Table of Contents
The sad reality behind any weight loss diet is breaking the dreaded ‘weight loss plateau’. No one knows why, but every diet, at some point or the other, seems to stop working. Probably the body gets used to its fitness or the diet routine and one just does not see the pounds melting off like they once did. You feel like you have hit the wall and that all your efforts are being wasted. If this is what you are experiencing, then you too are dealing with the weight loss plateau. Believe us when we say that everyone reaches this point at some time. If you are trying to lose weight like millions of people out there; it is very much a given that you will reach this frustrating junction of your weight loss journey.
So, what are the common reasons behind a weight loss plateau?
Let us see the typical reasons behind the plateau.
- Not drinking enough water
While most of us know that drinking tons of water while trying to lose weight is essential; most of us do not practice it in reality. However, H2O is very important to suppress weight and appetite cravings. When we do not drink enough, we get dehydrated and as a result, our kidneys need to work harder than normal to eliminate its waste. It then turns to the liver for extra support and because the liver is now working twice as hard, it requires stored fat to perform these extra jobs. So, just how much water is required to overcome the weight loss plateau? The answer, according to experts, is simple: you know your body weight –so you should be ideally drinking half of your body weight in ounces and even more if you are doing high intensity training workouts. Also, if you are eating tons of fiber but not drinking enough water, your system will get backed up. Hence, you should drink even more water when you are consuming fiber and exercising as well. Many doctors and trainers recommend drinking 12 cups of water every day!
- Not getting adequate protein
This is another reason behind weight loss plateau. Without protein your body believes it is hungry and craves carbohydrates and other unhealthy foods. Compared to carbs and fat, your body expends greater energy to metabolize proteins. Hence adequate intake of protein is a must. Try to aim for your body weight in grams of protein each day. Women should, ideally get 40 to 60 grams daily. This can be achieved by eating Greek Yogurt (18g), 2 eggs (13-15g), Fish (22 g), poultry (25g) and a heaping serving of beans daily (15-18g).
- Eating too many carbs
Many people think that once they have started an exercise routine they can pile up on complex carbs and still see great results. However, to make the fitness effective, one must stay away from all carbohydrates, especially the refined sugars. These are found in pastas, rice, white breads, cakes and other sweets. Even a small amount of these can negate all your weight loss effects so steer clear of them. If needed, stop purchasing them in the first place so that you do not feel tempted. Avoid eating in restaurants and try to take your own lunch to work. On this website, we have listed various resources to help you come up with the right ingredients to make healthy choices conforming to the low carb Ketogenic diet.
- Not exercising enough
If you expect the low carb Ketogenic diet to work, you must exercise daily. We are talking about high intensity training and not slow exercise as many tend to indulge in. So, instead of walking every single day on a treadmill, indulge in some heavy intensity exercise like cycling, swimming or lifting weights or doing sprints twice each week.
Other little known issues that could lead to weight loss plateau
Other than these aforementioned reasons, several underlying health factors can lead to weight loss plateau. These are:
- Lack of micronutrients– People on Ketogenic diet must have their blood tested to ensure all the levels are fine. It is especially important to have the Vitamin D levels tested. Take a supplement for vitamins and minerals as recommended by your doctor.
- Your protein intake might be too high– Yes, this might be a paradox but too much of protein can also be a hidden reason behind reaching your ketogenic diet weight loss plateau. If you have been following the diet for more than a month, you can slowly reduce your protein intake keeping it between 0.8 to 1.5 gm per kilogram of your body weight.
- Lacking consistency– Yes, this is one of the main reasons for hitting up against a wall when trying to lose weight. If you are slacking several times a week and straying off course then you naturally will not see the results you expect.
- Stress, allergies and hormonal issues– Food allergies or food sensitivity, chronic stress and other hormonal issues are often the underlying reasons why you might not be seeing the weight loss results you expect to see. Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that worsens the insulin resistance and promotes fat storage. Likewise, if you eat foods you are sensitive to, your intestinal tract gets inflamed as a result there is swelling and bloating. In women, estrogen hormone wrecks the brain’s neurotransmitters leading to total loss of control over eating, as well as one’s emotions. All these factors can contribute to the weight loss plateau.
So are there any tips that can help one overcome the plateau?
Tips to help one overcome their weight loss plateau while on the low carb Ketogenic diet
- Improve the quality of your nutrients
While you are following the Ketogenic diet, you are naturally eating many saturated fats. If however, you are not seeing desired results, you can substitute some of the saturated fats with unsaturated ones. These include fish oils and vegetable oils that can help increase fat loss through thermogenesis or fat burning. Many people have experienced better weight loss results by doing so.
- Eat your daily calories through fewer meals
Try to reduce the number of meals to 3-5 meals over an 8-10 hour period so that your body will continue to draw its energy by burning fat in between meals and also return its blood sugar and insulin levels to normal. While doing so, try to keep the daily recommended calories the same across these fewer number of meals per day.
- Get off the diet-for a week
Yes- you heard that right! If the only reason behind your following the ketogenic diet is for weight loss and it is not showing you results as expected, you could take a week off the diet and eat for maintenance of calories. Many people experiencing Ketogenic weight loss plateau like to resume eating carbs for a week while others simply increase their total caloric intake. Either of these methods seems to work, so you might want to try both strategies one at a time. Both result in the body actually adjusting its metabolic rate; it also rebuilds the muscles it has lost during the diet. If you do not overdo your calorie intake you can even keep your fat gain minimal in this weekly period. Do note that resuming carbohydrates can still cause rapid and transient weight gain. So do talk to your doctor/trainer or nutritionist whether taking a week off the diet is right for you.
- Keep a food journal
We have already mentioned this several times before. Research has proven time and again that people who keep a food journal are twice as more likely to maintain their weight loss efforts than those who don’t. So you must try to write down everything you eat or drink per meal every single day for at least a period of 5 days. This will help you cut down on mindless munching and also help you analyze your state of mind and body before every session of binge eating. You can also write down how much and what exercise you did each day.
A weight loss plateau is the sad reality of every fat loss diet faced by almost every weight watcher. However, there are various strategies you can follow to overcome this phenomenon. These range from making different (and healthier) food choices to changing one’s workout routines to even taking some time off the diet. Naturally, you should only try one of the strategies at a time instead of doing them all together. This way; you can gauge what is working and what isn’t. Also remember not to compare results: what works for an individual might not work for another. So, do try and re-evaluate your diet plan and tweak it a bit so that it shows you excellent results and helps you overcome the dreaded weight loss plateau.