Dr. Sarah Hallberg: How do I break a weight loss plateau on a ketogenic diet?

weight loss plateau on a ketogenic diet ...

How do I break a weight loss plateau on a ketogenic or low carb diet? – That’s a great question, and so let me go back to something I use all the time. And that is that there’s three things guaranteed in life, death, taxes, and a weight loss plateau. So sadly to say, you cannot avoid it. They will happen to everyone, and I would say pretty comfortably, they’re universally frustrating.

And so knowing that, what do you do when you’re in one? Well first I wanna say take a deep breath and relax, and begin with the question, is this really a weight loss plateau, or am I getting concerned because I’m having day to day or even week to week variability on the scale. Because you know, you can weigh different one day to the next, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with your nutritional intake. Did you sleep poorly?

Did you have a bad day at work yesterday? Did you get irritated with the kids? Stress can have a direct impact, and exercise, believe it or not, can also impact that as well. So take a step back from the day to day measurements and take a look at what’s going on in a longer period of time. And how long have you been, quote, stuck for?

I think a reasonable definition, but let me be clear before I say this, there is no absolute definition of what is a weight loss plateau, but a reasonable guide may be something like no weight loss for three months with no idea of why that would be. So you just can’t come up with an explanation. And so if that occurs, there’s multiple things you can do. Number one, first ask is there any health conditions that may be causing this.

Is it allergy season, and I’m in the midst of it bad.? Is it that my thyroid could be off? Ensure that there’s nothing like that going on.

Number two, ask yourself did any medications change? Am I taking something that I wasn’t before? Did another physician add a medication that may be causing a problem?

How do I break a weight loss plateau on a ketogenic or low carb diet? – That’s a great question, and so let me go back to something I use all the time. And that is that there’s three things guaranteed in life, death, taxes, and a weight loss plateau. So sadly to say, you cannot avoid it. They will happen to everyone, and I would say pretty comfortably, they’re universally frustrating.

And so knowing that, what do you do when you’re in one? Well first I wanna say take a deep breath and relax, and begin with the question, is this really a weight loss plateau, or am I getting concerned because I’m having day to day or even week to week variability on the scale. Because you know, you can weigh different one day to the next, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with your nutritional intake. Did you sleep poorly?

Did you have a bad day at work yesterday? Did you get irritated with the kids? Stress can have a direct impact, and exercise, believe it or not, can also impact that as well. So take a step back from the day to day measurements and take a look at what’s going on in a longer period of time. And how long have you been, quote, stuck for?

weight loss plateau on a ketogenic diet ...

I think a reasonable definition, but let me be clear before I say this, there is no absolute definition of what is a weight loss plateau, but a reasonable guide may be something like no weight loss for three months with no idea of why that would be. So you just can’t come up with an explanation. And so if that occurs, there’s multiple things you can do. Number one, first ask is there any health conditions that may be causing this.

Is it allergy season, and I’m in the midst of it bad.? Is it that my thyroid could be off? Ensure that there’s nothing like that going on.

Number two, ask yourself did any medications change? Am I taking something that I wasn’t before? Did another physician add a medication that may be causing a problem?

Did I start taking anything over the counter, or did I stop medications I was previously on? That’s another big one as well. And again, looking at things like stress and sleep, are those changed? Has your schedule changed when you’re eating?

These are all things that can play a major role in a weight loss plateau. And of course last, but far from least, what does your nutrition look like? Now, one of the things that we find that can be pretty interesting to realize is that the better you get at understanding how to move forward with a low carb lifestyle, the more at risk you get for carb creep. Because for people who really know what they’re doing, what we tend to say, myself and Brit included, I know, is that looks like a half a cup of strawberries, and in reality its become a lot more. So I recommend two days of a really hard look at what you’re eating.

Two days really going back to counting calories, really going back to those strict dietary changes that you were making when you first began. Is anything going on, has anything that I can change occurred? And I want to really put one note of caution in here. When people hit a weight loss plateau they tend to be so desperate to get out of it, that they may fall victim of making changes that are not sustainable.

So if you’ve had great success and find yourself in a plateau, I really, really caution people to tell them to resist making changes that they don’t feel like they can sustain over the long haul. Remember, don’t do anything in the short term that you can’t sustain in the long term. That’s a really important point when it comes to your food intake. And I’ll also add one more thing to take a look at. Have you just started exercising, or changed up your exercise routine?

Because believe it or not, when people start to exercise it can often cause a short term weight plateau. This does not mean you should not be exercising. But it can be such a big factor for people that oftentimes when people are ready to begin exercise, which is fantastic and exciting, I actually like to warn them a short weight plateau can occur. Don’t be frustrated, keep moving forward and pay attention for a little while, not so much the scale, but how those clothes fit. – And I think it’s fair to say that when you’ve been losing significant weight, 1/2 a pound to two pounds a week for months at a time, the body is healing tremendously, and just needs that time to maybe play catch up.

And we can’t explain exactly the timeline, but it’s normal. – It is, right? And the timeline can be frustrating. I always stay to people, you know, if I could tell you the exact day the plateau would end, if I could say, all right, don’t worry, because January 2nd, it’s really just the 2018. By the time 2019 rolls around, January 2nd you’re gonna be out of this plateau. You know everybody could really sit back and say that’s fine, I can get there.

But the frustrating thing is we don’t have that exact notion of when it’s going to be over. And so it’s just looking at the successes you’ve had in the past and continuing to plug forward.

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