Do you dare to trust the process when you experience a weight gain on your new healthy diet?
One of the most destructive patterns I see is when women start panicking because they experience weight gain on their new healthy lifestyle when they were expecting the opposite to happen. It often doesn’t take much of a weight gain before they’re ready to give everything up – and this goes especially if we’re dealing with a high fat diet like LCHF or keto since it’s difficult to believe that the old dogma about fat making you fat isn’t true after all.
I get it! I do. I really truly get it! No woman enjoys seeing the number on the scale going up! And there’s nothing as discouraging as seeing that not only didn’t your hard work pay off – it actually brought you further from your goal.
LCHF/keto is often easy on this part since you empty your glycogen stores within the first week and with them, you lose quite a lot of water weight. Most people therefore experience significant weight loss within the first week. But not all. Some experience that the weight stays the same or that it even goes up a bit. It makes it easy to conclude that LCHF/KETO didn’t work anyway!
For most people, starting up on LCHF/keto is a radical change and it puts pressure on the body to adjust to the new source of fuel (fat). Try to not step on the scales for the first few weeks. Your body may respond to the lack of (known) fuel with an increase of appetite but once your body has fully adapted to LCHF/keto, it will be no problem what so ever to go 5-6 hours (or even more) between meals. And this is where the magic starts to happen. And by magic, I mean that you can now be in a daily calorie deficit without feeling hungry.
Read more: LCHF & ketosis
IF YOU EXPERIENCE WEIGHT GAIN, BEFORE YOU PANIC, ASK YOURSELF:
How is your diet?
Is your diet okay? How are your meals and how much do you snack in between? My experience is that the reason for lack of weight gain is often found in the snacking. Especially on LCHF/keto where we snack on calorie dense things like cheese, nuts, coffee with heavy cream, fat bombs etc. It doesn’t take many snacks for the daily calorie deficit to be eaten up.
Even though I’m no fan of counting anything, taking a few test counts don’t hurt. Check both your calories and also your macros. But don’t start any drastic changes like thinking that you need to live of a 1200 calorie diet or go on an egg fast. It will back fire eventually. Be realistic!
How is your sleep?
Do you get enough quality sleep? Lack of sleep interrupts your natural appetite regulating hormones (leptin and ghrelin) and leads to an increase in appetite. The other day I read an article saying that people who don’t sleep enough eat 400 calories more per day compared to people who get adequate sleep. So sleep! 7-9 hours per night if you can!
Do you work out? Or just started a new fitness routine?
I’m not thinking about burning calories here. But exercise is an important factor here as it increases your lean muscle mass (this goes especially when you lift weights). Increased muscle mass is a good thing! But starting a new exercise routine can also lead to an increase in blood volume. And it all shows on the scale.
So my point is this: if you exercise, don’t go by the scales alone. Use a measurement tape as well.
A CONTROVERSIAL IDEA…
As you know, I’m no fan of using the scales as your only measurement for success. I see far too many women throwing away something good because of the number on the scales. This is both true when the weight goes up (it doesn’t matter anyway, I might as well just eat everything) or even when the weight comes off (I rock this weight loss shit! Let’s celebrate!) My first choice will alway be to advice you to step off the scales and put it away for a while.
WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY!
If you’re up for a challenge, I think you should try to step on the scales every day. Several times per day if you can. Yes, I’m serious! And then note the number in a document, a note book or an app. Consider yourself a scientist for the next couple of months.
What you will see if that your weight fluctuates with up to 3 kilos within the same week – sometimes even within the same day!
By weighing yourself so often you’ll get valuable insight in why the scales is a bad parameter for success on its own. Because now you’ll see that some days your weight goes up even though you diet is on point and you know you’re in a calorie deficit and you’ll also experience days when the weight goes down even though you know you ate massive calories the day before. Maybe you’ll see your weight going up the day after going to the gym when you would expect it to go down. Maybe some weeks your weight goes up by 2 kilos while you lose 3 kilos the next week.
Gaining 1 kilo of fat requires a calorie surplus of 7.000 calories. If you experience explosive weight gain all of a sudden, you can be almost certain that you’re not gaining fat (but probably water or muscle mass).
But by monitoring your weight closely for a few months you’ll learn how once a month you gain a few kilos when you get your period. Some women even experience a little weight gain around the time of ovulation.
But you only know this, if you have monitored your weight closely for a while.
This experiment is only for you if you can handle the fluctuations in your weight without it leading to bad decisions or a change in your mindset. If you experience that you begin to over- og undereat, overtrain, get restrictive thoughts or engage in other forms of destructive behavior, this is not for you and you’re better off hiding the scales somewhere far away. This is important. Please read this paragraph again!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
You should never stick to a diet if it doesn’t give you anything good in return or if you don’t see the results you were hoping for. But you should give it a chance before you abandon it.
So if you dare to play the scientist for a while, this experiment will teach you how not to judge your results by the daily number on the scales but instead look at your weight as a trend. Maybe you’ll see that you are actually slowly losing 1 kilo per month. Hey, that’s 6 kilos six months from now or 12 kilos by the same time next year! And that’s really something when you dare look at it in that perspective!
So this experiment can teach you not to panic when you see fluctuations in your weight and it can help you to stop making panic decisions based on the number of your scales.
PLEASE ALSO READ: LOSING WEIGHT WITH LCHF/KETO