On this week's Sustainable Keto Podcast we're talking through:
- Weight loss stalls/plateaus leave you wanting to know why you’ve stopped losing weight when you’re still on the “right” path. The keto lifestyle forces you to look at your scale right in the face...but how often should you really step on it?
- Rumors are out there that HIIT/strength training can cause muscle loss on keto, but does it?
- Are higher blood ketone levels beneficial or dangerous?
- Is it possible to decrease or even completely stop your carb cravings?
- And should you have an accountability partner to get the best results on keto? All these questions are answered here in episode 9 of the Sustainable Keto Podcast.
Weight Loss Stall
Why have I stopped losing weight on keto? We have so many comments coming in saying, “I've hit a plateau.” “I just started keto and I’m not seeing the weight loss.”
There are so many pieces to why you could not be losing weight on keto. We always go back to if you're not losing weight, start tracking your food, and get diligent about knowing what's in the ingredients again.
Protein, even different types of protein can take different amounts of calories to digest which is called the thermic effect. The thermic effect of food is not the same for every macro. Just consider this when you're looking at your calories.
Some common keto ingredients, like nut flours, are very, very high in omega-six compared to omega threes. When there's this large of an imbalance it brings poor health, which also contributes to weight loss stalls.
A few reasons why you're not seeing the weight come off:
- Calories In - Calories Out - This old thought process assumes the body's a closed-loop system, which we're not. A fat calorie acts differently in the body than a calorie from sugar.
- Stress - High-stress levels cause higher cortisol levels, which has a cascading effect on our hormones.
- Exercise - If you've started a new exercise program recently that new "stress" can result in a stall on the scale.
- Sleep Quality - Refer to our 11 Detoxification Tips video where we talk about sleep quality in depth
- Micronutrient deficiencies - These are nutrients your body burns through super fast when you're under a heavy stress load. You run the risk of burning through any water-soluble nutrient very quickly. Get a good multi-vitamin.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B
- Hormone imbalance - Support detoxification pathways
- Counting Net Carbs - this just isn’t going to cut it for you if you're eating a lot of processed foods; track what you eat.
- Over-restricting calories
Finding the ratios
One of the beautiful things cronometer does is give you that omega-three to omega-six ratios, which is really valuable.
Support your body
Supporting your detoxification pathways is one of the best things you can do for yourself. We did a great video that we researched really well called 11 detoxification tips which we've linked above.
This is especially true if you are drinking alcohol. A lot of you have shared with me that you're drinking more alcohol than you ever have in the past. Alcohol has a lag in hormone response. Even one standard serving of alcohol can have an effect on your body for days.
Sometimes it's the things that we take away, rather than things that we add that have the biggest effect. So you might be doing everything perfectly, but consuming one drink of alcohol every night or every couple of nights messes up your efforts.
You might actually be gaining muscle and losing fat and stay completely, flat on the scale. So start looking in the mirror. Do I feel better? How are my clothes fitting? Take a moment and take some measurements.
If you're a guy measure your biceps if you're trying to increase size and strength, sometimes we rely on the number too much, and we don't think about the feeling like when you feel strong, powerful and vibrant. That should be as important to you as the number on the scale.
Stepping on the scale
How often should you weigh yourself? This is a concern, especially with females as we go throughout the month. So many changes happen in our bodies. We see very large ups and downs on the scale, even though we haven't changed anything. For men or anybody who's exercising, you can also see large differences in your weight, pre, and post-workout, and just from morning to evening.
So whatever you do when you're weighing yourself, if you do it once a day or once a week, or 2 to 3 times a week, we would always encourage you to do it at the same time of day for consistency.
Will doing exercises such as HIIT or strength training while in keto result in muscle mass loss due to increasing need of the body to produce glucose?
The rate of producing glucose from fat is relatively slow.
HIIT, high-intensity interval training is where you're going to the point where it's difficult to speak to the person next to you. HIIT is not sustainable for more than 20 seconds, usually.
If glycogen repletion rates and resting rates are similar between low carb and high carb athletes, then low carb athletes have a stronger ability to restore used glycogen.
Studies have also shown, I think at the Keto Summit we were just at, they even talked about keto athletes potentially having a better ability to restore muscle glycogen than high carb athletes.
Also, ketones are muscle sparing. They block inflammation, they promote muscle protein synthesis (the building of new muscles). So, yes, you can do HIIT, you can do strength training while in ketosis. It's always better if you're well keto-adapted at that point.
Blood ketone levels
Benefits and dangers
So let's talk about the ranges of ketosis and some loose guidelines for what they are. Nutritional ketosis would be considered anything from 0.5 or 0.6 millimoles per liter in a blood test all the way up to 3.0 millimoles per liter.
And then there are therapeutic levels of ketosis. Things that people are using to treat problems like certain types of cancer and epilepsy.
So in general, people will describe those higher levels of nutritional ketosis, anything between 1.5 to 3. Then when they are generally on the higher side of nutritional ketosis, people are reporting better results.
- Better clarity
- Less inflammation
- Better sleep
- Overall feeling better
If you are at a 5.0, and you're not doing any kind of fasting or anything like that and you're having other symptoms, then you need to see a doctor. There is such a thing as, especially if you're a type one diabetic, called diabetic ketoacidosis.
Those levels are extremely dangerous, especially if you also have high blood sugars along with that. If you are a type one or type two diabetic, you need to make sure that you're doing keto under a doctor's care. At least for insulin management purposes because things will change, and your insulin needs will change the longer you're on keto. So it's very important to have a medical professional involved in that process.
Lowering Carb Cravings
How do I decrease my carb cravings? In your first 1 to 4 weeks (it's gonna be a little different for everyone) carb cravings are completely normal. It's almost a withdrawal symptom.
Gluten acts as a pleasure center in the brain and causes all this inflammation. We could talk about not just gluten, but some of these other highly processed grains. And then you get into sugar and the opioid response sugar has in the brain. When you pull those things out of your body, it has to newly learn to be without them. Look at withdrawals and cravings as a sign that you're doing something right.
The other thing that's going on, in the beginning, is your body's fighting for energy. If you're going into ketosis and you're not quite there yet in that first couple of weeks, you've taken your body's main source of energy away, and you haven't really replaced it with anything quite yet. It takes time for our bodies to get really good at making and using ketones.
So what can you do? A lot of people use the external exogenous PHP supplements and/or beta-hydroxybutyrate salts to kind of help get them through that phase, and that's a legitimate use.
But pay attention to the triggers. Triggers are real and everywhere. Watching tv shows, movies, being out, driving through your neighborhood, and seeing the ice cream truck come by your house...
Think about all these external cues in your environment, that are telling your brain it wants food. And carbs are always going to be attractive to the brain and the body because they were a really rapid source of energy.
Types of cravings
What does craving mean to you? What does it feel like? Is it hunger, an uncomfortable feeling, or boredom? Asking these questions can help you catch the brain's automatic tendency to push away anything that's difficult.
Our brain hates to do hard things. It loves routine. It loves simple, easy, no work, so it is kind of training yourself to think about things differently. So think about these cravings and then do something to fill that imbalance.
Filling that void might be a phone call to a family member or friend and just chat. It could be going out on a walk if you're able to get outdoors. What can you do to interrupt the pattern? Come up with strategies that suit your situation and don't be afraid that you're missing out on anything.
The fear of missing out is very real, and it's present in everyone. We look at someone who seems healthy, doesn't have weight issues, isn't dealing with the disease, or problems that we do and there's some jealousy there. You feel left out. The phrase in your head starts to be “well, I deserve to have that too”. Take that a step further. What DO you deserve?
What you deserve
Do you deserve health or to feel good in your body every day? You have a right to be healthy and happy.
Show up in the hard moments and do the thing you don't want to do. Do not give in to the carb cravings. It's not easy. There's always going to be fear of missing out. There's always gonna be your brain going, “I deserve that”.
Keep showing up
But just learn, keep showing up for our Youtube live streams, connect with other people. Get into our free Facebook support group. Join our low-cost group Membership coaching program where we meet eyeball to eyeball every single week for an affordable, low price.
Coming together in a group to do keto together is always recommended.
That's the value in Membership, and many members show up in a group setting each week. Meeting eyeball to eyeball on video is not the same as in person, but it is still powerful. It helps to know that you have a place to show up, you have a place to connect with a supportive group of people.
If you have a spouse, a friend, a buddy, that will do keto with you in your home or maybe just like a best friend. That could be really great too.