Welcome Back Your Old Friend Energy

The next thing that will strike most of you is a sense that you've latched onto some misplaced, long-lost energy level. Typically, this feeling arrives around about the third or fourth day. Some people experience a slight euphoria. Most simply find they no longer have to suffer those dreary, weary periods that used to hit them a couple of times a day.

That said, there are a few people who experience fatigue or light-headedness during their first week doing Atkins. Most often this means that the process is going too fast for their particular metabolism-they're losing weight too fast, losing water and certain minerals too fast, and their bodies can't keep pace with these quick changes. One sign is ascent weakness: You feel weak walking up stairs. These reactions can be aggravated by hot weather, when you are already losing minerals through sweat, or by taking a diuretic. Obviously, drinking lots of water is essential.

Usually, I advise patients who have these problems to slow down the weight loss. They should add another helping of vegetables to their evening meal or one or two ounces of nuts or seeds. Although their bodies would almost certainly adjust during the second week, there isn't any good reason for feeling washed out and sickly for even one day. After the symptoms abate, go back to the lower level of carb intake.

Another problem people occasionally experience is leg cramps at night due to a rapid excretion of calcium, magnesium or potassium. Be sure you are getting enough of these minerals in your multivitamin or take a separate multimineral supplement. If you are still getting leg cramps, you may need to add more. Bear in mind that the FDA does not allow over-the-counter sales of anywhere near the proper amount of potassium you may need; therefore, you may need a doctor to write you the proper prescription.

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