5 Reasons Why Your Low Carb Diet Isn't Working
1: YOU’RE STILL IN A CALORIC SURPLUS
Just because you go low carb does not ensure that you will lose fat. The front and foremost driver of fat loss is being in a caloric deficit. This means that you need to consume less calories than your body’s maintenance level, whether or not these calories come from carbs, fats, or protein. It’s a common mistake for people on low carb diets to think that other protein/fat foods are “free for all” and that they don’t have to worry about how much they consume to lose fat. A caloric deficit combined with a low carb diet will be the most efficient and certain way to achieve fat loss.
2: YOU’RE LEAN/ACTIVE AND CUTTING CARBS TOO LOW
If you’re relatively lean (sub 15% body fat) and training more than 3 times per week, then its likely that your body is going to get depleted of glycogen a bit easier than someone who has more body fat and is sedentary. This depletion of glycogen, and burnout of the central nervous system is going to be even more enhanced if said person is weight training often and performing HIIT cardio. Scientifically, what will happen is that thyroid hormone gets decreased and cortisol levels get increased. Both unfavourable reactions in the body that will stall fat loss. The best thing for these people to do, is to make sure that they are not cutting carbs too hard or just eat higher carbs on training days and lower carbs on rest days.
3: NOT EATING ENOUGH CALORIES OR FAT
If you cut your carbs and calories too low, then your body will likely have a counter reaction. This is because your body needs to be able to adapt into burning fat instead of glucose. A caloric deficit with an inadequate consumption of dietary fat will bring negative effects to your hormonal system thus causing you to feel extremely sluggish and experience other side effects such as severely decreased energy, light headedness, and low libido. So make sure that you’re getting enough fat from both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sources; eg. Omega 3 fish oils, nuts, avocados, and red meats.
4: SODIUM AND POTASSIUM CONSUMPTION IS TOO LOW
When you start a low carb diet, your body will expel more water, potassium, and sodium through the glycogen that gets depleted. What will happen is that your body will reach a mineral imbalance which could then lead on to other symptoms such as lethargy and lower blood pressure. In order to maintain healthy sodium levels, just make sure that you are adding salt to your meals or at least are getting from other sources. A healthy total intake of sodium for both males and females is about 1500mg per day. As for potassium, you could just take a dietary supplement, but you could also just eat more vegetables! Spinach, broccoli, peas, and cucumbers have high amounts of potassium in them.
5: YOU’RE NOT UTILIZING THE OTHER TOOLS TO PUSH FAT LOSS
Firstly, you may simply not be training enough! Resistance training and interval sprints will enhance the body’s ability to utilize fat for energy. This is because weight training stimulates muscle protein synthesis which will also in turn help to preserve muscle mass. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, even at a resting state. Also, fat loss is an equation of energy balance! If you are not burning enough calories through exercise, then you may still be in a “caloric surplus” regardless of being on a low carb plan.
Secondly, you may not be using two other important tools to help push fat loss. Caffeine can help to boost exercise performance when energy levels are low. A healthy amount of daily caffeine is about 200-300mg. Staying hydrate is also key. Drinking more water can help to combat cravings, and this refers to all fluids in general. So unsweetened teas and diet sodas are also fine.
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