Why weight loss stalls?
When you start a keto diet the first few weeks are hard but also exhilarating!
Yes, because you start losing weight really quick. Sometimes it seems almost effortless and the weight just keeps dropping.
I have had clients who easily lost 10 pounds in the first 2 weeks…without even keeping track of macros and calories.
Then suddenly seems like the honeymoon is over and the scale got stuck on one number.
Why is that and what does it mean when you weight loss stalls?
First of all, as you reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume, your body will get rid of a lot of water that was accumulated in the tissues.
Bodybuilders know this well. When you carb-up, water weight goes up. As you restrict carbs, it easily sheds.
So however much water weight you are storing is going to come off easily and immediately.
Once you are settled into your new carb level and you keep on the keto diet, you are eventually going to start burning body fat.
The first misconception
Here we run in to the first big misconception about keto: That you do not have to count calories.
Guess what?! That you burn glucose or fat for energy, you still need a calorie deficit in order for the weight to come down.
So am I saying that all calories are created equal?? Absolutely not! In fact as you well know, it takes carb restriction to get in to a state of ketosis.
What I am saying is that even as a keto-adapted fat burner, you still will need some sort of calorie deficit to force your body to burn it’s own fat VS dietary fat.
So the first stall we encounter is the turning of that famous corner: from losing water weight to start burning body fat.
Water VS Fat in weight loss stalls
As fat is a very calorie dense substance, the weight loss ratio will be significantly slower.
This is the point where you might want to calculate your macros and keep an eye on the calories.
But again it’s not just that easy.
Our metabolism is a very complex machine and many other factors influence the rate at which you will be able to shed those unwanted pounds.
A very big player here is your hormonal balance.
And I am not talking just sex hormones, but especially hormones like Insulin and Leptin.
Those are the two hormones in control of how much you store VS how much you burn, and how hungry VS satisfied you feel.
If your insulin has been elevated because of blood sugar imbalances, that would have affected your leptin levels also. Once those two hormones become unbalanced it is easy to become insulin /leptin resistant, and from there it becomes very difficult to even shed a single pound.
In fact both insulin and leptin resistance are closely connected with obesity.
So what should you do to break those nasty weight loss stalls?
There are some good tools like intermittent fasting, fasting or a fat fast, which will work in most cases.
Working closely with your macros can also help break a stall.
In case you have tried those and still were not able to break a stall it probably means that your metabolism has been damaged and it needs more time and specific attention in order to heal.
Sometimes a stall means your thyroid is having problems and it needs some attention and healing so that you can regain a normal metabolism. Sometimes your adrenals are the ones who need support.
In any case do not be discouraged by a weight loss stall. Most of them can be overcome, and even when the solution seems impossible to find, a methodical nutritional approach will be able to go to the root causes and eliminate them.