Low Carb Diet Weight Loss Plateau: Possible Causes & Things You Can Do to Stop It!
So, for the past few days I noticed some people on a low carb diet or keto diet complaining that they have hit a low carb diet weight loss plateau. Not just once, but on several occasions this week I have seen this comment being made on social media. Therefore, I decided to share some possible causes and things you can do.
While many of you are just getting started on a low carb diet, I will attempt to get you ahead of the weight loss game. There are a few possible reasons why people are having a “low carb diet weight loss plateau!” The first reason is my favorite and is likely true, but the second reason can help fix the “problem.”
Reason #1 [This may take a while, but it’s worth it : )]
As a health care professional, I am fascinated by how we are wonderfully made. Then, as a low carb diet health food researcher, it becomes clear that some of the foods we eat are designed with a really clear purpose.
For example, ginger is a natural wonder-drug for anything related to the gastrointestinal system. It not only instantly relieves the uncomfortable symptom(s), but it is also designed to increase out appetite! Yep – you read that right.
Often, when we have a stomachache, nausea, vomiting, or any other serious “gastrointestinal” dilemmas we are not reaching for the take-out menu! Usually, we feel yucky and are not hungry at all. While we may shed a few pounds while we are sick, our body can heal itself much better when we eat something. And hopefully something with some added health benefits.
Otherwise, our body has to work really hard to heal itself while we are already sick and feeling bad. I’ll explain.
When we do not eat, the body taps into our fat reserve to convert fat into a useful form of energy. As a result, we lose fat (weight) and we use more energy (calories) during the fat conversion process.
Then, when you add a microbe to the equation, our body’s immune system is activated. As a result, the immune system is stimulated to hustle really hard to rid itself of whatever germ we have. Again – this process burns more calories and requires more energy.
So, when we eat, we provide the body with an immediate source of energy to heal the body faster. In this way, energy is readily available without the extra unseen cellular fat conversion process going on inside the body. Because of this, ginger is an awesome vegetable to eat when we are sick or cold!
When we lose fat from being sick or from intentional weight loss efforts, our body temperature drops. Well, as a warming spice, ginger can increase blood flow to help keep us warm.
The real point is this…most of our favorite fall coffees, tea, lattes, and low carb treats contain ginger. Chai tea, ginger tea, and pumpkin spice all contain the wonderful warm taste of ginger! And I am trying to enjoy as much of the low carb chai latte versions as I can to capture the health benefits of chai.
So, in case you missed the unclear point – the low carb diet weight loss plateau reason #1 is that you (we) are enjoying the fall weather and eating stuff that makes us feel warm and a little hungry. When we are not watching the scales, we just eat until we are satisfied and do not really notice the extra pound or two. In this way, we naturally prepare ourselves for the winter months ahead with a little extra insulation.
So, here is a second reason for having a low carb diet weight loss plateau.
Reason #2 [Failure to Recalculate Calorie Requirements]
Failing to recalculate your calorie requirements is another reason for having a low carb diet weight loss plateau. When you initially develop your low carb diet plan, you had to determine your daily calorie requirements. If you had eaten this amount, you would have simply maintained your current weight at the time. Therefore, in order to lose weight, you had to implement a reasonable calorie deficit. Once you ate with a calorie deficit, you loss weight. However, once you hit a low carb diet weight loss plateau…this is your clue that you are eating to maintain your new current weight. It is time to recalculate your daily calorie requirements.
So, in order to keep losing weight, you must implement another calorie deficit! Once you reach your ideal weight, you will then start eating to maintain your weight. So, you will eventually stop adding a calorie deficit once you reach your weight loss goal.
Weight loss is “basic” biochemistry.
Food is energy or fuel used to do work inside the body.
The bigger the vehicle (us), the more fuel (calories) required for energy.
A smaller vehicle (us, after losing weight) requires less energy (calories) to operate.
Because of this, your daily calorie requirement will have to be lowered after you lose a significant amount of weight. And you will know when it is time, because you will hit a low carb diet weight loss plateau.
It is cold and the days are much shorter. Because of this, most of us are probably snacking, eating, and drinking a little bit more fall foods, lattes, and desserts than usual. And then we snuggle up under our favorite blanket earlier than usual. Therefore, we have become less active! So, now you may be inadvertently eating a “maintenance” daily calorie requirement instead of a weight loss calorie requirement.
Because of this combination of factors (eating more/exercising less) we may need to implement a new winter/fall calorie requirement for losing weight. Alternatively, you can start a winter/fall exercise routine to stay active and burn more calories while keeping your calorie intake the same.
So, what do you think? Leave your low carb diet weight loss plateau ideas and comments below.