Everything has gone pear shaped with your keto diet and you don’t know why. Your weight hasn’t budged at all in days, and you want to know why. You want reasons. You want someone to say “This is why you’re not losing weight on keto”.
Fortunately for you, this is a situation that has happened often and to many would be keto dieters.
Due to this, keto experts and scientists alike have looked for and found the causes for your lack of progress.
You may have just one cause, or many.
However, once you know what the problem is you’re guaranteed that your weight loss will soon be gathering speed.
This is because the keto diet works. All the time, for everyone.
All it takes is an adherence to the principles of the diet, some homework and maybe some monitoring too.
So, don’t throw in the towel yet. You’re not destined to be overweight forever.
It’s not in your “genes”. You’re not weak-willed or any other negative label you’ve given yourself.
Almost always, when you’re not losing weight on the keto diet it’s because you’re making one or two surprisingly common mistakes.
Not being in Ketosis
This is probably the main reason why people fail to lose weight. They are eating low carb, but not low carb enough.
This may be you, and if you’re eating enough carbs to provide your body with all the glucose it needs for its daily energy output, you will not enter ketosis.
Your body will always metabolize carbs into glucose if sufficient carbs are available.
You are probably eating far fewer carbs than you were before, but the keto diet requires that you stay at or below 20g net a day, at least in the early weeks.
The only way to ensure that you do this is to weigh and track everything you eat, until you are at the stage where you can tell the carb content of your food by sight.
This is fiddly to begin with, but it’s a learning curve that you will soon get to the top of.
Never guess, the chances are that you will underestimate either the weight or the carb content.
Only when you are at 20g net per day, will your body be forced to switch to its second metabolic pathway which is to burn fat for fuel instead.
Preferably the fat that you have around your middle.
If you are eating just a little above the allowance, and only on some days, its possible that you are going in and out of ketosis.
You need to be in continual ketosis to benefit from the diet, and you should be aiming to become fat adapted.
This will only happen after several weeks: Fat adapted on keto: the top important things to know
If you are diligent about tracking your carb intake, you should achieve ketosis within a few days of keeping to below the 20g net.
For further information about working out your carb limit read How to work out your own carb limit for ketosis
Keto Test Meters
If you want to make completely sure that you’re in ketosis you will need to have one of the ketosis test kits available.
You can choose urine test strips. These are the least expensive, but also the least accurate. In my opinion, they are not accurate enough for use when you’re first trying to get into ketosis.
Breath meters are more accurate, and cost more too.
However, the best meters are blood meters. They are accurate, and can very often check your glucose levels as well as ketones.
They vary in price, but if you’re looking for a reasonably priced one check out the keto mojo meter.
The test strips are inexpensive too, meaning you could test your ketone levels several times a day.
These can help you to know which foods and how much you can have while maintaining ketosis.
You’re being a bit too free and easy with the fat
The keto diet is famous for its liberal use of fats. 70% of your daily intake should come from healthy fats.
Butter, cream, fatty cuts of meat, fatty fish, cheese, olives, avocados and olive oil should all be making a regular appearance at your table.
If you’re not too sure just how many grams of fat your 70% pans out to, check out this calculator.
This will give you your macros for daily fat intake, as well as for carbs and protein.
Make sure you’re measuring or weighing your fat and not taking a guess.
It’s important for your weight loss goals that you don’t go over your fat macros.
However, if you’re not losing weight you could try reducing your fat intake a little.
Don’t mess with your other macros. If you attempt to reduce your carb or protein allowance you will find that it’s very difficult to reach all your nutritional needs.
The keto diet is a healthy diet which will supply all your nutrients, but you do have to make sure that you are doing clean keto, not the dirty version – sometimes referred to as lazy keto.
Read all about the difference here: What is dirty keto: looking at you and the port rinds
So, if you’ve been weighing your fat, and you know that you aren’t eating way too much of it, then start by reducing it by 50g or so each day.
Weigh yourself each week, and either adjust up or down until you are reaching your weight loss goals.
Snacking too much
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional snack, but remember to add it into your daily macros.
Also, watch out for the very tasty but high fat snacks such as nuts.
A packet of almonds is all too easy to eat in just one sitting. It could quickly put you over your fat macros for the day.
Make sure that all your meals are nutritionally dense, and include vegetables.
Both fiber and fat will help to keep you feeling full for longer, and reduce your craving for snacks.
You’re not drinking enough.
During the first few days on the keto diet you will be losing a lot of water.
This is because the fat that you are now metabolizing for your energy needs also contains a lot of water.
As the fat is released, so is the water content of the fat cells.
You’ve probably noticed that you’re having to make a lot more bathroom visits than normal.
If you have become dehydrated, make sure to increase your water intake to make up for this
It’s important to make sure you have enough to drink. As soon as you feel thirsty reach for a glass of water.
Very often the feeling of thirst can be mistaken for hunger.
Drink a glass of water, and wait for 20 minutes. More often than not you will find that your hunger has gone.
Don’t drink diet soda. These sugar free drinks are filled with artificial sweeteners, and there is some evidence that these can effect your blood sugar levels in much the same way as sugar does.
Keep to water, black tea or coffee or flavored teas.
You’re feeling stressed
When you’re stressed you produce a hormone Cortisol.
Cortisol keeps you alert, focused and ready to deal with your stress.
It’s an important hormone for your fight or flight stress reaction.
However, cortisol also signals to your body to store fat, especially around your stomach.
When cortisol levels are chronically elevated it can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, and take some regular exercise.
A walk is great for its relaxing properties, as well as keeping you in shape.
Consider taking up yoga or meditation. These are both proven methods of lowering your stress levels.
There is no need to reduce your normal level of activity while you’re on the keto diet.
If you are following the diet properly, you should feel more energized than normal.If you’re not losing weight on the keto diet, it will be because there are one or two common mistakes that you’re making.
The good news is that the keto diet works for everyone.
There are no exceptions to this, so there is no need to conclude that the keto diet won’t help you to reach your weight loss goals.
The most common reason for a failure to lose weight is that you are eating more carbs than the 20g net carbs daily limit.
Make sure that you know what your macros are.
You should be aware of how many grams of carbs, fats and protein you can have each day. If you’re not sure, then use a keto calculator.
Don’t guess the carb content of your food, always measure, weigh and track. Especially if you are new to eating the keto way.
Make sure you’re not going above your fat macro, and reduce this if you are. If you still don’t lose weight, reduce your daily fat consumption by 50g.
Weigh yourself weekly, and keep adjusting your fat allowance up or down until you are reaching your weight loss goals.
Don’t change your carb or protein macros.
Additionally, consider using a blood ketone test meter such as the keto mojo meter, which will give you an accurate reading of your current ketone levels.
Watch out for snacks, especially nuts, which are all too easy to eat. They will put you way over your fat allowance.
Take steps to keep yourself relaxed and sleeping well.
If you’re stressed, this will not only effect your sleep, it will also hinder your body’s ability to utilize your fat stores.
Always keep well hydrated, and don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
Once you have made sure that you are no longer making any of these common mistakes, you will find that you start to lose weight again.
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