The Keto Plateau & What To Do To Get Over It!

Weight Loss Plateau on keto

Every Single Week in my online community, TSTransformations, I feel like someone sticks weight loss plateaus on the “Topics to Be Discussed” during our weekly live coaching video. Every single week!

So I am going to go a little in depth today about plateaus with keto (or any diet) and what is really happening in the body and how the heck we get over them!

I do have good news before heading into detail. No matter what diet you are on, your weight loss will eventually stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s keto, hcg diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and the tens of thousand of other plans out there, your weight loss is going to come to a halt for a short period of time. When this happens it is NOT because you failed or because your body is broken. I call this a tolerance. You need to switch things up just a tad to get things on the scale moving again.

Why am I Not Losing Weight? The Science Behind It.

Calories in versus calories out. Have you ever that expression? Your body will most likely always lose weight when fewer calories are consumed than what you’re putting out on the day to day. On the ketogenic diet, your body will lose a ton of water weight in the first couple of weeks for one known fact: for every 1 gram of carb consumed your body holds onto 2-3 grams of water in the cell. You lose a lot of that weight in the first few weeks of a low carb diet because of the restriction of carbs you’re consuming.

Whenever we do lose actual weight, it tends to be both fat and muscle mass. Those percentages of muscle and fat depend on quite a few factors such as how much you exercise, what your current weight is, your age, activity level and so on.

In contrast, when we don’t eat enough protein, aren’t getting a ton of sleep, and are in a larger calorie deficit then we will tend to lose more muscle along with the fat.

Since 9/10 people are looking to lose “fat” and not muscle, it is crucial to consider some of these factors when you start any diet. My suggestion is to use a diet calculator like this one to figure out just exactly how much you’re supposed to be eating everyday. If you’re not aiming for keto then increase the carbs on that calculator to a higher number.

If you’re a lean individual already, it’s best to stay with the smaller calorie deficit that any calculator would give you. While those who are considered obese or overweight, could handle a much steeper calorie deficit.

So what things are happening when you plateau? Well first off I can tell you that losing weight is NOT a normal process of the body. It’s often referred to “anti-survival”. Your body does not like to lose weight. Fat is stored as energy and your body doesn’t care what you look like as long as you have that storage of energy for it to use. We know this because again, it’s much easier to gain weight than lose it.

When you go on a diet, let’s say low calorie for instance, your metabolism will adjust and it’ll start slowing down and eventually adapts to a set point. Why? The answer? Too Much Insulin. Insulin is that itty bitty hormone in our bodies that blocks your ability to burn fat. Each time it’s present, your fat burning takes a back seat until it’s job is done. Insulin resistance still plays a huge role in this idea as well. Insulin resistance and excessive insulin at the same time is what is behind the set point.

The human body is a master at adapting to the conditions it’s put in. Its main goal is to maintain homeostasis within the body, so when we eat too much, it will speed up our metabolism, and when we eat too little, it will slow it down. When we stay in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time, the initial weight and fat loss happens, but eventually the body adapts to fewer calories and metabolically adjusts, which is why we observe a stall — this is something we call adaptive thermogenesis [1]

What are some changes you can make to your diet to get over a plateau?

#1 Practice Intermittent Fasting.

Insulin and insulin resistance are what cause you plateaus. To fix this you need to correct your insulin levels and get them back to a homeostasis. Intermittent fasting along with a low carb diet will help you straighten out your insulin levels.

Many people will do what is called the 16:8 method. Which means they will fast for 16 hours (including sleep time. You’ll have your last meal around 6 pm and nothing until lunch time the next day. You may have coffee and water during a fast without disrupting the fasting. Eat all 3 meals within the next 8 hour window. (11 am until 6 pm) and you may throw in an extended fast of 24 hours once a week just to increase the fat burn. Nine times out of 10 this works for a plateau.

#2 Retrack your carbohydrate consumption

A lot of the times we get used to eating things and not realize that we sneak more carbs in than usual. Go back and start tracking with an app EVERYTHING you put in your mouth. You may realize you’re going over your carbs again and didn’t even know it. If you’re eating 25g of carbs or below, try lowering a little more for a few days to increase ketone production in the body.

#3 Too much fat

There are some keto-goers out there that say fat doesn’t matter but in my mind it most definitely does. If I consume too much fat you better believe it stalls me or actually makes me gain weight. Go back to tracking again and make sure your fat macros are within your ranges. Try to aim for 75g or less for a few days and see if this gets you moving again. It works like a charm for me every single time. If you need a little appetite suppression while lowering your fat (your satiety) then I’d recommend trying the Slim to help you assist with pushing through these days.

#4 Be Mindful of Your Keto Food Choices

Quality matters. We’ve all seen the low-carb muffins, pancakes, and other treats that are really nothing more than junk. If weight isn’t coming off, check to see if you’re doing any of the following:

Revisit your list of whole foods, track and see if you’re consuming too many nuts, or too many “keto approved” treats. These foods are still chemically altered and possess chemicals that your body is not used to having and reek havoc on your gut health.

#5 Quality Sleep

Weight can stall if we don’t get enough sleep. Regular interruptions in sleep that affect our circadian rhythms can also affect health and weight loss. Plus, lack of sleep increases cravings in many people because our bodies are looking for additional sources of energy when we haven’t gotten enough rest.