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Can your carbs be too low?

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Old 02-02-2011, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Can your carbs be too low?

I'm not quite two weeks into low carbing, and from my previous experience with LC, I should still be losing pretty rapidly at this point. But I've actually stalled out over the last 5 days (I weigh daily just for the first 2-4 weeks), and it's freaking me out a little. I've never had this happen before.

The only thing that has changed from the previous days is that, as my body has adjusted and I'm less hungry, I've actually been eating less carbs. In the beginning, I was having 25-30 per day, but the past few days, it's been 15 to 20. I know when you count calories, you can sometimes get to a point where your calories are too low. Is it possible to do the same thing with carbs? I do think I'm getting plenty of calories, but maybe I need to track that for a couple of days, too, and make sure that I'm not too low. I love that this diet suppresses my appetite, but maybe I've gone overboard without realizing it.

I know I should probably stop weighing myself daily, but I've always done it in the past b/c that's when the weight loss is fastest and I really need to see that to help keep my motivation when the nutritional changes are difficult for me. So it's very discouraging to have had it grind almost to a halt so early, when at this point I'm still usually seeing a steady decline.
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #2
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That's an interesting question and I've been experiencing something similar as well, so I hope you get some good responses. Have you checked your urine for Ketosis with a ketosis stick? That will also let you know how you're doing. I've checked mine and it's only in trace category even though I don't seem to be consuming even 20 carbs per day. So, I think I must be measuring them wrong. Yesterday, I had 13 grams of carbs, but that doesn't include how many I consumed with my raw veggies. Ok, I had about 7 grams of carbs because I was eating red cabbage, but net carbs would be even less for that one. I'm puzzled as to why I'm not losing any more than when I was just counting calories and right now, I'm counting carbs and calories. Yesterday I had under 1,000 calories, which I know is low but I usually aim for 1200 and I workout. Sorry to hijack your thread Irish Michelle! I'm just wondering why the loss is going so slow.
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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Well, the current answer seems to be "no" as many people stay on meat fasts and that sort of thing for extended periods- essentially no carbs- and often lose weight faster. Also many people on the Atkins of lc plans report a meat fast helps break a stall.

On the other side of the coin are the people who swear that more carbs help to break a stall. As far as metabolically speaking, from all I've read, the starvation mode does not exist when lowcarbing, provided you have sufficient fat stores to draw from.. As insulin levels are always low you can readily access tons of energy thru fat cells so your body doesn't know the difference between energy consumed and energy accessible. This is my understanding of it.

All that said, I think everyones reality is different and even for the same person it can change with age, stress, lower enzyme levels, insulin resistance etc etc. I know for me personally I have always lost weight moderately fast and steadily, but this time almost nothing so far. Just a couple lbs water weight. I have started journaling my food , cals and carbs to see what's going on. There may be a metabolic issue in play. Or it could simply be our bodies getting wise to what's going on and trying to hold out -- I know something in the way I metabolize fat and energy is dysfunctional so it may take a bit more time to get things regulated.

I suggest keeping track of your food, carbs and cals and give it a few weeks.
Then, armed with your information you can reassess and tweak as necessary. You may find staying off the scale and just focus on clean eating might help with getting thru this period; I know for me I would be going insane seeing my scale not move daily.. Lol

Hang in there!!!!!
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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For some people, yes. I know your question was about weight loss, but my experience is that if I don't eat enough carbs, I get pretty bad anxiety and my fasting blood sugar increases. I have heard from other people who have the same experience when consuming a very low number of carbs. I personally feel better if I consume at least 80g a day.

You may want to experiment with your carbs to see what works for you. Also consider the quality of your carbs and not just the quantity. It could be that what you consume is more important than how much.

Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:20 AM   #5
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Plateaus undermine your self-confidence and frustrate you into eating. I have always had a problem with plateaus until recently when I read an article that said everything I knew about plateaus but in a different way...
"Some people experience a plateau when they return to a "former weight", a weight that you might have been for years before gaining more. Plateaus are like body memory and your body achieves this comfort zone that it strives to maintain that former weight. We have an amazing brain that fights for our survival even when we don't want it to!!! Just reading this in this way helped me a lot to understand this wonderful body thats been given to us. Plateaus are not proof that you cannot lose weight...hang in there you can do it!
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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There is no minimum daily requirement in our diet for carbs. We do, however, need the nutrients (esp. phytochemicals) that are best delivered in veggies and fruits. I agree completely about quality of carbs. Absolutely no reason to eat refined sugars, most any starch, even grains.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:28 PM   #7
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From what I've read I don't think carbs can be too low for fuel. There are no "required" carbohydrates in nutrition.

That being said, many people find that "zero carb" plans (meat and fat and water) are unsustainable for them.

I figure, as long as you're losing, you're not suffering from cravings, and you're feeling healthy and energetic, don't worry about it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:58 PM   #8
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Five days is too short a time to decide that there is anything wrong with your food plan. On any plan, weight loss can be affected by sodium intake, pms/tom issues, exercise water retention - all sorts of things. Expecting daily weight loss is unreasonable, and when your expectation is unreasonable, you're going to be disappointed. You can only be disappointed and discouraged when your expectations don't match reality. You can change the disappointment by changing your expectations, but you're asking how to get your body to meet your expectations, and I don't believer there is a way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Michelle View Post
I'm not quite two weeks into low carbing, and from my previous experience with LC, I should still be losing pretty rapidly at this point.
That's a big myth. There is no "should be able to," just because you have in the past, doesn't mean you will in the future. It's fairly common for pople to find that the first time on a lc diet (or any diet for that matter) produces the best results. Each successive attempt is harder, and the weight loss slower. You may never match your "old" record.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Michelle View Post
I know I should probably stop weighing myself daily.
There's nothing wrong with weighing yourself dailly (or even more often), but you do have to change your expectations. If you expect daily or even weekly weight loss every time you get on the scale, you're going to be disappointed. If you have realistic expectations, you can weigh yourself 48 times a day and not lose motivation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Michelle View Post
I really need to see that to help keep my motivation when the nutritional changes are difficult for me.
No, you really don't. This is something everyone says and thinks, but it's not true. We make it true by believing it. Unrealistic expectations are the number one killer of weight loss plans. I don't believe anyone quits because they're failing, they quit because the success they're experience isn't good enough for them. They see failure where there is success because they have false expectations and beliefs about the results they "should be" experiencing and false beliefs about how "everyone else" is doing.

Slow weight loss is normal, even on low-carb. Low-carb is the fastest way for me to lose weight, but it's still not fast. Apparently my body doesn't do fast anymore. I can accept it or I can quit, and quitting doesn't help the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Michelle View Post
it's very discouraging to have had it grind almost to a halt so early, when at this point I'm still usually seeing a steady decline.
This also doesn't have to be true. It's only true because you've decided that it's true. You're doing great, stop seeing failure where there is only success. "Usually" doesn't matter. What happened before isn't what's happening today, you've got to deal with that without getting disappointed and discouraged. You have to change your belief system or you're going to quit, because it is what "everyone else" does. It's the diet tradition in this culture... be disappointed in your weight loss, get frustration, get sick of the frustration, and give up.


By setting a pace that's "required" for you to stay motivated, you're giving yourself a reason to quit if you don't meet that expectation. You need to find a way to stay motivated regardless of the speed of your weight loss. By saying "I have to lose steadily and rapidly or I'll lose motivfation" you're setting a goal that isn't acheiveable.

It's like starting a business and saying "if the money doesn't come in steadily and in large amounts, I'm going to quit." It's not how business works, and it's not how weight loss works. Irregular weight loss is part of normal weight loss. If you can't handle that, or can't learn to handle that, you're going to fail, because you're going to quit. Your weight is your business, and your business is going to fail if you don't understand why steady, regular, rapid weight loss isn't always possible.
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Last edited by kaplods : 03-01-2011 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:49 AM   #9
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kaplods, I appreciate your sound advice. I'm just starting out after being disappointed with calorie counting. Your advice, however, is good for any type of weight loss journey.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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Well, I've been doing LC for years, but just recently went back to induction levels from Atkins. And I can tell you when I had a stall, the first thing I did was check my food journal. And my personal trend was that my weight would stall out when water was too low, cals were too low, and fat was too high. I have a tendency to overdo in the fat dept with cheese. LOVE CHEESE. So, I guess that's more dairy than fat. Anyways, if you find that you aren't losing, try adding in a couple of snacks a day to up your calories just a bit. It won't take much. Just some jerky or chicken. I do roll-ups a lot just to grab something and go! Either way, a food journal is the way to go. I track cals, fiber, net carbs, protein AND fat. That way if there is a stall, I have more info to go on. I also try to mentally keep up with water and I weigh daily. Just stick with it and you'll see results. P.S. Ever seen Biggest Loser? Most people hit a 2nd week plateau! It WILL pass!
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