The stop-start waiting game of weight loss is a very popular topic, because, honestly, if you haven’t experienced a delay or detour at some point in your journey, it’s only a matter of time before you do. Which is why rather than using it as an excuse to give up, you should just view it as a normal part of that weight loss waiting game. Once you understand what’s reasonable as well as that your body doesn’t work like clockwork (meaning one week may differ from the next), you can stop beating yourself up for not losing the 2.5 pounds (or whatever) that you think you should be losing each week. How one person’s 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 Induction will help give you a general understanding of your personal degree of what doctors call 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. We’ll take into consideration their starting weight and the weight lost in the first two weeks on Induction. 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 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 guy with a similar weight goal would likely lose at least 16 pounds. A woman with 20 to 50 pounds to shed who pares off 9 pounds would also be considered an easy loser, as does an equally overweight man who sheds 12 pounds. So would a woman with less to 20 pounds to banish who dispatches 6 pounds or a man who sheds 9 pounds in two weeks. 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. 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 resistant to weight loss. A woman with more than 50 pounds to lose who is a slow loser might do away with only 4 pounds (or less) in the first two weeks of Induction. Her male counterpart might lose 8 pounds. A woman and a man with 20- to 50-pound weight loss goal in this category might lose 3 and 6 pounds, respectively. Finally, women and men with modest weight loss goals who are slow losers might lose only 2 and 4 pounds, respectively, or only 1 and 2 pounds a week. While you may not consider this pace 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 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, 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.
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.
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 for health conditions. Another big factor? Your body’s tolerance for 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. By the way, the two sources of fuel are Mother Nature’s ingenious way to protect humankind and other animals. (Polar bears live off their body fat while hibernating.) Body fat was our insurance policy during times of famine or seasonal food scarcity
Eating too many carbs 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. Instead, they remain permanently attached to your hips, thighs, upper arms, butt and all the other well-upholstered parts of your bod. The over consumption of carbs acts like a roadblock, standing in the way of fat burning, just as that schoolyard bully blocked your access to the swings or slide all those many years ago. 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.
But when you control your carb intake, as you do on the Atkins Diet, you encourage your body to burn primarily fat for energy, and you can lose weight and ultimately maintain your healthy new weight—all while feeling pleasantly satisfied by your meals. Just as calling an over-reliance on carbs a metabolic bully makes it easier to understand, we have a term to refer to a primarily fat-burning metabolism: the Atkins Edge. It’s your ally against the metabolic bully, moderating your appetite, reducing or eliminating cravings and giving you a steady stream of energy—all day long.
Winning the Weight Loss Waiting Game
Once you understand how your body responds to Atkins, plus you begin to learn how to control carbohydrates—that metabolic bully waiting to stall your efforts—you will be well on your way to winning the weight loss waiting game.