Hitting a weight loss plateau while on the Atkins diet can be very frustrating, especially if you've worked very hard and have achieved great weight loss that one day just seems to stop. However, there are several reasons your weight loss might be halted, and several ways to kick start your weight loss engine once again.
Overcoming a Plateau on Atkins
Check for hidden sources of carbs.
Over time, you may begin to think that you know the diet in-and-out and no longer need to keep track of your carbs because you're familiar with what foods contain them. However, if you hit a plateau, try going back to the basics and researching the foods you eat before eating them.
Of course, you don't really need to do this with meats or eggs or most whole foods, but did you know that even small amounts of barbecue sauce, ketchup or salad dressings can contain enough carbs to throw off your dietary efforts? Perhaps you've switched the brand of salad dressing you used to buy, or began eating some sugar-free candy. These products may have more carbs than you think, so check the labels and write down everything you eat for a few days to see if you were consuming hidden carbs.
Don't skip meals or snacks.
Part of the reason why Atkins works so well is because it keeps blood sugar levels low and consistent throughout the day. If you're starving yourself, even if you don't realize it, your body can switch from fat-burning mode to fat-storing mode. Your body has a built-in mechanism that causes it to conserve energy and burn less calories if it thinks it is starving. To provoke your metabolism, try sneaking in a few extra carb-friendly snacks throughout the day to make sure that your fat-burning machine is well-fueled and not stalled.
Watch your coffee, tea and soft drink intake.
Even drinks sweetened with artificial, calorie and carb-free sweeteners can cause increases in insulin production and stave off continuing weight loss. The caffeine in these products can also affect blood sugar. If you drink a lot of these products, try eliminating or reducing them to break your plateau.
Watch your salt intake.
You might be retaining water if you are ingesting too much sodium. Excess water can lead to excess body weight and weight loss stalls. If you think you might be consuming too much sodium, try to watch how many high-sodium foods like broth, condiments, dressings, sauces and cheese you are eating. Try to keep your sodium intake to under 2400mg per day, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Determine if you are overeating.
Even though Atkins doesn't necessitate the counting of calories for most people, there are some individuals who are or become resistant to weight loss. For these individuals, counting calories can help them break their plateaus. For most people, depending on physical activity levels, 1500 to 2000 calories per day is sufficient.