When you do that, your hunger levels go down and you end up eating much fewer calories (1).

Now instead of burning carbs for energy, your body starts feeding off of stored fat.

Another benefit of cutting carbs is that it lowers insulin levels, causing your kidneys to shed excess sodium and water out of your body. This reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight (23).

It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds (sometimes more) in the first week of eating this way, both body fat and water weight.

This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight or obese women (4).

The low-carb group is eating until fullness, while the low-fat group is calorie-restricted and hungry.

Cut the carbs and you will start to eat fewer calories automatically and without hunger (5).

Put simply, cutting carbs puts fat loss on autopilot.

SUMMARYRemoving sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will reduce your appetite, lower your insulin levels and make you lose weight without hunger.

2. Eat Protein, Fat and Vegetables

Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables.

Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20–50 grams per day.

Protein Sources

  • Meat: Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood: Salmon, trout, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs with the yolk are best.

The importance of eating plenty of protein cannot be overstated.

This has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day (678).

High-protein diets can also reduce cravings and obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce the desire for late-night snacking by half, and make you so full that you automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day — just by adding protein to your diet (910).

When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Period.

Low-Carb Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Full list here.

Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20–50 net carbs per day.

A diet based mostly on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.

Fat Sources

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter

Eat 2–3 meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a 4th meal.

Don’t be afraid of eating fat, as trying to do both low-carb AND low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan.

To see how you can assemble your meals, check out this low-carb meal plan and this list of 101 healthy low-carb recipes.

SUMMARYAssemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables. This will put you in the 20–50 gram carb range and significantly lower your hunger levels.

3. Lift Weights 3 Times Per Week

You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended.

The best option is to go to the gym 3–4 times a week. Do a warm-up and lift some weights.

If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.

By lifting weights, you will burn lots of calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (1112).

Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat (13).

If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some cardio workouts like walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming will suffice.

SUMMARYIt is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts are also effective.

Optional — Do a “Carb Refeed” Once Per Week

You can take one day off per week where you eat more carbs. Many people prefer Saturday.

It is important to stick to healthy carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, etc.

But only this one higher carb day — if you start doing it more often than once per week you’re not going to see much success on this plan.

If you must have a cheat meal and eat something unhealthy, then do it on this day.

Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are NOT necessary, but they can boost some fat-burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones (1415).

You will gain some weight during your refeed day, but most of it will be water weight and you will lose it again in the next 1–2 days.

SUMMARYHaving one day each week where you eat more carbs is perfectly acceptable, although not necessary.

What About Calories and Portion Control?

It is NOT necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat and low-carb vegetables.

However, if you really want to count them, use this calculator.

Enter your details, and then pick the number from either the “Lose Weight” or the “Lose Weight Fast” section — depending on how fast you want to lose weight.

There are many great tools you can use to track the number of calories you are eating. Here is a list of 5 calorie counters that are free and easy to use.

The main goal of this plan is to keep carbs under 20–50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.

SUMMARYIt is not necessary to count calories to lose weight on this plan. It is most important to strictly keep your carbs in the 20–50 gram range.