Although there can be a lot of different reasons why you are not losing weight on keto, in this post I will discuss the most common causes.
In the first week starting keto, you dropped four kilos instantly. But then the weight loss slows down. Now what?
Often times it’s just a case of letting your guard down and being a bit more slack than when you started. Sometimes small habits creep in or your focus shifts. Evaluating some of these reasons may just help you make the necessary change to get results again.
#1 You’re not tracking your macros (fail to plan)
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As cliche as it may sound, it’s true! If you have no clear plan, you will end up going wherever the wind takes you. It is understandable if you can’t dedicate two hours to meal prep every week, but a little planning for the week may just avoid ending up in a drive-thru getting take out. Work out a meal plan that is simple and easy and stick to it during the week. Prepare foods in bulk. Clean meat portions such as meatballs or hard-boiled eggs are easy foods to keep track of. It is the small things we do that has an overall effect. Focus on keeping it simple during the week so that it is easier to track.
Tracking your macros is non-negotiable when you first start out on keto. And, tracking your macros if you have a specific goal is equally as important. Knuckle down and track your macros for a week if you are not losing weight on keto.
#2 You’re eating too much protein
A Ketogenic Diet is not a high protein diet. It is moderate in protein. Approximately 0.7-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass is sufficient to maintain your muscle mass. Eating too much protein causes gluconeogenesis, a process that simply means the production of glucose. Although you’re not eating any carbohydrates, the overconsumption of protein may kick you out of ketosis. This point ties in with #2. Tracking your macros is the only way to know whether you are eating too much protein.
#3 You’re not in ketosis
The Ketogenic Diet is defined by being in ketosis. It is not another low carb diet. For you to lose weight, you must be in ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is defined by having ketone levels of 0.5mM in your blood. There are several ways of testing whether you are in ketosis. Either by using Urine Test Stripsor by using a Ketone Blood Test Monitor. Read more about testing for ketones here.
#4 You’re not eating enough
A Ketogenic Diet tends to be lower in calories. Intermittent Fasting can also reduce overall calorie intake. Eating a calorie deficit is fine, but not for prolonged periods. If you stay in a calorie deficit for too long, your body won’t get rid of anybody fat because it thinks it’s in starvation mode and needs to retain energy. A trick that can help to prevent weight loss stalls, is to higher calories every now and again. During the week eat lower calories and do intermittent fasting and over the weekend include a meal that is higher in (good) calories.
#5 You’re snacking too much
A key aspect of keto iseating intuitively. Hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, regulate hunger and satiety. Due to many different reasons such as eating because it is a specific time of day, or eating out of boredom overrides these hormonal signals. We practically don’t know what it feels like to be hungry because we are constantly grazing throughout the day. If you have fallen into this trap get back to eating proper, nutritious meals when you are hungry and don’t snack in between meals.
#6 You’re eating too much dairy and nuts
Dairy and nuts can be a reason why you are not losing weight on keto. Although dairy is an excellent source of fat, not all dairy is keto friendly. Milk, for example, is quite high in carbs and should be avoided. The sugar in milk is called lactose, and many people have lactose intolerance. If you tolerate dairy well and you are sure it is not a cause of your weight loss stall, then its okay to have dairy in your diet. The only way to figure this out really is to eliminate dairy from your diet for a week or two and see if you break through your stall.
Nuts are another culprit and often tie up with point #5. In nature, nuts are not found and eaten in such high quantities. Overconsumption of nuts is tough on our digestive track. Eating nuts, especially the roasted and salted nuts, hit what is referred to as the “bliss point”. Think about other snacks such as pretzels, popcorn and chips. These foods are just enough crunchy, salty and sweet and that is why we can’t stop at just a few. This “bliss point” stimulates a dopamine release in our brains and makes us want to consume more of these types of foods. Soak nuts in water overnight (or a few hours) to make them more digestible.
#7 You’re eating hidden carbs
The average person, following a healthy, balanced diet, consumes approximately 350g of carbs per day. Carbs are often hidden in low-fat foods which have a higher sugar content than full-fat products. Manufacturers remove the fat content and replace it with sugar to make the foods more palatable. Understanding and reading food labels can help you identify which foods are high in carbohydrates and hidden carbohydrates. Tracking your macros for a few days can help to see if you are still keeping your daily carbs below 20g – 30g. See this post about what foods to avoid on Keto.
#8 You’re too stressed
We live in an “always on” society. The demands of family life, work and finances add to the pressure. Stress is a major reason why people don’t lose weight. Too much stress causes our adrenals to secrete cortisol. The hormone cortisol, also known as our fight or flight hormone, is a fat storing hormone.If you are always stressed and releasing cortisol, it can lead to an increase in abdominal fat and why you are not losing weight. Cortisol also increases appetite and signals the body to shift metabolism to store fat. Reducing your stress levels by any means may help you lose weight.
#9 You’re not sleeping enough
“Sleep is one of the most underrated drugs” as Dr Matthew Walker says in his book Why We Sleep. Several studies with groups of people, one group is sleeping, and the other group is not. Both groups eat the exact same diet. The group that sleeps shows better weight loss than the group not sleeping. Not sleeping enough can be a reason why you are not losing weight and making small changes to improve your sleep hygiene may just be the breakthrough you need.
#10 You have insulin resistance or other metabolic diseases
If you have a metabolic disease, realise that being healthy precedes losing weight. Mainstream dieting sells weight loss as losing weight to get healthy. That’s the wrong way around. Metabolic syndrome makes it a little harder to lose weight initially as your body first needs to heal. This does not mean you will never lose weight. Following a Ketogenic Diet, reducing your carb intake and lowering insulin is a start to reverse Insulin Resistance or other metabolic diseases.
Make small changes and focus on any of these 10 reasons to figure out why you may not be losing weight. It could be a simple small change you need to make. Keep in mind that keto is not just a weight loss diet. It is a lifestyle that brings an overall awareness of the types of foods we eat, the function of the nutrients of our foods and how our bodies respond to different foods. Figuring out what works for your body, which variation of the ketogenic diet is best for you, is a learning curve.