How to lose weight, part 5 of 17

Do you want to lose weight? Here’s – finally – part 5 of a 17-part series of blog posts. You can read all the posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.

The first and most important advice was to choose a low carb diet. Then to eat when hungryeat real food, and to measure your progress wisely. Here’s #5:

5. Be Patient


It usually takes years or decades to gain a lot of weight. Trying to lose it all as quickly as possible by starving yourself rarely works well long-term, that’s just the recipe for “yo-yo dieting”. To succeed you need something that works long term.

What to aim for

It’s common to lose 2-6 pounds (1-3 kg) within the first week on a strict low carb diet, and then on average about one pound (0.5 kg) per week as long as you have a lot of weight remaining to loseThis translates into about 50 pounds (25 kilos) per year.

Every 5 pounds of fat loss roughly equals 1 inch lost around the waist (1 kilo = 1 cm).

Young males sometimes lose weight quicker than this, perhaps twice as fast. Post-menopausal women may lose it at a slightly slower pace. People eating a very strict low carb diet may lose weight quicker, as well as those who exercise a lot (a bonus). And if you have an enormous amount of excess weight to lose you could start out much faster.

As you get closer to your ideal weight the loss slows, until you stabilize at a weight that your body feels is right. Hardly anyone gets underweight on a low carb diet – as long as they eat when hungry.

Examples: Weight loss stories.

Initial stalls

Are you coming off a period of semi-starvation (calorie counting)? Focus on your waist circumference and health markers (see advice #4) at first as it sometimes takes several weeks before weight loss is apparent.

Weight loss plateaus

Expect weight loss plateaus: Days or weeks where nothing seems to happen on the scale. Everybody gets them. Stay calm. Keep doing what you’re doing and eventually things will start happening again (if not, check the other 16 tips).

How to lose weight forever

Losing a lot of weight long-term and keeping it off forever won’t happen unless you change your habits forever. If you lose weight and then return to living exactly the way did when you gained weight, don’t be surprised when the excess weight returns. It will.

Maintaining weight loss requires long-term change and patience. If this doesn’t seem possible for you, then you’re perhaps more interested in one of these magical diet scams.

Forget quick fixes: If you lose some weight every month, eventually you’ll get rid of all your excess weight. That’s inevitable progress. That’s what you want.

PS: Long-term change is only hard in the beginning, especially during the first couple of weeks. It’s like quitting smoking. Once you develop new habits it becomes easier and easier every week. Eventually it comes naturally.

How to lose weight faster

Keep reading these tips!


  1. kitty
    I'm a 50 year old woman who is active at work (a teacher) but not much otherwise. I lose about 1 pound every 10 days with LCHF. A little up, a little down, depending on how busy I am, but effortless, for the most part. Since April, I have lost 15 pounds, clothes fit much better, and I feel little or no temptation for the former way of eating. Recent lab tests were the best they've been in years, though I'll admit to being a little worried about it beforehand. I used to be sick all the time, and now I never catch colds despite having kids sneeze and cough on me. Can it be the diet change? I think it must be.
  2. David
    Thank you for this timely post. I am a young (mid 20's) male and am active in low carb communities both online and in my city. I often hear women "complain" that men lose weight so much faster on a LCHF diet than they do, but I've found my experience to be the exact opposite. My wife loses weight and keeps it off much easier than I do. My progress has been more or less consistent but at times feels excruciatingly slow (losing 1 pound is a GREAT week for me), even though I am still about 30-40 pounds from my goal weight and eat 20 TOTAL (not net) carbs a day or less.

    I have often wondered about the point you made to the effect that people with more weight to lose will lose weight more quickly, and that the speed of weight loss slows as you approach your body's ideal weight. I am quite short (5'6") and currently weigh about 192. According to the BMI calculator I am supposed to weigh around 150. Would 42 pounds count as "an enormous amount of excess weight"? Or am I at a point when slow weight loss is to be expected?

    Reply: #18
  3. moreporkplease

    Keep on keeping on. The folks who lose 125 pounds a year are those who start out at 350+. If you are eating a strong LCHF diet and are still a bit slow losing, try 1 - reducing your protein an ounce or two at each meal; and 2 - start lifting very heavy weights once or twice a week.

    This will almost always accelerate loss in younger men. If it doesn't, you might want to get your testosterone checked, you may be a bit low. Good luck.

  4. Thanks for this post!
    How did you get to the number of one pound (0.5 kg) per week of fat loss?
    I'm just curious
  5. Thanks Dr. Eenfeldt--I have found every one of your tips to be true for me. As a psychiatrist with a special interest in nutrition, and as a 48 year old woman who has struggled with weight issues her whole life, I completely agree that a low-carbohydrate diet is the only way to go, not only for weight loss, but also for physical and mental health. I had been successful eating a low-carb Paleo-style diet for several years. Now that I'm in my late 40's, I find I have to also limit protein intake in order to keep my weight in a healthy, happy range. However, when I do this, I'm never hungry, have plenty of energy, and my mood and function are excellent. I have had good results treating patients with eating disorders and mood disorders with low carbohydrate diets, as well.
  6. Wade Henderson
    5. Be Patient...

    Then --- What to aim for, ---- 0.5 kg a week

    Obviously there are many people with 100 or more pounds to lose and anything less than a pound a week would seem agonizingly slow.

    However, for people with only 30 to 60 pounds to lose, being patient might better be stated at about half a pound per week.
    There are virtually no long term studies of sizeable groups where the average weight loss after a year is even close to 26 pounds. (.5 pounds a week)
    Thus patience might suggest a much slower and longer term rate of loss so as to avoid disappointment and encourage a lifestyle change wherein the weight at year 3 is more important than the weight at month 3.

    It would be nice if anyone knows of any studies that show a significantly sized group where the average weight loss was equal to or over 26 pounds in a year. I'd be curious to see that.
    Be they HFLC, Paleo, LFHC or anything else.
    Actually, since "average" can be misleading due to high dropout rates, I'd like to even see a 26 pound average for the upper 50% of a group in a given diet study. So if the study had 500 participants, what did the top 250 average after 1 or 2 years?

  7. Anja
    And you should also remember that the plateaus can last longer than that. I've been stuck for 6 months now :) And I follow LCHF rather strictly.
    Reply: #9
  8. Loosing is such an achievable things to have. The only way to achieve ones desired weight is through observing and maintaining right diet food meals.If an individual is determined to achieved his/her desired weight, then, follow all the guidelines in loosing weight such as eating more on protein enriched foods, less in fats.
  9. Jane2

    And you should also remember that the plateaus can last longer than that. I've been stuck for 6 months now And I follow LCHF rather strictly.

    Most people eat to much protein and to low fat.

    Eating 10% protein and 88-89% fat, 1-2% carbs (about 10-15 gr max)
    The only carbs I eat come from cream, creme fraiche, nuts or berry's. I don't eat veggies at all, because your body uses more vitamines and minerals for converting the veggies to... fat, than you get out of your eggs, meat and so on. That's why vegetariëns are short of vitamines/minerals. So no hard work for my body by only eating lots of fat directly. That's why I eat only the eggyolk, instead of the whole egg, because it has all I need in it. No need for supplements (they did not need it million of years ago, so why now) Vitamin C (in other form) comes from meat and D we make when we go into the sun 15 minutes. I do not use other fats than coconut oil (for frying) and butter or lard.
    You may lower you protein, depending on lean body weight, to 35-50 grams a day.
    You must drop weight when eating only TWICE a day.
    No more protein then your natural body weight. Bone broth with butter added is very good for mineral and vitamin supply.
    Proteïn after about 3 month of losing weight can be as low as 0,5-0,8 gram body weight.

  10. David

    How much meat do you eat per day? 10% protein and 89% fat seems impossible with even moderate consumption of meat. Do you just eat gobs and gobs of butter and heavy cream?

    Can you post what you might eat on a typical day?

    Reply: #35
  11. One thing that really helps too is not to make too drastic a change too quickly. Lifestyle habits should be altered slowly, as to be barely perceptable, so that the body doesn't revolt :) Small changes, implemented regularly, add up over time.
  12. Wade Henderson
    Jane 2, "Eating 10% protein and 88-89% fat, 1-2% carbs (about 10-15 gr max)"

    And after a few weeks on this, how will you eat for the rest of your life?

    What is the most representative longer term study of a sizeable group that shows a significant weight loss going out 1, or 2 , or 3 years?

    There must be one somewhere on the internet.
    Because even 2 or 3 years is only just beginning a new lifestyle.
    Is there anything other than anecdotal tales?

  13. Jos.
    What are reasonable expectations in terms of muscle gain? I have metabolized quite a lot [25kg] of dangerous fat in the past six months; but there is a long way to go, and even with a BMI type weigh scale calculation, I can not work out if I am, or will be, gaining muscle. I tend to be relatively sedentary compared with kinaesthetically talented types; but I do understand that the human body will naturally rebuild some of the muscular infrastructure lost to magic-diets and fat-starvation. With a modest four pound loss per month, a half-pound of muscle acquired per month, maybe?
    Replies: #17, #34
  14. HighlySkeptical
    "10% protein and 89% fat seems impossible with even moderate consumption of meat."

    No, it's really easy and it's just normal food. Just eat real food cooked in a normal amount of fat, and add some sauce or salad dressing. It's only because of the low-fat dogma everyone has that it seems impossible to eat fat.:)

    If you want, I can post my menu from yesterday - I'm 82%, 12%, 6% today at 1796 calories. I began the morning with a 2-egg omelet flavored with 1 t pesto & 2.5 oz avocado cooked in 1/2 T coconut oil, and 2 cups drip coffee with 1/2 T heavy cream each. I also take a fish oil "snack" with 1 T creme fraiche, 1 t cod liver/butter oil, and 1 t coromega fish oil.

    For lunch I had 2 oz. leftover beef roast heated in 1 T butter & drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, as well as salad of 3 oz. fresh heirloom tomatoes in 3/4 T extra virgin olive oil with 1 cup Aveda Calm tea (mostly peppermint).

    In the afternoon I'll have my 1 cup chicken broth with extra salt as Volek says to do. I'll also have a snack of 1 T cream cheese if I feel like it.

    For dinner I'll have 3 oz salmon cooked in 1/2 T coconut oil, flavored with a sauce of 1 T butter and 3 coins of shredded ginger and a salad of 6 oz romaine lettuce with a dressing of 1 T extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 T Italian tomato vinegar.

    Again, just normal food, cooked in a normal way and served with normal sauces/garnishes/ dressing. No one would ever know it was 82%. The usual 3 meals/2 snacks routine. While I know it benefits others to skip meals, that doesn't work for me, so I keep to my usual habits.

    If you look at a random Julia Child entree recipe, you'll notice that her menus would all pretty much fit this paradigm - it's just how people used to eat in the 50s & 60s. My great-grandmother still can't believe that people refuse to put dressing on salad, for example.

    Because I'm female, my protein in only 2-3 oz. But you as a guy would probably be able to eat 4-5 oz protein servings. You just need to check your blood ketones to find out how to space out your protein servings for your own body! :)

    It's very easy to eat like this forever, because you get to eat sauce and you're never hungry. When I pour the ginger-butter sauce on my salmon at dinner, no one knows I'm keto - all they know is that they are jealous, because it looks and smells great. :)

    A 3 oz salmon portion is very normal, it's how people used to eat before the Super-size culture. Best wishes. Again, look at a menu by Julia Child - it will suggest 3 oz fish portions (after bones).

  15. David

    Thank you for your reply. It was very helpful to me.

    I've been thinking about this all day, and something I hadn't considered at the time of my original comment was that fat carries more than twice the calories of protein per gram. But the real key, if I've understood your post correctly, is eating moderately-sized portions of meat (3-5 oz.) cooked in and then topped with something containing a decent amount of fat and no protein. This seems like it would also be more cost-efficient than just eating more meat to get carb-less energy and satisfy hunger.

  16. HighlySkeptical
    @ Dave

    "But the real key, if I've understood your post correctly, is eating moderately-sized portions of meat (3-5 oz.) cooked in and then topped with something containing a decent amount of fat and no protein"

    Bingo. This is why I say eat like Julia Child. "If you're afraid of butter, use cream," as she said.

    Nowadays even French women are getting fat because the concept of "diet food" and junk food has spread widely in France the last 10 years. But just go back to the standard, classic bistro food of the middle-class and the hearty offal-based food of the French countryside.

    You have to test your own metabolism. Jimmy Moore has to eat 86-11-3! But of course he is battling really severe insulin resistance. You may not be in that situation. You may be able to do really well on 80-15-5 or something. Maybe even 75-15-10. You have to choose a place to start, test, and adjust.

    Also when you eat the protein is very interesting. I find that if I test my blood ketones in the morning after eating like the menu above, I get 1.3-1.5 in the morning and 2.0-2.4 in the evening. That's perfectly fine, really ideal.

    But if I front-load my protein (3 oz at breakfast, 3 oz at lunch), and have just a nice big romaine salad (say 5-6 total carbs) with lots of lovely dressing for dinner, my evening ketones can shoot up to 4.1!

    Everyone is going to do best with a different ratio - my ratio won't work for you, probably; Jimmy's ratio won't work for you probably. You have to have the courage to find what works for you and never waver. Which is not hard as you pour your delicious French sauces over everything. Yum.

  17. b-nasty
    Under ideal conditions (young male, tons of protein, newbie lifter), the max would be about 2lbs of muscle a month. It should be noted that it's pretty difficult to lose weight and add muscle at the same time. A high-protein low-carb diet helps significantly, but it can't work magic. It's unlikely that you'll add significant bulk at any real calorie deficit, but go too high on calories and we all know what happens. It's a struggle all bodybuilders go through. Many end up cycling (bulking/leaning out) in order to get big and low % bf.

    That's not meant to discourage. Adding those initial few lbs of muscle (newbie gains) can make a significant difference in the way your body looks if fat % is low enough.

  18. James
    Hi David,

    You may want to check whether you suffer from hypothyroidism. Weight-loss will barely happen if that's the case.

    I personally was not really super overweight but I was getting there. I am not very tall (5'10) and my bone structure is quite thin, but I was reaching 77-78kg. I started a low carb, dairy and wheat / grain free diet 2 weeks ago and lost already a good 4kg (9 lbs). My wife however is much slower at that and I know she used to suffer from HT (it runs in her family). So you could check your thyroid activity for a root-cause.

  19. Patience is hard especially when you've been working for a long time to get rid of stubborn pounds. For those of us in the insulin resistant camp it can take much longer to drop a pound. I watch my spouse drop weight effortlessly, and remember when I did too, but these days I dream about a Star Trek capsule that I could step into which would dissolve my fat and send it out into space. Now there's a project for NASA!


  20. greensleeves

    "For those of us in the insulin resistant camp it can take much longer to drop a pound"

    True. The question comes to then what is the cause of the insulin resistance? For up to 30% of Western people now, researchers say it is fatty liver, which is on a dramatic increase. For most people very low carb will dramatically improve fatty liver in 3-6 months; but some people will take up to 18 months.

    There have been a few studies suggesting that milk thistle (sylmarin) speeds up the liver's fat clearance ability. The studies give people standardized 80% extracts, between 600-800mg a day. Apparently this remedy is more common in Germany.

    You may want to try this yourself for 3-6 months and see if it helps, assuming you're not post-menopausal or low thyroid. If not, you may need to ask your doctor if he thinks metformin is right for you.

  21. Lomac
    Dearest doc. My diet was always really low fat. Never ate cream ever. Butter, nope. Cheese, nay. I had a 'healthy' taste for food. However my tendency towards sugar binges destroyed my good weeks work always in like 30 minutes a week. Love handles and moderate overweight resulted. Impossible to shift despite every effort diet and exercise wise. For the first time in my life yesterday i asked for a full fat cappuccino. As I drink my creamy coffee here, after my buttery scrambled egg with cheese and spinach... I am wondering how will I ever go back?! Hoping I don't get a heart attack in the meantime.

    Tiny questions.

    Some preachers suggest dairy has an insulin response. A bad one. What's your thought?

    Di you think salts are important? Would you suggest potassium infused salts? Myfitnesspal says my potassium is really low.

    Yours Sincerely, faithful future skinny gal :p

  22. greensleeves
    Hi Lomac:

    "Some preachers suggest dairy has an insulin response. A bad one. What's your thought?"

    Not sure what expertise preachers have in nutrition. Some people do report effects from dairy.

    The only way to know is to get a glucometer and test yourself after eating various dairy foods.

    It has zero effect on me, for example, but every person is different. You must test yourself to find the truth for your body.

    Reply: #23
  23. David

    I actually just got my new glucose/ketone meter in the mail and want to start testing the effects of dairy as well as days of more or less protein. Do you know what I should be looking for in my fasting blood glucose and what a significant insulin response would be relative to that?

  24. Lomac

    I'm on the same page as David. I am all too familiar with checking my glucose response to foods... But insulin?? How would I tell? Surely if I take for example 100g Greek yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp cream.... My glucose might rise ((unlikely)) and I could tell I had a glycemic response. But How could I check insulin? Dropping sugars? I doubt it. Only a venous sample would suffice I would think? Would be good to know.

    This seems promising

  25. In every meal, there must be a serving of fruits and vegetables, rice meat and a glass of milk. Then, eat five kinds of fruits day such as banana, apple, etc. Then, exercise regularly.
  26. @David@Lomac. Yes, the whey portion of milk stimulates insulin release in our bodies. In fact, whey proteins raise insulin levels just as much as pure sugar does. They do not raise blood sugar at all, just insulin itself, so a glucometer cannot show you this effect. If anything, you'd see a reduction in blood sugar in response to the increase in insulin. This is why some people may need to remove high-protein dairy products such as cheese and full-fat yogurt from their LCHF diets in order to break through plateaus. For reasons I have yet to understand, I personally am unable to lose weight unless I remove all dairy products, including those with virtually no protein, such as butter and cream, from my diet, but most people do not need to do that. One possibility is that the milkfat itself may contain hormones that affect human metabolism, but I have not been able to get to the bottom of that question yet.
    Reply: #31
  27. In order to loose weight, I advice everyone to help or to eat foods which are high in protein and fiber, however, less in fats. Plus, drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. Then, have a regular exercise.
    Reply: #29
  28. I purchased Hip Hop Abs when it first was advertised on tv and I have to say I LOVE it. Once I got to where I wanted to be I slacked off and now I'm back in the groove again. Now I have my 17 year old doing it with me to keep him in shape when he's not playing sports. I go here for reviews. Check it out!
  29. Maggan A

    In order to loose weight, I advice everyone to help or to eat foods which are high in protein and fiber, however, less in fats. Plus, drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. Then, have a regular exercise.

    What kind of fairytale is that?

    After being on a halt for more than a year the scale started to move down after eating even moore fat and less protein than I used to. Fiber,gallons of water and exercise is not even a part of my universe :-O

    But maybe we dont live on the same planet....

  30. @greensleeves-Thank you, I'll give the silymarin a try.
  31. Lomac
    Thank you Georgia ede. That was very informative and helpful. I'm trying to get my head around the concept of insulin stimulation without glucose! Very ... Annoying!!! I presume it is just a minirity affected? Since the doc and so many others do so well. Though he clearly gas a very functional metabolism, i think i have mitichondria issues i need to address! I am trying to do this vegetarian style so this would be a major pain. Avocado, coconut oil, other oils, eggs, pea and non dairy protein powders, nuts, seeds.... I think It would be hard to keep up.

    Not sure whether to stick it out and keep going with the dairy. Cheese makes life easier as I eat out often! Though in the past I lost a lot of body fat on a vegan low carb diet, so maybe you are right, maybe it is the dairy that now affects me. I don't want to do vegan again now though! I have considered meat for ease of lchf. Thanks for the info!

  32. Galina L.
    Leona Woodbridge is from some frutarian planet - she also left a comment on a different post "The best way to loose weight is to eat five kinds of fruits a day". On of the best way to subbotage a LC diet.
  33. Margaret O
    Middle aged women and weight loss - we should have a parade in our honour for every pound lost, because its a challenge! So far I've lost 35 pounds (I started in February). It took a huge amount of research to find what will work, but now I consistently lose an average of 1/2 pound a week. It comes off in "wooshes" (nothing for weeks, then a few pounds at once).

    The combo that works for me is:
    a) Carbs , 40 grams, the lower the better.
    b) No more than 16 oz of protein daily. Less is often better.
    c) Fat is used to stave off hunger. I use a couple of ounces a day.
    d) No dairy; the hormones in milk products seem to be a problem.
    e) Calories DO matter in our metabolisms. I stay around 1500.
    f) Watch the exercise level. Believe it or not, too much exercise can cause stalled loss. For me, three times a week of intense training is optimal.

    This is hard core "dieting", cause you have to calculate constantly and pick incredibly carefully. Not for the faint of heart. but you do make progress slowly but surely.

  34. jake3_14
    Actually, you will lose some muscle mass that's no longer needed to support your formerly large body as time goes by. And technically, you can't add muscle fiber without anabolic sterioid, you can only make your current muscles thicker. Only strenuous resistance training will make that happen.
  35. Jane2
    Eating eggyolks instead of whole eggs, with butter and cream.
    Fatty meats have less protein.
    Example day: lunch at about 11.30 pm
    2 eggyolk and 2 eggs, with 75g butter and 2,5 dl hot water (or scrambled)
    40grs of 50+ goatcheese, 40grs of smoked haring and 30gr of haring in acid,
    20 grs of hamleg, 20 grs almond (raw)
    coffee with 35% cream.
    Dinner at 16.30 am.: Broth made of bone and meat (porkleg) and 150gr whipped cream with 100g strawberies.
    This makes 57g protein, 219g fat and 10g carbs

    Other day: lunch
    pancakes made from 25g almond, 100g creme fraiche, 3 eggyolks, baked in coconut oil, with 25 gr whipped cream and 50g strawberries on it.
    Dinner: 100g steak with lots of home made pepper/creamsauce . 1 slice of salami and to knibble: 25g almonds (no skin, raw)
    That makes: 49 protein, 165g fat, 14 carbs.

    I often eat only twice a day. When meat is to lean, I'll eat about 50g vegetable in broth with lots of butter and/or cream, like a velouté, or some extra whipped cream with strawberries, or add a fatty creme fraiche sauce with garlic or other spices.

  36. Marcell
    I started hesitantly with a HFLC diet after doing quite a bit of reading and crosschecking various internet sources. As most of the readers of this site I believe , I tried numerous diets , some with more and some with less success , the one that worked the best for me was LOW GI. LOW GI did not fit my lifestlye as the combination of foods and preparation was to labour intense. I am a "sufferer" of high blood pressure and cholesterol and water retention and have to take medication daily. I tried the Atkins diet with low fat as result of my medical condition, and it fiddled out after losing a few Kg's.....
    The first week on HFLC me and the wife opted for 40 g of carbs and stuck stricktly to the rest of the foodstuffs required, doing the high fat requirement despite my medical condition( I am sold on the idea of HFLC ) but could not achieve ketosis and little weight loss , the second week we opted for theoretically 0 carbs and and kitoses set in quickly. We are in our third week today, 11 Nov.

    Now for the million dollar question , my wife loses weight continuously and I am gaining weight continuously , our meals are 90% the same , I eat little bit more. My BMI is 30 and the wife's 32.
    I started on 96 kg and are on 98 kg.

  37. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you're working with? I'm planning to start my
    own blog soon but I'm having a difficult time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something unique.

    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

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