Ketogenic Diet the BasicsYou jumped into a Keto diet because you wanted to lose weight quickly just like how thousands of other people did. But after an initial drop, you are no longer losing weight despite your continuing effort. You wonder why a keto diet is not working for you. In this article, we will go over 10 reasons you are not losing weight on keto diet. It might hurt your ear but if you are serious about losing weight, we are here to help.
You are eating wrong
Even if you are sticking to the target micronutrient ratio below, you are not losing weight as you hoped for.
60-75% from fat – > more than twice of calories of protein and carbs
15-13% from protein
5-10% from carbs
1. Not enough leafy vegetables
This might come to a shock to you. But the correct way to do a keto diet requires most of what you eat to come from leafy greens containing a rich amount of insoluble fiber such as spinach, kale, broccoli, bok-choy, cabbage, and chard.
Leafy greens are key success factors on keto. They are super high in nutrients but your body won’t store them as fat as the insoluble fiber in leafy greens is indigestible. Insoluble fibers also keep you full for a long time by keeping lots of water. They promote bowel movements, eliminate toxic waste in your colon, and balances the pH level in the intestine preventing from colorectal cancer.
Dietitians and doctors recommend you to eat at least 7 cups of leafy vegetables per day. But, if you don‘t feel well after eating leafy greens, that means your microbes are not in the right place yet. In that case, start slow and increase the volume gradually.
2. Too much protein
I’m sure your goal is to lose weight and not to lose muscle. Protein is essential to maintain your muscle mass but the excessive protein will not help you bulk. There are known risks associated with overeating protein. A bad breath, a damaged kidney from overuse, dehydration, and constipation are only a few side effect. Excess protein can also turn into fat and prevent you from getting into ketosis.
A recommended protein intake is 0.8g per pound of your body weight. If you weigh 180 LB, you can consume 144g of protein a day (0.8g x 180LB) that is equivalent to two of 8oz sirloin steaks.
3. Not tracking carbohydrates intake
As you know, a ketogenic diet requires you to limit carbohydrates consumption to net 30g per day. Depending on how much you weigh, you can go as low as net10-20g per day.
By not tracking your carb intake, you most likely go outside of the range because it’s impossible to compute how many carbs you are eating in each meal in your head. There are lots of tracking apps and websites that are helpful and easily accessible.
4. Snacking when not hungry
When you do a keto right, your body is a fat burning machine. But if you snack when you are not hungry, your insulin rises, you get kicked out of ketosis, and stop burning fat. If you eat the right amount of nutrients in each meal, you will no longer get the urge to snack when not hungry.
If you are can’t stop snacking, try these tips: 7 Tips to Overcome Emotional Eating
5. Consuming dangerous fake sugar
I beg you to do your best to avoid artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Equal), Saccharine (Sweet n’ Low), Sucralose (Splenda). They are often included in “low calorie” and “no sugar” food products and have a high glycemic index which is not keto diet friendly. Also, they can increase your appetite and make you crave for more synthetic sweetners.
Followings are sweeteners approved on a keto diet (zero calories, zero GI index):
- Stevia (PureVila, Truvia) – extracted from Stevia rebaudiana and has 30 to 150 times sweeter than sugar
- Monk fruit (Raw, Nectresse) – has 150 to 200 times of the sweetness compared to sugar
Inulin – extracted from chicory root and has only 35% of the sweetness of sugar
- Erythritol – sugar alcohol that is 60-70% as sweet as sugar. It has a cold sweet taste.
6. Not enough electrolytes
Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that maintain fluid in a cell. 4 main electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Here are the primary symptoms of electrolytes deficiencies:
- Sodium – a headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea. Add extra sea salt in your diet.
- Potassium – fatigue, brain fog, sugar craving, constipation. – eat more greens such as spinach, broccoli, zucchini, and peas
- Magnesium – weak muscles, irregular heartbeat, irritability, low sleep quality. Increase consumption of leafy gees and seafood
- Calcium – cramp on your leg or feet, irritable, twitching on your fact, cough, depression and sleeping issues. Can be supplemented from dairy products.
You can also supplement electrolytes via Electrolyte Powder to prevent from the keto flu.
Even if you are strictly sticking with meal plans, you might fail on keto. There are several reasons.
Keto flu is not a joke. It’s painful, and it seems to last forever. Symptoms include fatigue, headache, irritability, brain fog, nausea, craving sugar, bad breath, etc. It happens when your body is trying to switch the primary energy source from carbs to fat. But you know it will pass eventually. Here are tips on how to manage keto flu:
1. As discussed above, take enough electrolyte via food or via supplemental powder. Also, B vitamins helped my blues away.
2. Drink plenty of water until your urine’s color is light yellow or clear. Water will help relieve headache and increase your energy level.
3. Drink bone broth which adds essential amino acids (arginine, glutamine, cysteine) and electrolytes. These amino acids help improve immunity, mood, and hydration better than water. Drink 40 or 50 oz a day along with your meals. I like the additives and preservatives free bone broth, Kettle Fire that gives me energy and helps get over keto flu fast!
4. Eat more healthy fat such as MCT oil, olive oil, and coconut oil to assist your body to transition process of energy source from carbs to fat. Make sure your total calorie makes up for the carbs you are cutting down.
5. Add physical activity if you are not already doing. I know you don’t feel like exercising at all when you are experiencing the keto flu. But exercising will use up carbs left in your body and enforce your body to learn to use fat as a fuel source faster. Light cardio exercises like walking and spinning would be a great way to burn carbohydrates.
6. Try to get quality sleep because your body has been busy adapting to changes the keto diet is causing. Also, cortisol, a stress hormone, can increase from lack of sleep and worsen the keto flu symptoms.
7. Do your best and be patient. Depending on your effort, a keto flu can last for a few days to a week, or even longer if you are doing a quick and dirty keto.
8. Your expectations are too high
You read about many people who lost a substantial number of pounds during such a short time period and compared them to yourself. Those people with rapid weight loss are most likely heavier and have never been on a real diet. If you’ve been on a diet before and if you are lean, you might struggle to lose a few pounds. There is no reason you should be frustrated and break down when your scale is not moving.
9. Expecting a linear weight loss
A large drop on your first week is simply water weight. During the next couple of weeks, when your body is trying to adopt ketosis, your weight can fluctuate back and forth because your muscle still can store sugar with water. If you work on weight training, gained muscles will be heavier than lost fat.
Key to get through a keto plateau is not to weigh yourself every day. In a long run, a break-through will come and what’s important is not losing weight every day but losing weight over time and being able to maintain a healthy weight.
10. You didn’t have a solid plan
When I went on a keto diet, I didn’t have a long-term plan. I wanted to give it a shot and see where it takes me. I leaned hard way I needed a good plan, a goal, and knowledge to get through the toughest first month. What I needed from the beginning were:
1. A reasonable but healthy goal for weight loss – it should be based on your current BMI and can be pounds or body fat% if your scale shows you that
2. Well-balanced nutritious meal plans – then you don’t have to research and find out what you can eat on keto and what to cook
3. Detailed guidance on how to overcome the keto flu – There will be times you struggle with keto flu symptoms even though you know they are coming. Knowing how to prevent or mitigate symptoms will give you an advantage over most of the keto dieters
4. How to deal with social pressures and tips for eating out – everyone will have a social lunch or dinner that can throw you out of ketosis
5. Keto friendly dessert – if you have a sweet tooth, finding out sweets options during keto would help you get through tough times. Know that sweets are not banned on keto if you choose wisely.
That’s why I recommend joining an established program like The 28-Day Keto Challenge.
It not only provides basic guidance and meal plans, but it also guides you to get through the transition period faster and adopt ketosis as little as 3 days. Incorporating intermittent fasting is another helpful tip worked for me. If you are now determined to get through your first 28 days, check out the 28-Day Keto Challenge below now.
I’d love to hear from you! Please leave comments below to let us know your experience with keto diet – what you struggled with and what worked and what didn’t.