Many people find that the ketogenic diet helps them lose weight quickly. Even after you’ve lost the water weight, you’ll keep shedding your fat stores as long as you stick to your ideal macronutrient ratio and don’t go too far overboard on calories.
But what happens when you stall out? What do you do?
It is not uncommon for your progress to slow down or stop when you’ve been following the same diet for a while – it can even happen on keto. Keep reading to learn what causes a stall out and how to fix it.
What Causes a Stall Out on Keto?
The ketogenic diet is not as restrictive or as complicated as many fad diets, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain rules you need to follow. This diet is based on the idea that reducing your carb intake and eating more fats will switch your body over from burning glucose to burning fat as fuel. In order to make that happen, however, you need to stick to your macronutrient ratio as closely as you possibly can.
Even if you feel like you’re doing a pretty good job, you could end up stalling out at some point. Here are some of the most common causes of stall out on the keto diet:
- You’re not tracking your carbs and calories properly – you’ll want to invest in a food scale, so you can accurately measure your portions and track the calories.
- Logging your intake after you eat it – if you really want to stick to your macros, plug your meal into your favorite calorie counter to make sure it fits your macros before you eat it.
- Eating more than 20 grams of net carbs – if you’ve calculated your macros to 5% carbohydrate intake you might get a result higher than 20g net carbs but try to keep your intake low.
- Consuming too many calories every day – even though you don’t have to obsess over counting calories on the keto diet, you should still keep your intake moderate if you want to lose weight.
- Not making adjustments over time – whether it’s weight loss or your workout plan, your body will adjust over time and you may need to tweak things from time to time to maintain progress.
Now that you know what tends to cause a stall out on the keto diet you are ready to learn what you can do to get back on the right track.
Avoid These Foods to Maintain Your Progress
The key to maintaining your progress with the ketogenic diet is to hit your macros – that’s 70% to 75% fat, up to 20% protein, and no more than 5% carbohydrates. Even if you do a pretty good job of maintaining that ratio, however, there are certain foods that can negatively impact your progress and might actually cause you to stall out.
Here are some foods you should limit or avoid to keep your progress going:
- Nuts – Though nuts are a good source of protein and fat, most varieties do contain some carbohydrates and they are higher in calories than many people realize – eating too many could impede your weight loss.
- Cheese – Like nuts, cheese is difficult to consume in small amounts and it is very high in calories, though still low in carbs (for most varieties).
- Bars – Many commercial food manufacturers make low-carb bars and other snacks but you need to remember that these foods are still processed and may contain ingredients that aren’t entirely keto-friendly.
- Alcohol – Even if the alcohol you’re drinking is low in carbs, excessive alcohol consumption can slow weight loss and could even promote fat storage instead of fat burn.
- Treats – With keto-friendly sweeteners like stevia and erythritol being so readily available, it is easy to make keto-friendly snacks and desserts at home – just be careful of eating too many because it could stall your progress.
Another popular keto item that could potentially interfere with your progress is bulletproof coffee (BPC). Bulletproof coffee was created about a decade ago and it is made with black coffee, grass-fed butter, and MCT oil. Though high in fats, BPC is low in protein and other nutrients. It is also very high in calories so if you consume it along with a high-calorie breakfast, you could impede your weight loss.
Tips for Restarting Your Weight Loss
If you’ve hit a stall while following the ketogenic diet, don’t panic! You can get right back to losing weight as long as you recommit to your macros and your ideal calorie range. Here are some other tips for restarting your weight loss after a stall out:
- Focus on getting higher quality sleep – your body needs time to rest and recuperate and being sleep-deprived could impede your weight loss so aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.
- Take a time out for yourself – chronic stress is very damaging to the body and it can interfere with your diet as well so take some time to meditate, take a bath, or do something else to relax.
- Try intermittent fasting – not only is IF a great tool for weight loss in general, but it also supports the fat-burning benefits of ketosis.
- Eat a little more fat – you may feel like you’re hitting your macros but upping your fat intake just a little bit could be all you need to get back on track for weight loss.
- Adjust your protein intake – in addition to double-checking your fat intake, make sure you’re not eating too much protein.
- Talk to your doctor – you’ve tried everything to restart your weight loss, there could be an underlying medical issue at play so talk to your doctor about your concerns.
By now you should have a thorough understanding of what causes a stall out on the ketogenic diet and how to fix it. Take what you’ve learned here and use it to prevent a stall out or, if you’re already stuck in one, to dig your way out. Best of luck!