Before knowing about the common keto mistakes you should be clear about what keto diet is and what it is not so that you can set very realistic expectations in your journey.
The ketogenic diet is a very effective way to lose weight. Because your body is no longer getting enough carbohydrates as an energy supplier, it is looking for a different and far better source of energy, namely fat.
But keto is more than just a "diet", it is a new way of life for many people and the step into a healthier future. Like all changes in life, this process also needs time, patience, and certainly at least at the beginning discipline.
Many people report tremendous health improvements and huge weight losses, but the plan doesn't always work and sometimes the scales don't move a bit. If this happens to you, you may be doing something wrong.
There are many small stumbling blocks that can lead to you not getting into ketosis properly or simply not losing weight despite ketosis. A few simple changes or adjustments can be the road to success! Making mistakes is part of the process; understanding why to avoid them, and most importantly, how, is key to the ketogenic diet.
We all make mistakes and even after many years of keto this can happen, no need to be angry, we learn from it!
1. You don't plan your meals well or not at all
Of course, nutrition should be fun and easy, but especially in the early stages it is very important to “plan” your meal. The point here is not to prepare all the meals for the coming week, but rather to track and get to know the food. With the help of simple apps these days you can scan anything and add up the associated calories and macronutrients. Very often people ask me why keto doesn't work for them. After we have calculated their meals, they usually ate too many calories or their nutrient distribution was not right. It is not easy to judge servings with the naked eye, especially when it comes to macronutrients.
Many studies have shown that tracking meals is a key factor in achieving your goals. The whole thing is anything but time-consuming, if you have found the right app for you, it's pretty easy and quick. Personally, I usually think about what I'm going to eat in the morning and the scanning and weighing of the individual foods take less than two minutes. Take your time! I always notice that if I don't track, I tend to eat small snacks every now and then and at the end of the day have not consumed the right nutrient distribution, but have consumed too many calories.
Some of the best apps for tracking are Carb Manager (iOS, Android), Keto Diet Tracker (iOS, Android), and Lifesum (iOS, Android) etc.
This is not to say that you have to count calories and scan everything your entire life, but it will certainly help you to get a feel for food, and especially in the early stages of your diet change, this is indispensable.
2. You are too impatient and stressed
With the particular goal of weight loss, you want to see success quickly and continuously, but always remember that every person and every body is different. One loses a lot of weight in a flash, the other takes small steps. Don't make the weight on the scales the only factor in your success.
Don't get stuck on the number your scale is showing; rather, pay attention to your body. You will have more energy, your head will be much clearer, your love handles will disappear ...
Don't give up if the scales stop, even if you don't lose a gram for 2 or 3 weeks, that is by no means a standstill. Weight depends on so many points, stomach contents, water, and a lot more. Usually, after nothing has happened, a day comes when things suddenly go on again. It is important that you do not stress yourself, a stressed body cannot lose weight in a healthy way, on the contrary. So give yourself and your body the time to make the change. Your body has learned to use sugar as energy over many decades, suddenly you take this fuel from it and it has to learn again first, that doesn't happen overnight.
Sleep is also an absolutely important factor, not just in ketosis, in life in general. Good sleep can reduce stress and thus keep cortisol levels under control. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can make the transition to keto and ultimately also the adaptation more difficult. Take your night's rest seriously and try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep.
Always remember: Just because the scale doesn't immediately show your desired number doesn't mean it doesn't work. Just because you don't see the result you want right away is no reason to give up!
3. You eat too little Fat
Not everyone is open to the topic of fat, for generations we have been sold fat as the villain and we have been constantly taught that fat-free is the way to go. Well, times change, and so do medicine. Fat is no longer viewed as negative and its importance to the human body has been recognized. Switching to a high-fat diet is not easy and the switch in the head is difficult for some to switch.
But remember: fat doesn't make you fat! In the ketogenic diet, fat is your fuel and even helps you burn excess fat.
Now that your body has lost its favorite source of energy, carbohydrates, it turns to fat for energy. Especially in the transition phase, when the body does not yet fall back on its own reserves, you should consume enough good fats in order not to be tired and weak. The body cannot convert animal fats into energy right away, as they have to travel a long way through the lymphatic system before they end up in the liver and are converted. Here, MCT oil helps you to adapt to keto faster. MCT oil consists of medium-chain triglycerides that land directly in the liver and are converted into ketones there.
As soon as you are in ketosis and your body has adapted (more about the difference between ketosis and adaptation later) it will fall back on the body's own fat reserves to gain energy, but this takes a little patience and time.
So if you don't eat enough fat at the beginning of the transition, your body will lack energy. The old energy supplier is gone and the new one is not yet accepted. So before the body begins to make use of its reserves, you have to provide it with energy in the form of fat through food. If you do not do this, you will not feel well and will tend to give up more quickly and fall into old habits.
4. You eat too much Protein
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients in the ketogenic diet; after all, they are essential nutrients that the body cannot produce itself in sufficient form. Proteins are needed to build muscle or, especially in diet phases, to prevent muscle breakdown.
So why shouldn't we just eat a lot of protein? Quite simply, unused amino acids are converted into glucose by the body (gluconeogenesis) and this can cause an increase in insulin levels, which in the end can lead to lower blood ketones and slower fat burning. While I am of the opinion that the body only produces as much glucose from proteins as it needs, your protein goal should not be excessively exceeded.
Gluconeogenesis is now one of the keto myths and it has been scientifically proven several times that too much protein does not affect ketosis. Nevertheless, as a keto newbie, you should be careful to consume more fat than protein, as this will initially be the main macronutrient and provide our body with energy.
So it's better to eat more fat than protein so that your body gets enough energy to switch to ketosis.
According to the Society for Nutrition, the recommended daily dose of protein is 0.8 g per kg of body weight. Due to the adaptation of the body and the desired weight reduction, the proportion of proteins for you should rather be 1.3g - 1.8g per kg of body weight, otherwise the body is inclined to reduce muscle mass due to the calorie deficit and this is not our goal. So please make sure that you consume enough protein!
5. You are afraid of Vegetables
A completely wrong approach to the ketogenic diet is to avoid vegetables because of the carbohydrates it contains. In fact, while in ketosis, I eat far more vegetables than ever before. Of course, it's right to avoid high-carbohydrate vegetables like potatoes and legumes, but you should definitely include your portion of vegetables in your diet because they give us important vitamins and other micronutrients that we need to stay healthy.
A little rule that works quite well: Vegetables that grow above the ground usually fit best! These include, for example, leafy vegetables such as spinach, but also broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini or avocados, and berries. Non-starchy vegetables have a very important place in the ketogenic diet.
But always remember: Keto is LOW carb and not NO carb!
Don't be afraid of the low carbohydrate levels that come from vegetables. Many beginners tend to leave out the vegetables and put another piece of meat on the plate instead. The disadvantage is that you suddenly consume far more calories if you eat another steak instead of a vegetable side dish.
In addition, you are missing out on important fiber, which on the one hand is extremely filling and on the other hand is important for your digestive system! So … eat your greens!
6. You are not Drinking Enough
With the depletion of glycogen stores and low insulin levels, the body loses a lot of water, this has to be compensated. You will notice how the body is suddenly thirstier than usual, so drink! Of course, water is best suited here. In addition, your body does not store as much water and is “thirsty”, give it enough water and it will be happy! So ... drink! A well-hydrated body just works better, if you don't drink enough, your organs suffer and don't function optimally.
Your thirst is a good sign that you are in ketosis, so get excited and get another liter right away! I always say that if you don't drink at least 3 liters of water a day you are not in ketosis ... you will see what I mean!
7. Pay attention to your Electrolyte balance
Since your body stores hardly any water in the ketogenic diet, electrolytes are also flushed out, which you should refill, otherwise you will feel sluggish, get headaches and you can easily get dizzy. Due to the low insulin level, your kidneys are no longer signaled to store water, so we have to add more electrolytes, especially sodium, to our body.
The easiest way to do this is to season our food with a good pinch of salt and add a little salt to our water. Alternatively, you can of course help with electrolyte powder, but the best way is to reach for foods with a high electrolyte value:
Sodium - Salt, Bacon, Pickles, and Broth.
Magnesium - almonds, nuts, fish, spinach, and dark chocolate.
Potassium - Avocados, nuts, salmon, mushrooms, spinach, and kale.
Calcium - Almonds, cheese, leafy greens, broccoli, and seafood.
8. You eat too many Nuts
When discussing keto with others, nuts are often recommended as the typical keto snack. This of course also makes sense, nuts have a high proportion of insoluble fiber which has no effect on our blood sugar level, they also bring a good load of fat and are therefore a healthy alternative to conventional nibbles. The disadvantage: nuts are very high in calories!
It is very easy to ingest too many calories through almonds and go unnoticed and you are no longer in a deficit. You underestimate the small handful of nuts every day and wonder why you don't lose weight or, worse, gain weight again.
So you don't gain weight because nuts throw you out of ketosis, that's a mistake, you gain weight because you simply "snack" too much of it too quickly and thus consume too many calories.
9. You eat hidden Carbohydrates
Only 5% of your total calories should come from carbohydrates, which you get from green vegetables, for example. Keep in mind, however, that many processed foods have added sugar, which may not be obvious at first glance. The most important thing I do when I shop is to look at the nutritional table on the packaging. Almost all foods contain artificially added carbohydrates in the form of sugar. So always look at the packaging!
Of course, the ketogenic diet should go hand in hand with fresh, unprocessed foods, but not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford a fresh steak from free-range cattle from the home and farm slaughterhouse. This is fine too, keto doesn't mean 100% clean! So if you get a piece of packaged meat from the discounter, make sure that there aren't too many carbohydrates there, especially in marinades and seasonings these are hidden.
Carbohydrates are almost always found in sauces and dressings. So if you treat yourself to a nice piece of meat in the steak house, order your salad without dressing and pour a good dash of olive oil over it, the vegetables without gourmet sauce, instead Parmesan over it.
10. You eat too many Sugar Substitutes
Just a few years ago, the selection of low-carb products was so small and difficult to get, the ones available were not really the taste Cracker. Fortunately, more and more companies are realizing that sugar-free and low-carb is the way to go, and so more and more great bars, gummy bears, and more are popping up, all with no carbohydrates or sugar.
But you should enjoy everything in moderation, especially at the beginning of the diet change. Because especially at the beginning, the consumption of products with sugar substitutes can trigger the desire for more. Even the smell alone can be enough to make you crave sweets and at the end, you stand in the kitchen and realize that you have just eaten 5 bars and 3 cookies.
In the ketogenic diet you want to get away from sugar and away from food cravings, so be careful with it, especially at the beginning. Low carb bars and other things are great and don't harm weight loss, it's the cravings that the sweet taste can have in tow, so eat consciously and treat yourself to something sweet.
11. Too many Cheat Days
The good old "Cheat Days". For many, they are indispensable and one looks for excuses, from “it doesn't work without it” to “boosting your metabolism”. But just between us, Cheat Days are sabotaging your diet. I don't want to preach anything here and it's up to you, but the bottom line is a Cheat Day throws you back, even if it's just a little.
It's not even about how much you eat on a Cheat Day, it's about throwing your body back into the old scheme. If you follow a strict keto diet for 8 weeks, your body will learn to use fat for energy. If you suddenly give him sugar again, he thinks “oh great! That's a simple source of energy, bring it on! ”And you're back at the beginning.
Even though some talk about how quickly they recover from a cheat day and are 100% keto again the next day, that's definitely the smallest part.
As I said, everyone can do it, I can understand it 100% and it won't kill you, but if your goal is weight loss and you are stuck, then you shouldn't have any Cheat Days. I used to have cheat days from time to time and felt miserable the next day, apart from that it was very difficult for me to get the right mindset again and to motivate myself to continue.