At some point during the Low Carb weight loss journey, nearly everyone experiences a slowing down or a halt in weight loss.
It’s almost as if it’s part of the right of passage, something that you just have to go through.
Well, first of all let me give you some good news and say that in many cases the slow down is avoidable and in all cases it is possible to overcome the stall, plateau or whatever else you want to call it.
In this three part series, I go over the most comprehensive list of things that can cause your weight loss to tail off and in the last part I’ll give you three ways that you can use to bust a stall or plateau… Guaranteed!
First off, let’s discuss exactly what a stall is and set some ground rules.
You can consider yourself in a stall if neither your weight, body measurements, nor body volume has not shown any change for a minimum of 4 weeks. That said, if you have not had any change for two weeks, at least start the investigation process as to what may be the likely cause of the stall. Quite simply, if it is something simple and you make changes that cause the weight and measurements to move in the right direction, then sooner is always better than later, particularly for your own encouragement. And if it is something simple then why wait another two weeks?
That brings us to the first of the ground rules.
99% of us diet not to lose weight. In truth we are dieting to lose excess FAT. That is a very important distinction.
Never forget – You do not want to lose weight -you want to lose excess FAT FAT FAT.
Another important thing to remember at all times is:-
The scales are not your friend. They are no more accurate at measuring your fat loss as your horoscope is about your day to day finances.
The second ground rule is one on how to start any diet properly. (And if you haven’t done this, do it today)
When you begin any diet, and particularly an LC diet, first thing in the morning before you eat you should record the following:
– both upper arms at the largest part
– both thighs at the largest part,
– both calves at the largest part and
– around the neck.
You can get this done professionally at a health centre or gym that has the equipment for the purpose, or if you don’t want the hassle of that, choose a pair of trousers and a top that are a bit tight or better still one or two sizes too small and try to put them on and note how far up you can get them. Keep them together on a hanger in your wardrobe as you will use them often.On the day you start your diet and then only every seven days after, weigh, measure and try on the clothes and MAKE A NOTE of all the weights, measurements and just where you could struggle to get the trousers etc to.
If all of these three types of measurement have NOT changed in the past 4 weeks running, it’s time to consider you may be in a stall. If only two have remained stable, then the good news is you’re not in a stall. And there is no cause for alarm.
Even if all three have stayed the same for a number of weeks – anything less than 4 weeks running is just a temporary stall and could be considered a good thing, as it is most likely your body is adjusting its function to suit your new lifestyle and way of eating. And despite all appearances, you will still be losing fat especially if you remain in ketosis.
The other important thing to remember is that you are dieting only to…
IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
You have made these changes to become slimmer, leaner and healthier again.
The fact that you will lose weight is a by-product of the main process.
Now I very boldly said that most stalls can be avoided. We can see that most clearly by looking at the things which cause stalls.
Frankly speaking, these can be divided into three categories.
The actual thing, or number of things, that is causing your stall may be one of the following. Let’s discuss them one at a time. Although that may be a bit difficult as many are interlinked.
Too Many Carbs
Yes it can be as simple as that. Some people have the type of metabolism that requires that they need maybe as few as 10gms of carbs a day to get into ketosis and not many more to remain there. Whilst others can continue to lose while consuming as much as 80 to 100 grams daily.
Not Enough Protein
This is vital particularly if you combine exercise with your diet. (In fact a high protein diet combined with proper exercise is a sure way of losing fat. There is a study by the University of Illinois that confirms this). This works so well because a protein diet contains a high level of Leucine which working together with insulin help stimulate protein synthesis in muscles. The extra protein reduces muscle loss while the low carbs result in low insulin, allows fat to be burnt. Simple really.
So obvious it’s often overlooked. Low carb ethos of ‘eat until you’re satisfied’ is often interpreted by some as eat until you’re stuffed. A sure fire way of not losing weight. You can never get past the equation energy from food in (calories in) – energy used by the body (calories out) = the direction of weight movement.
Eating Only Once a Day
This has two effects. The first is that the body gets the message that food is scarce so goes into starvation (fat retention) mode. The second is that because you get so hungry by the time you eat then you are inclined to over-eat and by eating so much the blood sugar levels go high, too much insulin is produced and the cycle of metabolising food to fat starts all over again. This is often compounded by the fact that many who eat only once a day eat at the end of the day too close to bed time, and all that food has nothing to do except be turned to fat.
Not Eating Enough
Not so obvious this one, but true enough. When we don’t eat enough, our bodies go into what could be best described as starvation mode. Here the body tries to hang on to everything it can, so it uses every trick it can to hold on to its store of emergency rations.
Too Many Calories
Barry Sears of Zone fame hits it squarely on the head when he rightly maintains that it not just carbs you have to watch, but also calories too. There is a widely held misconception that calories don’t count when in fact it’s obvious they do. If you are not using more calories than you are consuming, they don’t just magically disappear. They do in fact get metabolised by the body and are stored for the future as FAT. It is worth remembering that even Dr Atkins did not say calories didn’t count. He actually said carbs count more than calories. There is a difference and it is an important one.
The body can only build muscle if there is a demand to do so. If you don’t exercise while you eat the same quantity of food, you have in effect reached a stalemate. Firstly, by exercising, you will feel a lot better by getting active and making the body work as it’s meant to. Secondly, your metabolism will be increased causing more fat to be burnt. Thirdly, as your muscles use energy to move, so fat burning will increase.
Even if you conscientiously count every carb you eat, the annoying part is that you will be eating more than you bargained for. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that the labels on the food don’t always tell the truth. Manufacturers are allowed a margin of error of 140%, that can mean that there could be nearly half as many more carbs than you might think in some foods, snacks or ingredients. Also, in many countries, the labelling laws allow a rounding down of ingredients. So 0.99 of a gram of carbs could in fact be recorded on the label as 0 grams. It would not take many like that to add up to many more grams of carbs in the day.
Then there are the carbs hidden away in condiments and seasonings and so forth. Stop, look at the label. Even if they are not listed many will contain more carbs than you might think.
What’s To Come…
Well, if you have not found a likely culprit in any of those listed above then the next part may be just what you’re looking for… Would you believe I have identified 16 more products, foods and reasons why your weight-loss may have stalled.