Well hell. You’ve started the keto diet and the first week or so things were going great. You dropped some weight and you thought you were making the right choices. But now you’re not losing weight on keto and are really confused.
It can be frustrating when you see all the keto success stories out there and you’re not seeing the same results. At all.
Keto was supposed to be the magic fat burning diet and the weight was just supposed to melt off. You’ve cut the carbs, increased the fat, and drink so much water you feel like you’re going to float away. So what gives?
If this sounds familiar, I’m here to tell you that this is more common than you realize. You just don’t hear as much about the keto fails as you do the success stories.
The good news is that there is probably a reason that you’re not losing weight on keto and it’s likely something you can fix.
Check out the 7 common reasons you’re not losing weight on keto and how you can overcome them.
7 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on Keto
You’re Not Really in Ketosis
You might assume that just by cutting carbs and increasing fat intake that you’ll automatically get into ketosis. Nope. And if you’re not in ketosis, you’re not going to lose the weight you’re expecting.
Not everyone has the exact same carbohydrate needs or reaches ketosis in the same amount of time. You might have a higher or lower carb requirement than you’ve been sticking to.
Use a keto macro calculator to find out the right proportions of carbs, fat, and protein you should be consuming in order to reach ketosis. The keto calculator takes things like weight, gender, age, activity level, and body fat percentage to calculate the right amounts of macronutrients specific to you.
And even after you determine your correct macros, the only way to know for sure that you’re in ketosis is to measure your ketone levels.
There are 3 methods of ketone testing.
Urine testing uses strips to measure the concentration of ketones in your urine. While this method may be the easiest and most affordable, it’s not the most accurate.
Urine testing only measures the ketones in your urine that haven’t been used for energy. Basically, the leftovers. Sounds gross, I know. But once you’ve been in ketosis for a while your body will get a lot more efficient at using ketones for energy and there won’t be much left over. A urine test alone might not indicate any ketones in your urine even though you really are in ketosis.
Also, how many times can I say ‘urine’ before it gets weird..?
Once you’re in ketosis, your body produces acetone which is detectable in your breath. Breath testing is done by blowing into a breath analyzer which measures the amount of acetone.
Breath testing is a little more reliable than urine testing but it’s still not the most accurate method of testing your ketone levels.
Blood testing is the most accurate way to measure the ketone levels in your bloodstream. It’s considered the most accurate because nothing dilutes the results.
Blood testing is as simple as pricking your finger with a blood meter designed to measure ketones. Then you’ll know the exact amount of blood ketones present in your system.
Getting into ketosis is the goal of the keto diet. It’s what allows you to start burning fat instead of glucose. If you’re not losing weight on keto, you need to find out if you’re actually in ketosis or not.
You’re Not Eating Enough
Creating a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than you burn) is important for weight loss. But eating too few calories can actually stall your weight loss progress since your metabolism may slow down in order to conserve energy.
You’ll also feel HUNGRY if you cut your calories too much. This can lead to irritability and you’re more likely to cheat or give in to those pesky cravings for carbs you’re likely still experiencing.
If you’re not losing weight on keto, look at how much you’re eating every day but also look at WHAT you’re eating.
The quality of the food you’re consuming is just as important as the quantity. It’s possible to eat fewer carbs and eat the right kinds of foods that will fill you up and keep your metabolism humming.
Fat and protein are very satiating. Consuming more fats and proteins might have the opposite effect of making you hungry. Instead, you might feel full and as a result eat less.
The effect is the same – too few calories can lead to a metabolism slow-down. It’s important to eat plenty of high-quality fats and proteins. Adding MCT oil to your diet is another great way to boost ketone production and feel satiated.
You’re Eating Too Much Fat
Not enough, too much. Which is it?
A common mistake people make when starting the keto diet is assuming that the more fat they eat, the faster they’ll get into ketosis and start losing weight.
Yes, it’s true that you need to eat plenty of healthy, high-quality fats on the keto diet but if you’re not losing weight it could be that you’re eating too much fat.
Fat contains a lot of calories, more than proteins or carbs, so it’s crucial that you keep track of both the calories and the grams in the fat you’re eating. Too much fat will create a surplus which can lead to weight gain.
Make sure that the amount of fat you’re eating is within your macros and still maintains the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
Dairy, nuts, and certain vegetables are generally accepted as being “safe” to eat on the keto diet. But there might be more carbs in these foods than you realize.
Eating too much dairy and nuts can increase your carb intake to the point where you’re over your daily macros. You should eat these foods in moderation and always be conscious of the grams of carbs and the calorie counts.
Certain vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage can have higher carb content too. This might surprise you since there a ton of recipes out there using these as ingredients so it appears as though you needn’t be concerned with the carb counts. You’ll want to watch your intake in order to avoid hidden carbs.
You’re Stressed Out
We’ve all heard how bad stress is for our overall physical and mental health. But did you know that too much stress can also sabotage your weight loss efforts?
When we’re under a lot of stress our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. We need a certain amount of cortisol in our system because it aids in keeping us alert and able to react quickly.
But too much cortisol will encourage your body to store fat, particularly in the stomach area. And if it becomes a chronic condition where you’re constantly in a high-stressed state it can become difficult to lose weight.
It’s almost impossible to avoid stress. We all have busy lives and responsibilities. But if you’re not losing weight on keto and you’re also very stressed, too much cortisol could be the culprit. Try to eliminate or reduce the situations in your life that are causing you stress, or try meditation or yoga to help calm frazzled nerves.
You’re Not Keeping Track Correctly
You may skip over this section because you think you’re diligently recording carbs, fat and protein.
But are you sure?
Carbs are sneaky. We’ve already discussed foods that you’ll want to consume in moderation even though they’re approved keto foods.
But some food labels may show 0 carbs when in reality it’s just less than 1 gram.
Take heavy cream for example. 1 tablespoon of heavy cream actually has 0.4 grams of carbs. If you have 2 cups of coffee with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in each cup, you’ve just added 1.6 grams of carbs.
The moral of the story is to not solely rely on nutritional labels for your carb counts. Some food companies choose to round down because it looks better. And if you’re using an app like MyFitnessPal to track your food be aware that user-submitted foods may also be rounded down.
I’m not saying don’t read or trust food labels at all, just do your own research to verify so you’re being as accurate as possible. Those sneaky percentages can add up very quickly.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Getting plenty of rest is necessary for mental and physical health. Personally, I’m a monster when I don’t get enough sleep. Crabby doesn’t even begin to describe it.
But sleep is another factor to successful weight loss. If you’re not getting enough sleep it can really throw your systems out of whack.
Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your metabolism and certain hormones responsible for regulating hunger.
Ghrelin is the hormone that causes the feeling of hunger and leptin is responsible for making you feel full.
If you’re not sleeping enough your ghrelin levels can increase and leptin can go down. This is the opposite of what you want to happen if you’re trying to lose weight.
When you’re feeling tired and out of sorts you’re more likely to make bad food choices so make sure you’re getting adequate sleep every night.
Don’t Give up Hope
It may take some time to diagnose the reason you’re not losing weight on keto but don’t give up hope! The ketogenic diet is a very effective method for weight loss but there are other health benefits you can gain too.
Correctly calculating your macros and tracking your food is extremely important to successfully losing weight on keto. But getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress, and being mindful of what you’re eating can also factor in.
Think about the reasons above and see if any of it applies to your situation. Adjust where necessary and you should be back on track to losing weight and feeling great!
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