What It Feels Like When I Lose Weight

One quick look at my progress and you’ll see that my weight loss is not linear (first 1/3 of the chart notwithstanding).  In fact, if you look closely enough, you’ll see that I tend to gain weight, or “spike”, right before I drop again.  This drop, or what Lyle McDonald calls a “whoosh“, has a distinct feeling that I’ll get to below. But first, a pretty graph and a few notes about how things work when I’m not losing.

Weight loss progress on a low-carb, ketogenic diet
Progress May 9, 2012.

I weigh every day. Usually twice.  In the mornings, I weigh right after getting up and evacuating. This tends to provide some consistency when measuring a system that fluctuates a surprising amount from day to day, not to mention throughout the day. When I weigh in the morning after waking and flushing, I figure I’m going to be weighing myself at my lightest every day.

I also weigh in the evening, usually when I return from work.  Sometimes before bed.  I don’t record these numbers anymore (though I spent at least half a year doing so). When I’m not losing weight, there is an unmistakable trend to the readings on the scale: in the evenings I’ll weigh 1 to 4 pounds more than I did in the morning. I suspect that the king’s share of that is water weight, and the remainder is composed of the food I’ve consumed (and have not passed or combusted).

So this is how the majority of days go.  Weigh in the morning, and see a gain in the evening. The next day hopefully I’m down a bit more than I was at the same time the previous day. Put enough of such days together and you start to see gradual progress.  But sometimes it goes the other way: sometimes I start gaining, without an appreciable change in my eating patterns.

I’ve grown to accept these times, as they usually precede a whoosh of increased rate of weight loss.  Since I’m going through one of these now, I’m cognizant of some of the unique sensations that accompany such a phase: namely, general warmth, light perspiration, and frequent urination.

General Warmth (Thermogenesis)

This is a hard one to describe if you haven’t gone through it…but the closest I can liken it to that warm glow of brandy, except it’s kind of all over your body and not as pronounced.  It’s not a hot feeling, per se. It’s just warm.  No matter how cool my immediate environment, when I’m experiencing this, I have the distinct sensation that I should have worn lighter clothes for the day.

Mild Perspiration

This is kind of an interesting one, as I had expected that it would typically accompany general warmth (described above). However, the two things seem to be largely independent: I can have the mild perspiration experience regardless of how warm or cool I feel.

The sensation is nothing at all like sweating. We’re not talking rivers of sweat, nor sweating severe enough to leave pit stains. It just feels like there’s a continual (though very minor) perspiration, usually localized to my back.  I have the slight sensation of of perspiring when it is happening, and when I get home and change out of my clothing, there is a very slight sensation of dampness when I handle my shirt.

Frequent Urination

Yeah, it might be TMI…but it’s pretty much what it sounds like.  For me, it’s usually once per hour (sometimes more).  When going that frequently, I’m always surprised at the volume of liquid available to excrete, as I seem to produce much more than could be accounted for by what I’m ingesting that day.

Achy Muscles (Myalgia)

This is an unexpected one, but it feels kind of like I’m recovering from a workout. I especially feel it in my quadriceps, calves and hamstrings. Don’t really feel anything in my back, chest or arms. This usually comes at the start of a whoosh and then fades away.

While I’ve heard others report experiences similar to the others, I haven’t heard anyone mention this. So if you’ve had this too, please pipe up in the comments!


While whooshes are accompanied by the effects described above, I should say that they are each transient sensations during a whoosh.  By that I mean, I don’t experience all three all the time, during a whoosh. In fact, there are periods of time when I am not experiencing any of these things.  I find this kind of surprising, given perspiration’s role of cooling through evaporative transpiration, I would have assumed it came as an adjunct of the warm-glowey feeling. At any rate, the most persistent thing appears to be frequent urination.

Daily Losses

If the slow, gradual weight loss is measured by tenths of a pound a day, or no loss at all (or gains, if I’m in a spike), weight loss during a whoosh can be quite dramatic: I’ve measured 4+lbs difference, day over day on more than one occasion…though admittedly, I only get one of those per whoosh.

4 Responses to “What It Feels Like When I Lose Weight”

  1. icelove

    i know i reply kinda late but its exactly the symptoms i had on a 3 kg whoosh i had and the symptoms was too agreesive also that made me so scard …. i dint knwo what was happening i went to doctors and had panic attacks now i am cose to another whoosh but cause itrack every food i eat and my activity in logs i am calm 😀 and waiting the miracle to occur 😀

  2. Alyssa

    Wow. Thank you! I’m lying in bed with the fan on and its just above freezing outside. Major muscle aching… I have fibromyalgia, but this is ‘Different’. Lost 10lbs in the first week and 2 in the 2nd week. Past 5weeks up and down the same 7lbs. Really hoping for a whoosh!

  3. Jennifer Ozuna

    I’m guessing the achiness comes from frequent urination and your electrolyte level being down


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