For almost three straight weeks now, my scales have not budged – at all. I’ve been stuck at 160 pounds. It’s almost as if the scales are mocking me, given how excited I was to get back into the 150’s. 😛
While I’ve experienced a weight loss plateau before, I’ve never had one last this long while eating low carb. Ever. Not while “sticking to the plan.”
And I’m not alone. Many people in our 90 Day Low Carb Challenge Facebook Group are experiencing long stalls as well. This prompted me to do some research and see what I could do to break out of it…
And let me just say, YES it’s discouraging. Particularly if you weigh every day like I do, instead of weighing in weekly. I’m used to seeing the scales move at least a little every day, or every few days at the very least. It’s almost discouraging enough to make you want to throw in the towel and binge…
I said almost, because I know firsthand that WILL make the scales move. In the WRONG direction. Which is definitely not what I want! 😉 I would rather be stuck at 160 pounds, than put 10-20 pounds back on in a matter of weeks. So I’m staying focused on the positive (the weight I’ve lost so far) and not letting this weight loss plateau get the better of me.
Like I said, it prompted me to do some research, and here is what I found – and what I’m trying myself:
How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau on the Low Carb Diet
1. Drink Water. I’ve never been a big water drinker, but research says that water helps to break down fat more effectively. I’ve never had to do this in the past on the low carb diet, but I am currently toting around a bottled water and trying to drink as much as I can every day.
2. Eat More Fat. Last summer when the weather got hot, I found myself “eating lighter” simply because I didn’t crave heavy foods in the heat. It wasn’t intentional, but my diet turned out to be low carb AND low fat – which caused me to stall until I added more “good fats” back into my diet. There’s a science to the low carb diet, and without the proper “food combining” you can easily experience a stall.
3. Try a Mini-Binge. Another thing you can try is to increase your calorie and carb intake. Having a day, or just a meal, of higher carb / higher calorie eating, followed by returning to your consistent low carb eating can kick-start weight loss again. I stay away from things like pasta or bread or sugar when I do this, and opt for something healthy like: dried cranberries, a baked potato, carrots, etc.
4. Exercise. A quick cardio workout once or twice a day can work wonders to boost your metabolism. It can be as simple as 10-15 minutes of dancing in your kitchen, or hopping on the treadmill or Gazelle while you’re watching your favorite show.
5. Analyze your diet more closely. It may be that you have an intolerance to certain things in your diet, such as artificial sweeteners, or other things that cause a personal stall for you. Or you may not be correctly counting your net carbs. Try cutting out “products” and sticking to “real foods” and see if that helps. Also, track your meals & snacks in a good journal to make sure you’re eating enough AND sticking to around 20 net carbs per day.
6. Eat More! One of the things I’m dealing with right now is a lack of appetite. Not eating enough can shift your body into “fasting mode” which slows your metabolism and causes your body to store fat for energy. I’m having a hard time finishing a regular sized meal (which has *never* been a problem for me before, ha!) so I am switching to eating smaller meals/snacks and eating more frequently.
A weight loss plateau is usually caused by your body adapting to the changes you’ve made. Those changes may cause your metabolism to slow down or your appetite to decrease, for example. It’s a natural adjustment (your body is one smart machine!) so sometimes you just need to trick it or “shock it” back into motion.
I tried the mini-binge as I mentioned. That knocked me out of ketosis. Then I tried eating more fat, sticking to protein & fat strictly for a few days, which put me right back in. Ugh – back to the restless nights and nagging headaches! I regretted that little cycle, especially when the scales still didn’t move. 😛
I’m currently trying to work more water into my daily routine, and next I’m planning to try the cardio to increase my metabolism. If you try too many things at once, you may never know which one actually worked. I’m not so worried about that personally – as long as something works. LOL. Water and exercise are both things I need more of anyway, so whether they do the trick or not it will be a healthy improvement for me.
If you’re experiencing a low carb stall, or a long term weight loss plateau, hang in there! 😉 Stick to the plan, make improvements, and don’t let discouragement talk you into putting weight back ON after you’ve worked so hard to take it off…