7. You're Eating Too Much Dairy
Another low-carb food that can cause problems for some people is dairy.
Some dairy products, despite being low in carbs, are still pretty high in protein.
Protein, like carbs, can raise insulin levels, which drives energy into storage.
The amino acid composition of dairy protein makes it very potent at spiking insulin. In fact, dairy proteins can spike insulin as much as white bread (5, 6).
Even though you may seem to tolerate dairy products just fine, eating them often and spiking insulin can be detrimental to the metabolic adaptation that needs to take place in order to reap the full benefits of low-carb diets.
In this case, avoid milk and cut back on the cheese, yogurt and cream. Butter is fine, as it is very low in protein and lactose and therefore won't spike insulin.
SUMMARYThe amino acid composition of dairy proteins makes them spike insulin fairly effectively. Try eating less dairy.
8. You're Not Exercising Right (or at all)
You shouldn’t exercise with the goal of burning calories.
The calories burned during exercise are usually insignificant and can easily be negated by eating a few extra bites of food at the next meal.
However, exercise is critical for both physical and mental health.
Exercise can help you lose weight by improving your metabolic health, increasing your muscle mass and making you feel awesome.
But it's important to do the right kind of exercise. Nothing but cardio on the treadmill is unlikely to give you good results and doing too much may even be detrimental.
Weight lifting: This will greatly improve your hormonal environment and increase your muscle mass, which will help you lose weight over the long term.
Interval training: Doing high-intensity intervals is an excellent form of cardio that boosts your metabolism and raises your levels of human growth hormone.
Low intensity: Being active and doing some low-intensity work like walking is a great idea. The human body was designed to move around, not sit in a chair all day.
SUMMARYThe right kinds of exercise improve your hormones, increase your muscle mass and make you feel awesome.
9. You're Eating Too Many “Healthy” Sugars
If you’re on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, “healthy” sugars like coconut sugar or raw cane sugar are just as bad as plain sugar.
They are high in carbs and can completely prevent your body from adapting to the diet.
This also applies to honey, agave nectar and others.
Zero-calorie sweeteners are fine for most people, but you may want to consider limiting them if you have trouble losing weight. They also often contain digestible carbs as fillers.
SUMMARYDespite being natural, sweeteners like honey and raw cane sugar are just as high in carbs as regular sugar.
10. You Have a Medical Condition Getting in Your Way
Certain medications are known to stimulate weight gain.
If you look at the list of side effects of the medications you are taking and see "weight gain" on the list, make an appointment with your doctor.
Perhaps there is another drug available that doesn't cause weight gain.
If you're doing everything right and still aren't getting results, perhaps you have an underlying medical problem.
Many hormonal disorders can cause problems losing weight, particularly hypothyroidism.
In that case, make an appointment with your doctor. Explain that you're having problems losing weight and that you want to rule out any medical issues.
SUMMARYCertain medical issues and medications can cause weight problems. See a doctor to discuss your options.
It is a persistent myth in health and fitness circles that everyone should be eating many, small meals throughout the day.
This has actually been studied thoroughly. No advantage has been found to eating more frequent and smaller meals (7, 8).
It is natural for humans to eat fewer meals per day and sometimes go long periods without food.
Some people do something called intermittent fasting, eating in an 8-hour window each day or doing 24-hour fasts 1–2 times per week. This can be very useful to break through a plateau.
SUMMARYThere is no proven benefit to eating many, small meals throughout the day. Try eating fewer meals and consider giving intermittent fasting a shot.
12. You're Cheating Too Often
For people who are able to control themselves, having cheat meals or days every now and then may be fine.
For others, especially those who are prone to food addiction, having cheat meals is likely to do more harm than good.
If you're cheating often, either with "small cheats" here and there or entire days where you eat nothing but junk food, it can easily ruin your progress.
Having more than 1–2 cheat meals per week (or one cheat day) is going to be excessive.
If you just can't seem to control yourself around unhealthy foods no matter what you try, perhaps you have food addiction. In that case, completely removing the junk foods from your life could be a good idea.
SUMMARYSome people can eat junk food from time to time without ruining their progress, but that doesn't apply to everyone. For others, cheat meals will do more harm than good.
13. You're Eating Too Many Calories
At the end of the day, calories do matter.
One of the main reasons low-carb and ketogenic diets are so effective is that they reduce appetite and make people eat fewer overall calories without trying.
If you're not losing weight but are doing all the right things, try counting calories for a while.
Again, create a free account with an online nutrition tracker and track your intake for a few days.
Aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day, which theoretically should make you lose 1 pound of weight per week (although it doesn't always work in practice).
SUMMARYIt is possible to eat so many calories that you stop losing weight. Try counting calories and aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day for a while.
14. You Don't Have Realistic Expectations
At the end of the day, weight loss takes time.
It is a marathon — not a sprint.
Losing 1–2 pounds per week is a realistic goal.
Some people will lose weight faster than that, while others will lose weight more slowly.
But it's also important to keep in mind that not everyone can look like a fitness model.
At some point, you will reach a healthy set point weight, which may be above what you initially hoped for.
SUMMARYIt is important to have realistic expectations. Weight loss takes a long time and not everyone can look like a fitness model.
15. You've Been "Cutting" for Too Long
I don't think it's a good idea to be in a calorie deficit for too long at a time.
The leanest people on earth (bodybuilders and fitness models) never do this. They do cycles of "bulking" and "cutting."
If you eat at a calorie deficit for many months (or years), eventually your metabolic rate may slow down.
If you've been dieting for a long time, a two-month period where you aim to "maintain" and gain a bit of muscle may be what you need to get things started again.
Of course, this doesn't mean eating bad foods, just more of the good stuff.
After these two months are over, you can start "dieting" again.