Are you experiencing a stall in your weight loss? There are some things to consider and tips that you can try to help you break through that stall!
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Most of us have been there at some point, where you have initially lost a fair amount of weight, but seemed to have reached a plateau or stall. And by stall, I mean that not only have you not lost any additional weight, but you also haven’t lost inches and have no change in how your clothes fit you for a period of 4 weeks, or longer.
Before I share some tips to help you break that stall, I want to say that as long as you are still in Ketosis, your body is still undergoing a transformation on the inside, even if you’re not seeing the results on the outside. What I mean is, Keto is good for so much more than losing weight. To read more on this, check out my article on the 15 Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet.
I also want to say that Keto is not a “one size fits all” way of eating. Our bodies are different; we all lose weight at different rates; and some of us are effected by certain foods more than others. There are so many variables like health conditions, medications you might be taking, age, level of physical activity, etc. I would encourage you to try to avoid comparing your weight loss journey with others for these reasons.
One last thing before I get into the tips… Keto is a way of eating, it should not be used a means for quick weight loss, only to return to non-Keto foods. In order to enjoy the benefits that come with eating on a Keto diet, you will want to stick with it long-term. Now onto the good stuff!
Things to Consider…
Tracking Your Macros
It may seem a big cumbersome, but I highly recommend finding a good meal tracking app, like My Fitness Pal, to track your macros, at least for the first month on Keto. If you have not done so, start by calculating your daily Macros, this will give you a really firm grasp on portions and percentages of fat/protein/carbs is ideal for getting (and remaining) in Ketosis, as well as weight loss. If you are tracking and experience a stall, it’s much easier for you to review your past meals and see where you can make changes to try and break your stall.
For some, too many calories have been an issue, as well as not enough calories. For some reason, many who are on Keto think it’s not necessary to be mindful of our caloric intake. However, if we are eating more calories than we are burning, they will be stored, even if they come from fat. For some, increasing calories helps increase weight loss because they aren’t eating enough.
It’s also recommended to recalculate your macros with every 10 pounds or so that you lose, or even once a month. If you haven’t done this, a simple adjustment in your macros might do the trick!
And this might seem a bit odd, but a very slight increase in your carbs, might also help. I tried this in my second month, and it really helped me! Some even have a “carb up” day and have had great success at breaking through their stalls.
Nuts and Seeds
It might surprise some of you to learn that even though certain nuts and seeds are Keto-friendly (i.e. almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) they also contain a fair amount of carbs. Just to give you some idea, the carb counts for 100 grams: almonds – 21.55, cashews – 30.19, pecans – 13.86, pistachio – 27.17, sunflower seeds – 20.00 and pumpkin seeds – 53.75. Cutting down on or eliminating nuts and seeds all together can help break a stall.
Cutting out dairy has helped many on Keto break their stall and resume weight loss. If you have been somewhat heavy on the cheese and cream, you might try cutting them out and see if that helps.
It’s absolutely amazing how many foods have hidden carbs, that you typically would never expect. Many condiments, salad dressings and sauces contain carbs, some much more than others. When you are on Keto, it’s really important that you review nutrition labels on everything you buy. Not only do you want to make sure you are not buying anything with harmful chemicals or additives (to read more on this, check out my article on Additives to Avoid), but you want to make sure that both carb and sugar counts are very low.
Try a Fat and Egg Fast
I have not personally tried these so I cannot recommend any particular plan, but I know many people have had great success with breaking through a stall doing a fat fast. There are many different types, some for 1 day, or 2-5 days. One suggests that you eat nothing but (6) eggs and full fats (1 tablespoon for each egg) each day. Others suggest 1,000-1,200 calories a day, 80-90% of which are from fat, eating 4-5 times a day for 2-3 days. It might be worth looking into, to see if one might work for you.
Keto/Low Carb Baked Goods
I mentioned earlier about nuts and seeds, particularly almonds and how they can cause a weight loss stall for some. Most Keto and low carb baked goods contain either coconut flour and almond flour. While they are Keto friendly, eating them too frequently can slow or even stall weight loss. In my first few months on Keto, I only allowed myself to have these treats on occasion, and found that it’s very easy to overindulge in them! Once I cut them out, weight loss resumed again. I think the natural tendency, especially when you first start Keto, is to quickly attempt to replace things that you miss, like bread, muffins, pancakes, biscuits, etc. Cutting down on or eliminating, at least temporarily, these goodies might break you out of your stall.
Intermittent Fasting or IF is when you limited the hours in which you allow yourself to eat. For me personally, this was a huge help for me to break my weight loss stall. I started with the 16:8, so I was eating only during a 8 hour window, fasting for 16 hours. I would typically have my first meal around 10-11am, and have my last around 5-6pm. Restricting eating during those hours allowed my body to remain in fat burning mode for 16 hours at a time.
Every time we eat anything, it spikes insulin and the fat burning mode is halted. When you finish eating, your body heads back into fat burning mode and the longer you go between meals, the more time allowed for fat burning. I do not recommend IF in the first few weeks of starting Keto. In fact, I think when you start Keto, easing into it works best, it certainly did for me. I also went from 3 meals a day, down to 2 and that is typically where I am most comfortable. If you decide to cut your meals down to 2 meals a day, make sure you increase your protein to compensate. Dr. Berg explains this in his video – Keto and Intermittent Fasting: The Big Overview for Beginners, which I highly recommend watching!
As mentioned in the previous section, every single time we eat, it spikes insulin. Although we have been told for years that the most effective way to diet is to eat 3-5 small meals a day, with snacks in between. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many of these are the same people who have told us that all fat is bad, and we should eat a low fat/high protein diet. Again, bad advice! If you are a snacker, you might try cutting these out and add more fat, (maybe a fat bomb) at the end of your meal, so that you are satiated enough that you don’t need to snack.
Exercise or lack thereof, should be taken into account as well. For some who might be exercising too much, scaling it back a little, especially when first starting Keto, is a good idea. For others who don’t exercise at all, taking a fast walk a few times a week might also help restart your weight loss.
Are you Still in Ketosis?
Because there are a number of things that can kick you out of Ketosis, checking to make sure you are still in Ketosis is a great place to start. Most are aware of the obvious: consuming too many carbs, sugar, wheat, etc. There are several other things that can also knock you out of Ketosis, like too much stress, caffeine, foods with msg, excessive alcohol, consuming too much protein and not enough fat.
Ketone Test Strips only typically work when you first transition to a Ketogenic Diet, because you are initially passing ketones out of your body through urine. When you become fat adapted, your body will utilize ketones and won't pass them through the urine, so these strips will eventually become irrelevant. Once that happens, you can switch to using a Blood Ketone Monitor instead. They are also much more accurate!
Make sure you are eating within your macros
Decrease or increase your calories
Decrease or increase your protein
Increase your Fat
Cut out or cut down on nuts and seeds
Cut out or cut down on dairy
Carefully check the nutrition labels on everything you buy
Cut out or cut down on Keto baked goods
Start to exercise or scale it down a bit
Make sure you are still in Ketosis
Don’t be afraid to make changes in your diet. Sometimes, even the slightest tweak is enough to break through that stall! As I stated earlier, what works for one person, might not work for others.
I hope you find this information helpful and if you were able to break through your weight loss stall with any of these tips, please drop a comment and share your success!
Note: It's best to consult with your Doctor, Nutritionist or Licensed Professional before making any dramatic changes to your diet. I am not a Doctor, Nutritionist or Licensed Professional, so the tips offered in this article are for your consideration and does not take the place of professional medical advice.