Slow weight loss, exercise struggles with breathing

(Angela ) #1

Started keto now on my 5th week. I thought I was doing everything right but very unsure now. I’m 5ft 1in. And currently 175. Since I started I’ve lost 11.5 lbs. Not necessarily slow but one week only a pound and now this week I stayed the same. I am doing about 1200 cal a day and no more than 20 carbs a day. Maybe that is to low?? Anyway I am keeping a good diary and counting my macros and staying close to my amts. Nothing really changes from week to week so I don’t understand just a pound or no loss. Makes no sense to me. I use the ketone strips and am pretty on point, optimum, most times. Drink plenty of water and try to exercise. That’s another problem for me. I was walking 3 miles a day prior to keto. Doing a 17 minute mile. Now I am struggling with that beçause I get out of breath and tire easily. Sometimes can’t get through it. Not sure what to do about that. I loved my walks and now. It’s kind of worrisome as I know exercise is so key in weight loss. I would appreciate any insight anyone has on all this. Am I doing something wrong. Thanks

(Laurie) #2

Welcome, Angela! First off, some folks will tell you that exercise has nothing to do with weight loss. Personally, I disagree. You’ll have to make your own decision on that.

Second, exercise depends on, and affects, various chemical processes in the body. Some interactions occur at the beginning of the exercise session, others (e.g., aerobic) take longer to kick in. When you were eating more carbs, carbs were part of the process.

I think your body is just taking a while to figure out how to exercise without carbs. Don’t worry, the body does learn how to do this. With the kind of exercise you do, you don’t need carbs.

As for the weight loss leveling off, this is normal. We ketoers tend to lose an impressive amount at first, then it slows down; it can even go up and down at times.

(Chris) #3

Yes, 1200 is too low. Use an online calculator to find your TDEE and reduce 500 from that. Eat like that for a month or two and if you stall, lower it another 250 calories. Should be losing about a pound a week after the first two weeks. Look at the weekly average instead of the daily weight. Weigh yourself first thing after waking up and using the bathroom, naked, this way you can take all the possible variables out.

As far as your energy for walking, likely due to the calories (energy) you aren’t eating.


1200 probably isn’t enough for you to loose. If you did a ton of calorie restriction prior to keto you probably slowed your RMR, easy enough to test… drop it to 1000 and see if you loose more. If you do that’s your answer but the correct thing to do at that point is to NOT keep it that low. Gotta get the metabolism up, not your calories down.

Out of breath and tired is good, without that I’d say you weren’t working too hard. You’re only 5 wks in and not fully adapted so your body is still looking for carbs. It can fight you pretty bad when it want too. The easiest way to diagnose that one is hitting yourself with some fast digesting carbs and see how your walk goes, I’d do something like A serving or two of gummy bears as their pure dextrose. Wait 20-30 min and go on your walk. If you go right through it there’s your answer and you just need to fight through it and wait for fat adaptation. Exodenous ketones are another way to bypass that while you’re adapting, they’re over priced and taste like cat pee but they work. Just a crutch though, you still gotta do everything right on your end.

If you’re not sure post a couple days eating and we can dissect if you want. Don’t assume the macro’s you’re working with are correct either, especially if they came from a weight loss app. Get out a tape, take a bunch of measurement and try this one, see if it comes out close. It uses the Katch McArdle method which is usually a lot more accurate than the Mifflin St Jeor that most use. Make sure you do the measurements unless you have a professionally measured body fat % to enter, don’t put anything in there that a scale gave you.


Most early weight loss is water. When you go into ketosis, your glycogen stores dwindle. Water binds to glycogen, so as it dwindles, the water is released.

It takes time to lose (or gain) a pound of fat (or muscle). Most short-term weight fluctuation is a simple change in water retention and digestive tract contents.

(Karen) #6

Hi Angela firstly a huge well done for losing 11.5lbs. Some people don’t lose that amount in the first 5 weeks so be proud of yourself and see it as a positive.

Secondly i personally think 1200kcals isn’t so bad for someone of your height. You could maybe go to 14/1500. I am 5’4" and very active and eat anything between 1100 when not overly hungry to 2200 when I am hungry. Usually lands somewhere in the middle on a normal day. Please note that i didn’t start this woe for weight loss albeit i lost about 4kg in first 10 days to then gain most of that back as I am probably at my ideal weight.

I do Crossfit and stair running and In the first few weeks I got somewhat out of breath and didn’t have the same energy or strength but it came back plentiful and i have bags of energy now and a really high mood.

I would say to just keep doing what you are doing and work through the tireness and shortness breath. Take the walks but accept that they may take longer till you get that energy back. Most of all stop worrying and trying to analyse and enjoy the new woe. X

(UsedToBeT2D) #7

Give yourself more time. KCKO.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #8

Welcome to the forums!

There are several things going on that are probably affecting your progress.

The first is that while we enter ketosis almost immediately after cutting carbohydrate intake, there is an adaptation period as the muscles adjust to burning fatty acids in place of glucose. High glucose intake over a long period of time (i.e., a high-carb diet) causes oxidative damage to cells, in particular to the mitochondria. (The mitochondrion is the organelle that metabolises fatty acids, and it is susceptible to damage from the reactive oxygen species thrown off by glucose metabolism.) This means that healing at the cellular level must take place before the body can fully and easily metabolise fat again. In most people the adaptation takes six to eight weeks.

Second, women often find that a ketogenic diet, eaten to satiety, often helps the body re-regulate its hormones, and this can delay fat loss.

Third, as others have already posted, calorie restriction is the signal the body uses to recognise that a famine is going on. During a famine, the body slows the metabolism, slows down or eliminates unnecessary processes (hair and nail growth, reproduction), and hangs on to its reserves. At some point, as you starve to death, your body will consume your fat store, but in the initial stages, it actually cannibalises muscle tissue first. If, on the other hand you eat lots of calories, the metabolism ramps up and the body finds lots of things to do with all that lovely extra energy. It will also feel free to shed any excess stored fat you may have lying around.

So the key to losing weight on a ketogenic diet is to eat plenty. Eat enough to satisfy your hunger. The pattern we evolved with is a cycle of fasting and feasting, and fasting—no food at all—does not trigger the famine response that cutting rations does. This is because once the mastodon meat was all gone, the hunters had nothing to eat until they hunted down another one, so the body is willing to expend resources while fasting. These forums are full of people whose fat loss didn’t start until they began eating more.

One last thing: track your body size as well as your weight. It is possible to put on muscle and bone while losing fat (there are documented cases of this), and your scale can’t tell the difference. But your clothes can!