Weight Loss Expectations on a Low Carb Diet

Colette's Blog

November 17, 2014

The stop-start waiting game of weight loss is something most of us can relate to. Many dieters have experienced delays or detours at least once during their weight loss journeys. That’s why instead of using it as an excuse to give up, you should view it as a normal part of the weight loss waiting game. Once you understand what’s reasonable and that losing weight is not a linear process, you can stop beating yourself up for not losing the 2.5 pounds (or whatever) that you think you should be dropping each week. Low carb diet weight loss expectations must be specific to you because each person’s body reacts differently to Atkins.

The number of pounds you lose during the first 14 days of Induction will help give you a general understanding of what doctors call your personal metabolic resistance. I prefer to refer to it simply as your ease or difficulty in losing weight.

Let’s look at some hypothetical men and women to help you get an idea of where you might fall in this range. To determine their resistance, we’ll consider their starting weight and their Atkins Induction weight loss results. The rule of thumb is that the more weight you have to lose, the faster you will shed pounds in the initial stages.

Are You an Easy Loser?

If you’re a woman with 50 or more pounds to lose and your 14-day weight loss tallied 12 pounds, you fall into this category. An easy-loser male with a similar goal would likely lose at least 16 pounds. A woman with 20 to 50 pounds to shed who pares off 9 pounds during Induction would also be considered an easy loser, as does an equally overweight man who loses 12 pounds. The same goes for a woman with less than 20 pounds to banish who drops 6 pounds or a man with the same amount to lose who sheds 9. If these patterns align with your experience in the first two weeks on Atkins, your metabolism rate is in your favor and you’ll probably have a relatively easy time slimming down. That’s not to say weight loss won’t slow progressively as you approach your goal weight or that being an easy loser will protect you from experiencing plateaus. However, you will probably have a certain metabolic advantage.

Are You a Slow Loser?

Now let’s look at the opposite end of the spectrum: people resistant to weight loss. A woman who needs to lose more than 50 pounds might do away with 4 or less in the first two weeks if she is a slow loser. A slow-losing male with the same amount to lose may only drop 8 pounds. Similarly, a woman and a man who are both slow losers with 20 to 50-pound weight loss goals might lose 3 and 6 pounds, respectively. Finally, slow-losers with modest weight loss goals could lose only 1-2 pounds a week. While you may not consider this pace significant, understanding that your early results are predictive of very gradual weight loss will prepare you for this pattern.

The good news is that folks who lose weight at a slow but steady pace are more apt to keep the weight off long term. Just think of it this way: with an average weight loss of 1 pound per week, you’ll be 52 pounds lighter a year from now! Plus, you’ll be experiencing less knee pain, more energy, clothes and rings that keep getting looser, and glowing skin. You’ll also be at a reduced risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The biggest advantage is that people who lose weight more slowly often have greater appreciation for their hard work and may be less likely to sabotage their efforts.

Are You Somewhere in the Middle?

Many people live somewhere between the two extremes. A woman who is more than 50 pounds overweight and loses 8 pounds in her first two weeks on Atkins is considered to have average resistance to weight loss. In the case of a similarly overweight man, an average loser would drop about 12 pounds in the same period. If that woman with average resistance was between 20 and 50 pounds overweight, she could expect to lose about 6 pounds in two weeks. This number increases to about 9 pounds for men. Those with average resistance and 20 pounds to lose could expect a 4 to 6 pound drop during Induction.

The Metabolic Bully in the Weight Loss Waiting Game

There are a variety of other factors that can influence your rate of weight loss, including your age, sex, activity level, and any prescription drugs you are taking. Your body’s tolerance for carbs is another important factor. As you know, our bodies run on two sources of energy: fat and carbohydrates. However, our default fuel is always carbs because we have very limited storage space in our bodies for the glucose (sugar) that we produce when we eat them. Fat, on the other hand, is used as the body’s secondary energy source because of our almost limitless ability to store it.

Excess carbs block your body’s ability to burn fat. Consequently, when you consume too many high carb foods, your body stops tapping into its fat stores. The cycle then contributes to problems losing weight without drastically cutting back on calories. In addition, high carb diets leave you with side effects from the blood sugar rollercoaster: the uneven energy level, bloating, excessive hunger, cravings for carb foods, and concentration problems. We refer to this cycle as the metabolic bully.

When you control your carb intake, however, you encourage your body to burn fat for its primary source of energy. This shift allows you to lose weight and maintain results while feeling pleasantly satisfied by your meals. We call this the Atkins Edge—your ally against the metabolic bully. The Atkins Edge moderates your appetite, reduces or eliminates cravings, and keeps your energy levels stable throughout the day.

Winning the Weight Loss Waiting Game

Once you begin to control carbohydrates and learn how your body responds to Atkins, you will be well on your way to winning the weight loss waiting game.

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