Late-night eating, consuming too many carbs, and playing loose and fast with caloric intake can all result in less-than-impressive results on the scale.
And it's easy to lose sight of your nutritional goals throughout the week without a structured meal plan and fitness targets, along with surrounding yourself with like-minded people also committed to living well.
Unfortunately, some lose hope with their attempts at eating a ketogenic diet for weight loss because they're approaching the process without the guidance and best practices needed to ease the transition to the low-carb, high-fat lifestyle.
However, there's no need for alarm. There are some common mistakes made by those starting a keto diet, and we'll cover those blunders, along with some helpful tips, to ensure that your journey to a leaner and more vitalized you is within reach—with minimal fuss—once you commit to cutting the carbs.
Here are some of the common mistakes people make that lead to setbacks and stalls on a keto diet:
Winging it without a plan: The adage that states if one fails to plan, they plan to fail is wise. Having a focused and detailed plan is the key to hitting any targeted goal.
Approaching a ketogenic diet can feel overwhelming, especially if you're coming to the lifestyle with a particularly pesky sweet tooth. However, wielding the wonderous wilds of a well-crafted keto meal plan can banish temptation and help you stay focused.
We know the importance of leveraging a personalized meal plan; it can work as your secret weapon during your weight-loss journey. However, many within the Konscious Keto community has asked for more specialized guidance regarding the best program to meet their dietary needs, and we heard you!
We composed a brief yet effective 30-second questionnaire to generate your tailored meal plan suited to your preferences, goals, and needs.
Restricting nutritious foods and calories excessively: Although managing macros and keeping a close eye on maintaining a caloric deficit is essential when trying to lose weight, curbing intake too much can backfire.
It's crucial to eat adequate calories to support your activity level, cognitive demands or meet your everyday basic needs.
Skimping on exercise: You can lose body fat without exercising, but you may not love the results—potentially significant amounts of loose and flabby skin. While cutting carbs and curbing calories is a great way to lose weight rapidly, maintaining or beginning a regular exercise regimen is vital to preserve and enhance muscle tone.
Also, there's no need to do anything rigorous or high-impact. Low and slow or endurance activities—like pilates or speed walking—that elevate the heart rate are excellent options to burn energy while maintaining moderate-to-high intensity without any jarring on the joints.
Indulging in too many high-calorie "keto-friendly" snacks: Including a wide variety of keto-friendly packaged snacks can act as an excellent tool to help you keep it keto on the go. But eating them too often can stall progress on the scale.
Remember, calories still count when you're eating keto treats. Plus, some sweeteners and ingredients used, like sucralose (Splenda), may cause you to crave more carbs and sweets—not helpful to those trying to lose weight by ditching sugar.
Consider limiting and planning your snacks so you monitor your intake and don't overdo it. Plus, making keto snacks at home is a fantastic way to control the quality of ingredients used to customize your meals.
Snoozing on the importance of sleep: Staying up to complete work or home-based tasks may seem like a great way to burn some extra calories, but remember that rest is as important as activity; we need our slumber to recover and rejuvenate. Plus, our bodies perform an endless amount of neurological and restorative tasks during sleep that helps regulate our hormones and system functions, and adequate levels of sleep can make or break your wellness regimen.
You're eating more carbs than you think: You may eat an extra slice of keto bread or opt to dine on pumpkin puree a few times a week and find yourself facing a caloric surplus by Friday. If you notice the scale stalled or your clothes fit a bit tighter, consider logging your macros each day for a week. Also, you can log your food in a journal to get a clear handle on your intake to identify where you might be derailing your dietary progress.
You may need to consider another underlying condition: Visiting your physician may also be wise if you notice no change in weight or a reduction in inches after months of following the ketogenic diet; there may be other matters of causation to address.
Weight stalls or gains when managing caloric intake could indicate an underlying health issue needing attention and care. Metabolic problems like insulin resistance or disorders like PCOS can cause significant issues for those seeking to release excess body fat. They may be the cause of your stubborn extra LBs.
Plus, knowledge is power as you can make wiser decisions and create better results with the right information applied appropriately. In short: always have a plan!
There are key points to consider when beginning a ketogenic diet to avoid or mitigate transitionary phases like the ‘keto flu’ or ‘keto rash’, which can occur as the body adjusts to running on fat for fuel. Check out our post to gain insights on the best way to begin the low-carb, high-fat diet free of these uncomfortable states.
And there’s no need to dwell on mistakes made; we’d rather focus on solutions. Check out our guides to avoiding additional commonly-made mistakes on keto and how to fix them, along with the top reasons for weight-loss stalls on a low-carb diet—the information will help you avoid some common slip-ups and fasttrack you to success.
OK, now that we've gotten the common blunders and oversights out of the way, we can focus our attention on the ways to win while eating a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet!
- Minimize your carb consumption: This tip may seem obvious, but it's important enough to reiterate. Reduce your carbohydrate intake to less than 20 net grams of carbs per day or 50 total carbs daily as a starting point and monitor your progress—making adjustments if needed.
Also, keep a close eye on the types of carbs you're eating. Stick to lower-glycemic, slow-digesting, options like asparagus and broccoli over carrots and sweet potatoes to keep sugar intake minimum. Minor tweaks can yield significant results over time.
- Include coconut oil in your diet: Medium-chain fatty acids are accessible for the body to assimilate and use as energy, and coconut oil is rich in these dynamic fats.
Use cold-pressed expeller oil when possible. However, using refined coconut oil comes in handy when making specific recipes to omit any coconut flavor if undesirable.
- Ramp up your physical activity: Burning calories elevates the heart rate, gets the blood pumping, and boosts ketone production, which is an excellent benefit when working to achieve fat adaptation—where your body begins running efficiently on fat rather than glucose for fuel.
Plus, strength training and cardio will help keep your body tight as you whittle your waist, preventing excess loose skin for those with significant amounts of weight to lose.
- Increase your healthy fat intake: Healthy fats in avocado or certain fish provide heart-healthy monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. Plus, increasing healthy fat intake
aids in satiety to help you feel full but not weighed down.
There are various fat sources to enjoy on keto to boost energy and prevent sugar and carb cravings. Try some of the following fat sources to keep you feeling full and satisfied:
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Rendered bacon fat
- MCT oil
- Coconut oil
Plus, eating your fats can be a sweet endeavor. Try some of our favorite keto fat bomb recipes to include a little extra fat in your daily diet with the aid of a delectable confection.
- Try water or fat fasting: Sometimes, the body needs a jumpstart to exit a rut. And a fast is the perfect tool to get the system running optimally and efficiently.
A fast gives the body more energy to dedicate to restorative and regenerative cellular tasks and gives the digestive system a break while helping to reset your natural appetite.
Plus, there are different ways to approach fasting to find a protocol that suits you best. For example, consider a fat fast, egg fast, or beef & butter fast, or intermittent daily fasting to enjoy the benefits of utilizing timed eating windows.
- Maintain adequate protein intake: It's wise not to overdo it with protein; moderate levels are best on a ketogenic diet unless you're very physically active or an athlete.
The ideal protein intake for each individual will vary based on various factors, including gender, age, and general energy needs. However, skimping on muscle-building protein can adversely affect recovery and the ability to acquire lean muscle—beware!
Consider that an adult should consume between 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 0.7 grams per pound. For instance, an 150lb adult should aim for about 105 grams of protein per day.
Use the figures shared above as a baseline and adjust your intake according to your individual physical makeup and corresponding dietary needs.
- Test ketone levels and adjust your diet as needed: A lot of how foods affect our body is guesswork unless we test our blood sugar or ketone levels post-meal.
You can use a blood, urine, or breathalyzer-style tester to monitor how your glucose levels shift after eating different foods to see which may compromise ketosis or sharply spike blood sugar levels.
Plus, there are many other tips and best practices to consider when embarking on a keto diet. So take some time to review a few of our following posts on the keys to success on keto to make your journey clear and straightforward from day one.
Starting on the right foot makes all the difference when following a keto diet. Discovering your macros and customizing your caloric intake to support your energy output is imperative to configure a program that's right for you.
Check out our Konscious Keto guide to starting the diet for some tips to help fast-track your success. Also, check out our recent post advising some best practices for those new to the low-carb, high-fat diet to help ease the transition to the fat-fueled lifestyle.
Plus, so much of our overall health is associated with our gut microbiome. Some even revere proper gut function as the foundation to a healthy immune system and overall proper system functioning, with some in wellness circles coining it the 'second brain'.
Take the time to browse our article dedicated to the ins-and-outs of the probiotic ketogenic diet, who it can benefit, and when it may help to implement this approach to low-carb living.
Along with dodging sugar, it's essential to opt for foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes to fuel your days. Source the cleanest fat sources possible, using cold-pressed and organic oils whenever available, and focus on eating loads of dark leafy greens and as much living food as you can to keep you feeling invigorated and energized.
No worries, you have access to a vast realm of zero-carb and low-carb foods filled with fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer throughout the day on keto, and many of them are in the dark leafy green family of foods—so your choices are virtually limitless!
Check out our comprehensive grocery list of keto-friendly low-carb and no-carb foods to enjoy in your keto meal plan for weight loss. It's sure to provide loads of recipe ideas and tips to implement immediately in your low-carb regimen.
Plus, there's no need to fret if your budget is lean and needs stretching throughout the week. It's entirely possible to eat a keto diet on a dime without sacrificing flavor or sustenance. Check out our clever tips and hacks to save a bunch on your grocery bill while enjoying all the diverse and delightful flavors of low-carb fare.
And every household with kids tends to want to learn crossover recipes like Hamburger Helper remixes and meatloaf medleys to keep the troops rallied and morale high while getting everyone to eat the same meals.
So here's a catalog of some of our favorite ground beef recipes that are sure to please the entire family—whether they're following a keto diet or just love eating yummy food!
Also, some go wrong by thinking that all fruits and vegetables are created equal, but this isn't true. For example, higher-glycemic produce can spike blood sugar and cause insulin irregularities, leading to several metabolic disorders.
Stick to dark leafy and cruciferous veggies and low-glycemic berries like those featured in our 'best and worst' keto produce options for those following a ketogenic diet.
Plus, there are many ways to enhance your experience on a keto diet. Here are some pieces focused on ways to maximize your keto journey and prevent common mishaps along the way. Use them as the powerful tools that they are—they’re a priceless secret weapon!
Plus, we share tips on the blog to help you clean up your diet to become a healthier eater today. Check out techniques to leverage meal prep to set yourself up for success throughout the week, and we’ll even share tips on how to do cheat meals right on keto—to enjoy all the treats without the carbs and unwanted sugars.
Most people fail due to a refusal to plan. Winging it with anything will return about a 50/50 chance of success—not ideal odds when the stakes are high as is the case with our health and wellness.
Approaching the keto diet with a program, meal plan, helpful processes like meal prep, and specific staple ingredients will make a world of difference to keep your carb and sugar intake super low, while allowing you to recreate recipes you know and love to keep you feeling satisfied every step of the way.
Plus, you'll find yourself hitting your stride in no time with a bit of foresight and a well-stocked pantry and fridge!
Arm yourself with the knowledge needed to avoid the mishaps that derail most people's success on keto, like the tips we’ve shared, implement the hacks we've mentioned to maximize results, and have patience as weight loss and wellness is a process and a lifestyle, a marathon and not a sprint.
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