Need more details on low-carb as well as my full success story & maintenance? This FAQ is where we start.

No weight loss surgery, no lipo, no tucks, no pills, no shots, no chef, no trainer. No crutches! Just Atkins & home workouts.

Everything you could ever think to ask about both Atkins and my full success story is laid out right here:  how long did it take to lose the weight?  What do I eat?  What should I cook?  What about dining out?  What do I say to my family and friends about what I'm doing?  What do you think about commercial low-carb products?


It's all right here.  So let's get started!

Finally, someone to relate to! It is also very refreshing to be able to visit a comprehensive low-carb site that is so unintimidating 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 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?

With respect to visitor e-mail and texts, please read about the changes to the 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 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 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.


Cozumel, Mexico

Didn't Dr. Robert Atkins suffer from a heart attack April 2002?

No, but a heart infection.  Click here to get the true 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 an article by yet another legitimate publication disputing this myth.


You don't have to exercise on Atkins, right?

Ahh, another myth.  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.

This page is huge! I know I need to read your Atkins FAQ first, but I work/travel/am a mom/student/just hate to read and do not have time enough to get through it.

If you're always on the run, the audio book-style EZ Audio FAQ CD Set is an option.

Are you affiliated with Atkins Nutritionals? Why aren't you their spokesperson?

Processed low-carb products like bars, cereal, chocolate, etc., have never been part of my daily menu - since day one. (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 for the Atkins program, revamped through the Atkins website and via the Group's Atkins Essentials book.  Namely the Group modified Atkins' first phase of Induction, because for the first time since the '70s, low-carb chocolate, low-carb cereals, low-carb bars, and even nuts became permissible during this 2-week period - items expressly not permitted per this finite list of allowable foods.  Individuals from that point onward often give a go at what they think is Atkins per the man himself, 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.  This results in stalling on again what they think the program is - and ultimately quit because little to no weight is lost.  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.  Why I cannot stress this strongly enough:  correcting menus from those experiencing stalls is the main dragon I slay on here.



Is Atkins Nutritionals or anybody else sponsoring this website? Why do you do all of this?

Nobody in any way sponsors, funds, or writes for this website but I.  No banners, no popups, no begging for site donations - 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 never allowed to happen and never will.  Additionally, I only suggest a specific product if I feel there is absolutely, positively no substitute for it.  Why?  Because 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.  This site makes it possible for me to reach out to people, to illustrate what I finally achieved 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 since 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!


Catedral de Barcelona, Spain

What do you think of the NEW ATKINS FOR A NEW YOU book?

As stated previously in this Atkins FAQ, 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 (i.e., subsequent to April 2003) does not have my endorsement - or even interest.

I live in Tehran/Nuuk/Suva/Nicosia/Timbuktu, 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, right?

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 outside the U.S:  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 added a photo slideshow there a few years ago, 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 upload videos of myself on YouTube.  Free Tip Clips are included with my Super-Duper Bargain Package, as well as the Atkins Startup.

My doctor deems Atkins unhealthful & is convinced my cholesterol will skyrocket. What to do?

Actually, studies consistently show that the opposite is true.  In fact, take a look at mine.  But sadly, some physicians are misinformed about the very fundamentals of Atkins, thus rendering any arguments they make against it invalid. (e.g., "Atkins doesn't allow vegetables - and lots of bacon is a requirement!" etc.)  Additionally, it's critical that physicians be up on the latest studies on eschewing sugar and starchy fare; otherwise, I feel they are doing their patients a disservice in perpetuating myths about the program.  But opinions based on facts?  Now that's a conversation worth having.  Consider bringing along a copy of the book along to your next appointment.  Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is another good choice.

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?

I'm big on proof - and many anti-Atkins folks make this dramatic statement at some point or another.  Immediately insist that they offer up 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. (worldwide, too!), 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 no-nonsense 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 the majority 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 all that you do ... and make sure to do it with confidence.

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, I've only taken 3 Thanksgivings off since 2001.  (Want to see 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 later on this page, the only rule on a Fun Day, which I began incorporating after having made goal in late 2001, is that it's one day only, and 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-or-so Fun Days in general - keeps me from the lame "Woe-is-Me" / "Waah, can't-Have-Anything" mentality both in the meantime and afterward, and keeps me in a size 1 pair of Junior's 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 - have always approached me for help & advice on an array of subjects.  I'm considered the Go-To Girl Next door, and am happy to oblige.  Since I feel I have a true calling and knack for reaching out to others and problem-solving, has proven the ultimate vehicle for me to do so.


On the top of a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean

Is low carb dead?

On the contrary; Atkins has become 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 - and that's a fact, Jack.  Atkins has been around since the early '70s & does not appear to be going anywhere.  But all in all, who cares even if it were "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, 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 "Michelle."

I need someone to talk me into doing Atkins. So, does it work? Should I try it? No, I haven't read 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 something important right at the outset.  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 and need help, I am here for that via e-mail, text, and Twitter.


I use Half-and-Half instead of heavy cream. Is that okay?

Why use something with reduced fat on Atkins?  Talk about unnecessary punishment!  Please click here to read a bit about the differences among the different types of creams.

What are your favorite casual restaurants & what do you order there?

My all-time favorite casual restaurant is Houston's.  When there, I'll order the Cheeseburger the following way:  "Extra cheddar, no bun, with added avocado - and double that avocado - with sauteed spinach."  The kitchen recognizes the order and they know it's me. :)  Outback is also great 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), and Caesar salad - no croutons, dressing on the side. (I like lots of extra-virgin olive oil on my salad and use the dressing as dip for the steak.)  I have a LOT favorite restaurants and am a champ at ordering low-carb absolutely anywhere.  So just ask if you need tips. 


Yes, I eat it all!

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, and tend to add various berries, melon, lemons and 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, and 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, and even that's a ton.)  There are so many more things to add to a shake to make it great.  Coconut oil (has a buttery consistency), coconut cream, those 3-ounce cream cheese cubes, unsweetened cocoa powder, various oils like macadamia nut, raw eggs (yep, I do that), 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 just height, females differ in terms of not only age, but musculature, bone size, and bone density, when it came to setting a definitive 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 and looked my best once I arrived there.  This also did wonders for not feeling overwhelmed, because one arbitrary number can be daunting for anybody - so, I took it just one day and one pound at a time.  Ultimately, I decided that hovering around was best for me.  So, how will you know?  Once you catch yourself in the mirror stepping out of the shower and 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 and add the above commentary that I very often get in the mail.  The self-pics factor is a 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 weight loss and maintenance is attainable for not only me, but anybody who faithfully and 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 full blood panels.  These readings are far from unusual for loyal Atkins followers and 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 call.

Could you tell me what you 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 and 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 additional portions of vegetables, as well as adding plenty of nuts and 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 - only carbohydrates.  Please see my Original Low-Carb Recipes Page for lots of free sample Induction and dessert recipes and meal ideas, as these can very easily be worked into an effective low-carb menu and any phase of Atkins.  I must have created a million of these recipes on my way to goal!  In addition, my cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Induction Meals, contains 100% original, ALL Induction-friendly recipes, and my dessert cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Desserts, features the low-carb homemade baked goodies I created and continue to enjoy to this day.

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 and my fitness routine to maintain my low body fat and physique - that's it.  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." 

Okay. So is there a low-carb food pyramid then?

Why, yes there is

Isn't low-carbing super-expensive?

The key to spending the least amount of money on fresh, wholesome food 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, "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 and Costco.  But when we get down to brass tacks, the truth is you're worth the little bit of extra expense.

I sometimes get leg cramps at night. Any suggestions?

It's very likely potassium you're lacking.  Easy fix.  Here's a quick list of potassium-rich veggies.

What can be done about "keto breath"?

It's important to take advantage of all the allotted vegetables - nothing worse for a person's breath than a diet consisting of just meats and cheeses!  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 or no-carb 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 alcohol-based 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 and not at all gamey.  These can be found at various health food stores and premium supermarkets.  Also, roasting a duck, quail, or turkey breast provides a wonderful change from chicken and tastes wonderful.

What about trans fats?

Trans fats are found in foods made or cooked with hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Top 10 Trans Fat Foods To Avoid 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, and the Kroger supermarket store brand.  There are many more.


My own personal take on trans fats?  It's a bit like gluten in one respect:  low-carbers tend to avoid it by default.  If you are a true Atkins follower (i.e., you treat man-made foods as what they are:  treats not to be enjoyed with every single meal) and 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.  Try observing 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?  Not for me, that's for sure.


Destin, Florida

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 2-3.

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, and enjoyed low-carb baked desserts on the weekends - and it took me 5 months to hit goal.  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?

Quick things like FAGE, whey protein shakes, deviled eggs, and omelets.  When rushed, this is the best thing in the world since I've always loved them and they take just minutes to make.  In my omelets, I like onions, bell peppers, garlic, white cheddar cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, and sausage in mine.  Stuffed to the brim!

Aside from measurements, scale losses, and 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 visible reduction in size and 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, and 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?

In the 16% range, per the Dallas Cooper Clinic via hydrostatic (underwater) weighing in the summer of 2011.  I don't trust calipers or bioelectric impedance, as these two methods merely rely on stats and averages to essentially "guess" at one's body fat, rather than giving you a true, definitive measurement.  For the record, calipers are consistently about 3-7% off the mark for me, regardless of who does the measurement.  As for body fat scales?  Those are even further off for me.  Hydrostatic weighing is still known as the gold standard if you want accuracy.  The DEXA is another option, but I'm not a fan of it.  The BodPod is another option, and that one I haven't tried yet.  Will report here if and when I do! 


Canal Street, Chinatown - NYC

On Induction, how come veggies like peas, corn, & potatoes aren't allowed?

But are these really vegetables at all?  Peas are legumes, corn is a grain, and potatoes are root-tubers - and rather starchy at that!

Isn't this diet unhealthy? It's NO carbs, right? Don't you eat a ton of protein - and 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 from the '60s called Stillman Diet - which is markedly distinctive from Atkins.  Check out this informative New York Times piece: "What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?"  I remember it came out a year after I started Atkins - and that was when the public's opinion of fat and sugar really began to change.  You see, this way of eating is unhealthful only if done incorrectly - simple as that.  Another piece worth sharing:  "How I Became a Low-Carb Believer." Saudia Arabia Royal Palace - Casablanca, Morocco

Is margarine a better choice?

Not at all - and the trans fat issue with respect to margarine is only the beginning.

What about gout?

This should help you get started.  Also, don't forget to consult with your physician.

What was your personal turning point? What made you finally make the decision to lose weight?

Now this is where my story might differ a bit from your garden variety one:  the thing is, I'd always wanted to lose the extra weight I carried, and 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 my family and friends can attest, I do nothing halfway.  The problem at hand was that I simply didn't drop any weight with whatever I tried - low-calorie, moderate-calorie, low-fat - nothing worked.  I also need to make clear the fact that I've exercised regularly and consistently since the 5th grade.  Always 30-60 minutes of brisk daily walking on the treadmill.  (My dad is a marathon-runner and very into fitness, so the mentality rubbed off a bit!)  Looking back, I actually envied the yo-yo dieters, because the way I saw it?  At least they lost the weight and had a taste of success to begin with.  Well, I stumbled across Atkins again in mid-2001, did it correctly this time around, and boom ... the weight was off in 5 months.  I have finally, finally found what works, and I will never turn back - and who would have thought eating like this would actually be enjoyable as well?  P.S:  My cardio now is 20 minutes a day of brisk walking.

I'm eating low-carb bars, low-carb shakes, nuts, & I'm stalling. Why?

I feel it's best to consume nuts during the Pre-Maintenance stage.  Technically you can start test-driving them in OWL, but I've noticed that this tends to be when people start reporting stalls to me - possibly because they go too whole-hog.  The following, while also technically permitted on Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), Pre-Maintenance, and Maintenance, have also been known to cause stalls due to either excessive salt, preservatives (nitrates/nitrites), or artificial sweeteners:  deli meats, imitation cheeses, nuts, pork rinds, low-carb shake mixes, Sugar-Free JELL-O, and low-carb bars.  KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) and you'll lose without a hitch.  This has unequivocally been my key to long-term success of since 2001:  I treat low-carb treats as treats and keep foods pure and whole at least 75% of the time.  Remember, Atkins is qualitative rather than quantitative, and about "cleaning it all up," so keep it natural!  Frustrated about nixing the nuts and sweet potatoes just for now?  Don't be.  Take comfort in the fact that what holds you up 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 and can put away more than most men, I still don't ... won't.  Since Atkins is about restricting carbohydrates and provides for me all the fat-burning edge I need, I never found any additional monitoring necessary.  In fact, I doubled my caloric intake and increased my fat intake after starting Atkins.  My daily cardio (treadmill walking) had always been the same since around the age of 10, and 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 and increased my calories two-fold.  So intuitively, carbs have been all I ever pay attention to since starting Atkins.  It keeps things simple anyway - and I refuse to 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 and has since maintained this weight loss through the vegan lifestyle, has a stellar lipid profile, low blood pressure, has a low body fat and is physically fit, hasn't had a cold in several years, does in fact consume adequate protein and plenty of vegetables, calories, and 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.  Rest assured family, friends, and co-workers will take you seriously if you take your own efforts seriously:  i.e., by following this program without apology and with a non-negotiable mindset.  I cannot stress this enough - it is key.

Can you recommend any websites that feature various weight calculators?

Here's one that shows a few different weight recommendations taking into account height, age, and gender.

I'm a runner or want to start running. Do I need lots of bread products & sugar for energy in order to do so?

There are lots of low-carb runners out there.  You need to check out @bowulf on Twitter & YouTube and see what he has to say about pre-marathon carb-loading.  Tell him I said hi!

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 and 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 throw you?


  1. 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.
  2. When someone writes to me, establishes that they have already read the book and 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 and literal, I have no idea how to answer this.  By eating?

Okay, I know how to get started because I've done Atkins before. I know it works. But I just can't seem to get started - and when I do, I can only stick with it for a few days ...

Let's isolate the real variables here.  You simply have to decide which it is you want more:  weight loss or cheat foods.  You've just got to want this enough to stick with it.  The fact that you know up front 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 or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) might hinder my weight loss efforts?

For some, the wrong type and dose of hormones can.  Though no birth control has affected my moods, anything highly androgenic makes me break out, and anything I've tried offering the wrong proportion of estrogen has me putting on about 3-5 pounds, stat.  It is so subjective, and the truth is birth control pills require trial runs for each individual.  You'll likely hit on something that agrees with you.  With respect to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Dr. Atkins advises women to opt for non-synthetic hormones as opposed to synthetic, known as natural hormone replacement therapy (NHRT).  Discuss your concerns with your GYN and/or endocrinologist.  Running a full panel will probably be your first step.

Did you use diet or energy pills/fat-burners/carb-blockers/laxatives at any time?

Absolutely not, on sheer principle.  I simply do not believe in them - and they defeat the purpose of this way of eating anyway.  A low-glycemic diet 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 and of itself), energy supplements, or herbal supplements either, as I don't deem them necessary. Devil's Island

What is your favorite nut butter?

Organic, no-salt-added macadamia nut butter.  Only 5 total carbs for 2 tablespoons.  It just tastes seductive, and is hands-down my favorite nut butter.  Well, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter both come as a close second!

I miss Miracle Whip! That's too high-sugar, isn't it?

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.


I'm in the U.K, and don't really know what to look for in terms of the "heavy cream." What's that?

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.  It is confirmed time and again that one may follow Atkins everywhere I go - 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 heavy cream a few years back at Tesco in southern England, and when I did not spot it straight off, I stopped a shopper 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 and 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. 

I have a leg/ankle/knee/hip injury and am concerned about not being able to do any cardio as I recover. What can I do?

Discuss with your doctor the possibility of temporarily implementing the Arm Ergometer machine.  It looks a bit like a recumbent bike, but for the upper-body.  I've seen these machines 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.  The truth is, they're polar opposites.

Any more tips on getting in my fluids?

I am not a water purist - though my hat's off to those who are!  I drink a lot of iced tea sweetened with Stevia.  I'll also do my own spin of the Master Cleanse lemonade recipe by adding organic lemon not from concentrate and organic cayenne pepper to a gallon of water.

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

Do you 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 and 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 down.

I find I'm eating the same meals & cooking the same types of food all the time because I'm not a creative cook. Plus food always tastes better at restaurants - and that can get expensive!

You're not kidding!  Allow me to say here and now that I am not a professional chef, I can't chop celery 1,000 miles a minute, and am by no means a culinary virtuoso.  However, I am creative in the kitchen and am constantly discovering possibilities, means of replicating high-carb fare into low-carb, and a multitude of ways to prepare foods I love.  The Atkins menu is essentially limitless - after all, we're ultimately only eliminating starches and 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 well as Atkins-friendly menus and recipes on the internet.  You'll see a bunch and they can really help!  ** My best advice if you hate to cook:  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. Grills are great for whipping up a filet, bunless burger, scrumptious pork or beef ribs, salmon, etc.  The George Foreman 360 is also convenient and something I use almost daily.

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", 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.  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 markedly 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 - another misconception.   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 already a given, and 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 types of things 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 - and still do that to this day.  Lunch and dinner: I stuck with the basics of meats and 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 and 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 pretty 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?

Spence & Co. Smoked Salmon Pinwheels are a great snack - just under 4 carbs for the whole thing.  Sometimes I have one of these packs for breakfast if I'm in a rush.  You can find them at health food stores andpremium 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 site visitor 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 cup used."  Broken down, that would be about .083 total carbs per tablespoon.

What is your favorite diet soda?

I've not kept any sodas in the house since late '06, but do enjoy them at the movies.  I routinely get the Route 44 unsweetened iced tea from Sonic, which I sweeten with a Stevia dropper I keep in the car for this purpose.

I quit smoking, 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 site visitors contacted the company directly and was thoughtful enough to share this information with me.

I've read 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 and 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 and 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 yields 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.

Are you on LinkedIn?  (New!) 

I'm starting 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 on Induction? Are potatoes allowed? How long is Induction?

I'll save you the blood, sweat, and 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 and 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 Induction foods link basically what I have to eat. Should it even matter that I don't know how & why it works, as long as I just lose the weight?

Of course it matters.  We're talking about your body here - your most valuable asset!  Remember this rule of thumb:  if you attempt to embark on a very major, life-changing program like Atkins and 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 and do a bunch of random stretches onyour bed for 10 minutes a day and 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!!

I've read the book. I know what I can & can't eat. But frankly, it is just too much trouble for me to think up my meal ideas. So tell me what to eat - write me out a menu!


Sorry, I don't write out menus!  Sharing my recipes and posting photos of what I eat at restaurants is one thing - but actually telling someone what to eat is a prescription I'm not qualified to write.

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.
Malibu, California

Ever considered adding a message board to this website?


I tried it for a while - it wasn't for me.


What do you do? How do you get to travel so much?


a.) This is what I do.  b.) 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 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 tried-and-true Atkins low-carb:  "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 and thus don't have any real basis for comparison - 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 South Beach is what Dr. Robert Atkins had been touting 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 with Atkins spinoff programs when the very one I've been doing for over a decade actually works.  While I respect that other people follow different programs, and am even happy to include #Paleo news in my low-carb tweets, 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's the difference between Paleo & what you do? (New!)


If you're wondering why I haven't "gone Paleo," it's because doing so would render my menu about 95% redundant to how I've been eating since 2001.  To switch to this Atkins derivative would only necessitate two changes: 


  1. Buy all grass-fed meats.
  2. Eliminate my cheese and heavy cream.


I already don't drink, and have no incentive to add on either of the above restrictions to what I do. As for organic, I go that route when it's convenient, but I'm no Nazi about it.  I've heard individuals insist on distinctions that go beyond these points, but they tend to reveal themselves as not having read Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution.  Among many examples, "We can eat sweet potatoes!"  Well, sweet - because those are Atkins-friendly fare, too.  In fact, I just had one at Texas Roadhouse. Truth is, if a Paleo follower and I dined out together, we'd order similarly - except I'd be eating my cheese with gusto. 


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.  Did you know that one of the first things your gynecologist will tell you to do in terms of diet for both prevention and treatment is to shun sugar?  Yeah!

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:  i.e., high-carb, low-protein.  Obviously the Type O program (low-carbohydrate) would have benefited me 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.  Personally, following the Type A diet plan resulted in my putting on about 10 pounds.  So is this program a good one for you, and does it have its merits?  It is best to ask your doctor.

Are you available in person?  Are you ever in my town?  Can we meet for lunch or something?  Let's hang out!  Let's do video conferencing!


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 2004, and 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 (watch for seeds) 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! At the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

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 report feeling 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 my word.

If you meet someone who doesn't low-carb, do you give them a hard time about it?


Not a chance.  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.  After all, I'm not on Atkins Nutritionals' payroll, and simply don't concern myself with what others do in general 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 style.

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 the finite list of allowable foods for Induction - it can also serve as a grocery list.  If you are on OWL and onward, this is when you may begin incorporating things like berries, melon, and nuts.

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 the California variety 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 and 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 do allow coffee, and usually prepare 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 - this is Atkins], and 1 packet of Splenda."  A little ground cinnamon is good, too.  If I'm in the mood for something cold that day, 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

What is your percentage of protein, fat, calories, etc.?  What are your macros?


I do not track my macros/ratios purely on principle.  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 weight?


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 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 and 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.  You'll never actually do it - I sure haven't!  But the thought alone will help you stick with those healthier choices.  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!  When I was a 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?


Nope.  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, 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 - 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 and family to take me seriously?" then there's only one way, and that is by sticking with it and being consistent.  People will only take you as seriously as you take yourself - and success & long-term maintenance is like a Mute button for critics anyway.


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.  Really, low-carbers like me tend to be "gluten-free" by default.

Do you have a relevant 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 or used to 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?


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 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 any and all food product mentions, check supermarkets, health food stores, and the internet. After lunch at Houston's - Dallas, Texas

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 and 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.  So:  eat!


What else do you eat for "legal" sugar-free, low-carb snacks for after Induction?


I like a few different brands of shake mixes and often have one before bed to kill cravings -the specific recipes I use are 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, and they're likely to 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!


Atop my hotel in Barcelona, Spain





What's this I hear about "net carbs"?  Can I really deduct fiber to get a net-effective carb count?


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 since it does not convert to glucose and spike your blood sugar.



Do you ever have popcorn?


Oh, yes!  Though not every single day.  The more simply it's prepared, the better.  I just like butter.



What can I do to add more fat?


Here is my philosophy on fat:  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.  Don't stress out about this.  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 (e.g., 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 the poots, LOOK OUT.



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 currently attempting:


  • Celery sticks with either cream cheese (Induction) or peanut butter (for after Induction)
  • Pork rinds dipped in sour cream
  • Edamame pods - pack them straight from the freezer and allow them to thaw
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds - these last forever and are very low in carbohydrates.
  • Even pork or beef ribs can be good, sweetened with a packet of Splenda, and wrapped in foil. Just remember to bring napkins!
  • Or, just do what I do and bring in a semi-meal.  My favorite for the movies is sushi (salmon sashimi) with California avocado slices.  Don't forget your chopsticks!
  • Jicama - found at health food stores.  Great apple and potato substitute.  You can make them into fries, smear peanut butter on them, or use them as a sub for apples in Waldorf Salads. 



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, here's 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, kiwi, lemons/limes - just to name a few.  There's a lot to be enjoyed.



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 - i.e., those lasting a month or more while following Induction to the letter - and actually dangerous for those who aren't.  For the record, I am not a proponent of any type of fast - or "cleanse" for that matter.  Trendy as they are!



I'm stalling & desperate. What am I doing wrong?


Often someone e-mails reporting 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 ... ironically the very methods long 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.  That is, even though they continue to allow fattier, higher-caloric things like chicken skin, fat from their steaks, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc., to their menu.  So that said, if you have:


a.) honestly read the book and know what you're doing,


b.) have been stuck at the same weight for a month or more - which is 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 and 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 - chances you're just eating something not yet permitted.  I've fixed these weight loss standstills over and over since 2001.  I can help.



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 out 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.  Then after frying, flavor it up with just ¼ teaspoon of maple extract.  Nothing like getting skinny and staying there with maple bacon ... especially if you cut a few sodium and 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.  (By the way, I haven't had a cold since 2006 - and no flu shots for me either.)  But at the same time, I would be 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 premium supermarkets 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 my favorite.)  Broth can be enjoyed by itself, or jazzed up with spices and seasonings.  You can add shirataki noodles to broth and bits of chicken for a hearty chicken noodle soup.  Or you can throw it in a crockpot with some chicken and vegetables as another option.  As for sugar-free cough drops, I'd 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 diabetic brand. Destin, Florida



I have varicose / spider veins and am MISERABLE and self-conscious about them. Please, is there anything I can do?  Aside from that, I want the skin on my face to look as good as it can and 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 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 - and that's worth a pound of cure anyway.



I'm in the market for a good, reliable treadmill.


I have the Pro Form 755 Crosstrainer.  Never any complaints!



Do you think low carb is for everyone? (New!)


A loaded question, but I can handle it.  Do I feel the elimination of sugars and starches is beneficial for everyone?  Yes.  Hands-down.  Do I feel all who attempt the program as it was meant to be followed (i.e., not the eat-whatever "Low-Carb My Way" / LCMW thing), barring any sabotaging hormonal and medical issues, will have success on the program?  Another yes.  Do I feel like nixing sugar and starch sounds like fun for all people?  That's the only "no" you'll get out of me.  Pre-Atkins, I used to utter the same "I could never give up my bread!" as every other non-low carber does. 


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've still never tried them), 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 kitchen.



So, what are your "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 and 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.  Diabetic ketchups are great, too.



Where can I find your SHAPE magazine success story?


Oh yeah, I remember that.  Long time ago!  Unfortunately they repeatedly misquoted me, even giving my success story a preposterous "low-fat" slant - something I never once made reference to at any time during my one hour-long telephone interview.  Even though I went on and on about how great low-carb was in my interview, SHAPE decided to make not one mention of it in the interview they ran a few months later.  If my story didn't fit into their passé low-fat agenda, then they should have passed on running it.  It's just that simple.  They didn't like all the heat and boycotting they were getting from my site visitors after I scanned the interview on my site, so their legal team sent me a Cease and Desist letter to take it down.  That's why it went poof.  Meh - it's old news anyway.  I wish that low-fat publication the best.





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, so long as they 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, and Daisy at 3 total carbs per half cup.  Since I have a cup or more at a time (i.e., 6 carbs) mixed with fruit and nuts, this is a carb bargain!



Are you on Google Plus? (New!)


Yes, finally - and all SFS Access visitors with a Gmail address are added to my Circles.



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, I don't (won't) run; I merely walk - and 20 minutes a day and 3-4 mornings a week at that. Usually I'll see others engage in cardio for longer, harder, and almost every day of the week.  My weight-lifting regime is 30-40 minutes a day, every third day or so.  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 5'2" 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 ... not to mention being that many years younger.  In other words, my cardio and weight routine are merely the icing on the fitness cake. 



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 via my home workouts.  Once that's done, I'm on with my life.  I'm not someone who feels any shame or embarrassment when taking the elevator.  Roosevelt Island, New York



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, just the thought 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 and 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.



Okay, so you have 16% body fat and wear a size 0-2.  So you've maintained that goal since 2001.  So, you can wear a swimsuit. 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 LDL cholesterol and 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.  The weight you're aiming for ... have you been there in your adult life before?  If so, then that should offer an approximate gauge of what to expect.



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 insightful.



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 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 1998 and still haven't had to change the battery. Mexico



I miss yogurt!!


Well, consider yourself in luck then.  FAGE Total Greek yogurt, found at larger supermarkets and health food stores, contains 8 total carbohydrates per 7-ounce serving and 14 for the 17-oz.  I like my yogurt, so I prefer the latter.  Your supermarket or health food store doesn't carry it?  Special-order it with management!  Their aim is your patronage; so request this or any unavailable product with confidence.
Giza, Egypt. I turned around and boom - camel at close range & eye level. My husband caught my reaction.



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 order it??


Of course.  In fact, I'm a champ at ordering low-carb.  It's 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!



How do I determine my goal weight?


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 rate at 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 better advantage you will ultimately have in reducing your body fat.  This is why adding strength training to a cardio regime is so beneficial in not just accelerating the weight loss process, but maintaining those results.



Do you have any nutritional information for IHOP? Wendy's? McDonald's?  Burger King?


Fast food nutrition.  Also, a NOTE ABOUT IHOP:  If you order eggs there, be advised 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 or an omelet of all things! 



How much fiber do you get a day?


Maybe 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 must come from bread or it isn't really fiber.  Years ago, I came across a really great Broccoli Shake recipe on a low-carb message board.  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 and a size 12 - at 5'2", 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 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 time around!  My first attempt at it was in 1998:  I bought the book, didn't read it, and followed it the way I wanted to.  That went grrrreat ...



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!  Testing out Revlon matte lipstick in Really Red.  Liked it!



How much protein do you get a day?


I don't track it, but informally strive for roughly 75 grams per day.  It seems 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.  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.  A 16-oz bag of frozen edamame pods and 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 and 1 cup of almonds.  2 chicken breasts and 6 T 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, make sure you are getting enough!One of my favorite snacks of all time:  mixed nuts with just enough salt



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, and 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 and get healthy.



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 said to help; but make sure to take a multivitamin and calcium in addition.



How many carbs do you eat a day now that you're at goal?


It varies; generally, anywhere from 40-100 total carbs per day. Atop the Saladin Citadel of Cairo - Egypt



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, and have already signed up for SFS Weekly Access.  That's where we start! 



Do you recommend any grills?


The George Foreman 360.  Steaks, chicken, fish, pork chops - this thing does it all and well.  The spokeswoman, Gina Neely, recently lost weight doing low-carb.  She looks great!



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 and 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.  But it's always limited to just one day.  No exceptions.



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 see here.



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 and melt it with 3-4 oz. Philly Cheese.  Add a packet of Splenda, and you've got yourself a warm, creamy breakfast with roughly 7 net carbs - i.e., 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 and 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 decline 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/GYN.  Keep in mind also that Dr. Atkins discusses pregnancy on pages 107, 120, and 227 in Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution.



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!  As ever, check with your OB/GYN.



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.  For the record, I am neither terrified of nor sold on any particular sweetener - regardless of any and all vested-interest propaganda. 



I need something sweet to put in my coffee or on top of low-carb pancakes or waffles.


Da Vinci syrups are great, and they're available at TJ Maxx, Wal-Mart, health food stores, and on the



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 and mayo 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 already.  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.


My love for cruising is exceeded only by eating on cruises. ;)





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!


Shirataki noodles are one post-Induction option.  You've also 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.  Essentially ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING can be replicated into low-carb.  There's always a way.



Do you have any links where low-carbers discuss PCOS?


Atkins Diet Bulletin Board - PCOS& Atkins Low Carb Living
Health/Medical Issues - Low Carb Friends
Women's Health - Low Carb Friends



Do you practice The Secret / Law of Attraction?


Goodness no.



The scale isn't going down, yet my pants feel looser.  What's up with that?


Why the Scale Lies



What vitamins do you take?


I take a multivitamin, calcium citrate (not calcium carbonate, as this does not absorb as well), 7.5 mg Biotin, non-synthetic Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin C, and organic flax seed meal incorporated into shakes or pancakes if I am having them that day.  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.


At a wedding reception





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



I've heard that it is potentially harmful to heat flax seed meal & flax seed oil.  Any merit to this?


Evidently flax should not be heated; it seems doing so renders flax oil rancid, is said to cause some cancer-causing compounds, and 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.  For the record, I'm not quite sure I buy the claim, but it's worth noting.
Giza, Egypt - in front of the Sphinx



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 strength training for the entire body including abs for 40 minutes, 2-3 mornings a week.  I haven't belonged to a gym for years and only do home workouts:  a treadmill, Blu-Ray player, and dumbbells are I need.



How often do you recommend weighing?  Every day?


I personally recommend weighing no more frequently than every 3 days.  If you're aiming to lose, 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.



Any plans on writing another cookbook with non-dessert recipes?


My second cookbook, Sheila's Super-Simple Low-Carb Induction Meals, contains all Induction-friendly recipes. I also released my third book, Sheila's Super-Simple Low Carb Weight Loss Workbook, 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 nightly organic peanut butter was because I continued to lose weight incorporating it in my menu.  Otherwise, trust me:  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.  For the record, I didn't measure out the peanut butter; but it was enough to cover the bottom of a paper plate.  I added to it a packet of Splenda and nuked it in the microwave.  An odd treat for sure, but very hearty for me!  I also like smooth and chunky equally - it just depends on my mood.



Any new features coming to the site?  What's new with you? (New!)


I finished my certification in digital photography, and specialize in food photography.  As for, this site went through a relaunch last year, as it needed a complete design overhaul.  Desperately.  The previous host/graphics + me as the only one running the website = a site that looks like a chimp put it together.  You think I didn't know that?  For a while I was seriously considering a web designer, but in true form decided just to do it all over myself.  So here it is.  I've also added an on-site blog.



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 brand that offers this.  Nitrate-free deli meats include Beeler's Hog Wild, Primo Natural, Jennie-O, Block & Barrel ... and of course, my personal favorite, Boar's Head.  Check premium supermarkets and 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."


Since someone with scruples typically 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 over 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 middle 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 bacon and butter are not following Atkins to begin with.  Thus if one is not following Atkins and if what they are or aren't eating affects weight or health negatively, then Atkins could not possibly be to blame for their folly. Giza, Egypt


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 courses of action I tend to hear about from dermatologists in terms of alleviating the appearance of stretch marks are:


  1. Time
  2. Multiple laser treatments at the dermatologist. 


Since the former is frustrating and 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, is popular as a pigment-lightening cream for stretch marks, sunspots, 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 cardio, thrice-a-week resistance training, and 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 summer, I do a spray tan every 2 weeks as I maintain it at home.  I'm sunscreen-obsessed and have avoided the sun like the plague since 2002.)



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.


An oldie but goodie:  Burger Builders



I need Thanksgiving / Christmas / holiday recipes too,please!!


Feel free to check out my own homemade-from-scratch low-carb spread!



Any thoughts on probiotics? (New!)


My thoughts on them are that while the cause and effect associated with the consumption of live active cultures isn't 100% conclusive (e.g., easing intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, urogenital infections, or allergies), incorporating them into your diet certainly can't hurt.  The live active culture factor is yet another benefit to FAGE yogurt, which offers L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, and L. Casei.



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, etc., just to get you started), please check out these two brief reads to get you acquainted: Lower Your Carbs & Lower Your Insulin Levels and 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


I do have Twitter and Google+ accounts. 



I'm also a fish lover and want to watch my mercury levels.  Which fish should I limit?


Mercury Levels in Fish



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?


I've found that those who have had weight loss surgery are instructed to avoid sugar and junky carbs.  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!
Giza, Egypt



What are some Atkins-friendly restaurants in the Dallas area?


Anywhere - and keep in mind that their job is to accommodate the customer, and I always have a very easy time with ordering my meals with "no-this" and "extra-that."  Really, the question is who doesn't accommodate low-carbers?  I can make low-carb work anywhere I go.  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.  That was back in 2006.  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 M.D. who does 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.  Just doing it all at random.  Well, I lost a few preliminary pounds, but nothing for weeks.   I'm not on any particular program - 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 do low-carb MY way?


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. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands



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 14 years actually found me physically attractive while he pursued, courted, and eventually proposed to me. I wouldn't have robbed myself of that - regardless of my weight.  Nobody should.



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 out mass e-mails.  



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. Oh, you'll see countless newcomers on Atkins forums insisting on carrying over that 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 muscle-building 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 on Atkins.


After lunch at Mooyah



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 the latter's "lesser" success story.  I wouldn't dream of looking down on someone who only lost 15-20 pounds simply because I happened to start out fatter.  That would be absurd.  Did she get to her ideal weight?  Did she stay there?  That's what really matters here.


Two points for such a Bellyacher to ponder:  someone 20, 50, or 100+ pounds heavier than where they started might feel the same way about their success story.  Secondly, 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.  Again, there's always going to be someone, somewhere out there who had more to lose - it doesn't diminish the value of a slimmer person's individual success. South Queensferry, Scotland



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, etc.  No, 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 weight.
  3. I stayed at my ideal-weight goal.  Permanently.  Consistently in the same dress size.             Actually, make that four-fold.
  4. I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere - much to the chagrin of many, I'm sure!



What are your thoughts on the #IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) thing?


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 a measly 1,294.  So for obvious reasons, I can't say I place a great deal of stock in it.  But!  For giggles, here is a BMR calculator if you'd like to check out your supposed number. 


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.  In fact, I don't bother tracking macros at all.  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, and cardio alone in an effort to get thin.  Once I ditched the restricted calorie-and-fat thinking and instead began focusing on eliminating sugar and starch, BOOM, the weight was gone in 5 months. So. As someone who is short and 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 and 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.  Thus I can assure you that if it's feasible to follow Atkins where the U.S. dollar isn't used, I can promise you that it is possible traveling throughout the U.S., too.  Otherwise, as a frequent traveler, I would have made an obligatory-cheat debut at some point since 2001 ... and the fact is 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.After playing in the snow with my dog, so eyes are a bit red-rimmed!

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.


With our busy lifestyles, I can understand the desire to avoid unnecessary trips for purchases, not wanting to pay full individual retail, and/or multiple shipping charges if you make purchases online. So, I will take care of it all for you in one easy step, and it should get to you within 3-4 days if you are in the U.S., and a week if it is an international order. Atkins Startup Package Additionally, you can add the EZ Audio FAQ CD Set to this package for 43% off and the Atkins Book Highlight for $20 off.

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 a few 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 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!

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Want to get the weight off, stat? I've been at this low-carb thing since 2001 & am the best at what I do.

Sign up for SFS Access and let me prove it.

Two things to read prior to signing up for SFS Access:


  1. The book.
  2. My FAQ.


NEW: No longer need to read the material first. I'll fill you in.


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