With trendy new diets cropping up almost daily, separating truth from fiction can feel harder than navigating the kombucha aisle. Can a three-day raw food diet really help clear your acne? Will chugging a magic shake once a day give you a body like Bella Hadid’s? Probably not, but we’re game to try everything and report on the results (no need to thank us—we consider it our civic duty). Which leads us to the topic of Kim Kardashian West—more specifically, her post-pregnancy body and the diet she credits for it. After shedding 60 pounds following Saint’s birth like it was no big deal, Kardashian West revealed the exact meal plan she followed: the low-carb, fat-burning diet dubbed Atkins. Our co-founder Hillary Kerr and editorial director Faith Xue decided to try Kim’s post-pregnancy diet for seven days…with very different results.
The Collective Goal
To follow Kim Kardashian West’s post-pregnancy diet—here are the entire seven-day meal plan and recipes—or, at least, eat less than 40 net carbs (carbs minus fiber) a day à la Kim K.W.
Hillary’s Initial Thoughts
Kim Kardashian West seems like a very disciplined lady and a very results-oriented person, so the thought of kicking off my pre-wedding shape-up plan with a week of following her Atkins 40 diet seemed like a no-brainer. It appeared both precise—five cherry tomatoes in a salad precise—but also relaxed enough that if push came to shove, you could just eat five ounces of a protein of your choice and add green, leafy vegetables. There are lots of ways to do this diet, but for me it was important to try to take a little bit from the Whole 30 way of eating and stick to mostly eating whole foods (meaning nothing processed or made with additives, except for a daily Atkins Harvest Bar) I make myself. —Hillary Kerr, co-founder, Clique Media Group (Who What Wear, Byrdie, MyDomaine, Obsessee)
Faith’s Initial Thoughts
You’d think that after a very surprising and somewhat invasive end to my time getting Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite detox treatment, I might want to swear off celeb-approved experiences for a while. Call me a masochist or just bored, but Kim K.W.’s post-pregnancy diet beckoned me, slyly whispering, What would Kim do? Maybe it’s because my own diet consists of whatever is offered on UberEats for lunch and copious amounts of tacos for dinner (I live above one of the best taco spots in L.A., which seems to indicate that the universe either loves or hates me), but I was ready for a refresh. As someone who doesn’t cook at all, I was both excited and nervous to embark on a diet that would require me to actually touch a spatula. My goal? A diet reset, and perhaps a few healthy dishes to add to my belt. —Faith Xue, editorial director, Byrdie
My favorite food group is pizza, followed closely by bread and ice cream, so the thought of a low-carb diet was a little intimidating/nerve-racking, frankly. Also, I loathe breakfast—both the typical foods associated with it and eating in the morning, period—so the fact that this diet meant I’d have to get up early to make and eat it every day? Well, it was daunting, to say the least. My first breakfast felt like a tremendous amount of food: two eggs scrambled with heavy cream and cheddar cheese, two pieces of turkey bacon, 4 ounces of full-fat Greek yogurt, and 1/3 cup of blueberries. (Coffee was allowed—I typically drink black, but apparently I could have added half-and-half or heavy cream to it, if I’d wanted.) I had to force myself to eat it all, and as a girl who loves to eat, this was a very unusual feeling. That said, I was stuffed, but not sleepy, until 1 p.m. that day, which was amazing.
Standout meal: It’s actually a snack, specifically an Atkins Harvest Trail Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar ($7 for 5). It’s delicious and only has 4 net carbs—hooray!
Byrdie’s beauty director, Deven, very graciously offered to help me grocery-shop for my week ahead—which was lucky for me, because the whole process took over an hour, and afterward, I felt like I had just run a marathon (or in my case, walked up a particularly long flight of stairs). I eyeballed the seven-day meal plan Atkins provided and knew off the bat I would not be making 90% of the recipes, fully understanding the limits of my own motivation and cooking prowess (e.g., zucchini noodles with chicken sausage weren’t happening, mainly because I only discovered what a spiralizer was a few weeks ago). But there were a few recipes that seemed fairly straightforward and simple, so I decided those would be my go-tos for the week.
I was too exhausted to meal-prep after grocery shopping (how do people do this every week?!) and woke up an hour-and-a-half earlier than usual to make breakfast—two eggs with melted gouda and heavy cream, two pieces of turkey sausage, and 4 ounces of Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup of fresh blueberries—and dinner, which was basically just grilled chicken and asparagus. As someone who considers coffee a perfectly adequate first meal, this was a lot to consume and prep first thing in the morning. But I enjoyed every bite.
Standout meal: Breakfast. Anything with melted cheese on it wins in my book.
My alarm went off an hour earlier than usual because that’s how long it takes for me to prep lunch and make/eat breakfast. Grilling a turkey burger first thing in the morning is weird, but I did it and whipped up the Akins-approved recipe for chipotle aioli to go with said turkey burger, which I planned to eat for lunch in a spinach salad. Overall I felt good, but a little cranky due to the drastic reduction of carbs in my normally carb-y, carb-y diet. Also I found myself feeling full, often, but not as stuffed as I do when eating more carbs. I also had this sort of phantom hunger; I was technically satiated by all the food, but I was also not having that cozy feeling you get from carbs, if that makes any sense? That said, the turkey-burger lunch situation was good enough to keep in my normal repertoire, even after this diet stops.
Standout meal: Turkey burger with chipotle aioli, tomato, and pickled onions over greens. Note: I am not interested in using sugar substitutes, so I skipped making the xylitol-pickled onions and swapped out the tomato slice for five cherry tomatoes.
Breakfast had definitely been the most filling meal of the day so far (which is my own fault for not attempting something more ambitious for lunch and dinner), but day two was more difficult than day one for one reason alone: I went to a soccer game with my boyfriend after work. Sporting events should basically be renamed carb fests, and it took all my resolve not to cave and order a hot dog or rip the burrito from the hands of the unassuming man sitting in front of me—the one oozing with cheese and seductively taunting me (the burrito, not the man). I had made the Atkins-approved chicken and asparagus for dinner, but it didn’t satiate my hunger whatsoever. Miracles of miracles, I managed to resist temptation before rushing home and sleeping to avoid my growling stomach.
Standout meal: The makeshift tuna lettuce cups I had for lunch, solely because they took zero prep time and all of one minute to put together.
Okay, no joke, this was a lot of cooking—and I like to cook. I started with two scrambled eggs with cheese and two breakfast sausages, and then I sautéed a chicken paillard to put on my (now) daily spinach salad with five cherry tomatoes. Do you know why I stuck to this? Because KALE HAS WAY MORE CARBS IN IT—how crazy is that? Seriously: Kale has like six net carbs while spinach has about one. Also, cherry tomatoes are carbs, hence my counting of them each day. I had no idea about this, or that blueberries have tons of carbs. I know nothing, apparently; I am the Jon Snow of carb awareness. Okay, to be honest, after lunch… things went off the rails.
I had a long-standing plan to host a dinner party, and I for sure ended up drinking all the wine, which is 1000% NOT on the Atkins 40 plan. And I might have eaten some homemade strawberry ice cream, which is also NOT Atkins-approved. Kim would have stayed away from the temptation—like she did on the Fourth of July when she didn’t go out, so as to not tempt herself with non-Atkins foods, which I know because I follow her on Snapchat like the rest of America—but I am no Kardashian, obviously. My inner Virgo was annoyed, but I resolved to get back on the proverbial Atkins train the next day. (Note: This is the only time I cheated on this diet. Then I extended said diet for an additional full seven days, during which I followed it flawlessly—my penance for my booze sins.)
Standout meal: Honestly, the homemade organic strawberry ice cream I wasn’t supposed to eat, which was killer. Can you blame me? Ice cream > salad.
I woke up in the morning feeling excited and accomplished for prepping the overnight oats with strawberry that I would be having for breakfast… only to open my refrigerator and be greeted by a soggy-looking bunch of oats topped with at least an inch of water. Apparently, I had bought the wrong oats. Luckily, the net carb count was equivalent to that of the rolled oats I was supposed to use (which I discovered thanks to the handy Atkins app, my lifesaver and admonisher for the week), so I improvised, cooked them over the stovetop instead, and topped them with the requisite amount of strawberries. Crisis averted. Later, I had plans to get dinner with a group of girls and became one of those people when I asked the waitress, “Which entrées are carb-free?” I primly ate my burrata salad while everyone else chowed down on pizza, and then drowned my tears in a spicy margarita—only to enter it into my Atkins app and find out it was over 10 net carbs. Is there no mercy?! I shrieked, before promptly ordering two tequila sodas (which Colette Heimowitz, the VP of nutrition at Atkins, had told me would be allowed in moderation—I chose to ignore the moderation part) and muttering about net carbs as my friends looked on with growing alarm.
Standout meal: For lunch, I had ordered a dressing-free tuna niçoise salad from a restaurant by the office and entered every ingredient into my Atkins app to make sure I didn’t exceed my approved net carb amount. (That would be lettuce, tuna, olives, and a hard-boiled egg. I picked the tomatoes out because they contain a surprisingly high number of net carbs—2.4!—and also because I don’t like tomatoes. But we’ll pretend it was for the first reason alone.) Oh, and the spicy margarita soothed my soul before promptly shattering it, so I’ll call that out as a standout, too.
Okay, I had sinned, but I was getting back on the righteous path, even though I knew that it would take me at least 24 to 36 hours to potentially get back into fat-burning mode due to the previous night’s drinking. Ugh. It’s Saturday, so I started the weekend off by making an egg casserole, to which I added some cut-up breakfast sausages I’d already cooked. Instead of using egg whites, I used whole eggs, and I didn’t cook it for the full time in the recipe. I’m not usually one for frittata-style things, but it was pretty good, thanks to the surplus of hatch chilies. I accidentally ate half of the egg casserole, which I later realized was two servings. It’s fine, though, because I was so stuffed (and had woken up late enough) that I didn’t want or eat lunch. That said, the Atkins team does NOT recommend skipping meals, so do as I say, not as I do.
Standout meal: Hatch green chile, egg, and cheese bake, especially when embellished with some pre-cooked breakfast sausage slices.
Oh, weekend—you sweet, sweet foe. The only body part that ever sees any consistent activity on the weekend is my thumb, which has become quite strong and skilled from scrolling through Postmates’ latest offerings. I woke up in a somewhat groggy haze (thanks to my friend/foe tequila) and vowed to be better: I resolutely cooked breakfast and made the usual eggs, turkey bacon, yogurt, and blueberry combination. I was heading to KCON (a huge event celebrating Korea, land of bibimbap and K-pop) that day and hoping to find a carb-free, Atkins-approved, and still delicious option for lunch. Instead, I ate a sushi taco. Because how can you resist a sushi taco?! I felt only vaguely guilty and offset it by cooking an Atkins-approved pesto salmon dish for dinner.
Standout meal: Pesto-topped salmon with caesar salad. I cooked it for two of my friends, as well, and they applauded my efforts. Is this what it feels like to be a good hostess? Do they still make aprons that say “hostess with the mostest,” and should I buy one for myself? (No.)
At this point, I had become the sort of person who plans out her meals days in advance and then goes to the grocery store and shops accordingly. I felt like I was spending loads of money on said groceries, but when I compared my food bill to what I normally spend on Postmating lunch and going out to dinner? It’s downright affordable—while grass-fed meat, organic eggs, and free-range and antibiotic-free chicken add up, it’s still less than what I normally spend on wine and delivery. Also, this was the day I figured out my perfect breakfast, which didn’t involve cooking a damn thing: 4 ounces of full-fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of pecans, and 1/3 cup of blueberries. Yummy, fast, and easy, and it kept me full until snack time. And I figured out my ideal Atkins dinner too: zoodles with chicken sausage. I owned the spiralizer already but had rarely used it, so I was also delighted to have a reason to break it out!
Standout meal: Zucchini noodles with spicy chicken sausage, which was so easy and fast that it almost felt like cheating. Weird fact: Garlic has 1 carb per clove, which shocked me because I love garlic and usually double the amount in any given recipe. Watching my garlic intake on this diet felt mean, cheap, and rude, but I did it.
The end was near. I had oats and strawberries for breakfast, then an Atkins bar (surprisingly delicious) and leftover salmon pesto for lunch. My roommate made catfish for dinner, which I gladly chowed down on, trying to avoid the rice that came with it—I only half succeeded. I rewarded myself for not going totally off the rails with an Atkins Peanut Butter Cup (which is supposedly a favorite of Kim's as well).
Standout meal: Not a full meal, but those peanut butter cups are good and, more importantly, only 2 net carbs!
First of all, I am proud to say that I stuck to this diet completely and never ate more than 37 net carbs in a single day. (Well, except for that day I fell off the Atkins wagon and into a bottle of rosé.) I also felt like today was a good day to treat myself, and I did so by making a dish I’ve seen in Kim’s Snapchat: faux mac and cheese. Obviously noodles are not involved; instead it’s cauliflower, which is perhaps my least favorite vegetable, due to overexposure as a kid and the fact that I think it smells like farts. That said, thanks to the high levels of cheese, I was super into this recipe, which felt very decadent. Served with a grilled chicken breast, it made me feel vaguely virtuous and also like I was eating kids’ food, in a good way.
Standout meal: Cauli mac and cheese, doctored up with additional mustard, garlic, and hot sauce.
It’s my birthday, and I’ll eat carbs if I want to… That was the tune I hummed to myself all day. Sure, I technically had a full 24 hours left of my diet, but it was my birthday, and I had a small cupcake colony on my desk asking for my attention. The craziest thing, however, was the fact that I didn’t find myself craving them or really even tempted by them at all. Had I successfully weaned my body off of carbs? I felt quite pleased with this thought and beamed all the way to dinner with my boyfriend—where I had a delicious truffle pasta. Oops.
Standout meal: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels—except for the ricciarelle al tartufo at Giorgio Baldi.
I had this Atkins thing on lock at this point: yogurt, pecans, blueberries for breakfast, one of the Atkins Harvest Bars for a snack, a spinach salad with five cherry tomatoes, five ounces of turkey burger or grilled chicken, and a tablespoon of aioli as salad dressing for lunch, two celery stalks and one tablespoon of peanut butter for an afternoon snack, zoodles with spicy chicken sausage for dinner. I pretty much could do this with my eyes closed by now, especially with the help of the app, which was great. It was a fair amount of work, but planning ahead made everything easier and better, and when in doubt, I knew that I could always order a chicken Caesar salad, no croutons, and call it a day. I hadn’t been following the exact meal plan (mostly because I don’t love making fish at home, and it included a fair amount of it), but had been sticking to the exact daily carb count and approximate calorie count. I was worried all this dairy—heavy cream and cheese, specifically—would mess with my pimple-prone skin, but it was clear, and on top of that, I was sleeping well. Cooking dinner without a glass of wine in my hand was a little sad, but I adjusted to it better and faster than I would have imagined.
Wait, I had to do this for a seventh day? (Seriously, though—the diet plan only had six days, so I thought I was off the hook.)
Hillary’s Final Thoughts
My overall takeaway is that this diet is great if you want to lose some weight without feeling hungry, pretty much ever. The app is an essential tool and makes things very easy to record and track. The recipes are a little hit or miss—they’re not always very well written, and I would love to spend a week on Atkins.com fixing everything—but they pleasantly surprise me more often than not. The whole plan is educational, too, and I’m astonished to learn how many carbs are in things I love, like kale. The first few days were a little overwhelming because I was cooking so much and so many different things, but then I started to settle into having a few go-to recipes, and that made it easier.
A week into this, I still hated eating breakfast and was not very hungry in the morning, but I realized what a difference it makes in my overall mood, and am pretty sure I’m going to keep eating it, going forward. I also realized that having a morning snack and an afternoon snack is brilliant, though I feel like a kid with my celery and peanut butter every day. I haven’t missed sweets or sugar as much as I thought I would, which is interesting.
Faith’s Final Thoughts
Following any sort of diet for a full week is a testament to your willpower and discipline, two things I greatly lack when it comes to food choices. However, forcing myself to grocery-shop and meal-prep gave me a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt since the time I tried to order free doughnuts off Postmates so many times that the system crashed and the team there offered me a 20% coupon code as an apology. I will say that I loved the Atkins app—it made everything so easy in terms of keeping track of your carbs and helped the diet feel more like a fun(ish) game instead of a thing of drudgery. Plus, I brushed up on my cooking—well, placing things in the oven—and can move forward with life knowing that I am capable of providing food for myself and others if times turn dire. Plus, halfway through the diet, I weighed myself just for kicks and found I had lost three pounds—water weight, obviously, but a small victory I can think of when I’m tempted by a baked good on occasion. Yes, I cheated, and yes, it felt damn good to do so, but I left the diet more aware of the effect foods have on my body and with a newfound respect for Mrs. West.
Would you try the Atkins diet? See when happened when one Byrdie editor ate like Bella Hadid for a week.