17 Reasons You Are NOT Losing Weight On A Low-Carb Diet

Medically reviewed by Kristen Arnold, RDN, CSSD Kristen Arnold Kristen ArnoldRDN, CSSD facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
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Low-carb diets like Keto, LCHF, Paleo, and Atkins are the most popular diets for weight loss. Science, celebs, and fitness gurus swear by these diets. But I wouldn’t be surprised to know if you are not losing weight on a low-carb diet. It’s a common problem that dieters face at one point. And most of the times, they do not understand why this happens. This article enlists 17 reasons of stalled weight loss on a low-carb diet and ways to start losing the flab right away.

Reasons For Not Losing Weight On A Low-Carb Diet

1. You Don’t Have A Realistic Goal

Do you want to lose weight quickly? Well, most of the times, that doesn’t work. You need to be realistic when it comes to losing weight. Gradual weight loss is healthy, effective, and sustainable as compared to quick weight loss. So, instead of setting an unrealistic goal, set a realistic goal. Write in your journal, “I want to lose 2 pounds in a week.” Smaller goals are more achievable, and you will not let yourself down. Losing between 0.5-1.4 lbs per week is realistic (1).

2. You Do Not Realize That You Are Losing Weight

Sometimes, the weighing scale is not enough to know if you are losing weight. You need to assess your body fat percent because excess fat is what you want to get rid of. In fact, if you are exercising regularly, it is quite possible that you are building muscle mass, and it is this muscle mass that shows up as “weight” on the weighing scale. Moreover, an unhealthy body image can make you feel that you are not losing weight, whereas, in reality, you have lost the flab and look toned up.

3. You Are Eating Too Many Nuts

low-carb diet - You Are Eating Too Many Nuts
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It’s easy to go nuts over nuts. They are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, proteins, and minerals but are also high in calories. Since they are small, crunchy, tasty, and a good option for a snack, it is easy to go overboard with nuts and consume a lot of them without feeling too full. So, keep track of the amount of nuts you are consuming per day.

4. You Are Not Cutting Back On Carbs Enough

You might assume that you are consuming the right amount of carbs, but the truth is some are more sensitive to carbs than the others. Moreover, fruits and veggies also contain good carbs, and you must limit consuming them to prevent your weight loss from plateauing. Start by consuming less than 50 grams of carbs per day, and when your weight loss stalls again, lower it to 20 grams of carbs per day. Make sure you eat healthy fats, protein, good carbs, and take vitamin and mineral supplements.

5. You Are Consuming Too Much Dairy

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Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, milk, and cream are rich in protein, which gets converted to glucose through a metabolic pathway known as gluconeogenesis. This, in turn, results in a spike in the insulin levels. And when this insulin spike continues over a period, the body becomes insulin resistant and the glucose molecules remain in the blood and are not used up by the body. This will ultimately hinder your weight loss. That said, if you balance your total protein intake from dairy and non-dairy sources, you can include dairy products in your diet, provided they are not high in calories.

6. You Are Not Maintaining The Macros Percentage

When you are on a low-carb diet, it is very important that you stick to the macros percentage. Diets like Keto and HFLC are created in a way to induce ketosis in the body and use fat as the source of energy instead of glucose, which you get from sugar, carbs, and protein. If you do not adhere to the fat:carbs:protein ratio, you will not get the desired results. So, adhere to the diet chart and see a miracle happen!

7.You Are Not Having Nutritious Food

low-carb diet - You Are Not Having Nutritious Food
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Do you rely on processed, low-carb, on-the-go bars and foods? Then, it’s obvious why you are not losing weight. Consume real foods like fish, nuts, eggs, and veggies to provide nourishment to your body. Consuming processed low-carb foods will only work if you cycle it with real food.

[ Read: Superfoods For Weight Loss ]

8.You Are Cheating Often

Ah! We all cheat while we are on a “strict” diet, and to be honest, it takes a lot of willpower to go back to the low-carb diet again. Many dieters cheat too often – some do it consciously, and some unknowingly. The best way to prevent yourself from cheating too often is to note down what you are eating throughout the day. No matter how small the quantity is, noting it down will give you a clear idea of how many extra calories you are consuming. Try using a food tracker app or simply writing it down in a journal.

9. You Are Eating Too Many Fruits

low-carb diet - You Are Eating Too Many Fruits
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Fruits are good, but they also contain fruit sugar. Fruits such as mango, grapes, and watermelon have a high Glycemic Index and can lead to a spike in blood sugar. Control your portions when it comes to eating fruits and choose low-GI fruits like apple, kiwi, grapefruit, orange, blueberry, and strawberry when you are on a low-carb diet.

10. You Are Blindly Following Someone Else’s Diet Chart

This is one of the most common reasons for not losing weight. If you follow a diet that has worked for your friend and you expect it to work for you in the same fashion, you will be disappointed. Your body type is different, your metabolic rate is different, and so are your medical issues and height/age/activity levels. So, talk to a Registered Dietitian to know which low-carb diet to follow and customize the macros ratio so that it works for you.

11. You Are Not Exercising Enough

If you want to be fit, you cannot afford to be lazy. It’s time to cage the Garfield in you. If you have just started working out, start by exercising 3-4 hours per week (for 1 hr each day). As your stamina increases, do a mix of cardio, HIIT, and strength training for 5-6 hours per week. The more you train to be fit, the more addicted you will be to working out and keeping yourself fit.

[ Read: Cardio Exercises You Can Do At Home ]

12. You Sit Most Of The Time

And you thought standing up was a punishment in school! In fact, sitting for long hours is a punishment for your body. Being inactive or sitting all the time (office, coffee, restaurants, travel, etc.) can make you gain flab and put you at the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer (1). Try moving around every one hour to keep your metabolism active and the extra weight away.

13. You Are Stressed Out

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Stress is a slow killer. It’s poison for your body and mind. Stress leads to a rise in cortisol levels, which, in turn, causes belly fat gain, insomnia, inflammation, improper digestion, etc. You have to identify the triggers of your stress and work on them. Practice meditation/yoga or run in the mornings and evenings to reduce the stress levels. You should set aside at least 20 minutes a day for yourself.

14. You Are Not Sleeping Enough

Not getting enough sleep can also hinder your weight loss. It raises cortisol levels, which causes inflammation and leads to inflammation-induced weight gain. So, you should sleep for at least 7 hours. Also, go to bed by 10:30 p.m. so that you wake up early, workout, and have low-carb breakfast before heading out.

[ Read: 8 Best Natural Sleep Aids For Insomnia ]

15. You Are Consuming Invisible Calories

low-carb diet - You Are Consuming Invisible Calories
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Additives, preservatives, and artificial sugar are all harmful to your health. Many low-carb packaged foods contain invisible calories and hinder weight loss. It is best to avoid all packaged foods and instead opt for some homemade low-carb recipes. You will lose weight, feel better, and save a lot of money.

16. You Are Starving Yourself

Starving yourself is not the way to lose weight. You will end up gaining weight instead of losing it. Eat 5-6 times a day and drink water 20 minutes before each meal.

17. You Are On Medication

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There’s a possibility that you are not losing weight because you are on medication that is interfering with your low-carb diet plan. You should talk to your doctor to find out if this is the case. Ask him/her to prescribe a different medicine that will not interfere with your current weight loss plan.

These are the 17 reasons you are not able to lose the flab on a low-carb diet. Identify your problem(s) and work on it/them to get back in shape. Good luck!

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Kristen Arnold
Kristen ArnoldMS, RDN, CSSD
Kristen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a board-certified specialist in Sports Dietetics with 9 years of experience. She also has a Master’s in Human Nutrition from The Ohio State University. She owns a private practice nutrition counseling business focusing on performance nutrition for athletes.

Read full bio of Kristen Arnold
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