Do Women actually lose weight on slow carb?

This is a question that’s come through to us, loud and clear, from many, many people. It’s time to finally talk about this, in the open, so that no one feels guilty anymore, and so that there’s no disappointment with results.

I have recently heard from women who have made comments similar to ’6lbs lost in the first 2 weeks isn’t very good’, ‘I reached my goal but now I’m putting weight back on’, ‘my husband has lost more than me in the first month’, ‘after 2 months I’ve only lost 10lbs’, ‘I haven’t lost anything like 24lbs in the first month’.

If any of these sound like you, then please, I want to let you know you’re not alone. And not just in your journey to being healthier and losing fat, but also in wondering about what kind of results it’s reasonable to expect.

I think it’s a pity that the book was promoted with such wild claims, such as 20lbs fat loss in a month, and similar ideas. It also didn’t help when there was publicity around people losing 8lbs or so in the first week. Plus, you’ve probably read online about some guys out there dropping 12lbs in their first 2 weeks, etc.

So, what’s really up with this?

Do women even lose fat with slow carb?

If you check the extra info in the back of the book, you’ll see that average weight loss for women was around 12 lbs. I think that’s over an 8 week period, but I’m not certain. For guys, the number is more like 20 lbs, or slightly more.

So what gives? Well, for starters, estrogen. But more than that, there’s other factors involved in women’s fat loss that don’t come into play for most men. Firstly, most men have greater muscle mass, and are taller, thanks to growth hormone and testosterone when they were younger. These two factors mean that men may carry a lot more weight in total than women, and still not look too back for it. So, when a guy talks about losing 12 lbs in 2 weeks, perhaps it’s because he has 40 or 50 lbs to lose. Though 40lbs would be very obvious on most women, it might not be so much so on a 6 foot tall man.

The next consideration is that of the diet’s characteristics. Higher protein, lower fat and lower carbohydrate suits guys better than women, and I believe this comes back to muscle mass again. It also doesn’t help that as a woman, you’re sent in to a hormonal rollercoaster, every month. The food cravings for many women can be almost too much to handle. Let alone the water retention and bizarre results on the scales.

So, who out there has lost weight? I know I’ve read plenty about women losing and making good on their goals, so there are some around. Clients that we have coached definitely lost weight, though it was less rapidly than their male partners.

So what’s fair? Expect nothing and be happy with anything?

Not exactly. I’m not big on that, but I do prefer to have reasonable expectations, rather than inflated ones. And it’s not your fault if your’s are inflated at the moment. Most likely its all based on what you’ve seen, read or heard about the slow carb diet. And some people have a tendency to sing the praises of any new diet as a ‘miracle’ or a ‘secret answer’ to weight problems.

Slow carb works steadily, over time. The other bonus that comes with slow carb, which you don’t get with many other diet plans, is some muscle gain, and other health benefits like blood pressure lowering, blood work having better numbers in good and bad cholesterol, plus changes in pain from inflammatory diseases, ailments and injuries. These are all great things!

So to answer the question,


Women do lose weight on slow carb. More specifically, women lose fat on slow carb, which is more than can be said for any low-fat or calorie controlled diet, where generally it’s muscle and fat that is lost on the scale.

It just might not happen as fast as the ‘advertising’ would have you believe.

All the best! Keep at it for a few months and you’ll see the scale, and the tape measure trending the way you want it to.

You might be interested in reading these too:

  1. Can slow carb get you below 10% bodyfat? This is a controversial question, for a few reasons. But that's not going to stop me writing this article. I am taking a very hard look at the slow carb diet, for one...
  2. Relax and lose fat on slow carb? Have you been feeling a little on edge lately? Perhaps just a little overwhelmed? Or maybe there's a couple of things in your otherwise great world that are eating away at you, that...
  3. Baby Boomers’ easy Weight Management with slow carb If you find yourself turning to the TV to learn the latest diet tricks, or picking up magazines in the drugstore to find out what the latest 'wonder' supplement is for staying thin,...

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86 Responses to Do Women actually lose weight on slow carb?

  • Sami says:

    As a 37 year old woman, I felt I needed to comment on this post. My husband and I started Tim’s slow carb diet after having read the book last December. We started the diet in January of this year, and we’ve both seen great results. I’ve lost about 70 pounds and have gone from 47% body fat to 30% body fat. My husband’s results are lower, but he had less to lose. We both continue to follow the diet – him more or less in maintenance mode and I am still losing, though the rate has slowed. I was skeptical about this diet at first, but I am so glad I did it. I feel great and have definitely made a healthy lifestyle change! Thanks for writing this blog. I follow it regularly and find the posts helpful and informative.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Sami thankyou very much for leaving your thoughts on this.
      Reading your story is truly inspirational. That is an incredible result, and one that anyone can look to to feel motivated and keep on track to their own goals!
      All the best to you and your husband.


  • Jason says:

    I think Sami has an excellent point about how it’s really all relative. GENERALLY the guys do better, but she’s got a great example of how she’s got more to go than her husband and is rocking it while he isn’t as much.

    A lot of the women I’ve talked to via forums or on my blog have had the same complaint that Luke is talking about, but they only have 10, 15, or 20 lbs to lose. Especially those last several come off pretty slow, even for guys (unless you get really extreme and tighten things down a lot).

    Keep at it, y’all!


    • Luke says:

      Jason thanks for your thoughts!
      I think you’re right, that some big guys are storing a lot more than female partners, friends or colleagues, and so their results look more impressive in numbers alone.
      But if we look at inches lost, especially as a percentage of total inches to start with, I expect results may be a lot more similar.


  • Melissa says:

    I’m a 25 year old female who started at 171 lbs. and I’ve lost 19.6 lbs and 2 pant sizes during my first three months of slow carb. My results might seem slow compared to the book’s claims, but they are results and I feel great! My energy level improved within days and I never feel hungry. I take it one week at a time and see it as a journey instead of a quick fix. For me, it has been worth the time and effort. I’m looking forward to getting a second DEXA scan next week to see how my body composition has changed.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Melissa, these are great results!! 20 lbs and 2 pant sizes is a real achievement – congratulations on achieving this!
      I think your perspective on it as a journey, and not a quick fix is a great one. Your DEXA scan should be very revealing!
      All the best,

  • GabyCR says:

    Great post guys, and the site looks great too =)

    • Luke says:

      Hey Gaby,
      Thanks for your comment! It was a very long week, getting the site work done, but we’re really proud of the result!

  • Jolene says:

    I’m a 51 year old female and had basically given up on losing weight. i’ve tried everything …but i always failed because the prospect of forever living my life on a diet always took me off the path of weight loss. I’d lose some, gain some. never happy. I finally cleaned out my closet and threw away all my skinny clothes and accepted that i was a fat lady and would forever remain fat. Then over the summer i happened upon tim’s book on my kindle book list . . . and read it while vacationing on Cape Cod. I kept reading aloud parts of the book to my husband and daughters. . . and they were amused with me because I started a notebook about important points from the book and made a definitive plan to try it out. But the more I talked about it, the more my family started talking and buying into the theories and approaches. By the time we arrived home from vacation my husband said “Let’s follow this plan together”. I was floored . . . my husband has never been a part of any healthy eating plan and usually instead part of my downfall with eating. But on August 1st of this year (2011) we dove into Tim’s book and started the plan. It was six Days of healthy eating, minimal exercise, and one day off . . . and we absolutely loved it. In particular, the “Cheat day” on Saturday has been our savior because no matter how low you feel or how bad the cravings are, there is always the promise of a saturday around the corner. It totally kept us on track. And in fact, after a few months of the plan we started to realize that eating a bunch of crap on saturday made us feel really terrible and that our bodies really wanted healthy, good food. Saturdays have slowly become less of of an eat-a-thon and more of a time to reflect on what food does to our bodies. The low down: I have lost 42 pounds in 4 months and my husband has lost about 35! This is even more significant than it sounds because I could never lose weight. It just refused to come off . . . and if a little of it did come off, I would quickly gain it back (and a few extra pounds as well). I just could never lose weight enough to keep me positive and hopeful. So I want to lose 20 more pounds to be healthy, and I will officially never consider myself a fat lady again. For some people like me, this way of living truly is a “miracle”. It’s really the first time in a very, very long time that i’ve felt like a regular person ! If I could ever thank tim personally, I would say “thank you for figuring this out and sharing it with all of us”. I am forever grateful.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Jolene, your comment should serve to encourage many, many people to take this up, or keep at it!
      How fantastic to be able to follow this lifestyle, with your husband, and you both see such great results.
      Slowing as you approach your goal weight is in fact the healthiest, most effective way to get to a maintenance phase, as you learn perfectly just how your body responds to food, you will be set for the rest of your life.
      Thanks for sharing with us all,

    • Juls says:

      Thank you Jolene for the encouragement. I was getting very discouraged, because even my measurements kept shifting the first month as if nothing was changing. My husband lost near 20lbs., but me only 8 lbs. in 5 weeks. I was starting to believe my hormones were preventing all chances of losing. Seeing others are facing the slower pace, that helps to stick with it. I do notice clothes fitting looser & not as tight. I thought it would be difficult giving up the breads & sweets, but it hasn’t been. I too feel more content after eating . Binge day isn’t much of a big deal any more because I’m not really craving things as I used to. Can’t get passed the dark chocolate craving though. Thanks again, Your note hit home with me. :)

      • Luke Starbuck says:

        I’m so glad to hear that you’re reassured and feeling good about keeping going Juls! I wish you all the best with it. And enjoy the dark chocolate ;) Luke

  • Theresa says:

    I started slow carb 6 months ago. My goal was not to loose weight, but gain muscle. It seemed that I was working out 2 or more hours almost everyday, with hardly any muscle definition. Well, this diet has totally worked for me, my goal was to have definition in my arms, and see my ab muscles for my 50th birthday, and I got it. I now save so much time, because I work out maybe 3 days a week, with just leisurly workouts in between. I realize now that my body was protein starved (oh, and I am a vegan…) I have not lost any wieght at all, but that was not my goal.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Theresa,
      What a great result! Abs and arms at 50!! Wooo! Working out 2 to 3 times a week is definitely adequate for anyone to gain the results they want. And much healthier too.
      Being a vegan can present some unique challenges, so the fact that you’ve achieved your goals with slow carb is very impressive. Congratulations!

  • Deb says:

    I’ve lost a little over 30 pounds in 4 months. Still have a long way to go, but sticking to a way of eating (not diet) is always hard for me. Not this time. Just not hungry in between meals. Cholesterol is down, blood sugar is down. It is definitely coming off more slowly now, but if I can even maintain during this time of year, I consider that a success!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Deb,
      The difference between hungry, and not hungry between meals makes slow carb a real winner for a lot of people.
      And from your great fat loss comes the other positive health effects you mentioned – cholesterol, blood sugar – and you’re right about maintaining around the holidays! Great job.

  • Julie says:

    When I first started the 4 hour body, I had been following a low carb/low suar diet which excluded legumes. when I changed over i read somewhere that if you were a woman over 40 which i am it would most likely be about 5 weeks before you would see change. my trainer also told me this, and my body would need to adjust to those slower carbs. i will say i did limit my legumes to only the a.m. and low and behold at 5 weeks I started to move. i love the legumes in my diet it takes the hunger out and instead of starving; I find myself having to remember to eat enough. thank you for addressing this problem! i hope this helps other women see the light at the end of the tunnel. its hard to wait…but believe me it is worth the weight (ha ha). Happy holidays. Julie

    • Luke says:

      Hi Julie, thanks for your comment!
      Its very interesting to hear that it did take over a month for your body to respond to this change, but once it did, you saw the results, and kept at it. The beans really do make a great difference to hunger levels, and I think they make it quite easy to stick with, because you’re not constantly thinking about food, like most people do on a calorie restricted, or low fat diet.
      Thanks for your words of encouragement for all the women out there who are wondering if this is for them, or if they should keep at it – this I’m sure will be a huge help!

  • Suzanne johnston says:

    Hi Luke,

    My husband and I have both been following this diet for about a couple of months and have loved it. Personally I have lost 7 kilos and am down to the weight I was in high school. I’m not losing any more weight though this isn’t an issue as I feel I’m down to my ideal weight. However despite no real change on the scales I still feel and see my body getting leaner which is great. One real bonus red eliminating sugar has rid me of the cravings I always used to suffer from. I find On a slow carb day I always feel satisfied and full.
    One question, how important is it to have four meals?I find three slow carb meals is enough to get me through the day. I do have some nuts in
    the afternoon. I know Tim says this is a domino food but I am one of those rare people
    who can have only a few.
    The only thing I have found difficult is dropping my morning skim latte.
    Suzanne, Sydney australia

    • Luke says:

      Hey Suzanne, great to hear from you, from Sydney!
      That’s a substantial change you’ve enjoyed, congratulations – and to see things still changing is awesome! A lot of the time change can continue, despite no obvious change on the scale – muscle is much more condensed, so its weight it hard to see, but obvious on the scales. Fat is the opposite.
      If you find yourself satisfied with 3 meals a day, and a small snack, then I’d say keep it up. It sounds like you’ve found what works for you!
      All the best,

  • Kathy moore says:

    Hi luke

    These are all refreshing to read. I’m vegetarian and have been following the programme, to the letter, without fail for the last 5 weeks. My husband has managed to lose 18lbs and I’ve struggled to come down 5lbs. I find it so disheartening and am pleased to read that if I just hang on in there the change will happen from now on.
    Here’s hoping the abs and arms will come for me too!


    • Luke says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Though it can be frustrating, please remember that you’re not struggling at all – you have made losses as a result of your actions. And there’s every chance your body is changing more than you could ever know from a number of a scale. Weight is incredibly inaccurate as a predictor of health, body composition or attractiveness. Importantly though, as much as pop media would have us believe, we have very little control over our weight specifically – there’s so much unconscious processing happening in our body every second of every day. So aim to have success at things you can control – you have been incredibly successful at following the guidelines of slow carb, and that’s your real achievement. Focus on that as your success, because it’s within your control, and the results should come, as they do for most people. Try to disconnect from a specific number on the scales though, because there are all kinds of other benefits that come with making positive lifestyle changes (consider overall health indicators and measurements). Even your goal of seeing abs and shapely arms has very little to do with weight – it’s about muscle vs bodyfat. Add muscle, and you add weight, and relative to fat, barely-visible amounts of muscle weigh quite a bit.

      All the best,

  • Kai says:

    I have the book but I am unclear if we can have cheese, yogurt or milk. can we have sweet potatos on a non cheat day?

    I know he said we can have fruit only in the morning or when working out. can we have nut butter? I sometimes have a 2 scoops of protein (30gr) and 1tbl almond/pbutter and grassfed or coconut milk

    • Luke says:

      Hey Kai – you have the book, but have you had a chance to read the slow carb chapters? Read them again and you’ll get your answers.
      You don’t have the right version of slow carb, as fruit is definitely out of the equation all week, no matter if you’re working out or not.

      All the best,

  • Margaret says:

    Women most certainly do lose weight on the slow carb diet. But yes, the monthly hormone swings and the cravings they bring with them can be a real hurdle. The key is being prepared and always having something appropriate to eat with you. That way, if the craving hits, you can at least lower its volume by stuffing something “good” in your mouth.
    Last year i started the diet and in 4 months went from 263 lbs to 236. That’s an average of 1.7 lb/week. Slow but steady. Now that was following the diet only, no supplements other than garlic. Unfortunately things happened and i fell off the wagon in the spring, went on an eating binge (instead of going into the maintenance mode) and gained some pounds back but not the amount i was expecting.
    Staring three weeks ago i went back on the diet this time with the full pagg supplementation and my loss has been 2.8 lbs /week and going steady.
    It can be done!!!
    (Oops, I forgot to add: I’m 47 and I’ve always struggled with weight since I was a child.)

    • Luke says:

      Hi Margaret,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! It’s so great to hear from someone who’s had their ups and downs and is willing to talk about it.
      This is all part of the process – I highly doubt that anyone has a start-to-finish success on their personal weight loss journey, more like they have some success, then a setback, then some more success, etc. It’s not so much about hitting the goal first time, but keeping on going with it. That’s what really makes the healthy habits stick, and the good results stay, rather than being temporary.
      I wish you all the very best with your further weight loss, and good health.

  • Julie says:

    I am a 45 year old female who has over a hundred pounds to lose before I am down to where I need to be.

    I started the 4HB diet with the P/AGG & cq supplements on may 22nd. By june30th, I had lost 21.5 lbs.

    I have been very disciplined in following the guidelines. I even drink the kombucha.

    It works!!

    • Luke says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for sharing your results – that can be a scary thing to do! I think a big congratulations is in order – for making the changes to your lifestyle, in a way that you know will get results. And the results are coming!! Fantastic :)

      Keep up the great work, and feel free to post here again with another update! I’m sure it’s very inspiring for other readers.

      Thanks again and all the best,

  • Sue says:

    Hi Luke
    I have been following the diet for just over a week. I’m still not sure i’m eating the correct amount, i eat a protein, beans and spinach every meal, every 4 hours, i still think i’m eating too much, always feel full, if i adjust to 3 meals a day how many hours should be inbetween.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Sue,

      Everyone’s different with food amounts, however the key is that you aren’t feeling hungry. You might want to lessen the portions, but stick with the 4 meals per day. It’s easier to keep you energy levels even this way. Test out different amounts of beans and protein before changing your meal schedule.

      All the best,

  • Morgan says:

    HI I just started the slow carb diet. I am a 5’4 160 pound 27 year old female. I am also going to the gym for an hour each day. Just wondering if it would be possible for me to lose 25 pounds in 2 months on this diet?

    • Luke says:

      Hi Morgan,

      Thanks for your question. Every one is different, so it is possible, though be aware that part of what factors into this is actually out of your control – genetics and your body has a lot of a say! What you can do is create habits that are going to result in fat loss.
      At the moment, you’re probably going to the gym too much. You may actually be creating more stress than is ideal for fat loss. Check out some of the exercise guides on our site – you’re far better off with 1 or 2 weights sessions (of around 30 minutes) and then 1 or 2 sessions of intense and challenging cardio (up to 30 minutes) for best fat loss results.
      Following slow carb, and a moderate, target exercise routine will result in fat loss, and more likely than not, continued and lasting fat loss – though you have 2 months as a goal timeline, consider the benefit when you can maintain a new, low weight 6 months from now, 12 months from now, 3 years from now, and into the future. Many people give up early on methods when results don’t come quickly, but over a 6 month period, trying 3 different methods won’t bring the results that following 1 method will, generally speaking (and specifically with regards to slow carb).

      All the best!

  • Louise says:

    I am trying the slow carb diet and today is day one. It took me a while to get my head around not having carbs for breakfast and not eating ” breakfast” type meals (apart from eggs and smoked salmon/ham i just don’t get it) but now I have read the rules and started i am feeling more positive. I am a typical english girl – carbs with every meal – so let’s see how it goes…i will be eating bread and pasta on saturday :-)

    • Luke says:

      Hey Louise, Congrats on getting started!
      I hope it goes really well for you.. I know how odd it can be to get started! I hope you’re feeling more comfortable with it, and that you start feeling some of the health benefits soon!
      All the best,

  • Louise says:

    Hi Luke

    week three this week and i have lost half a stone (7lb – not sure how much that is in kg) – very happy. still finding beans for breakfast a bit weird but i am getting there!

    thank you for kind motivation!!

  • Sarah Larkin says:

    Thanks for the post, Luke! I thought I’d chime in because, as a female, maybe someone would find my journey helpful.

    My serious weight loss journey started in 2008 after I’d gained 40 or so pounds in law school. I managed to take all that off with weight watchers. But I had to be SUPER strict with measuring in order to make it work. I’m the “give me an inch and I take a mile” dieter, as I assume most people are! But my goal was larger than just lose that 40 pounds, I wanted a hard body. So along the journey I hit the gym hard and kept super strict measuring, but I plateaued. At a respectable weight, for sure. I looked lean, but I couldn’t drop the fat that was just thick enough to keep me from looking like my goal.

    That’s when I stopped being super strict because I got frustrated. I started putting weight back on. I didn’t go crazy, I was still following the plan loosely, but I felt like my goal just wouldn’t happen.

    So that’s when I ran across slow carb. I loved the idea of following something that would help me lose weight, eat healthy, and would be pretty easy (relatively). I got the book, read it, became a student of slow carb, and began the diet. However, I DID NOT lose weight like the book claimed. I was losing weight, even getting below the frustrating plateau where WW left me, but things didn’t move like the book claimed. For reference, I was following the diet strictly, eating a weekly cheat day, and following the 20 min workout each week. I was not taking the supplements, doing extra workouts, tracking that diligently, or doing that much damage control on cheat days (though I’d get in a workout or drink some yerba mate, just not what was recommended).

    So I then decided to double down on slow carb. I tracked every meal, every day. I weighed in every day. I more strictly followed damage control on cheat days (though not entirely) and I began taking photos every two weeks. Though I didn’t lose weight that much more quickly, the photos were showing the results. I was looking darn good.

    then I went and got pregnant before I reached my hard body weight goal. I was four pounds from it. But, most importantly, about 6 pounds less than I’d ever been on WW. In fact, I had increased my hard body goal weight for slow carb because I had gained so much muscle during the workouts that I was looking better at a higher weight.

    So any lessons you can learn from this? Don’t get pregnant when you’re trying to lose weight. :) No, really:

    -What I’ve described above is a 4-year journey. Really. I think it takes lots of practice to be good at weight loss. You’re building good habits, which are replacing bad habits you’ve had for a really long time. So few people are successful on a weight loss journey the first time!
    -As a woman, I’ve never lost like my husband does. I didn’t describe his journey up here (he’s basically on any diet I’m on because I do the cooking!), but he kicks my butt in the numbers every week. I know he has more to lose than I do, but seeing him double my weight loss each week is just plain irritating! But when I focus on me and my weight loss goals, instead of focusing on his and comparing mine, I find that I’m actually happy with my progress. In fact, knowing that I’m doing SOMETHING, all by itself, usually feels pretty good.
    -Slow carb is the only diet that’s worked for me to get me to my hard body goal. I can follow WW, but I’m super hungry. And, I know I’m not doing what’s best for my body. I rarely ate veggies there, just starved most of the day to get that piece of pizza each night. I feel better each day and, even if I’m not moving down on the scales that fast, I know I’m doing what’s right for me.

    So this is a lot, but just thought sharing could maybe help someone out. As for the baby stuff, I’m now four months post-baby and only about 10 pounds from pre-baby weight. The first few months I floated down because I was breast feeding and that burns a TON of extra calories. But then I learned how to eat that many calories each day and so now I’m back on slow carb. I feel great and the weight is coming off again! I’m excited to finally get my hard body!!

    • Luke says:

      Hi Sarah I really appreciate you sharing your experience, and I’ve had comments back from people that it’s so helpful to read other people’s experiences.

      Congrats on your pregnancy too by the way! When are you due?

      All the best,

  • Kish says:

    Hi and thanks for this blog. I’ve been doing the 4 hb with about 90% compliance for 4 weeks and while I’ve lost cms I’ve not lost anything on the scales. I’m 40 with hypothyroid so I expected slow results and I’m definitely pleased with the results but would love to see the scales move too. I’m not exercising or taking supps is this something I should introduce.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Kish,

      Weight is always secondary to your body shape changes, and how you feel. Weight in fact is not a great indicator of anything else, but weight. So you can lose fat, gain muscle, and weigh the same. You can lose fat, gain water (maybe high salt intake) and weight the same. The big changes are cms, how clothes fit, measurements around hips, thighs, arms, and also how you feel.
      A bit of exercise goes a long way. So think about 2 or 3 times a week, being able to do something that gets your heart rate up. But start gradually. Maybe only 20 mins per session as first, working up to 30 mins. Don’t go longer after that, go more intense.

      All the best,

  • Pat says:

    I am a 68-year old woman, sedentary, with 30 pounds to lose. Am in my 2nd week of the diet plan and lost 2.4 lb at the end of week 1. Noticed a wonderful bonus at the start of week 2 with a dramatic decrease of inflammation due to arthritis in my right hand. I started the diet eating 3 meals/day but was feeling extremely fatigued bythe afternoon of the third day so went to your helpful website and discovered I should be eating 4 meals/day (my son has done well on this diet and had been eating only 3 meals). Went to 4 meals/day and that took care of the problem but I can hardly gag down all that food. I am eating 3 oz of lean meat, 1 c. legumes and 1 cup of green, leafy vegetables/meal. Can I cut those amounts down as the day progresses. I definitely do not get hungry. And I drink 64-80 oz water/day. Thanks for your help.

    • Luke says:

      Hi Pat,

      Great to hear about your results. Especially the inflammation! This is a common benefit that isn’t mentioned a lot. If you’re having trouble with the volume of food, I suggest cutting down the beans by a little, and monitoring your energy levels. It can take a few weeks to adjust to this kind of food, and in fact over a period of months your body can get better at using fat for energy, which can help you feel more energy through the day.

      Let me know how you’re doing, I’m glad to hear you got started so successfully!


  • Tisha says:

    Hi! So I have to start off my saying that a year ago I was pushing 165lbs, at 5’2″. My boyfriend’s and deployed, and I wanted him to come back to a better looking significant other. During April, with a variation of Atkins, calorie counting, very little exercise, and just better eating in general, I was able to get down to 130lbs in less than two months. Summer came and traveled and ate out alot and I continued to eat just like him for the last few months (very unhealthy), and he didn’t gain a pound unlike me.

    Last week he agreed to start the slow carb diet with me, so that it would be easier for me to keep with it. It’s been less than a week on the diet, and I’ve already gone from 147lbs to 143lbs. And we’ve even had a little fruit with breakfast, even though I know that’s a total no-no.

    What else can I do to increase my weightloss? I wanted to lose 10lbs before Halloween, but I realize that might unrealistic in 14 days.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Tisha,

      Sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply quicker. Happy Halloween! How close are you to your goal? Remember that if you’re going to measure your results by how great you look, then forget about your weight. They aren’t as connected as most people (and the media) believe. Realistically, things you could do to look even better include getting in the gym and doing some resistance training – that’ll add some muscle, meaning a great shape to your muscles, and you’ll probably lose a bit of fat too. It’s much easier to lose fat if you’re really pushing yourself with weights. Maybe include 1 or 2 short, higher intensity bike sessions too, or rowing machine. Building muscle is a key that isn’t always talked about with fat loss. But your body is made up, basically, of bones, fat, muscle and water. And so much focus goes on losing fat, but that assumes you have a good amount of muscle, which most people could stand to add to. Muscle is a great insurance policy for good health, and a happy long life of activity and feeling/looking great!

      All the best,

  • Donna Harris says:

    I’m 47 and I’ve been doing this for 7 weeks today. I did some experimenting with my body and found I had to cut back on the beans and my meat alittle before I started to loose weight. I don’t go by the scale just how I look and how my clothes fit. I’m down almost 2 pants sizes and my shirts are really big. I think the cheat days are important. I seem to loose more when I have them.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Donna,
      Thanks for writing. How have you been doing lately? Congrats on your progress so far!! That’s interesting about the beans and meat – for some people having a little more fat and less carbohydrates (in the beans) will work better – it’s an individual thing!
      Your comment about the cheat days is really interesting – from people I’ve worked with, this also seems to be the case. Regulating certain hormones by having a cheat day can definitely help fat loss continue at a good rate.
      All the best!

  • Pah says:

    Fat on thighs! I can’t get shed any fat on my upper thighs with slow-carb – i’ve been going strong for a year and half now. Any advice? Love your blog.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Pah,

      Good on you for keeping it up for a year! Would you say you’re close to your goal weight at the moment?
      Fat distribution is an interesting question – its different for different people, but also there are common hallmarks between men and women. In fact, there’s evidence that shows fat distribution is hormone-related, and so it changes as we age, and if a woman is pregnant.

      As for advice, my recommendation is to keep up the good work, and if you haven’t yet, to incorporate some resistance (weights) training, and some interval workouts, where you are challenged to a high degree in short bursts. Fat loss is usually not linear week to week, or linear across the body. That means one week some may be lost from the arms, the next week, from the belly. Most people have a ‘last place’ that seems to have more fat than the rest, and that’s totally normal. If you’re looking to cut down every area, you might need to continue to lose fat down to quite a low percentage – perhaps 15-17% bodyfat for women, to see that ‘last place’ actually change significantly. For men, it might be the belly – men can have very trim arms and legs, but still have no abs showing.

      I hope this helps you out.

      All the best,

      • Pah says:

        thanks so much for the reply luke. I’ll definitely start incorporating interval workouts in my plan, I will keep you posted!

  • RedMolly says:

    Hi, I love this site and hope you can help me with this question. I’ve been following slow-carb strictly for over a year. I lost 35 lbs in six months and was looking forward to losing my next 30 lbs when my weight loss abruptly stopped. I’ve tried drinking more water, increasing protein, cutting out diet soda (which just about killed me ;) and nothing has made any difference. At this point, i feel like I’m using all my strength to stay in the exact same place. I don’t know why it worked so well at first and then stopped working…could it be my age/ menopause? (I’m 55) if you have any suggestions to start up my progress again, i would be so grateful! Many thanks.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Molly, thanks for your question.
      That definitely sounds like a frustrating result, but with a great start of course.
      I’m interested to know – were there any other lifestyle changes that happened around that time? Fat loss can be affected by sleep, stress, life changes too. If this isn’t the case, a suggestion I have is to start working on building some muscle, because this can really help fat loss take off. Try doing some weights, or taking some classes where you’re challenged so your muscles ache the next day. That is a good sign that there’s some new muscle being built.

      All the best,

  • Babette says:


    I have always had a really high metabolism, and have never really struggled with my weight until I started a new career in March of last year as an Account Rep for a large corporation. I spend one day in the office a week and the rest of it is spent behind the wheel of my car. That, coupled with the fact that I am quickly approaching 30 and quickly losing my once fast metabolism, I found that i had gained about 40 pounds in less than a year! It was shocking to me to realize how much I’d gained. When I saw that I was officially 6 pounds overweight, I decided something had to change. I started the slow carb diet 4 weeks ago (as of tomorrow), and like many I’ve heard, I quickly lost 6 pounds but then completely stalled.

    I have tried really hard to follow it to a T, but unfortunately I have an extremely busy life. This has made it very difficult to always follow it. I do well enough when it’s just me at lunch (I eat a lot of salads at Chipotle!), but I have a lot of business lunches and dinner receptions (probably another factor with my weight gain). Sometimes I am able to find items in the catered lunches that suit the diet, but other times I have no choice but to eat what is there otherwise I’ll go hungry. Generally when I have moments like this I will rearrange my cheat day (which isn’t as satisfying, mind you! I love making lists of things I miss so I can go nuts on cheat day, doing it this way makes me feel like I don’t get that emotional relief that comes with cheat day, ya know?) so that I am not completely thrown off. The other side to it is trying to find the time to eat 4 meals a day. I barely have time for lunch sometimes!

    I picked slow carb because there is no routine to my world. I don’t always have time to work out as I often work late at night. When I leave my house in the mornings, I have no idea what time I’ll be home that night. But I am finding that even a simple diet such as slow carb is becoming more and more difficult with my lifestyle and career. I try to bring items with me in the mornings such as hard boiled eggs and sliced veggies so that I can try to eat more throughout the day, but sometimes I have to fly out the door and don’t always have time. If I don’t at least snack in the day, I find that by the time I get home I’m starving!

    It’s becoming extremely disheartening and I found myself today determined to ween myself off the diet. But then I decided to do more research to see if anyone else has had similar experiences, and I stumbled upon this. I was wondering if you might have any advice to offer someone like me?

    • Luke says:

      Hi Babette,

      Sorry to hear that its been challenging for you so far and the results haven’t come so quickly. In reality, the truth of your situation is that you aren’t in control of some critical aspects of your day, or that you find it very difficult to control those factors. In general, the things that are very important for success with any positive lifestyle change are:
      - control over eating time
      - control over food selection
      - ample food supply

      It sounds like in fact you don’t have any of the above 3 really going in a steady way for you. If you’re flying out the door in the morning, and have no idea when you’ll be home, in reality you need to have 3 packed meals with you, so that you’re covered for the whole day, no matter how late it goes. The upside of this is you’ll probably be more productive.
      If you’re not able to even eating during the day, I’d suggest that a more simple set of changes could make a big impact. My suggestion for anyone who has difficulties reliably getting the ingredients for slow carb, due to travel or work commitments, etc, is that the alternative to following a very limited food selection is to be more educated on food selection, and have knowledge to use, so you can make easy decisions on the fly. I’d almost guarantee that there are options at lunches and evening gatherings, but it’s hard to make selections when you’re not sure how to choose. It’s true this may take a little bit of time up front, but the knowledge is the kind of information you can use for a lifetime. If you’re interested, I create a video course for people just like you, who either are getting started with slow carb, or looking to extend beyond those boundaries and still easily manage their weight. The first few videos give you a solid foundation in all this, and they’re free. You can check them out at Hope you don’t mind me mentioning this but literally, this course was created because I wanted to be able to coach more people than I had time to coach.

      All the very best – don’t give up hope! You can certainly manage your weight, and your career doesn’t have to be a game-ender for having a body that you’re happy and comfortable in.

  • Carrie says:

    this is so encouraging to read these posts. I will stick with this because of reading these. It seems weight is not coming off as fast as I’d like. Thank you! And it’s also impressive at how committed Luke is to helping people. Thanks for always getting back to each person. What a blessing to have a great option to get healthy and be supported!

    • Luke says:

      Good for you Carrie! And thanks for your kind words. Let me know how you’re doing!

      • Carrie says:

        I’m doing great… I really liked the slow carb diet but found i couldn’t tolerate the gas! So I decided to go paleo and I like it for the same reasons… I love that I don’t have to worry about snacks and I’m not preoccupied with food and getting grumpy anymore. So I feel like the Slow carb diet helped me to step in the right direction for myself just wasn’t quite right for me. And every person is different. I know the slow carb diet works for many many people which is awesome. I’m currently doing a WHOLE30.

        • Luke Starbuck says:

          Hey Carrie, stoked that paleo is working out for you!
          Every one is different, and slow carb can often be the start of a change in path that leads somewhere unique. I’m really glad it helped you out.
          All the best,

  • SJ says:

    I started the diet last month and was on it for 12 days(I got off because i took a road trip and had limited access to the slow carb foods). I found the diet to be easy to stick to but noticed a significant decrease in my trips to the bathroom-that cannot be good. I know that elimination is an important part of weight loss. I’d like to start the diet again but do not want to have that issue. for those who have experienced this, what did you do?

    • Luke says:

      Hey SJ,

      Thanks for your comment.
      You might like to try including a bit more fat, on purpose. So, some olive oil, butter or ghee are good examples. Also increase hydration. You also might like to start easy with the beans in the first few days, and ease into having so much fiber. Your body will get used to it after a while.

      All the best!

  • Kristin says:

    First, thank you for all of your information. I am a breast feeding mother of a five month old. Any comments or information regarding how this will impact weight loss. my inclination is to continue with the diet as long as I am taking in adequate calories, i will produce milk. Do you have any other information.

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hi Kristin,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t have too much information, and in fact a lot of lifestyle changes or diets are contra-indicated for breast feeding, meaning that they aren’t recommended. Generally however I think that’s because there’s been less studies on the effects of diets and lifestyles on milk production, and nutrient content.
      Focus on eating a great balance of healthy whole foods and I think you’ll be doing well, but I can’t specifically recommend anything.

      All the best,

  • Renchux says:

    Hey, I’m 30, and struggling with weight loss on 4hb currently. First time I tried it, I had just had my first child and wanted to lose 20 lb to my pre-pregnancy weight of 125 lb. I had great success and lost more than I expected – down to 123 lb. then I got pregnant again and after the second baby I tried the diet and had some success. I plateaued at 130+lb and am not happy with the way my body looks – too much visible fat, especially around my waist. I tried a different diet – much stricter on calorie consumption and based on going in ketosis and lost fat and reached my goal only to gain it back the next day on a cheat day and not being able to recover from it. I had also exercised hiit on a regular basis 2-5 x week. Always feeling hungry and scared to cheat, I decided to do the 4hb diet again. hoping to get better results if I stick with it for the long run. I’m currently 10 lb away from my goal and in my first week back on 4hb and maintaining the weight. no longer starving and looking forward to my cheat day, but hoping I won’t just keep adding to my weight on this plan. has anyone else had problems losing fat after pregnancies on this diet?

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey thanks for your comment.
      It’s likely that the low calorie, keto diet in fact just burned out the glycogen in your muscles and liver, and the water that is stored with it. That would account for around 3-5lbs for someone of your size. I’d love to hear how you’re doing? It sounds like slow carb is a winner for you!
      I haven’t coached anyone who is post-pregnancy (within a couple years at least), however I suggest keeping at it. Make adjustments along the way to find what works best for you. You might also like to trade some HIIT workouts for some weights. 2x Weights and 1x HIIT could yield really great results week after week.
      All the best,

  • Vanessa Stone says:

    Thank you for this article. I have been doing the slow carb diet since April 1st of this year. Over the first three weeks, I lost eight pounds. the past three weeks I haven’t seen my weight drop in lbs, instead, I have been holding steady at 126 lbs at 5’2″, though, I have seen a decrease in overall bodyfat of about 1%. I am currently 22.0% body fat with a goal of 19%-20% body fat. I only need to lose five to ten more pounds, which is why I think I haven’t been seeing lower numbers on the scale. I have been worried that I had been doing something wrong, but I am going to keep sticking with it. any advice for those last five to ten pounds would be helpful. I’m not sure if I need more exercise or to limit my cheat day to a cheat meal. Or perhaps both.

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      HI Vanessa,

      Thanks for your comment.
      Let me know how you’re doing at the moment! It sounds like you were losing fat and gaining muscle, which will effectively reduce your bodyfat %, and in fact gaining muscle will have you looking even better than just losing the fat alone will. I’d suggest a bit of intense exercise, and keep at least a big cheat meal every week, and you should see further losses of fat, and gains in muscle.

      All the best,

  • Jamie says:

    I’m a gym rat who was around 17% bodyfat and happy as a clam until two years ago. Went through menopause and a very stressful time, drank too much wine, and have gained 10 pounds. Started the four hour body even though I actually do fine on extremely low carbs, even with my workout schedule. (weights 5-6 days per week, walking the dog 5 miles per day) But I thought perhaps I had damaged my metabolism from working out so hard with few carbs ( I have always eaten more on weekends, though) ; thus the experiment. Two weeks, haven’t lost anything. Have been strict with the eating, even ditching my beloved half and half in my coffee. Still struggling to do red wine instead of dry white 6 days per week and not drink wine at lunch on Fridays. Question: Because my body is so used to extensive weight training, can I keep doing that? Is the dry white wine okay 6 days per week? Also, if I wasn’t losing weight on approximately 1600 calories with very low carbs, then more calories on the weekend, how should I expect to increase carbs (via the beans) and lose weight now? thanks!

  • Grace says:

    I am on day 4 of the slow-carb diet and, I think if I got through yesterday, I can get through anything. I unknowingly started the diet the same week that my pms kicked in, so in addition to regular monthly cravings and irritability, I had the cravings and irritability that go along with carb withdrawal. Yesterday was the worst. I wanted to quit but I made it through the day without going to Dunkin Donuts and ordering the entire menu. Today I am actually feeling great and hoping that I continue to feel this way.

    My main problem is that I have not been able to sleep since starting the diet. I am hoping it’s not the red wine, because that is all I have to look forward to after dinner since I can’t have dessert. Last night I tried melatonin, and it did help me fall asleep but I woke up all night, and felt really strange in the morning. I am not going to try that again.

    I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced trouble sleeping at the beginning?

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Grace,
      This site was actually constructed as a result of not sleeping. I found that 6 hours was adequate and chalked it up to higher quality sleep. It doesn’t sound like this is the case for you, however.

      You are probably waking up due to hunger. Try 2 tablespoons of almond butter right before bed, and see how you do. Red wine can affect some people’s sleeping patterns, so experimenting with changes to that is worth considering too. Avoid melatonin unless you’ve recently switched timezones – it’s best to adjust hormone timing, not to induce sleep in your regular timezone.

      All the best,

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