Slip-ups happen, whether it’s a moment of temporary weakness where you devour a doughnut instead of eggs for breakfast or a week of overindulgence on vacation that has you returning with a tan and extra baggage in the form of some additional kilos and carb cravings that are through the roof.

Or maybe you fell off the low-carb wagon completely. Fortunately, if you have a plan in place, you should be able to recover from a diet slip-up, no matter how big or small.

The Doughnut Dilemma

First thing’s first. Before you’re even finished licking the doughnut glaze off your fingers, make sure you’ve planned out your next low-carb snack or meal. This minor moment of weakness most likely won’t impact your weight if it has been stable for months, although the rush of carbs may affect your blood sugar levels temporarily—you may feel sluggish and, yes, crave more carbs. If you’re still actively trying to lose weight, you may see the numbers on your scale trend up, but after a few days it should stabilize and you’ll be back in business. Don’t beat yourself up; just get back on track with your healthy low-carb eating. Next time you are facing down a dozen doughnuts, remember the not-so-great side effects—the temporary sugar rush, cravings and weight gain—and maybe you’ll think twice.

Vacation’s Extra Baggage

Fortunately, the majority of that extra baggage is probably water weight. Your best bet is to cut back on carbs. If you’re doing phase 1, drop back to 20 daily grams of Carbs and stay there until you’ve lost the vacation weight From there, you can slowly climb back up to the normal level of daily grams of Carbs you usually consume. If you’re still having a hard time losing the weight and you’re still having cravings, stay at 20 daily grams of Carbs until you get the situation under control.

Falling Off the Wagon

You’ve become fully enmeshed in your old, unhealthy eating habits, now your clothes don’t fit, the scale is definitely trending up and you’re probably disappointed in yourself. Instead of falling deeper into this rut, it’s time to crawl out now before you do more damage. Start by cutting back to 20 daily grams of Carbs (depending on what plan you’re on) until your cravings are under control. Plan out every low-carb meal and snack so that you always have the right foods at your fingertips. You can make it easier by following one our meal plans. Then slowly return back to your previous level of daily grams of Net Carbs until you reach your goal weight.

The reality is that all of us will slip up at some point. The important thing to remember is that Atkins is not about a temporary low-carb quick fix, but a lifestyle that will be with you for the long haul. There will always be unexpected doughnut encounters and carb-filled vacations, but now you have the tools to get back on track.

Posted by Linda O'Byrne
Atkins Nutritionist