When I hear this question, I always flinch. I know you’re not demanding an answer, some cosmic explanation, a justification for how low carb has failed you. You’re not looking for an apology from those of us who tell you it works–at least, most of you aren’t.
But sometimes, it feels that way.
Listen–people are individual. Every body, every circumstance, is unique. Our bodies react very differently, even to the same stimulus. Just like a doctor (who is actually seeing you in person, no less) would have a whole lot more questions than how many carbs you eat, so would someone knowledgeable about LC.
Truth is, there are a host of reasons why people don’t lose weight! I can suggest some common areas to look, though. Maybe one will strike a chord with you and help you get back on track.
- Are you tracking? Are you measuring and recording everything you eat? Because what looks like “about a cup” may be closer to two. And a little nibble here and bite there count to your body, even if not to your brain. If you’re not tracking, you don’t really know how much of what you’re eating.
- Double check labels. You do read labels, right? Hidden carbs could be an issue. Learn more to see if your food labels may be leading you astray!
- Are you living on LC specialty foods? Low carb bars, low carb bread or wraps, sugar-free chocolate, Dreamfield’s pasta, anything with sugar alcohols? Yes, even foods designated and advertised as low carb legal can cause problems for some. If you’re struggling, go back to the most natural foods you can and add any special items back one at a time to see if what may be making trouble for you.
- Do you have a long history of yo-yo dieting? I hate to tell you, but that’s hard on one’s metabolism. People who have extensive histories of harsh dieting over time can find it more difficult to lose weight.
- Do you drink enough water? I’m not talking coffee or tea. Plain old water–we’re looking at about 1/2 your body weight in oz. per day as being optimal.
- Do you take medications? Do you have ongoing health concerns? These both can definitely impact weight loss efforts!
- How much do you need to lose? Those with the most tend to lose the fastest, as do men and younger people. The last 20 pounds or so are notoriously difficult for many.
- Have you tried LC repeatedly? Hate to break the news, but most people find their first attempts at LC the fastest and easiest, with subsequent attempts less so. It doesn’t mean it won’t still work, but maybe not as smoothly as the first time.
- How long has this stall been? I have some news–two days is not a stall! Neither is two weeks. (I would be okay calling two weeks a “pause,” but that’s as strong as I’ll go.) If it’s not been a couple months, it’s not really a stall anyway.
- Are you experiencing other benefits? If you feel good and are still dropping inches, you’re still in the game! For some inexplicable reason, inches and pounds tend to drop at different times.
- How much cheese, heavy cream and nuts are you eating, anyway? Yes, I know LC’ers aren’t supposed to have to count calories, and especially starting out, most don’t. But even Dr. Atkins didn’t say calories were meaningless. The closer you get to goal, the more sensitive you’re likely to be to calories.
- Are you moving? No, really. Exercise speeds your metabolism and LC makes exercise more effective, without all the sugar reserves for your body to call upon before drawing upon fat.
- Have you experimented with your diet? Carb levels up, down, calories up down, night-time eating, avoiding common food allergens, skipping the liquor, eating foods lower on the glycemic index, etc?
- Are you taking care of yourself physically other ways? Sleeping, stress, and other wellness activities DO impact weight.
- Has your doctor checked you out? Blood work may be in order to see if there is something physically going on you don’t know about. Thyroid or other issues could be making it more difficult.
Those are my off-the-top-of-the-head ideas to check for if you’re not losing. Bottom line, though: losing weight is just ONE of many, many benefits of low-carbing. Unfortunately, it’s the only one many people care about. Be aware that your expectations are realistic and that you are willing to experiment and investigate exactly how your body works. What works for me might not for you and vice versa!
Do you have tips to add?