“I’ve been on a low carb diet for quite some time now, but why am I not losing weight?”
As a clinical nutritionist, I’ve heard that question countless of times. What really gets to me is the frustration and despair behind the question because that’s something quite familiar to me. I have been in that place of hopelessness and anger where I felt that my body was failing me and there was nothing I could do.
However, I’m a living testimony that you don’t have to be stuck in that place. When I studied the psychology behind people’s eating habits and how different types of food affect the human body, I began to understand why I was not losing weight despite being on a diet. I changed my eating habits as well as the food I ate, and went on to lose 100 pounds!
If you’ve been asking the same question that you read at the beginning of this article, I hope you will read this to the very end. The information and the insights that I share here could help you make the necessary changes in your diet and your mindset so that you can finally achieve your weight loss goal.
Reason #1: You’re In Diet Mode
One of the most common mistakes that my patients make when they try to lose weight is they go on a diet. You might be asking, “Well, aren’t you supposed to go on a diet if you want to lose weight?”
Here’s the real score about dieting—it’s a temporary fix or a band-aid solution, if you will. Dieting doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, so you get only temporary results. It also puts you in a deprivation state of mind, which just leads to unmanageable food cravings. You may be able to suppress your food cravings for quite some time. However, if your cravings have underlying causes that dieting can’t address, you will only find yourself caught in the vicious cycle of dieting and bingeing.
If you want long lasting results from your weight loss efforts, you need to ditch the dieting mindset and adopt a lifestyle approach to losing weight. It starts with understanding why you gained weight in the first place. The reason could be anything such as emotional eating, overeating, hormonal issues, etc. You need to assess yourself and find out why you gained weight.
Then you must stop treating your body in the manner that caused you to gain weight and start living a lifestyle that is respectful to your body. As you develop healthy eating habits, you will soon see your weight dropping to a healthy level.
Reason #2: Your Carb Intake Is Not Low Enough
Most people think that going on a low carb diet simply means avoiding bread, sugar, pasta, and other refined carbs. What they don’t realize is they could be eating healthy food and yet their carb intake isn’t low enough to make them lose weight.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that, for breakfast, you’re having a cup of steel-cut oats, which is widely considered as a healthy food item. Then, you’re topping the oats with some sliced banana.
Now, let’s do the math. A cup of steel-cut oats has 60 grams of carbohydrates. A medium-sized banana has a carbohydrate content of 27 grams. You just consumed 87 grams of carbohydrates for breakfast! You still have to eat lunch and supper.
In my experience as a clinical nutritionist, I’ve found that most of my patients lose weight when they limit their carb intake to not more than 130 grams per day. It’s difficult to go on a low carb diet when you’re not aware of the carb content of each food item you consume. Thus, to get good results from a low-carb diet, you need to get some guidance and perhaps do some research.
Reason #3: You’re Stressed
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Our bodies are made to react to perceived threats, whether these threats are real or not. This reaction is also known as the “fight or flight” response. When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which starts a chain reaction in your body. This chain reaction is meant to help you survive in the face of danger.
One of the things that cortisol does is it triggers the release of insulin, which causes the body to store fat. If you’re constantly stressed, your body will keep releasing insulin and storing fat. If you don’t manage your stress properly, you will find it next to impossible to lose weight.
How do you manage stress? The best way to do this is to simply change your perception of the stressful events that happen in your life. Journaling, spiritual practices, and meditation can help you maintain a positive outlook in life.
Reason #4: You Can’t Control Your Food Cravings
Have you been yo-yo dieting? Perhaps you need to learn to manage your food cravings. When poorly managed, food cravings can lead to inconsistency in eating habits and overeating.
However, you should know that food cravings aren’t bad. They are your body’s way of letting you know that there is a problem that you need to address. For some, eating is a way of numbing emotional pain. It’s their way of dealing with unpleasant feelings. You might be able to suppress these cravings for a while, but you’re apt to fall back into your unhealthy eating habits if you don’t address the underlying causes of these cravings.
I suggest that you seek to understand the reasons behind your food cravings and learn how to properly manage them. I have created a free resource to guide you through emotional eating which include the 4 steps process to emotional eating freedom. This is critically important if you want to develop and maintain healthy eating habits.
Reason #5: You Consume Too Much Dairy
Most people love the taste of milk. It was our main source of nourishment when we were infants and perhaps a major component of our diet during our childhood. Dairy products are addicting because they subconsciously remind us how it was to be held and comforted by our parents. They activate the reward center of the brain and provide a soothing feeling, which is why emotional eaters tend to use them to feel better.
However, most adults have some form of intolerance to dairy. When consumed, dairy products induce the production of insulin which causes our body to store fat. Furthermore, most of them are non-organic; they contain antibiotics and growth hormones which can wreak havoc to your body. These growth hormones plus the tendency of dairy to trigger insulin production can cause you to gain weight and keep the excess pounds on.
If you’re on any type of low carb diet that includes dairy, I highly recommend that you avoid dairy products for at least 30 days to see what impact they can have on your body.
Reason #6: You Use Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharine, sucralose and aspartame, have long been billed as “healthy” alternatives to sugar. However, what their manufacturers don’t tell you is that they have a number of side effects. They can also trigger food cravings and cause overeating. Most of all, they don’t have any nutritional value!
Just like dairy products, artificial sweeteners must be avoided if you want to eat healthy and lose weight. Try not using any of them for about three to four weeks and you’ll understand what they can do to your body.
What about sugar alcohols such as xylitol and sorbitol? These sweeteners are quite popular among those who have adopted low carb and ketogenic diets. Unlike artificial sweeteners, they don’t have any known side effects. However, I still don’t recommend that you use them because they don’t help you deal with food cravings, which have underlying emotional and psychological causes. Plus, they could encourage overeating because you’d be thinking that what you eat is “sugar free” forgetting that the food item has other components that could make you gain weight.
Reason #7: You Consume Too Much Fat
Fat consumption is usually a huge issue among those who advocate low carb and ketogenic diets. There’s a big debate on how much fat one needs to consume while trying to lose weight. However, the bottom line is, if you’ve adopted a low carb, ketogenic lifestyle, it’s possible that you’re consuming too much fat.
If you want to lose weight, you need to use your body’s fat reserves as fuel. You do this by creating a caloric deficit. By consuming too much fat, you don’t allow your body to use up its fat reserves. However, consuming as little as 800 to 900 calories per day can have serious negative consequences on your health. What you need to do is create a slight caloric deficit which is just enough to allow your body to use its fat reserves to fuel itself.
Just a little disclaimer here: I don’t promote counting calories. However, from my clinical experience, I’ve found that, for a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to be effective, approximately 70% of one’s daily caloric intake should come from fat. However, keep in mind that fat is twice as nutrient dense as carbohydrate and protein. A portion of fat contains around nine calories; the same portion of carb or protein contains around four calories.
If you’re an average female, the healthy amount of fat you can consume would be two tablespoons per meal, including the fat you use to cook and the fat your protein sources naturally contain. I recommend that you look into how much fat you’re consuming, but more importantly, you should also know why you are consuming that much fat. If you’re doing it to satisfy your physical hunger, that’s fine. Perhaps your body does need more fuel. However, if you’re doing it to satisfy a craving, then it’s very likely that your fat intake is just too much and this could be the reason why your low carb diet isn’t working.
Reason #8: You’re Too Impatient
I have a Facebook community where women who are trying to lose weight support one another. From time to time, I see posts that go like this, “I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last 10 days! Yay me! I’m so proud of myself!” Then, this type of post would usually be followed by 60 to 70 comments from frustrated community members who say, “How did you do it? I’ve been trying to lose weight and I haven’t lost a pound in a week!”
One of the most important things you must realize when you’re trying to lose weight by going on a low carb diet is you can’t expect the same results from different people. For one, we have different metabolic rates. We also have different backgrounds. The woman who lost 10 pounds in 10 days may have mostly lost water as an effect of consuming less carbs. It really makes no sense to compare your results with those of others.
Patience is a critical element if you want to lose weight and become healthier. Quick fixes only provide temporary results. You need to give your body enough time to shed the excess pounds if you want to lose weight for good. Also, remember how long it took you to become overweight. Did you gain 60 pounds in a month? Most likely, you’d tell me, “No, that is not the case.” It took years of unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits to get where you are today. It will take time for you to regain your health and be at your ideal weight.
You’ve just read the eight reasons why you’re not losing weight despite being on a low carb diet. I suggest that you go through this list and see which of these reasons are relevant to you. Then apply the insights and follow the recommendations that I’ve just given you in this article. Test them out for a week or two and see if you get the results that you’re looking for.
If you need more help developing healthy eating habits and shedding those unwanted pounds, my kick starter program a program that can surely help you.
If none of these eight reasons apply to you, you may have a medical condition that may be behind your body’s inability to lose weight. Such medical conditions include adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmune disease. If this is the case, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. Be rest assure then in most cases you will find your solution within the 8 reasons and achieve the health goals you so desire.
Some women try to lose their excess weight by going on a low carb diet, but not many of them succeed. They often hastily conclude that low carb diets don’t work. However, they don’t realize that they may have made mistakes that hampered their progress or doomed them to certain failure. This article discusses eight possible reasons why a low carb diet may not work. It also gives some practical advice that will help women achieve their weight loss goals by changing their eating habits and mindsets.