Dr. Atkins' Suggestions to the Metabolic Resistant

Many Low Carbers Use Butter in Their Coffee to Increase Fats
There are Only 2 Effective Techniques for Weight Loss:
Restrict Calories or Restrict Carbohydrates

Dr. Atkins believed that some individuals have a severe metabolic resistance to weight loss. However, metabolic resistance is not as common as the low-carb community believes.

Today, we know that what Dr. Atkins was mostly talking about was the way the body defends its fat stores and adapts to calorie and carbohydrate deprivation, even though he never spoke of it in exactly those terms.

For some people, metabolic resistance can completely prevent you from losing weight.

But all is not lost.

In 2007, I was looking in the 1992 book for ideas and thoughts on the minimum amount of fat needed on a low-carb diet, hoping for some solid research I could further look into, but I didn't find anything on specific amounts.

What I did find on metabolic resistance in the chapter dedicated to the fast fast was quite mindblowing, to say the least. If you think you might have metabolic resistance because you have stalled part way to goal, please don't go away.

This post will change your life for the better.

What I Learned Re-Reading Atkins 92

This wasn't my first time through the 1992 book.

I had read it a couple of months earlier when I was doing a lot of research on the Kimkins Diet.

What I was looking for earlier, was something to back up what Kimmer was saying in her old threads (now deleted) at the Low Carb Friends forum, that her dietary approach was based on many things Atkins had said in either his 1972 or 1992 books.

While I didn't remember exactly what those things were that I had found previously, I did remember that Atkins clearly and firmly backed up what Kimmer was doing as being healthy, even though her approach wasn't something he would choose to do himself.

He had a patient in his first book that ate quit similarly to how Kimmer recommended you eat. In fact, many today would call it Intermittent Fasting.

The chapter on fat was a bit of a disappointment.

Not because it lacked any substance or merit, but it just didn't cover what I hoped it would. It was more of a defense toward some of the accusations of heart disease and breast disease that people usually throw at you when they hear the word Atkins.

However, what I found in the chapter about Metabolic Resistance really blew my mind.

What to Do When You Reach a Weight-Loss Plateau 

The chapter on Metabolic Resistance wasn't written for only those who couldn't get into ketosis or who stalled shortly thereafter.

It was also written to and for those who get stuck part way to their goal weight.

Anywhere along the way, in fact.

Women Weighing Herself, Frustrating With the Scale
Dr. Atkins defined metabolic resistance
as resistance to ketosis, rather than weight loss.

By Atkins' definition, metabolic resistance is resistance to ketosis. However there is a large percentage of folks who do initially go into ketosis quite easily, but then eventually stop losing weight, even at the 20-gram a day level.

These individuals were counseled to carefully read and study the principles found within the chapter on the Fat Fast. 

So that is what I did next.

What Causes Metabolic Resistance to Weight Loss?

The chapter began with the usual questions:
  • Do you take medication?
  • Have you had your thyroid checked lately?
Plus, there was two simple tests you could perform on yourself to find out if you fit into the metabolic resistant category. I will talk about those two tests in just a moment, but basically, these are the two major causes of metabolic resistance:

Medication and thyroid issues.

However, Dr. Atkins also said that there are only two effective techniques for losing weight, and these two techniques hold up even if you are metabolic resistant to weight loss.

Dr. Atkins Definition of Metabolic Resistance 

First, let's look at Dr. Atkins specific definition for metabolic resistance:

"The inability to lose weight, or to continue to lose weight until a reasonable goal weight is reached, on either a diet of 1,000 calories or on a 25 gram carb diet."

This definition is important because most people, including the low-carb community, do not believe that a 1,000 calorie per day diet is safe or recommended. Yet, here we have Dr. Atkins telling us that the definition for metabolic resistance is an inability to lose weight while eating only 1,000 calories a day.

In other words, there is no way to know if you are metabolic resistant unless you've tried to eat at that caloric level. And since that's what I was doing when I lost most of my weight in 2007 and 2008, I would not be considered metabolic resistant because I CAN lose weight eating at 1,000 calories a day.

I just can't lose weight quickly if I eat much more than that.

The Only Two Effective Weight Loss Methods

Now, for the only two effective weight-loss methods. They are really no-brainers once you understand Dr. Atkins' definition for metabolic resistance:

1) Restricting calories


2) Restricting carbohydrates

With all of the Kimkins controversy that was going on at the time, this really caught my attention because up to this point, the conversation regarding calories was always within a moderate-fat context. It was always within the guidelines of the Atkins diet, where your hunger level would simply cause you to eat less than you did before.

But now, Dr. Atkins was going to propose something new.

What to Do If You Are Metabolically Resistant to Weight Loss? 

Dr. Atkins Number One Suggestion

For those who find themselves within the definition of Metabolic Resistance, this was Dr. Atkins' number one suggestion:

"You might study your response to eating less food, smaller portions, fewer calories, less caloric-dense foods (ex low fat). Perhaps you were seduced by the concept of eat all it takes, which you may have interpreted as eat all you want, and the two means of determining your optimal quantities may be quite different.

"For you, the most effective strategy might be to say to yourself 'I'll eat just enough that I'm physically free of intolerable hunger signals, and no more.' No question, for the person who is stuck, that's the first thing to try. So do that, and come back to this section after you've given your new quantity concept a fair try (several weeks perhaps).

"You now have to answer these questions. Is the newly modified diet working now? If so, am I as happy as I was on my Induction diet? Do I feel well? Can I do this for a lifetime? If the answers are yes, then do it -- you've found your answer."


Sounds a lot like Kimkins to me.

And I'll tell you why:

Remember me talking about there being two tests to discover if you're metabolically resistant to weight loss?

One of those tests was to eat at 1,000 calories a day and see if your low-carb diet started working, or not.

The other test was to go on a meat-and-eggs fast. No salad, no veggies, no other carbs but the carbs in the eggs.

Platter Filled with Assorted Luncheon Meats, Hard Boiled Eggs
Dr. Atkins had 2 tests for metabolic resistance.
If you started losing weight with either one,
his advice was to keep doing what's working for you.

Dr. Atkins also claimed that there will be some individuals who cannot lose weight even on a low-fat version of Atkins, providing under 900 calories.

In other words:

If you have stalled part way to goal weight, most of you are eating too much. The way to know if you are suffering from metabolic resistance is to drop your calories and see if you start losing. That is the only way to know if you're overeating.

If you are actually metabolically resistant to weight loss, you won't be able to lose weight even on a low-fat Atkins Diet that provides less than 900 calories a day. If you CAN lose weight on a low-fat Atkins Diet of less than 900 calories a day, you are not metabolically resistant to weight loss.

You are just overeating.

When you look at what Dr. Atkins says should be your first choice of his diet variations, you see a different picture than what Atkins supporters are claiming today with their high-fat, high-calorie theories being a MUST for everyone.


Dr. Atkins number one variation of choice (at least in 1992) was to eat only enough calories to keep you from being intolerably hungry, and to pick less caloric-dense foods, which he himself defined as low fat.

WHY all the ammo being sent in Kimmer's direction, when Dr. Atkins was the FIRST ONE to suggest such a deviation from his own plan?

Dr. Atkins Number Two Suggestion

But hey, Suggestion number two gets even better:

"The second principle of weight loss we work with (and the number one principle overall) is carb restriction. I placed it second here merely because if you are on the Induction diet, you are already quite restricted in carbohydrate. Of course, you're not at absolute zero in carbohydrate -- there are veggies, the salad, the lemon juice, and the other low-but-not-zero-carbohydrate items that make this diet so livable.

"What would happen if you cut way down on them? Well try retreating to zero carbohydrate, and then ask yourself the same question. Does the diet now work, and do you feel well, and are you happy, and could you spend your life on it?"

So, Kimmer wasn't the first one to come up with the K/E Diet either. Dr. Atkins was making that meat-and-eggs-only suggestion to his metabolic resistant clients way back in 1992.

He even went so far as to suggest that you remain on these two restrictive diets (very low calorie or very low carb) for life, if need be.

Dr. Atkins Perspective on Water Fasting

The most eye-opening quote I ran into had to do with the accusations against Kimmer for water FASTING. Yep, Kimmer wasn't the first one to suggest getting yourself solidly into ketosis before entering into a water fast either.

"There was a time when I used to say to people, 'Well, you can always cut down calories and carbohydrate, and go all the way down until you are on a fast.' Not as bad an idea as it might sound to someone who has never tried it. 

"The fasting state, once induced, is full of self-protective devices. A person on a fast liberates more FMH and other lipid mobilizers than on almost any other diet, and the FMH leads to Ketosis/Lipolysis, loss of hunger, and a variety of other benefits that make the average fasting person comfortable and often exhilarated. 

"The beautiful fact about fasting and the Atkins diet is that one can use the Induction diet to create a maximal outpouring of FMH and then, without interruption, switch into fasting without going through the hunger/discomfort that characterizes the first two days of a fast. So by doing two days of a nothing but meat, eggs, fish, and fowl diet, you can begin your fast already in an effective state of Ketosis/Lipolysis."

This lengthy quote on water fasting leaves no arguments against Kimmer's ideas because they really aren't as unhealthy as folks are claiming they are.

Dr. Atkins was using them long before she was, so where does that leave the Nay-Sayers?

Simply right where they are.

Attempting to discredit her personally, which they then figure will discredit her testimony. But will it really?

If Kimmer turns out to be someone other than whom she claims to be, (and she did), if Kimmer has gained back any or all of her weight as some like to believe, (never lost it in the first place), will that really make the Plan she presented to the low-carb community any less effective?

Any less helpful?

Any less true?


Whatever her reasons are for not wanting to meet anyone face-to-face, it doesn't really matter because her plan (the message) and the principles I have embraced from that plan are helping me work toward my weight-loss goal.

In my own opinion, results are all that matters.

*NOTE: Kimmer was eventually convicted for fraud. 

She had never lost weight on a low-carb diet and the photos she posted online were not of her. 

Surprisingly, the low-carb community is now embracing Dr. Fung's ideas on water fasting, even though they openly and viciously attacked Kimmer for suggesting similar concepts.

Additional Articles You Might Find Helpful if Stalled:

Three Ways to Jump-Start Ketosis When Stalled
Can You Be In Ketosis But Not Lose Weight?
Problems Getting Into Ketosis? Here's a Quick Fix!
How to Do the Atkins Fat Fast Diet
Heard About the Egg Fast to Break a Stall? It Works!
31 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight on Low Carb


  1. I ABSOLUTELY have to watch BOTH calories and carbs - I couldn't lose a darn thing unless I ate less than 5 carbs a day and with my 100hr a work week type of weeks, that's totally unrealistic (having to catch meals out a lot).

    I now eat about 1400 calories a day and under 40 carbs a day and lose just fine. Of course 1400 is probably a lot to some, but it's tricky doing both low calories and low carbs and maintaining taste! LOL But the first thing I do is reduce a bit of fat and it "naturally" brings the calories down.


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