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?
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.
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.
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!
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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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.