Dr. Sarah Hallberg: How do I break a weight loss plateau on a ketogenic diet?

Dr. Sarah Hallberg: How do I break a weight loss plateau on a ketogenic diet?

July 22, 2019 22 By William Morgan


How do I break a weight loss plateau
on a ketogenic or low carb diet?
– That’s a great question,
and so let me go back
to something I use all the time.
And that is that there’s three
things guaranteed in life,
death, taxes, and a weight loss plateau.
So sadly to say, you cannot avoid it.
They will happen to everyone,
and I would say pretty comfortably,
they’re universally frustrating.
And so knowing that, what do
you do when you’re in one?
Well first I wanna say take
a deep breath and relax,
and begin with the
question, is this really
a weight loss plateau,
or am I getting concerned
because I’m having day to
day or even week to week
variability on the scale.
Because you know, you can weigh different
one day to the next, and it
may have absolutely nothing
to do with your nutritional intake.
Did you sleep poorly?
Did you have a bad day at work yesterday?
Did you get irritated with the kids?
Stress can have a direct impact,
and exercise, believe it or not,
can also impact that as well.
So take a step back from
the day to day measurements
and take a look at what’s going
on in a longer period of time.
And how long have you
been, quote, stuck for?
I think a reasonable definition,
but let me be clear before I say this,
there is no absolute definition of what
is a weight loss plateau,
but a reasonable guide
may be something like no weight loss
for three months with no
idea of why that would be.
So you just can’t come
up with an explanation.
And so if that occurs, there’s
multiple things you can do.
Number one, first ask is
there any health conditions
that may be causing this.
Is it allergy season, and
I’m in the midst of it bad.?
Is it that my thyroid could be off?
Ensure that there’s
nothing like that going on.
Number two, ask yourself
did any medications change?
Am I taking something
that I wasn’t before?
Did another physician add a medication
that may be causing a problem?
Did I start taking
anything over the counter,
or did I stop medications
I was previously on?
That’s another big one as well.
And again, looking at things
like stress and sleep,
are those changed?
Has your schedule changed
when you’re eating?
These are all things that
can play a major role
in a weight loss plateau.
And of course last, but far from least,
what does your nutrition look like?
Now, one of the things that we find
that can be pretty interesting to realize
is that the better you
get at understanding
how to move forward with
a low carb lifestyle,
the more at risk you get for carb creep.
Because for people who really
know what they’re doing,
what we tend to say, myself
and Brit included, I know,
is that looks like a half
a cup of strawberries,
and in reality its become a lot more.
So I recommend two days
of a really hard look
at what you’re eating.
Two days really going
back to counting calories,
really going back to those
strict dietary changes
that you were making when you first began.
Is anything going on,
has anything that I can change occurred?
And I want to really put
one note of caution in here.
When people hit a weight loss plateau
they tend to be so
desperate to get out of it,
that they may fall
victim of making changes
that are not sustainable.
So if you’ve had great
success and find yourself
in a plateau, I really,
really caution people
to tell them to resist making changes
that they don’t feel like they can sustain
over the long haul.
Remember, don’t do
anything in the short term
that you can’t sustain in the long term.
That’s a really important point
when it comes to your food intake.
And I’ll also add one more
thing to take a look at.
Have you just started exercising,
or changed up your exercise routine?
Because believe it or not,
when people start to exercise
it can often cause a
short term weight plateau.
This does not mean you
should not be exercising.
But it can be such a big factor for people
that oftentimes when people
are ready to begin exercise,
which is fantastic and exciting,
I actually like to warn them
a short weight plateau can occur.
Don’t be frustrated, keep
moving forward and pay attention
for a little while, not so much the scale,
but how those clothes fit.
– And I think it’s fair to say
that when you’ve been losing
significant weight, 1/2 a
pound to two pounds a week
for months at a time, the
body is healing tremendously,
and just needs that time
to maybe play catch up.
And we can’t explain exactly the timeline,
but it’s normal.
– It is, right?
And the timeline can be frustrating.
I always stay to people, you
know, if I could tell you
the exact day the plateau would end,
if I could say, all right, don’t worry,
because January 2nd, it’s
really just the 2018.
By the time 2019 rolls around, January 2nd
you’re gonna be out of this plateau.
You know everybody could
really sit back and say
that’s fine, I can get there.
But the frustrating thing is
we don’t have that exact notion
of when it’s going to be over.
And so it’s just looking
at the successes you’ve had
in the past and continuing
to plug forward.