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 help clear your acne? Are celebrity-backed meal plans worth trying? We’re always game to investigate these questions and report on the results (no need to thank us—we consider it our civic duty).
This 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, Kardashian West revealed the exact meal plan she followed: the low-carb, fat-burning diet dubbed Atkins. Our co-founder Hillary Kerr and former 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).
Hillary’s Initial Thoughts
The thought of kicking off my pre-wedding shape-up plan with a week of following Kim Kardashian West’s Atkins 40 diet seemed like a no-brainer. It appeared both precise, but also relaxed enough that if push came to shove, you could 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
After a very surprising and somewhat invasive end to my time getting Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite detox treatment, you’d think I might want to swear off celeb-approved experiences for a while. But Kim K.W.’s post-pregnancy diet beckoned me. Maybe it’s because my diet consists of whatever is offered on UberEats for lunch and copious amounts of tacos for dinner. I was ready for a refresh. As someone who doesn’t cook, I was excited and nervous about embarking on a diet that would require me to touch a spatula. My goal? A diet reset and perhaps a few healthy dishes to add to my belt. —Faith Xue, former 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, 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 included 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 I could have added half-and-half or heavy cream to it if I’d wanted. I was stuffed but not sleepy until 1 p.m. that day, which was amazing.
Standout meal: It’s a snack, specifically an Atkins Harvest Trail Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar. It’s delicious and has four net carbs. [Editor’s Note: This product has been discontinued.]
Byrdie’s former beauty director, Deven, graciously offered to help me grocery shop for my week ahead. 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 motivation and cooking prowess. Zucchini noodles with chicken sausage weren’t happening, mainly because I only discovered what a spiralizer was a few weeks ago. But a few recipes seemed fairly simple, so I decided those would be my go-to’s for the week.
I was too exhausted to meal-prep after grocery shopping (how do people do this every week?!). I woke up an hour and a half earlier 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. I also prepped dinner, which was grilled chicken and asparagus. 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 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 the 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-heavy diet.
I found myself feeling full, often, but not as stuffed as I do when eating more carbs. 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 been the most filling meal of the day so far (which is my 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 be renamed carb fests, and it took all my resolve not to cave and order a hot dog or burrito. I made the Atkins-approved chicken and asparagus for dinner, but it didn’t satiate my hunger whatsoever.
Standout meal: The makeshift tuna lettuce cups I had for lunch were great because they took 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. After lunch, it was hard to stick to the meal plan. I had a long-standing plan to host a dinner party, and I ended up drinking wine and eating ice cream. My inner Virgo was annoyed, but I resolved to get back on the proverbial Atkins train the next day.
Standout meal: Honestly, the homemade organic strawberry ice cream was incredible. Ice cream > salad.
I woke up in the morning feeling excited about the overnight oats with strawberries I had prepped, only to open my refrigerator and be greeted by a soggy-looking bunch of oats topped with at least an inch of water. 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), so I improvised, cooked them over the stovetop instead, and topped them with the requisite amount of strawberries.
Later, I grabbed dinner with a group of girls and ate a burrata salad. I also ordered 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).
Standout meal: For lunch, I ordered a dressing-free tuna niçoise salad from a restaurant by the office.
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 them for the full time specified in the recipe. I’m not usually one for frittata-style things, but it was pretty good, thanks to the surplus of hatch chilies.
Standout meal: Hatch green chile, egg, and cheese bake, especially when embellished with some pre-cooked breakfast sausage slices.
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, the land of bibimbap and K-pop) that day and hoping to find an Atkins-approved, delicious option for lunch. Instead, I ate a sushi taco. Because how can you resist a sushi taco?! I 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, 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 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 groceries, but when I compared my food bill to what I usually 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 I normally spend on wine and delivery.
Also, this was the day I figured out my perfect breakfast: 4 ounces of full-fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of pecans, and 1/3 cup of blueberries. It was 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 to make.
I had oats and strawberries for breakfast, an Atkins bar (surprisingly delicious), and leftover salmon pesto for lunch. My roommate made catfish for dinner, which I gladly chowed down on. For dessert, I ate an Atkins Peanut Butter Cup (which is supposedly a favorite of Kim’s).
Standout meal: Not a full meal, but those peanut butter cups are good.
Today was a good day to treat myself, and I did so by making a dish I’ve seen on 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. 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 like I was eating kids’ food in a good way.
Standout meal: Cauli mac and cheese, 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 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 carbs at all. But I did enjoy a delicious truffle pasta for dinner.
Standout meal: Nothing tastes better than the ricciarelle al tartufo at Giorgio Baldi.
I had this Atkins thing on lock at this point: I ate yogurt, pecans, and blueberries for breakfast. For a morning snack, I munched on the Atkins Harvest Bars. Lunch included a spinach salad with five cherry tomatoes, five ounces of turkey burger or grilled chicken, and a tablespoon of aioli as a salad dressing. My afternoon snack involved two celery stalks and one tablespoon of peanut butter. For dinner, I’d whip up zoodles with spicy chicken sausage.
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 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 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.
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 helpful in guiding you toward your health goals. The app is an essential tool and makes things easy to record and track. The recipes are a bit hit or miss—they’re not always very well written. 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. The first few days were a little overwhelming because I was cooking so many different things, but then I started to settle into having a few go-to recipes, which 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. 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, which is interesting.
Faith’s Final Thoughts
Following any diet for an entire week tests my willpower and discipline. However, grocery shopping and meal prepping gave me a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt since I tried to order free doughnuts off Postmates so many times that the system crashed, and the team 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 planning meals. Ultimately, I left the diet more aware of the effect foods have on my body.