Although it’s been associated with a number of different health benefits, most people use the keto diet for weight loss to boost fat-burning and help the extra pounds slide right off. It’s true that the ketogenic diet is easy and effective, which is why it’s become a fast favorite among those looking to lose weight without being overly restrictive. However, there are several common mistakes you may be making that can keep you from ketosis and prevent you from progressing towards your goals.
So can you lose weight on a keto diet? Is the keto diet best for fat loss? And how long does it take to lose weight on the keto diet? Let’s take a closer look at how to maximize your potential keto diet weight loss.
How Keto Diet for Weight Loss Works
How does keto work? The keto diet for weight loss involves severely restricting carb intake to transition into ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates from foods like fruit, starch and sugar are converted into glucose in the body, which is considered the primary source of energy for the cells. Cutting back on carbs forces your body to look for alternative sources of energy, which causes it to start burning through fat stores to increase keto diet weight loss.
Ketones, in particular, are produced through the breakdown of fatty acids and help power the body to provide it with the fuel it needs. This helps convert your body from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner, which is why using the keto diet for weight loss can be so effective.
Although there are plenty of positive testimonials and keto diet before and after pictures out there, many people wonder: Does keto work for everyone? Here are six of the top mistakes you may be making if you find the keto diet not working for you, plus some easy steps to help get you started.
Not Losing Weight On Keto? 6 Mistakes You Could Be Making
If you’re in ketosis but not losing weight after a few weeks, you may find yourself wondering: why am I not losing weight on keto? Not only do some people struggle to shed stubborn pounds, but some even end up gaining weight on keto.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes that you may want to look out for to maximize your ketogenic diet weight loss:
1. Your Carb Consumption Is Too High
Cutting carbs is an essential component of the ketogenic diet, and if you’re eating too many carbs, it can keep you from reaching ketosis. Ideally, aim to eat around 30–50 grams of net carbs per day and select high-fiber, nutrient-rich options to keep carb consumption to a minimum.
2. You’re Eating Too Many Calories
Although you may not need to count calories on the ketogenic diet, filling up on the high-calorie snacks can slow keto diet weight loss and hinder your progress. While enjoying a serving or two of keto fat bombs or other calorie-dense treats is fine, be sure to balance it out with low-calorie snacks such as non-starchy veggies or keto fruit.
3. You Aren’t in Ketosis
Reaching ketosis is key to keto diet weight loss, and it can be next to impossible to drop the extra pounds without it. Ketones are a byproduct of fatty acid breakdown and testing your blood, breath or urine for ketones can be a useful indication of whether or not your body has reached ketosis. If you’re not quite there yet, it may be best to cut back on carbs even more to help speed up the process.
4. You’re Eating Too Much Protein
Protein is absolutely essential to several aspects of health. However, if you’re eating too much protein, it can actually be converted into glucose in the body and keep you from reaching ketosis. Aim to get about 15–20 percent of total daily calories from protein and stick to nutrient-rich, high-quality protein foods like meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.
5. Your Expectations Are Too High
Long-lasting, sustainable weight loss is a process, and you shouldn’t expect the pounds to slide off the instant you reach ketosis. Making sure you have realistic expectations getting started is absolutely essential to ensuring success on the diet.
So how much weight can you lose on a keto diet? Although the exact amounts of keto weight loss can vary based on a variety of different factors, shoot for 1–2 pounds of weight loss per week to help keep the pounds off long-term.
6. You Need to Look Beyond Your Diet
Weight loss goes way beyond what you’re putting on your plate. In fact, other factors like sleep deprivation, physical inactivity and even stress can actually hold you back from reaching your keto diet weight loss goals.
If you gained weight on keto and nothing seems to be working, you may also want to consider consulting your doctor to see if other underlying factors may be at play. Medical issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism and insulin resistance, for example, can all contribute to weight gain.
4 Simple Steps for Weight Loss Success
Does the keto diet work? If you’ve hit a keto plateau, following a few simple steps can help get you back on track to enhance keto diet weight loss.
1. Decrease Carb Consumption
Cut down to just 30–50 grams of net carbs per day, which is calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs. Select nutritious, fiber-rich foods like low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables and skip the refined grains and processed foods to stick within your daily allotment.
2. Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet
Healthy fats like coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocados and extra-virgin olive oil are all great options to help supply your body with the fuel it needs to function and thrive. Ideally, about 75 percent of daily calories should come from these heart-healthy sources of fat.
3. Include Moderate Amounts of Protein
About 15–20 percent of your total daily calories should come from high-quality sources of protein. Not only does this ensure you’re able to reach ketosis, but it also provides an adequate amount of protein to promote overall health.
4. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to making some simple swaps to your diet, you should also be sure to make a few modifications to your daily routine as well. Besides following a healthy keto diet for weight loss, make sure to minimize stress levels, set a sleep schedule and get regular physical activity.