Keto seems so easy? How could there be mistakes? Let me spare you the lessons I learned over the course of my 3 years living a ketogenic lifestyle. Here are my top 5 keto mistakes.
1. Not weighing your food
It might seem when starting a ketogenic diet that it is fairly easy to get a grip on and as long as you cut out your carbs, you should lose weight, right? WRONG! That would be a low-carb lifestyle if that was your method or approach.
A Ketogenic Lifestyle is a way of eating that forces your body into a state of ketosis, where your primary fuel source is ketones (fat). Which means you need to eat in a way that pushes your body into doing that. If you eat too many carbohydrates, even the good ones, you will never reach this state of fat burning.
A keto lifestyle is one that you eat high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrates, so you need to eat accordingly to your personal body and macros. I first recommend getting your macros calculated, I use this calculator.
Once you know your macros, you can start eating to those, and no more. That includes not overindulging in any one of those. If you eat too much fat, you will never dip into your fat stored on your body, if you eat too much protein, it could turn to glycogen in the bloodstream and again, not allowing you to dip into your fat stores and of course carbohydrates are pure glycogen in your body and you likely won’t be in nutritional ketosis.
I can’t stress it enough when you are in weight loss mode on keto that you weigh ALL of your foods.
2. Not learning what your Macros are
I’ve touched on getting your macros calculated above it, it is extremely important to understand what your individual body needs to thrive and to also lose.
Based on our gender, age, height, and current weight and activity level, we all have a Base Metabolic Rate (BMR).
The BMR represents your resting metabolic rate. Based on your activity level, you then need to calculate your daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This is the number of calories you need to consume each day when you do not want to lose weight.
To lose weight, you then need to calculate your TDEE at a deficit of how rapidly and healthily you want to lose weight. Often people when starting keto will start with a 20% deficit. That is healthy, but anything in addition to that can be risky and detrimental to your health. Stick with a max of 20% and you will be well on your way to the healthy body you desire.
3. Not taking supplements and electrolytes
This is an important one. You need a healthy regime of getting in your essential minerals and vitamins while on a ketogenic diet. You are restricting some food groups and the ketogenic lifestyle diet does not offer you much in regard to magnesium, potassium and also you don’t hold on to water as you do on a carb diet.
You often urinate on a ketogenic lifestyle, so guess where all your vitamins and minerals go? That’s right… down the drain. You need to replenish.
You need these vitamins and minerals for healthy gut, skin, nails, hair, bones, etc. They are essential and you won’t truly feel right if you are lacking in another of these.
Headaches, aching bones, muscle cramps are not “part” of the ketogenic diet, so you need to get in your electrolytes.
4. Not tracking your food
Don’t underestimate how much a few extra ounces of protein or carbohydrates might derail your progress or stall you from losing weight. It is crazy how sensitive our bodies are.
There is a myth out there that you can just eat butter and bacon and you will lose weight. This might be true for some but for the majority of us, we need to eat within our macros and at a deficit in our calories for our TDEE.
You just can’t know exactly how much you are consuming unless you are tracking your food and weighing everything, at least when you begin to live a keto lifestyle. I personally have gotten to the middle of my day and entered my things in myfitnesspal.com and to my surprise, I had already eaten on all my calories for the day. Now what?
You don’t want to overeat on any of your macros and not on your calories, so do yourself a favor and track your food in an app like My Fitness Pal and track everything that touches your lips, even gum! Get in the habit and you will continually see your weight drop if you stay diligent and strict.
5. Not hydrating enough
One statement “water helps flush out toxins from fat cells when they pop”. Do I have you convinced? Our bodies are over 60% water, we need it to survive.
You are not retaining the water that you once did on a carb loaded diet, so you have got to continually drink water so you don’t get dehydrated. And if you think you are drinking enough but don’t know for certain, you probably need another 20-30 ounces.
One thing I have learned in all my years of trying to live healthily if you don’t track water and be intent-full with consuming it, you likely won’t and are not drinking enough. So drink lots of water, aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces and watch that fat cells shrink and flush away… far far away from you!
And there are other ones like:
- having unrealistic expectations;
- weighing every day and focusing mainly on the scale;
- not taking your measurements and before photos from the day you start;
- eating sugar alcohols out of the gates;
- having too many keto treats and thinking they are “free” food;
- Instead of eating a carb you want, you overindulge in “keto foods” and exceed your calories for the day.
The above I would consider being minor mistakes on keto and ones that you can course correct.
The top 5 keto mistakes are what I believe to be fundamental mistakes that can derail your progress.