So, you have had some success on the keto diet, but suddenly, you seem to have hit a wall or reached a plateau and you aren’t sure why. Everyone’s keto journey is completely different, so there are no definitive answers why this happens to people, but I am going to explore some things that I have personally experienced, and others that are common. Maybe it will inspire a different thought process in you to change some things up that will start your weight loss again!
1. Hidden carbs. This one is a biggie, especially if you eat out much. When you eat at restaurants, you have no control over what is in your food. However, you can request to know how menu items are prepared. Also, labels on processed foods are not always accurate, despite being controlled by the government. If at all possible, prepare all your meals at home and steer clear of processed foods.
2. Eating too many carbs. When we first start on the keto diet, until we are actually fat adapted, keep the carbs low, preferably below 50. That number drops to below 20 if you have metabolic challenges.
3. Too many calories. I lean more toward the lazy keto way of doing things, however, I still pay attention to what I am eating. I try to balance the two meals I eat each day. If I am going to eat a meal at lunch that is heavier in calories, I try to do something much lighter for dinner.
4. Too much snacking/eating too often. Before you came to keto, you probably heard at some time in your life that you should eat several times a day. However, the truth is, when your body is in a fasted state, the body will burn more fat. For this reason, it is good to not eat as many times a day. Personally, I try to keep my eating window to eight or fewer hours. When I get up, I try to not drink anything that could possibly raise insulin levels until I eat lunch. For most, that would be keto coffee or tea with no sweeteners. For me, I try to stick to water, possibly with just a couple drops of lemon, sparkling water or tea.
5. Bad sweeteners. Just like we discussed above, it is good to withhold sweeteners while you are in a fasted state, but even when you are not in that time of day, you should really look at the sweeteners you are eating. Don’t just look at what kind of sweetener you are using, but the bulking agents they use. Many use bulking agents that are derivatives of sugar, and things you don’t want in your body. Others spike blood sugar.
For instance, when we first started on keto, I was buying snack bars like Adkins and some from Aldi (at that point, I was just doing what I had to to make it). They were good! It was like having candy! And I lost weight eating them . . . for a little while. Then I just quit losing weight. Then one day, I was watching a Keto Connect video where they tested their ketones and blood sugar on several sweeteners. It made me go check several products we have in the house. One of the products was the treat bars . . . they had maltitol, which was one of the sweeteners they found to spike blood sugar nearly as much as sugar! Once I quit eating the bars, I started losing weight again.
The thing is, keto really is different for everyone. You just have to try to change things up and see what works. Be willing to change. Just because something worked for a while doesn’t mean it will work forever.
A few things that I have done that seem to work:
1. MCT oil. I seem to lose weight better when I am consistently taking MCT oil caps with my meals.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar. I have read that when you take apple cider vinegar with water before meals, your blood sugar does not spike as much.
3. Try giving up the fat bombs for a while. And all things with sweetener for that matter. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent! Just something to try to get you over a hump. And if it works for you, you will be more willing to withhold it from your diet for a while!
4. Try intermittent fasting if you haven’t already. I feel like this is a key for me. Once I got fat adapted, I don’t get hungry waiting to eat. I could probably go to one meal a day at this point, but, what can I say? I like my meals!
5. You may also try to fast for a day or two to reset your body. (for more info on this, follow Dr. Jason Fung)
Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or a doctor. I am just someone who loves to research and to help others get through some tough spots that I have been through. After all, we are all in this together! I am not sure where all my information came from since I read so many articles and watch videos from many people on keto, health and nutrition. If I remember where I acquired the knowledge, I will reference it.
Information from: Ken D. Berry, MD; Keto Connect; Web MD; 2 Fit Docs; Dr. Eric Westman; Thomas DeLauer; Keto Christina, and many others