You’ve dutifully cut the carbs: there’s not a trace of sweet potato to be found on your plate, and you’re driving yourself insane measuring out allowed grams of spinach and lettuce – but it’s not working! You hunted around for more information and got the same advice: “low-carb harder! Cut carbs more! Cut protein, too! And cut fiber while you’re at it! Go on a fat fast and eat only coconut oil and egg yolks!”
That might work for some people, but sometimes you’re doing low-carb right, but the pounds just won’t come off. It’s not because you’re “doing it wrong;” it’s because there’s something else going on.
A word of warning: this is all intended for people who have given low-carb a serious, dedicated try. This means that:
- You count and track your carbs. You have accounted for carbs in all of the following: nuts/seeds, fruit, avocados, dairy (if you eat it), alcohol, and vegetables. (Now go back and read the previous sentence again to make sure you’ve accounted for all the items on that list!).
- You know roughly what carb level you need to maintain to get into ketosis. You have used ketostix and understand how they work.
- or any other psychological problem that could possibly be making you eat without realizing it, or eat things you haven’t tracked.
This is not for beginners, or people who want to lose weight on a low-carb diet but aren’t sure where to start (if you have beginner questions about carbs, go here). It’s also not for people who haven’t made an all-out low-carb effort. And it’s also not for people who are freaking out over one day when the scale isn’t going down. If you haven’t stalled for at least 2 weeks, then it’s very likely a temporary plateau – or possibly it’s hormonal water retention, constipation, or any number of other problems. If your “stall” has lasted 2 days, you need to step away from the scale and think about something else for a while.
Also as a pre-emptive word of encouragement: if your only concern is that your ketostix aren’t purple any longer, then you shouldn’t be worried at all. It’s very normal for the color of ketostix to fade as your body gets used to being in ketosis. It’s not a sign of anything bad; as long as the rest of your diet is humming along find, there’s no reason for alarm.
With all that said, here are some reasons why the low-carb parade just isn’t working for you.
Maybe Your Body is Done Losing Weight
Low-carb Paleo will help you lose weight down to a healthy level. A very tiny percentage of people are healthy with Hollywood levels of body fat reserves. But the vast majority of us aren’t: for most people, being that thin is actually unhealthy. There’s a wide range of “healthy” weights, and your body might be happier near the top of that range.
Most people who want to look like supermodels will need to resort to extreme strategies: starvation, appetite suppressants, chronic overexercise, plastic surgery, and all the rest of it. If you want to do that, it’s your body and your choice, but you’re probably going to have to get very extreme about your diet, and don’t pretend it’s about health.