Dieting plateaus—we all experience them. While it isn’t fun to watch the number on the scale stop moving, this is a normal part of life, so don’t get discouraged. The most important thing is understanding what’s happening and, if possible, how to address it.

Common causes

There are the top seven reasons why your weight loss might have stalled. Here are a few of the biggest ones, especially as they apply to low-carb dieting.

You’re stressed. When you’re worried and tense, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone causes you to store fat around your midsection and, the higher the level of cortisol, the more stubbornly your body will hang onto it. Seek out sources of stress in your life and find ways to mitigate or even eliminate them.

Your carbs are too high. Eating too many carbs can knock you out of ketosis, limiting or even eliminating the metabolic advantage you get by being on the ketogenic diet. Track your carbs closely, and remember that you want your net carbs, not your total carbs, to be under 25 grams per day.

Your protein is too high. Similar to the previous bullet, your body can turn protein into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis. While this isn’t as great of a concern as eating too many carbs, beware that this could be a contributing issue. Recheck your macros and see if you should switch out some protein for more fat.

You’re eating too many calories. While keto primarily focuses on what you eat versus how much of it you consume, quantity does matter. Even if you’re in ketosis, you might not be losing weight if you’re satisfying your body’s needs through the food you’re eating—meaning the body never has to dip into its fat stores. This keeps you from losing weight. Try adding in a 500 calorie-per-day deficit, which should net you a pound of weight loss just from calorie restriction.

Uncontrolled snacking. Yes, snacks do count towards your macro and calorie limits. Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of how much we’re eating outside of mealtimes, so track these closely and make sure you’re only eating what you’re allowed to.

You’re getting close to your target weight. Your body has a natural point of homeostasis where it prefers to exist when you’re eating healthily. You can go above or below this weight, but you’ll have to intentionally change your eating and exercise habits to make that happen. Weight loss is typically much easier at the beginning of a diet than it is when you’re getting close to your target.

Not sleeping well. Your body uses sleep to rest, heal, and rebalance your metabolism. When you’re not getting enough sleep, or it’s of poor quality, you’ll see that reflected in your weight loss status.

Fix actions

In addition to addressing each of the above areas, consider some of the following factors.

Keto dieting is based on recalculating your macros, and arguably the most significant aspect of this is your weight. As you lose weight, you’ll have to recalculate your macros to make sure they’re current: what you need to eat now is different than what your body required twenty pounds ago. I recommend recalculating your macros at least every ten pounds.

Make sure you’re hydrated. Getting enough water allows the body to flush waste efficiently, including getting rid of all of the byproducts of the fat you’re burning. If you’re dehydrated, everything in your body slows down, including both weight loss and getting rid of the trash.

Try switching up your menu. We’re all guilty of getting into a rhythm and eating the same diet foods over and over again, but this can cause you to miss out on vital nutrients and throw your system out of whack. Even if your macros and calorie counts remain the same, try getting your calories from different food sources.

In the end

It’s possible to be on track with every single one of these things and still plateau. In that case, be patient. Your body has a basic metabolic rate (BMR) that is calculated, to a large degree, on what you’re used to: your level of activity, your weight, eating times, and the kind of food you’re consuming all play into this. Weight loss is a long-term journey, not a short-term fix, and sometimes your body just has to catch up with the “new normal.”

This is actually encouraging news, because it means you lost so much weight so quickly that your body is having to recalculate everything. Keep on doing the right things, and those numbers will drop again soon!


The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.

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