Hitting a plateau in ketosis can be demotivating and confusing, not to mention excruciatingly frustrating! In week 6 of our keto mission to cut the fat and boost our health, we’ve both seen our rate of weight-loss slow down.
Instead of letting it get us down, we got to work! With a bit of patience and a lot of research, the keto plateau can be beaten, and even embraced as a tool for learning!
Total weight lost: 16 lbs.
Total inches lost: 2 inches
My Keto Plateau Tips
1. Check Your Macros
For a good while now, I’ve assumed that I can live a ketogenic lifestyle without incessantly tracking my macro-nutrients to the decimal point. For the most part – I’ve been correct.
Because I eat lots of healthy fats like coconut oil, omega 3-rich seafood, bulletproof coffees with ghee and very little dairy, I can meet my 70% or more dietary fat target easily.
What I don’t often think about is how much protein I’m getting along with all of this fat. I found out that because I eat a good amount of veggies and minimal meat, my ratio of protein to carbs was all wrong.
Now that I know this, I’ll ease up on the squash and lean into the grass-fed beef to restore my diet to a Low Carb, Moderate Protein, High Fat diet as is recommended for optimal ketosis.
2. Eat Higher-Quality Foods
Although cheese can become a daily staple in “dirty” keto recipes, it does come with its downsides.
For one thing, inferior quality cheeses and creams make from grain-fed cows can have high A1 beta-casein levels, which can be hard to digest and lead to chronic inflammation.
I’m switching to grass-fed products only for now and prioritizing A2 beta-casein in my diet.
3. Use Intermittent Fasting or OMAD
When I do a high-carb day to shock my metabolism into action, I notice that, if I eat up until 10 pm that day, I’ll have gained nearly 2 pounds by the next day.
I’ll always lose it over the next few days of low-carb eating, but if I simply restrict my high-carb eating window by a few hours, say, from 10 am to 5 pm, I’ll have actually LOST weight by the next day’s weigh-in.
What this phenomenon reveals to me is how powerful of a tool intermittent fasting can be for weight-loss. By changing up my routine to an 18/6 eating window (fast for 18 hours, free to eat for 6), I can rev up my metabolism while lowering insulin levels and promoting autophagy all at the same time.
Check out Chelsea’s blurb below where she talks about how she’s getting started on IF or OMAD.
4. Lower Your Stress Levels
When the mind is under stress, say, from an upcoming event gnawing at you or from working an “always-on” job, cortisol is released into the system.
Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight response, and it can have really negative effects on the body – including weight gain – if chronically elevated.
I plan to stop fretting over things I can’t change, add more humor to my life and get into nature more. It’s also a good idea to ditch all electronic devices (anything with a screen) by 7 pm for a better night’s sleep.
Let me know in the comments what I’m leaving out. There must be many more ways to break through the plateau. Tell us what you think!
Total weight lost: 22 lbs.
Total inches lost: 3.5 inches
Keto Plateaus: Why Do They Happen?
Let’s take a quick look at insulin, the body’s most vexing hormone.
Insulin is made in the pancreas and is secreted into the bloodstream when we eat. This is the hormone that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) in food for energy, or to store for future use.
If you’ve lived a life of diets and failures or have been following a super-starchy lifestyle for a while, there’s a good chance’s you’ve become insulin-resistant, like me.
Insulin resistance is when the cells in your body stop responding normally to insulin. When this happens, the glucose can’t get into the cells easily, leading to sugar building up in the blood (high blood sugar) and eventually, type 2 diabetes.
I read up more about insulin resistance and found a fascinating body of work from Dr. Jason Fung about our hopes of reversing it. He explains that insulin resistance can be stopped in its tracks and even reversed with intermittent fasting.
I’m starting an intermittent fasting regime as of this, the beginning of week 7, to regain control over my insulin levels and promote weight loss.
By only eating once a day, or OMAD (one meal a day), I’ll be cutting my feeding time, and thus, my insulin levels.
Lack of Movement
By now, we all know that exercise is important for one’s health and wellbeing, on both a physical and a mental level. Even though ketosis works wonders without exercise, my total daily calorie expenditure (TDEE) must be dismally low given that I work at a desk and don’t commute on foot.
Now that my weight loss is slowing down, it’s seriously about time I stopped hiding inside and got my butt into gear.
Hiking gear, that is. I have a glorious wilderness around me, just waiting to be explored, at a heart rate of 150 bpm, otherwise known as the “fat-burning zone”.
I’ll make it a fun hobby, and not look at my morning hikes as chores. Rather, I’ll take every walk as a stress-relieving meditation, an opportunity for birdwatching and a new adventure.
Bad Food Choices
I’ve gone from making home-made tahini and flaxseed brownies to being, frankly, a bit lazy in the kitchen. Too many times over the last 6 weeks have I guiltily cut off a hunk of cheddar from the block and called it lunch.
I need to make sure that my omega 3s are in balance with all the omega 6s I’m getting through sunflower seed snacks, otherwise, I’ll be causing inflammation.
Lastly, it’s time to incorporate more seafood in my diet. I plan on sourcing some good quality wild-caught salmon and thinking more deeply about what my body needs on a micro level, not just macros, macros, macros.
Am I even in a plateau? If you have stories, ideas, opinions or questions about hitting a weight-loss wall on keto, let us know in the comments.