Web MD explains that the Atkins Diet plan focuses on dramatically reducing the dieter's carbohydrate intake to change the body’s metabolism. The four phases of the Atkins Diet include: the induction, ongoing weight loss, or OWL, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance. The diet is effective for many, but studies are unclear about its safety for long-term use. The diet goes against standard dietary guidelines.
The first phase, the two-week Induction, is the most restrictive part of the Atkins Diet. The dieter is allowed only 20 grams of carbohydrates a day to accelerate the body’s fat burning ability for the rest of the diet plan. Although the most weight is lost during this phase, some have found that the induction is unnecessary to receive successful dieting results.
The ongoing weight loss phase, the second phase, is where the dieter begins to incorporate more carbohydrates in the diet. The dieter is allowed between 25 and 45 net carbohydrates a day. The carbohydrates added into the diet includes nuts, yogurt and berries; breads must still to be avoided. The second phase lasts until the dieter is 10 pounds away from his target weight goal.
The third phase, pre-maintenance, allows 50 to 70 net carbohydrates into the diet. This phase lasts for a month after reaching the weight goal.
Phase four, the lifetime maintenance phase, lasts for life. The dieter strives to maintain a low-carbohydrate diet to maintain the weight lost achieved while participating in the earlier phases of the Atkins Diet.