Phase III, called the Pre-Maintenance Phase, prepares the dieter for a lifetime of eating, the Atkins way. The goal is to create an optimal eating program to stick with forever. Doing this requires finding the Carbohydrate Consumption Level for Maintenance (CCLM). This magic number is the number of carbohydrates you can safely consume each day to maintain your weight. To find the CCLM number, carbohydrates are increased each week by ten grams until there is no longer weight loss. This should happen quickly. The dieter then stays at that carbohydrate intake for one month before the level is increased by ten more grams.
It may then take about three months to determine the CCLM and reach your goal weight. During Pre-Maintenance, weight loss will be almost imperceptible. The goal during this phase is not to lose weight quickly, but to determine how many carbohydrates can be consumed in daily without regaining weight and to create an optimal eating program that will last a lifetime. Pre-Maintenance is essentially a training program, which guides the individual into Maintenance slowly.
By the time the Pre-Maintenance phase is complete, all the weight will be lost and the individual will be in the maintenance phase, whether they know it or not. There are a few variations to the 10 gram increase in carbohydrates each week. For example, one approach is to continue eating according to the rules of OWL, but to allow a 20 gram carbohydrate item a few times a week. A piece of fruit, a serving of brown rice or a sweet potato are good examples. Another variation is to average out the carbohydrate content for the week, so that if the CCLL is 40, 20 grams of carbohydrates might be consumed one day in exchange for 60 grams of carbohydrates the next. This allows for greater flexibility.
Important Points To Remember :
- Advancing slowly is the key to success on Pre-Maintenance (lose a pound each week for 2 to 3 months)
- Increase your daily carbohydrate intake by 10 grams per week so long as you continue to lose weight. Add new food slowly and carefully.
- Play with CCLL and CCLM to understand what your body can handle.