WTF Keto!


So I’ve been on keto for about 5 months now. Lost a good deal of weight. From 365 -> 303. But I have a lot more to go. For the past 5 weeks I have lost only 6 pounds. I’m keeping my macros steady. I’m eating 19 grams of carbs or less, 105-115 grams of protein (exercise sucks), and fat to bring me up to 1800 calories. I’m eating well below my maintenance with an average deficit of 700 calories / day.

What is going on? I very much like keto, and am not struggling to keep the keto diet going, but I am getting very impatient. I’m very much done with being fat.

(Siobhan) #2
  1. 6 month slow down/stall is normal. Assuming the issue was insulin resistance at first (which it is for most obese people), by around 6 months your cells are now more insulin receptive but you’re also producing more than normal. So the goal now is to reduce basal insulin - some people do this with intermittent or extended fasting, though I’m sure there are other ways too.
  2. You might be restricting calories too much. If you are not eating enough, your metabolism will slow down and you will not burn as much energy because your body thinks there is no energy to waste. Stop calorie restricting and eat until you’re satiated with the extra calories coming from fat. Calorie restriction does not work for the bulk of the population, keto is NOT about calorie restriction.
  3. You might be eating too much protein - this one really depends on the person, but the average is .5-1g of protein per kg of lean body mass with 1g being the upper bound of what people actually need. Try reducing protein, you will know when you’re not getting enough if you start to have cravings for savory foods.
  4. You might have reached a routine point where your body has adapted to what you’re doing. You might need to mix it up. This could mean doing feast/fast cycles (eating higher amounts of food to ramp up metabolism and then fasting), doing different types of IF, not doing IF on the same days if you already are, etc

You will likely have to experiment, but I suspect it’s a combo of all 4, and you’ll need to experiment to get things moving again. That said - what you’re experiencing is completely normal and I had the same issue. It took a lot of experimenting on my part to figure out how to get moving again.

Additionally: The scale is a liar. You may be losing fat but the scale isn’t moving for a whole variety of reasons. Generally measuring inches, not lbs, can be more helpful. For example, I haven’t lost a single pound in a while but my waist went down by an inch!


Question about the protein: I thought the only major worry about too much protein was that the excess can be converted into glucose and kick you out of keto. Is that correct? I ask b/c I have been basing my protein intake on ketostrips. Basically if I eat 100g protein and am still in keto for the next few days then I am assuming that was not too much protein. Is this the wrong assumption to take?

(Siobhan) #4

I’m going to quote @richard here as it has been brought up on the forum before - basically for one yes you’re right in that excess protein is converted to glucose because protein can’t be stored for later - it has to be used. But there is another part to that, in that the more protein you eat and the less fat that you eat, the more you are spiking insulin (protein stimulates insulin about half as much as glucose does, while fat hardly stimulates insulin at all). Producing insulin too much is what we’re trying to avoid here, so reducing protein as much as possible and upping fat (because we do need energy from something) is one of the goals of breaking out of IR.
Now, this excess glucose may not kick you out of ketosis. It may not be enough to do that, but it will stimulate insulin when you don’t need to (as in could be eating more fat and less protein and avoiding that overstimulation).

Another thing to consider is that the more protein you eat over your minimum need the less fat you are burning, and the less ketones you are producing. Your brain needs ketones, or glucose, so if it isn’t getting enough ketones, and it isn’t getting enough glucose it will send a signal to produce more glucose via gluconeogenesis so you don’t go into a coma and die… which results in insulin secretion.
You may still be in ketosis, but not enough to feed your brain. You may still be in ketosis… but you are overstimulating insulin.

So over eating protein causes problems from multiple angles, which is why I recommend you find your minimum protein threshold - even if you are exercising a lot or heavily (like @brenda) you do not need an extraordinary amount of protein to help build that muscle.
I hope that helps answer your questions, but just in case it didn’t I’ll summon @richard for a more in-depth explanation

Day 8 on keto please read. Help

No, that was perfect! Thanks for the explanation. I’ll try cutting my protein down to 60-70g for a month or so and see if that helps any. Might try IF too.

(Siobhan) #6

Great! Worst comes to worse, if it isn’t enough you can always increase protein a little.
IF is great and goes hand in hand with keto - the underlying rule of which is “Eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not!” If you find you are getting hungry - add more fat. Especially since you are cutting down on protein. Let us know how it goes! We are always here to help :slight_smile:


First of all…CONGRATS! That’s wonderful!

Yes…slow downs and plateaus do occur in a weight loss journey. I seldom see a straight line trend.

I do that, too.

Do you know what your lean body mass (LBM) is? The typical recommended level is eating approx 1 gram protein for every kg of LBM.

I agree with you that exercise sucks…for people starting at a point where weight impairs mobility, or inflammation causing aching joints and muscle, or metabolic derangement causing hormonal imbalance influencing mood/energy, exercise can be very painful. This is why I tend to think getting into nutritional ketosis is more important than exercise. By lowering inflammation and getting insulin levels under control, the person usually naturally feels like they want to exercise as the body feels more liberated by the pain.

I tend to ignore the calorie count, as it is a useless value in terms of calculation. Metabolic rates are typically unknown (unless you have undergone extensive laboratory testing), and then it changes on a weight loss journey and from day-to-day depending on a range of variables. I find it pointless and can lead you to doing the wrong thing.

The trick to weight loss and undoing the metabolic derangement is learning how to listen to your body. Your body has the built-in bio-feedback…telling you what to eat, how much and when. If we override that feedback, we cause “scarring” or “derangement” of the natural mechanisms.

So, to that end, the idea is to eat fat to satiety. For instance, pour as much melted butter on your meal as you want. Careful with which fats to eat to satiety. If you eat nuts, for example, you are adding carbs…which will induce hunger. But, if you pour butter on your food, it is unlikely that you will continuously want to eat more…it allows reaching satiety very effectively (or, at least for me it does).

Yikes! Is it possible that you are driving your metabolic rate even lower. Calorie restriction will do that. I’ve destroyed my metabolism by doing calorie restriction, and I had to re-build it with eating keto and fat to satiety. It revved up my metabolism. I used to feel sluggish and voraciously hungry with calorie restriction…conversely, I feel more energized and not hungry (I often skip meals, because I’m not hungry).

I hope this helps. Please keep us informed on your journey…and let us know how the new strategies you try are working out. Give a bit of time when you make a change, and this is how you get to learn to listening to your natural bio-feedback. We all want you to succeed :grinning:

GNG, protein and blood glucose re-visited

I’m not completely sure what my LBM is. I’m going off of my weight right after infantry basic training in 2003. I was skin, bones and muscle and weighed 165 pounds, so I’m guessing that my LBM is somewhere around 140-150-ish.

I’m gonna try your CRAZY theory on ignoring calories (/s). I usually have bulletproof coffee for breakfast. For lunch I’ve been drinking a protein shake (iso pure) with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream mixed into iced coffee. I’m gonna reduce the protein from two scoops (50g) to one scoop (25g) and double heavy cream (the shake is ridiculously good, wanna try and keep it). Then I usually have a keto almond bun scrambled egg and sausage or ham sandwich, which I’ll reduce the protein intake, and add some butter. Try and keep my protein under 70g and see how that works for a couple months or so.

Thanks for your input! I discovered keto from reddit, but they are not the most helpful bunch when it comes to questions. Very glad I found this place.

(A ham loving ham! - VA6KD) #9

Hey there… I’m kind in a similar boat as you around similar numbers too. I did about the same initial 50lb drop in the first several months, but have been plateaued for the last 2-3 months bouncing around the same 5-10lb range on the scales.

Several good folk here have given the same good advice I’ve received and that is to keep calm and keto on. Some things that I’ve noticed is for people that were generally a normal weight for a good portion of their life before the big weight gain, they tend to lose it fast in one shot, but for people like me who’ve been large since childhood, they tend to take much longer to undo the metabolic derangement that’s been their norm up 'till going keto. I could also toss in that younger people seem to be faster weight losers too. (To be clear, these are just tendencies I’ve noticed and there will always be exceptions). But we believe that ultimately by going keto for the long term, things are going in the right direction even if the scales are not clearly showing that at any particular moment. There’s plenty of stuff changing under the hood too at the same time and scale weight is just one of those changes.

I saw someone a while back say something like; Try to drop 1 pound. It’s not that hard. Then try for another. Wash, rinse and repeat. For me, that made the journey seem not that big of a deal, even it I acknowledge it’s going to take time to get there…it took quite a bit of time to get to where I was before starting keto too.

(Richard Morris) #10

The problem with protein is it causes insulin to be secreted and we are trying to minimize that - because more insulin makes IR worse, locks off access to body fat, and causes atherosclerosis.

We must have some protein to use as building blocks, we need some to make glucose, and all the rest we waste to make energy. So we need to accept that we will be making SOME insulin.

How much protein you need for building blocks, depends on how much lean mass you have. How much protein you need to make glucose depends on how much glucose you need to make.

So if we are to minimize insulin, we want to eat just the minimal amount of protein we need to maintain our lean mass and make glucose, and we want to waste no protein for energy because we can get our energy from fat which is a much safer fuel source.

The other thing about fat is that one byproduct of burning fat for energy is we make ketones, and our brains can use that for fuel instead of glucose.

Let’s say you have 50kgs of lean mass, you will need to eat roughly 40g of protein for maintenance. You will need roughly 20g of protein to make into glucose. Every gram of protein above that will be half a gram of fat that you don’t burn (fat is roughly twice as energy dense as protein), which will be ketones that you don’t make. When you don’t make enough ketones to adequately fuel the brain you have to make more glucose.

If you eat a LOT more protein not only will you have to make a LOT of unnecessary insulin, you will have to make more glucose, which means even more insulin. Protein isn’t really designed to be used for calories, but for building blocks.

Day 8 on keto please read. Help

Very good, thanks for clearing that up for me! It seems I knew the basics of the protein problem, but not the in depth details, and the devil is in the details. I’m assuming my LBM is somewhere around 145 lbs or 65 kg, so aiming for 65-70g of protein should be where I need to be, not the 100-110g range.