Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Help! I've Reached a Plateau on the Atkins Diet

I have been doing atkins diet for the past year. For the first 6 months I lost 50 pounds, and for the past 6 months no more weight has come off, in fact I have put on about 16 pounds. I am currently 160. I have tried everything from exercise to adding carbs but nothing works. I'm guessing my metobolism has dropped so low that my brain thinks I'm in starvation mode. I am now consuming about 50 carbs a day and calorie intake about 2000. I'm worried by increasing carbs too much I will put it back on. im thinking of switching to a low calorie diet but worried that won't work due to low metobolism ie weight gain. I exercise 60 mins a day with combination of 20 mins bike and 30 mins moderate walking and jogging. Please give me some advise as to what to to. Elena S.

Dear Elena,

Wow! First of all, congratulations on sticking with it for six months to lose all that weight.

I suspect the problem may be that you are eating too many calories at this time.
I don't believe your metabolism drops on the Atkins diet: it usually drops from following a very low calorie diet for an extended period of time, and depending on how you follow Atkins, it's not usually low calorie. The fact is, at about 6 months is the time many people reach a point of taste fatigue on the Atkins Diet--they just literally can't put up with eating meat/vegetables/cheese and that's all anymore! Little by little, other foods work their way in to the diet. As soon as you add in the carbs, the principle of the diet won't work anymore (you now are feeding your body some quick energy and it doesn't have to constantly burn fat for it).

If you're now eating 2000 calories a day, that is a maintenance diet for your weight. You didn't mention your height or your goal weight, but I'm assuming you want to lose another 20 pounds or so, especially if you put 15 back on recently. It may be somewhat reassuring to know that, if you had added carbs back in, this results in normalizing your body's way of obtaining energy, which includes not flushing out a great deal of fluid to rid of the ketone bodies built up on a carb-free diet. In other words, several of the pounds the scale reflects now are just water in your body, going back to where it belongs... you probably did not gain 15 pounds of body fat!

Try going on a lower calorie diet ( is a good site to build a balanced diet and find out how many calories you can eat and still lose weight) and eat as many grams of carbs as you like :)
Sometimes, switching to another diet will get you over that hump and back to losing weight.

Don't expect it to come off as quickly, though. If you lose a pound a week, that is fantastic progress, so don't be discouraged by doing it slow and steady.

By the way, great move with the hour a day of exercise! If you can make that a habit you'll be set for life at the weight you want once you get there :)

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