A 2002 study in Metabolism confirmed what everybody already knows: Low-carbohydrate diets work. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that men who ate only 46 grams (g) of carbohydrates a day--about 8 percent of their total calories--lost 7 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks. All while downing a satisfying 2,337 calories a day. So what's the problem? The no-carb wagon is tough to stay on over the long haul--particularly with that Entenmann's outlet next door to your office.
Lose the last 10 pounds: Schedule a cheat day. That is, reward yourself once a week by eating whatever you want, guilt-free. You won't pay the price in more pounds--and you'll give yourself some psychological relief. "It's how you eat most of the time, not every single meal, that matters," says Volek. An added bonus: A high-calorie day of eating can rev up your metabolism. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate twice as many calories in a day as normal increased their metabolism by 9 percent in the 24-hour period that followed.
Bonus tip: "Make sandwich wraps with lettuce instead of tortillas," says Beth Sweeny, a low-carb caterer in Kansas City, Missouri. For an Atkins-friendly taste of the Orient, wrap a mixture of 4 ounces of deli chicken slices, 4 ounces of brocco-slaw (prepared slaw made from broccoli; you'll find it in the lettuce section), and 2 tablespoons of bottled peanut sauce in a large romaine or butter lettuce leaf. The result has 350 calories, 24 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, and 19 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat).