If you have been eating low carb but you’re not losing weight, or not experiencing the success you expected, you’ll want to read this.
First, YOU ARE NOT ALONE…
This topic arose out of several discussions in the low carb group.
There are quite a few people struggling, and through those conversations I’ve narrowed it down to four possible culprits that may be causing your weight loss stall (or EEK!! – weight gain). This may just be the one thing you read that turns everything around for you, starting today! 😀
4 Reasons You May Not Be Losing Weight Eating Low Carb
I encourage you to read all four points and everything on this page, start to end, as there may be more than one issue causing your stall – or your personal frustration with the low carb diet…
1. Are You Tracking Your Carbs & Fat/Protein Ratios Properly?
First, make sure you are tracking your meals properly. I highly recommend you use MyFitnessPal with this Net Carb Hack. It’s very easy to set up, and so many people who were struggling found it VERY eye opening (myself included!).
If you’re just “eyeballing it” or writing down your carbs on paper, you’re not getting the whole picture. It’s VERY easy for carbs to creep up on you or into your diet.
Everyone I know that started tracking was shocked at what they thought was accurate vs what they discovered via tracking. 😉
Tracking is GREAT for personal accountability. It forces you to be more conscious of every single thing you put in your mouth. It’s also a great way to keep up with your weight loss progress, track your fat & protein ratios, and keep an eye on your calories.
Potential culprits include: carb creep, eating too much protein, not eating enough healthy fats (eating too lean), not eating enough (calories too low), or perhaps needing to lower your calories. We don’t usually watch calories on a low carb diet, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on your overall stats when you’re trying to determine what may be affecting your weight loss.
The most common culprit though is your fat/protein ratio…
There is a science to the way a low carb diet works, and healthy fats are critical. When you eat super low carb, you go into ketosis where your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs/sugar. If you eat too lean, your weight loss WILL STALL as your body won’t know what to burn for energy.
* Your goal is 20 net carbs per day (max), with at least 70% of your daily calories coming from healthy fats.
2. Your Body Is Adjusting. Don’t Do Anything Drastic!
When you first start eating low carb, or get back on track, you generally experience great weight loss in the first week or two. It’s very common to experience a brief “hold”, or even slight fluctuations on the scale, after this initial weight loss.
THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL. It’s your body adjusting.
This “stall” usually happens during week two or week three. Unfortunately this is when most people sabotage their diet. You might get discouraged after a few days of not seeing the scales move, and decide “screw it” and just eat whatever you want.
Or you might try something drastic like lowering your calories, doing an egg fast, etc to try to get the scales moving again. That is NOT recommended…
Instead, wait it out! Keep doing what was obviously working the first week or two when you were losing weight easily. 😉
3. Common Culprits That Stall Weight Loss
Common “stall” culprits include: cheese, cream cheese, artificial sweeteners, sugar free & processed foods, bars & shakes, and complicated recipes. When you are tracking closely it’s easy to look back over your daily journals and see what you may be doing differently that could be causing your weight loss progress to stall.
Note: Cheese is low carb, but you should only eat 4 ounces a day max.
My advice: go back to simple, whole foods. Stick to meat & greens with plenty of healthy fats. Make healthy “real food” choices. Here’s an example of a simple low carb dinner. Pecan halves make a great snack, and they are easy to grab ‘n go. 1/3 cup of pecans is a great replacement for a bar or shake. See: 3IMAX
You should be getting 12-15 net carbs a day in low carb vegetables.
If you are making complex multi-ingredient recipes, make sure you are tracking every single ingredient AND portions/servings. You can do this easily using the Recipe Calculator in MyFitnessPal.
4. Don’t Compare Your Weight Loss To Other People’s Results
Don’t compare yourself to others. This is a surefire way to get yourself discouraged! People who have more weight to lose will lose faster than someone who doesn’t. For example, someone that needs to lose 200 pounds may lose 20 pounds the first month, where someone who needs to lose 20 pounds may lose 4 pounds the first month.
Those last 20-40 pounds are the hardest to lose, by the way! 😛
There are many other variables at play too, such as how big a lifestyle change it was for one person over another. Let’s say one person quit drinking sodas when they started the low carb diet. They will lose a lot of weight upfront, compared to someone that didn’t drink soda at all to begin with.
Men lose weight faster than women. Younger people lose weight faster. First-time low-carbers lose weight faster. Yo-Yo Dieters will lose weight slower in the beginning.
Your body and lifestyle are unique to you, and your weight loss journey is yours. Variables include age, medications, health issues, lifestyle, stress levels, etc.
Focus On Making A Healthy Lifestyle Change
Scale fluctuations and brief “stalls” are totally normal on your weight loss journey. The key is to eat healthy not just for “instant gratification” (ie, fast weight loss) but also as a means of reaping ALL of the health benefits of a healthy low carb / ketogenic diet.
This includes your heart health, controlling diabetes, reducing or eliminating arthritis and fibromyalgia symptoms, controlling your blood sugar, etc.
Keep your goal in mind, and commit to a healthy lifestyle change that will naturally take the weight off your body over time.
You may lose inches even when the scales say you’re not losing pounds.
You should measure yourself and track your progress in both inches AND pounds. There have been amazing stories from people that lost several sizes and many inches – without seeing a noticeable difference on the scale. Crazy but true!
Speaking of scales…
Are You Weighing Yourself Properly?
Your weight will fluctuate five pounds or more throughout a single day. You should always weigh yourself at the same time of day, on the same scales, wearing the same amount of clothes (or none). The ideal time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning after you pee. This is the only way to get an accurate reading.
(This is why you always weigh more at the doctor’s office. 😉 )
They now include a FREE EatSmart Body Tape Measure with their scale:
I absolutely LOVE my EatSmart Digital Scale! 😀
If you already have a great scale, make sure you also have a way to measure. I already had the Eatsmart scale before they started including a free body tape measure so I just ordered the Fit & Fresh Body Tape Measure, Locking Pin and Push-Button Retraction from Amazon this week myself.
It’s inexpensive, and an easy way to take your own body measurements (without needing an extra hand to hold the tape or look at the numbers!).
There is a place in MyFitnessPal to log your measurements as well as your weight loss. It’s the “Check In” link.
Tracking your foods, drinks, pounds lost AND inches lost in MFP is a great way to keep close track of your overall weight loss journey. You’ll feel GREAT seeing the progress you’re making, and being IN TOTAL CONTROL of your health!
One last note…
Spend your 20 net carbs each day VERY wisely. Consider what will have the highest nutritional value or be the healthiest food choices. 😉
I hope this helps you tweak your low carb diet to see better success.
If you have any questions, or want to share your personal experience on some of these points, leave a comment! I would love to hear from you. 🙂
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