & sausage in mine. Stuffed to the brim!
Aside from measurements, scale losses, & your clothes feeling looser, at what point did
you begin seeing results in the mirror?
I would say it took a good, solid month to begin noticing a reduction in size & body fat. Also,
given the fact that it's difficult for anyone to really see such gruelingly gradual changes in
themselves amid even consistent weight loss, it helped that I made a habit of taking periodic
Polaroids of myself in the mirror, wearing nothing. Polaroids provided for me a much more
objective, accurate gauge of my progress, & I highly recommend doing this. If you're bashful,
don't be - it's you! Simply hide the photographs if you prefer that no one else sees them.
That said, I can't say I recommend pasting them onto your fridge unless you live alone!
What is your body fat percentage?
13.92%. I was tested at this percentage 4 times in a row for absolute accuracy at the Dallas
Cooper Clinic via hydrostatic (underwater) weighing in 2004 & 2005. I don't trust calipers or
those silly body fat scales, as these two methods merely rely on stats & averages to
essentially "guess" at one's body fat, rather than giving you a true, definitive number.
(Calipers are consistently about 3-7% off the mark for me, regardless of who does the
measurement.) Hydrostatic weighing is the true gold standard if you want accuracy! To read
up more on the different means of body fat testing, click here.
On Induction, how come veggies like peas, corn, & potatoes aren't allowed?
These actually aren't vegetables at all; peas are legumes, corn is a grain, & potatoes are root-
tubers - and rather starchy at that! Here is an interesting link.
Isn't this diet unhealthy? It's NO carbs, right? Don't you eat a ton of protein, & isn't this
awful for the kidneys?
First of all, Atkins isn't "no-carb." In fact, it isn't even a high-protein or a program particularly
high in fat - but rather a low-carbohydrate way of life. Those who gorge on fat or protein on
Atkins do so entirely of their own accord. One might confuse Atkins with a program called
Stillman's - which is markedly distinctive from Atkins. Regarding Atkins & low-carbing in
general, check out this incredibly informative New York Times article "What If It's All Been a
Big Fat Lie?" This way of eating is unhealthful only if done incorrectly - simple as that. By
eliminating all of the unnecessary garbage from your diet (simple sugars & starches), you are,
in essence, "forced" to eat a plethora of fruits & vegetables every day in addition to lean
meats & nuts. "How I Became a Low-Carb Believer."
All of that fat cannot be good. What about cholesterol & heart disease?
"Scientists Say Fatty Diet Not Linked To Stroke Risk"
The Guardian: "Let Them Eat Cake, Butter, Cream ... "
Myths About Nutrition
Note: For the record, I have never shunned fat since the day I started Atkins. Doing so
would be counterproductive, according to the book. Again, I refer you to my lipid /
Is margarine a better choice?
Not at all - and the trans fat issue with respect to margarine is only the beginning. Why
Butter Is Better
What about gout?
This should help you get started.
What was your personal turning point? What made you finally make the decision to lose
Now this is where my story might differ a bit from the ordinary success story: the thing is, I'd
always wanted to lose the extra weight I carried, & was forever putting in an extraordinary
amount of consistent effort to make this happen. Motivation was never my problem, as I've
always been super-enthused about whatever I put my mind to. As you can see from this
website, I do nothing halfway. The problem at hand was that I just didn't drop any weight
with whatever I tried - low-calorie, moderate-calorie, low-fat - and I need to make clear the
fact that I've exercised regularly & consistently since the 5th grade. Always 30-60 minutes of
brisk walking on the treadmill - but now I do 20-25. (My dad is a marathon-runner & very into
fitness, so the mentality rubbed off a bit!) I actually envied the yo-yo dieters, because at
least they lost the weight to begin with! But I stumbled across Atkins again in mid-2001, did
it correctly this time around, & boom ... the weight was off in 5 months. I have finally, finally
found what works, & I will never turn back. Who would have thought eating like this would
actually be enjoyable as well?
I'd like to see some more Before/During photos of you!
You got it - click here!
I'm eating low-carb bars, low-carb shakes, nuts, & I'm stalling. Why?
Keep in mind that if you're doing Atkins, it's best to consume nuts during the Pre-
Maintenance stage. The following, while great for Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), Pre-
Maintenance, or Maintenance, have been known to cause stalls due to either excessive salt,
preservatives (nitrates/nitrites), or fake sweeteners like saccharin or aspartame: deli meats,
imitation cheeses, nuts, pork rinds, low-carb shake mixes, Sugar-Free JELL-O, & low-carb
bars. KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) & you'll lose rapidly. This has unequivocally been my key
to long-term success of since 2001: I treat low-carb treats as treats & keep foods pure &
whole at least 75% of the time. Remember, Atkins is qualitative rather than quantitative, &
about "cleaning it all up," so keep it natural! Frustrated about nixing the nuts & sweet
potatoes just for now? Don't be. Take comfort in the fact that what stalls you now will
rather comfortably maintain you later!
Did you count fat and/or calories? Portions?
Never - and as someone who has a huge appetite & can put away more than most men, I still
don't ... won't. Since Atkins is about restricting carbohydrates & provides for me all the fat-
burning edge I need, I never found any additional monitoring necessary. In fact, I doubled my
caloric intake & increased my fat intake after starting Atkins. My daily cardio (treadmill
walking) has always been the same since around the age of 10, & I never lost any weight by
keeping my calories at anywhere from 1000 to 1800; however, my weight dropped just as soon
as I limited my carbohydrates & increased my calories two-fold. So now, understandably,
carbs are all I ever pay attention to. It keeps things simple anyway - and I never make
something simple complicated.
What do you say to the naysayers?
I can say that since 2001, I've only had maybe one or two total - and there is a reason for
that. Let's say there is a lifestyle such as veganism that you do not happen to agree with
simply because it is not your own personal preference. If you came across a vegan who used
to be overweight years ago, but lost & has since maintained this weight loss through the
vegan lifestyle, has a stellar lipid profile, low blood pressure, has a low body fat & is physically
fit, hasn't had a cold in years, does in fact consume adequate protein & plenty of vegetables,
calories, & fat, has doctor's approval, and is energetic ... would you feel inclined to sit him
down to tell him that what he's doing isn't working? Naysayers do not tend to bother
preaching to success stories - and even less so with long-term ones - and you can avoid these
thorns in your side too if you stick with Atkins to goal and for life. The only time this might
prove a bit difficult is in the beginning days - and family, friends, and co-workers will take you
seriously if you take your own efforts seriously, by following this program without apology &
with a non-negotiable mindset. I cannot stress this enough - it is key.
Can you recommend any websites that feature various weight calculators?
You will have a blast on this page.
I'm a runner or want to start running. Do I need lots of bread products and sugar for
energy in order to do so?
The Correct Nutrition For Athletes
I'd like to see what other men & women look like at different heights & weights.
I'm trying to avoid salt. Any suggestions for a decent substitute?
Oh, sure! NuSalt is not only a tasty, no-sodium salt substitute, but the very high potassium
content (over half a gram in a tiny 1/6-teaspoon serving) might help those of you who suffer
from unfortunate leg cramps. On the potassium front: as you become acclimated with the
Atkins lifestyle, you'll discover potassium-rich vegetable sources like acorn & butternut
squash, artichokes, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga ... you'll get the hang of it!
My ketosis sticks don't come up the deepest purple - should I be concerned if I measure
only pink or "Trace"?
Being in ketosis is much like being pregnant or dead: plainly put, you either are or you
aren't. If you measure "Trace," you're every bit in ketosis as someone who is in "deep purple"
- which can sometimes mean you're not getting enough water. So, drink up!
Doing this website thing since 2001, do you ever get any head-scratchers - questions that
completely throw you?
Two. The first is when someone e-mails me, says they like my site (which ups the chances
they know this FAQ exists), then asks if I have any tips. The second is when someone writes
to me, establishes that they have already read the book & fully understand how the program
works, they've seen and/or printed out the finite list of allowable foods for Induction ... then
they ask: "So, how do I get started?" I'm so left-brained & literal, I have no idea how to
answer this. By eating?
Okay, I know how to get started because I've done this thing before - and I know from the
past that Atkins works because that's how I've lost it in the past. But I just can't seem to
get started - and when I do, I can only stick with it for a few days ...
The fact that you know upfront that Atkins works, yet you are not willing to stick with the
plan long enough to let it work, means that you are simply not ready yet - because when you
are, nothing can stop you. Period. When it gets right down to brass tacks, the only person
who can motivate you is you. Let the rewards you reap be the motivation you seek.
Do you know if birth control pills might hinder my diligent weight loss efforts?
Good question! They never affected me personally. Here is a link for more info. While it is
from a website geared more towards teens, I found its brief elaboration on the topic to be
Did you use diet or energy pills/fat-burners/carb-blockers/laxatives at any time?
Absolutely not, out of sheer principle. I simply do not believe in them - and they defeat the
purpose of this way of eating anyway. Low-carbing gives you all the fat-burning edge you
need to lose excess weight. In addition, I don't believe in water pills (since low-carb eating is
a diuretic in & of itself), or energy supplements, or herbal supplements either, as I don't see
them as necessary.
What is your favorite nut butter?
Organic, sodium-free macadamia nut butter (health food stores). Only 3 total carbs for 2
tablespoons. It just tastes seductive, & is hands-down my favorite nut butter. Well, cashew
butter & sunflower seed butter both come as a close second!
I miss Miracle Whip!
Simply add a packet of Splenda to your regular mayonnaise. It's almost as if you are getting
away with something! I always have my bunless burgers, tuna salad, and Boar's Head low-
sodium meat-and-cheese rollups this way.
Are you familiar with the Real Age books by Michael Roizen? If so, may I ask what your
"Real Age" is?
Yes, I like his books, his innovative concepts, and sound health & lifestyle advice! Plus, Dr.
Oz is a doll. In fact, I take the full version of the Real Age test around once a year - and as of
late July 2010, my "Real Age" is 21.9 - Generation Y girl here! (Disclosing this result is pretty
personal, albeit appropriate, as the test is based solely on family history & lifestyle choices.)
New questions to this quiz are added from time to time to make the test more thorough, and
it's fun to take! For more information, please click here.
I'm in the UK, and don't really know what to look for in terms of the "heavy cream" you
One of the very first things I always do in foreign countries is head straight to the largest local
supermarket to see what all is there. Every time, it is redundantly reconfirmed that one may
follow Atkins there - and I hope it is of some comfort to my visitors from around the world
that I've yet to see an exception. After all, this is pretty basic eating! So, in reference to
the heavy cream I am such a big fan of, which I like to stock up on and keep in the mini-fridge
for later: I looked for this recently at Tesco in southern England, and when I did not spot it
straight off, I stopped a few shoppers and described exactly what I was looking for: full-fat
cream appropriate for whipping and/or coffee. Not half-and-half, not "lite" cream, not non-
dairy creamer, and not anything that has been sweetened with sugar - and they kindly
pointed me in the right direction. (This is a bit more challenging when in a country where
English is not the official spoken language, but I manage!!) I saw the Tesco-brand Double
Cream, Single Cream, and Whipping Cream. I already am a regular buyer of Double Cream at
home and love it (it's sort of similar to Mexican Table Cream but not coffee-appropriate, as it
curdles, however is great for dips and desserts), and since the very low-carbohydrate content
of the Tesco's Single Cream and Whipping Cream matched, and I did not know what to make
of the "Single Cream," I just purchased both. While the Single Cream tasted good and fared
just fine in coffee in a pinch, it remained milky-thin even after beating. Thus the verdict was
obvious and as I expected given the latter's name: the Tesco Whipping Cream was the one to
really thicken up beautifully. How beautifully? Well, if you beat it long enough, you can turn
it upside-down over someone's head & feel confident about nothing coming out - yet it
doesn't curdle in coffee like Double Cream or Mexican Table Cream. As far as coffee-
appropriate cream goes, I think that's pretty fabulous. For further reference on the various
types of cream, click here!
I have a leg/ankle/knee/hip injury and am concerned about doing my cardio. What can I
Discuss with your doctor the possibility of temporarily implementing the Arm Ergometer
machine. I've seen them at various gyms through the years. This could very well be your
saving grace in the meantime as you recuperate!
Is ketosis dangerous?
No; many confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis: Ketosis/Ketoacidosis
I'm an athlete. I NEED tons of carbs! So, ketosis - or even Atkins - probably isn't for me.
The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of
submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate
Any more tips on getting in my fluids?
I am not a water purist - though my hat's off to those who are! After discovering on a cruise
last year that their iced tea is Lipton Instant Decaf Unsweetened Tea Mix & tastes wonderful,
I had to partake in that after returning home because it really helps me stay hydrated! I
prefer my tea strong, so this is how I make it in a gallon pitcher at a time: 1 cup of the tea
mix with half a Splenda QuickPack, which is at Big Lots for a dollar each. I drink this tea out
of a 25-ounce cup - and through a straw to save my teeth. (We all know what coffee & tea
can do to teeth!) This gallon lasts me at least 24 hours. If you give it a try, let me know if
you like it!
What about alcohol? I'll just die if I could never have another drink!!
I can't say that I'll be a huge help in this department, because I don't drink. However, there
are plenty of Light beers out there, and they are all low carb. Low-Carb Beer Comparison
Chart Also, another word about alcohol: the body follows an "order of priority" when it
comes to fuel-burning: alcohol (easiest to burn), followed by protein, carbohydrates, then
fat. This is why it might be best during weight loss to go easy on the alcohol. Beer Alcohol
Content & Carbs in Beer
Did you ever keep a food journal?
I'm just way too no-nonsense for that. Even though this seems to be a fairly popular thing to
do, I've never viewed keeping written track of everything I eat as necessary, or even
interesting. I mind my carb grams & that's it.
I live outside the U.S. and would love to make all of your recipes, but am accustomed to
the metric system. Help!
Here you go! I use this website all the time for a multitude of purposes, and it never lets me
I find I'm eating the same meals and cooking the same types of food over and over again
because I'm just not a creative cook - and it is getting so boring. Plus, food always tastes
better at restaurants, so I'm always tempted to just say, "Forget it!" and just dine out all
the time. That can get pretty expensive!
You're not kidding! Allow me to say here & now that I am not a professional chef, I can't chop
celery 1,000 miles a minute, & am by no means a culinary virtuoso. However, I am creative in
the kitchen & am always discovering possibilities, means of duplicating high-carb fare into
low-carb, & a multitude of ways to prepare foods I love. The Atkins menu is essentially
limitless - after all, we're ultimately only eliminating starches & foods with added sugars here!
The tremendous amount of food options can thus become a bit overwhelming, particularly for
those just starting out. For more meal ideas on what to eat, peruse cookbooks low-carb or
otherwise (as this lifestyle is practical & workable!), as well as Atkins-friendly menus &
recipes on the Internet. You'll see a bunch & they can really help!
** My best advice if you hate to cook will follow - and I promise it is the easiest way to throw
something together. Chances are, it is just the conventional oven you find tedious; but rest
assured, you can work around this predicament. So, consider buying a stovetop grill! With a
stovetop grill, you can of course even cook two things at once if another member of your
family wants something else that evening. Sometimes I would prefer not to get out the big
fancy grill every time I wish to whip up a filet, bunless burger, scrumptious pork or beef ribs,
salmon, etc. Having a "makeshift" grill onhand in the meantime has been a downright
lifesaver for me. If you have trouble thinking outside the box, I can assure you that virtually
every one of your favorite restaurant-style entrées is always doable with a stovetop grill.
I only want to lose 10 pounds ... I want to keep my curves.
For those of you who would need to lose more than 10 pounds to get to your own ideal
weight, please take a look at Chapter 13 of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. I am in full
agreement with the man - especially in retrospect. You see, when I first embarked on Atkins
in the summer of 2001, I started out with what I call a Sour Grapes Weight Goal: "Oh, I only
want to take 5-10 pounds off - I want to keep my curves!" when at 5'2"(or 5'3" on a good day),
I still would have looked and felt a little too heavy, and would still have been on the cusp of
Overweight - yes, even with my muscular, medium-boned frame. The real truth was, I didn't
think I'd be able to take off more than 5-10 pounds max, and had never been slim in my adult
life. Well, it turned out a full round belly, back fat, heavy thighs, and chubby arms aren't
"curves" at all - much as they're erroneously referred to as such in the media, and is a big pet
peeve of mine since I'm such a semantics fiend. It was only when I began to approach my
ideal weight that I started to see an hourglass figure - when before, I was an Apple shape
without curves. Curves are about shape - not size or girth ... and boy, did I fight that notion
tooth and nail before. This is curvy, as is this and this - with or without that corset. This is
curvy as well. (Unrelated to size or weight, an Hourglass represents a head-on silhouette of a
dramatically nipped waist coupled with shoulders/bust that match hips precisely in their
respective proportions. A large cup size or a small waist alone are not determining factors -
As un-PC as it seems to be for a female to actually want to lose weight to get slim and feel
great (just watch a weight loss center ad; terrified of judgment, nobody ever cops to it), one
thing I always make clear to my visitors: If your aim is to get to your ideal-weight goal, you
won't get any judgments from me. The expansive health benefits aspect of Atkins is a given,
which is explained thoroughly both in the text as well as throughout this FAQ. So, I ask you
rhetorically: after getting the all-clear from your physician, why not go after and reach your
potential for the Normal Weight BMI category? Its fairly liberal range keeps things realistic (e.
g., I could put on 20 pounds and still be in the "Normal" category), and thus in my opinion
does a decent job of taking into account age, bone size/density, and muscularity. While
attaining a 100-pound weight loss from 300 to 200 is certainly an admirable achievement and a
huge leap in the right direction, why not go for one's own personal best?
What did you have for breakfast during Induction? Lunch & dinner?
Breakfast: I had my shake recipe - even safe during Induction, as are my original, Induction-
safe Cream Cheese Pancakes! Often I had leftovers from the previous night's dinner.
Lunch & dinner: I always stuck with the basics: meats & the allotted veggies. For instance,
for lunch, I would often have my "Sheila's Sweetballs" with a big helping of green beans or
spinach, or a large chicken salad with REGULAR Ranch dressing & shredded cheese. At
restaurants, Caesar salads are great . . . also, consider ordering fajitas sans tortillas - or,
better yet, ask for large Romaine lettuce leaves to serve as makeshift tortillas! These are just
a few examples; the choices are seemingly limitless.
I'm not crazy about fish, but know I should eat it for the Omega benefits. Any Induction-
friendly ideas with a lower level of mercury?
Yes! I have Spence & Co. Smoked Salmon Pinwheels as a snack pretty often - just under 4
carbs for the whole thing. Sometimes I have one of these for breakfast if I'm in a rush. You
can find them at health food stores & premium supermarkets. Salmon sashimi with California
avocado slices is another dish I have pretty often as well.
How many carbs are in Sugar-Free DaVinci syrups?
A visitor of this website was kind enough to forward to me the following reply from the
company itself: "There are 4 grams in a 750 ml bottle. It would average about 1.33 carbs per
What is your favorite diet soda?
TaB - in fact, it's the only kind of diet cola I would ever keep in the house. (I've not kept any
sodas in the house since late '06, but do enjoy them at the movies.) I regularly get the Route
44 unsweetened iced tea from Sonic (which I sweeten with a Stevia dropper I keep in the car
for this purpose), and their Diet Limeade is also good. Aside from TaB, my general preference
for diet soda is anything clear and/or fruity.
I quit smoking a year ago, but still find it necessary to chew Nicorette now and then to
curb my cravings. How many carbs does Nicorette gum have?
The 2 mg Nicorette® Fruit Chill™ contains 0.59 grams of carbs per piece, and the 4 mg
Nicorette® Fruit Chill™ contains 0.58 grams per piece. One of my visitors contacted the
company directly and was thoughtful enough to share this information with me..
I see that you like shirataki noodles. Where do you find them? Also, do you have any
recipes to jazz them up?
All the food I buy can be found at larger premium supermarkets & health food stores. Believe
it or not, I love my shirataki noodles prepared simply, just as I did with my pasta pre-Atkins: I
douse a nice big bowl of them with butter and grated Parmesan, and add some fresh garlic &
onion. Maybe I'll add some marinara, which tastes really fantastic. But if you're in the mood
to experiment with different recipes, a quick Google search will bring up a ton. P.S: An 8-
ounce bag of these noodles contains just 6 total carbs.
What if my friends, family, spouse, or coworkers don't support the way I eat? What if I'm
criticized? What if I'm not doing what everyone else is doing? It's affecting my progress.
First, consider this: do you actually need support for this to begin with? If others approve of
the way you eat, dress, vote, or worship, fabulous! But it certainly isn't requisite. Listen, if
there were ever intense training for a degree in Quit-Caring, it's Atkins. The best recipe for a
lifetime of unhappiness and failure? Living and dying for others' approval! The solution?
Focus on your own approval. There is nothing more emancipating in life than living by
this credo - not to mention the sign of a true, independent-thinking, confident leader. After
all, has anyone you've ever admired in life represented anything less? When it comes to
dealing with falsehood-based arguments ("You're going to die on Atkins!" / "I could never eat
all that bacon" / "It'll never last. You'll quit then gain it all back!" etc.), quickly correct them
and move on. (I'm going to go out on a limb here and presume that others don't stop you for
your nod of approval for the fast food, vegan, kosher, salt-free, macrobiotic, or gluten-free
meal they just ate; so don't feel obligated to explain or apologize for your food choices -
much less allow yourself to be sidetracked by your critics.) Clarifying their own
misinformation-based judgments is above and beyond your call of duty as it is, and good for
you if you quickly take the time to do so. In the meantime, keep your nose to the grindstone
and do what you have to do with a non-negotiable mindset. You'll get there and will be all the
happier and more confident for it. Before long, they'll be asking you for advice. Watch.
What you do sounds like what I would like to do! Would you be interested in joining
forces with me on the benefits of health and fitness?
While I genuinely appreciate the offer, since my website's 2001 launch I have enjoyed no
affiliations with any other individual, company, or organization. However, I wish you the
best of luck in your business endeavors.
What about Atkins and autism?
Below is some discussion. Should you have any additional links to contribute, please send
them along and I would be happy to add them here.
I'm starting Induction tomorrow & don't know what to do. I don't have the book & don't
have time to read it anyway. Hey, can you have chocolate cake & candy on Induction?
Are potatoes allowed? How long is Induction?
I'll save you the blood, sweat, & tears you'll inevitably have to endure later by saying: GET THE
BOOK. Please do know that having to read this book is absolutely unavoidable. In the
meantime, print out the Rules of Induction & tape it to your fridge for when you get
confused. It answers all of what I call the "Emergency Induction Questions" you'll have until
you get the book. You'll get the hang of it!
But I already see from your grocery list & the Induction link basically what I have to eat.
Should it matter that I don't know how & why it works, as long as I just lose the weight?
Of course it matters! It's your body - your most valuable asset! Remember this rule of
thumb: if you attempt to embark on a very major, life-changing program like Atkins & you
don't know what you're doing because you haven't read the book on how/why it works, as
well as what you should/shoudn't eat, then you will be doing the program incorrectly - and if
you do the program incorrectly, then you won't be doing Atkins. Doing Atkins without having
read the book is very much like wanting to try out Bikram ("Hot") Yoga - but you don't find it
necessary to take a class or get a video or book to learn about the fundamentals of the
practice. So, instead, you just turn up the heat in your bedroom & do a bunch of random
stretches on your bed for 10 minutes a day & call it Bikram Yoga. Then, after a few weeks
when you see no results, you'll tell your friends that Yoga is ineffective. Okay, are you
laughing yet? Please read the book!!
Hi, Sheila! I promise I've read the book, but it is just too much trouble for me to think
about what to eat beyond the sample recipes provided on your Original Recipes Page, and
I don't know what to do with the foods listed in the Printout Grocery List, and on the
Induction list. So, would you mind spending a few hours making me all the menus I'll ever
need from here on out?
This is meant to be humorous, but I actually do get this request from time to time. Sorry, I
don't write out menus!
I have issues with portion control when it comes to peanut butter. Any suggestions?
Well, the Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Squeeze Pack is one great option, found at health
food stores. Each packet contains one ounce of USDA certified, no sugar added, trans fat-
free peanut butter (7 total carbs) and also comes in Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie, and Honey
flavors. The very rare times I have a chocolate low-carb bar, I'll add a pack of one of these
peanut butters to the top - tastes great!
What is the absolute lowest carb chocolate you have come across?
Lindt 99% Dark Chocolate at 13 total carbs for the entire 50 gram bar - and 6 grams of fiber.
I'm actually not a huge fan of dark chocolate, but thought this was definitely alright-tasting!
My chocolate cravings hit the road after eating this, that's for sure!
Is the Atkins book available on Kindle?
Yes, but the 1992 edition is the newest I've seen so far. They're all excellent books; however,
I'm specifically a proponent of the 2001 and 2002 editions. I'm sure more will be incorporated
at some point.
Ever considered adding a message board to this website?
I tried it for a while - it wasn't for me.
What do you do?
This is what I do.
How do you travel so much?
Just like anyone else.
What do you think of the South Beach Diet?
Given the fact that I lost my weight - and keep it off - by doing Atkins, I am solely an Atkins
proponent. That said, I am about as biased as they come on this one! But please allow me to
make mention here something very consistent I hear from those who've lost a few preliminary
pounds and ultimately stall on the 2003 South Beach Diet, then switch over to the 1972 tried-
and-true Atkins program: "South Beach is twice as restrictive: it's low-carb AND low-fat!"
and/or "South Beach is just like Atkins ... but without the weight loss!" Many people - usually
who haven't even read Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution & thus don't have any real basis for
true comparison to begin with - inaccurately tout this 2003 diet as a healthier alternative to
Atkins simply because the former coincides with the USDA's perpetual recommendation of
"low-fat." What so many people find out after a month or two on "The South Beach Diet" is
what Dr. Robert Atkins had been saying all along: shunning fat while low-carbing is not only
completely unnecessary, but actually counterproductive. Why? Fat - and yes, even saturated
fat - is only our foe when consumed with an excess of carbohydrates. Again, I urge you to
read the book, as it goes into more thorough, exhaustive explanation and detail on the fat
issue than I could ever have room for on this page!
So, have you gone Primal, Paleo, Stone Age, Hunter-Gatherer, Warrior, Neanderthal,
Cavewoman? It's the very latest thing!
Nope. I lack any reason to zigzag programs when the very one I've been doing for a decade
actually works. While I respect that other people follow different programs, it has never been
my goal to make my website and what I do be all things to all people. That said, I make no
attempt to tie any of the above programs into Atkins, my website's message, or what I do to
assist my site visitors. With respect to low carb, what I stand for has always been and will
continue to be very specific: Atkins.
What do you know about Atkins & low-carbing with respect to candida or yeast infections?
Dr. Robert Atkins does go into the matter of candida albicans in Dr. Atkins' New Diet
Revolution - specifically in Chapter 25. Here is a quick link as an introduction to yeast
reactions, and how a low carbohydrate lifestyle may benefit you.
Did losing weight boost your self-esteem?
While I have always had a good, healthy self-concept in general, my weight without a doubt
was a major source of frustration for me. It put such a damper not in terms of what others
may or may not have thought about my body (which is of zero consequence to me), but what
I felt about it - and how I felt in it. But yes, I do feel so much better now: more fit,
healthier, more exuberant, and even more confident than before, and wish to do my best in
showing others that it's possible. You just need to improve from the inside out!
I would like to learn more about additives and artificial ingredients.
Please click here for CSPI's Guide to Food Additives.
What do you think of The Blood Type Diet by Peter J. Dadamo, ND?
I did give it a try (yes, this one among many others through the years!) back in 2000 for about
2 months, following the program to the letter, and with the same regular treadmill-walking
cardio I'd always done. According to the book, as a Type A (Positive), I should eat a mainly
vegetarian diet: high-carb, low-protein. Obviously the Type O program (low-carbohydrate)
would have benefited me much better. I also cannot help but notice that the Type O dieters
seem to be the ones who fare best on the Blood Type Diet - likely because carb restriction
works for so many people! However, eating this Type A way caused me personally to put on
about 10 pounds. So, is this program a good one, and does it have its merits? It is best to ask
Are you available in person? Are you ever in my town? Can we meet for lunch or
something? Are you on Skype?
Here is more information on signing up for SFS Access.
I'm having my wisdom teeth pulled soon. What should I eat?
I had all four removed in the summer of 2004, & really, the whole experience was a breeze.
Make sure to keep your foods soft as you recover. My meals consisted of a lot of Mock Mash
and plenty of thoroughly steamed vegetables like squash and zucchini with olive oil and
butter. Salmon was so easy to eat, and I recall being very thankful for it. Think of easy-to-
chew berries and incorporate them into 4% cottage cheese for plenty of fiber and protein.
The FAGE Total Greek Yogurt I first discovered in '06 is another great workable snack. Mock
pumpkin cheesecake is yet another thing to get you through the layup. But remember, as
tempting as shakes sound right now, no sucking on straws!
Today is my third day of Induction and I have no energy and feel just listless and this
brain fog is really getting to me. Will this last forever?
For the first few days of Induction, many feel lethargic, listless, and riddled with brain fog and
even irritability, as this is likely your body's means of ridding itself of the sugars and starchy
carbohydrates to which it has grown so accustomed. Extract them from the equation, and
your body is going to be wondering where on earth its Unleaded fuel has suddenly gone! But
now, you are loading up your body with whole, fresh foods - Premium fuel - and it will take a
few days before your body "catches up," so to speak. But please know that if you are
following the program as per Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution to the letter (pages 140-142), it
will pass - and in a few days, you will have more energy than you know what to do with! Mark
If you meet someone who doesn't low-carb, do you give them a hard time about it?
Not a chance. As I state upfront in my User Agreement, I am not an Atkins Recruiter. At the
risk of sounding blasé, I would not benefit in any way from talking people into doing Atkins -
I'm not on Atkins Nutritionals' payroll, and simply don't concern myself with what others do
anyway. If someone is merely curious about the way I eat, that is fine; I will discuss it in a
few sentences and refer them to my website if they wish to know more. However! Should
someone be interested in Atkins for themselves and have questions about this program, I
always make myself available to help in any way I can, and devote a lot more time that way.
But I am never the one to bring it up or heaven forbid shame someone for not eating the way
I do - e.g., "Goodness, Mary - do you know how many carbs that potato has??" etc. Not my
What's the carb count for almonds? Green beans? A banana?
I love this website: USDA Nutrient Database
Ugh, I have no idea what to get at the grocery store.
Problem solved! Click here for a complete printout list of healthy, low-carb food staples.
Are avocados permitted on Induction?
Yes - these, along with olives, sour cream, and lemon/lime juice, are what Dr. Atkins cites as
"special category" foods for Induction (page 129). That said, make sure to stick with just half
a small avocado a day, add the carbs into your daily count ... and I personally choose California
over Florida, as the carbohydrate count is slightly lower.
If I lose weight on Atkins, then go off it by going back to my old eating habits, will I gain
back the weight?
COUNT ON IT. The same thing will also happen with diet center programs, vegetarianism, or
any other way of eating that you stop abruptly & revert to your old, unhealthful way of eating
that made you heavy to begin with. It's important to know that this is a way of life - not a
diet. Are you ready to make that commitment?
I miss my coffee. We can't have caffeine, right? What can I get at Starbucks?
I allow coffee, & usually make my own at home. But sometimes I go to Starbucks and get a
"Tall [Small] House Blend with 1 ounce heavy whipping cream [never Half-and-Half], and 1
packet of Splenda." A little ground cinnamon is good, too. If I'm in the mood for something
cold that day (and I usually am!), I then ask for a large cup of ice and straw. Simply transfer
the coffee to the cup of ice and voilà: sweet, creamy iced coffee. So, why not simply order
iced coffee and save yourself the trouble? I tried it once: it was twice as expensive and I got
less than half the coffee. Make sure your tally is under $2 and that you are not charged
anything for the shot of heavy cream - after all, there's no charge for watery half-n-half. For
after Induction? Lattes have steamed milk; so if you're really craving one, order a Breve
Latte, which is made with half-and-half (lesser of the 2 evils). I request heavy cream for
mine! Starbucks carb counts are here.
What is your percentage of protein, fat, calories, etc.?
I do not track my ratios purely on principal. I restrict carbohydrates and am on with my life.
I have no willpower. I don't know if I can do this. What was your motivation as you lost
The mirror, and the fact that I never start something I don't finish. With respect to
motivation, what it gets right down to it is this: do you want it or not? You absolutely must
decide which it is you want more: improved health and a better physique ... or that hot
fudge sundae. But if you're trying to lose & find you just have to cheat, do it nude, sitting
slumped down in front of a full-length mirror - as nothing speaks the truth like your own
reflection. For even more effect, do it in a pair of jeans that are a size or two too small. Or,
as a softer approach, try timing your workouts at night rather than in the morning. The last
thing you'll want to do is nosh on junk food right after you get back home from the gym!
I have read the book and have read through your website. I understand what I'm
supposed to eat, but as a busy mom/student/full-time worker, there is just NOT time
enough to cook every single night. What do you suggest?
Well, do what I did! As I was finishing university, I was an incredibly busy student attending
classes 21 hours a week, writing my second cookbook, constantly writing long papers, reading
material for all 7 classes, and studying for exams outside of the 21 hours a week. I also
tutored, edited other students' papers for free, I was writing a column at the time, and fit in
regular cardio most days of the week, as well as resistance training and abdominal work 3
mornings a week. Meanwhile, I managed to stay Atkins-legal and my husband, who does not
do Atkins, came home to his favorite home-cooked dinners most nights of the week. How
did I do it? Where there's a will, there's a way: I set aside enough time 2-3 days/nights a
week where I would just cook up a storm. (Some of the meals in regular rotation are on my
Low-Carb Recipes Page.) I made "sectioned" disposable Tupperware and plastic-ware my best
friends, as I took them along to school every day - let's just say the cafeteria food there
wasn't for me at all. This system kept me fit, my husband happy, and everything in line.
Which leads to the next question ...
But my husband doesn't low carb. Neither do my kids. Do I have to cook 3 separate
dinners every night?
Absolutely, positively not. My husband does not follow Atkins, yet we enjoy dinner together
every night. How is this possible? You see, it is only the side dishes that differ between us -
not the main dishes - so, this makes dinner a snap. For example, if I cook boneless beef ribs
(which I do at least once a week), I'll have a big salad or seasoned green beans with it. He
may have something else. So, really, dinner preparations prove to be no hassle at all - and
frankly, if you ask me, whoever does all the cooking and baking rules the roost in terms of
what is served. You decide the one main dish on the table every night. Keep things simple!
I'm on Induction. I know this food or that recipe ingredient is not cited in the finite
Induction list, but I can I have it? Is this or that food okay?
These are what I call "Food Permission E-mails," something I do not offer, and cannot offer.
Here is the finite list of allowable foods for Induction - beyond this list, it's a judgment call,
and your mileage may vary. What about beyond Induction? For what it's worth, I stick to
foods that are as low on the glycemic index as possible - I have a big appetite, so this ensures
my ability to maximize portions for my individual 90-110 gram limit. The next question is a
related one ...
Can I eat this? Will I stall if I drink that?
There is absolutely no way for me to know this. My best advice? Assess the ingredients and
nutrition of said food, consider the Atkins phase you are attempting as well as your Critical
Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL), and make the call. It gets easier, promise!
That being said, what "off-limits" things did you allow yourself that didn't hold up your
personal weight loss? I know everybody's different.
Nuts stalled me, but nut butters didn't - so I allowed the latter. Additionally, coffee and diet
soda didn't hinder my losses either.
If I hear "just a bite won't kill you" one more time, I'll scream. How do you make your
family and friends "get it"?
That's just it - you don't. It doesn't matter if anyone else "gets it"; these are your choices.
However, if you mean, "How can I get my friends & family to take me seriously?" then there's
only one way, & that is sticking with it & being consistent. People will only take you as
seriously as you take yourself - and success & long-term maintenance is like a Mute button for
Are you a "sugar addict" or a "carb addict"?
No. Sounds like a layperson self-diagnosis to me.
Do you eat gluten-free?
I don't have any allergies or intolerances; however, I do avoid some of the same foods as
those on a gluten-free diet. But of course this is due to shunning sugars, starchy fare, and
processed food - not gluten.
Do you have a related resource on supplements you could recommend for me?
Sure! Dr. Atkin's Vita Nutrient Solution is a great place to start.
I'm getting people telling me I'm becoming "way too thin" or that I look "sick," "drawn," or
"anorexic." Please, I'm 5'4" & 175! What on earth is this about?
They might not yet be comfortable with the new you. Or it might be just a glib remark
because they can't think of anything else to say. I'm not one to give the knee-jerk "it's
because they're all jealous!" every time there's social unrest, but that doesn't make it an
impossibility in this situation - maybe someone feels that you're leaving her in the dust. It
happens - and with a lot of women, "too skinny" means nothing more than "skinnier than
me." Also, frankly, your losses might be really showing in your face. I'm sure you've noticed
some women (particularly those of a certain age) maintaining thin, angular faces regardless of
their weight - and to lose weight from even this might be alarming to even the most well-
intentioned. Either way: when the chips are down, it's your body. You're in the driver's
seat, so you decide which way to go.
I get bloated from time to time. Any remedies you might recommend? Does this ever
happen to you?
Please give licorice root tea a try. Aveda has a wonderful one, as do a number of other less-
expensive brands found in large supermarkets and health food stores. If I'm carrying a bit of
extra water weight, a large cup of this before bed does the trick. The beautiful thing about
this particular tea is that no Splenda or heavy cream are required - and I am not a black-
coffee/plain tea drinker!
How can I use psyllium husk powder or flax seed? I can't choke that stuff down by itself!
Incorporate it in shakes! Use it in peanut butter (I melt mine), low-carb cookie recipes, or in
homemade low-carb pancakes, waffles, and low-carb granolas. Also great sprinkled on fruit
with 4% cottage cheese, or even salads.
What is your favorite snack food lately?
Marcona Almonds are great. Lightly salted and roasted in sunflower oil, they are simply to die
for. They're a bit messy, so I enjoy them with a spoon! I also love raw organic coconut
butter, which has a similar carb count as peanut butter, and is such a nice, tasty change of
pace. Again, I also adore Total FAGE Greek yogurt - I can put away the 17.6-ounce container
in 5 minutes flat! Organic edamame is also great. For this and any other product mention,
check supermarkets, health food stores, & the Internet.
I started Atkins x days ago, and am so hungry all the time! What should I do?
Eat! Really, aside from maybe the inconvenience of having to whip up something & taking
the time to eat it - in which case some preparation is in order - I've never understood why
being hungry is even a problem. Dr. Atkins repeatedly encourages those who are hungry to
eat when hungry throughout the text. If you're hungry, it means you're not eating enough.
What else do you eat for "legal" sugar-free, low-carb snacks for after Induction?
I love a few different brands of shake mixes and often have one before bed to kill cravings -
the specific recipe is featured on my Original Low-Carb Recipe Page. (It really works!!) I love
homemade crab dip made with real crabmeat (I throw mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, and
plenty of pepper in there); sunflower and pumpkin seeds are great - I call them my "Slo-Mo
Nuts," because one 16-carb bag will last me longer than an entire movie. The little 7-ounce
FAGE Greek yogurt, mentioned below, is only 6 total carbs and fabulous. These are just a few
options! The beauty of Atkins is that what you can't have is so much more limited than what
you can - the sky's the limit!
Why aren't low-carb bars, low-carb shakes, and low carb chocolate bars allowed on
Induction? Why does it matter what I eat as long as I stay under 20 carbs?
Simple: you don't eat these extras because they're not on the Induction list. These are not
real foods, they're full of sweeteners, & they might cause stalls. Remember that it's about
quality over quantity, and that Induction is about keeping it natural - so stick to real food at
all times for the first two weeks!
What's this I hear about "net carbs"? Can I really deduct fiber to get a net-effective carb
You can. In layman's terms: fiber is not digestible - it runs right through you! Technically,
while it is a carbohydrate, it doesn't "behave" as one. Please click here for more information.
Do you ever have popcorn?
Oh, yes! (Though not every single day.) I love the single serving-sized bags of Deerfield
Farms popcorn at Walgreen's. Just 16 total carbs a serving for the Double Butter, & 18 total
carbs for the Kettle Corn flavor.
What can I do to add fat?
Here is my philosophy on this: allow it, don't force it. While you will never see me avoiding
butter, full-fat mayo, full-fat salad dressings, nut butters, olive oil, borage oil, macadamia nut
oil, coconut oil, and the like on Atkins, I see no purpose in going out of my way to force it.
As with protein, only enough to sate the appetite is necessary. Double-check with your
doctor for your personal dietary needs.
I'm confused about sugar alcohols. Do I deduct them from the total carbs as well?
You can. Like fiber, sugar alcohols (i.e., maltitol, lactitol, sorbitol) have a negligible effect on
glucose - or blood sugar. But beware: consuming too much at one time is known to give you
What can I eat at the movies? On a plane? Road trip?
The following might be appropriate, depending of course which Atkins Phase you are
I'm stalling & desperate. What am I doing wrong?
Very often someone will write to me complaining about a long-term Induction stall. Because
they are stalling, they begin to lose a bit of faith in Atkins and are tempted to fall back on
and incorporate their former methods ... methods which have ironically always proven
ineffective for them: calorie and fat restriction. But then I find out that they are having
items in their menu not cited in the finite list of allowable foods. Once these off-limits items
are nixed, BOOM, a few days later, they are several pounds down - even though some
continue to allow fattier, higher-caloric things like chicken skin, fat from their steaks, extra-
virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and/or borage oil to their menu. So, that said: if you have a.)
honestly read the book & know what you're doing; b.) have been stuck at the same weight
for a month or more (which is how Atkins defines a true stall), & c.) don't want to do the Fat
Fast (for the record, I am not a proponent of any type of fast), please e-mail me & feel free to
write out a sample day's menu. If you are attempting Induction and have not yet been able
to lose, I'm certain that your stall is in fact not due to too many calories or too much fat -
you're simply eating something not yet permitted. I've seen this happen repeatedly since
What fruits should I be eating after Induction? For example, I know cantaloupe is pretty
low on the glycemic index ... so, then is watermelon okay?
For your convenience, I have included a Fruits Glycemic Index Food List, arranged from low to
high. I personally stick with fruits as low on the glycemic index as possible, and this includes
berries, melon, cantaloupe, cherries, lemons/limes - just to name a few. There's a lot to be
What's a Fat Fast? Did you ever do it?
I have never done a Fat Fast, or any fast. It is a method meant to assist those who are
experiencing true stalls (those lasting a month or more while following Induction to the
letter). Here are two links pertaining to this: Fat Fast Stalls & Plateaus For the record, I am
not a proponent of any type of fast - or "cleanse" for that matter.
Is it possible to be a vegetarian low-carber?
Yes - and here's a great link which goes into much more detail.
I get plenty of iron through my consumption of red meat and need to avoid iron in my
multivitamin. Is there one you would recommend?
Look for multivitamins for seniors, as these tend to not contain iron.
Could you put me on a mailing list for any future updates, events, and appearances?
I do not send mass e-mails.
I really love maple-flavored bacon, but know that anything with added sugar is to be
avoided. What do you suggest?
Try this: get the lowest-sodium bacon you can find, and after frying, flavor it up with just
1/8-1/4 teaspoon of maple extract. Nothing like getting skinny and staying there with maple
bacon - especially if you cut a few sodium/carb corners. ;)
What do you recommend for when I have a cold? I know I can't have sugary cough syrups
and cough drops. What can I eat?
As boot-camp as I am about staying on-plan (I refuse to even miss a workout), I must self-
soothe a bit on the very rare occasion that I do have a cold. But at the same time, I am
unwilling to make myself feel worse by loading up on lots of salt, sugars, and starches. If it's
soup you are in the mood for, health food stores and upscale supermarkets will carry low-
sodium chicken, turkey, vegetable, and beef broth with zero to 1 carb gram per 1-cup
serving. (The ones in 32-ounce cardboard containers are the best.) Broth can be enjoyed by
itself, or jazzed up with spices and seasonings ... or you can throw it in a crockpot with some
chicken & vegetables to make some fantastic homemade low-carb soup. As for sugar-free
cough drops, I try to limit these as much as possible - as too many can give you
gastrointestinal distress in addition to feeling awful already. Cough syrup might be a bit more
practical, not to mention effective - ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a good
I have varicose / spider veins and am MISERABLE and self-conscious about them. Please,
is there anything I can do? Aside from that, I just want to get serious about improving
my skin in general.
Sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, and the intravascular laser are options you can
discuss with your M.D. My advice? Steer clear of aestheticians unless you're there for a
Brazilian wax or deep tissue massage. In terms of skincare, product recommendations, and
even treatments, if anyone is going to address the skin on your face or body, insist that it be
a dermatologist who is not only thoroughly medically versed in matters of the skin as opposed
to merely spa-trained, but also on your medical history as well - not to mention being in a
legal position to use and suggest medical-grade products and treatments. While I've never
had a needle to my face, I also don't mess around with silly facials or suited-for-the-masses (i.
e., weak) over the counter drugstore anti-aging products by companies that blow their entire
product budgets on flashy commercials and print ads. You know the popular ones I'm talking
about. I'm strictly a low-pH glycolic acid/Retin-A/antioxidant/SPF girl. Along with a healthy
diet free of inflammatory sugars and refined foods, to me that spells no-nonsense prevention.
I'm in the market for a good, reliable treadmill. What kind of treadmill do you have in
your photo on your homepage? Do you like it?
I have the Pro Form 755 Crosstrainer.
I also have a website and would like to mention you on it. Do you have a logo you'd like
for me to use?
Please click here, right-click on image, then "save"!
What are your thoughts on eating low-carb products now that you've been at goal?
With the exception of two things, I am very adamant about not having anything man-made or
processed in my daily menu - which I keep very clean. That means no low-carb bars, no low-
carb tortillas (in fact, I have never even tried these), low-carb sandwich breads, commercial
low-carb breakfast cereals, and not even any Splenda-added mayonnaises or salad dressings.
(While it's nice to sweeten things up with Splenda if it is your choice, the latter products are
in fact low-carb without the added Splenda.) Ultimately, if a particular low-carb product is
not specifically necessary for a dessert recipe I whip up on the weekends, it is not kept in my
So, what are your two "low-carb product" exceptions?
Low-carb protein powders that come in great flavors, which I have from time to time in the
form of pancakes, waffles, and shakes. I also love unsweetened ketchups with my bunless
burgers & even bacon! At 1 total carb per tablespoon, these can be found at Vitamin
Shoppe, in the health food section of larger supermarkets, or health food stores.
Where can I find your 2004 SHAPE magazine success story?
Unfortunately, they repeatedly and severely misquoted me, even giving it a preposterous
"low-fat" slant - something I never once made reference to at any time during my one hour-
long telephone interview in December 2003. SHAPE decided to make not one mention of
"low-carb" in my story, which is bizarre, considering there is a 3-inch boldface heading on the
cover of that month's issue that reads, "Low Carb That's Right For You!" Click here to peruse
a scan of it, along with a few "red marks" of my own.
Where can I find your 2005 Ms. Fitness magazine feature? What about your Best Body one?
Please click here & here. Both did a flawless job.
Can I chew sugar-free gum during Induction?
First of all - and I bet you know this! - it is not on the list of allowable foods. However, it
must be said that it did not stall me personally. (Yes, I was a bad girl and chewed it from time
to time.) Since many have written to me claiming stalls from excessive sugar-free gum-
chewing, you will need to exercise caution. In short? "Your Mileage May Vary." FYI: most
sugar-free stick gums contain 2 carbs each. However, keep your eye out for brands that yield
only 1 carb each - they're out there. I'd stick with these if gum is a must and do not cause
stalls for you.
What is the lowest-carb brand of 4% cottage cheese you've come across so far? I know I
have to wait until after Induction to eat it!
Because I eat everything full-fat, it is important to me that a food or product doesn't have
any more carbohydrates than it has to - so I am meticulous about labels. All of the brands of
4% cottage cheese I see are at least 4-5 grams of carbohydrates per half-cup, with the
exception of three: Friendship, Target brand, both containing 3 grams per half-cup - and
Daisy, too. Since I have a cup or more at a time (i.e., 6 carbs) mixed with fruit and nuts, this
is a carb bargain!
Did you use any of those online weight loss websites that charge a fee to join and lose
Never. I never found this necessary: I read the book, so I knew and followed the finite rules
of Induction, I used many of the low-carb recipes I created along the way of my weight loss
journey (all 300 available in my Induction and Dessert Cookbooks), took advantage of ALL of
the many foods permitted to keep my menus interesting, and used the USDA site for carb
counts. Since I'm on Atkins and not a low-calorie or low-fat diet, I never found a calculator
that displays any information other than carb counts to be a requisite.
Did you ever use FitDay? What about a food journal documenting everything you ate?
Could you send me some of your old menus, please?
For the same reasons stated in the preceding FAQ question, I personally found no use for
documenting my menus or counting/minding any aspect of my food other than carbohydrates.
So, you must work out a ton!
This is a fairly common assumption - and while I'm certainly extremely consistent in the
regime I do, I seem to do less than most gym-goers I've witnessed through the years. For
example, among a gym full of runners, I merely walk - and 20-25 minutes a day and 3 days a
week at that, where most others engage in cardio for longer, harder, and almost every day of
the week. Furthermore, I lift light weights 2-3x/week for the entire body at 30-40 minutes a
time when I witness others lifting heavier, lifting longer, and usually more times per week.
Alright, so what is my point in establishing all this? Well, I'm a big believer in the old "abs are
made in the kitchen" adage. I would surmise that the metabolic edge of Atkins is 90% to
credit for my success - and as someone who is 5'3" and naturally a whopping 5-6 dress sizes
heavier without Atkins, that is saying a lot. In fact, I do about half the cardio now than pre-
Atkins when I was 30 pounds heavier, back when I was restricting calories and fat to boot. In
other words, my cardio & weight routine are merely the icing on the fitness cake. Should it
be of interest, you will find my full regime outlined in the fitness category on the following
Do you take the stairs instead of the elevator, purposely park very far away from your
destinations so that you can walk more, and do little gluteal and abdominal exercises
while you drive or stand in line like they tell you to do in women's magazines?
No - 100% of my fitness is done 1 hour a day, 2-3 days a week. Once that's done, I'm on with
my life. I'm not someone who feels any shame taking the elevator.
I always hear about people who are trying to lose weight being big proponents of mini
meals. Is that to credit for your weight loss and/or maintenance?
I don't follow that diet trend. Besides, the thought alone of having to fix something
portioned for a small child and sit down to eat it every two hours exasperates me. I eat when
I'm hungry and stop when I'm full, and that usually translates to three squares plus nuts and
fruit when I'm in the mood for them. Cashews and strawberries are favorites. The preceding
FAQ and this one should demonstrate that the sole "try-hard" component of Atkins is the
sugar/starch restriction. No extra fancy footwork has ever been requisite - and the days of
me chasing my own tail with gimmicks thankfully ended over a decade ago.
What is your diet and fitness philosophy?
Do everything it takes - and nothing it doesn't. When it comes to one's diet and fitness
regime, never make something easy difficult, or simple complicated! In terms of all the
"extras" out there: anything with the words "cleanse," "fast," "fat-burning," "herbal," or "carb-
blocking" attributed to it, I have no use for. I eat low-carb and do my fitness regime and
that's it; only what has proven necessary is what I consider necessary.
I would like to purchase something from SFS.com, but this website is huge and I am not
sure what all you have available.
This question has come in so often that I finally decided to incorporate a page called
SFS.com Order Page featuring just that. It contains everything I have ever put out,
consolidated on one convenient, concise page.
Okay, so you're 13.92% body fat and a size 0. So, you've maintained that goal since
2001. So, you can wear a bikini. SO WHAT. I want to know your cholesterol is after
years of consistent low-carbing - that's the real test of how great Atkins is.
Like pretty much everyone else who does Atkins strictly by the book, my own already-low LDL
cholesterol & triglycerides dropped to even lower levels. Even my HDL improved. See a scan
of my Cholesterol Profile by clicking here. Have no idea what the numbers mean? Click here.
I'm concerned about losing my bust when I lose weight. Will I?
This depends on how much of your current breast size is composed of fat vs. breast tissue -
and this will make itself apparent as you lose body fat. For me, along with the 30+ pounds I
lost went more than one cup size. But on the positive side: what went with my physique
before goes with my physique now, as my entire body lost weight very proportionately.
What non-Atkins books do you recommend?
I am very much into antioxidants in both supplement form, as well as in my skincare regime.
That said, Dr. Perricone is great. I find myself nodding in agreement to all that he says, as it
seems to fully coincide with everything the Atkins lifestyle has been about for me. The Real
Age books by Dr. Roizen are also wonderful.
I will be dining at a particular restaurant, and have absolutely no clue what to order. If I
send a link to their menu with a certain dish in mind, will you advise me on how I should
Of course! I would love to help. Actually, I receive so many e-mails with this request.
Ordering at restaurants is a cinch, and I can look at essentially any item on a menu and make
it work for low-carb. Be advised, however, that I am not too well-versed when it comes to
Indian food - but I can give it a shot!
So now that you are in maintenance, what veggies do you avoid, if any?
Basically just white potatoes, corn, beets, and peas. Everything else is fair game - even
carrots, sweet potatoes, and acorn squash.
Could you recommend a great scale? I need one that won't weigh me differently every
time I step on it.
The wonderful digital Health-O-Meter Everweigh Glass Bathroom Scale weighs me exactly as I
weigh at the doctor's office. (It weighs up to 333 pounds.) I've had it since the late '90s.
I miss yogurt!!
Well, consider yourself in luck then! FAGE Total Greek yogurt, found at health food
supermarkets, contains only 6 total carbohydrates per 7-ounce serving and 14 for the 17-oz. I
love the latter and usually eat one daily. Your supermarket or health food store doesn't carry
it? Special-order it with management! Their aim is your happiness. So, request this or any
unavailable product with confidence.
May I advertise on your website? Want to advertise on mine?
No, thank you. User Agreement
How do I determine my goal weight?
Here is an interesting website on weight charts. Your personal ideal weight depends not only
on height (that is just the tip of the iceberg!), but also sex, age, body frame/size, bone
density, and musculature. For example, one tiny-boned, 5'1" woman with no muscle tone
might have 33% body fat ... while another muscular, medium-framed woman of the same
height, weight, and even dress size might have 24% body fat. Therefore, it is safe to say that
these women would certainly have different weight loss goals. That said, your ideal weight is
purely subjective. Also, the rapidity in which you lose is dependent upon a number of
factors similar to the ones above:
a.) Age: The younger you start, the better.
b.) Gender: Men tend to lose faster due to having more lean muscle, which leads to ...
c.) Body Composition: the higher your muscle-to-fat ratio, the more advantage you will
ultimately have in loss of body fat. This is why adding resistance training to a cardio regime is
so beneficial in accelerating weight loss!
Do you have any nutritional information for IHOP? Wendy's? McDonald's? Burger King?
Fast food nutrition. Also, a VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT IHOP: If you order eggs there,
know that IHOP adds pancake batter to them to make them fluffier - so make sure to ask for
"real eggs." Don't be sabotaged by scrambled eggs of all things - please!
How much fiber do you get a day?
Around 20-30 grams. How? Lots of stir-fry, pumpkin, mock mash, rutabaga, berries, melon,
nuts, organic flax seed meal, psyllium husk - a variety! I must admit I have to chuckle at the
insistence that fiber simply MUST come from bread or it isn't really fiber. AHA Fiber
Recommendation On a low-carb message board, I came across a really great Broccoli Shake
recipe. Here is the original recipe; here is my own version of it should this be of interest.
Feel free to experiment with the ingredients, too - make it your own! I think it tastes great.
What was your top weight ever?
150 pounds & a size 12. That was 1997 and one of the very rare times I actually stepped on
the scale - I'm sure you can understand why I wasn't all that excited about regular weighing
after that. By 2001 when I got married, I stepped on the scale and was 141 and a tight size
10/12. That was when I decided to give Atkins a second go ... and actually read the book this
What is a good substitute for heavy cream?
Check your health food store for cream of coconut, unsweetened soy milk, unsweetened
coconut milk, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened hemp milk, and so forth. A lot of
these are just 1 total carb per 8 ounces - not bad!
What kind of sushi can I eat?
Order sashimi! Here is more information.
How much protein do you get a day?
I don't track it, but informally strive for roughly 75 grams per day. Why? I've read pretty
consistently that the figure for one's RDA is their weight in kilograms multiplied by .8 ... or
weight in kilos multiplied by 1.5 for fitness enthusiasts. For conversions: http://users.tpg.
com.au/doktormj/kilograms2pounds.htm (Run any figure by your doctor before settling on a
protein quota.) That's 75 grams of protein for me. So, what are some random protein
examples of 75 grams? A 7½-oz salmon and maybe 6 deviled eggs - plain boiled eggs are a
snore to me, but I adore deviled eggs. A 16-oz bag of frozen edamame pods & 16-oz
container of 4% cottage cheese. A 17.6-oz container of FAGE Total yogurt and two smaller
steak filets. A thick halibut filet & 1 cup of almonds. 2 chicken breasts & 6 T soy nut butter.
Two 1/3-lb beef patties (think double cheeseburgers you grill up at home) and a protein shake
before bed. While there's no need to eat more than one's protein requirement, please make
sure you are getting enough!
Are you a big meat-eater?
Yes and no. If you see me at a steakhouse, I always, always order the largest steak on the
menu - and have it rare and without seasoning, with 2 sides. But after that, I'm pretty much
finished for animal protein for the day, & will head for an alternate non-meat source the next
time I get hungry. Examples of such protein? See previous FAQ.
Am I too old to go on Atkins? I'm xx years old - why even bother at this point?
I believe the most seasoned success story I have had write to me was 88 years of age. It is
never too late to take the reigns.
I've lost some hair & am concerned. What's going on?
Unfortunately, telogen effluvium happens to some. But it isn't necessarily to do with Atkins
per se, but with the stress that comes from any sudden lifestyle change. Biotin is known to
help; but make sure to take a multivitamin & calcium in addition!
How many carbs do you eat a day now that you're at goal?
It varies; generally, anywhere from 80-100 total carbs per day.
I would like some of your business cards, fridge magnets, or magnetic bumper stickers.
How could I obtain these?
Please send an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) to the address below, and I'll get
them right to you! Should you also wish that I include a red magnetic SugarFreeSheila.com
bumper sticker, please enclose a check or money order for $7 (which is exactly what they
cost me). I'll take care of the shipping!
Dallas, TX 75379
Can I call? I am seriously struggling here!!
I do accept texts. All I ask is that you have read Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, this Atkins
FAQ, my User Agreement, and have already signed up for SFS Weekly Access. That's where
Do you recommend any grills?
The George Foreman 360. Steaks, chicken, fish, pork chops - this thing does it all and well.
Do you ever have cheat days? If so, how often?? Do you feel awful afterwards?
Of course I have Fun Days! You can call them "cheat" if you want - the term doesn't bother
me. :) Once a month or so, for the entire day, I have absolutely whatever I desire - and no, I
don't feel too hot the next day. (If you play, you gotta pay!) However, I only believe in
having these full-on "Fun Days" once you're very close to - or at - goal. Fun Days give me, with
all my hard & consistent work, something to always look forward to ... and this keeps me
forever on-track in the meantime. So, what do I have? ANYTHING I want. No rules.
Do you go on Induction the day after a Fun Day?
No; I simply go right back to my regular healthy low-carb Atkins maintenance menu.
I always hear that "the camera adds 10 pounds." Do you agree with this?
True image distortion aside, that expression has always seemed to me more like an apology
for one's figure than anything else (I never hear men say it!) - and the answer in my case is,
not at all. I don't appear 10 pounds thinner in person than on film or in photos; so if you ever
spot me in person, you should not expect anything physically different from the photos you
I need a breakfast idea for my sweet tooth!
Here's a quick one I love for Induction, listed on my Original Low-Carb Recipes Page: take a
half-cup of pumpkin & melt it with 3-4 oz. Philly Cheese. Add a packet of Splenda, & you've
got yourself a warm, creamy breakfast with 7 net carbs & 5 grams of fiber! You can double
that fiber by allowing yourself the full cup of pumpkin allowed on Induction.
Apart from your "Fun Days" & the low-carb desserts you bake for the weekends, don't you
ever just want to dig into something?
Nuts. Preferably cashews & pistachios - that's what I'm into! From time to time, I might have
one of my husband's chocolate protein bars, too. My noshfests aren't a daily affair, though -
and referring to them as "binges" would be inaccurate because that indicates a lack of
control, or eating past the point of being full, something I refuse to do.
What about ethnic food? What Atkins-friendly fare should I order?
This link should help you get started.
I'm pregnant/planning on getting pregnant/am lactating. Is Atkins safe for me to do?
How much should I lose or weigh during pregnancy?
With respect to your own specific body weight requirement, this is something you will need
to address with your OB/GYNO. Regarding pregnancy/breastfeeding, here are some useful
links below which may help you get better acquainted with respect to the Atkins lifestyle.
Keep in mind also that Dr. Atkins discusses pregnancy on pages 107, 120, & 227 in Dr. Atkins'
New Diet Revolution (2002 "red copy").
Atkins Nutritionals: How to Do Atkins: Good Health: A Mother-to-Be Does Atkins
Atkins Nutritionals: How to Do Atkins: Good Health: Vitanutrients for Pregnancy
Low Carb Friends - Pregnant & Atkins
Low Carb Friends - Breastfeeding and Ketosis - A Little Confused
Atkins Nutritionals: Help: FAQ: Answers: Can I follow the Atkins Nutritional Approach while
Is Splenda safe during pregnancy?
The claim is that it is safe - but ideally, it is best to stick with natural, whole foods during this
9-month period. It'll be over before you know it! Click here. **(P.S: Always check with your
There is talk about the so-called "dangers of Splenda." Is Splenda dangerous?
According to numerous studies, Splenda has not shown to be dangerous. For information on
the extensive testing of Splenda, please click here.
I need something sweet to put in my coffee or on top of low-carb pancakes or waffles.
Da Vinci syrups are wonderful, & they're available at TJ Maxx, Wal-Mart, health food stores,
and on the Internet. Would you believe that I have 22 flavors? I never use the same flavor
twice in a row with shakes.
I miss chocolate so much, it's killing me!
You are going to flip when you try these: Flora Bija Omega Truffles. No weird ingredients -
just good chocolate. They come in 70% dark chocolate, milk chocolate at 20 total carbs, and
white chocolate at 24 total carbs. I tried the dark chocolate with cocoa cream filling, and at a
mere 16 total carbs for 4 truffles, I was really impressed by the taste and texture - and I'm not
even a dark chocolate fan! What I love about finds like these is that these truffles are not a
commercial low-carb food product (like low-carb bars, low-carb cereals, nut butters with
unnecessary added Splenda, etc.); but like regular mayo and ordinary nut butters, these
organic chocolate bars, with their simple ingredients, just happen to also be low-carb. I love
that! Another idea is adding unsweetened cocoa powder to peanut butter, yogurt,
pancakes, and shakes! It is only 3 total carbs per tablespoon. Also! Here is a fast and easy
post-Induction Chocolate Bark treat that is so good; I have it all the time. I use 2 T
unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 T organic unrefined coconut oil, and 1 packet of Splenda,
nixing the nuts - just 7 total carbs. What a brilliant and healthy idea for chocolate this was!!
I miss mashed potatoes so much, it's killing me!
Check out the Mock Mashed Potatoes recipe on my Low Carb Recipes Page. It's a
scrumptious, Induction-friendly substitute if this is a nagging craving, and can be made with
boiled cauliflower, turnips, or rutabaga!
I miss pasta so much, it's killing me!
Honey, you're in luck. You've got to try Induction-friendly Spaghetti Squash - check out my
Original Low Carb Recipes Page!
I miss milkshakes so much, it's killing me!
Please see my Original Low-Carb Recipes Page for a great shake recipe, using my favorite
brands of low-carb shake mixes.
Essentially ANYTHING & EVERYTHING can be duplicated into low-carb. There's always a way!
Do you have any links that discuss PCOS with respect to Atkins?
Atkins Diet Bulletin Board - PCOS & Atkins Low Carb Living
Health/Medical Issues - Low Carb Friends
Women's Health - Low Carb Friends
PCOS, hair growth, and Atkins : PCOS : Active Low-Carber Forums
Dr. Atkins' Diet and Polycystic Ovaries - PCOS Message Board
If you have any additional Polycystic Ovary Syndrome-related links that would enhance this
FAQ entry, please feel free to submit them!
Do you practice The Secret / Law of Attraction?
The scale isn't going down, yet my pants feel looser. What's up with that?
Why the Scale Lies
Maybe you could incorporate a Before/After section with those who followed what you do?
I feel this is a wonderful idea; however, since what I follow is simply Atkins by the book (no
tricks here!), I wouldn't want to try to take credit for others' successes. So, instead, I am
happy to add a few Atkins Success Stories right here, for your convenience. With a quick
Google search, you will see that there are thousands upon thousands more out there!
Low Carb Success Stories
My Weight Loss Journey
Low-Carb Success Stories
Atkins Success Stories
What vitamins do you take?
I take a multivitamin, calcium citrate (never calcium carbonate, as this does not absorb as
well), 7.5 mg Biotin, non-synthetic Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q-10, 2-3 T organic flax borage oil
(for GLA / gamma linolenic acid, & to get Omegas 3, 6, & 9), Vitamin C, & organic flax seed
meal incorporated into shakes or pancakes if I am having them that day. As you can see, I am
very much into essential fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants! Additionally, I like for my skin
and hair to look the best they can. This list is not a recommendation for you; I'm merely
happy to share my own supplements since this is such a frequently asked question. Please
check with your doctor.
I keep reading that Essential Fatty Acids are beneficial on a low-carb diet - but I get all of
these fats and fatty acids confused: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, trans
fats. What should I take and what should I avoid?
Healthy Fats vs. Trans Fatty Acids
Would you recommend a good borage oil?
For borage oil, I recommend Spectrum. Why? Because it yields the highest amounts of GLA
per tablespoon I have yet to find.
I've heard that it is potentially harmful to heat flax seed meal & flax seed oil. Any merit
Evidently, flax should not be heated; it seems doing so makes flax oil rancid, is said to cause
some cancer-causing compounds, & also destabilizes the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flax.
This is the reason I use wheat bran in my oatmeal recipe in lieu of flax seed meal. More info
about Flax. Here is one more link!
Do you exercise? Work out?
Yes, I walk on the treadmill 4.3mph 3-4 mornings a week for 20-25 minutes. (I never run.) In
addition, I do a 10-minute abs DVD 3 mornings a week, & resistance training for the entire
body 40 minutes, 2-3 mornings a week. For even more detail on my full fitness regime, please
see my Motivation/Beauty Tips page.
How often do you recommend weighing? Every day?
I personally recommend weighing no more frequently than 3 days. Honestly, any more often
than that is like watching paint dry - yet by the third day, you should expect a sweet
surprise. It's the perfect medium. Once a week would be an absolute minimum, as it is a
good means of ascertaining whether what you're eating is keeping you on track ... or
throwing you off course. As for how often I weigh now in long-term maintenance? Every
week or two - and always the morning after I try out a new restaurant.
What do you ordinarily eat every day now that you're at goal?
My menu consists of mostly vegetables, nuts, meats, and low-glycemic fruit - in that order.
For more elaboration, please see my various scanned magazine success stories, outlined at
the top portion of the My Atkins Success Story page. Basically, I eat the same as I did while
losing - except I've since added more of the above low-glycemic foods to my menu!
Any plans on writing another cookbook with non-dessert recipes?
My second cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Induction Meals, is available and
contains all Induction-friendly recipes. I also released my third book, Sheila's Super-Simple
Low Carb Weight Loss Workbook, in 2005, and currently have a fourth non-cookbook release
in the works. Stay tuned!
You did a loose Induction & had peanut butter every night as you lost weight, so that is
what I'm going to do! How much peanut butter did you have? I'm going to replicate that.
This is not a prescription for how anyone else should follow Atkins - I am merely sharing the
choices I happened to make. The only reason I continued to allow the organic peanut butter
was because I continued to lose weight incorporating it in my menu - otherwise I would have
nixed it at the first sign of a weight loss standstill. This or any modification is a judgment
call, and your mileage may vary.
Any new features coming to the site? What's new?
I'm working on my latest release. I'll give you a vague hint: it's a guidebook. Also, this site
needs a complete design overhaul. Desperately. Oh, it always has - it's just that I've finally
accepted it. Are you a web designer, or a web design student looking for a gig? Click here
for more info.
I like bacon & deli meats and am trying to find a good, zero-nitrate brand. Any uncured
brands without nitrates?
The lowest-sodium bacon I have found at ordinary supermarkets is Oscar Mayer Lower Sodium
bacon at 170mg per 2 slices. Regarding uncured meats free of nitrates, Applegate Farms is
just one nitrate-free brand. Nitrate-free deli meats include Beeler's Hog Wild, Primo Natural,
Jennie-O, Block & Barrel - and of course, my favorite, Boar's Head. Check local health food
stores - you are almost certain to find excellent, fresh bacon and deli meats there!
Someone on one of the low-carb message boards is using one of your recipes I recognize
from your Recipe Page, omitting you as the source, and accepting all kinds of accolades
for her "innovative idea."
I both witness this myself - and almost invariably it's someone who has written to me before -
as well as hear about it from my visitors who post on forums I don't frequent. Since someone
with scruples always ends up stepping in and blowing the whistle, it really isn't that big a
deal. Things like copycats and credit-stealing are par for the course for what I've been doing
for close to a decade now. However, I can't say I view it as the sincerest form of flattery - if
pride is a sin, some of these individuals should apply for sainthood.
Am I going to die or suffer healthwise by eliminating carbohydrates like starches and
foods with added sugar & replacing them with veggies and low-glycemic fruits? Certain
organizations are claiming this.
I just think, "Was it really that horrible for us healthwise before the advent of processed
foods like cereal, cookies, or anything man-made?" - because ultimately, that is all that is
being eliminated here. During the temporary Induction and OWL phases of Atkins, however,
certainly the carbs are lower; but they only increase in time in terms of introducing more low-
starch, low-glycemic fare into one's menu, as per Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. Atkins
Maintenance essentially is a "supermarket-parameter" way of keeping the weight off. Just
ditch the inside aisles. The bottom line: those who make a choice not to read the book, or
who choose not to do the program correctly by eating just a bunch of meat & butter are
obviously not following Atkins to begin with. So that said, if one is not following Atkins & if
what he or she is or isn't eating affects his or her weight or health negatively, then Atkins
could not possibly be to blame.
Through the years, I have yo-yo dieted and/or given birth, and have developed some
stretch marks / cellulite. How can I get rid of it?
The only two things I've consistently heard from dermatologists in terms of lessening the
appearance of stretch marks are:
2.) Multiple laser treatments at the dermatologist
Since the former is frustrating & the latter can be just plain unaffordable for some, I have
heard for years that hydroquinone, an over-the-counter ingredient found in many creams
available at drugstores or Sephora, works wonders as a pigment-lightening cream for stretch
marks, liver spots, or hyperpigmentation. As far as cellulite (which afflicts about 90% of
women and knows no boundaries as far as body size or shape - some of the skinniest, most in-
shape women can have it!), I know of no true means of permanent elimination.
(Endermologie is temporary.) However, weight loss, daily cardiovascular activity, thrice-a-
week resistance training, & self-tanner certainly can't hurt! Notice I look darker in some of
the photos where I reveal more skin? Well, a tan is flattering! (Note: In the warm months, I
do the Mystic spray-on Tan every few weeks & maintain it at home, since I'm sunscreen-
obsessed & have avoided the sun like the plague since 1999.)
I need some ideas for what to do with hamburger meat. Boy, there has got to be more
ideas out there other than just salting it.
101 Burger Builders
I need Thanksgiving / Christmas / holiday recipes too, please!!
Feel free to check out my own homemade-from-scratch low-carb spread!
Is Atkins safe for diabetics?
In addition to the rather thorough discussion with reference to diabetes in Dr. Atkins' New
Diet Revolution (pages 203, 313-330 just to get you started), please check out these links:
Lower Your Carbs & Lower Your Insulin Levels & Carb Counting 101: Diabetic Info
How often do you update your site?
Very regularly. Regarding pictures: recent photos are peppered throughout the pages of this
website - and oftentimes in places you'd least expect!
Do you have a Facebook for SugarFreeSheila.com?
I do have a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/SugarFreeSheila
I'm also a fish lover and want to watch my mercury levels. Which fish should I limit?
Any trips coming up?
Not any big international ones - boo! Soon, hopefully.
I've had gastric bypass / lap-band. May I write to you for help, too?
So long as your doctor approves of your following Atkins, you've read Dr. Atkins' New Diet
Revolution and my FAQ, have signed up for SFS Weekly Access, and are already on the
program, I would be honored to help.
What is your opinion of Atkins '72?
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (2001 or 2002 edition) is the only text of which I am a
proponent; however, I do have a lot of respect for the original Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution
(ISBN 0553271571). It's the book that started it all!
What are some Atkins-friendly restaurants in the Dallas area?
Anywhere - and keep in mind that as a customer, their job is to make you happy, and I always
have a very easy time with ordering my foods with "no-this" and "extra-that." In fact, in all of
my travels in and out of DFW, throughout Texas, and even the U.S. and internationally, only
one establishment has outright refused to accommodate my rather simple Side requests
(after this, of course I did not stay to dine), and it happened to be Mignon in Plano, Texas.
Maybe they've shaped up since. But please know that not eating bread and sugar is possible
at any restaurant - and if a brittle diabetic with a wheat allergy is not obligated to do so,
neither are you. Here is a neat link with a few Dallas-area restaurants and menu suggestions.
What does your doctor think of your being on Atkins?
With my long-term success coupled with my aforementioned lipid and body fat profile, I
would actually be very surprised if any doctor were to ever try to convince me that the
healthful way I eat and maintain my weight is unhealthful. Good thing, because not one ever
has. Atkins maintainers know that the results and stats speak for themselves. I get nothing
but positivity from my general practitioner and endocrinologist who do my lipid profiles, my
dermatologist (no sugar = no inflammation) who I see for regular checkups, gynecologist, and
for obvious reasons my dentist - they all frown upon too much starch and sugar in one's diet
as it is. When you bring up Atkins to a doctor who has not read the book and merely goes by
what he or she hears about it in the media, they're understandably apprehensive. Then once
you describe what this program actually entails, they support the idea fully. Since 2001, this
without exception has been my experience with doctors. Top it all off with explaining to
them that the book states "Exercise is non-negotiable," they're even more sold. But when
you get right down to it ... why on earth wouldn't they be?
I'm low-carb - not really Atkins. I do low-carb my way. Well, I lost a few preliminary
pounds, but nothing for weeks. I'm not on any particular program - again, I do low-carb
my way! But I don't know what to do. Is sugar-free candy okay? What about a couple of
bananas with breakfast? If I sign up for SFS Access, can you help me?
Ah, the "low-carb my way" question - i.e., LCMW. I can definitely help you - but only if you're
doing Atkins. Why? Well, here's the thing: when someone comes to me wanting to do their
own self-constructed low-carb program, I can't help them with it - after all, the principles of
an undocumented program like this of course allude me. So if you've read the Dr. Atkins' New
Diet Revolution book as well as my full FAQ and it's Atkins you want to do, I'm all yours.
That's so great that you lost the weight after getting married. That means your husband
loved you for what's INSIDE!
<sigh> Once in a while, a well-meaning person says this to me. Believe it or not, my husband
of 11+ years actually found me physically attractive while he pursued, courted, and eventually
married me. I would have never robbed myself of that experience - regardless of my weight.
What about a useful book to get after I've reached Maintenance?
Atkins For Life is a great book for once you've made goal, written by Dr. Atkins in 2002.
Could you put me on a mailing list for any future updates, events, and appearances?
I do not send mass e-mails. Also, in accordance with my User Agreement, I prefer not to
receive these either. I detest junk mail like anyone else!
How long does it take you to do your Atkins Book Highlights?
Several hours, as I'm pretty thorough - it's a painstaking process! This is why I won't do
several "ahead," which is has been suggested to me a lot. Each Highlight is done once an
order for it comes in. As an aside, I will say that I make a point to put asterisks around each
reference to "Don't count calories!" repeated throughout the text. That has been a BIG
philosophy for me from the very start. You'll see countless newbies on Atkins forums insisting
on carrying over this old rule, though - but I'm still pretty indignant about not doing it. It's
just not happening. Carb-minding only; end of story.
I started Atkins a week ago and haven't lost an ounce. I walked my dog around the block
twice during this time. Is the lack of weight loss due to all the muscle I'm gaining from
my new fitness routine?
I exaggerate for effect here, but I get this question constantly. The lack of scale drop is due
to something amiss in your menu - guaranteed. To put this whole "muscle gain" thing to rest,
here is some perspective: on the body building forums, women who compete in Figure who
live and breathe their routines (as opposed to a recreational exerciser) and therefore lift
super heavy and super often, and are on the strictest diets to build maximum muscle capacity
feel lucky to put on 5 pounds in six months. Even men doing the same are thrilled to pack on
10 pounds of lean mass in a year's time. Women trying to lose weight tend to VASTLY
overestimate how much muscle they gain from their new, light routines. Again, if you're not
losing, it's due to your diet - and I have a no-fail success rate at getting people to lose weight
What do you have to say to people who think you weren't really "fat" to begin with?
Oh, there's always going to be one person starting off 20, 50, or 100+ pounds heavier than
another who sniffs at what they deem to be a "lesser" success story.
Two points for the Bellyacher to ponder, though:
1.) Someone 20, 50, or 100+ pounds heavier than where they started might feel the same way
about their success story. There's always going to be someone out there who had more to
lose - it doesn't diminish the value of one's own success.
2.) I'd ask them how bringing losses to a grinding halt 30+ pounds/5-6 dress sizes short of
their own ideal-weight goal would sound?
Nothing like a little perspective.
You only lost about 30 pounds - when there are people out there who started out
considerably heavier who lost more. Isn't a success story more impressive (and noble)
when that person has gone from, say, 375 to 275? So you took off 30 pounds. Big whoop.
Well, first, I'm human. I gave what I thought was Atkins a first-time go in 1998 - and because I
didn't read the book, I followed it my own "whatever" way, and of course failed to lose an
ounce as a result. The first real time I attempted Atkins properly, I read the book that time
around, and was down a half pound the following morning. When I learned that following the
program as written actually yields results, I refused to turn back. Noooo way.
As for what sets my success story apart? Well, that's threefold:
1.) I didn't spend years or even months starting the program, quitting, restarting, losing my
way, finding my way back, taking a few months off, seeing the light and starting again,
making it halfway to goal, gaining everything back, returning ... I committed to the program
and stuck with it - come hell or high water.
2.) Rather than taking half the weight off then calling it goal, I made it all the way to my ideal
3.) I stayed at my ideal-weight goal. Permanently. Consistently in the same dress size.
December 2011 marked a full decade at unwavering maintenance.
Actually, make that fourfold.
4.) I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere - much to the chagrin of many, I'm sure!
Do you eat to BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)?
I'm an Atkins follower, so I do not give calories or fat grams a second thought in any capacity.
But here's some food for thought anyway: the very few times out of sheer curiosity I have
actually taken the time to tally up my calories, the total has always been well over 2,000 every
time ... when supposedly my BMR is 1,294. So for obvious reasons, I can't say I place a great
deal of stock in it. But! For kicks, below are a couple of BMR calculators.
You say you don't count or restrict calories. Are you saying then that calories don't
count at all?
No - I just don't count calories. Although I hear and read the insistence by many that "at
some point, especially as you get closer to your weight loss goal, calorie-counting becomes
necessary for everyone," too many ideal-weight maintainers who don't mind calories have
written to me since this site's inception for that to be true. In fact, Atkins followers are
encouraged repeatedly not to restrict calories throughout the entire text - and I think people
tend to overlook this! Carbohydrate restriction - i.e., avoiding starches and foods with
added sugar - is solely responsible for my weight loss and maintenance, for never was I
heavier than when I relied on caloric restriction, fat restriction, portion restriction, & cardio
in an effort to get thin. Once I ditched the calorie-and-fat thinking & instead began focusing
on eliminating sugar & starch, BOOM, the weight was gone in 5 months. So. As someone who
is short & naturally a whopping 5-6 dress sizes larger, let me say this: if calorie-counting and
restriction were truly requisite for all in achieving and maintaining an ideal-weight goal, I
would be doing it.
What if I travel a lot? How am I going to avoid sugary and starchy fare if I'm in different
places all the time?
Make a point not to allow food choices (i.e., grocery shopping & dining out) to be any more
complicated outside your hometown than they are inside your hometown. Every time I visit
a different country, I make a point to head out to the main supermarket and go through
every single aisle to reconfirm that I could follow Atkins there if I were a long-term guest -
and I always leave dusting my hands in a good mood. It's redundant, but immensely
gratifying. If it's feasible to follow Atkins where the U.S. dollar isn't used, I can promise you
that it is possible traveling in the U.S., too. Otherwise, as a very frequent traveler, I would
have made an obligatory-cheat debut at some point since 2001...and I haven't. Simply go
about the way you follow your lifestyle with a non-negotiable mindset - the same way a
brittle diabetic would with a severe wheat allergy. If they can make it work outside the home
without daily visits to the E.R., so can you. Ultimately, your willingness to stick with low-carb
will be directly proportionate to how much you want the results. It's 100% up to you.
I know I need to get the Atkins book, and I also want your books. Could you tell me
everything I need to get started A.S.A.P.? I want to have it all at once, and in the next
couple of days.
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not wanting to pay full individual retail, and/or multiple shipping charges if you make
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What is your secret for keeping consistently slim? How do you stay so motivated? Does
your weight ever go up?
113's my max weight, so not by more than 3 pounds - and it isn't because I'm special, trust
me. Please allow me to motivate you here: it's just that I'm diligent about maintaining what
I've attained for myself - and after years of being overweight, have finally found my magic
bullet for keeping it off permanently ... After how far I've come, I refuse to go back! As for
my diet and fitness M.O. for permanent maintenance and a body I am proud of? Brisk walking
20-25 minutes a day 3 days a week, doing full-body resistance training including abs 40
minutes a day 3x/week, and sticking to whole low-glycemic foods for my daily lifestyle; low-
carb treats, while great on occasion maybe twice a week, are not for every single meal. I
bake my low-carb desserts to be enjoyed on the weekends, and am stringent about clean,
unprocessed low-carb eating all other days of the week. This is my key to continued
success! (More on Motivation on my Motivation/Beauty Tips page.) God bless and please feel
free to sign up for SFS Weekly Access if ever you need any tips, support, or encouragement -
that's why I'm here!
|May 24th, 2005
|September 10th, 2006
|June 19th, 2005
Sailing out of
|August 17th, 2006
Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
As always, my tan is 100%
from a bottle! ....
|February 5th, 2006
|June 24th, 2005
Shopping at Willow Bend
Mall in Plano, Texas
|July 24th, 2005
Shopping in Oklahoma City
|April 18th, 2005
At Maguire's in Dallas
|August 18, 2006
Right after a wonderful
|May 26th, 2006
At Sears, looking at
refrigerators. Sheesh, does
anyone actually buy an
|June 2006 - Plano, TX
Leaving a friend's wedding.
What a beautiful reception!
Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot
- I did the 5K walk with my
|June 18th, 2006
|July 21st, 2006
Wedding in Plano, Texas
|July 21st, 2006
The cake is only a prop &
not for me - promise!
(The lady behind me
reminded me of the hot
mom from American Pie.)
|August 18th, 2006
Ft. Walton, Florida
|August 27th, 2006
NorthPark Mall in Dallas
|October 29, 2006
Outside Planet Blue. Next
it was Marmalade Café,
where I had the Beef
Carpaccio, then the
Ocean Way. Delicious.
|December 11th, 2006
I had a grilled chicken
|April 29th, 2005
Gearing up for a Fun Day!
At a friend's in Edmond, OK
|March 12th, 2006
(Get a load of the 28 mph
After an IHOP breakfast from
their IHOP For Me menu. It
doesn't exist anymore,
though. They've regressed &
it's back to being a special
low-fat menu. Man, get with
the times already.
Cruise formal night, in the
middle of the Gulf of Mexico
Dallas; 110 pounds
Dunn's River Falls -
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
|April 27th, 2004
Taken in Dallas with
my little niece!
Roosevelt Island, New York
|February 1st, 2007
"But you still haven't told
me ... is kibble
On the way to
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Climbing to the top of the
cruise ship for a shot even
if the wind takes me out!
|March 23rd, 2007
|July 1st, 2007
Gazeebo Burger in
One of my favorite burger
places, & they know my
double cheddar, grilled
mushrooms, "1/3 Pound
Avocado bacon, & a Side
Green cheddar, grilled
mushrooms, Salad, no
croutons, regular Ranch on
You can always eat well
when dining out & traveling -
even at burger places. All
you have to do is ask. If
you're a regular, they'll even
memorize your order after a
|October 14th, 2007 - NYC
At Pastis in the
I ordered the Scrambled
Eggs with Smoked Salmon,
substituting the hash browns
for salad. Great place!
|Late October 2007
There were little kids in
costumes running around
trick-or-treating in town. I
had no idea Halloween was
recognized in Europe!
|October 29th, 2007
|December 23rd, 2007
At the Galleria in Dallas
I'm in a good mood because
not only am I wearing red
lipstick, I finally found
high-heeled black boots in
my size (technically a 4½)!
|January 28th, 2008
Sassy on her 10th birthday!!
Such a stately little thing.
|June 9th, 2008
Kelly's Eastside in Plano
Barely made it out of the
sweltering 95º heat for a
Grilled Gulf Shrimp Salad.
P.S: This is actually a (Gap)
pajama / mini sleep dress.
Way too cute to wear to bed!
|July 13th, 2008
After lunch at Snuffer's in
I had the Cheeseburger
Salad, cooked medium
with no salt, double meat
& cheddar, & full-fat
Ranch on the side.
|August 3rd, 2008
It was 107º (42ºC) - finding
it impossible to stay cool &
praying it doesn't show!
Brazil travel visa mugshot!
|November 16th, 2008
I'm just happy because I'm
filling up for $22!
|December 2008 -
I bought an absolutely
beautiful necklace from this
local merchant. He was also
so patient with the very little
French I know, even obliging
when I asked him to pose for
a photo with me.
As a side note, the airline
lost my luggage; so for
almost a month, I was forced
to do without skincare
products, all of my clothes,
hair products, handycam,
digital camera battery -
everything. It's no fun being
|Christmas Day 2008 -
|December 2008 -
Stepping onto the
Aerial Tram in Roseau.
It was beautiful to see
from over 100 feet
|Nov. 28th, '08 -
Pardon that tour group
|February 15th, 2009
Right before seeing He's
Just Not That Into You.
It hit me that I hadn't added
a photo to the site since
Christmas, so I ran back
outside to take a quick
shot. Luckily, I had my
camera on me that day!
|March 28th, 2009
Cooling my heels in
Chinatown. Did nothing but
walk all day in 4"boots - I'll
|July 17th, 2009
Shopping in Dallas - and I
did get the dress!
|July 31st, 2009
I love GoodReads.com
& needed a good avatar
|August 14th, 2009
After making the sad
discovery that Outback no
longer offers steak on their
lunch menu, I hit the road. If
I'm going to go that lean, I'm
going to need a filet.
So, it was off to Houston's, my
See how I'm smiling after my
double cheddar burger w/
double added avocado &
sautéed spinach? ;)
|October 26th, '09
Zombieland - it was good.
Oh, & my hair didn't grow
a foot overnight: that's a
little Revlon claw clip
hairpiece I just picked up.
Nice match - I like it! You
can find another shot of it
in natural light on the
|December 18th, '09
At the Shops at Legacy
in Plano, Texas
|January 2nd, 2010
Atop my hotel in
Vatican City, Italy
At the at the St.
Peter's Basilica, on
my way to the Vatican.
See what's up there behind
me? That's the Acropolis.
Sensible shoes & a decent
breakfast were a must, so
good thing! I even shot my
4th & newest Tip Clip about
"grocery shopping & finding
heavy cream in foreign land"
in front of the Parthenon. :)
At the Acropolis,
|Jan. 2010 - Giza, Egypt
At the Sphinx. That's the
Pyramid of Khafre behind it.
|Jan. 2010 - Giza, Egypt
Though posed for a
camera in front of me, I felt
the iPhone one I wasn't
aware of until afterwards
actually turned out better.
On the Hop On Hop Off bus
|January 2010 - Gibraltar
At the King Charles V Wall
at the Rock
|January 2010 - Gibraltar
At the top of the Rock.
I think the fog added
character to the shot.
|February 11th, 2010
The big "Snowpocalypse" hit
Dallas, too - and we beat our
all-time record by dusk. But I
had orders to ship, & the P.O.
& I share the same motto.
|March 21st, 2010
At Sonic ordering my
favorite: Route 44
unsweetened iced tea.
If you go during "happy hour"
(2-4), it's half price. :)
I'd just left the house after a
half-hour rough & tumble in
the backyard with Sassy & it
shows. It snowed over 7"!
|March 21st, 2010
One of the shots I took of her.
|April 9th, 2010
The bouncy ball I'd just
tossed into the air was
double her size, but you
know Jack Russells ...
At the park after lunch. You
can't tell here, but I was
uncomfortably close to falling
backward in that water. Worth
it for the shot, though.
|July 18th, 2010
Before I realized the camera
was set to Auto. At noon.
|July 18th, 2010
Taken just a minute later.
If it's high noon & you don't
have a Texas-sized flash
on hand, put your digital
camera in Portrait mode.
Good in a pinch!
|September 22nd, 2010
Right after I
loofah'd off the last bit of
my sunless tanner. Time
to get back to Retin-A &
glycolic acid - and bring
on the fall colors & jewel
Sailing out of Beliz after a
long & *very* rainy day of
sightseeing. Swapped my
shoes, switched the white
eyelet shorts to a skirt,
added a necklace, & boom -
ready for dinner.
Hoooo, and it poured the
ENTIRE day, too. :)
|February 4th, 2011
Having a Mooyah Iceburger
with double cheddar & a ton
of fixins - ignoring the 7" of
snow & 20º weather outside.
In the meantime while all the
In-N-Out locations develop
around the Dallas area,
Mooyah is Texas' answer to
|March 27th, 2011
If you're holding a camera phone
with one hand & can't see the
mirror, it's a challenge to position
the arms juuuust so for that
back/shoulder shot. This was
since moved on from it & am back
to doing Cathe Friedrich/Jari Love
DVDs. Home workouts only -
haven't belonged to a gym in
|May 4th, 2011
After a double
at Mooyah. Seriously love
this place. :)
|June 14th, 2011
In my guest bath
This pic was actually for my
Facebook, to showcase a
new slate blue top I'd
mentioned picking up a
couple of days previously.
I saw it & just knew it
would pair well with white
|July 24th, 2011
Wrapping up my A.M.
P90X workout: "Chest &
Back." Picked the whole
system for under $50 on
CraigsList - and even had
the seller ship it to me.
Showing my new Revlon
Matte lipstick in Very
Red for Facebook.
|November 8th, 2011
At Ulta in Plano, Texas
picking up some body
SPF & a tube of lip gloss.
|December 19th, 2011
At Mooyah, trying on my
niece's specs. They gave
me "Bad Romance" eyes.
|December 21st, 2011
I'm always in charge of
the turkey for Christmas!
I have these roll-ups all the time
when the munchies hit:
nitrate-free low-sodium chicken
breast & baby Swiss, with mayo
sweetened with a packet of
Splenda so that it tastes like
Miracle Whip. More food pics
found on my Recipes Page.
|May 23rd, 2012
Life's been crazy lately, so
it's been a while since my
last Fun Day. A woman can
only take so much.
P.S: Love the Romney
stinkeye I'm getting from
that employee in the
|July 19th, 2012
Time for a Mooyah Iceburger!
You should try them out if you
have one nearby.
|At my mom's on
Remember those silver
fillings that went out with the
Ark? I'd just had my
childhood ones replaced.
Serious case of numb stroke
mouth. Running errands to
kill time so I could finally eat!