It can be frustrating not losing weight on keto. You think you’re making the right choices each day and are seemingly doing everything right, but you’re just not seeing the results you want. Unfortunately, when that happens, it doesn’t take long to become disheartened, discouraged, and defeated.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re following a keto diet and not seeing the results you want, we’re here to tell you not to lose hope. A keto diet can be incredibly effective at boosting weight loss and optimizing your health. The key is to avoid these common mistakes people make when eating keto.
6 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight on a Keto Diet
Some common reasons why some people are not losing weight on keto include skimping on calories, not moving enough, and not drinking enough water. Properly following a keto-style approach to diet takes planning, discipline, consistency, and patience.
Here we’re going to break down each of these common mistakes in more detail to help better understand why and how these can derail your keto efforts and have a negative impact on weight loss.
You’re not eating enough calories.
One of the most common reasons people may not be losing weight on keto is because they’re not eating enough calories. This can lead to negative consequences that can hinder your weight loss progress.
If you’re not eating enough calories, your body can start burning muscle for energy instead of fat. This can lead to a plateau in weight loss and cause the body to pump the brakes on your metabolism. The opposite of what you’re trying to do!
When you lower your calories too much for too long, your body can go into “starvation mode” where it thinks there’s no food around so it has to slow down your body’s processes and conserve the energy it does have. In an effort to maintain balance, the body can also reduce thyroid hormone, the production of sex hormones, and raise cortisol levels. This can sap your energy levels, keep you constantly hungry, and lead to leptin and insulin resistance. All of these changes result in your body holding on to body fat and makes weight loss almost impossible.
To make sure you’re eating enough calories, track your food intake for a few days. As a general guideline, you don’t want to be eating less than 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 calories per day for men. If after a couple of weeks you’re not losing weight, you can try decreasing your calories by 10%. A weight loss coach can also be an excellent resource to determine the ideal number of calories to lose weight while also supporting your overall health.
You’re eating too many calories.
You may have heard that you don’t need to count calories or pay attention to how much food you’re eating when doing keto. Unfortunately, this advice is another common reason why some people are not losing weight on keto.
Fats are calorie-dense, so it can be easy to eat too many calories if you’re overdoing it with foods like oils, nuts, avocados, etc. Just a tablespoon of olive oil contains 14 grams of fat and 120 calories. If you’ve never measured out a tablespoon of olive oil on your salad, give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how little it actually is—and how much you’ve probably been putting on. A handful of nuts each day is good, several handfuls each day may not be.
Just like not eating enough calories, tracking your food intake for a few days can help you determine if you’re eating too many. If you are eating too many calories, try reducing the amount of higher-fat foods you’re eating or swapping out some of them for lower-fat versions. For example, try a flank steak or tenderloin instead of a ribeye or adding apple cider vinegar to your olive oil to reduce the amount of oil you’re using on your salad.
You’re eating too many carbohydrates.
Eating too many carbs is another common reason why you’re not losing weight on keto. While keto is not zero carb, and you do need to eat some carbs for energy, eating too many can prevent you from losing weight.
The recommended total amount of carbohydrates for a keto diet is 50 grams per day. If you’re doing this and still not losing weight, you can try reducing your carbohydrate intake to 30 grams per day. It can be surprising where carbs can hide, so be sure to check food labels. Carbs can also be in foods you may not think of like liquid eggs, condiments, yogurt, and nuts.
Cutting back on carbs can be difficult, but there are a few simple tips that can help:
Eat more protein and fat. Protein and fat are more filling than carbohydrates and cause lower blood sugar spikes, making you less likely to feel hungry and overeat.
Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are often high in carbohydrates, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to lose weight.
Focus on non-starchy veggies. Vegetables like sweet potatoes and parsnips can be healthy, but they are considerably higher in carbs than other veggies.
Pay attention to sauces. Barbecue sauce, sriracha, teriyaki, soy sauce, salad dressings, and even balsamic vinegar can contain a surprising amount of carbs.
Stick with full-fat dairy. Reduced or non-fat dairy products are generally not advised on a keto diet. This is because when the fat is lowered, carbs generally increase.
Because you’re trying to stay within such a tight window, it can also be helpful to track your carb intake for a few days. You may be surprised to find that you’re eating more carbs than you thought.
You’re not getting enough exercise.
Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan, but it’s especially important on a keto diet. Exercise helps you burn more calories and creates a larger calorie deficit. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for weight gain and can be a key contributor to not losing weight on keto. If you’re not getting enough exercise, you’re more likely to gain weight, even if you’re following a keto diet.
To lose weight, you need to be active for at least 30 minutes every day. This doesn’t mean you have to spend it at the gym either. Exercise can be anything from going for a walk to playing outside with your kids to hitting the weights. If you’re not used to exercising or have been inactive for a while, start with 10 minutes per day and gradually increase your activity level.
There are a number of things you can do to make exercise more enjoyable:
Find an activity you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy the activity, you’re less likely to stick with it. As we’ve mentioned before, the activity is less important than making sure you’re moving.
Find a friend or family member to exercise with. This will make the time go by more quickly and make it more enjoyable. It also adds in an element of accountability that can help keep you on track.
Set small goals. For example, if you’re starting with 10 minutes of exercise per day, set a goal to increase this to 15 minutes per day in a week or two. As you begin to move more, you’ll find it becomes easier to move for longer periods of time.
Regular exercise and movement are important components of any healthy lifestyle or diet. It increases your metabolism, boosts your energy levels, and improves your mood. If you’re not losing weight on keto, check in with yourself and make sure you’re moving enough.
You’re not drinking enough water.
When it comes to weight loss, water is often one of the most overlooked tools available. Drinking enough water helps to regulate appetite, maintain energy levels, and promote a healthy metabolism. And while all of these factors are important for weight loss, they are especially crucial for those following a keto diet.
The process of breaking down fat requires an adequate amount of water, so drinking enough water ensures this process can function optimally. Staying adequately hydrated can increase the activity of your mitochondria, which ultimately boosts metabolism and fat loss.
Ketosis can lead to dehydration, as the body flushes out water and electrolytes when burning fat. If you aren’t replacing this water and the right electrolytes, this can have a negative impact on your body’s ability to burn fat. So, in addition to drinking enough water, it’s important to make sure you keep your electrolytes balanced as well.
A good rule of thumb for water intake is to aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’d want to drink 100 ounces of water per day to help keep your fat-burning processes running smoothly.
You’re not being patient.
One of the most important things to remember when trying to lose weight is that it takes time. If it took you years to gain unwanted weight, you can’t expect to lose it all in a few weeks. It can take time for your body to reset and begin breaking down fat stores. Keto can be incredibly effective for weight loss, but it takes time for your body to adjust to burning fat for fuel.
Patience is key.
If you’re not patient, you may give up before you see any results. It can be tempting to want to see results immediately, but crash diets and fad exercises are rarely effective long term. If you’re serious about losing weight, then you need to commit to making sustainable changes to your lifestyle. And that takes time.
Don’t derail your weight loss efforts
If you find yourself frustrated that you’re not losing weight on keto, addressing these common pitfalls could be just what you need to stoke the metabolic fire and start seeing results. The keto approach can be incredibly effective when it comes to weight loss, but a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Making sure you’re eating enough (but not too much), dialing in your carbohydrates, moving enough, and staying hydrated can go a long way in making the keto diet work for you.
And remember, weight loss takes time. So be patient, make any necessary adjustments, and trust the process. If you stick with it, eventually you will see results.
If you have any questions, are looking for help on your weight loss journey, or are not losing weight on keto, we’re here to help. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about our program and how we can help you reach your goals.