Studies have proven that low-carb diets are the most effective tool for losing excess body fat. Despite that, it’s not uncommon for many people to hit a weight loss plateau with low carb diets. By weight loss plateau, I mean the frustration someone feels when they start concentrating on the scale and do not see it move, up or down, for weeks. No matter what you do, the extra pounds of body fat are just not coming off. Keto Struggles can be hard!
Specific diet plans such as fat fast has helped many people break through long-lasting plateaus but fat fast shouldn’t be used as a quick fix every time your weight is stalling. In the long term, you need to focus on getting your diet right and avoid some of the common mistakes listed below.
Using keto as a Quick Fix
Some people may use the keto diet as a quick fix to their body issues. Rest assured, keto diets are NOT quick fixes, just as supplements should not be used as quick fixes for fast weight loss. Ketogenic living is a lifestyle change that you’ll want to stick with to benefit from long term results.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll most likely see some quick changes on the scale, but let me explain why. Carbohydrates hold onto water. In fact, glycogen holds 2.7 g of water per gram. When carbohydrates are not consumed, more water is released from the body thus showing us big drops of numbers on the scale due to water weight loss.
When you see these numbers drop quickly, some, not all tend to jump right back into their old eating habits like before and expect those changes in the number to stick around. It’s very easy to fall back into your old body and you’ll be right back to square one if you do this.
Again, the ketogenic lifestyle is a change that you need to be prepared to stick with for long term.
Not Knowing Your Macros
As you may know, calories do count, even on a low-carb, ketogenic diet. When you eat nutritious foods low in carbs, moderate in protein and high in fat, you will naturally eat less. For this reason, most of you won’t need to count calories on a keto diet.
However, just following a low-carb diet doesn’t guarantee weight loss. It helps to keep an eye on your fat intake. The closer you get to your target weight, the more important that becomes. Additionally, you need to ensure that you’re eating sufficient amount of protein to stay satiated and prevent muscle loss. You can find out your ideal macronutrients by using our keto calculator.
For a quick guide on how to set up your macros with myfitnesspal and carb manager use this guide in the Bee-Xtreme Community.
Only Focusing on Carbs
Most of you know that when following a ketogenic diet, you have to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you are eating. However, this doesn’t mean that the less carbs you eat, the more weight you are going to lose. In fact, I’ve seen many people following a close to zero-carb diet who were plateauing or even gaining weight. A very low-carb diet will simply not ensure fat loss!
Some people do well on a moderate carbohydrate diet while others see better results with a greater carb restriction. There is simply no one way for all and that’s why we need to embrace personalized nutrition in order to determine the best method for each individual
I use non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds and berries, which are all high in fiber, thus total carbs
Not Eating Adequate Protein
Eating sufficient protein is important, especially for those who are trying to lose weight. Adding some protein within the recommended limits may help you break through a long-lasting plateau. When you eat a high-protein meal, your body releases glucagon which counterbalances insulin and plays a significant role in satiety.
This doesn’t mean that you should overeat protein. Protein is not a particularly efficient fuel source and too much of it may raise your insulin levels. As you may know, high insulin levels will block fat burning. Also, not all protein sources are equal and some amino acids may cause greater insulin spikes. You don’t need to worry about a few extra grams of protein.
Eating slightly more protein will not kick you out of ketosis because not all excess protein converts into glucose via gluconeogenesis. We generally do not recommend using protein shakes on the ketogenic diet due to the high insulin spikes associated with protein shakes.
Make sure you also include quality protein sources such fatty fish high in omega 3s.
Not Eating Adequate Fat
When following a ketogenic diet, you regulate your energy intake via fat, as protein and carbs remain more or less constant. It’s simple: if you want to lose body fat, you need to stay in a calorie deficit. You should get most of your fats from omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish, and foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids such as avocados and extra virgin olive oil.
Also, make sure you get enough vitamin D. Chances are that even if you eat fatty fish and other foods high in vitamin D, you may be deficient in this vital micronutrient.
Avoiding Vegetables and Fiber
Non-starchy vegetables have their place in a healthy low-carb diet. There is no reason to avoid vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers or fruits like avocado or berries. These foods are very high in micronutrients, low in carbs and won’t impair your weight loss efforts. So unless you have food sensitivities you should include them in your diet.
We whole heartedly believe in a healthy ketogenic diet so consuming enough veggies is vital in our opinion. We recommend if eating 3 meals a day, to aim for about 7 cups of veggies throughout your day. If you’re practicing intermittent fasting with the ketogenic way of eating (which usually comes naturally, read more about IF here) you should consume about 5 cups of veggies a day.
If you’re a warrior and only consume one meal a day, which many people do, please make sure you are consuming at least 4-5 cups of veggies with your meal for adequate micronutrient counts.
If you do not get adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients with the ketogenic diet, it can escalate to a slew of problems. If you do not consume enough veggies consider taking an electrolytes supplement.
Focusing on the Scale
Yes, the diet is designed to help you lose body fat, thus shedding the pounds off your body. However, this is a process and obsessing over your weight is only going to make things harder.
Checking your weight multiple times a day or even on a daily basis is going to make you get in your own head and things will start to slowly go downhill from there.
You have to trust that if you’re doing everything the right way, staying away from the sugars and carbs and hitting your macros every day, the weight is going to come off. That’s just how it is.
Checking your weight hours apart is going to get you discouraged. You can’t expect to see a massive change in weight in a matter of hours. Significant change happens over multiple days and weeks, not hours.
I would suggest that you only check your weight once a week. If you need to check your weight daily it’s best to check first thing in the morning after your first urination. The same time every week as well. Give yourself a minute time slot on the same day of each week to see the progress you’ve made up to now. This is when you’ll start to actually see the change you’re expecting
Being Afraid of Fats
Most of us growing up were always told that fat is bad for you. Well with this diet, you need to eat fat to lose fat. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it works. Some people may see that once they’ve calculated their macros, the amount of fat they have to eat is a massive amount.
On this diet, you may have to consume a large amount of fat to help your body reach the goal you’ve set for yourself. About 70% of the food you eat needs to come from fats. That’s a high percentage of your food content and may come as a shock to you, but to be successful with this diet, this is how things need to be.
Don’t be afraid of the amount of fat you have to eat.
Understand that this diet is only going to help you in the end so if you follow everything how it is presented to you, you’ll have almost no problems. To go along with the last mistake, you need to make sure you’re eating the right fats.
Don’t just assume that since your meeting your daily fats requirement that it means you’re eating the right kind of fats. There is such a thing as good fats and bad fats.The bad fats that people may struggle with are the processed fats. This can be found in processed vegetable oils. So, because of this, cooking with these oils is a no-no.
Fats that you want to be consuming are the saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and naturally occurring trans fats. Getting these types of fats are fairly easy when you’re looking to avoid all of the processed trans fats.
These good fats can be found in butter, eggs, avocados, walnuts, and fish oils. There are plenty of other sources for these fats, but those are just a few examples. You can get these fats through fat bombs as well. These are going to give you the fats you may desperately need when you’re on this diet. Adds those to your meals and you’ll see that you’re hitting your fats requirement while staying with the good fats.
Too Much Stress
Stress is a significant factor when it comes to weight loss. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels rise. This will then raise blood sugar and lower ketone levels. In order to cope with chronically elevated blood sugar, your body will produce more insulin to cope with chronically high blood sugar. When that happens, you will find it difficult to get into fat-burning mode. I know, it’s easy to say and difficult to do but try to reduce your stress levels.
Here are a few tricks you can try:
Too much exercise, especially chronic cardio, increases stress hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol is linked to increased fat storage, especially the unhealthy visceral fat round your belly. Try strength training and yoga instead of some of your cardio sessions
Try supplements such as melatonin, magnesium (Natural Calm) and B-complex, that will help you reduce your stress levels and improve circadian rhythms.
Don’t spend too much time on the Internet. It’s no secret that social media and constant checking of your inbox are significant stress factors. Read books, meet friends or go for a walk instead.
Not Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep or a circadian rhythm disorder may be one of the factors. With less energy, it will be more difficult to lose weight. Sleep deprived individuals produce less growth hormone, have impaired glucose metabolism and show a decreased level of leptin – the hormone that signals satiety.
Lack of sleep also leads to an increased level of ghrelin – the hormone that tells the brain when we are hungry. People who are sleep deprived are more likely to store body fat. Here are some tips:
- Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep every day
- Don’t eat heavy meals before bed. Your body
- needs to rest, not spend the whole night digesting your dinner.
- Don’t exercise 3-4 hours before bed.
- Don’t use your computer before bed and try blue light blockers.
- Sleep in complete darkness. If possible, don’t keep your laptop, tablet or phone in the bedroom.
Not Enough Water
During a keto diet, your body is going to lose a lot of fluids, so it’s important to stay as hydrated as possible. For some reason, people seem to forget about this a lot.You’re losing a lot of fluids and electrolytes that can easily be put back into your body through water.
When you aren’t staying hydrated, your body is going to store as much fat as possible. Again, this is the opposite of what we want to happen. Staying hydrated also means that your organs are going to be working the way they should. Your body will be working like a well-oiled machine. Aim to drink at least 64 oz of water a day. Ideally you should try to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
Comparing Yourself to Others
This is huge for everyone. Whether or not we consciously realize that we are doing it, we are always comparing ourselves to others. Constantly comparing yourself to others only weighs negatively on you and never achieves anything. Always compare yourself to your previous self and no one else. Are you making progress? Good! That’s where you need to be.
Not Enough Sleep
The process of getting into ketosis, when your body starts using fat as its energy source, can cause you to lose a little bit of sleep. You need to do what you can to get the proper amount of sleep that you need. Everyone needs sleep and getting the right amount can go a long way.
Not getting the right amount of sleep will prevent your body from functioning as well as it should. If you’re able to get a good nights rest, your body will be better equipped to handle the changes it’s starting to go through with the keto diet.
Eating Too Many Nuts
One of the common mistakes people make is to overeat nuts. You may experience weight stalling or even weight gain not because nuts will kick you out of ketosis but because they are calorie-dense and easy to overeat. 100 grams of macadamia nuts have over 700 kcal and over 70 grams of fat which is half of the energy intake for most people trying to lose weight.
This doesn’t mean you have to exclude nuts altogether. Nuts are particularly high in insoluble fiber which has zero effect on blood sugar. That’s just one of the reasons why you shouldn’t worry about their relatively high total carb count.
How About Peanuts?
Peanuts are legumes which are avoided on a keto & primal/paleo diet for two reasons. Firstly, although they are relatively low in carbs, peanuts contain lectins and phytates which makes them hard to digest. Also, legumes in general have been linked to leaky gut syndrome, PCOS, IBS and Hashimoto’s. I do eat peanuts but I have to eat them in moderation. They are addicting little creatures especially when you’re craving that “crunch”.
Eating Too Much Dairy
Full-fat dairy commonly eaten on a ketogenic diet is high in calories and easy to overeat. Also, dairy contains a specific type of protein that can lead to greater insulin spikes than other protein source If dairy makes your insulin spike, cut back on high-protein dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
Eating Products Labeled “Low-Carb”
Simply put: Eat real food. Avoid prepared meals full of additives and deceptive labelling. It’s no secret that low-carb products are often higher in carbs than they claim to be or contain unwanted additives. A common practice is to exclude all sugar alcohols and other sweeteners from the carb count. This is wrong as not all sugar alcohols and other sweeteners have zero effect on blood sugar. There are a few decent products you can use even on a keto diet but you have to be extra careful.
Drinking “Bulletproof” Coffee Every Day
There are a few reasons why I don’t drink “bulletproof” aka butter coffee every day. I like the taste and drink it occasionally, usually instead of breakfast – not as part of it. BPC is mostly fat and very low in other nutrients. While for some people it seems to suppress hunger, I wouldn’t personally drink it every day. While BPC may be a good addition to your diet, you should get your calories from real nutritious foods together with protein, vitamins and minerals.
Not Exercising Right
Not exercising at all or exercising too much are both counterproductive for weight loss on a keto diet. In a nutshell:
Never use exercise to burn calories. This approach simply doesn’t work in the long-term. Studies show that excessive exercise leads to an increased appetite and you will likely eat more.
Depending on your goal, choose the right type of exercise. Light cardio shows to have great health benefits, especially for the heart and
brain. Weight training and HIIT are great tools for muscle growth and long-term weight loss.
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Toni Sweeney is a Triple Certified Ketogenic Diet and Primal Health Coach and weight loss expert who personally lost 80 pounds while making a total lifestyle change. The founder of Bee-Xtreme Supplements and TS Transformations her formulas and plans has helped thousands of women lose weight and keep it off forever.