Can You Be In Ketosis and Not Lose Weight?

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Are you in ketosis, but not losing weight?
Did you know: there's an alternative fat metabolic pathway
that can store fat independent of insulin!

Are you in ketosis, but not losing weight? 

This phenomenon is far more common than you think. 

What you might not know is that insulin is not necessary to store body fat. That's a low-carb myth. The body actually has a back-up system to store excess energy even when carbs and insulin are very low.

However, the situation isn't hopeless. It just requires you to embrace your individuality and have the strength and determination to do what needs to be done to achieve your weight-loss goals. 

If you're in ketosis, but not losing weight, here's what you can do to get the scale moving.

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Are You Confused About Ketones and Ketosis? Most Dieters Are!

If your metabolism is average, you lost a decent amount of weight during the first two or three weeks on low carb, but then suddenly, toward the end of the month, weight loss slowed down. 

Maybe, it stopped completely. 

Perhaps, you've even regained some of that initial water loss that came off the first week. 

What's frustrating you is that you know you’re in the state of ketosis. The Ketostix are turning pink or lavender or maybe even purple. Your appetite has severely dropped. You have more energy than you had before, and you haven’t eaten anything off plan. 

You’re drinking plenty of water, sprinkling salt on your foods, and eating your vegetables, but you’re just not losing weight!

(If you honestly think that you are NOT in ketosis, and you're wondering why you're still struggling to get there, check out our article on the 12 reasons why you might not be in ketosis. It will clear up any misconceptions you might have about ketosis and ketone testing strips, so you can get moving toward your weight-loss goals today.) 

Confused, you may start to wonder if dieting is worth all the effort:
  • Maybe you’re doing something wrong.
  • Maybe you’re not really in ketosis.
  • Maybe a low-carb diet just won't work for you.
  • Can you even be in ketosis and not lose any weight?
Misconceptions surrounding the state of ketosis and what makes a low-carb diet work are rampant within the low-carb community. 

Bad advice, personal opinion, and non-scientific theories are common. A low-carb diet isn't magical, even though it's often presented that way by the ketogenic elete. 

In 1972, Dr. Atkins introduced the world to the concept of carbohydrate sensitivity. 

He talked about the damage that excessive carbohydrates can do to your metabolism. He suggested that overweight and obesity were caused from a metabolic defect and played up the necessity of being in the state of ketosis to achieve easy weight loss.

Since then, many ketogenic dieters have mistakenly thought that the number of ketones that has backed up in their bloodstream is what makes the diet work. 

It doesn't.

This is a strong misconception. The false idea that ketones are vital to fat loss has caused a lot of confusion about ketosis, nutritional ketosis, and low-carb diets.

While being in ketosis is essential to trigger the metabolic changes needed to switch your metabolism from predominantly burning glucose to predominantly burning fatty acids for fuel, you can certainly be in ketosis and not lose weight. 

And here's why:

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Ketosis and Weight Loss

Weight loss on keto is typically fast when you first restrict carbohydrates because you’re using up your carbohydrate stores called glycogen in the liver. Once those liver glycogen stores have been dramatically reduced, your weight-loss pace slows to a normal speed, but fat loss usually doesn’t stop. 

The state of ketosis causes you to eat less.

You go into a caloric deficit without having to count calories. You feel great because your hormones are balanced. You’re eating nutrient-dense foods, and you're easily burning fats for energy. You quickly discover that a low-carb diet lives up to its reputation.

So what goes wrong? 

How can you be in ketosis but not lose weight? 

There are several reasons why ketosis and weight loss do not always go hand-in-hand. 

Some of those reasons have to do with the myths surrounding the state of ketosis, but not always. There can be legitimate biological reasons why effective weight loss on low carb is more difficult for you, than for others.

So let's start with one of the major myths surrounding ketosis, that high insulin is necessary to store fat.

Is Insulin Necessary to Store Fat?

Eat Too Many Burgers and You Can Easily Gain While in Ketosis
Can you gain weight if you are in ketosis
and eating zero carbs?

Several years ago, some of us were having problems losing weight on the Atkins Diet. Since I was also having problems getting the celiac disease under control, as well as controlling my blood sugar, I decided to go on a zero-carb diet

Eating absolutely no carbohydrates was supposed to lower insulin dramatically and eliminate food sensitivities for those of us having problems on typical low-carb diets. 

Or so the theory went.

I was also having gastrointestinal problems from celiac disease at the time, and I didn't know I also had Grave's disease, so my personal results eating no carbs will be different from you, if you don't have the exact same health challenges I do. 

Since a low-carb diet isn't automatically gluten free, I used that no-carb diet in the same way as you would use an elimination diet. My hope was that it would make discerning problematic foods easier to spot and eliminate. 

When first diagnosed with celiac disease, your guts are still quite tender and inflamed, so you often have to move to a diet that is very limited in fiber in order to heal. I was hoping that an elimination diet would help point out problematic foods quicker.

One of the misconceptions within the low-carb community is that high insulin levels are absolutely necessary for you to store body fat. 

According to the Insulin Hypothesis, as presented by Gary Taubes in his book, Good Calories Bad Calories, if your insulin level is low, you can eat as much as you want of low-carb foods without gaining weight.

A zero-carb diet takes your insulin level down as far as it can go, but what I, and several other low-carb dieters learned during that zero-carb experiment was that the Insulin Theory as presented by ketogenic influencers is not true

While high basal insulin levels can cause a wide variety of health issues, you can have very low insulin levels and stall on your weight-loss diet.

You can even gain weight. 

Low insulin levels do not protect you from weight gain, nor do they guarantee that you’ll be able to burn your fat stores for energy. Low insulin merely corrects the issues attached to high insulin levels. 

This is because the body has an alternative fat metabolic pathway.

Body fat cells are actually an endocrine organ. As a single unit, they secrete various types of hormones that affect metabolism. 

A substance known as Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) is secreted by your fat cells. This ASP increases the activity of Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL), an enzyme that helps you break down dietary fats into a form that can pass through your upper small intestine and into your bloodstream. 

Triglycerides are too large for the body to absorb the way they are, so the pancreas secretes LPL into your small intestine where it can break down the fats you eat into smaller particles. Once these smaller particles pass through your small intestine, they are picked up by LDL cholesterol molecules or encased by chylomicrons and transported into body cells for fuel. 

They can also be shipped to the liver. 

In the liver, chylomicrons are either converted to VLDL and used as energy, or they are sent to the fat cells for storage. Notice that not ALL chylomicrons are used for energy, even on low-carb diets. The decision belongs to the liver.

ASP plays a similar role to insulin inside the fat cell. 

Rather than being secreted by the pancreas when you eat carbs, the fat cells produce ASP whenever they come into contact with chylomicrons. So the presence of chylomicrons in the liver causes the fat cells to produce ASP, which takes the place of insulin.

Role of Dietary Fats in Stalls or Weight Gain

When you eat a high-fat diet, you make more chylomicrons in order to transport those triglycerides. This results in additional ASP being produced, which stimulates greater fat storage. ASP is what allows fat to be removed from chylomicrons.

This fat-storing activity is independent of insulin. Your basal insulin level can be high or low and it will happen either way. This is independent of how many carbs you're eating.

The fat that’s encased in chylomicrons does not need insulin to be stored because body cells are free to take from them whatever fatty acids they need. 

This is not true for the VLDL that the liver converts fatty acids into, so not everyone has a problem with a higher load of dietary fats. It all depends on what your liver decides to do with the fat it receives from those chylomicron transporters.

If your body is prone to fat storage rather than fat burning, which can easily happen if you’ve already lost a large amount of weight, you’ll store a lot of the fat the liver receives whether you’re in ketosis or not. Being in ketosis won't make any difference, which is the problem I'm currently having myself.

If you were overweight or obese for a long time before going low carb, the body will believe that your starting weight is your normal body-fat level.

This is why maintaining your fat losses is so difficult. The body literally fights to defend its perception of normal weight. It doesn't care what you think or what society thinks. It has a set point in mind and does what it has to do to get you back there.

When you lose over 100 pounds as I did, the body will panic since it believes a diet is a famine. It will be concerned with future famines and do everything it can to regain those lost fat stores. 

This is the most challenging part of the weight-loss game that most dieters do not understand. Successful weight loss isn't about carving off the pounds. Success is being able to keep those pounds off!

Role of Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) in Fat Metabolism

One of the theories I investigated a couple of years ago had to do with dietary enzymes. 

I was interested in these enzymes because on zero carb, I had gained a lot of weight eating nothing but meat, so I started questioning the body's ability to digest fats. These dietary enzymes are needed to digest the macronutrients you eat.

Macronutrients are:
  • protein
  • fats
  • carbohydrates
Each macronutrient has a different enzyme that participates in breaking down that nutrient during digestion. 

Those with celiac disease, like me, are more likely to have a problem digesting fats, due to intestinal inflammation, but you could also have problems with protein or carbohydrates. Hyperthyroidism, like I have, causes the food you eat to move so quickly that the body rarely has time to digest and absorb everything you eat.

Many celiacs and those with Graves' Disease struggle to break down and absorb all three macronutrients!

The same holds true for those with food sensitivities, so don't ignore this point if you don't have gluten or thyroid issues. Anything that causes inflammation in the body, including sugar (cheating), can interfere with the way your food is absorbed.

Fats need Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL)

LPL is secreted into your small intestine by the pancreas. LPL is what breaks down dietary fats, so the fat molecules can eventually pass into the bloodstream. 

Without LPL, you cannot break down fats. They would simply pass through your digestive track undigested and cause a multitude of problems in the colon. 

A shortage of LPL can cause your weight loss to stall because the lack of digestion would put your body under a certain degree of stress. 

Higher stress levels mean high cortisol levels, which interferes with weight loss and can even cause weight gain due to its affect on the liver. High cortisol tells the liver to stop using fats for energy and convert glycogen into glucose and use that instead.

However, a lack of LPL cannot cause you to gain weight. 

Fats cannot be stored in your fat cells without first being broken down by LPL and then pass through the intestine and into the bloodstream.

The other problem is one of up-regulation. 

While you might produce a normal amount of LPL and be able to digest a certain amount of dietary fat, a high-fat diet might be too much.

Not everyone has the capacity to produce the additional LPL needed to digest the high amount of dietary fats in a low-carb diet. 

For that reason, many experts recommend taking digestive enzymes to help break down fats, proteins, and carbs. However, everything I have read about LPL says that LPL deficiency is hereditary with no cure. 

It cannot be fixed through dietary supplements because fats are not broken down in the stomach. Fats are broken down in the upper small intestine.

Current scientific thought is that the acid in your stomach breaks down supplemental LPL and makes it inoperable, the same as many probiotics. But I honestly don't know if it would help those who can't digest fats very well, or not. 

Since I have celiac disease, my own dietary fat issues may or may not be related to a lack LPL. 

It could just be an inflammation problem for me. 

And then again, the potential Gilbert's Syndrome might play into this too. Gilbert's Syndrome is an hereditary liver condition where you go into jaundice when severely stressed, making it more difficult for the liver to handle dietary fats.

What Can You Do?

Non-Stick Skillet Fried Chicken Breast with Assorted Herbs
The ONLY thing that works for me is to eat less fat
and calories. I can't do standard Atkins and lose weight.

I first tried taking digestive enzymes several years ago, but before I knew that I had celiac disease and thyroid disease. They were not effective for me, but I've heard others say that they gave them a lot more energy.

I tried taking digestive enzymes again in 2016, but the only effect I got was weight gain. I didn't feel any better and didn't benefit from any more energy than I already had, and since I'm trying to get rid of my excess body fat, not gain more, I stopped taking them.

So far, the only thing that has been effective for me is lowering the amount of dietary fat I eat, as well as my total calories, but that decision upsets a lot of low-carb folks. 

And I mean a LOT.

Sure, a large amount of fat makes dieting more luxurious, but we are all individuals and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

We each have different metabolic issues, different types of metabolic damage, and different genetics, so your ketogenic diet will have to be fine-tuned at some point to address your particular issues.

Yes, you can be in ketosis and not lose weight, but most of the time, it’s fixable -- if you’re willing to live with the dietary changes and tweaks that are necessary to carve off the pounds for the rest of your life.

For many people, lowering their carbs down to very low levels is what it takes to get the job done. 

I was reading an article over at the Diet Doctor website yesterday where an individual who was not in ketosis eating 30 net grams of carbohydrates a day, suddenly went into ketosis and started losing weight eating 10 to 20. For him, the amount of protein he ate didn't matter.

On the other hand, comments on the article from those with diabetes claimed that reducing protein was the correct answer for them, but that can also be a challenging way to live.

So the truth is this:

Whether you need a lower fat diet, a lower protein diet, or a very low carb diet to trigger fat loss, whatever changes you make must be permanent. You can't go into these changes assuming that they are only temporary inconveniences. They're NOT.

A lifestyle is something you firmly embrace and make a complete part of you for the rest of your life.

Which brings up another important point:

Not everyone can do what's required to be thin. I couldn't. But then, maybe being thin isn’t as necessary as we’ve been taught it is. 

If the medical profession is wrong about low-carb diets, what else are they wrong about?

Vickie Ewell Bio


  1. Very good brief and this post helped me alot.thanks for sharing with us.

    1. I guess if all else fails, there's always fasting, if you can do it. Which is where I'm at now.

    2. Well, you can't get any lower in calories than zero. In my own experience, I've found that eating too little fat is as disruptive to fat loss as eating too much.

  2. Hi vickie, this is very helpful to me. I have been obese for 5 years and I just started low carb on 12/26. I lost then gained a few lbs and I am working out until I am sweating, and staying ON plan. I want to tell you my typical meal plan daily and maybe you can let me know what I am doing. (side note:aside from feeling frustrated at lack of loss I have honestly never felt better- I have more energy NO I really need this to work!!)
    Breakfast 2-3 scrambled eggs with maybe a sausage patty
    Snack-atkins shake
    Lunch 2c Lettuce with ham or turkey and small cubes of swiss cheese, 2 tbs ranch dressing
    Dinner- 6-8oz steak, or chicken, and some sort of vegetable like cauliflower or broccoli.
    -dessert=sugar free fudge bar. When I started I was 245 (5'8") I am down to 231 and WONT BUDGE!!!! I started doing some elliptical training, and some walking for 30 minutes a day at least. Please tell me what to do!!!

    1. Hey Adrina,
      Atkins Shake, store-bought sugar free fudge bar,and steak for dinner - try to bake your own sweets. The commercial ones will put a weight on (especially shakes). Steak for dinner is too much protein. Too much protein turns into fat...

    2. Most of the excess protein you eat is burned for energy. Biologically, it's very difficult for the body to turn amino acids into fat. It's a last resort. Overeating protein, however, is like overeating anything else. If you eat too much, your body won't need to draw upon its fat stores.

    3. I realize this is old but if you didn't have cravings, why eat dessert? You could also switch the shake for plain water. Literay the only two things which are obviously wrong with your meal plan.
      Substitute sweets, pastry and other crap is pointless. If you want to eat that way, stay overweight. Otherwise, stop substituting and enjoy nutritious food.
      Give up the sweets. You can't have them. Sorry but it's a fact.
      Hopefully anyone coming here looking for info will read this and understand. There is NO substitute for sweets that works in a lchf diet. The best you can do is have a SMALL portion once a MONTH. Don't delude yourself into thinking otherwise. Don't believe the packaging. They only want your money.

    4. I don't mind comments on older stuff at all. Lots of readers do take the time to read through all the comments, so I appreciate your input on this. I didn't even catch the "no cravings" part. Thanks so much for bringing that up. I've been looking into this tendency to stall before reaching a healthy weight, and from what I've read from those who have been successful, their experience falls right in line with what you are saying here. Thanks again.

    5. Sorry if my reply sounded harsh. I just hope people can understand that it's the packaged products that are the biggest problem. It's money down the drain for something that really isn't very tasty at all anyway.
      With a stall, try doing water challenges. Drink a minimum of 2L of water a day.
      Drink 1.2L Of that water as the challenge. You drink 1.2L of water within 3 hours.
      Another way to break a stall which works well in ketosis is to count your calories for a week and give yourself a 500calorie deficit every day.
      A ketogenic diet shouldn't need a calorie deficit but sometimes your body just seems to settle at one weight no matter how ketogenic your diet.
      The third thing I would try AFTER trying the first two things for a week is to fat cycle. Extra fat one day and less the next. An excellent way of doing this is to eat 2 egg yolks with bacon for breakast on your very high fat day and save the whites to eat on your lower fat day with a piece of lean chicken breast. For lunch cut your pork loin chop in half, cook the half with the fat and skin on it and eat on your very high fat day and eat the lesser fatty piece on your lower fat day.
      It works surprisingly well and I believe that the function is similar to how carb loading works.
      On your very high fat day your body drives up your metabolism and turns the fat into ketones (many of which end up in your urine as you're not burning them). On your lower fat day your body is prepared to burn all that fat again so it burns all that is in your food and then burns some of your body fat thanks to the rev up of your metabolism from the previous day.
      GOOD LUCK!

    6. Those are some really great ideas. Thanks. I've never heard of a water challenge in the way you speak of it here, and I find the idea of fat cycling extremely interesting. Your above reply didn't sound harsh to me at all. I've been reading a lot of forum thread posts by people at goal weight and almost all of them have had to dump the low-carb products. They only seem to be helpful when someone is initially making the switch from SAD to low carb.

    7. The way I had it explained to me is that when we sip water all day our body isn't getting the message that all that water is there thanks to evolution (our ancestors would drink all their water in one or two visits to the water source every day.
      When you dump a heap of water into your system in a short period, your kidneys switch on and flush out your system thoroughly ready to store the next big drink (water retention has it's purpose) and fat is easier to burn when your tissues aren't waterlogged.
      I do it myself and it seems to work amazingly well. I was stalled for 6 months and now I'm back to losing a kg a week.
      You don't want to get thirsty so drink regularly except for that big drink. I usually do mine in a couple of hours but the first few days it was a struggle to down it within 3.
      Try to pick 3 hours where you are near a toilet because your kidneys really do go into overdrive.
      Some days after my water challenge I find I weigh less afterwards just from how much fluid it flushes through.

    8. Thanks. I'll give this a try.

    9. That's some interesting info. I'm going to try the water challenge and fat cycling after that. I've already been trying the 400 -600 cal. deficit and have not really budged in a year, after an initial 70 lbs. of loss. I confess, there were many cheats in the past year. I guess because I could in the first year I just continued like a bad habit. It's also been incredibly challenging at times with the activities and travel we were involved in this past year. I've been pretty strict the past 3 months and things are not really moving. Thanks

    10. What we can get away with the first year is definitely not what we can get away with during the second, and beyond. I completely understand about the activity/travel thing. Sometimes, you just have to accept life as it comes. How close to your weight loss goal are you?

  3. Hi Adrina,
    There is actually such a thing as working out too hard or much. In general, working out can cause small muscle tears that require extra water for repair. That can result in weight loss stalls that aren't actually stalls. Just extra water weight.

    You're also fairly new to low carb, less than a month, and coincidentally, I just put up a post that deals with the problem of dehydration that occurs to a lot of folks during their first month of low carbing. It's another possible stall that isn't really a stall. For me, I stalled on my second low-carb attempt for 6 weeks before I lost that water weight it talks about.

    As for your menu, it looks fine to me. It's early still, so give your body a little more time to adjust. 14 pounds is a huge weight loss, so your body is probably retaining water. Between that and working out, that's my guess at this point. Just keep doing what you're doing.

  4. Hi Vickie and thanks for the info.! I found your article interesting. I started my low carb diet on X-mas day 2012 and in 4 months I have lost 65 lbs. I needed to lose a total of 100 lbs. - 120 lbs. Here is what I eat:

    Breakfast: two 6 oz. containers, Yoplait Light yogurt

    Lunch: 1.6L (by volume) salad containing lettuce, green/red peppers, carrots, 1/2 cup cheese, and 6 oz. southwestern style chicken.

    Dinner: 4 containers (about 3 oz. per container) of sugar free jello.

    Throughout the day I consume an additional 4 containers of sugar free jello and 1 gallon of water.

    I have not waivered from this meal plan in 4 months. I don't exercise much. This is my approximate nutrional intake per day:

    calories: 663
    carbs: 60 gms.
    fat: 22 gms.
    protein: 84 gms.
    sodium: 1900 gms

    Although I feel great, my weight loss has slowed and I am not sure how to kick-start it again. I've been losing on average, 15 lbs. per month.


  5. That low of a calorie level will cause your Leptin levels to drop, which is probably what's happened. When Leptin is low, you don't burn fat as easily as you do when it's higher.

    Your fat grams are a bit low, so you might want to up that a little bit. My own sweet spot for fat is 45 to 60 grams per day. When I go below 30, my weight loss stops.

    I read a lot of Lyle McDonald's stuff over at and he recommends taking a diet break when you diet that hard.

    The only way to kick-start what you're doing is to boost your hormone levels back to normal. To do that, you have to move to your maintenance level of calories for at least 2 weeks where you're eating at least 100 carbs per day. After 2 to 3 weeks, you can go back to your diet plan.

    But the closer you get to goal weight, the slower your weight losses will be, and the more danger there is to begin burning muscle for protein. The leaner you get, the higher your protein level needs to be in order to maintain muscle mass.

  6. Hi Vickie,
    Great blog, please HELP!!!
    I'm at my wits end and hoping for a miracle fixit. I've been on Optifast for nearly 3 weeks and yesterday found my weight up by 0.4kg for the week after 3.0kg and 1.2kg the previous 2 weigh-ins. I weight again today and its up another 0.4kg! Needless to say I am FREAKING OUT. I am definitely in ketosis as I check blood daily (avg reading 1.7) have had NO extra carbs with the ony extra anything each day being a bit of cream in coffee. Sometimes I even skip an Optifast product and have the coffee or some veg instead! I have salty broth I've read Volek & Phinney and for the life of me don't get whats happening. Its not that I've driven down my RMR either coz I can assure you before I started this I was eating everything in sight so no chance of depressed metabolism. What could it be? My daily cals maybe being too low? Lack of activity? Insufficient water? WHAT??? If so, why exactly? I feel I am definitely in ketosis AND caloric deficit AND at a fairly low fat level so it can't be my dietary fat ending up in ketone readings. I now don't know whether to just persevere with it OR go to an all-you-can-eat buffet til further notice, THATS how crazy this is! I appreciate your time and thank you in advance for taking the time to read!

  7. PS I should add that I KNOW optifast is not a long-term thing, that eventually I need to 'learn new eating habits' blah blah blah but there is little I don't know about good eating habits and diets my issue has always been actually DOING rather than just KNOWING and I feel lepti, ghrelin & the rest plus overwhelming depression about still being fat have conspired against me. I looked into gastric sleeve but at BMI32 and no co-morbidities surgeon wouldn't do it (imagine, something I'm not fat enough for!) so this is my last hurrah.

  8. I don't know anything about the Optifast program. So I went to My Fitness Pal and looked up the shakes. They are NOT "low-carb", so you'll have to tell me exactly what you're drinking/eating, and what the total carb count for the day is.

    Also check the ingredients on the labels for me. Do these products contain sugar? Fructose? Sugar Alcohols? At 20 carbs per shake, they are not just protein powder and a little bit of cocoa.

    I personally don't have a problem with doing a weight-loss shake program to lose weight. That's how Dr. Eades lost all of his weight. I'm concerned that you might be drinking too many carbs, and that maybe the products have some type of sugar that is keep your insulin level too high.

  9. I had been on Low carb diet on and off for several years . Now I can't go without carbs because I can't sleep, lots of pain in my muscles, headaches, can't think. I can't even get up from bed, no energy. I gain 20 pounds since the cravings for carbs and sugar are bad and is the only way I can get some energy. It is any thing that I can do to reduce this problems to go back in my low carb diet?

    1. You should never cut all carbs out. they are necessary for brain function. Limit carbs to say less than 75 a day. your symptoms also are the perfect description of thyroid auto immune. Have you had your thyroid levels checked?

  10. Yo-yo dieting is something that Dr. Atkins warned against. He said if you continually go on and off of his diet, it can backfire on you.

    The body adapts and learns very quickly. It doesn't like to diet, any diet, because it perceives dieting to be a famine. Eventually, if you do it enough times, the body will begin to fight back. At that point, dropping the carbs to Induction levels will cause a severe stress response. Stress hormones skyrocket and the body will do whatever it has to, to get you to up the carbs.

    That's where I'm at today too. A low carb diet causes my stress hormones to skyrocket. I'm thinking that a backdoor approach, where you begin at a much higher carb level (a point where your body doesn't feel threatened) is a better place to begin.

    Then, once it's comfortable, try cutting back on a few carbs. What you're doing is essentially a low carb diet in reverse.

  11. Brilliant reading thankyou!

    But oh my ,i think i'm gonna be upset at the end of phase 1 Atkins!
    I've done every diet,but for the past few months sort of paleo ....
    Alas the only diet i never really got intoo is Atkins so i'm on wk 1 ,phase 1. Reading all the valuable info here ,make me think it isn't gonna go well. Yo YO dieting ,lowish calories....the list goes on......
    Will all the hard work i'm putting in be of any use? I'm so confused with all the stuff about stress hormones etc ....early days but i'm stressing already on how i will rectify the problem to allow me to do this :(

  12. Hi... Very helpful to me! Thanks!

    I adopted low carb as my woe a year ago, and I lost 17k. But I'm completely stucked for months, even eating low carb / high fat. Your post explained about it, and I will try to cut a bit of fat and calories.
    My question is:
    What the difference between "rubbish day" and yoyo? For example, I was doing a day off diet per week, to shake my leptine's level. Is my body will understand this as yoyo dieting or not?
    Many thanks!

  13. Rosana,

    Sorry I'm so late in replying to your comment. My life has been pretty crazy lately. A rubbish day works very well to bump up leptin levels, and for a lot of folks, it doesn't bump them out of ketosis either. When it does, you move right back into ketosis as soon as your glycogen stores deplete themselves again. Since it happens so quickly, the body doesn't see it as a major lifestyle change.

    Yo-yo dieting is when you completely go off of a low-carb diet for several weeks, months, or years at a time. The body completely returns to predominantly burning glucose for fuel. When you do that, the body thinks it has just lived through a famine and survived. A free meal or free day doesn't do that.

  14. i did low-carb (20-25 carbs/day) about 18 months ago and lost 15 lbs. I was 155 at the time and very happy with the results. However, i've gained 10 lbs back. I've been trying to lose it by going back to 20-25 carbs/day but it's been 8 weeks and I've lost nothing. I'll lose 3 lbs and gain 3 lbs, then lose 3 lbs and gain 3 lbs. I'm not sure what i'm doing wrong and i'm concerned that i'm damaging my health?

  15. Thank god I found you!!
    A yr ago I had a gastric sleeve and have lost 25kg. I am 83kg and so would love to lose 15kg more.
    A month ago after eating far too much chocolate and processed snacks I decided for health and wt loss to quit sugar. Day 3 I had put on 2kg. I also then decided to go further in to ketogenics.
    At the moment have tested my blood ketones and find that in the morning I am 0.4 and by evening I am 0.9.

    I can only eat half cup amts.
    Breakfast 1egg omelett with brocolli and chicken cooked in olive oil and butter( can only eat half).
    Lunch I eat other half.
    Dinner is protein and veg.
    Snacks are 10 macadamias or almonds
    Or plain gull cream yoghurt with a dollup of double cream (only about x2 a week)
    Or 1/4 camenberg cheese on cucumber slices.
    I only snack if my energy low.

    I just cant seem to get any info on ketogenic diets and quantity restrictions.
    I really need advice!

  16. Tracey,
    Is this the second time that you have ever done a low-carb diet? Or have you done low carb more than that?

  17. Anonymous,
    Weight loss surgery brings in the additional factor of starvation, so if you had the surgery a year ago, your metabolism will be very, very low. I am really not qualified to address the problems associated with having a Gastric Sleeve, but there is a yahoo group support list called Atkins Support Group that might be able to help you. The owner of that list had a Gastric Sleeve several years ago. There is also another member who recently had a different type of weight-loss surgery. Do a search at Yahoo Groups for the group and join. That would be my best advice.

  18. Ankur,
    This blog isn't about fast weight loss. It's about living a low-carb lifestyle.

  19. Vicki,
    I just wanted to say Thank you for this. I have been on atkins for 3 weeks or so and not losing. I was about to give up when I stumbled across this and its given me the strength to just keep on keeping So again, Thank you for writing!!! ;)

  20. Anonymous,
    Sometimes, it does take the body a while to start letting go of the weight. It's always best to give a diet a few weeks to start working before evaluating. The body often fights giving up its fat stores.

  21. Hi, Sarae here, I have been on a ketogenic diet for two months now, and have lost 6 inches overall, and 7 pounds, and went from a size 20W to 16W. The weight is not my worry, since my focus is on body fat percentage decreasing. I consume about 1500-1900 kcal. I burn about 800kcal a day doing an hour of cardio and 10 minutes of strength training. My question is if I should consume carbs as a TKD in order to not feel so sore and tired the day after a workout. I usually do Zumba with squats and light dumbells throughout everyday except for Thursdays and Sundays. I walk my dog for half a mile daily 2x a day. If I consume carbs, I am not worried about getting kicked out of Ketosis temporarily since I know I will be back as soon as I am done working out. What type of carbs do I consume? Fruit, candies, powerade, or potato/rice? Thanks for any comments or advice beforehand.

  22. I don't know a lot about a targeted ketogenic diet, as I've only lifted light weights back before I was placed under lifting restrictions by my doctor. I know that at the Lyle McDonald forums, people there don't pay a lot of attention to what type of carbs they eat after a workout. Just to how they feel.

  23. I've been in permanent ketosis for 6 weeks, testing my urine 3 times daily. I've gained a kilo in weight and my body fat ratio is up 5%

    1. Is it possible that you're eating too much fat? What could be happening is that you're burning the fat you eat instead of the fat in your body. Ketosis will work with moderate, even low, fat intake. The high fat diet is more for body builders who don't have the body fat to burn.

    2. Thanks for that Patrick. This is exactly what I've learned as well.

  24. That happened to me when I tried Nutritional Ketosis instead of regular Atkins.

  25. I've started healthy eating Monday, 6 days ago.i checked Wednesday to see if I was in ketosis which I was to my surprise and have been everyday since. By Wednesday it said I'd lost 6lbs, but since Wednesday, nothing. I've been exactly the same, to the half a pound everyday since. I don't know why? I'm not sure what my targets should be for fat, carbs, and cals. I'm using fitness pal which suggests amounts, which im under. Intake of water could be improved. I am exercising everyday though also. Help. :(

  26. Kim,

    Dropping 6 pounds in 2 days is a LOT. The initial pounds you lose are mostly water and glycogen. It takes a lot of water to turn your carbohydrate stores (glycogen) into glucose that your body can use. Often, the body will put on the breaks if you lose too much water too quickly.

    What your body does is it starts stuffing water in your shrinking fat cells. It's a survival technique to avoid potential dehydration. What's happening is perfectly normal. Weight loss isn't linear. It won't happen every day or even every week.

    Eventually, the body will calm down and dump the water. The tape measure or how your clothes fit are a much better gauge of how you're doing than the scale is. Water fluctuations are very common on low carb.

  27. I've been in ketosis for over a month but haven't lost any weight. OTOH, I feel so much better mood-wise... No dramatic personality change... I still get po'd, but less so... I've been asked to do some extremely tedious tasks at work, yet find I can maintain concentration. Bottom line: There's more to a low carb diet than weight loss. I've been researching long-term ketosis. It is possible without impairing one's health. I hope I can stay on VLCHF permanently whether I lose weight or not.

  28. Joe,
    That's wonderful to hear. Thanks for sharing that.

  29. I have been on low carb since jan 1. In the first 2 weeks I lost 7 pounds and 2 inches. Since then I have lost nothing. I am in ketosis as I check regular. Once a week I eat more carbs, up to a hundred. Then right back to between 20 and 30. I don't understand what's happening. So frustrated! Please help!!!

  30. Anonymous,
    You check your state of ketosis how? With a blood ketone meter?

    If you're eating 100 carbs every weekend, you are training your body to expect those carbs to come in on the weekend. It won't give you your body fat because it doesn't need to. It just waits for you to eat the carbs. Many people live this way on maintenance, but it rarely works for someone trying to lose weight unless you're also on a very low calorie low fat diet.

    Essentially, there are two ways to lose weight: very low carb (less than 50) along with moderate to high fats OR high carb (100 or more) along with very low fat. Mixing them hardly ever works and can be dangerous if you're eating high fat along with those 100 carbs on the weekend.

    Bodybuiders use this technique of eating higher carbs on once a week to keep leptin levels elevated, but there is a very specific protocol they use. They don't follow a low-carb diet.

  31. Hi Vickie,
    This post was very helpful to me. I have been in ketosis for weeks and haven't lost anything, while my husband has already lost 18 lbs! I've been trying to keep my fat really high, and my protein moderate. If I drop my fat down to maybe 60 grams (I usually have about 90) does that mean my protein will need to be higher than my fat?

  32. Anonymous,
    90 grams of fat per day is not super high. It's in the moderate range. My personal sweet spot was 60 grams of fat, but I didn't raise my protein. I let the calories fall a bit by doing that.

  33. Awesome blog,I was looking for enzymes (lipase) and I found you, Ive been on ketosis for 17 days now and no pounds lost yet, (none) :(
    Even I feel 'clear' and energized ,I do feel so bloated and constipated,also Im suffering :/ of water retention..should I take enzymes? I feel like I have go to the bathroom and empty 5 lbs of (anything!!!) Sorry about too many details but I feel horrible :/ Any advice?? Pls

  34. I did some research on digestive enzymes a while back. Some people have good success using them, but most of the data doesn't agree with that. Fat is digested in the small intestines so it depends on whether the digestive enzymes survive the trip through the stomach. Research says they do not, but I don't really know for sure. Some people who have trouble digesting proteins have told me that the problem cleared up when they added apple cider vinegar to their diet. In my personal experience, bloating and constipation were a result of food sensitivities. In my case, gluten.

  35. Decreasing your caloric intake is important for weight loss, but don't take it too far. Instead, eat healthier foods with nutrition tracker and
    lower calorie counts that fill you up and leave you energized.

  36. Low carb diets are nutrient dense if you follow them correctly. Thanks for your insights. Don't have a smart phone yet. It's on my "someday" list.

  37. Opinions of my daily feed:
    Coffee w/ 1-2oz full fat cream + 2 splenda.
    Boiled egg
    1/2 chicken breast w/ salad greens
    PM snack:
    Boiled egg
    Egg drop soup or "naked" burrito bowl or boiled broccoli w/ medallion steak pan fried w/ butter
    and a diet soda
    Daily water: 1.5-2 liters
    Multi vitamin & magnesium supplement
    (Always on the go)

    1. Looks fine to me. Are you not losing weight eating like this? Or do you just want to know if you're doing the low-carb diet correctly?

  38. 3 wks complete today.
    Was in ketosis wk 1 and scale hasn't moved.

  39. Hi Vickie- I've been in ketosis since Jan 4th. 9 weeks in and only 4 lbs lost. Those 4 were during week 1. So my guess is no fat lost, just water. I'm starting to think that this diet just doesn't work for small women (I'm 5'1"), and that we small girls have to manually decrease calories to lose. My macros have been perfect. 20 grams carbs, 65 grams protein, 100 grams of fat. And no weight loss. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this is.

    One thing I've been wondering: Do you think that if you've become fat adapted and are burning fat for fuel that you should decrease your dietary fat intake (and calories) so you burn body fat for fuel? I guess I just need to try it and see. Kind of reminds me of the Kimkins diet, which was for me a very successful diet. I should have just kept up with it, instead of listening to the Internet posts telling me how it was a bad woe.

    1. You sound just like me. I have the exact same regrets. What I was doing during the Kimkins era worked beautifully. But I wasn't going as low as others were. I just found what worked best for me. From what I've seen in other short folks, you do have to go lower on the fats and calories, unless you're extremely active. Our maintenance level of calories is far lower than others, so we have to make sure we're eating at a deficit. At 65 grams of protein, I wouldn't lower that. The best way to control calories is to just up or lower your fats. Dr. Eades has always warned his patients and readers to keep a close eye on their calories (hence fats) and to be careful of cheese, nuts, and heavy cream because those calories add up fast. His reasoning? If you're eating all of the fats your body needs to run on, there's no reason for it to dip into your fat stores for more. Makes sense to me. But as you say, we all have to experiment and see what works for us. That did work for me.

  40. Hi!
    I've been doing ketogenic for months but somewhere along the way I got both constipation and diarhaer. I've tried to cut out dairy and nuts but I'm gaining weight!
    I'm very small, but I was happy to eat such satisfying Keto meals when I started this but now I wonder if a high fat diet is causing my system to slow down and hold on to calories.
    Is my body treating the fat like sugar and storing the unused nutrients?

  41. There are a lot of people who cannot do a high-fat low-carb diet without gaining weight, especially if you're short or older. You have to be eating fewer calories than your body needs each day. But you really need to get that digestive problem checked out by a doctor. A lot of things can cause digestive problems and weight gain: gall bladder problems, celiac disease, thyroid disease, glucose problems.

  42. I just started keto like 2 weeks ago now. When I first started I dropped a lot of water weight. As of lately tho I have noticed that the weight seems to have stalled. I don't cheat really, only thing I have cheated with is, I went to IHOP and had 1 serving of their hash browns.

    My meals usually go

    3 eggs scrambled
    Shredded cheese
    2 1/2 pieces of bacon
    16 Oz water

    Double chicken salad w/ranch
    16oz water

    3 brats chopped
    Diced small onion
    Chopped mushrooms
    16oz water

    Plus during the day at work I usually drink about 3 64oz water bottles.

    1. If you've only been on a low-carb diet for two weeks, and you lost a lot of water weight during the first few days, you're doing GREAT!

      The official definition of a stall is when you've gone 6 weeks without losing any pounds or inches.

      The body has to adapt to burning fats for fuel. Even after you adapt, weight loss won't occur in a predictable pattern. You won't lose weight every single week. Plus, if you had hash browns, even just once, the body might be stuffing water into your fat cells thinking more carbs will be coming in soon.

      Your diet looks good. I think you just need to give the diet some time to work.

  43. I have been on this diet for 2 months and lost maybe 2-3 lbs. Very discouraging and about to do the apple cider vinegar,water and honey drink every morning. Want to lose about 20lbs so I'm not asking for alot.

    1. The apple-cider thing works for those who have high blood sugar. Low carb diets are designed for those with insulin resistance. It works by balancing hormones, but if you only have 20 pounds to lose you're probably not a pre-diabetic. What low-carb diet have you been using?

  44. Thank you for this informational, motivational blog! It's very much appreciated. Can you tell me about exogenous ketones and if they have any role in helping the body get into ketosis without the "atkins flu?"

    1. Atkins flu is caused from not eating enough sodium/salt. It has nothing to do with ketones, other than ketosis causes the kidneys to excrete extra sodium along with the glycogen and water you lose when you cut down on carbs. In my own opinion, exogenous ketones are worthless. The body uses ketones for energy for the first 3 to 4 weeks. They are then used exclusively by the brain. If you're taking extra ketones into your body, you'll burn those instead of your body fat. Taking exogenous ketones can actually "prevent" you from going into ketosis.

  45. Thank you for the article, You must have spent days researching this info. I have been on a Keto/LCHF diet for a month now. I decided to do it right from the beginning, and spent time and effort creating a macro, and sticking to it religiously. I have not cheated even once, not a single bit of sugar, my carbs are under 10g a day, no artificial sweeteners, My meals are strictly 70%fat 25% Protien, 5% carb(made up of vegetables+dairy) all my food is clean(grass fed, non gmo), with the exception of dairy(there is no raw milk option here). I have a bulletproof coffee every morning(thats the only dairy in my diet). I am in ketosis, I am very strict, I cook with coconut oil, or Butter ghee. I have a good 3 x a week 30 mins weight training with HITT.

    It all feels like I am doing everything right. I have lost 1KG, No real muscle growth/loss, No water weight loss. I am confused. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Macros can be tricky, depending on which low-carb diet you're doing. Percentages are deceiving.

      For Keto/LCHF, the 25 percent protein is 25 percent of the calories it would take to maintain your ideal weight or the weight you want to get to. The 70 percent dietary fat is "maintenance." During weight loss, fat percentage is much lower. This is because a portion of that 70 percent fat must come from your fat storage. That won't be reflected in the macros.

      If you're eating all of the fat that your body needs to function, it has no reason to use your body fat.

      When dieting, macros don't look high fat. They look high protein.

  46. I see some current comments here so hopefully you can help me think this through. I've been keto for 2 years now. Lowering my a1c was my first goal, keeping my FBG under 100 was the other. I've accomplished both and a 40 lbs weight loss. Recently I started drinking coffee because of its health properties but started leaning​ on it (iced coffee with cream only, 24-30oz coffee/2 T cream) ... I was doing this daily, appetite went up, started drinking diet soda again... Immediately gained about 6 lbs. Now I've gotten strict again and I can't get the weight back off. I tried a modified fat fast (bacon was included but that's the only protein) and I gained 2 more lbs. Everything that used to work predictably, now does not. I have just introduced acv and am hoping that will help, but what are some of the recommended ways to break a true plateau? I was 10-15 lbs from my goal and had stayed there with no loss for 8 months. I would say part of that was from carb creep, but I even started gaining inches. I'm also considering adding in a sweet potato twice a week and some basmati rice in the evening because I really do wonder if I'm having hormonally driven weight gain from too low carb for too long. Thoughts? I have managed to get my FBG back down under 100 (it was elevated this last couple of months during the debauchery of coffee and diet soda) but just for the last week or so. I'm sure I've stored water (as quickly as I gained it, it can't be fat?!) Would love your opinion... (I'm not sure if I will be notified of a response here - maybe you could copy your response to my email address?) Bekktek at Hotmail

  47. Some people secrete insulin in response to coffee and/or diet sodas. I don't, but some people do. This insulin response causes blood glucose to go down, and hunger/cravings to go up, because there's no carbs for the insulin to work on.

    "Adding" anything with calories (like the 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in the coffee) to your diet means you have to lower your fat or carb calories elsewhere, or you'll gain weight. The purpose of restricting carbs is to get your body to burn fat, which lowers your hunger. Returning anything to your diet is a calorie-balancing act, especially when you're so close to ideal weight.

    Water retention occurs when your electrolytes are out of balance, you're not drinking enough water, you're over-exercising, or protein deficient. It can also occur when the body stuffs water into your emptied out fat cells, thinking you're going to need them soon.

    When you're really close to goal weight, getting enough protein is vital, which is why you gained another 2 pounds doing a fat fast. However, cravings is always a sign that your insulin, cortisol, or carbs are too high.

  48. I've been doing low carb, high fat, high protein for months and dieting for years. I lost 60 pounds over the course of 4 years. I stalled at 208 lbs then drank more water and went down to 203 and stalled again. I cut gluten and sugar, the only sugar I get is in the protein drinks. On an average day, I eat less than 1000 calories, less than 20 carbs, less than 5 sugar, 60 fat and 90 protein. I cut coconut oil to keep my saturated fats lower. I drink at least 64 oz of water every day. I take magnesium to help me avoid constipation. I take chromium, niacin, and B6 to control my insulin resistance. I'm still not losing more weight. What can I change, add, or substitute? I am open to all suggestions, I want to lose 53 more pounds!

    1. Also, I don't have cravings. And because I am disabled, I am unable to exercise. I lost the 60 pounds on diet alone. I recently bought myself a hand-bike, just so I can get in some more movement, but I really can't add exercise to the diet because of my physical limitations.

    2. Have you ever tried raising your carbs up? Or have you always eaten at less than 20 carbs a day? The body adapts to whatever you do long-term, which is why I'm asking.

    3. Yes, I always gain weight when eating more carbs, so I try to eat the bare minimum as much as I can. I've tried "shaking the diet up" in order to get past plateaus in the past, eating salad with chicken and walnuts fried in butter for example, but ever since I hit 203 lbs nothing is working.

    4. I honestly have no ideas. It sounds like your body has adapted to what you're doing. And if exercise isn't an option, there's nothing you can do. You're already eating minimal calories and minimal carbs. If it's not due to eating too few carbs, there's nothing left.

      My weight does the same thing when I get close to 160 pounds. For me, type of diet doesn't matter. The body won't lose anymore, which is about 50 pounds above ideal weight.

      I pushed the body once by eating 500 calories a day, for 8 weeks, and got down to 145. But I definitely do not advise anyone to do that because the body went into hyperthyroidism when I raised my calories above 800 and took me on a weight-gain spree that didn't stop until I had regained almost all of my weight.

      I now have to live with the hyperthyroidism, so I definitely won't do that again. I've decided to just get back to where I was before I tried to push things, and then I'm going to call it good.

      Due to the vertigo, I'm very inactive myself, so I completely understand your limitations. Sometimes, there is just nothing you can do.

    5. *sigh* That sucks. And I get it, because the only times I managed to get under 200 were when I was so stressed out, I couldn't keep any food in my body, it just immediately flushed out the other end. And I don't want to go through that again, I was miserable. Too miserable to really enjoy being thinner!

      Thanks for your suggestions. Sometimes it really helps to talk to someone who has been there, even if there really isn't an answer, because you feel like you're going crazy all by yourself.

    6. You are definitely not the only one!

  49. May l say l sympathise with the people on this forum who are desperatly trying to lose weight but one thong strikes me its that low carb diets seem to have many pitfalls plus eventual weight gain when carbs are eaten again , where as a calorie controlled diet does not seem to have the pitfalls of a low carb diet. Just like to share that. Good luck to everyone

    1. Thanks for sharing that. You definitely have to continue controlling your calories when you return carbs to the diet.

  50. Thank you for posting. I am hoping stall is nothing more than water retention. Is one's inability to burn fat while on Keto, the result of an underlying disease specific of whichever part of the process one is lacking, Pancreatic or Liver? A person with healthy Pancreatic or Liver function should not have this issue; yes?

    1. Problems burning fat for energy are hereditary. You are either able to create the amount of enzymes you need to burn fat, or you are not. In some isolated cases, having too much liver fat or extreme insulin resistance like PCOS can interfere with weight loss. But these are things you'd see from Day 1, and not stall later on due to them. Has it been more than 6 weeks since you've lost any weight OR inches? That's the definition of a stall.

  51. There is growing evidence showing the connection between a “leaky” gut and issues such as weight gain, thyroid problems, Type-2 Diabetes, a lack of energy, digestion problems.


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