So you’ve been eating a low carbohydrate diet and you’ve been doing well but your weight loss has stalled.
Previously the weight has dropped off and you’ve been feeling great. You jump on the scales one day and you’ve put weight on. “Whaaat?” “Oh well,” you say “just a glitch. I’ll give it a week and see what happens.” A week later you try again and you’ve put on more weight. “Roll me in sugar substitute and call me a low-carb doughnut. Now it’s serious.”
Here are 5 reasons why your weight loss could be stalling. Before we start, the single most important fact you need to remember when losing weight is: energy in should be less than energy out and if you want to maintain your weight these two things should be about equal. Simple pimple really.
1. Beware the sneaky extras
You could be eating more carbohydrates than you think. In the beginning you are careful and check how many carbs there are in everything you eat. You quickly pick up when you are eating too much. But you slowly become complacent, a piece of fruit here a square of dark chocolate there, one more wine. Not that I would know anything about the extra fruit, or the chocolate, or the wine for that matter. We’re talking about you not me. It all adds up to too many carbohydrates. Women need less carbs and women who have been through menopause need even less. I have between 20 and 30 grams per day and that works well. Remember everyone is different. This is the link to macro-nutrient calculator. Use it to get an idea of how much fat/carbs/protein you should be eating.
2. Too many calories
High fat low carbohydrates doesn’t mean you can just pig out on pork crackling and chicken skin all day long and not put on weight. What were you thinking! If you want weight loss you want to be burning the fat on your body not the stuff going in your mouth. Equally, watch those hidden carbs, check the label on everything and stick to the veg and fruit at the lower end of the carbohydrate table. Too much protein can also stall your weight loss. Remember more than your body requires will be tuned into glucose and stored as fat. A good amount of protein to aim for according to Phinney and Volek is 1.5 – 2 grams per kilo of body weight.
3. Watch those MCTs
MCTs are medium chain triglycerides and are found in: coconut products, and full fat dairy. These cannot be stored and are used by the body as fuel before any stored fat. MCT’s are a great form of energy and are easily digested by the body but too many will prevent your body burning any stored fat.
4. Limit Alcohol
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than others. Are you having an extra sneaky wine? Perhaps you’ve decided you need a whiskey every night to help you get over the god awful day you just had, not that I would know anything about that. Take a hard look at how much you are drinking now and maybe cut back or stop altogether until you can work out what you can have without upsetting the balance of your diet.
Exercise is imperative if you want to maintain any type of weight loss. Not just any exercise either. Long walks every day is not going to cut it although it is certainly better than nothing. Short bursts of strenuous exercise interspersed with strength training works best. You can still go for long walks, just include a few hills that you sprint up and you’ll be on your way to sveltdom once more.