Weight Loss Layers

One very clear long term observation I’ve drawn from listening carefully to what other online lowcarbers say and do for more than 20 years now is that weight lost on lowcarb is usually lost in layers.

Generally if people come into lowcarb more than 50 pounds overweight they will lose very well and very quickly at first. This is why so many folks stay on induction, probably way too long—hoping to keep this seemingly miraculous rate of weight loss and personal change going. Often the first “layer” of weight is lost on induction. That’s the easiest one.  Sadly, it seems that for some people, it is deceptively easy.

The next layer(s) of loss are often consistent but much slower, and while there are always exceptions, generally when people get to within 30-50 pounds of their goal weight there is a fairly predictable weight loss stall or dead stop.  This seems to happen even more predictably to emotional eaters and life-long yo-yo dieters (both of which I used to be!)  I have also seen a few people, ones with what I would call “highly reactive bodies” stop losing more than 100 pounds from goal. But no matter where the wall hits, it’s rare that with the right tweaks a healthy lowcarb diet won’t work the way it’s supposed to.

The majority of people end up throwing in the towel when they hit a stall or weight loss wall–heck the truth is that most people will quit long before that!  But if you pay close attention, you’ll see that the patient and committed people who persevere through these stalls discover that they need to change their eating slightly or significantly in order to get past them, and they generally need to shift things in a “cleaner” direction—more good carbs (vegetables)—often significantly higher than induction levels—and fewer or NO problem ones (dairy products, processed meats, grains, artificial sweeteners and often nuts).  Some have to totally eliminate some kinds of foods and move to an anti-yeast lowcarb diet, one I sometimes call a “gold standard diet.”

This final layer is often the place where addiction, food intolerance(s), fat/protein/carb ratios (also called macros) and calorie issues need to be addressed  in order to move forward and achieve lasting change.  This is the point when many of us have to let go of our lowcarb methadone foods and behaviors.  This is the first step to surrender I’m always talking about.

I came into lowcarb with only 2 layers—and the first layer was less than 10 pounds. (Well, the real truth is I couldn’t look at the scale the first week or so, so I don’t know exactly where I started.  In my adult life my highest non-pregnant weight was the mid-180’s, I just happened to see 168 when I finally looked at the scale a few weeks after I started lowcarbing in mid-September 1996).  I sat for 22 months, stalled at 165 because well-meaning (but totally WRONG!) online support group members promised me that since I was in ketosis, if I would just be patient and stay the course, it would eventually work!  But it didn’t.

However, when I finally felt ready to get more than “at least I’m not as fat as I used to be” from all this effort, with some trial and error and by taking all of my advice exclusively from two other all-the-way-to-goal women close to my age who I found online, I finally hit on the changes that took me past that barrier and (slowly!!) all the way to goal.  And I’ve been maintaining those losses since late 1999.

So I feel I have a lot of experience with battling that last stubborn layer.  It’s the layer that thwarts a heartbreaking number of us when we let our food sensitivities and unaddressed emotional eating continue to get in our way because we can’t or won’t acknowledge we have them or completely give them up.

It can be challenging and scary to take the next step(s).  You have to be ready to go further than you expected with changed eating.  But when you are, it can be done.  If you want more information about my own journey, you can contact me at the e-mail address below.