The ketogenic diet is known for its quick weight loss effects. And this is not a lie. Many folks experience an initial quick weight loss. It is one of the reasons so many people decide to check it out. Some people are looking for a quick fix. While I applaud ANYONE who makes intentional changes to their diet and lifestyle, I do caution folks who try to use this beautiful way of eating simply for a quick fix. The weight will return as soon as you return to SAD (Standard American Diet.)
After the initial weight loss of sometimes even 10 lbs the first week, things settle down. Most folks settle into a few weeks of 1-3 lbs of weight loss, and are happy with that. Some become easily frustrated that they do not continue losing 10lbs a week- those folks need to readjust their expectations! But, most of us are reasonable, and know this will take time and we are ok with that and ok with our 1-3lb weekly weight loss. But then all of a sudden, things begin to stall. A week or 2 or 3 passes and NOTHING. What gives? I hear "I'm eating no sugar and eating low carb and I haven't lost ANYTHING in 2 weeks." It is enough to make people want to bail. It is super frustrating and I wanted to address those concerns.
The first thing to remember is that a weight loss stall or plateau is to be expected. Most gurus say that it is technically not a true plateau until there is no weight loss for as long as 6 weeks! No one likes to hear that. But hear it! Keep plugging away. Many experience nothing for a week or 2 and then, as if by magic, they lose 4 lbs the next week. Poof. So stay the course! But *if* you see the weeks go by and truly NOTHING is happening, it might be time to reassess your game plan.
I am going to quickly list a few things that have caused many people to stall. Now, many of these ARE low carb foods and can be enjoyed on a ketogenic way of eating. But, some people report that by cutting these out, it helped them break through their stall.
1) Dairy. High fat dairy in the form of cheese, heavy whipping cream, sour cream and cream cheese is delicious and low in carbs. I started my journey with these foods in heavy rotation. And I lost lots of fat eating them. Until I didn't anymore. Some folks eat dairy liberally because it is so freaking delicious! But, it IS very high in calories. And while I am not a calorie counter and I believe calories play only a minor role in overall weight loss- they still count to an extent. If YOU are stalled, try cutting back on dairy. Also, dairy can be inflammatory and this alone can cause a stall. Most people become VERY defensive and don't want to give it up. I get it. You've given up sugar and feel like dairy is the one thing that keeps you on board with this way of eating. I empathize, and it is hard. Like with everything, it is always YOUR choice. I am just offering information!
2) Nuts. Nuts can cause a stall. Nuts may be easier to remove than dairy for most. And there are a lot of reports that removing nuts helped people to break through their stall. Give it a shot.
3) Falling out of the habit of tracking macros. Many people begin tracking macros initially when first starting a ketogenic way of eating. Then they get it, they learn what they can and can't eat and know what foods to eat and which to avoid. So they stop tracking. And the carb creep happens! Go back to tracking your macros and see if you are really staying under 20g carbs.
4) Counting NET carbs instead of total. As you move closer to your goal, you may experience a stall due to counting NET carbs instead of total. Many people break through by counting TOTAL carbs and staying under 20g.
5) Keto approved sweeteners. Many folks love that they can have a sweet taste using natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols. And many do just fine with these. It is a good way to begin this lifestyle as we are all trying to get off our sugar addiction. As we continue along, it is a good idea to save these sweeteners for special occasions and not daily use. There are reports that in *some* people, these keto approved sweeteners can cause an insulin spike. There is no way to know if you personally are one of the unlucky ones who experiences the insulin spike from stevia, monkfruit and other keto sweeteners. Try limiting them and see what happens.
6) Medications. There are many meds that can block weight loss. Did you start any new meds? Check the side effects. Anti anxiety and depression meds often have these side effects. I have recently learned that antihistamines can lose cause blood sugar and insulin responses. So take an inventory of what you are putting into your body and see if there is anything you are taking that may be sabotaging your efforts.
7) Homeostasis. Homeostasis is defined as: any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability. Listen folks, our bodies do NOT want to lose weight! We want to, our body doesn't. Looking at it from an evolutionary lens, this is a crisis! If we keep on losing weight, where is the end? Will we lose so much that we will eventually die? Our bodies are designed to employ mechanisms to COUNTER weight loss. It was a mechanism that developed over millions of years to keep the human race alive. And here we are in 2021 trying to achieve the opposite! So just be aware that our bodies want to achieve homeostasis. It is not a bad thing, just a biological reality. So, with that being said and understood, what can we do? Well, we can shake things up a bit. Try adding some new light exercise. Try exercising at a different time. Try eating more for a few days, then less for a few. Try everything listed above! Make a change. Mix it up, keep your body guessing! There was a recent study done showing that folks who stayed consistent on keto diet lost LESS weight than those who added in an "UP" week every 2 weeks. Meaning, they purposely ate more food for a week and then dropped it back down the following week. Kinda kicks the CICO (calories in calories out) in the ass. Mixing things up can be a good thing.
If you try some or all of these and nothing works, please consider reaching out to a qualified health coach who will work with you to uncover what might be holding you back. It may be something simple. A health coach takes the time to really dig deep and look at the big picture. Nothing matters if your health is poor. Take the steps necessary to really get yourself to your optimal place. You matter. No one is beyond help or hope or a lost cause. I can help you find your way. You can.
~ The Carb Recovery Coach™