Published: 09/16/2015

Realistic Expectations for Phase 2

Most people experience relatively rapid weight loss in Phase 1, Induction. After two weeks, weight loss could range from 4 to 15 pounds, although only very heavy people tend to lose that large an amount. Things invariably slow down after several weeks, especially as carb intake increases in Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL). This is perfectly normal and to be expected. It is also deliberate to make weight loss sustainable. It’s important for patients to understand that weight loss will slow and that different people lose at different rates. To a large extent, age, gender, metabolism, level of activity, previous weight loss efforts and the number of pounds to lose influence the pace of progress. Advise your patients to take these factors into consideration in gauging their expectations so as not to set themselves up for disappointment and failure.

How Much Time?

Individuals with less weight to lose typically spend a shorter time in this phase, compared to others with many pounds to lose. A young, active guy who has already lost 10 pounds in Induction and has only 15 to go will likely lose 5 pounds in a few weeks on OWL and be able to quickly move on to Phase 3, Pre-Maintenance. On the other hand, his mother, who is sedentary life, considerably overweight and who lost only 4 pounds in Induction may need to spend months in OWL.

How Many New Foods?

Again, your patients’ expectations should be based upon their personal situation. If they have an easy time losing weight, they may be able to move through all the Phase 2 rungs on the Carb Ladder within five weeks, adding foods from a new rung each week, although they certainly don’t have to. However, someone who has been on and off the diet merry-go-round for years and isn’t in the first blush of youth may find herself stalling out after adding nuts and seeds, then berries and other low-carb fruits and fresh cheeses. Counsel such patients to not get hung up on a certain food or decide that they’ll never be able to add it back—in moderation—to their diet. They may well be able to do so later. The key point for your patients to understand is that both the fast track and the slow track are perfectly normal.

How Many Carbs?

We’re beginning to sound like a broken record, but the range is enormous. The first hypothetical person we’ve described above might be able to move up by 5 grams of Net Carbs each week, settling in at a CLL (Carbohydrate Level for Losing) of 60 or more. The other person might find she had to stay at one level of carb intake for several weeks before moving up and that weight loss leveled off in the neighborhood of a CLL of 40. With your guidance, each patient will find what works for him.

How Many Pounds?

We recommend that individuals remain in OWL until they’re about 10 pounds from goal weight. So if a person transitions to OWL with 20 pounds still to go, he would lose 10 in OWL before moving to the Pre-Maintenance. And if he had 50 pounds still to go upon moving to OWL, he’d want to trim off 40 pounds before moving to the next phase.