Wednesday, February 20, 2013

6 Reasons Your Weight Loss Might Have Stalled

Low Carb Foods: Bacon, Eggs With Salsa, and Salad
What Am I Not Losing Weight On Atkins?
When it comes to weight loss, patience is vital. We all lose body fat at different rates, and each body undergoes different protective processes that we sometimes have to simply wait out. While some people lose weight slow and steady, others lose weight in stages. But if you’ve crossed over that 4-week line where you haven’t lost pounds or inches, what then?

What can you do to encourage your body to let go of some of that excess body fat?

1. You Might Be Eating Too Much Fat

There are many reasons why your weight loss might have stalled, and some of them are extremely contradictory. Eating too much fat is one them. While today’s low-carb mantra claims raising the amount of dietary fat you eat can cure everything from weight loss stalls to the Atkins Flu, before Dr. Atkins passed away, that wasn’t what the Atkins Center was telling folks. In fact, checking out the amount of fat you’re eating was the first thing they always asked you to look at back then.

When you’re in Ketosis, the body predominantly burns fatty acids for fuel, and your brain burns ketones, a by-product of fat mobilization, but if you eat more fat than your body needs, it won’t ever have a chance to pull anything from your fat stores. According to the Atkins Center back in 2003, the body always burns the fat you eat first. It then burns your stored body fat second. You have to eat less fat than your body needs on a daily basis or your weight loss can stall.

2. Are You Drinking Enough Water?

The Atkins Diet has always recommended that you drink at least eight 8-ounce cups of water per day to keep your body working efficiently. That’s about 64 ounces. However, for many overweight individuals, that isn’t enough. A low-carb diet is dehydrating by nature. The liver also needs a good supply of water to filter out and handle any toxins or substances that might have been stored in your fat cells along with the fat. Flushing out ketone fragments also takes extra water.

Therefore, the typical recommendation by health authorities for those attempting to lose weight is to drink one-half of your current weight in ounces. For me, at 180 pounds, that would be 90 ounces of water per day. An alternative way of calculating your water would be to use the 64 ounces of water per day as a baseline, and then drink 8 ounces for each 25 pounds you are overweight. That's how we calculated the water when I was in my own weight-loss phase.

3. Are You Following Your Program Correctly?

Variety of Low-Carb Diet Books
You Must Follow Your Low-Carb Diet Plan Correctly
While those who are sensitive to insulin might be able to do a relaxed form of carbohydrate restriction and lose their excess pounds, those with insulin resistance have to be more careful about how they implement a low-carb diet. For that reason, the Atkins Diet, Protein Power, and other low-carb approaches have specific rules about what you can and cannot eat.

If you’re following Atkins, make sure that you’re strictly following the diet’s recommendations for heavy cream, cheese, aspartame, and vegetables. Avoid all forms of sugar in your salad dressings, and don’t eat anything that isn’t on the recommended food list. A low-carb diet is designed to reduce your circulating insulin levels quickly. For that reason, fruits, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and low-carb tortillas or pastas are not used in the beginning stages of the diet.

Once your insulin levels return to normal, most people can enjoy mixed nuts, peanut butter, cottage cheese, blueberries, and other low-carb foods. But if you’re not losing weight, it’s a good idea to check up on yourself, and make sure you’re following your chosen low-carb plan correctly.

4. Watch Your Portion Sizes

Although a low-carb diet offers an easier alternative to counting calories, that doesn’t mean that a calorie deficit isn’t essential for weight loss. It is. The main benefit of a low-carb program over other dietary approaches is the way it reduces your hunger, but that doesn’t mean you can eat all that you want. Although pork rinds are zero carbs, if you eat a whole bag every day, you probably won’t lose much weight unless you’re fairly active.

The Atkins Center recommends about 6 to 8-ounces maximum of protein foods per meal, your allotted number of carbs spent mostly on vegetables, and a few other low-carb goodies such as a dab of sour cream, a spoonful of real whipped cream on your berries, or a little low-sugar catsup (made with Splenda) on your bunless burger.

Also keep in mind that as your weight decreases, your body will need fewer calories to maintain your current weight, so your calorie deficit will drop as the pounds do. If you’re still eating as much as you did when you first went low-carb, that’s probably way too much food. The number of calories you can eat at your goal weight won’t be the number of calories you could eat when you started a low-carb diet.  

5. How Often Are You Eating Out?

Restaurant food can easily contain hidden carbs and sugars you didn’t realize was in there. While avoiding sauces and breaded foods may be a no-brainer, burgers may have breadcrumbs or oatmeal, salad dressings might have sugar or corn syrup, and even the grilled chicken on your salad might be dusted with white flour or cornstarch. While a single meal won’t ruin your low-carb diet, if you’re used to eating out several times a week, especially at fast-food restaurants, those extra carbs and sugars can quickly cause your weight loss to stall.

6. Are You Eating Nutrient-Dense Foods?

Dr. Atkins was always heavy into nutrition and nutrient-dense foods. He believed in saving low-carb goodies and more elaborate, carby meals for special occasions. Today, most low-carbers don’t do that. I see far too many running around looking for recipes that will allow them to imitate the diet that got them fat in the first place. The norm is no longer grilled or baked meat, salad, and veggies. Today, the norm is cheese-heavy casseroles, fake breads, recipes heavy on cream cheese and bacon, and plenty of low-carb desserts.

In general, most low-carb recipes are heavy on wheat, corn, dairy, and/or soy, in addition to the fat. GMO food products are increasing. Our fast-paced lifestyles entice us to turn to fast foods and microwaves. Grains and excessive omega-6 fatty acids as well as trans-fats in the form of fried foods easily find their way into a typical low-carb diet if you aren’t careful. Even food sensitivities and allergies can play a large role in the body’s inflammatory responses, which can then prevent you from shedding the pounds.

So take a careful look at your diet. Are you eating a large amount of processed foods? Many manufacturers add ingredients and chemicals that increase your urge to eat. Are you getting enough protein? Are you eating a wide variety of salads and vegetables? Do whole foods make up the majority of your food choices? Are you reading the ingredient list when you do purchase a processed food? Or are you only looking at how many carbs a food has?

Just because a food is low in carbs, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.


  1. Hi Vicki, I just happened on to your site - thanks for all the great info! I'll be back to peruse some more.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the comment.