No one wants to deal with the dreaded weight loss plateau, but it can happen on any diet. At some point or another progress stops, and it’s frustrating. The keto diet, which is a high-fat, low-carb diet (the Body Reboot book explains everything and more about this incredible diet) is known as an excellent way to lose weight, but even on this diet people can have weight loss stalls. When this happens it doesn’t mean a body is broken – it just means you’ll need to switch up a few things to bust through a weight loss plateaus and get back on track.
So why can it be challenging to lose weight at times? Well, there are multiple reasons, but Ruled.me provides a few as an example:
The decrease in total daily energy expenditure is the result of the many bodyweight regulating systems in the body fighting to maintain your weight. This happens because, from an evolutionary perspective, if you lost weight in direct relationship with your calorie consumption at all times, then you would not be able to survive long periods in the wild without adequate food. As a result, when we restrict calories, we will lose weight, but our brains will trigger a variety of mechanisms to keep you from losing more weight.
For example, in response to weight loss, your body may decrease thyroid hormone production and reduce non-resting energy expenditure (e.g., fidgeting and other spontaneous movements throughout the day). Intense cravings and increased hunger may also be experienced in an attempt to motivate the person to eat more and stop losing weight. (this is one reason why people tend to regain weight after following a diet).
When you begin switching your body over to fat burning as opposed to burning glucose, it may seem foreign to eat a lot of fat. Initially eating a lot of fat is imperative to get into ketosis, but after being keto-adapted, you should be mindful of your macros, including how much fat you’re eating. Believe it or not, even though eating enough fat is essential to the diet, there is such a thing as overeating fat. Kiss My Keto explains more:
Many keto proponents claim that calorie counting isn't necessary on a keto diet. This is true when ketosis is your only goal. But when you need to lose a significant amount of weight, calorie counting is essential. Since most of your calories on a keto diet come from fat, having too much of the good stuff will stop you from losing weight.
Remember, the goal is to burn your own fat stores, not the fat you take in. The latter only serves to enhance ketone production and keep you healthy. A calorie deficit of 15-30% is enough to force your body to turn on its own fat stores, which is what you want.
Similarly to overeating fat, you can also consume too much protein. While on the keto diet it’s important to be aware of how many fats, proteins, and carbs you are eating. It’s vital to know what you’re consuming daily because otherwise, you may be going overboard on your macros and not even realize it. Let’s see what Kiss My Keto has to say about that:
On keto, your protein intake should be moderate. A moderate amount of protein is around 0.7 – 1 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass or 25-30% of your daily calorie intake. Going above that can kick you out of ketosis. But eating too little with cause a keto plateau.
There are three main reasons why protein helps you lose weight:
1. Protein is highly satiating
2. Your body spends lots of energy when metabolizing protein
3. Protein increases energy-spending muscle mass
A growing number of studies also show that protein is essential for successful weight loss for the above-stated reasons. Great keto-friendly sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds.
Ruled.me suggests one way to break your weight loss plateau and it is to regularly calculate the number of calories you eat but and as well as your macros. Stick to your calculated macros and see if that helps you lose weight again. With this method hopefully, you’ll start dropping fat rapidly again.
Eventually, what was once a calorie deficit will become precisely the amount of calories you need to eat to maintain weight. To bust through this plateau (and prevent another plateau from happening), just recalculate your macros with your new bodyweight every month or so. The simplest way to do so is by plugging your info into our keto calculator.
Depending how much fat you want to lose, you may need to adjust your calorie deficit. If you still have 50 to 100 pounds that you want to get rid of, then you may be able to handle a 20-30% calorie deficit without losing much muscle mass at all (especially if you eat the right amount of protein).
With this method, you are likely to drop fat rapidly. After another month or so of dieting this way, it is best to recalculate your macros with your new weight.
Each time you recalculate, try reducing your calorie deficit a bit so the diet is easier to adhere to and your metabolic rate doesn’t slow down too much. However, if the calorie deficit isn’t manageable for you in any way, then try taking intermittent diet breaks.
Are you eating enough whole foods? Perfect Keto mentions how vital eating whole foods are because they will aid in your weight loss. Check labels and if possible stick with the foods you know are keto friendly, such as avocados, leafy greens, olive oil, and other simple keto staples. Ketogenic diet foods are the way to go; make sure there are no hidden carbs in these so-called low carb snacks.
Just because something is high-fat or low-carb doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all on keto. Stick with whole foods ketogenic diet foods as much as possible and treat packaged foods and snacky recipes as what they are: occasional treats. Too many of these can prevent ketosis and lead to extra calories.
If you do this already and are still not losing the extra weight, try cutting out treat entirely and focus on how good it feels to eat clean, whole foods.
Dealing with water weight isn’t fun, and even though being on a keto diet means less water weight doesn’t mean you won’t experience it throughout the diet. For women, this is especially the case during their time of the month. Just because they’re on the keto diet doesn’t mean they won’t retain water during their time of the month. Don’t always focus on the number on the scale because Ketovale reminds us that it’s the downward trend that matters.
It’s also important to know the “whoosh effect” when it comes to weight loss. It can be possible to retain water when you lose fat, and then all of a sudden your body decides to drop that water weight.
When you see a smaller number on the scale, it could often be the fat that you have already lost several days ago, and now your body is finally releasing the water that took its place. You may have been in a state of burning fat the whole time, but the scale doesn’t tell you the truth.
When it comes to weight loss, you need to look at the overall trend, not just at one specific point. As long as the trajectory is going downwards, you will succeed over the long term, regardless of the fluctuations.
If you’ve been losing weight without exercising, that’s fantastic, but if you start experiencing a weight loss stall incorporating exercise may be the ticket to breaking through that plateau. The idea is to surprise your body by trying something new. VeryWell Fit recommends incorporating exercise to see if that helps.
Whether you like it or not, you cannot sustain weight loss without exercise. While you can certainly shed the early pounds with diet alone, you will be unlikely to maintain the loss if you remain sedentary. This is why most people who diet either yo-yo or end up gaining all of the weight back.
When you lose weight, your basal metabolic rate will decrease due to the reduction of food intake. When this happens, you will burn calories slower. If you just sit around, you will almost invariably hit a stall as your readjusted metabolism barely meets the demands of the foods you're consuming.
One way to combat this is with regular exercise, ideally with some strength training. Building lean muscle creates stores for energy which the body can fill during rest. Even if you're experiencing fatigue, exercise will trigger the release of hormones, such as endorphins, to enhance mood, mental acuity, and energy levels.
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