Question:

Hi. I’m a member at LA Fitness.  I started this weight loss journey 6 months ago. I weighed 287 pounds. I’m currently 210 pounds. I have been eating under 20 grams carbs per day and 1-3 grams of sugar per day. It’s like a version of keto. But I don’t do high fat. No cheat days. I work out daily. I’ve hit a plateau with my weight. What can I do?

– Stephanie S.

Answer:

  • My question is: How has your body composition changed during your journey the last 6 months? Have you kept track of your measurements in addition to the scale? With a significant weight loss of 27% either you’ve lost some lean body mass (reduces metabolism), retained it, or have gained lean mass (hides fat loss on scale).

    Strength training is a critical component of your exercise routine. You say you work out daily. Remember that the workload must be progressive – your body is stronger now than last year, so more resistance is needed for the same effect. The idea is called the overload principle. When you continue the same routine for your workouts after your body has adapted, you fail to make further progress.

    Stress and lack of sleep can also contribute to rising cortisol levels which may impact metabolism and weight.

    With very low carbohydrate, high protein and moderate fat intake it’s just as likely that you’re under-consuming calories now as it is you are overconsuming calories. Eating too little suppresses metabolism while eating more than you need prevents fat burning. Seemingly healthy keto foods like bone broth are higher in sodium which may cause you to retain water weight. Remember to focus on real, whole foods and avoid processed food products.

    Breaking through a plateau may take a few weeks and everybody is different, so you will experience a shorter or longer duration of plateau than another person. If you still don’t see a change in body composition after a month of progressive exercise and fine-tuning your diet, consider starting over from where you are at now using the Body Weight Planner to determine calorie needs. Plan for only a 1-2 pound loss per week to avoid rapid weight loss (greater than 2 lbs./week) which contributes to muscle, water, and bone density loss.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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