|Stuck on a weight-loss plateau?|
Here's how to jump-start your low-carb diet!
Reaching equilibrium can be frustrating, especially if the stall has been for more than a few weeks. The bad news is that you're eating at maintenance. Energy coming in has aligned with energy used. You'll need to shake things up and do something different. Here are three zero-carb diets to get the scale moving again. They'll trim down your hunger along with those unwanted pounds.
Has your weight loss stalled for more than six to eight weeks? No pounds lost or even inches?
If so, you might be wondering what to do next. Searching online can be overwhelming and confusing. There are so many theories and suggestions regarding weight-loss stalls and plateaus to choose from:
- Should I eat more calories, less calories, or eat about the same?
- Should I eat more fat, less fat, or eat about the same?
- Should I eat more veggies, less veggies, or eat about the same?
What works for them might not work for you.
|Do you feel all alone?|
Like no one else is stalled except for you?
It's been so long now since you've seen even a single pound disappear that you're beginning to think that you are completely on your own.
The bad news is that you are.
Reaching equilibrium doesn't happen to everyone. It just depends on how much weight you initially had to lose and how efficiently your body has become at using ketones and fats for fuel.
I can completely relate to your frustration because I've been stalled since we moved to Texas. The body has little ways of getting you to eat more calories, without you noticing.
However, all is not hopeless.
I've been keeping a closer eye on my carbs and the scale is starting to move downward again, so in this post, I'm going to introduce you to three of the best zero-carb diets that can get your fat-burning engine rekindled and running at full-speed ahead again.
While I often talk about eating too many calories, and how you need to cut back on the frivolous fat, some people have to cut back on carbs instead.
Your carbohydrate tolerance won't stay the same as you go through life. It changes, especially as you get older, which can make it look like you've reached energy balance, even if you haven't.
Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself About Weight LossDo you want fast weight loss? Losing weight fast is all about calories and fat intake. However, if you've overstepped your carb tolerance, have experienced some carb creep, or your metabolism has changed, lowering your carbs can help your body pick up the pace.
Or are you comfortable and happy with greater food choices, more variety, an occasional treat -- even if that means losing weight at a slower pace.
A slower pace is fine.
This is what I've been doing over the past year. I'm down a total of 40 pounds now, so I'm half-way to my new goal weight. I'm comfortable eating this way because I can make permanent changes today, rather than waiting for pre-maintenance and maintenance to start experimenting with what works and what doesn't.
Do you have health issues such as gall bladder or liver problems that require you to eat less fat than the average low-carb diet recommends? This is me as well. Even if I lower the carbs, I can't replace those carbs with fat, so I tend to eat more carbs than the average low-carb dieter does.
But that doesn't mean that I have to eat a high-carb low-fat diet. Moderate carbs and limited fats work well for me.
Do you believe in and/or fear starvation mode? The medical community has done a lot of damage for shorter women or those who need to go very low in calories to reach goal. The mantra about having to not go below 1,200 a day is just a myth.
However, some low carbers have adopted similar myths. You don't have to eat several times a day to fire up your metabolism, and especially if you are not hungry. Eating more food just crams your body with more energy, often more than you need, even at maintenance. Skipping breakfast or lunch is fine.
And snacking? It should be optional.
Do you believe in and/or fear the calorie theory? Low carbers who believe the calorie theory is false won't take the necessary steps to reach goal weight. While the idea behind calories-in versus calories-out is a bit off, due to how the body adapts to dieting, the concept about keeping your energy intake less than energy used is not.
Do you enjoy fatty meats? Lean meats? Vegetables? Butter and Mayo? The answers to all of these questions will determine the type of diet you choose to adopt. For instance, if you love vegetables, then moving to a zero-carb diet long term might not be a good fit for you. If you hate vegetables, or consider butter and mayonnaise a food, rather than a condiment, you might thrive doing zero carbs.
All of these questions, and more, are questions that each of us have to personally address before you can make the best choice for your self because you need to find a weight-management plan that you can live with for the rest of your life.
I know I say this a lot, but from the comments and emails I get, I can never say it too often. Mindset and attitude is everything in this game, and if you don't live the low-carb lifestyle, what you want is never going to happen! You can't go into a low-carb diet using a crash-diet mentality. It won't work for long.
The truth is, no matter which diet plan or low-carb path you choose to enter, weight maintenance isn't going to be a whole lot different than what you do to lose the weight. This is what tweaking is all about. You leave behind things that are standing in your way -- today.
It doesn't matter what worked yesterday. Yesterday is dead to you. Today is all you've got. What do you need to get rid of today to make tomorrow happen?
Before you're ready to decide what to do, you need to seriously consider a couple more things.
|Typical weight-loss diets leave you hungry|
and feeling deprived.
Can you live with being hungry for the rest of your life? Few people have that kind of strength. I know I certainly don't. I can manage to be consistently hungry for awhile, when motivation to lose weight is intense, but as time goes on, that motivation starts to falter. When that happens, I cave into the hunger.
This is what happened after I finished one single round of HCG. It was torturous. Too torturous, but how my body behaved after coming off of it was a nightmare I don't want to repeat!
So for me, the path of ketosis and a higher protein diet is the most sensible and effective of all the options available. I can't do zero carb anymore, due to Graves' disease, but I don't have to eat 300 carbs a day either.
The choice you have isn't between zero carb and high carb.
Even if you don't have health issues that prevent you from doing zero carb, the following diets are not long-term diet. They are meant to be used as a tool to jump-start weight loss by getting your carbohydrate tolerance back under control.
The following three zero-carb diets will also correct any carb creep that might have you stalled. Once completed, you can add back just enough carbs to keep you satisfied and the fat coming off again.
These diets are intended to reveal your NEW carbohydrate tolerance for losing. Please use them for what they were intended.
The second biggest problem with diets is the deprivation. Many dieters eat for reasons other than hunger. Some of these reasons are attached to your feelings and emotional state. Some people eat due to habit, while others are addicted to the pleasurable experience of taste.
Whatever your reason for overeating, you need to ask yourself the following questions to determine the best course of action to take:
Do you crave sugar or carbohydrates? If so, your current carb intake is too high. You might also be not eating enough protein, so check that first. If you're eating at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, 15 to 25 percent of your goal-weight maintenance calories, then cutting carbs to eliminate cravings is the next step.
Can you stand being in a room where someone else is eating something yummy and you not indulge? You are not born with self-discipline. Scientists have discovered that the self-discipline area of the brain is un-developed in humans. This part of the brain must be strengthened, but you don't do that by using willpower. You do it by changing the way that you think.
Do you lack the willpower required to abstain from foods that are not to your benefit to eat? Reason is required to stop, pause, and reflect on a situation before you make a deliberate decision to do something. But that reason must also be objective, instead of allowing your self-limiting beliefs to affect your consideration.
If you habitually react to what's going on in your environment, regardless of how it affects you, then you need to take steps to protect yourself from going brain numb until you've developed the self-discipline to think before you respond.
How badly do you want to lose the weight? More than that chocolate cupcake? More than that bag of BBQ potato chips? More than that loaf of piping hot, homemade bread? What is the greatest value in your life? Food or being thin? Often the paths in life come with conflicting values, which forces us to decide which value matters most.
Why Getting Back Into Ketosis Fast is Important if Stalled
The beauty of ketosis is that it can help you deal with these types of challenges, concerns, and consequences. But you have to act quickly once you've determined that you are, in fact, stalled.
|Thoughts are like a computer program that keeps|
running and repeating itself.
Because once you have come to the conclusion that you have stalled partway to goal weight, your mind will start talking to you, and tell you all sorts of crazy things that aren't true.
A small part of you will try to convince you that low carb isn't worth the effort, or you're not good enough to make it to goal weight, so you might as well quit. This inner critic will try to tell you that there is a better way. A faster way to get the job done.
That's rubbish, of course.
But when you've been starring at the scale for several weeks and the number just won't budge, you're more likely to believe what your mind is saying. The subconscious mind has its own list of priorities, which are probably different than yours, due to prior decisions and conclusions you've made.
So you'll have to stop, pause, and use a bit of reason to get yourself unstuck here.
Getting into ketosis quickly will bring those feelings of hunger and deprivation back inline, so you can determine your next move. Cutting carbs down to the bone usually eliminates all interest in food, making it easier to regain control over your thoughts and eating habits.
Once you are back in charge, you can choose what's best for you.
There Isn't Just One Way to Get Unstuck
There isn't just one way to get yourself into the metabolic state of ketosis.
While getting into ketosis does require you to cut the carbs, how you specifically do that can actually make a difference in the outcome. The fewer carbs you eat, the faster your glycogen will empty out, and the quicker you'll see some movement on the scale -- IF you've been overeating carbs.
What you want to do right now is clear out the glycogen that has been stored in your liver, if any. You want to force your body to turn to its body fat for sustenance, the same as it had to do when you started your low-carb diet.
If carbs have been creeping into your diet lately or if your carbohydrate tolerance has gotten worse, your glycogen stores could have refilled.
If that's what's going on:
You need to change your defective carbohydrate metabolism back into being a fat-burning machine.
To get there, you must cut your carbohydrate consumption down to what Dr. Atkins called biologically zero. Other than that, there are several ways to go about getting back into the state of ketosis fast.
How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly
Here are three quick ways to enter the state of ketosis.
There are many others, so don't limit yourself to what I'm about to share here. These are simply three methods I used myself when my weight loss got stuck.
Other zero-carb diets, like an egg fast, can be equally effective, but since I've never done an official egg fast -- just ate bacon and eggs for two meals a day to get my blood glucose back under control quickly -- I didn't include it in this post.
Each of the following methods are designed to get you into a fat burning metabolism within three days, or less. After which, you can then choose which low-carb plan or path you are going to follow from here on out.
If you are already on a low-carb diet, and stalled, the time it will take to drain your glycogen might be quite a bit less than three days. Three days is what it normally takes to see the drastic reduction in hunger if your glycogen stores are completely full.
Now, if it takes three days, or more, to see a drop in hunger, don't beat yourself up about it. Just be glad that you figured out why you're stuck.
Kimmer's Experiment (K/E)
- Eat as much lean protein as needed to satisfy hunger (lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs)
- Basic condiments and spices are okay
- Diet beverages, coffee and tea, as desired, without cream, but a bit of sugar substitute is okay
- Diet gelatin is limited to 1 cup per day
- Chicken and beef broth is fine, homemade prefered
- No alcohol, no cheese
- Eat as much protein as needed to satisfy hunger (meats, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese)
- Fats are allowed in reasonable portions (including cream, and poultry skin)
- Diet beverages, coffee and tea, as desired
- Sugar substitutes okay
- Spices and herbs without sugar, extracts, mustard, horseradish, vinegar okay
- Everything on the M/E list plus:
- 2 cups of loosely packed mixed greens with celery, cucumber, and radishes
- Salad dressings without added sugar are okay (moderate portions)
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- Chicken or beef broth is recommended
- Diet gelatin is fine
- Cheese, up to 4 oz per day of hard aged cheese (no cream cheese or spreads)
- Heavy Cream, up to 4 tsp per day
Don't Be Afraid to EatI didn't number the above diets because one isn't any better than the others. All will work, and work fast.
Eat according to your appetite. Do not go hungry. These are not weight-loss diets. Nor is the focus on calories right now. They are designed to get you into the state of ketosis as quickly as possible, or help you clear out your glycogen stores if you're stalled. If hungry, please EAT.
Don't worry about calories. Don't worry about fat. Just focus on getting into ketosis.
The diets work to rid your body of glycogen and, thereby, switch your metabolism from predominately burning sugar to predominately burning fats for fuel. If you've been eating too many carbs, you might have switched back to a glucose-burning metabolism.
While fat adaption teaches the body to use both fats and glucose, interchangeably, the body will give preference to one or the other. You want the body to prefer fats, which is why you're going to lower your carbs and see if that corrects your stall.
Once you enter the state of ketosis, your appetite will drastically fall and take care of the calorie reduction needed to start shedding the pounds. Don't be in a hurry to return carbs to your diet. Let the body readjust to burning fats first.
However, you are not required to force yourself to eat either. Ketosis is self-regulating. Let your hunger be your guide.
Cautions and AdviceHow long it takes you to enter into the state of ketosis, or how much weight you will lose during this initial three day period, will depend upon how badly you were overeating carbs before you began one of these three zero-carb diets.
At the end of the three days, it's best to move into a standard low-carb diet. But a standard diet doesn't mean you have return to eating 20 net carbs. If 20 net carbs was too much for you, going back will simply cause your weight to stall again.
These diets are only designed to get you into ketosis quickly. They are not a true low-carb diet. Low carb diets contain vegetables, salads, and other low-carb foods, but how much of those foods you can eat will be personal to just you.
It's best to do as Dr. Atkins originally recommended. If you start to drop weight eating this way, return one food at a time to your diet and watch what happens very carefully. By adding only one new food per week, you can fine-tune your diet to include only foods that are beneficial for weight management.
Also, be aware that the Atkin's Flu (also known as the Induction Flu) will be a lot more pronounced when drastically lowering your carbs, so make sure that you are using plenty of salt. Restricting carbs causes your kidneys to dump sodium along with the water needed to process glycogen.
You need to replace it.
Take it easy, get lots of rest, and up your sodium intake to keep your electrolytes in check.
These flu symptoms are NOT a sign of carb addiction or sugar withdrawal, as you might read on the internet. They are a sign that your electrolytes have become unbalanced, so don't cut down on salt. Water retention is nothing to fear on a low-carb diet. You need to eat more salt to help your body readjust quicker.
How Will You Know that You are in Ketosis?
You will know when you have entered ketosis or have cleaned out your glycogen stores because your appetite will become seriously suppressed. Many people lose interest in food and even forget to eat! That is what I do. This is one of the most stunning symptoms of ketosis there is.
You don't need Ketostix to tell you that.
However, a lot of people do find the sticks to be highly motivating. Just know that they only look for acetoacetate ketones, not beta-hydroxybutyrate or acetone, so they won't be completely reliable. They are just a great motivational tool.
If you try one of the above diets, please consider sharing your experience in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!