Mysterious Weight Gain or Stalls While Eating Low Carb


In my last low carb update I said I was still steadily losing weight. And I was.

WAS being the key word, lol. πŸ˜›

The tables turned, and now I’m gaining weight just as steadily! 😯 πŸ˜›

I weighed 151.6 pounds on Wednesday morning. This morning (Saturday) I am up to 154.4 pounds. Yesterday it was 153.4, so it’s creeping up steadily lol.

I gained almost 3 pounds in 3 days!

This is a hot topic around the low carb communities, so I thought we’d discuss it (and the possible reasons it happens) since I’m experiencing it this week myself.

I’ve included my complete Low Carb Diaries for the last 3 days below too, because you should always start by analyzing your food diaries for any changes or additions that might be causing your weight to fluctuate or stall.

You can see Monday & Tuesday’s Low Carb Foods here, and Wed/Thurs/Fri are below if you want to view the entire week.

TIP: When analyzing your food diaries, if you have more than one thing you’re doing or eating that’s new/different, you want to do a “clean test” to figure out your culprits. Cut out or change just one thing at a time for a solid week, keeping everything else the same.

If you’re not tracking everything, you should be.

What To Track, And HOW To Track It – Easily!

4 Things To Check If You’re Not Losing Weight

NOTE: If you’re just in week two or three of eating low carb, seeing a brief “hold” or even slight flucutations on the scale is totally NORMAL. That’s just your body adjusting to the initial weight loss. In that case – or even if you just started over and got back into ketosis – just keep doing what obviously worked so well the first week or so and let your body adjust. πŸ˜‰ That “week 2/3 stall” is NOT a stall, and is NOT a time to throw in the towel or make any drastic changes!

Possible Weight Gain / Stall Culprits:

In addition to certain foods (cheese, cream cheese, any processed foods including bars & shakes, sugar free foods or artificial sweeteners, hidden carbs, etc) there are other potential culprits that could stall weight loss or cause you to gain weight.

Have you started a new medication, stopped taking something or changed the dosage? Have you started taking a vitamin or supplement? Some of those have sugar and hidden carbs, especially the gummies.

Consider anything and everything that has changed in your life since your weight loss stalled. Sleep Quality and Stress are both known culprits for affecting weight loss as well, so getting UNstressed and plenty of rest can make a big difference. πŸ˜‰

As for me, I’ve been sick with a virus for over a week. I haven’t been sleeping well (extreme insomnia). I’ve been highly stressed – with a resting heart rate in fat burning mode (lol). I had dental work done, which was pretty rough (pain, swelling, I swallowed a lot of blood which made me sick – yuck!). I started a new prescription medication this week too, and also started taking Melatonin to help with sleep.

Those are all very good possible reasons my body is retaining water or “in a hold” at the moment. The key is to relax, keep eating eating healthy, be mindful of your food choices, and allow your body to heal and/or adjust on it’s own.

Don’t freak out. πŸ™‚ Don’t do anything extreme. Don’t do any “extreme dieting tricks” either, because that is NOT healthy.

Above all else, do NOT throw in the towel! Being stalled or seeing a little weight gain is NOT a good reason to binge or eat unhealthy. That’s just going to move your scales in the WRONG direction – and FAST. πŸ˜›

Hold steady, eat healthy, be good to your body!

A great stall-breaker is the 3 Ingredients Rule.

It’s a great rule to “eat by” ALL the time, but this alone proved to break stalls and increase weight loss across the board in our challenge group. πŸ˜‰

Below are my low carb meals for the last three days – while sick and recovering from the dental work. I identified a potential culprit right away! I’ll give you a photo tour of my meals, then share my thoughts on those…

This Week’s Low Carb Meals

I had dental work done late Tuesday afternoon, so I started the day Wednesday with soft foods. I had a GNC Total Lean “Strawberries & Cream” shake (3 net carbs) when I woke up, followed by 3 eggs scrambled with cheese.

Low Carb Scrambled Eggs w/Cheese

I had a couple of appointments that morning, so I had lunch while I was out. I stopped in at Captain D’s (a fast food seafood restaurant) and got Grilled Whitefish with a double order of green beans (no bread, no rice). I normally get the grilled shrimp skewers with this meal, but I needed “soft foods only” that day. πŸ™‚

Eating Low Carb at Captain D's Seafood Restaurant

I only ate one order of the green beans. I wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t have much of an appetite. I saved the other order of green beans and had those at dinner.

This looks gross, and it WAS weird, but I was really hungry and had very little to work with in the house. πŸ˜› I could only eat soft foods too, which added to my limitations.

I took a can of tuna, stirred in some mayo, heated up the leftover green beans and stirred those in too. So it was tuna salad with green beans in it. 😐 lol.

I did NOT look at that while I ate it.

It actually tasted fine, it just didn’t look so great. πŸ˜›

Wednesday’s MyFitnessPal Food Diary:

MyFitnessPal Low Carb Diary

Wednesday totaled at 1166 calories, 16 net carbs (23 total carbs), 83 grams of protein, and 81% fat. Those are great numbers…


On Thursday morning I had another GNC low carb shake when I woke up (so I could take Advil), then had scrambled eggs again. I also managed to eat an Atkins Peanut Butter Granola Bar (in small bites, on one side lol). For lunch I just had another Atkins bar and then laid down. I was NOT feeling well, not at all. πŸ˜›

By dinner I needed something solid but bland, so I made a quick batch of low carb bread. I made it plain (no garlic – just almond meal & parmesan).

Homemade Low Carb Bread

This low carb bread is super easy to make, and it’s also gluten free. The carb count will depend on your brands / ingredients and your serving size, of course.

I usually make mine like this: 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour, 6oz bag of Kraft Natural finely shredded parmesan, 2 eggs, 2 TBSP of real butter (melted). Mix it all together and form however you like on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, then bake at 350Β° until lightly browned.

It has a really nice bread-like texture:

Low Carb Bread Texture

This is a great base recipe. For a fun variation, see my Low Carb Biscuits. πŸ™‚

I had a nice hot cup of Chicken Broth later that night, with another piece of the low carb bread, just to settle my stomach before I went to bed.

Chicken Broth on a Low Carb Diet

Chicken Broth is great when you’re sick, or have Keto Flu. It replenishes sodium & electrolytes quickly – and tastes good. It’s also good when you have an upset tummy, get a cold, or experience leg cramps from dehydration or ketosis.

Thursday’s MyFitnessPal Food Diary:

MyFitnessPal Low Carb Food Diary

Thursday totaled at 1851 calories, 25 net carbs (33 total carbs), 126 grams of protein, and 66% fat. The numbers are slightly off, but it’s not bad.


Yesterday I was finally able to have my favorite low carb breakfast again. πŸ™‚ This time it was 1/2 cup crushed pecans, 1/4 cup Daisy brand cottage cheese, and 4 small strawberries. (5 net carbs, 85% fat)

They’re frozen berries, so they “get juicy” when I dice them. Delicious!

Healthy Low Carb Breakfast

Then I had a nice healthy low carb lunch at Applebee’s. I ordered the Cedar Salmon and asked for the “creamy artichoke topping” on the side (I wasn’t sure about it, lol).

I switched my sides and asked for zucchini & sauteed spinach. Plus I added sauteed mushrooms on the side. The parmesan artichoke spread was delicious, by the way! I ate it on my veggies instead of my salmon. Yum!

Applebees Low Carb Dinner

I wasn’t able to finish it all, so I brought home some nice leftovers to enjoy today. πŸ™‚

Low Carb Leftovers

I felt really rough last night, so I just had my last Strawberries & Cream GNC shake and an Atkins Bar and went straight to bed.

Atkins Peanut Butter Granola Bar

Friday’s MyFitnessPal Food Diary:

MyFitnessPal with Net Carbs Column


I’ve been drinking less coffee, and a lot more water this week. On Thursday I had 8 glasses of water (80 ounces). I was SO thirsty all day! πŸ˜› Other than that my low carb meals are very close to my usual low carb choices, and my macros are close to usual too. Outside of one thing: the GNC Total Lean low carb shakes!

GNC Total Lean Shake (Low Carb)


The Atkins Bars have never stalled me before. I know they do stall some people. Quest Bars stall me, and sadly those are my favorite! But they do stall my weight loss. So if there IS a food culprit to my weight gain this week… it’s the shakes.

That’s the only thing really new in my diet this week.

That’s okay though. A liquid meal was absolutely necessary several times this week with my jaw pain from having the back tooth removed. I only bought four, and they are all four gone now… so that’s that. πŸ™‚

Of course it could be the fact that I was sick, the new meds I’m taking, the lack of sleep and stress – or a combination of ALL of those things. Now that I’m feeling better, less stressed, sleeping better – and out of shakes πŸ™‚ – I imagine my body will get back to normal and shed this weight.

I hope that helps you examine possible culprits when you find your weight loss stalled, or have a mysterious weight gain. Sometimes it just happens. It may be as simple as hormone cycles (yes, even men have those!), it could be water weight from traveling or other sources, or even constipation.

My advice: analyze your food diaries, any changes in your diet or lifestyle, make adjustments… and let it work itself out. In the meantime eat super simple: Three Ingredients Per Plate and only eat “real food” – nothing processed.

How are things going on your end?

Gaining, Losing… or Holding Steady?

Leave a comment & let’s chat. πŸ™‚

This weight gain is troublesome, but I am NOT going to let it stress me out or derail me in any way. I am traveling next week and still hope to be back to my ideal weight (under 150 pounds), but worst case scenario… I have SPANX. πŸ™‚ lol…

Lynn Terry,
aka @LowCarbTraveler

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About Lynn Terry

I love making the low carb diet EASY for people with a busy lifestyle (like me!) with my KISS / Keep It Simple method. :) About Lynn Terry: Host of the Low Carb Challenge
This entry was posted in Low Carb Daily Journals, Weight Loss. Bookmark the permalink.


27 Responses to Mysterious Weight Gain or Stalls While Eating Low Carb

  1. Jo says:

    When I get sick at all, my body goes into water retention mode so I ride it out & don’t weigh until it comes off. I can always tell when it’s over by how boney my feet are, lol. πŸ™‚ I’ve been fighting something off and on – everyone at work is crazy sick and I think my healthier eating habits have kept it at bay. I’ve just been under the weather & tired, headachy & bloaty. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and don’t weigh every day for your own sanity! πŸ™‚
    Those GNC shakes look good, but they don’t have any vitamins & minerals in them, which I need. I like Atkins shakes as meal replacements because they only have 15 grams of protein & are packed with vitamins & minerals as well. The dark chocolate is so good! Four of them will set you up for the day’s nutrition if you don’t feel good & can’t stand eating anything.

    My favorite mix it up shake is from Vitacost – the Aro Vitacost lean series. 24 grams of protein & 100% of most vitamins & minerals in one serving. Tastes great and low carb. I just ordered some, hoping it will pick me up a bit. πŸ™‚ I put it in my Netrition shaker bottle, no blender required. πŸ˜€

    A big staller is too much protein. We should figure out how much protein we actually need so we don’t overdo it. Too much protein can kick us out of ketosis.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you for the recommendations, Jo!

      Here’s the info I have on protein: β€œAdults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.”

      You can’t go by grams though since many proteins are also healthy fats, which is why I go by ratios as outlined in this post:

      It’s been a rough first quarter for viruses and such. Here’s hoping Spring brings a lot of positive change! πŸ™‚ *cheers*

  2. Lorene (George) says:

    I am 66 yrs old. 5′ 1″. Last September I started the Omni diet using HCG drops and lost 28 lbs by Thanksgiving. One week before TG I weighed 141. My niece them added me to this challenge. I read the pinned posts and decided to follow this WOE since it was similar but without the costly products. I have maintained within 2 lbs of my pre-TG weight and am able to eat a wider variety of foods. Plus with the addition of all these fats (which you can’t have on Omni) my digestion is so much better and elimination so much easier. Think I will stay with the LCHF woe.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Lorene,

      I’m glad you switched. Eating LCHF has so many great health benefits, and it’s very easy to sustain long term with simple “real food” on your plate. πŸ™‚

  3. Amber says:

    Just read your blog for the first time today. I have been doing low carb for over 3 weeks now, this is my 4th week and I have only lost 2 lbs. I had my period last week so I didn’t weigh and tried to do low carb, but my chocolate cravings did me in. I didn’t lose or gain any weight last week. My mom and dad are doing it and they lost 8 and 6 lbs the first week. I know it hasn’t been very long but everyone says you lose a lot at first and it gets harder later. Is it possible that low carb isn’t going to work for me? I am about 75 lbs overweight, I’m 37 years old, female, 5’0″.

  4. Linda says:

    I am having the same problem. Been tracking everything for almost 12 weeks and have lost only about 6lbs. It’s very frustrating. I am about 60 lbs overweight and 46.

  5. Michelle says:

    Hi Lynn, I’ve tried LC WOE often and on many times. I need to lose about 25 pounds. It seems I lose the initial water weight the first week and never lose any more. Is it possible that once you get within 20-25 pounds of your goal LC won’t work?
    I’ve stuck it out a month or a little longer many times and never lose any after the initial water weight so after a month or so I usually say forget it. Then get discouraged after eating carbs for a week or so and then usually go back to try lc again and still nothing after the water weight. The last time I got frustrated I tried extremely low calorie and I was hungry all the time and really didn’t lose any more than I did the first week of LC attempts.
    I do battle hypothyroidism so that’s not helping me.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Michelle,

      What happens is you lose that water weight and even burn some fat the first week or so. Then you experience a brief “hold” or even slight fluctuations during weeks 2 and/or 3. That’s totally normal – it’s just your body adjusting to the initial weight loss. If you stick it out past that, you’ll start losing again. πŸ™‚

      • Suzanne Moreton says:

        HI Lynn,
        Do you know how long the brief hold happens during weeks 2/3? I am on week 2 and holding at the same weight since Monday. Thx!

        • Lynn Terry says:

          Hi Suzanne! Sometimes a week or even two. The key is to just keep doing what you were doing before that obviously worked so well. If you changed anything, go back to what you were doing.

          During those weeks I have to say “eat for your health!” to myself over and over, lol. Because I KNOW if I don’t stick it out… I’ll just GAIN weight. πŸ˜›

          It does kick back in! Just stick it out. πŸ˜‰

  6. Danna Altman says:

    I have a question, I am seeing on your MFP logs that it says Net Carb, on mine it only says carbs, so its hard for me to figure my net carbs out.

  7. Pingback: Down 4 Pounds in 4 Days: My Low Carb Meals | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

  8. Carol says:

    I have been eating low carb high protein for two years now. I have lost 35 pounds now and holding my weight. But my problem is my belly fat won’t go away. I lost a lot of it but still have stubborn fat that I can’t get rid of.

  9. Mary Harper says:

    I have read a lot on the subject of melatonin/weight gain, and sleep/weight gain. Here is what the Mayo Clinic (my only source of accurate medical information) says about sleep/weight gain:

    Is too little sleep a cause of weight gain?
    Answers from Donald Hensrud, M.D.

    It might be. Recent studies have suggested an association between sleep duration and weight gain. Sleeping less than five hours β€” or more than nine hours β€” a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.

    In one study, recurrent sleep deprivation in men increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake. In another study, women who slept less than six hours a night or more than nine hours were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kilograms) compared with women who slept seven hours a night. Other studies have found similar patterns in children and adolescents.

    One explanation might be that sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger β€” ghrelin and leptin β€” and stimulates the appetite. Another contributing factor might be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.

    So now you have another reason to get a good night’s sleep.

  10. Bridget says:

    I am so sad to admit I think Quest bars are stalling me too, and I think they throw me out of ketosis possibly. πŸ™ Finished my last one last night, moving fwd I hope to finally break this month long stall and get under 240!!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      They stall me too, Bridget – and it IS sad, because they are one of the best bars on the market in my opinion. I do best (weight loss) eating real food and keeping my ingredients super simple – very few ingredients at a time.

      Hopefully cutting the bars will make the difference you’re looking for. πŸ˜‰

  11. Adam says:

    I have been doing lowcarb for about 15 months… the first 9 or so I lost 75…the next 3 i lost another 15….the last 3 I just yo-yo back and forth and can’t seem to lose anymore. I can gain some and lose some but I am stuck on a certain weight I can not go under. Is it possible my body has become used to lowcarb and this wont work for me anymore?

  12. Teresa says:

    I just started eating low carb 2 weeks ago. I lost 13 lbs in just a week and a half! However, I went out with family and friends on Friday. I ate low carb but blew it by having several cocktails. I chose bloody Mary’s to try and stay away from sugary drinks. Got up the next moring to the scale saying I gained 7 lbs! I know the cocktails were really high in sodium so water retention is definitely an issue. Also, I’ve been sipping Powerade Zero to hydrate after the ordeal. Today (Monday) I’m still weighing the same and feeling like an idiot for indulging. Have I completely messed up the rapid weightloss advantage that happens in the beginning or just stalled temporarily?

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Teresa,

      I would say it’s the carbs in the Bloody Mary drinks that most likely kicked you out of ketosis. That plus the alcohol which takes much longer to metabolize than food.

      All you have to do is just go straight back to 20 net carbs max and 70% fat minimum and get right back into ketosis. πŸ˜‰

      Look up the Bloody Mary based on what you had / how many – and see what the total carb/sugar count is on that. That way you know for sure. I usually stick to Rum & Diet Coke, a low carb wine, or Michelob Ultra if I’m having beer.

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