Have you witnessed a weight loss plateau in the last few days or weeks of dieting? While the pounds seem to drop easily initially, the scale is reluctant to show any further change?
Then you might have hit a weight loss plateau. In this article we’ll explore what are the various reasons that might lead to stalling of weight loss or even lead to weight gain even if you (think you) are doing everything “right”.
Reasons you may hit a weight loss plateau in Keto:
1. You’re Eating Excess Calories:
Even though you are sticking strictly to the Keto-approved food list, if you eat more calories than what you need you are bound to gain weight. Find out what your daily macro requirement is (here) and then eat calories less than that to lose weight no matter which diet you follow.
Keto is a diet that allows you to burn the extra fat in your body quicker by modifying the body’s metabolism. In the sense that it requires you to restrict carb intake the body to force the body to burn fat cells (and ketones) for energy.
Now, these excess calories could be coming from any source. Some of these might seem harmless but they might be packing in more calories than you expect.
- Excess Carb: You maybe eating excess amount of fruits, nuts or yogurt. Or, you might be eating excess amount of low carb veggies. Some veggies might be low on carbs but if you overeat them, it doesn’t make a difference.
- Excess Protein: If you are overeating protein, around 2 grams per kilogram of your lean body mass, then it can have the same effect on blood glucose as excess carbohydrates. Yes, protein consumption is encourage in the first few weeks of starting Keto diet to avoid muscle loss, but eventually the body learns to run on ketones and thus any excess protein simply gets converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis.
- Excess Fats: If you have included MCT oils or coconut oil, which is highly encourage in Keto, your body might be burning the wrong fat for energy. The medium chain triglycerides in these oils are not meant to be stored and are thus used by the body first for energy. Note that the target is to burn stored fat not otherwise.
In any case, if you have witnessed weight loss plateau then you need to control your calorie consumption. Sticking to Keto food list is good but you need to limit portion sizes as well.
2. You’re Not Exercising Correctly:
Exercise is critical to Keto, especially to burn the excess glycogen stores in the liver. Read more about the importance of exercise in Ketogenic diet here.
However, if you are relying on steady-state cardio to get your exercise, then you might a bump. These exercise are ineffective to long-term weight loss as they might lead to decreasing your resting metabolic rate.
Instead, try to engage in high intensity interval training or heavy weight-lifting for better results. Or, mix up cardio and HIIT, by doing each 2-3 times a week.
3. You’re Exercising Too Much:
Another problem with exercising is that if you do too much off it you might impede weight loss.
In a study conducted in 1988 by Dr. Steve Phinney, it was found that exercising for more than just 1 hour a day reduced the resting metabolic rate of the individual by more than 15%.
So, ensure you give your body the necessary rest every now and then. Preferably, give yourself at least a day or two’s rest in a week.
4. You Keep Taking Frequent Cheat Days:
Yes, it is allowed for you to take a few cheat days to avoid excessive temptations for your favorite foods leading to over-eating. Or, maybe your friends pulled you to a party and after a few drinks you couldn’t give a care about what you were eating.
This is understandable if it happens once in a while. But, if this is repeated occurrence, especially during your initial days of dieting, then you’ll never get ketosis to do its magic.
It might take you a good 1-2 weeks to get into full-fledged ketosis. If you drop the ball in between, you have start from the beginning.
5. You Lack Accountability:
Losing weight requires dedication and consistency. Creating diet charts, maintaining eating schedule, following exercise routines, and managing hunger pangs. If you are really motivated, then you need to maintain accountability to these requirements.
If you do not create documented goals, and rely solely on your memory, there is strong chance that you’ll give into your temptations every now and then. This means you’ll keep dropping of the rails than required. Result? No result.
So, create a strong accountability towards yourself. Prepare daily worksheets and follow them to the T. Your success and weight loss is guaranteed. Believe me, once you get to the other side, you’ll only appreciate the journey!
6. You Lost Intense Weight Recently:
In some cases, it has been found that if you recently lost intense weight then your body takes a while to adjust to the new weight. So, it retains water to create extra weight before slowly accepting the new weight. However, after a short burst it lets go off the excess weight.
We have had clients who have noticed a sudden drop of 5 pounds or more in a couple of days after hitting a plateau. So hold on, your body is probably recovering.
7. Your Meal Plan isn’t Working:
There are two notions on meal plans for Keto. Some prefer multiple mini-meals throughout the day (say 5 mini-meals in 10 hours) while some recommend a 16:8 intermittent fasting while on Keto. Of course, some also continue to do the usual three meals a day.
While, all meal plans are perfectly good and effective, your body might favor one over the other. So, if you are witnessing a plateau quite early on to the diet or if you recently changed your meal plan, then it might not be suiting you.
Try going back to your usual meal routine or experiment with the other two meal plans.
8. You Have Some Sort of Food Sensitivity:
If you are not doing any of the above things but still witnessing weight loss, it could be that your body is sensitive to some type of food group. For example, I’m personally sensitive to dairy products. It stalls weight loss for me and even leads to a few extra pounds.
I have heard other clients mention that they are sensitive to heavy-protein such as seafood or vegetables such as onions. Find out what your body is sensitive to and work towards fixing it.
So, if your dream-run on the weighing scale has ended or you are just not witnessing the radical change you noticed in the first few weeks, it doesn’t mean it is the end of the line for you. Relax. Try to identify what is causing the stagnation and work on it.
Keto works. There’s no doubt about that. So, instead of falling off the wagon completely, fix your way back to enjoy its miraculous benefits throughout your life.
Also, we cannot stress this enough but drink lots of water and consume ample micro-nutrients. Take supplements for micro-nutrients, if required. These two elements are important to keep you healthy and going. The benefits will come.