Not Losing Weight On Atkins? Here’s Why

Atkins is one of the more effective, and popular, low carb diets but it also has a lot more rules compared to other diets. Most low carb diet are just, “don’t eat carbs for a few months”, but Atkins has different phases that require specific adjustments to your meals and carb totals.

If you’re not losing weight on Atkins, here’s a quick list of things you’ll want to check and some adjustments you’ll want to make.

Too Many Carbs

Let’s start with the obvious, haha. Atkins is a low carb diet, that let’s you progressively increase your carb total with each phase. Here’s how your carb totals should be staggered in each phase.


1. Less than 20 grams of carbs
2. Less than 50 grams of carbs
3. Carb maintenance (eat as many carbs that doesn’t cause weight gain)

The first thing you’ll want to check, and double check, is how many carbs you’re eating every day. Here’s where some carbs might be sneaking into your diet:

– Sugar substitutes (Equal packets count as 1 gram)
– Drinks (coffee, soda)
– Condiments (ketchup)
– Salad Dressing (Some dressings are loaded with carbs)
– Low fat processed foods (sugar is often added to improve taste)

See Also: Atkins diet induction – how to get started

Too Many Calories

Atkins isn’t an “eat as much meat as you want diet”. You do get to load up on a lot of high protein, high fat foods, but you should still be tracking your calories to try and stay in a calorie deficit.

So how many calories should you eat? You’ll want to stay in a calorie deficit range of 200-300 in the initial stages of the diet. You’ll adjust your deficit as you progress the diet, and find your personal “maintenance range” in the final phase.

This is where you find the carb and calorie range you should be in for long term maintenance. Where you don’t gain or lose anymore weight.

Not Enough Calories

This one seems incredibly counter intuitive, but it’s because of the way your metabolism works. The best way to think of your metabolism is like a temperature, and not a switch.

Your metabolism will run hot (burn a lot of calories) or cold (not burn a lot of calories) depending on specific variables.

And one of those variables is how much you eat everyday. If you reduce your total calories to an incredibly low level, and create a huge calorie deficit, your metabolism will begin to slow and burn calories at a slower rate.

It’s just your metabolism doing its job, which is make sure you don’t run out of energy needed for basic functions like breathing and stuff.

Don’t be afraid to eat more. As long as you aren’t overeating carbs, or go into a calorie surplus, you’ll be fine.

See Also: Atkins frequently asked questions

Not Drinking Enough Water

There’s a few reasons why it’s important to drink plenty water on the Atkins diet. First, you’re removing many of the water sources you’d typically get from food like fruit and many vegetables. So once you start the diet, you’re already in a water deficit compared to what your body is used to.

The other reasons are dehydration, and water retention. If you aren’t getting enough water everyday your body will begin to store more water as a precaution resulting in a few extra pounds.

If you aren’t losing weight on Atkins it could be due to water weight, and water retention offsetting your weight loss when you step on the scale.

Related: Atkins tips for phase 1 (induction)

Not Enough Time

We’ve all heard the stories of super fast weight loss on Atkins, and many of those stories are actually true. But it doesn’t mean it will be true for everybody.

While the first phase (induction) is intended to help you lose 10-15 pounds in a few short weeks, the later phases result in weight loss at a much slower pace.

Due to variations in metabolism, age and activity levels it may take longer for you to lose body fat compared to others while on the Atkins diet.

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