How to Troubleshoot a Weight Loss Stall on Keto
Almost every dieter experiences a weight stall at some point, and although the ketogenic diet is extremely effective for weight loss when done correctly, you won’t be immune to plateaus. They can be frustrating, but if you see them as a learning opportunity and adjust your diet accordingly, you can overcome them in no time.
Here’s how to troubleshoot your diet if you’re no longer losing weight:
1. Make Sure You’re Properly Tracking Your Calories
Even when doing a keto diet, you still need to count calories.
Hunger regulation usually greatly improves with keto and you’ll be able to eat less and go for longer periods of time without food, however, this does not defy the basic “calories in – calories out” principle (unfortunately!).
Given that keto foods can be quite calorically dense, you need to make sure you’re weighing and tracking all the food that you’re eating, and that you’re staying at a deficit.
Which brings us to the next point:
2. Make Sure That You’re Actually at a Deficit
If you have lost a lot of weight since you first started, it might be time to readjust your macros accordingly.
Since you now weigh less, you’d also need to consume less food in order to continue losing.
You don’t need to readjust for every pound that you lose, but doing it every 10 pounds (5 kg approximately) is a good idea.
On the other hand, make sure that your deficit is not too steep for your body to handle, especially if you’re very active. Consuming 1100 calories if you’re burning 2100 every day is not very sustainable in the long run.
Otherwise, it will take revenge on you at some point, probably under the form of ravenous, uncontrollable hunger.
3. Make Sure You’re Not Eating Too Much Dairy or Nuts
Dairy or nuts can be quite tricky when you’re trying to lose weight. It’s very easy to overeat them.
After all, nuts, deli cheese, and heavy cream are delicious and many people do not track them properly. Eyeballing quantities is generally not effective and advisable, and eyeballing foods that are as calorie-dense will almost certainly lead to overconsumption.
Although the link between dairy and inflammation is not yet certain (except for people who have difficulties digesting lactose or casein), hormones in dairy products can be a concern (5).
If you’re stalling, try eliminating dairy and nuts from your diet for two weeks and to see if that helps.
4. Don’t Snack Mindlessly
There’s nothing wrong with snacking if you’re genuinely hungry and if it will help you stick to your diet and not overeat later – it might even prove to be a successful strategy (6).
However, for a lot of people snacking is nothing more than a habit, and as such, it is usually caused by boredom or negative emotions.
Food is, above everything else, a fuel. Eating when your body is not actually hungry might undermine your weight loss efforts and distort your relation with your body and its natural cues.
As a side note, accept that hunger is a part of the equation when losing weight. Your body likes balance and will try to hold onto its current weight, so there will be days where you will be hungrier and you’d need to power through. In such cases, healthy snacks can definitely help.
5. Check for Hidden Carbs
In order to achieve ketosis and to stay in it, you need to regularly be at or below 20-25 net carbs, especially in the beginning.
Make sure you’re tracking carbs properly and not accidentally consuming too much of them by eating food where you don’t expect them to be.
For example, a lot of deli meats have sugar and/or dextrose in them, tofu can have a varying number of carbs depending on the brand, different cheese types can have a different carb content, and so on. Always check labels when buying new products.
6. Make Sure Your Electrolytes Are on Point
Insufficient electrolyte supplementation can stall you, as your body will hang on to water weight.
In addition to that, electrolytes are essential for the normal functioning of your body, and given that the keto diet is diuretic, you need to make sure that you’re staying on top of them (7).
7. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting means eating within a certain “feeding window”, for example, if you decide to try out a 16:8 fasting protocol, this means not eating for 16 hours and eating your daily calories within the other 8.
You can try it simply by skipping breakfast, having your first meal of the day around lunchtime (for example around 12), having dinner around 7 PM, and then not eating after 8 PM, until 12 the next day.
If you have a problem with late night snacking, intermittent fasting can help a lot. Not all people can stick to such a schedule, but it’s worth trying and can be very beneficial.
Keep in mind that weight loss is never linear. Regardless of your approach, you will have days and even weeks where you don’t lose anything, followed by days and weeks where you lose more than average.
You might even see the scale move up on some days. Your body is an extremely complex system and the number you see on the scale is just one of the many ways to track the changes you’re going through – it won’t reflect all the subtle transformations that will inevitably happen.
We advise taking measurements and progress pictures as well these can be equally important for tracking your progress.
If you’re experiencing a stall, the above tips can definitely help you break it. Experiment with them and see how you feel to decide what kind of improvements will prove beneficial for your diet.
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