Are Keto Weight-Loss Plateaus Real?

Fight back against keto weight-loss plateaus

Lots of myths circulate around keto dieting. For instance, many people wonder about the truth behind so-called carbohydrate addiction. Even more often, low-carb dieters make great progress for several weeks before getting stuck within a small range. Yes, keto weight-loss plateaus are real and frustrating, but that doesn’t mean they need to be permanent.

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Nothing on this site is intended as medical advice. Work with healthcare professionals for optimal health.

Why Do Keto Weight-Loss Stalls Happen?

Keto weight-loss plateaus occur when your body stops losing weight despite adhering to the ketogenic diet and maintaining an active lifestyle. This typically happens after an initial period of weight loss, where your body adjusts to the new dietary regimen and reduced calorie intake, leading to a stabilization of weight loss.

Why do these frustrating keto stalls happen? Some explanations for weight-loss plateaus may include:

  1. Metabolic Adaptation: As you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories to function because it’s smaller. If your calorie intake continues to closely match your new, lower energy needs, weight loss will slow down or stop. Researchers have explored the setpoint theory, an idea that says our bodies have a programmed-in weight range that’s hard to overcome.
  2. Decreased Caloric Burn: Initially, larger bodies burn more calories doing the same activities as smaller bodies. As you lose weight, the same exercise routine burns fewer calories. In addition, you may have gotten better and more efficient at certain activities through practice, meaning that your body has to do less work to accomplish them.
  3. Muscle Loss: Weight loss can sometimes mean muscle loss, especially if resistance training isn’t part of your routine. Since muscle helps burn calories, losing muscle can decrease your metabolic rate. That’s one reason why many dieters consider exercise the secret ingredient of their long-term success.

Yes, You Can Overcome Keto Weight-Loss Plateaus!

First, you should make sure you have set a reasonable goal for your body type. Weight or BMI charts can be misleading for some folks, depending upon their muscle mass or skeletal frame. In particular, people who exercise and build muscles might find that they’re happy with a goal weight a few pounds heavier than the one they initially selected. The healthiest weight for you depends on your overall body composition.

Sadly, many of us have gotten stuck in a plateau after losing some weight but not near our reasonable goal. To break these keto weight-loss plateaus, consider these actions:

  1. Adjust Your Caloric Intake: As you lose weight, reassess your caloric needs on a ketogenic diet. You may need to adjust your fat, protein, and carb intake to better match your body’s new requirements. Your smaller body will probably not need as much fuel as your larger one did.
  2. Change Your Exercise Routine: Increase the intensity or duration of your workouts, or try a new type of exercise to challenge your body in different ways. As you grow lighter and stronger, you could keep challenging yourself to improve.
  3. Strength Training: Incorporate or increase strength training to build muscle, which can help increase your metabolic rate and assist in breaking through the plateau. Muscle is denser than fat, so it may account for a heavier weight. Also, muscle burns more calories than fat, so improved muscle mass is key to maintaining fat loss and better body composition.
  4. Track Macronutrients: Accurately track your intake of fats, proteins, and carbs to ensure you’re maintaining the right balance for ketosis and avoiding hidden carbs that might disrupt your diet. It’s easy to get sloppy after you’ve dieted for awhile, so you may need to return to stricter habits for measuring serving sizes and reading labels.
  5. Ensure Adequate Sleep and Stress Management: Lack of sleep and high stress can affect hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, potentially making it harder to maintain weight loss on keto. Get plenty of rest and strive to control stress.

Most important, set realistic goals and reassess your progress periodically. Weight loss on keto, as with any diet, tends to be non-linear and includes fluctuations. Most people don’t consider a stall a true weight-loss plateau until six weeks have passed.

Sudden gains of a few pounds are often caused by changes in water weight and not fat. If you’re truly frustrated and far from your goals, you can talk to your doctor or a dietician. These healthcare pros can give you personalized support.

One thought on “Are Keto Weight-Loss Plateaus Real?

  1. Thanks for the info on breaking a dreaded keto weight-loss plateau! I’ve been about 5 pounds away from my goal weight for over a month and don’t really want to cut calories anymore. I guess it’s time to break out the resistance exercises.

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