Here is a list of my tried and true steps on how to break a weight loss plateau on Keto.
So you’ve been following the Ketogenic diet for a little while now. In the beginning, it was working so well. The pounds were flying off. You were so excited and knew the diet was working as you were following it correctly.
A couple of months pass and all of a sudden you hit a wall — no weight loss.
You are stuck. You weigh yourself every day thinking maybe the scale is broke. Maybe you even try the scale at your gym or elsewhere.
Still, nothing. What is going on?
If this sounds anything like your situation, rest assured you are not the only one this has happened to.
Weight loss stalls are common on Keto or any diet.
I of all people get frustrated when the scale no longer is going in the right direction. Especially, if I think I am doing everything right. The question is am I doing everything correctly?
Most likely, a weight-loss stall happens because of some reason and not just out of the blue. Before I tell you how to break a stall, you need to know the exact reason of WHY you hit it in the first place so you don’t keep repeating your mistakes.
To find out exactly why YOU hit a stall, take THIS quiz. After answering specific questions, it will tell you the exact reason why your stall happened so you can know how to break it for good!
Yes, there are moments when it’s out of our hands, for instance when medical issues come into play or hormones you can’t seem to control.
However, in my experience of stall after stall, let me tell you, there’s a lot you can do to break through them.
I strongly encourage you to read my Nutritional Disclaimer and keep in mind these are steps I have used to help me break through my stalls. They may not work for you.
Some of them may not be reasonable for you, so always, do what you think is best for your body.
I am just sharing my experiences in hopes to help you break through your weight loss stalls.
Steps to breaking a weight-loss stall on Keto:
Step 1- Make sure you are actually in Ketosis first!
Whhhaaattt?? This may seem like a duh but hear me out.
You may be eating the right foods, staying within your macros and checking your urine with Ketone strips, but that doesn’t mean you are in Nutritional Ketosis.
First of all, let me start by saying, urine strips are crap. If you are beginning Keto, they may be ok to use for a month, at the most.
After that, your body stops releasing ketones in the urine so the results you think you are getting may not actually be nutritional ketosis.
For example, if you are dehydrated, the urine strips can show a darker color.
The opposite is true if you drink TOO much water. Certain medications can cause different results as well.
Then, once or twice a week, test your blood at the same time of day.
I have been following Keto for over 3 years now and for a while, I thought I was doing Keto the right way. I lost weight at
So, I decided to get a blood meter to test my Ketones.
Can you guess what they were? .3 mmol/l. (.5 mmol/l and up is Ketosis)
I remember this number distinctly because I was shocked. That is when I realized the only way I could monitor my metabolic state of Ketosis is through testing my blood.
Are there ways to “tell” if you are in Ketosis without testing? Yes, but you have to be experienced with this lifestyle to know. And that’s an entirely different blog post.
Ok, so lets say you are in Ketosis, you can move on to Step 2. If you aren’t, you may know the exact reason why you are stalling and may want to address that first, then you can come back to the other steps after you figure that out.
Step 2- Are your cortisol levels high due to stress?
We have to talk about this one because if you don’t address this, none of the other steps will work. What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is your body’s main stress level. Here are roles Cortisol plays in your body
- Manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
- Keeps inflammation down
- Regulates your blood pressure and blood sugar
- Controls your sleep/wake cycle
- Boosts energy
Do any of those bullet points above have to do with what happens when you’re in Ketosis? I would say most of them do.
So how do you expect your body to process the food you’re eating correctly, decrease inflammation aka water weight, and regulate blood sugar if your Cortisol level is high?
The answer is, it cannot. That is why it doesn’t and you stall.
So, ask yourself, has there been a major stressful situation that happened recently in your life?
Maybe it’s a work issue, relationship problems, new baby, the death of a loved one, financial issues, whatever it is, you will know right now as you are reading this. If there is something, you need to get past first.
I am not going to get into the ways to manage stress in this post but some options I can share are yoga/meditation, exercise (not to extreme, you don’t want to cause more stress on your body), taking a vacation, seeking help from your church or professionals, just to name a few.
As long as your Cortisol is high, your body will not drop any weight because it is on “fight or flight” mode.
Step 3- Switch to eating 20 grams of TOTAL carbs per day
Ok, so now that you have checked your Ketones and managed your stress, it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes (no pun intended) of this post.
If I were to guess, you are probably following a 20-30 grams of NET carbs per day regimen.
Net Carbs= Total Carbs-Fiber
While there is nothing wrong with that, since you are reading this post about how to break through a weight loss stall, I recommend you switch to eating 20 grams of Total carbs per day.
Forget about the theory “But the carbs in vegetables don’t count”. Yes they do, they are in there so why don’t they count?
Sure, you can say your body doesn’t digest them as simple carbs, but how do you know how your body processes every single food you eat? I am getting deep here, I know.
Your body does what it needs to with the food you eat. Period.
If your body needs to, it can turn fat into sugar. This is true by the way. It doesn’t because it’s inefficient but it can absolutely do it if it needs to.
What is my point?? The only way to know EXACTLY how many carbs is processed by your body is to count TOTAL carbs and leave no room for guessing.
This holds even more true if you are eating packaged or processed Keto foods. There is no way to know 100% that what the label is saying is happening in your body as you eat that food.
We trust labels too much.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with counting Net carbs. If you aren’t stalling or if you lost all the weight you wanted to drop and are maintaining, Net carbs are great.
Switch to eating 20 grams of total carbs per day and not only will you get into Ketosis faster, but weight loss will come sooner.
Step 4- Eliminate Dairy, Sweeteners, Packaged and
Ok, don’t start hyperventilating on me. You may be thinking, “What am I going to eat then?” Well, how about
It saddens me to see where the Ketogenic diet is going these days. Companies are taking advantage of the popularity of this way of eating and
Let’s start with dairy.
I love cheese. However, cheese doesn’t love me. Why? Every time I eat it, even in small amounts (what is that though, anyway?) I get bloated and my weight loss
The same goes for heavy cream. Although I only use about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream a day, combine it with all the cheese I eat, it’s not a good mix.
Dairy, in general, is very inflammatory. We all know this, it’s nothing new. Too much of it will bloat you whether you are lactose intolerant or not.
When you cut it out, it will reduce bloating which will help shed those pesky pounds of water weight that have been sticking around.
Don’t freak out, I am not saying you have to cut it out forever, just until you are passed this stall and can figure out how much you can eat without it affecting your weight.
Along with dairy, eating too many sweeteners can also be the reason why you are stalling with your weight.
I know, I know you see all those amazing Keto treats on your Instagram feed and on Pinterest and you want to make it all. Don’t fall victim.
First off, too much of those tasty items can cause bloating because sweeteners contain ingredients that can cause gastric distress.
Not to mention, they are usually paired with other ingredients that are inflammatory such as dairy, nuts, chocolate, etc.
I found this to be true; when I make Keto desserts and eat them throughout the week, my weight does not change.
Another thing about sweeteners that may be damaging by tricking your brain into thinking you are eating real sugar.
Well, what does that mean though? We know that sugar is very addicting and when you eat sugar, you want more sugar.
Even though sweeteners aren’t technically sugar, they are sweet so your brain realizes that sweet sensation and thinks it’s sugar and may turn on cravings for more “sugar”
I’ve experienced this myself more than once. When I eat Keto desserts or Keto junk food, I seem to always want more of it.
It’s only when I completely cut it out, after a week or so, I no longer “crave” anything sweet. Crazy how that works.
Processed and Packaged Foods-
Not to sound repetitive, but the same reasons why you should eliminate dairy and sweeteners apply to processed and packaged foods.
Over the past year, the amount of packaged and processed Keto foods that have been put out on the market are massive. These are all junk foods, made “Keto friendly”.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that lots of them aren’t even Keto friendly. I test products in a series I call Fraud or Fab.
I take my blood glucose and blood ketones in
My experience with many products that are advertise being Keto
As said before, be careful with labels.
Processed and packaged foods may be filled with chemicals and artificial ingredients that may interfere with Ketosis, increase inflammation and can be bad for overall health, Keto or not.
Trust me, I love quest bars as much as the next person but I can feel myself get inflamed within
It’s not to say that I won’t ever have a quest bar in my life or Lily’s chocolate bar ( I am obsessed with them)
Here is the point, go back to the basics of what Keto SHOULD be. Eating real, whole foods. Period.
Essentially this way of eating is referred to as Clean Keto. I have started eating this way since the start of January and lost 15lbs in one month. Yes, you read that right. Just by eliminating those foods.
Step 5-Start eating within a 6 to 8-hour window
I am giving you this range because I know that a lot of you can’t eat within a 6-hour window due to work schedules. However, I know the rest
Ideally, a 4-hour window will really accelerate weight loss. I tried that for a week and lost 3-4 lbs just by doing that and not changing anything else.
However, if you have never practiced any intermittent fasting, start with an 8-hour window.
Let me answer some of the questions you may have about this step:
Do I have to do this every day? No. If you want to, then yes, go for it, it will only
What hours do I eat within? This is totally up to you. You determined based on your life schedule. If you are working full time and never eat breakfast anyway, you can start your window at lunch, then you will have most of the day to eat.
If you wake up really hungry, wait as long as you can to eat, then start your eating window. Know if you do this, you won’t be eating in the evening for standard “dinner time”.
Do I have to eat more meals to get in all of my macros? No, don’t worry about that. I don’t know what the obsession is about “getting in all of my macros.” Eat like you normally would and stop when your window is over.
What is an example day of this look like? So for me, I
My first meal will be around 12 pm when I will have my
Then, my second meal will be around 4-5pm depending on when I get hungry again and I will have protein, veggies and fat.
I will stop eating at
If all of this sounds crazy, then do this; don’t eat after 6pm. Even this will be extremely helpful in speeding things up.
Why does this work? Mainly, the reason comes down to calorie intake. When you eat within a certain window you are consuming less calories.
You are also learning what true hunger signals are, detoxifying, using Ketones for energy (fat burning machine, you!)
See how this all fits together so nicely?
Step 6- Stop with the cheat days already!
Yes, I am talking to you. Don’t turn around as if I am talking to someone else.
You’re not Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. You can’t have Friday night Sushi and Cookie Trains and get away with it
Cheat days will absolutely, unequivocally cause a stall. Why? Because every time you cheat on Keto, consider yourself back to square ONE.
Yep, I said it.
Unless you ate two bites of a cupcake or something like that. They might have a defective blood meter ( I did and had to replace it).
Cheating on Ketosis will cause you to gain water weight instantly. Anytime I cheat, the next day I am at least 5lbs heavier. It’s not fat, its water, but still. Who wants that when they are already stalling in the first place?
As I am
I know, I know, it was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Now your birthday is coming up and you have to have a cake! Come on, it’s your birthday!! Then there’s this event and that event and what do you know? That is a cheat day at least once a month.
I am sorry but how can you expect to lose weight if you cheat so much? I don’t care what you call it. Cheating, eating off-plan, eating off course, blah blah blah. You are not keeping your body in a state of nutritional Ketosis and you are wondering why you have hit a stall.
I know that this may sound harsh but I think some of you need this reality slap in the face. If you really want to succeed in your Ketogenic journey you need to start approaching it as a lifestyle and not a diet.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying life and eating the food you want, however, if you are doing this continuously and not losing weight, you may need to rethink how you handle this dilemma.
If you choose to
After that, stop cheating! I mean it!!
I challenge you to follow Keto for at least 3 months straight without any cheats, not even a bite, you will see what amazing results you can get if you combine that with the rest of the steps in this post.
Whew, you made it to the end. Trust me, I could go on and on. I have other steps but I will save those for later. I don’t want to overwhelm you any further. These are the most important points of concern and the solutions that have worked best for me. I hope these will help you break through your stall.
If they do, please let me know and share this post on Pinterest and Facebook and with your Keto friends.
Just because the scale isn’t moving
How do your clothes fit? Those are all signs that Keto is working and that you are on the right track!
Sometimes, the scale can be a real expletive.
Trust me, I am so obsessed with weighing myself and am so focused on the number on the scale. If you lose inches and your clothes are fitting the way you prefer they fit then maybe it’s time to ignore the scale and focus on the clothing scale!!
That’s a wrap friend!! Thanks for reading!!