aunty, if you do decide to do atkins, then buy a book. and follow it. you should decide to do it for a minimum of two weeks. the first week being the hardest part of it. because the initial part is so tough, its not something you can do without being qutie strongwilled in your desire to do it. after the induction period it gets much easier.
i have bought various atkinsy products from boots, tesco's sainsburies etc. however, you cannot have them during th e two week induction.
yo do not need to giv eup coffee. according to the atlins book i have, he reccomends you cut down on it. and instead of having milk, you can have a splash of cream init. i did cut it out completely during induction, (ended up having withdrawal headaches like drug addicts ) but now have normal coffee with milk, but no sugar. i didnt like the taste of sweetener.
there is also a group of mumsnetters who do low carb, to various degrees of success. it s the carboloholics threads. lots of luck on your new programme.
I should also add auntyspan, re the atkins bars and other low carb products, that these are notorious for causing weight loss stalls so unless you need to eat in an emergency, then i would seriously steer clear of them!
I did atkins very sucessfully a couple of years ago and lost loads of weight.
Like you I couldn't give up milky coffees and didn't. I also used the bars as a snack but only one a day.
I found if I planned the day out for food then it was fine and I enjoyed eating steak and berries. However I found it a bit difficult when doing tea for the kids and ended up buying very expensive carb free pasta so i could eat something similar to them.
The shakes were in Tesco until recently and so were the bars. There are a couple of shops on line which you can order other things from but the cost does mount up.