10 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight on a Low-Carb Diet

Low-carb diets are very effective. That is aA?scientific fact. However, as with any diet, people sometimes stop losing before they reach their desired weight. Here are the top 10 reasons why you’re not losing weight on a low-carb diet.


1. You Are Losing Fat, You Just Don’t Realize It

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Weight loss isn’t a linear process.

If you weigh yourself every day, then there will be days where the scale goes down, other days where it goes up.

It doesn’t mean that the diet isn’t working, as long as the general trend is going downwards.

Many peopleA?lose a lot of weightA?in the first week of low-carbing, but it isA?mostly water weight. Weight loss will slow down significantly after that initial phase.

Of course, losingA?weightA?is not the same as losingA?fat.

It is possible, especially if you’re new to weight lifting, that you are gaining muscle at the same time that you’re losing fat.

To make sure that you’re losing, use something other than just the scale (which is a big, fat liar). Use a measuring tape to measure your waist circumference and have your body fat percentage measured every month or so.

Also, take pictures. Take note of how your clothes fit. If you’re looking thinner and your clothes are looser, then you ARE losingA?fatA?no matter what the scale says.

2. You’re Not Cutting Back on Carbohydrates Enough

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Some people are more carb sensitive than others.

If you’reA?eating low-carbA?and your weight starts to plateau, then you may want to cut back on carbs even further.

In that case, go under 50 grams of carbs per day.

When youA?go under 50 grams per dayA?then you’re going to have to eliminate most fruits from your diet, although you can have berries in small amounts.

If that doesn’t work either, going under 20 grams temporarily can work… eating just protein, healthy fats and leafy greenA?vegetables.

To make sure that you’reA?reallyA?eating low-carb, get yourself a freeA?online nutrition trackerA?and log your food intake for a while.

3. You’re Stressed All the Time

Unfortunately, it isn’t always enough to justA?eat healthyA?and exercise.

We need to make sure that our bodies are functioning optimally and that our hormonal environment is favorable.

Being stressed all the time keeps the body in a constant state of “fight or flight” – with elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

Having chronically elevated cortisol levels can increase your hunger and cravings forA?unhealthy foodsA?(1,A?2).

If you want to cut back on stress, try meditation and deep breathing exercises. Cut back on distractions likeA?FacebookA?and news media, read more books instead.

4. You’re Not Eating Real Food

A low-carb diet is about more than just lowering your intake of carbs.

You have to replace those carbohydrates with real, nutritious foods.

Throw away all processed low-carb products likeA?Atkins bars, they are not real food and they are NOT good for your health.

Stick to meats, fish,A?eggs, vegetables and healthy fats if you need to lose weight.

Also, “treats” like paleo cookies and brownies can cause problems even though they’re made with healthy ingredients. They should be considered as occasional treats, not something you eat every day.

What is also important is to eat enough FAT. If you try to cut back on carbs AND fat, you will end up ravenously hungry and feel like crap.

Eating a diet with nothing but protein is a very bad idea. Low-carb, high-fat andA?moderateA?protein is the way to go if you want toA?get into ketosis, which is the optimal hormonal environment to burn body fat.

5. You’re Eating Too Many Nuts

Nuts are real foods, no doubt about that.

They are also very high in fat,A?almondsA?for example have about 70% of calories as fat.

However, nuts areA?very easyA?to overeat on.

Their crunchiness and high energy density give us the ability to eat large amounts of them without feeling full.

I personally can eat a bag of nuts and still not feel satisfied, even though that one bag contains more calories than a meal.

If you’re snacking on nuts every day (or worse, nut butters) then chances are that you’re just eating way too many calories.


6. You’re Not Sleeping Enough

Sleep is incredibly important for overall health and studies show that a lack of sleep correlates with weight gain and obesity (3,A?4).

A lack of sleep can make us feel hungrier (5). It will also make us tired and less motivated to exercise and eat healthy.

Sleep is one of the pillars of health. If you’re doing everything right but still not getting proper sleep, then you won’t see anywhere near the results you might expect.

If you have a sleeping disorder, see a doctor. They are often easily treatable.

SomeA?tips to improve sleep:

  • AvoidA?caffeineA?after 2pm
  • Sleep in complete darkness
  • Avoid alcohol and physical exercise in the last few hours before sleep
  • Do something relaxing before sleep, like reading
  • Try to go to bed at a similar time each night

7. You’re Eating Too Much Dairy

Another low-carb food that can cause problems for some people is dairy.

Some dairy products, despite being low in carbs, are still pretty high in protein.

Protein, like carbs, can raise insulin levels, which drives energy into storage.

The amino acid composition in dairy protein makes itA?very potentA?at spiking insulin. In fact, dairy proteins can spike insulin as much as white bread (6,A?7).

Even though you may seem to tolerate dairy products just fine, eating them often and spiking insulin can be detrimental to the metabolic adaptation that needs to take place in order to reap the full benefits of low-carb diets.

In this case, avoid milk, cut back on the cheese, yogurt and cream. Butter is fine as it is very low in protein and lactose and therefore won’t spike insulin.

8. You’re Not Exercising Right (or at all)

You should NOT exercise with the goal of burning calories.

The calories burned during exercise are usually insignificant, they can easily be negated by eating a few extra bites of food at the next meal.

However, exercise isA?criticalA?for both physical and mental health.

Exercise, in the long run,A?can help you lose weightA?by improving your metabolic health, increasing your muscle mass and making you feel awesome.

But it’s important to do the right kind of exercise. Nothing but cardio on the treadmill is unlikely to give you good results and doing too much may even be detrimental.

Weight liftingA?- this will greatly improve your hormonal environment and increase your muscle mass, which will help you lose weight over the long term.

Interval trainingA?- doing high intensity intervals is an excellent form of cardio that improves your metabolism and raises yourA?levels of human growth hormone.

Low intensityA?- being active and doing some low-intensity work like walking is a great idea. The human body was designed to move around, not sit in a chair all day.

9. You’re Eating Too Many Sweeteners

Despite some sweeteners having no calories, theyA?canA?affect our appetite levels.

Several studies show thatA?artificial sweetenersA?can affect appetite, either negatively or positively, in some cases making people eat more overall calories (8,A?9).

Additionally, consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with weight gain in the long term (10,A?11).

This probably depends on the individual, but if you’re eating a lot of sweeteners and aren’t losing weight then you may want to try removing them.

10. You Have a Medical Condition Getting in Your Way

There areA?certain medicationsA?that are known to stimulate weight gain.

If you look at the list of side effects for the medications you are taking and see “weight gain” on the list – then make an appointment with your doctor.

Perhaps there is another drug available that doesn’t cause weight gain.

If you’re doing everything right and still aren’t getting results, then perhaps you have some underlying medical problem.

Many hormonal disorders can cause problems losing weight, particularlyA?hypothyroidism.

In that case, make an appointment with yourA?doctor. Explain that you’re having problems losing weight and that you want to rule out any medical issues.


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