Patience is key when you commit to losing weight. Sometimes the process feels as slow as watching paint dry, other times it seems like the you’re peeling off the pounds at a nice and steady rate. This is the stop-start waiting game of weight loss. If you haven’t experienced a delay or detour at some point in your low-carb journey, it’s only a matter of time before you do. It’s important to change your mindset and realize this is a normal part of the weight loss journey, because most likely it didn’t take just a few weeks to gain the weight you are trying to lose. How your body reacts to Atkins is entirely different than how someone else’s will, and there are a variety of factors that can be attributed to this.
The number of pounds you lose during the first 14 days of Atkins 20™or Atkins 40™ will help give you a general understanding of how easy or difficult it is for you to lose weight. Keep in mind that the weight you lose during the 14 days of Atkins 40™ will be less than you would on Atkins 20™ because of the wider variety of food choices you have on Atkins 40™.
Here’s where you might fall in this range. Not surprisingly, the more weight you have to lose, the faster you’ll lose, at least initially.
Are You an Easy Loser?
If you’re an “easy loser”, here’s what kind of weight loss you might expect during the first 14 days on Atkins 20™:
Woman with 50 or more pounds to lose = 12 pounds
Man with 50 or more pounds to lose = 16 pounds
Woman with 20 to 50 pounds to lose = 9 pounds
Man with 20 to 50 pounds to lose = 12 pounds
Woman with less than 20 pounds to lose = 6 pounds
Man with less than 20 pounds to lose = 6 pounds
If these patterns are similar to 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 losing weight. That’s not to say weight loss won’t slow progressively as you approach your goal weight. Nor will being an easy loser protect you from experiencing one or more plateaus. But 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 who are resistant to weight loss:
Women with more than 50 pounds to lose = 4 pounds (or less)
Men with more than 50 pounds to lose = 8 pounds
Women with 20 to 50 pounds to lose = 3 pounds
Men with 20 to 50 pounds to lose = 6 pounds
Women with less than 20 pounds to lose = 2 pounds (only 1 pound a week)
Men with less than 20 pounds to lose = 4 pounds (only 2 pounds a week)
While you may not consider this anything to write home about, if you understand that your results in the first two weeks are predictive of very gradual weight loss, you can be prepared for this pattern.
The consolation prize is that if you lose weight at a slow but steady pace, you 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, glowing skin—and a reduced risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease! And here’s another bonus: People who take off pounds and inches more slowly appreciate the hard work to get there and may be less likely to sabotage their efforts than folks who reached their goal easily. This is why some people opt to choose Atkins 40™… the slower and steadier weight loss plus the wider variety in food choices in the very beginning may be easier to maintain for the long term if you are patient.
Are You Somewhere in the Middle?
Many people wind up somewhere between these 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, the number would be about 12 pounds. If that woman with average resistance was between 20 and 50 pounds overweight, she could expect to lose about 6 pounds in two weeks. For a comparably overweight man also with average resistance to weight loss, a 9-pound loss would be likely. Their friends who are also average in their resistance to weight loss but had no more than 20 pounds each to lose could expect to drop about 4 and 6 pounds, respectively, over the 14-day period.
What’s Holding Up Your Weight Loss?
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 for health conditions. Another big factor? How your body tolerates carbs. As you know, our bodies run on two sources of energy: fat and carbohydrates. But our default fuel is always carbs. That’s because we have very limited storage space in our body for glucose (sugar), to which carbs quickly convert. Fat, which is actually a more efficient and even fuel, is our backup fuel, in part because we have an almost limitless ability to store fat.
Eating too many of the wrong kinds of carbs—the ones that convert to sugar in your blood stream—blocks your body’s ability to burn fat, so as long as you eat this way, you rarely tap into your body’s fat stores. And not only are you unable to lose weight without drastically cutting back on calories, (which leaves you perpetually hungry and vulnerable to falling of the wagon), you’re also plagued with a whole set of side effects from the blood sugar rollercoaster: the uneven energy level, feeling bloated, excessive hunger, cravings for carb foods and inability to concentrate.
When you control your blood sugar and insulin levels by monitoring the quality and quantity of the carbs you eat, you naturally change your metabolism from one that burns carbs for energy to one that burns fat for energy, leading to weight loss and better health, while maintaining your new weight and feeling satisfied and energetic with every meal and snack you eat.