Congratulations, you've decided to serve your country. The Army requires you to be under the maximum allowable weight for your height prior to enlisting to ensure you meet Army standards for weight and fitness. Individuals who exceed body-fat standards are ineligible for enlistment. If you're overweight, there are diet programs available to assist you in achieving weight-loss success and prepare you for basic training. One popular diet available to assist you in rapid weight loss is the Atkins diet.
Understand how the program works. According to Atkins Nutritionals and the Mayo Clinic, the Atkins diet is a strict high-protein, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that can help you lose up to 15 pounds in two weeks. The Atkins diet decreases your allowable daily carbohydrate intake to less than 40 grams, allowing your body to enter ketosis -- a condition where your body burns fat as fuel. Following the stringent eating plan is essential to ensuring maximum weight loss.
Plan ahead. Be organized prior to starting the diet. Obtaining the Atkins Book, a food journal, scale, carbohydrate counter and ketosis strips before beginning the diet will help ensure your success.
Determine what you weigh and what your ketosis level is. Weigh yourself and measure your ketone level first thing in the morning, prior to eating or drinking anything. The levels of ketones vary between ketosis strip brands; refer to packaging for more information. Write down these values at the beginning of your food journal.
Educate yourself. Read the book and understand the four phases of the diet and the foods allowed. The Atkins diet comprises four phases. The foods you consume are determined by and differ between phases. Reading the book will help you better understand the phases and foods and ensure your overall success.
Go shopping. Using the guidelines prescribed in the book, determine and buy the foods you'll eat on the diet. Remember to stick with high-quality, high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods. Use the carbohydrate counter for any foods that don't have clear protein/carbohydrate values on the packaging, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat or seafood.
Reweigh and remeasure ketones every day. Keep track of the measurements and weight in your food journal to ensure you're losing weight and staying within ketosis.
Perform exercises that work your leg muscles to increase tone and strength, and decrease inches while on the Atkins diet. Exercises such as walking or swimming are effective low-impact activities.
- Atkins Nutritionals: The Program: Overview
- Harvard University: Low fat, low carb, or Mediterranean: which diet is right for you?
- Mayo Clinic: Atkins Diet: What's behind the claims?
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): Study Compares Year-long Effectiveness of Four Weight-loss Plans
- Due to the low amount of fiber consumed on the Atkins diet, it's essential that you drink plenty of water to ensure you don't become constipated.
- Always consult your doctor prior to starting any diet or exercise program.
Christina Bhattacharya has been involved in the health and fitness field since 1999. Bhattacharya holds an A.S. in physical therapy from the Community College of the Air Force, a Bachelor of Arts in technical communications from University of Maryland University College and a Master of Science in health management from Lindenwood University. She also holds personal trainer, senior strength training and Pilates certifications.