How Much Weight Can I lose on a Low Carb Diet in 2 Weeks?
Max Carmody, MSc
After 2 weeks on a low carb diet, anywhere between 3-15 pounds of weight loss can be expected, although 3-6 is more common. On a low carb diet, some people may lose ½ pound a week, while some may lose 2 pounds or more a week.
What is Special About the First 2 Weeks?
During the first 2 weeks of a low carb diet, a lot of the weight that is coming off is water weight. It is normal to lose a lot of weight at the beginning of a diet, more than you do later on. The glucose in the liver that is readily available for energy takes the form of a molecule, glycogen, and these molecules are joined up with a lot of water. After first beginning a low carb diet, the glycogen is released and broken down, along with water that comes with it.
The first stage of weight loss occurs during the first 4-6 weeks. This is when you will lose the most weight, and start to notice changes in your appearance. Most weight loss in this stage is coming from protein, water, and carb stores. If you would like to find out how much weight you can lose on a low carb diet in 1 week, based on my personal experience, you can find the article here.
If you are talking about the first 2 weeks of the keto diet, weight loss during the first 2 weeks can be even more extreme. The keto diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy, and turns fat into ketones in the liver. Sometimes on the keto diet, people claim to have lost as much as 10-20 pounds during the first couple of weeks.
For some people however, the opposite is true, they do not lose weight at the beginning of a diet and even gain weight. Exercise can increase appetite, so this could actually lead to eating more than you realize that you are eating. If you are new to exercise, your body may actually gain muscle faster than it loses fat during the first couple of weeks. The scale may not be telling the full story, in which case you can try another form of weight measurement such as measuring your waist.
Differences in Metabolism
Metabolism is a series of biochemical reactions occurring within the body to keep it alive. It synthesizes protein, carbs, and fat from food into fat and bodily tissues. It also breaks down substances, like the calories we eat and body fat, into energy.
Differences in metabolism are going to drastically affect how much weight somebody loses on a low carb diet in the first 2 weeks. Somebody with a slower metabolism may drop 1 or 2 pounds, and somebody with an extremely fast metabolism may drop 15 pounds.
Heavier people tend to lose weight faster than lighter people because of their higher basal metabolic rates. The basal metabolic rate accounts for 65-70% of total expenditure of calories. A basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories that your body burns every day for basic processes, and to stay alive. After the first week of the diet and dropping a few pounds, the basal metabolic rate will be lower, and continue to drop as you lose weight.
Biological sex, daily habits, and health status can all affect metabolism. People with more muscle have a higher metabolism than those with less muscle. Each pound of muscle on your frame burns through 6 calories a day, while each pound of fat only burns through 2 calories a day.
Men are more likely to lose weight quicker than women. Men have more muscle, body mass, and higher levels of testosterone. In the first months of weight loss, men can actually lose twice as much weight as women. If a woman lost 3 pounds within the first 2 weeks of a diet, than her male counterpart may lose 6.
Although metabolism is closely linked to weight, it may actually not play as big of a role in weight as people believe. “Weight gain is a complicated process. It’s likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition, and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity, and stress”
The Exercise Factor
As everybody knows, how much you exercise impacts how much weight you are going to lose. To lose 1 pound of body weight, you need to burn 3,500 calories. If you exercise for 30 minutes each day, this will most likely result in losing half a pound to three quarters of a pound. The exact amount of weight you will lose from exercise depends on what type of exercise though, and on how much you are exerting yourself, as well as individual factors. If you’re curious to find out if it’s possible to lose weight on a low carb diet WITHOUT exercise, you can find an article here that I wrote on the topic.
If you went even more extreme, and were exercising at a moderate intensity for 60 minutes each day for an entire week, than you could lose between a pound and a pound and a half each week just from exercise. So say that you were a person who, without exercise, would lose 3 pounds after 2 weeks on a low carb diet. If you exercised intensely for 45-60 minutes a day, then you could bump that 3 pounds up to 5 pounds after 2 weeks.
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