Volume one: operator error
Are you keto? First of all, let’s be realistic: the failure to lose half your body weight overnight is not a blockage.
All right, you probably didn’t expect such dramatic results, but let me continue: it’s not a blockage if you “only” lose a pound in a week, even if you know someone else who has lost ten. It’s not a stall if you sit on the set for a week. Even if your weight fluctuates up and down within a few weeks, it’s not a blockage. Actually, it’s not a stall if the scale stays in place for a few weeks, but your pants are mysteriously bigger. (Unless you have gremlin pants that really replace your pants with a larger size, in which case, I can’t help it.)
In short, if less than six to eight weeks have passed and / or your measurements are dropping, it’s not a blockage and you don’t have to worry.
Now, if you haven’t seen any changes to your scale or tape measure in a few weeks, you’re stuck, and unfortunately you’ve probably done something wrong. There are two main suspects for blockages: carbohydrates and calories.
Mistake # 1: Don’t keep track of carbs and calories.
Now, I hear you insisting that you follow EVERYTHING and you are DEFINITELY under 20 grams of net carbs. That’s what I say, “Are you sure?” Babies who play with carbs often lose weight, and this is why carbs are hidden.
If you think you can play the system by buying the HWC brand that lists 0 carbohydrates instead of the one that lists 1 carbohydrate, you shoot yourself in the foot. You see, heavy cream is heavy cream, and if you don’t see anything added to it (like a mysterious-sounding gum), it will have the same number of carbs, regardless of brand. The only difference is that some brands round up to 1 gram per serving, and others round down to 0. All heavy cream will have 0.4 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. That adds up. There are also carbohydrates in eggs: a large egg has 0.6 grams of carbohydrates. If you drank coffee with 2 tablespoons of cream and 3 eggs for breakfast, you are already at 10% of the grams of carbohydrates you can have in a day if you stick to 20 g of carbohydrates.
It’s getting worse … foods that you may have considered “free” (and indeed are considered “free” in other ways to eat) can be real carbs. A tablespoon of cinnamon has 2.1 net carbs, so if you sprinkle it on coffee or, God forbid, trying to challenge you with cinnamon *, it could be part of what is holding you back. Other hidden sources of carbohydrates include dairy (everything except ghee contains a small amount of carbohydrates), clean meat, and spices such as hot sauce.
If you’re already close to 20 grams, these foods that aren’t really zero carbs could very well put you well over the limit. Don’t play with carbs.
How to fix it? Be honest about how many carbs you eat. Don’t rely on food labels … do you really think that all the nutrients appear in round numbers? Of course not. There are no kindergarten students. They are nutritious. It probably involves decimals. Check the USDA website for more accurate carbs and keep in mind that even this may not be perfect: a well-cooked strawberry will have more sugar than a lightly cooked strawberry. However, it is more accurate than anything on the label.
Mistake # 2: Don’t use a kitchen scale to measure food.
Speaking of beautiful, round numbers, are you absolutely sure your calories are ready? If you don’t measure your food, they’re not. If you measure by volume or quantity, they are not.
I know someone who is a self-identified ice cream addict who has decided that the best way to keep his or her diet under control is to limit himself to one cup the size of a cup of coffee a day. A good plan, isn’t it? He stuck to it. However, he kept the letter of his law rather than the spirit. He started to put the ice cream in the microwave so that it would melt and fit more in the cup. This obviously missed the point. Dear ones, if you pick the biggest strawberries and you think you’re playing the system, it’s time for a reality check: there are more calories (and carbs) in the strawberries that are the size of your fist than there are in the strawberries that are. half that size, so don’t pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. If you shake the measuring cup to make the almonds settle so that you can fit more, just be fooled. If you looked at things, measured by volume, or used any other more subjective way to quantify your contribution, you may well receive much more than you think.
If you’re not shy about it yet, then there might be something else going on here. The good news is that you may not be fooled by deception. The bad news is that it is very possible that there are still carbohydrates or calories. The fastest fix? Go to a solid keto computer (Ketogains is great) and recalculate your macros for your new weight. As your body weight and composition change, so do your caloric needs. If, for example, you lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories. If you are still eating for your old needs, you may be overdoing it. (What was once a deficit is now maintenance. If you want to lose more weight, you’ll need to cut calories again. These are breaks.) If it turns out you need to cut calories, well, cut your calories. and see if it helps to get things back on track.
That concludes the error part of the Stop Stalling operator! Come back soon for my next installment, Maligne Mouthfuls.
* Ketogasm and KBB are very against the cinnamon challenge, because it is not healthy to destroy your lungs. Don’t be an idiot.
Julia is a teacher, tutor, and educational counselor who lives in Washington State, almost uncomfortable with Woodinville, where many of the local wineries are located. She has a deep and lasting love for cats, cheeses, spicy foods and pickles. She hopes to conquer the world one day, but in the meantime she is looking at public health. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SWFgoesketo, where she often posts pictures of food and the gym.