Q&A: I’m Not Losing Weight on LCHF – What Should I Do?

AskDrAndreasEenfeldt-desat

What if you’re doing an LCHF diet but after an initial loss of weight you’ve hit a weight plateau? What should you do to start losing weight again?

The answer to his and other questions – for example, is dairy bad? – in this week’s Q&A with Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt:

What to do about hypoglycaemia on LCHF?

My husband is a 56, Type I (since age 27), who has enjoyed seeing much better blood sugar levels and 45 lbs. weight loss since going LCHF last August. One issue he’s been struggling with is what to do when he has a bout with extreme low blood sugar. He battles with this as he is continually adjusting his insulin dosage on his insulin pump when losing weight/exercising. Do you have any suggestions for what he should eat as his old remedy was a “shot” of Karo syrup? He thinks he’s taking himself out of keto every time this happens…
I appreciate you and your sound advice!

Becky

 
Hi Becky!

The main solution is to take action to not get hypos in the first place, meaning reducing insulin doses if hypos are common. On low carb blood sugar levels are often quite lowish so letting them get a little bit higher (but still mostly within the normal healthy range) to avoid the risk of hypos can be wise.

The smaller the insulin doses the slower and weaker the hypos and the more time there is to use some slower-absorbed carbs instead, to counter them.

Bouts of “extreme low blood sugar” would still need things like a shot of Karo syrup, so again, the trick is not to get them.

Best,
Andreas

I eat LCHF but I’m not losing any more weight – what can I do?

I’m at a complete loss. I have been on LCHF for 8 weeks. Initially for the 1st 2 weeks I saw a rapid drop in weight and abdominal measurements but for the last 6 weeks I have been bouncing around with a gain of 1 pound, a loss of one pound. I eat no processed food only eat strawberries occasionally (then only with double cream) my vegetable intake is only with meals and usually is only broccoli celery or aubergine. I eat eggs, bacon, some meat each meal, butter, cream, olive oil and coconut oil, cheese, raw nuts (only a small handfull a day) full fat yoghurt (occasionally) and avocado 2 times a week. I drink copious amounts of water usually as herb tea. I don’t drink a lot of milk i rarely use sweetners. I occasionally have half a glass of red wine with my evening meal. I have a physically active job and walk for at least an hour a day I’m tired, crotchety and often headachey. I’ve increased my salt intake and take magnesium supplements. I am having a terrible time getting a good night’s sleep and often wake up ravenous. I am 46 years old I have been on diets since I was 12 years old. I have seen more success on HCLF diets but I want to do the right thing for my long term health and really believe LCHF is the answer. I need to lose 70 lbs and this diet is not helping. I need to know what else I can do to get the weight off. I am not prepared to cut anything else out of my diet as this would be too restrictive, bland and unsustainable. I don’t feel I have the capacity to fast at this point without being utterly miserable.

Mary

 
Mary,

Have you tried intermittent fasting – or do you just assume it will be miserable? Many people are surprised at how easy and pleasant it can be, at least when “only” doing 16–24 hours. I’d suggest trying it at least once!

Intermittent fasting for beginners video course

More tips here: How to Lose Weight

Best,
Andreas

Should I be concerned about dairy?

I am interested to know what the LCHF doctors have to say about consuming so much dairy. I can tell that this diet really works but I am concerned about all the cream, cheese, etc I am consuming. Many diets exclude dairy on the basis that is hard to digest, causes allergies, excema and potentially a host of other issues. I’m not having any side effects and eating more fat is definitely curbing my sugar cravings, but I hope I’m not doing any long term damage consuming dairy a couple of times a day. Any thoughts on this?

Judy Foster

 
Judy,

I believe the concerns over dairy are overblown. Quite possibly many people may feel even better and/or lose more weight without it. But at the same time many people tolerate it fine, and it can make life easier and more delicious…

Best,
Andreas

More

Low Carb for Beginners

More Questions and Answers

Many more questions and answers:

Low-Carb Q&A

Read all earlier questions and answers – and ask your own! – here:

Ask Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt about LCHF, Diabetes and Weight Loss – for members (free trial available)

More About LCHF and Diabetes

How to eat LCHF
The 5 common mistakes on LCHF
Diet & Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar
The Top 5 Tips For Weight Loss

27 comments

  1. Pierre
    "I eat LCHF but I’m not losing any more weight – what can I do?"

    Calories still count, I see a lot of calories in her diet.

    If she has cut all junk from her diet and don't lose weight anymore it's because she eats too much for her needs.

  2. Alan
    I had a few plateaus but what I found really worked for me was:
    -Adding more veggies (I eat plenty of brussels, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli etc)
    -Not over-doing it on the protein (still having more than enough which I would suggest is around 100g per day if measuring)
    -Eating only when you're hungry
    -Swapping store bought mayonnaise (mostly vegetable oil) for melted, grass-fed, salted butter (I'm just too lazy to make my own mayo!) which I now prefer

    But above all:
    -Taking decent gaps between meals

    The intermittent fasting isn't "intermittent" for me as such as I've naturally slipped into a regular pattern of eating just once in a 24 hour period. I find I'm full enough and don't get any cravings. That tipped me over the edge and got me to a trim waist line along with a steady weight loss.

  3. Kathy
    I had the same problem the last time I tried low carb -- and it led to me giving up. You really can do everything right, and stop losing weight for months at a time. If I understand the science, those of us who have been overweight and dieting for years (40 years for me), have to deal with our insulin resistance first -- it's a lot more difficult than someone newly overweight. It's possible that someone who is overweight has a higher insulin level all the time than a person who is a normal weight.

    So really, the only thing that has been working for me is intermittent fasting combined with LCHF. I have been doing some 23 hour fasts and some 36 hour fasts -- I'm trying to make it random so my body doesn't catch on and adjust. During the times I eat, I've been cutting back on protein as it's also insulinogenic -- not cutting it out, of course, but maybe about half the portion size -- so I up the veggies and add a little fat.

    Intermittent fasting is not difficult if you are already fat-adapted. Seriously, you should try it. Start out slow and just skip breakfast. Then try skipping breakfast and lunch. Once you start losing weight again, the feeling of hunger almost feels like a victory. But the hunger is not the same as people who are fueled by glucose -- I just drink a glass of tea and do something to keep me busy, and then I forget about the food. Not needing food is just about the most freeing thing a person can do -- you feel like you are in control again.

  4. Maria J
    Kathy, you are spot on. The feeling of being in control over food intake is amazing. One of the results of fasting for me has been psychological. I am happier and my thinking is clearer. I know that I am healthier for it. Thank you for all you and your team do Dr. E.
  5. Em
    Skipping breakfast can be daunting for Some people. Instead you could eat your breakfast an hour later. And maybe the next day an hour and a half. Moving your breakfast time every day till it meets lunch. And then you can see if you can play with your lunch. Maybe in the end skipping that too. Going your own pace can avoid feeling overwhelmed or deprived.
  6. Fiona
    Although I never felt hungry in the mornings, I always ate breakfast because everyone said it was 'the most important meal of the day'!
    Reading up on intermittent fasting, I realised it didn't have to be a part of my routine at all. What a blessed relief, I never enjoyed breakfast, it was a real chore to swallow it! But, Dr Jason Fung says; if you don't feel hungry in the morning, don't eat breakfast. Permission to skip breakfast, woohoo, marvellous!
    I have now also got a young puppy to train, he keeps me very busy and active throughout the day. I have found I'm now only eating one meal a day, in the evening, with maybe a small piece of cheese early afternoon to keep me going. My weight is starting to fall again after a prolonged period of stability. I find I am not really hungry at all until well after noon, and it is then easy to keep going until around 7pm, when it's time to have my LCHF evening meal.
  7. Sue G
    I'm another of those who have tried hard with HFLC but can't make the weight loss happen. With IF I find the weight drops after the fast but eating sees the weight go on again. I really despair, I do believe I'm probably insulin resistant but I'm not seeing the weight loss on a permanent basis. I only eat 2 meals a day, no lunch, try to avoid all the no nos, but I'm not perfect. No huge meals either, daily walk with dog and yoga and Pilates. I seldom feel hungry so it's not as though I snack at all.
    It's depressing.
  8. Alan
    If it helps Sue, I found only having up to 20g of carbs per day (all from veggies) seems to be the magic number for me at least.
  9. Sue G
    Thanks for the suggestion Alan, I can only try it and see.
  10. Elle
    I am one of those people too. Have been on 16/8 and under 20 gm of carbs per day AND watching calories AND hitting all the macros and still haven't loss a pound. I kind of gave up at this point. And yes, I do cardio x3 and weight training x2 per week in a fasted state. And log all my workout and rest calories. 12 months later - nada, not a pound. So, I guess there are some that are not meant to be a poster child for LCHF.
    Reply: #16
  11. Cassandra
    Elle and Sue, count me as a member of the "can't lose any more weight on HFLC" club on 16-8, 20 grams or under, and controlled calories. This menopausal body just doesn't want to give it up and there is at least 30 lbs of excess fat there (so my doctor tells me). Perplexed and frustrated.
  12. Dawn McVey
    I'm the same, the only time I lost weight was when I tried the Newcastle diet, e.g. 800 cals a day. I could only sustain it for two weeks.
  13. Susie
    SUGGESTION:
    my mom was always thin, unfortunately I took after my dad :)
    The number one thing I watched her do all our lives is, was not eating after 2:00-3:00pm.
    I was not able to do that:(.
    Now that I am following LCHF, which I believe in 100%. I find the MOST success is when I don't eat big meals in the evening. So I make my big meal (still compliant with this system) by 3:00-3:30pm. then water or decaf teas, hot and cold the rest of the evening.
    *If attending an event or have company over, I keep it very small and focus on veggies.
    *if my early big meal is light, say a salad and low fat meat, I will take a tablespoon of cream before bed. it seems to help me sleep. That's the other benefit of not eating late, I sleep better. That is a big deal at 55 years old.
    Try it for just 3 days, see what you think.
  14. Jen
    I'm 8 weeks in.
    No loss at all. Not even an inch. Not even water weight
    I read so many success stories and I feel hopeless.
    I'm not sure what else to do.
  15. Ruti
    I think there are a few more factors to the weight loss thing. My experience was that when I'm stressed at work, or don't sleep enough (because of my little children) - the weightloss stops. So Cortisol is a big player here. Also, maybe checking the thyroid for ok-functioning will be a wise thing.
  16. Bridie
    Me too Elle minus the exercise. It's so frustrating. I'm a type 1 diabetic and I feel insulin resistance comes in here somewhere because despite having completely changed my diet and being on just 20g carbs a day I am still on a high insulin dose (approx 65 units a day) . Initially in the first few weeks I was able to lower it but it's gone back up again. I'm mindful of carb creep etc and my i record my calories and macros on mfp. I've been IF between 8pm-12pm every day for a month. I'm eating just enough to keep me full but at times I am hungry. I can't see how I can add more fat as my macros won't allow for it. This woe has had a brilliant impact on my blood sugars but I just can't seem to shift the weight.
  17. Roxanne
    New to LCHF, been doing it for just over 3 weeks, weight seems to be dropping testing for ketosis also and body is naturally fasting, loving this WOE. :)
    having read all of your comments i'm now armed with ideas should my weight stall, many thanks :)
  18. Andrea
    I want the Doctor to answer to the messages above. Why aren't diet-compliant people losing weight??
    Reply: #21
  19. Nicolle
    Count me as one of those people too. I have not lost an ounce since beginning LCHF and IF 4 months ago. I tried LCHF about 3 years ago with the same results, and that is why I gave up. I really, really want this to work. I have followed the program "to a T". I believe in this diet, and that is why I am going to continue, but it is so very depressing when all you ever read from other people are the famous words "the weight just melted off". My thyroid is great, I have ensured I do not eat too many calories, I don't eat too much protein, I work out a few times a week (shorter periods with high intensity), I get a good night sleep each night, I don't eat any processed food, I keep my carbs to around 20g a day (some days much less), my HbA1C is always in normal range...

    Often , the response to a case like mine is simply "then it's time to try something else". But what is that "something else"? A "high carb" diet?

    Thanks everyone. I will continue on with the diet because I still believe in it's health benefits...

    Reply: #20
  20. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Nicolle!

    Great, actually I have the feeling that quite a lot of people forget the main reson for eating LCHF, that it's a healthy lifestyle! :)

  21. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Andrea!

    LCHF doesn't mean weight-loss for everyone but it really works for a lot of people. But if weight-loss is important and you honestly can say that you have read our best tips for weight-loss and have "implemented" most of them and still don't lose weight or gain muscle mass, then it's time to do something else if your goal is weight-loss.

    Here are our best tips:
    https://www.dietdoctor.com/how-to-lose-weight

    I want the Doctor to answer to the messages above. Why aren't diet-compliant people losing weight??

  22. David Sander
    Lack of weight loss could be due to a high cortisol level. Some of the body building sites talk about this because it prevents loss of fat and reduces muscle gains. You get it from over exercise, over stress, or under eating. In addition if you are ill or have unresolved infection or digestive problems, those raise cortisol. Unless you know you can do it, its not good to exercise fasted and then not eat. Cortisol is opposed by insulin and hormones, so those affected should eat after exercise and include 50 to 100 grams of medium slow carbs to lower cortisol. It would be good to have whey protein at this time to boost insulin and maybe do 5 minutes of post exercise meditation to reduce stress. Sitting actually increases cortisol while light exercise reduces it.
    I identify my high cortisol by my being attracted to sodas and salty snacks. Look for clues of possible cortisol reductions in those times where you go for long periods without getting hungry. Basically you want to convince the body that it has plenty of calories on hand so it keeps your metabolic rate up and willing to go into fat reserves.
  23. Jenie
    I am 8 weeks in and have lost 8 lbs. I thought it would be more but again taking into account that I'm menopausal, have thyroid disease and take blood pressure meds, I guess it's ok. Tbh I don't exercise much at all so that's something I need to focus on. I have done intermittent fasting before and will try again to eat within an 8 hour window to mix things up.
    I didn't get 4 stone overweight quickly so I'm sure as hell not going to lose it quickly. Keep on keeping on people ?
  24. Brenda
    I'm in the middle of my 2nd week. I'm doing everything according to the plan. The only time I strayed was last night with a PB Fat bomb, which is amazing! I've been on doctor monitored"no carb" plans before with pills/liquid and saw the weight drop off quickly,

    I don't feel any of the symptoms described. I also find it very easy to adapt menus and plan, love the shopping list! Although I'm naturally active and seem to feel good, I have not gained (which is key) but I still feel tired, my stomach growls sometime and I'm getting a little discouraged because I've only lost 2 pounds.

    I see add more fat, add more protein....although I'm confused about which one is best for me is there something else I can do besides following the eating/menu plan to a tee?

  25. Andres
    Well when I first tried HFLC diet plus intermittent fasting it was amazing I lost weight extremely fast. Then for some reason I started eating a LOT of carbs (reason were time and money in that time). Now I am back to fastening and HFLC diet, yet now I actually perform 3 day fasttening per week (I did 24-40 hours before, now I can do more) and yet I cannot lose a single damn pound. BTW I also practice every single day muay thai (6-7 times per week about 1-2 hours).

    So what the heck is going on? :D I try to eat when I am hungry and not if I am not. But I must say I eat pretty damn fucking good when I do. Yet I cannot lose weight! All the readings about fastening and HFLC diet only worked for a few time now it's worthless... another thing that get's a lot of recommends because it works in short term but not in long term?

  26. Shirley
    I have been on a LCHF diet for nearly two years. My doctor advised me again to lose weight as I now have pre-diabetes. I lost the first three stone slowly but steadily and then got stuck about three months ago.

    What I did was tighten up the implementation of my diet. I started testing my blood glucose before and after meals, measuring my food to the nearest gram, and calculating my carb. intake to 0.1 g. This had the effect of reducing my actual carb. intake by about one third.

    I lost another half stone over the next ten weeks but then got stuck again. So I have reduced my carb intake from 50 - 70 g/day to 40 - 60 g/day. This has led to me losing a bit more weight but it comes off ever so slowly. I intend to reduce carb intake again to 30 - 50 g/day in a fortnight's time.

    All my many previous attempts at losing weight have failed long term because of this plateau effect. They also left me feeling hungry and miserable. Thirty years ago I found I could gain weight on only 400 Calories/day!

    The real advantages of the LCHF diet are the lack of hunger and the fact I am relatively well on it. My blood pressure is the lowest for 20 years. for example. I feel at the moment I could keep this up for life - with occasional (well-monitored) treats.

  27. 1 comment removed
  28. Eva
    I am a 59 year old woman and have been on multiple calorie restriction diets since I was in my mid thirties. With each diet I lost but gained back more weight than I had before. I noted one comment on here implying that a person who is not losing is eating too many calories. It is frustrating because I work in healthcare and would talk to dieticians and other health care workers who would tell me I just needed to cut my calories, and then watch them consume more calories at coffee break than my total daily intake. I have stuck to a low carbohydrate diet for years but did not really lose weight.
    I have been trying intermittent fasting for the past month and am slowly starting to lose. I was at a standstill and read an article suggesting eating a carb meal. I ate sushi and I started to lose again. I am curious about what you think about throwing in the occasional meal with carbs.
    Dr. Jason Fung and intermittent fasting has given me hope that I may be able to eventually lose weight. My BMI is now to the point where I am considered over weight rather than obese.

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