Have you hit a weight loss plateau on your keto journey? You’re not alone. It’s common for people to experience a stall in weight loss after a period of success. While it can be frustrating, it’s important to remember that weight loss is not always linear. There are several reasons why you may be experiencing a plateau, and in this blog, we’ll explore the four most common causes. From restricted calories to undiagnosed insulin resistance, hidden carbs, and poor sleep quality, we’ll dive into the scientific details and provide solutions to help you break through your weight loss stall and continue on your path to health and wellness.
Top 4 Common Causes
1. Restricted calories too much
One of the main reasons for a weight loss plateau is restricting calories too much. When you drastically reduce your calorie intake, your body may enter a state called “starvation mode.” This is a survival mechanism that slows down your metabolism to conserve energy, making it harder for you to lose weight. While a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, it’s important to find the right balance. Prolonged and extreme calorie restriction can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate, hindering weight loss progress. This happens because your body adapts to the lower calorie intake by conserving energy, so it burns fewer calories throughout the day. To avoid this, it’s important to calculate your daily caloric needs and aim for a moderate calorie deficit of around 20-25%. Incorporating strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also help boost your metabolism and prevent it from slowing down. Additionally, taking breaks from calorie restriction and incorporating “refeed” days, where you eat at maintenance or slightly above, can help prevent metabolic adaptation and keep your weight loss progress moving forward.
2. Undiagnosed insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a condition that is prevalent among individuals starting a keto diet and can lead to a weight loss plateau. Insulin is responsible for transferring glucose from your bloodstream to your cells, where it can be either used as energy or stored as fat. However, when your body becomes insulin resistant, your cells become unresponsive to insulin, and your body compensates by producing more insulin. This increase in insulin levels can lead to the accumulation of more fat in the body, making it harder to lose weight. Insulin resistance puts fat burning on hold and encourages fat storage, particularly in the waistline area. To combat insulin resistance and overcome a weight loss plateau, it is essential to reduce carbohydrate intake and opt for whole foods. Incorporating resistance training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine can improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss.
3. Hidden carbs
Hidden carbohydrates are one of the most common culprits of weight loss stalls on the keto diet. Many processed keto-friendly products, such as protein bars, bread, cookies, and condiments are often loaded with hidden carbs that can quickly add up and throw off your macros. Even seemingly low-carb foods like vegetables and nuts can have additional carbs that may be hindering your weight loss progress. To fix this issue, it’s important to first prioritize whole foods in your diet and avoid or moderate processed keto products. Additionally, try tracking total carbohydrates instead of just net carbs, as this can help you better identify and account for any hidden carbs in your diet. Finally, it’s essential to read nutrition labels carefully and be aware of any sneaky ingredients that may contain carbs, such as fillers or artificial sweeteners. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you’re staying within your carb limit and setting yourself up for successful weight loss on the keto diet.
4. Poor sleep quality
Poor sleep quality can have a significant impact on weight loss efforts. One of the main reasons for this is that sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect hunger and satiety signals in the body.
Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite and is produced in the stomach. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived individuals tend to have higher levels of ghrelin, which can lead to increased hunger and overeating.
In contrast, leptin is a hormone that signals fullness and is produced in fat cells. Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease leptin levels, which can lead to decreased feelings of fullness and increased appetite.
Furthermore, poor sleep quality can also lead to increased insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where cells become less sensitive to insulin, leading to higher levels of insulin in the bloodstream. This can cause the body to store more fat, making weight loss more difficult.
To combat these effects, it is essential to prioritize good sleep hygiene, such as setting a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment. Additionally, regular exercise and stress management techniques such as meditation and yoga can also help improve sleep quality and support weight loss efforts.
Breaking Through the Plateau
Weight loss stalls can be frustrating, but understanding the common causes can help you break through and achieve your goals. Remember to prioritize whole, unprocessed foods, monitor your carb intake, and prioritize getting good quality sleep. By doing so, you can overcome these obstacles and continue making progress toward your weight loss and health goals. With the right mindset and strategies, you can achieve success on your keto journey.