So you started the keto diet after seeing all your friends experience great weight loss results. You’re all excited to see how much you lose, but after a few weeks of following the keto diet you notice…. Nothing.
You’re confused. And maybe you feel even a little cheated. This was supposed to be a certainty. You cut back on carbs, increased your fat intake, and the weight was supposed to melt off. Only, it isn’t.
Don’t stress – this is actually more common than you may think. And also easy to fix by process of elimination.
Here are eight of the most common reasons you are not losing weight on the keto diet. This guide shows the potential pitfalls to be aware of when following the keto diet, as well as suggestions on how to overcome them, so you can start losing weight and feel amazing.
You Aren’t Actually In Ketosis
You may think that just by following a ketogenic diet for a few weeks, that you are automatically in ketosis. Unfortunately it is now quite that simple.
Different people different carbohydrate requirements to reach ketosis – for example you many require a maximum of 25 grams, while someone else can get away with 40 grams.
It can also take one person slightly longer to get into ketosis than another.
How To Tell You Are In Ketosis
The way to truly know that you are in ketosis is to test your ketone levels.
There are three ways to measure your ketones levels:
- Urine testing,
- Breath testing, or
- Blood testing (this is the most accurate)
Urine testing is the quickest and easiest way to test your ketone levels. Keto urine strips measure the number of ketose excreted in your urine.
This way can inaccurate though, as it only measures unused ketones, which can be affected by how much water you drink, and how fat-adapted you are. Once you become fat-adapted, your body will be better able to use up the ketones for energy.
This is a little more reliable than urine testing.
It is done by blowing into a breath analyzer, and it measures the levels of acetones that it detects.
This is the most accurate of testing your ketone levels.
You’ll need a specific blood meter, and be ok with pricking your finger. (It’s not as bad as it sounds!)
Nothing can dilute the results, which makes this the most accurate way to test the amount of blood ketones.
You Are Not Eating Enough Calories
Surprisingly, eating too few calories can actually slow down or halt your weight loss.
If you’re also cutting down on calories while following the keto diet, take care to not make the calorie deficit too large.
If you don’t eat enough, then your metabolism may slow down to conserve energy. Your metabolic rate will drop in order to protect your organs and your normal bodily functions.
This can happen also as a result of excessive exercise.
Even if you’re not actively cutting down on calories, you may unknowingly be eating too few calories.
Fat and protein are very satiating, so you may end up eating less than your body needs. After some time your body will think that food is becoming scarce, and slow down fat loss.
Use a keto macro calculator to calculate the number of calories you should be eating, as well as the correct macro breakdown, in order to lose weight. Then, follow that as closely as possible when planning your meals
You Are Eating Too Much Fat
Because fat is so satiating, and eating too much can make you feel ill, this one is fairly unlikely, but still a possibility.
Fats contain more than double the amount of calories than carbs or protein. It is crucial to track your macros to make sure you are hitting your targets, and not exceeding the fat allocation.
You Are Missing Hidden Carbs
A common mistake for people following the keto diet, is overeating on dairy and nuts.
While dairy and nuts are keto-approved, they should be eaten in moderation. They have a higher carbohydrate count than you may think!
Also be aware that some cruciferous vegetables may be the cause of your higher carbs. It is important to be conscious of how much you are eating of cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, and turnips.
You Have A Food Intolerance Or Sensitivity
You can be following your macros closely, and tracking your food carefully, only for food sensitivities to derail your weight loss efforts.
How it happens, is that a food sensitivity can cause an imbalance in the gut. This imbalance can lead to overall inflammation. And inflammation prevents weight loss and actually increases weight gain.
Many people have food sensitivities that they are not even aware of. A sensitivity to dairy is particularly common.
If you think you may a food intolerance or sensitivity, experiment by cutting out certain foods and seeing how your body reacts.
You Are Not Sleeping Enough
The role is sleep is often hugely underestimated when it comes to its impact on weight loss.
Sleep is essential for balancing your hormones. Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full.
When you are sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels go up and your leptin levels go down, which will negatively your weight loss.
Not getting enough sleep and being tired can also lead to making poor food choices, which you many not even be consciously aware of.
You Are Very Stressed
This is a very common factor when it comes to having difficulty losing weight.
When you are stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is more commonly known as the stress hormone. It is released when we are in “fight or flight” situations and the body needs to be ready to react quickly.
When you are constantly stressed, cortisol production becomes chronic.
One big problem with this in terms of weight loss, is that cortisol is also responsible for storing fat around your stomach area. When cortisol production becomes chronic, the fat around your stomach will start to increase.
Identify areas in your life that are causing you stress, and look for ways to either eliminate, reduce, or adapt your reaction to them.
You Are Leptin Resistant
We briefly mentioned leptin above, when discussing lack of sleep.
Leptin is a hormone produced in the body that tells your brain when your body is satiated from the food you are eating. Then your brain knows when to stop eating.
Leptin is produced by your fat cells, and is responsible how many calories we burn, how many we eat, and how much fat is carried in our bodies.
If you are leptin resistant, it means that your body is producing the leptin, but your brain is not properly registering the signals. So your brain doesn’t know your body is satiated and has enough energy, and keeps encourages your body to eat more and more.
Leptin resistance can be caused by bad sleeping patterns, overeating, stress, and a diet full of processed foods.
Leptin resistance can be overcome with time by cutting out all sugar, refined, and processed foods; reducing stress in your life; exercising more, and following a low-inflammation keto diet.
You will start to see a change in about 6 to 8 weeks.