When you start the Induction phase of Atkins, you may experience rapid weight loss for the first time in your life. Don't worry. What makes the initial drop dramatic is that you lose a good bit of water weight in the first 3 to 4 days. That's because eating fewer grams of carbohydrate results in fewer spikes in blood sugar, resulting in less insulin output. Insulin makes the body retain sodium, which, as you probably know, makes your body retain water. When you're not producing as much insulin, this cycle slows and the effect is like taking a diuretic. After four days or so, however, you will also begin to lose body fat. Young men and people who have a lot of weight to lose are more likely to lose weight more rapidly at the start of the Atkins program.
Losing weight too fast is an issue only if:
1) You're not eating enough, which could make you lose lean muscle mass. To lose only body fat, be sure to eat regular meals and take in adequate calories. If you aren't hungry at meal times, have a small snack with your supplements. Also, drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.
2) You feel sick, weak, dizzy or fatigued. If you lose too fast, especially at the beginning of the program, you may be experiencing an extreme diuretic effect. This could deplete you of water and also some electrolytes, which contain sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Signs of electrolyte depletion are muscle cramps and heaviness in your legs when climbing steps. You may need to add more vegetables to your meals to slow down weight loss and add a mineral supplement to replace lost minerals.
But if you feel well and aren't starving yourself, you're probably not losing too quickly. If you have just a few pounds to lose, you might slow the pace so that you can continue to learn good eating habits before progressing through the phases to Lifetime Maintenance. Simply move to Phase 2 and increase your daily intake of carbohydrates by 5 grams. If you are within five to 10 pounds of your target weight, move into the Phase 3 and increase your intake gradually, in 10-gram increments, until weight loss slows to about a pound or two a month. However, if you still have a lot to lose and you feel full of energy, simply feel good that you are dropping pounds easily.