Top Reasons You Are NOT Losing Weight Eating Low Carb

AKA the Dreaded Low-Carb STALL!


So you decided you don’t like what you see in the mirror and have decided to start living a low carb lifestyle… but you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for. NOW what do you do?  

Top Reasons You are NOT losing Weight Eating Low Carb AKA Stall


First off let me say that  I always advise my readers and clients to KISS! Just count carbs. Keep them under 20 net per day. Eat only when hungry not bored and stop when full not stuffed. Wash it all down with plenty of water …repeat …repeat …repeat.  9 times out of 10 that works.

But if you find that it’s not working for you there can be all sorts of reason this is happening.  Let’s review some of the more prevalent that are seen most often. First off, before we even get into the list… EDUCATE yourself! You’ll find tons of information all over this website and The Low Carb Challenge facebook group but take the time to learn the whats, how and whys of the low-carb lifestyle. A good place to do that is by reading “The New Atkins for a New You” book. Buy it, read it, mark it up and use it! You are allowed and actually encouraged to dogear your copy! Once you understand the reasons behind the diet you have the power to make it happen for you!

1. You are eating too many carbs

Simple right? Not always. Carbs have a way of hiding in the most amazing places. I suggest that you jot down everything that passes your lips every day.  Notice I didn’t say jot down your food. Jot down EVERYTHING! Food. Drinks. Sweeteners. Spices. Condiments. Medications. Everything.  Stay under 20 net carbs a day to get and stay in ketosis. While some people can start adding more carbs to their diet after induction many more cannot.  I have been practicing this lifestyle for years and still stay under 20 most days. That does not mean I am in induction. I added non-induction foods, I just limit my carbohydrate intake to less than 20 net per day.  I use our site’s carb charts all the time!  You’ll find an image link to them in the sidebar on every page. So should you. 

2. Your Medical Condition is Preventing You From Losing Weight

While I was on the subject of medications I thought I would mention this. There ARE some medical conditions (hypothyroidism for one) that inhibit weight loss. They are usually controlled by medications but some meds may be actually adding carbs to your daily diet. In either case discuss this with your doctor and see if there is an alternative you can take.

3. You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water

Water and hydration are very important any day of your life let alone when you are losing weight. You need to help flush those toxins and fat from your body and you help facilitate that with water. You should be drinking plenty of it. How much is enough? The quick rule of thumb is 1/2 your current body weight in fluid ounces a day. Please refer to my water weight article for more information on why NOT drinking water will help you retain water and its associated weight gain. 

4. You Are Cheating Far Too Often

Some people can “cheat” from time to time and still lose weight. I find that it becomes a lot more possible when you are almost to goal. I do not advise you to cheat on a regular basis. There are people that will say they schedule cheat days and that “carb-cycling” helps them kickstart weight loss. I have found that it usually does the opposite and causes yoyoing of weight as you go in and OUT of ketosis when binging. I find it a lot more beneficial to CUT your carbs back if you want to kickstart, rather than the reverse.

5. You Are Eating Too Many Treats

We all love our treats and nowadays there are lot of them.  You can buy Atkins bars, shakes and candy, there are Quest Bars (my personal favorite) Russell Stover sugar free candy, ice cream and MORE! The problem is that I find when people start relying on these, especially the bars, as replacements for meals they are not getting enough fat in their diet, they get hungry more often and they stall.  They are meant as an occasional treat, not something you should be eating daily.  

6. You Are Eating Too Many Sweeteners

One of the main reasons you may stall on the above-mentioned treats is that many of those rely on alcohol sugars to make them, well SWEET!  While there is nothing wrong with alcohol sugars too many of them may start to make you stall. That doesn’t happen to everyone but it certainly does for some. Try cutting back and see if it breaks your stall.  

7. You Are Eating Too Many Nuts

GUILTY! While nuts are a great low carb snack it is way too easy to over indulge!  I know I do sometimes, they are so simple to grab and nibble, and nibble, and NIBBLE on!  ARGGHHH! Before you know it you have eaten too many!  I suggest you weigh out an ounce (or count out about 2 dozen almonds) for 2 net carbs and stop!  Take your bag or can of nuts and portion them out before you eat them.  That way you are at least conscious of having to open a 2nd bag.  While nuts are a great low carb high fat (70% of their calories comes from fat) you again should practice moderation.

8. You Are Eating Too Much Dairy

When I say dairy I really want to say cheese, but while it’s the biggest offender it’s not the only one.  It’s just so darned GOOD!  Most cheese IS low in carbs and it’s another great source of fat but it’s also high in protein and if you are overindulging (Atkins advises up to 4 oz of cheese a day is okay for most people with no ill effects) those carbs are going to start to pile up and pile on the pounds.  

The other dairy I find a lot of people go overboard on is their heavy whipping cream.  They think that because is says zero carbs on the side of the carton they can drink as much as they want! NOT true! In the United States the USDA allows companies to list any ingredient that has less than one full carb as zero! SHOCKER! TRUE!  One tablespoon of heavy whipping cream has zero carbs… NO, not true!  One tablespoon has 0.5 carbs so if you pour 2 tablespoons in each coffee during the day that is 1 net carb each time!  I have seen people making cream based soups thinking that they are zero carb… NO!!! Don’t fall into that trap! It is working against you, count fractions of carbs if it is something you use frequently, like heavy whipping cream. 

9. You are Eating Too Much Protein

We all need protein in our diet, and it’s usually very low or zero carb but you need to be aware if you eat TOO much protein while maintaining really low carb count your body will start to convert that protein to glucose; a simple sugar that is an important energy source in living organisms and is a component of many carbohydrates.  Yes, carbs!  What types of protein are we talking about?  Some, not all, examples are:

✿  chicken          ✿  turkey          ✿  pork 

✿  beef                ✿  lamb             ✿  crab

✿  tuna               ✿  shrimp          ✿  cod

✿  salmon          ✿  eggs               ✿  almonds

✿  walnuts         ✿  almonds        ✿  tofu

✿  cheese           ✿  nut butters    ✿  peanut butter            

So while almonds can actually help you burn fat, eaten in excess they can actually work against you.  Again, it is all about moderation; education, allocation and moderation. 

So how MUCH protein is too much and will tip your body to the dark side where it will start converting it to glucose?  Unfortunately the answer is going to vary from person to person. I know, you don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. Your size, age, metabolism, etc. is simply all going to affect how much protein you can eat without it converting.

I do not track macros although I like to make sure that my protein, when possible does not take up more than 1/4 of my plate. It’s easier for me, and more apt to make me continue living this lifestyle to be able to eyeball it rather than getting out a phone and app every time I want to eat. I am realistic with myself, that’s just not going to happen.  If you are a professional athlete or bodybuilder maybe, but for the average person trying to lose weight I find it just is much too restrictive and when things get hard, most get going and not in a good sense.

EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale

If you have a problem with simply eating too big of a portion of any one of the above this simple-to-use digital kitchen scale will help you stay on track! After all you can’t break the rules if you don’t already know what they are! Weigh out those peanuts next time!

10. You Don’t Have Realistic Expectations

I cannot tell you how many times a day I see or hear from people complaining that they aren’t losing or they are losing too slow or they are stalled.  First lets get the last one out of the way right now.

You are NOT stalled unless you have not had any results for 6 full weeks. That’s straight from Atkins. Do not start fat or egg fasts or any other this or that fast because you have “stalled” for a week!  You are playing with your health and that is not wise. Just stick to the basics, maybe tweak what you are eating a bit, but do not go crazy!  If it’s not broke don’t fix it!  

Yes, you are seeing his acronym correctly, however ill-advised! Kent is a well known Atkins expert and while this was one of his earlier videos (evidenced by his obviously reading his notes) the information is still sound today. 

You can actually throw your electrolytes off (and get yourself in a whole pile of trouble) with an ill-advised fat fast. Not worth it. I have done a fat fast, eating between 1000 and 1200 calories a day, where between 80% and 90% of calories come from fat, and fat alone, and to tell you the truth the little weight it did take off came right back on. And it’s boring! Good thing they only advise 3 to 5 days or you would die of boredom! LOL!  

I actually don’t advise you doing anything until after week 4 at the earliest. If you feel you are stalling at that time scroll up and read through the rest of the list to see what you may need to cut back or step up. 

90 Days - 30# - 3 dress sizes faded

Those that complain of only losing a pound or two a week are prevalent. Take a minute and think about it, if you lose 2# every week that is 104# in a year! Pretty darned good right? Well you wouldn’t know it to talk to some people. I lost 30# and 3 full dress sizes in my first 90 days. I went on to lose a total of 40# and maintain at a size 4/6.   No one looks at that picture and complains, yet 30# in 90 days is just over 2# per week!  Cut yourself a break!  You didn’t gain all that weight overnight and you will not lose it in a day, week or month. BUT you will lose it, if you make the decision and stick with it each day of that week and those months!

11. You ARE Losing, You Just Don’t Realize It!

I recommend to all my readers and clients that they don’t rely on a scale as the sole source of their weight loss.  I advise them to take pictures (as much as they hate it) and to take measurements.  I cannot tell you how many people see it in the photos or feel it in their clothes before they ever see it on a scale.  Non-scale victories are actually the BEST ones! After all you cannot walk around with your scale to show everyone how much you’ve lost, you want them to see it!  

5# of Fat VS 5# of Muscle

Losing weight is not the same as losing fat. If you are working out at all your body will also be busy building muscle which takes up far less room in your body than fat does. Even if you are NOT working out (I didn’t at all as the pounds melted off) as you are burning off the fat in your body you are going to see the difference even if the scale doesn’t recognize it yet.  Less space in your body means more room in your clothes!  

12. Place YOUR Suggestion HERE!  

Have you ever managed to break through a weight loss “stall?” Please leave a comment below if you want to add a suggestion to the list! In the meantime, That’s the skinny on low carb!
Ciao for now!  

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Please be advised. the information that is shared herein is intended for informational purposes. Any advice and/or product(s) mentioned should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Always consult your healthcare professional if you are currently taking medication, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, nursing, or if you have any other health condition before taking any products mentioned or applying any information contained herein.

16 thoughts on “Top Reasons You Are NOT Losing Weight Eating Low Carb

  1. 11 is the best and exactly what I would say, people are fixated on weight, and weight is irrelevant as 11 shows fat is lighter but larger than muscle so you can get fit, create muscle lose inches of your waist and still gain weight, I know people classed as over weight and even obese at 20 stones, Mr Olympia is generally 21-23 Stone over the last few years and on average a 32 inch waist so weight is not the issue its size and fitness level, as a trainer I never use scales as a progress marker I use a tape measure and clothes. On a science note weight is based on gravitiy, this varies across the planet and at heights and depths so your “weight” will change if you more some where else.

  2. I find my hunger comes back if I’m not taking my supplements, even if I’ve stayed low carb. Also, once I’m familiar with a recipe, I start to alter it such that the part I like best dominates. So my pizza dough might have started out low carb, I alter it & it goes higher. Then since I like it better, I also eat more of it. So it wins up being a multiple of the original carb count by the time I’ve fiddled with it.

    • Hmmm… perhaps you are just not finding the “right” recipe to start with Donna?
      I know I am guilty of doing that too, I find it hard to leave a recipe alone.
      Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes I have to tweak it for what’s in the house…
      but even then I try to keep it (or lower it) to stay or be lower in carbs.
      You can find 21 pizza recipes in the pizza recipe roundup.

      Why don’t you join our Low Carb Challenge Facebook group? I am sure it will give
      you lots of recipe ideas, tip and more! We would love to have you!

  3. Marge I could use some help. I started Atkins in April 2014. I lost 28 lbs but have been playing with 4 lbs up since Oct. I do 20 net carbs a day …5% carbs 20% protein and 75 % fat. I have been tracking with my fitness pal faithfully. I do enjoy a few no carb cocktails before dinner but I’ve done that from the beginning so I don’t think that’s it. I am 58 years old and am 5’1″ and weigh between 179 and 183 on any given day. I know with spring here now I will be more active…it’s been a very sedentary winter. Can you pass along any advice. I’d rather not do the egg or fat fasts because you seem to gain it right back and I think that would do me more harm mentally. I’m not giving up…I did that before and gained everything back and struggled on weight watchers for years. I won’t make that same mistake but I am a bit frustrated!

    • Hi Jodi!

      I agree with you on the fat fast! Everything I would lose came right back!
      I haven’t tried an egg fast and truth be told I am doing a bunch of research on it now
      so watch for that in upcoming articles.

      I would start with my article on why you aren’t losing weight.
      It deals strictly with diet and is the best place to start.

      That said I started this way of life at 58 and I found quite frankly that I couldn’t do it with
      just diet. When menopause hit at 55 my metabolism flew out the window! Low carb is an
      essential ingredient in my lifestyle but I also take a couple supplements that help.
      If you want to learn more about what I did and do you will find all those articles and
      info located under the Secrets tab at the top of any page. I am now 60 and my hubby is 62.
      We lost a total of 100# between us and keep it off while enjoying eating and life. I now
      maintain at a size 4/6 and love what I see in the mirror! Well I am still working on the
      wrinkles, but you catch my drift! LOL!

      Please stay in touch! I would love to know how you are doing.
      Please know being frustrated is normal and I have many ex-WW and various other diet members that follow me.
      The best way to find me is to contact me through the contact page here or private message
      me on Facebook. You can always find me on our Low Carb Challenge group!

  4. I have been doing Atkins Phase 1 faithfully for 3 months. I have lost 0 pounds and only 1 inch in the waist. I have had my thyroid tested 3 times and they say it is normal. What is going on? I am a diabetic and my sugar levels are fantastic now!

    • hi June!
      I would suggest my article on why you are not losing on low carb as a start…just pop stall in the search box to see if you can identify your why. or maybe you, like me, need a metabolism booster? youcan find info on the all natural one i use under the Secrets tab at the top of any page. Please stay in touch and let me know if I might be of any help. -Marge

  5. Hi Marge, After spending the last 24 hours in tears, because of zero weight loss this whole month (April ’16), I decided to research, what I could possibly be doing wrong. I started Atkins Sept 1, 2015 and have lost 51 pounds, I still have about 60 left to lose, (75 if you don’t count the extra skin/fat, that will be removed after tummy tuck). I haven’t lost anything this whole month. I fast-walk (hard) about 3 nights a week. After 8 months on Atkins, having about 3300 calories each month, after stalling in Feb, I decided to watch calories too. My calories have not over 1200, they usually stay much lower, at around 500 a day. I eat lots of veggies with about 1 & 1/2 cups of Chicken breast, usually 3 eggs also. I’ve been on Atkins off and on for 15 years, so I don’t think, I’m getting hidden carbs. I decided to consider calories along with the low carb (March 1, 2016) , because Feb. weight loss was only 3 pounds. I had emergence hernia removal in Jan, and the Hospital gave me no food or water for 6 days, only IV sugar fluid. I am/was diabetic, but since I eat no sugar, my test number is always under 100. Anyway, weight loss has been screwed up since Jan ’16 after the surgery. I don’t know what to do now, maybe I’m in starvation mode forever now, I know nothing anymore !!! I have no clue what to do, but spending the next 24 in tears, is not in the plan. I am so upset and feel totally 100 percent hopeless!!! I’ve studied your 12 reason for stall article, and I can not fit myself in anywhere. HELP ME!!!! ~ Jerre

    • Hi Jerre!

      First off I am thrilled to see you jump into the Low Carb Challenge Facebook group!
      It is a wonderful community that is a wealth of knowledge and support. I see that you have identified that your carb count was off so good to know you are dropping
      it back down to <20 per day. Looking here at what you normally eat I am wondering if you are neglecting adding good fats into your daily diet...? You will be surprised
      how they fill you up and naturally end up keeping your calorie count down. Maybe add a BPC into the mix for that? I encourage you to jump in on the daily accountablity
      post in the group to stay accountable to yourself… and don’t cry… we have all been where you are at but you can and will get to where you want to be. We’ll work
      on the here and now together in the group while focusing on where you want to be! Stay accountable to yourself while visualizing what the future holds!
      Have a wonderful day! ~Marge

  6. *TYPO* – Not 3300 calories a month – LOL, I meant I was eating about 3300 Atkins Calories a month – oops! – Jerre

  7. *TYPO 2* ….Geez, I told you I was extremely upset…. SO I meant: 3300 calories a DAY!!! (Sorry, it’s 4 am)

So... what's YOUR take on this?