I can’t lose weight on the LCHF Diet: What am I doing wrong?

Today on The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we have an excellent question which is a great one for serial dieters. We chat about the reasoning why some people struggle to lose weight on the LCHF diet and how we can get help for this.

I can’t lose weight on the LCHF Diet: What am I doing wrong?

Today’s question is a great one for people who have been serial dieters their entire life. Cara got in touch and told us that she has done two low carb diets in the past and reached her goal weight easily.

I am taking it she has put weight back on. This time around though, the scale does not want to budge. She started following the LCHF diet in January; she has been working out (started three months ago).

She has lost some centimetres but nowhere near enough. Can you become resistant to this way of eating? Can your body sort of become acclimatised to the LCHF diet so that you will not lose any weight?

Prof Tim Noakes: I think this is one of the issues that we are going to need to grapple with. Some people really struggle to lose weight on the Banting or LCHF diet and one suggestion is that they are people who have been on various diets in the past. They have starved themselves in the past and the brain gets confused.


Recall that I have said all along that obesity is the disease of the brain. Your appestat, which is a regulator for weight in your brain, gets confused and it does not know how many calories to tell you to eat each day and instead it says that you should eat more. As a consequence, you obviously put on weight.

Now in Cara’s case it may well be that she is continuing to eat too many calories because her brain regulator has not reset to a lower calorie intake and that is a problem.

Until it resets to a lower calorie intake, you will not lose substantial amounts of weight.

You know, the book The Real Meal Revolution has a whole bunch of suggestions as to what you should do under these circumstances and one of them is to reduce your fat intake and to regulate your dairy.

The other, of course, is to make sure that you really have cut your carbs to 25 grams a day and that you are not still eating hidden carbs that you are unaware of.

That is the two bits of advice that we give now, first make sure that you are only eating 25 grams of carbs a day and secondly, make sure that you reducing or controlling your fat intake, particularly from dairy. When people do that, they frequently start to lose weight again.

Another bit of advice is to not sit down to eat three meals a day. Only eat when you are hungry and consider that you maybe need to fast for quite long periods.

Fasting on the LCHF Diet will help too

Once you start fasting, it is much more likely that you will reset your controller of the brain, your appestat so that you reduce your calories. As you know, I only eat breakfast and a meal in the evenings and that is the way I find is absolutely effortless to control weight. But sitting down to lunch, if you are going to eat lunch as well, then you are just going to put in the calories and I find that once your hunger is gone and you sit down, you will eat but you do not have to, so why bother to sit down for lunch?

I have also introduced fasting for 12 or 16 or even 24 hours a day and when you are really fat adapted, you can easily go those hours without eating.

So, I would also advise that she should consider fasting a little bit more and get her body used to the idea that she should only eats every 8 to 12 hours and she should do that until all her weight has been lost.

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