Are you on a low-carb diet, but not losing weight?
Perhaps you lost some weight in the beginning but now the scale won’t budge?
This article will show you how to get that thing moving again.
Not Losing Weight on a Low Carb Diet?
I like low-carb diets.
I honestly think they are a strong weapon against some of the biggest health problems in the world.
That being said, we’re all unique and it doesn’t work for everyone.
Some people don’t like it, but most of those who give it an honest try do great. Most people even lose a lot of weight without restricting calories, at least in the beginning.
Then, after a few weeks/months, the dreaded plateau may show up. The weight “melted off” in the beginning but suddenly it has come to a grinding halt.
Here are a few suggestions for you to try if you’ve plateaued or aren’t getting the results you expected.
Weight Loss Isn’t a Linear Process
Our bodies are made up of many different tissues. The fat tissue under our skin and the large hunk of fat inside our abdomen are those that we are trying to get rid of.
However, our bodies are made up of 60% water (give or take) and other tissues such as muscle and bone also contribute to a significant portion of our total body weight.
If you’ve recently started exercising, then good chances are that you’re adding some muscle mass to your frame.
If you’re female, then your weight may fluctuate slightly according to your hormonal cycles.
Your weight may also be affected by what you ate yesterday, your hydration status, how long since you visited the toilet. All those things can cause minor fluctuations in body weight.
Therefore, even if the scale doesn’t budge a few days or even weeks, it doesn’t mean you’re not losing body fat.
How to Know if You’re Actually Stalling
The scale is a useful tool, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
What I recommend is to have your body fat measured once every month or so. You can also use a simple measuring tape to measure the circumference around your waist, arms and thighs.
A great idea is to also photograph yourself in the mirror every 2-4 weeks or so, without clothes. You might be surprised at the progress you’re making.
Some people don’t even use a scale. They go by how they feel, how they look and how their clothes fit.
Let’s Look at The Diet
Are you really eating low-carb? Does your diet consist of whole, natural foods? Are you “cheating” more often than you should?
These are all questions you should ask yourself.
If you want to make sure you’re actually eating within your carb range, then you can create a free account on Fitday and log your food intake for a few days.
If you’re eating more than a 100-150 grams per day, then this is likely what is causing your plateau.
There are some foods that can be problematic. Nuts and high-fat dairy products like cheese are generally acceptable, but they are still very high in calories and easy to overeat on.
If you’re eating nuts and/or cheese every day, between meals, in large amounts, then you should probably cut back and see if the weight doesn’t suddenly start moving again.
I’m personally not against potatoes and some healthy non-gluten grains from time to time, but to break through a weight loss plateau you might want to eat nothing but protein, fat and low-carb veggies for a while.
Cheat meals can be problematic. I’m not entirely against the occasional cheat meal if it is moderate and doesn’t make you go 5.000 calories over your expenditure for the day.
Try sticking to whole, natural carbs instead of junk food during your “cheat” meals. If that doesn’t work, skip the cheat meals altogether for a while.
When it comes down to it, weight loss is still a matter of calories. Again, try logging your food intake for a while to see how many carbs and calories you are taking in.
If they greatly exceed your requirements, then maybe you’re just eating too damn much.
Exercise – Are You Doing it?
What you eat is the most important aspect of losing weight. However, exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and can definitely support your ongoing process when eating healthy.
A combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise is best here. If you’re not lifting weights at least two times per week and going for regular walks, jogs, runs or whatever, then start.
If you’re completely sedentary, then you are (in my opinion) effectively broken. You’re not living life even close to your genetic potential. Get moving!
Is Your Lifestyle in Order?
The often ignored sleep and stress levels are very important.
You should get adequate sleep, every night. You should do your best to avoid any unnecessary stressors in your life, or simply change your attitude so that it doesn’t affect you so badly.
Poor sleep and stress can chronically elevate your cortisol levels, which is bad and can hinder your weight loss.
Try going to bed earlier, try meditating from time to time, go for walks, read a book instead of watching TV, try quietly drinking your cup of coffee while enjoying the moment instead of checking your facebook news feed.
Losing fat takes time. A pound per week is a reasonable goal. Two pounds per week is perhaps too ambitious for some people.
We’ve all heard stories of those people who lose a ridiculous amount of weight in a short amount of time.
100 pounds in a year? Wow, impressive, but this is the exception, not the norm.
When you get closer to your goal weight, losing those last pounds becomes multiples times harder. Those last few stubborn ounces of body fat over your abdomen may seem impossible to get rid of.
When you reach this point, I think it is time to take it easy. Continue eating healthy, continue exercising, live your life to the fullest and stop focusing too much on those last few pounds. Hopefully, they will go away with time.
We also have to be realistic. Not everyone can lose all the weight they want. People who have been obese for a long time may not be able to completely reverse it.
Perhaps the best thing to do in that scenario is to just enjoy your improved health and wellbeing and maintain this for life.
You will live longer, feel better and have a peace of mind knowing that you did everything you could.
Tips and Tricks
I don’t really talk much about intermittent fasting on this blog, but I do know that it is a technique that can improve health and accelerate weight loss.
If this is something you want to try, then skipping breakfast and lunch and not eating until dinner one day of the week may make a large difference.
When it comes down to it, it is still all about eating healthy, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re not losing weight or have reached a plateau, then these pointers above should keep you busy for a while trying out new things in order to get that damned scale moving again.
Have you ever gone through a weight loss plateau and managed to break through it successfully? Please tell us all how you did it in the comments.