Why you may not be losing weight on the keto diet
- Most people who do the keto diet will lose weight, but you have to follow it strictly and be in a calorie deficit to make it work.
- Over time, you may hit a "keto plateau" where you will stop losing weight, even while following the same
- Even if you don't lose weight, a slightly higher number on the scale may not always be a bad sign if you are gaining muscle.
- This article was reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD,
nutritionand wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
You're not reaching ketosisThe main purpose of the ketogenic diet is to send your body into ketosis.
You can check to see if you are really in ketosis using at-home urine test strips. These strips detect ketones, substances your liver creates when processing fat.However, being in ketosis is not going to make you lose weight if you are still taking in too many calories, says Scott Keatley, RD, a dietitian at Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
You're eating too many calories
Losing weight on the
Some foods to eat on keto that will help you feel full are:
- Fiber-rich, low-carb vegetables — like leafy greens, broccoli, and asparagus
- Lean, protein-packed meat like seafood and poultry.
- Healthy fatty foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
However, if you're still having trouble controlling your caloric intake, here are some tips:
- Replace any sugary drinks you might have with flavored water.
- Measure out snacks beforehand so you don't unconsciously consume too much.
- Track your calories with one of Insider Review's best weight loss apps.
You're not eating enough caloriesIf you restrict calories too much — to less than 1,200 per day for the average adult — this can also slow your
You're too stressed
Numerous studies indicate a strong link between stress and obesity. Part of the reason could be related to the fact that stress increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which leads to enhanced appetite and potentially overeating and subsequent weight gain.
Some simple ways to relieve stress include:
- Exercising regularly
- Getting more sleep
- Connecting with loved ones
You're not active enoughThe Department of
- Choose a workout regimen you enjoy.
- Find a workout partner(s) to hold you accountable.
- Make long-term goals to work toward.
You've reached the keto plateau
Even if you are keeping your metabolism up, your weight loss may still slow down over time. As you cut calories and lose weight, your body will adapt to the change and start needing fewer calories to keep itself going, says Keatley. In other words, people tend to hit a weight loss plateau.However, Keatley says that you should not use the scale as your only measure of progress. Lean muscle is denser than fat, so burning fat and building muscle can actually lead to a slight weight increase. "The scale may freak you out when the change happening is positive," Keatley says.
You have an underlying medical condition
There are certain medical conditions that are associated with weight gain, making it exceptionally difficult to lose weight. Many of these conditions are hormonal disorders like Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, Cushing's syndrome, and hypothyroidism.
The bottom lineCutting carbs on the keto diet can lead to rapid weight loss. But if you're not losing weight, make sure you're in ketosis, not eating too many calories, and are controlling your stress levels. If you're considering trying the keto diet to lose weight, Keatley says, "I would advise anyone thinking of a keto diet to talk to their doctor and a dietitian before, during, and after."
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- Everything you need to know about the keto diet
- People often confuse the keto and paleo diets — here's how they differ
- Keto dieters who fuel up on bacon and butter are 'irresponsible' stewards of the planet, a Harvard nutrition expert says
- Everything you need to know about carb cycling
- Why the Mediterranean diet is touted as one of the best by dietitians
- Why the Noom diet is proven to help people lose weight
- Does intermittent fasting work? Research doesn't have a definite answer for its long-term effects