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Weight Loss Plateau 101 for a Slow Metabolism

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

the words ketogenic (low carb) diet surrounded by examples of keto food

You went keto, added in intermittent fasting, and have been thrilled with the results.

The pounds melt off you like snow in the hot sun.

Your weight loss is the envy of your family and friends.

You’re corking along just fine, leaning out, maintaining muscle, not counting calories, when suddenly - you stop losing weight.

At all. Nothing more comes off. The scale stubbornly displays the same number of pounds day after day. You know you're in a plateau.

But you need help, stat!

Don't worry. You probably just need to make a few tweaks. I’ll explain.

In this article:

  1. How To Tweak To Restart Your Weight Loss
  2. Dial In Your Keto And Intermittent Fasting To Restart Your Weight Loss

How To Tweak To Restart Your Weight Loss

a measuring tape with lock that represents stalled weight loss

I want to recap what to do if you hit a weight loss plateau. I’ve got a lot of videos on this topic such as this one, this one, and this one. You’ll find some great info in these videos, and this article gives you updated information.

The following points are in the order of importance of what to do so you can get through that frustrating plateau to start losing weight again:

#1 Make sure you’re implementing keto and intermittent fasting correctly

You may not be getting all the basics taken care of, putting you in a state of partial ketosis, which is a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. Ideally, you want to be in full ketosis in order to experience the best weight loss.

So make sure you keep your carbohydrate intake to under 20 grams per day - especially if you have a slow metabolism. Eating more than 20 grams can bring your weight loss progress to a screeching halt.

As well, follow the No Snacking rule! I know this is a tough one for some people, but snacking will also stop your weight loss. Even if your snack is reasonably keto friendly, if - for instance - you’re eating a lot of peanuts late at night, that can stop your weight loss.

The reason why is simple: when you eat late at night, you disrupt intermittent fasting and its resultant fat burning that causes you to lose weight. (Of course, if you eat first thing in the morning you also interrupt your fast and bump yourself out of full fat-burning mode.)

To repeat one of my iron-clad rules for weight loss success: Don’t eat when you’re not hungry.

If you have Fat Storing Hormone resistance, hypoglycemia, or any blood sugar issues, make sure you adjust your healthy fat intake at the end of your meal so you can comfortably go from one meal to the next without wanting to gnaw off your arm from hunger.

Keep your vegetable intake high; 7 to 10 cups per day. If you’re trying keto and intermittent fasting without vegetables, it won’t work. You’ll put a lot of strain on your liver. You won’t be getting the vitamins and electrolytes - especially potassium - that you need.

As well, when you eat enough vegetables you’ll get enough fiber in your gut to keep your good microbes happy and maintain gut health.

#2 Look for and eliminate any hidden carbs

Alcohol is a hidden carb. It will stop your weight loss.

I know this is unhappy news for some of you, but if you’re serious about committing to your health and weight loss goals, you’ll ditch the alcohol.

Fruit is another source of hidden carbs. Berries are fine in limited quantities, but other fruits are off limits because they’re rich enough in carbs to derail your weight loss. Fruit will bump you out of ketosis.

#3 Assess and lower your stress levels

Are you surprised to hear that stress can kick you out of fat burning mode?

If you’re a stress bucket - whether from your environment or your relationships - you’re going to need to reduce your stress.

Stress spikes the hormone cortisol. In the presence of cortisol, all six fat-burning hormones are shut down. That’s why your weight loss can stall when you’re stressed.

If you can’t avoid stress, at least take a daily long walk of 90 minutes or more. The walk will produce endorphins, the so-called feel good chemicals your body makes, which will help soothe you and dampen your cortisol levels.

#4 Get enough quality sleep

Most fat burning takes place while you sleep. Ensuring you get adequate, quality sleep can unstick your stalled weight loss. I’ve had clients who, when they added one hour of sleep, got their weight loss underway again.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, I have a number of videos on how to improve your sleep, such as this one, this one, and this one.

There are keto-friendly foods you can eat to help you sleep better along with simple self-care practices to improve your sleep. Get started now to sleep more soundly and re-start your weight loss.

#5 Address other health problems

If you’re trying to lose weight on top of dealing with other health problems, you’re violating my entire principle of “get healthy to lose weight, don’t lose weight to get healthy”.

Common health conditions that you may need to clear up first are:

  • Thyroid function; try adding selenium or iodine to your diet for thyroid support
  • Constipation could stop you from losing weight. I’ve had people increase their intake of the keto-approved sweeteners xylitol or erythritol to create a helpful laxative effect.
  • An irregular or uncomfortable menstrual cycle block weight loss. Try these supplements to regulate your cycle and eliminate discomfort.
  • Inflammatory conditions such as: arthritis or fibromyalgia. You can check out my techniques on eliminating inflammation here and here. Ultimately, intermittent fasting will clear up most inflammatory conditions, but until then I encourage you to try my techniques.

#6 Supplementing

You may need to supplement your diet with more B vitamins. There are eight well known B-vitamins that play a role in your body. They support your metabolism and contribute to your body's ability to produce energy.

As well, you may need more minerals such as potassium and manganese.

With correct supplementation, you can tweak your ability to lose weight.

#7 Exercise

I highly recommend high intensity interval training (HIIT), which are intense bursts of exercises done in a short period of time. Try HIIT twice per week, allowing lots of time for your body to rest and recover. HIIT will help maximize your fat burning, kick up your endorphin production, and help you to gain muscle.

These are all simple yet highly effective ways to get your weight loss back into gear. No need for you to languish in or fret about a weight loss plateau - you’ve got the tools you need to get back on track.

men and women in a group spin class

Dial In Your Keto And Intermittent Fasting To Restart Your Weight Loss

I know how frustrating it is to have your weight loss stall after it’s practically been melting off.

You start to second guess yourself: was this weight loss too good to be true? Maybe you’re not meant to lose all the pounds you want to.

Stop worrying! When you assess yourself against these 7 tips, you’ll be able to find out which ones apply to you. Then you can dial in your keto and fasting, and get your weight loss underway. No need to wonder if you’re doing something wrong. You’re not - you simply need to fine tune.

And if you’d like even more support, be sure to sign up for my free keto mini-course along with my free course on intermittent fasting.

So, get going. Your lighter body awaits!

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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