Understanding the key components of the ketogenic diet will be key for you to lose weight if that is your ideal outcome.
Since you’ll be reducing the amount of carbohydrates you’re used to eating to 5% roughly of your overall daily calorie intake, it may be causing you to break a few rules and get maximum benefits.
Before getting on the keto or lower-carb diet, your body breaks down carbs into glucose, which it uses for energy.
As glucose depletes in your body, you enter a state called ketosis, where your body begins to burn ketones for fuel.
Once you enter into a state of ketosis, your body knows exactly what to do and is very efficient in using the food you give it to run on.
This fat-burning stage is why so many people turn to the ketogenic diet, as it can cause a big drop in weight in a very short period if done correctly.
However, if you’re getting one or a few of the rules of the keto diet wrong, then you’ll likely not lose any weight or end up even gaining weight when trying to start.
By avoiding the common mistakes most beginners make on the keto diet, you’ll be able to achieve the weight loss goals you’re looking for.
Not Reaching Ketosis
Never reaching ketosis will ensure your body won’t go into the fat-burning stage we mentioned earlier.
Since your carbohydrates make up roughly 5% of your daily intake, it’s a very small amount of food you can consume, and a lot of food is made up of carbohydrates.
If you go overboard with carbs, your body will never fully adapt to the diet to where you can reach the stage of ketosis.
To give you an idea, only 20-50 grams of carbs is all you’ll be able to eat, and they should come mostly from vegetables.
The slightest spike in blood sugar will reset the clock again for you and prevent you from burning your fat stores as fuel.
Just because you’ve drastically cut your carbohydrate intake doesn’t mean that you’re following the diet exactly the way it needs to be followed.
The best way to know if you’re in ketosis is to test yourself. There are plenty of ways to do this, but a simple urine test will tell you all you need to know.
If you’ve been testing yourself and you’re consistently not reaching a level of ketosis, then you need to look at the breakdown of the foods you’re consuming.
Ketones can also be tested on your breath or through blood tests.
Consuming Foods High In Protein
You’re allowed a moderate amount of protein on the ketogenic diet, and many people think that they can consume high amounts of it.
That’s a bad way of thinking, as eating too much protein can kick you out of ketosis just like carbs can.
This is because the body can break down protein into amino acids, which can then be converted into sugar or glucose.
You should be getting about 75% of your intake from fats and about 20% from protein.
If you’re consistently going over that, then you’re most certainly not getting into ketosis.
Consuming Too Many Carbohydrates
You knew this one was coming.
We know by now that entering ketosis is the main objective, so going overboard on carbs, even the good kinds, will not get you the results you’re looking for.
For instance, just because you heard or read that almonds are great to eat on the ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you can’t eat too much of them.
You have to know the breakdown of almonds (and other food you’re consuming, for that matter).
For instance, an ounce is twenty-eight grams and contains five grams of carbs. Three of which come from fiber, so that’s two net carbs.
Even though two net carbs may not sound like a lot, if you’re already on the borderline of consuming too many carbs, this would not be a wise choice to eat.
Almonds are higher in protein too and contain about 6 grams for every ounce.
So if you’re on the borderline of going too high on protein, then this would also not be a wise choice to eat for that reason as well.
This is not about picking on almonds, as they’re a very good snack for people on the ketogenic diet.
It’s just an example of what you need to look for, and be careful of ,when eating foods. Preplanning your meals and even snacks will be key.
Not Calorie Counting
Counting calories is a good practice to get into, and with the use of fitness apps like MyFitnessPal, you can easily keep track of the food you consume in a day.
Calorie tracking apps will help you understand the breakdown of foods so that you can play with the right balance for your daily calorie intake.
Also, just because you’re in a state of ketosis doesn’t mean that you can’t consume too much food.
Although you will be in ketosis, eating more calories than your body burns will result in weight gain.
This is why we recommend intermittent fasting alongside the keto diet because when you eat in a smaller window, you tend to consume less.
Non-Stop Snacking & Alcohol Consumption
I hate to be a Debby Downer, but alcohol has no place in the keto diet.
Studies have shown that alcohol does not help with weight loss. (1)
In fact, the more you drink, the harder it is to lose weight because the body will burn the alcohol for energy first. On top of that, alcohol sometimes leads to overeating.
Snacking will prevent weight loss as well. More studies are coming out where consuming your calories between 1-2 meals a day will aid in more weight loss. (2)
You’re Not Working Out And Constantly Stressed
Working out has also been proven to lower stress levels and balance out your lifestyle. Stress is very important to eliminate as it’s been linked with obesity (6).
Here are a few extra tips to help you on your weight loss journey.
- Make sure you hydrate. Drinking plenty of water has been shown to help keep hydration high when on the keto diet, as you’ll be losing electrolytes due to water loss from not eating carbohydrates.
- Keep a journal. If you’re not going to use an app to keep track of your calories, at least keep a journal to write in the meals you consume each day. This will help keep you accountable and see what you’re putting in your body. If you’re snacking too much, you’ll immediately know since you’ll see it written down. Look for destructive patterns and work to resolve them.
- Black coffee and gum. Black coffee can help stave off hunger when fasting, and gum can help keep away cravings. Both trick your brain to your benefit.
- Get plenty of sleep. Not only will it help you with stress, but sleep is an incredible body cleanser. It’s good for both the body and the brain.
As with any diet, there will be a learning curve to get everything down correctly.
Testing and tweaking to find what works for you will be necessary to achieve your goals.
With minor adjustments along the way, you’ll be at your ideal weight before you know it.
Stick with it as consistency and discipline is the key.