Today I’m going over 4 possible reasons for why you’re not losing weight on the Ketogenic Diet.
– Number one, and this one is a positive: You are going through body recompositioning, which means you are in fact losing body-fat and building muscle, which is great. Forget the scale for a while and start measuring your waist-line instead. You might be surprised to see your waist-line actually shrinking a couple of inches, while your weight appears to stay the same.
Keeping lean muscle mass is important for your metabolism and increasingly important as we age as well. So you don’t want to lose muscle, but only body-fat. And Keto is a great way of doing that.
– You’re Neglecting your sleep both time and quality-wise. Check my video on sleep I made a while back to learn more about that. Here’s the gist of it: Lack of sleep has been shown to negatively impact weight-loss as it leads to higher levels of ghrelin (which is the hormone that stimulates appetite) and lower levels of the hormone leptin (which is a hormone that suppresses hunger). Your body seems to be trying to compensate the need for energy it didn’t get because you didn’t sleep enough, by making you eat more. Thanks to your hormones being out of order, you end up eating more than you actually needed, as a result causing you to gain weight. Try to get a consistent 7+ hours of quality sleep/night and you might be surprised by the results.
– Maybe you’re not actually in Ketosis, either because you’re eating too many carbohydrates or too much protein. So if you’ve been eating 30g of net carbs per day, try 25 or 20g of net carbs per day and see if it makes a difference. The more insulin resistant you are, the higher the chances that you’ll need to keep your carbs as low as possible to stay in Ketosis and to burn fat efficiently. Also, how are you testing? Pee strips are a very unreliable way of measuring ketones, test your blood ketones with something like the precision extra or your breath with a device like the Ketonix instead. I know, after a while you get better at telling when you’re in Ketosis, simply by the way you feel. Still, it can’t hurt to test every once in a while so you can make adjustments to your diet and find what works best for you.
– Even if you’re in Ketosis, you might be over-eating out of habit. Start listening to your body signalling you when you’re full and then stop eating. And only eat when you’re hungry. One of the main benefits of a ketogenic diet is that you become less hungry, so you can take advantage of that. If you’re over-eating simply out of habit, lets say you’re used to having 3-4 meals a day and you’re adding tons of fat even though you’re not really hungry. If then, at the end of the day you consumed like 3000 calories, you won’t be magically losing body-fat, as you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to tap into stored body-fat for energy because of all the food your body is trying to burn first. Even if you’re in Ketosis, if you’re eating too much, you won’t lose fat. How much you’re eating and more specifically calories, still matter to a certain extent. Just look at it from an evolutionary perspective – at times when there is more food available and you eat more, your body stores the calories you take in as an energy reserve (anything else would not make sense). This way it can tap into those reserves, when food is less readily available. Just keep that in mind.
When starting out on Keto, I always recommend eating at least maintenance calories or even if it’s slightly above that for the first couple of weeks, that’s fine. You want to make your metabolic transition from a sugar- to a fat-burner as easy and smooth as possible and not add any more stressors to your body by starting out with severe caloric restriction right away. But, once you’ve adapted to the Ketogenic Diet, don’t be afraid to listen to your hunger levels and to try things like intermittent fasting, where you only eat between lets say 12 PM and 7 PM. By reducing your eating window to for example 7-8 hours you’re more likely to reduce how much you’re eating throughout the day. Still, keep track of what you’re eating just in case – apps like Myfitnesspal can be really helpful for that. Also keep in mind that eating sweetened food, it doesn’t matter how keto friendly the sweetener is, can still make you over-eat and cause some food cravings.
Lastly, I want you should know that weight-loss or what you should actually focus on, fat-loss, is not a linear process. For example, you might not lose any weight for two weeks and then all of a sudden, lose two pounds over the weekend. Just hang in there and enjoy the ride. I’ll try my best to help you along the way.