Seems like the ketogenic diet isn’t working for you? Find 11 crazy reasons why you’re not losing weight on keto and how to solve them.
You try, and you try, and you try and nothing happens, you’re not losing weight on keto.
Moreover, you have given up on so many foods you like, on a couple of eating habits you had.
Why can’t these give something back to you?
You want to be like those great looking celebs who swear by the keto diet.
Adriana Lima (my absolute fav Angel from Victoria’s Secret, fiery, sexy, cool girl).
Sure, you’re not preparing for a role as a James Bond’s girl.
(But you never know, right?)
You just want to have a blast playing the role of your life: yourself.
Yourself in an improved, healthier, slimmer, fit, upgrade version.
So, you’re trying really hard, but you see no change in your weight.
Why, you wonder?
I had this happen. I know the drill.
Do you know these 11 crazy reasons why you’re not losing weight on keto?
Also, I gave you some recommendations for each one of them to help you have a breakthrough.
So, let’s see.
Table of Contents
You’re not actually in ketosis
I know, I know, it sounds horrific. How can I tell you something like that?
But believe me, it can happen.
What? You thought that if you start eating keto, you’ll automatically go into ketosis and lose weight?
Well, sorry to be the one who brings you this news, but it doesn’t really work like that.
I’ll tell you why.
First of all, what is Ketosis?
Ketosis is the epitome of the ketogenic diet.
Around it revolves the whole fame and glory.
Ketosis is that state of your body where your metabolism turns from using carbs as fuel to fat.
It takes planning and it takes discipline.
It takes guts, courage, and determination.
So, if you’re on keto, you’re a hero already just for starting it. Yay!
Even if you started enthusiastically, you might not do everything by the keto “book”.
You think that you’re in ketosis, but if you’re checking closely, you see that you’re not.
So, you have to follow the signs.
I’m not talking about mystical sings in the air, rainbows, and a voice from above whispering “You’re in ketosis!”
But about factual signs.
So, this point is more like a reality check-up.
1). How can you know when and if you’re in ketosis? Let me tell you.
- Use urine test strips designed to detect ketones (created by your liver when it processes fat).
- A fancy ketone breath analyzer can detect ketones in your breath.
A positive result indicates that you’re in ketosis.
2). Eat between 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day.
Add more and the body will extract energy from glucose, instead of burning fat.
3). See the other points below.
Too many carbs
Ketosis is catalyzed in your body by significantly decreasing carbohydrate-rich foods.
This way, your organism is forced to burn fat, not glucose.
So, reducing the carbs in keto helps you lose weight and reduce appetite.
A low-carb diet, studies show, makes you lose weight faster (compared to a low-calorie diet).
It also decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (which is important for us, women).
How to make sure you’re eating the right amount of carbs and not going over the keto limit?
- Track your macronutrients for the food you’re consuming with the help of an app.
Both Android and iPhone have a bunch of food tracking apps.
Also, many health-related websites have a calorie calculator.
- Based on your specific caloric need, they will help you determine the servings of carbs per day.
- Don’t be fooled that it’s a vegetable or fruit – it may contain a bunch of calories that will spike your sugar levels and shoot you out of ketosis.
- Avoid or eliminate refined carbs
- Reduce carbs gradually from your diet. Don’t switch from a high-carb to a low-carb diet immediately
Too many calories
In keto, you need to watch your calorie intake.
The less, the better.
You do that by eating fewer calories and burning more calories through exercises.
It’s mandatory, at least in the first months of your keto diet, to monitor your calories.
Also, portioning your servings accordingly is of paramount importance.
Being a high-fat diet, keto includes consuming mainly fat like avocadoes, healthy oils, and nuts.
They are all bombs of fat.
Therefore, don’t let them “explode” your diet, and push you out of ketosis.
So, what is your caloric need, and how do you measure it?
What is this caloric need and is it personalized?
Indeed, calorie intake is calculated based on:
- Level of daily activity
For example, for a woman aged 48, 5’5, 158 lbs., and pretty inactive during the day, the calculator will recommend 1,700 calories per day.
While for a woman of the same age, weight, height, but very active it the estimated calorie intake is 2,400.
See how the calorie need changes if you only
Check this calorie calculator from Mayo Clinic to determine your estimated calorie intake.
Also, Mayo Clinic recommends 2,000 calories per day for women between 26 to 50 who want to maintain their weight.
And if they want to lose weight, an estimated 1,500 calories per day.
Usually, women over 50 years old have a low need for calories:
- 1,700 calories/day if they want to maintain their weight
- And 1,300 calories/day if they want to lose weight.
Younger women need a higher calorie intake of about 2,200-2,400, generally.
Wait a minute, what are these calories, actually?
We’re talking so much about them, let’s get to know them better.
Befriend them, maybe?
What are these calories?
A calorie is a simple unit measure for the energy contained in foods.
The rule is also simple:
- You want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than your digestive system burns.
- You want to lose weight, your digestive system needs to burn more calories than you eat.
But it depends on what you eat, also.
Because fat, proteins, and carbohydrates are all sources of calories.
And your body burns them differently.
The quality of calories is important
There are several types of calories:
- High-calorie foods (fat, oils, fried food, sugar-containing foods)
- Low-calorie foods (vegetables and some fruits that have few nutrients)
- Empty calorie foods (drinks like sodas, juices, milk that contain plenty of sugar)
Eating 500 calories of broccoli is different than eating the same number of calories of ice cream.
We chew more on broccoli (then on ice cream) and so, more calories are burned during digestion.
Weight is based on the balance between energy in and energy out.
Energy goes out (is consumed):
- during physical activity
- in metabolic processes (that keep you alive)
- by adding amino acids to the muscles or fat to fat tissues
- through waste byproducts (urine)
- to digest the food
Energy goes in through the calories you consume while you eat. That’s it. Pretty simple.
Eating consumes energy: to chew, swallow, ingest, produce the gastric acid and enzymes in the stomach. Make the muscular contractions in the large intestine to move the food ball, and so on.
We use a variable percentage of about 10% of our energy to digest and absorb food.
But it changes based on several factors, including the type of food we eat:
- fat takes up to 3% to digest
- carbs take up to 5-10% to digest
- proteins take the most energy to digest (20-30%)
That is why, reading a label and the calorie content, is not an indicator that those are calories retained by our body after eating.
- Use calorie-tracking app or websites to particularize your diet for your specific needs
- Keep a food journal to track eating patterns (snacking), foods with too many calories that may prevent you from losing weight.
- Read the labels to see the caloric content
- Keep in mind that what you read might not be what you actually get in your body
- Eat smaller portions
- Refrain from snacking chaotically and at will on high-calorie foods all day long
- Be active! Engage in exercises to boost your metabolism and your burning rate
Not Enough Fat
That’s a good one, right?
You’d think that wanting to lose fat, you need to eat less fat.
I understand you, we’re been told for a lifetime to stay away from fat to reduce cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.
However, reducing good fats from our diet mostly reduces the good cholesterol, HDL, (which we need) instead of the bad cholesterol, LDL.
When you eat fat, you will feel satiated, you get also vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The bad news is that when you reduce fat from your diet, you increase carbs. Not good.
Not what we want in keto.
So even if you’re on keto, you somehow avoid fat, fearing that you’ll overeat fat.
As a result, you’re not eating enough fat to allow your body to go into ketosis.
What a contradiction, right?
Girl, let me cut loose this Gordian knot.
Keto is based on eating healthy fat, that’s one of its forte points.
If you’re not reaching the seventy-five percentage of fat, you’re not going to reach ketosis.
- Eat 75% fat (coconut oil, avocado, butter, nuts, nut butter, and so on)
- I mean, healthy fat, not fatty food
- Avoid processed food that contains fat
- Don’t fear fat, befriend it. It might be the best thing that ever happened to your health lately.
- Try new recipes and new, creative ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet.
- For example, when you drink your morning decaf coffee, add coconut oil or coconut cream.
Eating too often or too little
You may have been heard that on keto it is good to snack throughout the day.
However, if you do that, you will never learn what hunger is and keep giving in to cravings.
And cravings are an indicator of insulin resistance.
Resist cravings, instead.
Kickstart your metabolism in a new, healthy way.
This way, you will let gain control of your appetite, you won’t be fooled by cravings again.
Being hungry is good.
In fact, it’s an indication that you’re healthy and that your body has burnt all the food and it needs more fuel.
And rightfully so.
You gotta give to the body what it needs.
But only when it asks for it: the signal is hunger.
- Allow yourself to feel the healthy hunger, by not eating in between meals (or snacking).
- Allow your body to get to the point when it has digested everything and let it signal when it needs more food.
- Eat only when you feel your body is hungry and asks for fuel.
- Make your main meals nutritious.
- Feed your body enough at each meal. Don’t eat less. Don’t starve your body.
The way you chew your food
“Whaaat? That’s ridiculous. What does chewing have to do with weight-loss?”
Well, actually, a lot.
Find out that digestion starts in your mouth, with chewing, actually.
Surprised to read that?
The more you’re chewing on food, the more calories you burn through digestion.
One of the best effects is that you eat less.
You sit at the table and eat longer at a meal and so, your stomach has enough time to feel satiated.
Also, since you’re breaking down your food very well into your mouth, your digestive system will have less work to do.
Hence, it will not consume much energy digesting.
So, you save energy this way.
Mmm… that sounds interesting, right?
So, you don’t have to refrain from eating, just to chew more. Good to know.
At the same time, it releases another hormone that makes you feel full.
So, if you eat slowly, reaaally slooowly, and chew more your food, you will eat longer, but not more (attention, that is important).
While you chew and chew, the 2 hormones signal your brain that you are satiated.
And your brain stops the hunger sensation.
Isn’t nature just wonderful?
We just have to follow it.
Benefits of chewing slowly
Chewing slowly, steadily, and enough times has many benefits, including:
- eating less
- reducing snacking
- suppressing hunger
- increasing the fullness hormone production
- feeling satiated faster and for longer
- increased nutrients absorption
- reduces calorie intake
- weight loss or maintaining weight
- low risk of obesity
- improved digestion
- no gas and bloating
- the saliva helps extract the nutrients directly while you chew
- decreasing stress levels
What happens when you don’t chew food enough?
Your digestive system won’t produce enough enzymes needed to break down the food.
If you eat too fast, in a state of stress, it will affect digestion.
That is why you may experience:
- Gas and bloating
- Acid reflux
- Weight gain and obesity
- Skin problems
So, the habit of just shoving your food in your mouth and quickly gulping it up down your throat is not healthy.
Your stomach has to deal with big chunks of food, as opposed to just a paste. See now?
And it leads to weight gain, studies show, which is something you’re trying to avoid.
That is why, there would be our recommendations regarding chewing, to help your body lose weight.
- Keep in mind that your digestion starts in your mouth.
- Digestion might start in the mouth, but the prelude to good digestion is a good, calm, peaceful state of mind and heart.
- That is why try to be calm and at peace when you start to eat.
- Take eating as a mindful activity. Mindful eating.
- Become more aware of how you eat, of the whole process of eating.
- Eating is a good time to slow down the crazy rhythm of your life and be more aware of yourself.
- Be more in the present moment.
- Be in your body, feel your body, feel the food. It will make the whole process more enjoyable.
- So, you will enjoy the taste, the food better. Your digestion will improve.
- Don’t take huge bites. Keep it moderate. Don’t overload your fork or spoon.
- Chew each bite about 15-30 times, even soups or liquid food. Count.
- Meat and nuts will need more chews than soups, of course.
- Take it easy, take your time. Even if you’re in a hurry, chew slowly, calmly. Don’t rush.
- Set an alarm for 20 minutes or more and try to not finish eating before it rings.
- Swallow the food only when it has become a paste.
- Avoid watching tv or working on your laptop while you eat. It is important to be present and aware
- Breathe deeply, from time to time, in between bites, and relax.
- Be patient with yourself. Habits are hard to change. Give yourself time to get there.
You don’t drink ENOUGH water
Yeah, yeah, I can hear you say: “But I drink water”
Sure you do. But… do you drink ENOUGH water?
Drinking enough water does not only assure your hydration levels.
It also helps you lose weight, science reveals.
The importance of drinking more water (or better said, enough water – because we’re all different, remember?):
- Drinking 8 glasses of water you burn almost 100 more calories.
- Also, 60 minutes after you drink water, your body burns more calories.
Studies show that drinking water increased the metabolic rate by 24%.
- And if you drink water 30 minutes before your meals it reduces hunger, decreases calorie intake, and helps you lose weight.
- Water helps flush out toxins from the body
- It is also a necessary part of the metabolism (lipolysis). It helps burn fat and store fat.
- Having enough water helps muscles, tissues, joints, lungs, heart, and other organs to work during exercising.
- It also prevents muscle cramps and fatigue after a workout.
So, see, if you drink enough water, it helps you lose weight, among other things, which is exactly your goal here.
Don’t drink enough water… and guess what? No weight loss.
Signs that your body needs water are:
- Thirst (duh!)
- Frequent headaches
- Bad moods
- Constant hunger
- Lack of focus
- Foggy mind
- Dry skin
So, how much water should you drink?
The recommendations are for an average of 6-8 glasses of water (or around 2 liters) during a day.
Of course, it also depends on many factors like:
- weather (hot or cold)
- level of sun exposure
- humidity levels in the air
- health situation
- if you’re fasting that day
For example, people who work out a lot or who sweat a lot need to drink more water than others.
Breast-feeding mothers should also take care to drink enough water.
While you’re fasting, you need to drink more water.
So, some people need more, others less.
- Listen to your body – if it thirsts for water, give it water.
- Try to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily (more if you train hard).
- Drink water during and after intense training.
- Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal, never after.
- The ketogenic diet has a diuretic effect, so make sure you eat extra if you want to lose some pounds on keto.
- Also, drink a glass of water at room temperature (with or without lemon) in the morning.
You’re using sweeteners like Maltitol
Maltitol is a so-called sugar alcohol, a supposedly healthy sugar substitute.
It is made from the hydrogenation of maltose (a by-product of corn syrup).
Maltitol acts very much like sugar when cooking with it, but it tastes 75-90% sweeter than sugar.
Sugar alcohols are labeled as “sugar-free” or “no added sugar” on products.
But this is misleading, as it makes you believe that there is no sugar in there.
And that it will not affect blood sugar levels.
However, like sugar, maltitol is a carbohydrate that contains calories.
In fact, maltitol contains as much as 2.1 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories/gram of sugar.
Also, it and has a glycemic index of 52 (the powder form has 35), while sugar 60!
Maltitol might have no to small direct effects on weight and blood sugar levels for some.
However, for others with certain health risks may create problems.
Knowing that raised blood sugar levels may prevent your body from staying in ketosis, consuming maltitol may be a problem.
That is why maltitol is not a keto-friendly sweetener.
What are the potential traps of sweeteners like maltitol?
- They may trigger cravings for more sweets (which we’re trying to avoid on keto)
- They are added to foods that the keto diet eliminates (sodas, sugary drinks, cakes, cookies, pastries, energy bars, etc.)
- Sweetness may tempt you into eating even when you’re not hungry (Alarm bell! We don’t want that)
- Eating too many low-calories and low-carbs sweets may even cause you to relapse into keto
- Everything that tastes sweet (be it sugar or sugar substitutes) triggers the same sweet taste receptors located on the tongue and then similar brain neural pathways that maintain sugar addiction and cravings.
The good news is that the ketogenic diet reduces cravings for sweetness.
The desire for sweets decreases and it becomes easier to keep cravings under control.
Your tastes refine and you become more aware of the pure sweetness of whole foods.
So, why spoil everything too soon with maltitol?
That being said, let’s see where you can find maltitol:
- Drinks (sodas, juices, energy drinks)
- Ice creams
- Chewing gum
- Jellies, candies, frostings
- Banked goods
- Cough drops and syrups
- Toothpaste and mouthwashes
- Pills and vitamins (as excipient)
So, be aware of these… and stay away from them.
The not-so-sweet side of Maltitol:
- It may increase by 14% the calories you consume, without even knowing.
- It may lead to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases.
- Produces gas, cramping, and other digestive problems.
- May produce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- A better, healthier option as a sweetener would be stevia and monk fruit.
- If you still want to use maltitol or other sugar substitutes (that’s your choice), just use it in moderation, don’t overdo it
- Become aware of your tastes – with keto you’ll discover the pure sweetness of whole foods
- Be more attentive to your food choices
- The ketogenic diet will give you a state of plenitude that will make you happy and feel the sweetness of life as it is, you won’t look for it in foods (or junk food).
You may have an underlying medical condition
Maybe you’re doubting the efficiency of the ketogenic diet.
Just know that many, many people, including myself and friends of mine, have followed it with success.
Many studies also confirm that the ketogenic diet helps you lose weight, apart from having other benefits for health.
But if you followed correctly all the indications of this diet and do everything right and still couldn’t get those pesky extra pounds off of you, it’s time to check your health.
Visit your health care practitioner’s office, tell them that you’re on a ketogenic diet but not losing weight.
That you wonder if there might be a health issue that you have no knowledge of and is stalling your weight loss.
Many health problems could keep you from losing weight:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid problems like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
- Cardiovascular problems (that cause high cholesterol levels)
- High insulin levels
- Chronic stress
- Cushing’s syndrome (triggered by high cortisol levels)
- Other hormonal imbalances in women (menopause)
If they don’t find anything wrong with your health! Hurray!
However, even if they find something on you, like a problem listed above, be happy.
Happy that you discovered it on time.
And happy that you can now care for it with proper medication, if necessary, or with natural remedies, if possible.
Also including the adequate dietary and lifestyle changes for a healthy you.
Stress overwhelms you
Stress affects women in ways men can’t even fathom.
But they are often, caught in the way of the storm that comes with it.
Apart from that, studies have shown that stress can be the cause of weight gain.
Moreover, chronic stress can trigger you to crave sweets, carbs, all things with extra calories.
You know… comfort food.
- Simply relax at least one time a day, or before bedtime, laying back, relaxing from toes to head, slowly, every part of your tensed and contracted body.
- Yoga poses for relaxation. I’d recommend: Child pose, Easy pose, Goddess pose, Happy baby pose, Legs up the wall
- Use essential oils with an aromatherapy diffuser for a room or an essential oil necklace diffuser you can wear everywhere, even at work
- Take a relaxation massage – it can do wonders to your body and mind (you can ask your significant one or go to a professional masseur)
- Balance your emotions and mind with a simple, yet effective guided meditation for stress relief
You expect too much, too early from your body
You can’t healthily lose significant weight within 1 week.
Nothing good happens fast.
Well, except for love at first sight. But that’s another story.
Remember, Rome (or any city, for that matter) was not built in one day!
Give your body time to adjust to the new diet.
Give yourself the time to accept the changes and do keto right.
Our bodies are different (I keep telling you that) and we respond differently to a diet like keto.
Yes, the ketogenic diet helps you lose weight, but the pace is only set by your own unique body.
Don’t force it.
Don’t expect too much from it, too soon.
If you’re attentive to your body, you can notice, even from the first week, some little changes.
Just be present and enjoy the journey.
Don’t be disappointed in yourself or your body.
You, from all the people, should stand by it, support it, and encourage it.
Don’t worry, you’ll get where you want, for sure.
Just that it takes… like all good things… TIME.
Sometimes, a little more time than you initially thought or estimated.
- Don’t set unreasonable goals for your body.
- Give it a few good weeks and enjoy the ride. You will learn a lot along the way. Just like I did.
- Don’t jump on the scale two times a day. Or daily. One time a week (the same day) is enough.
- This way, you can measure real results one time a week and see the changes from one week to another.
- Also, measure your chest, waist, hips, thighs, and arms. Then remeasure every week, the same day.
- Slow progress is still progress, so don’t rush yourself into something you’re not.
- Better, measure your success by the way you start to fit or shrink in your clothes.
- Or take pictures of yourself to document the journey – who knows, maybe you’ll become a YouTube sensation one day
- Be kind, patient, and compassionate with yourself and your body. Do your best with keto and let the rest happen in its own time.
To be honest with you, girls, I didn’t measure anything.
I didn’t even have a scale. And didn’t want one.
I only measured my success by the way I fit into my clothes, the way I looked and felt.
You should try that, too.
It takes off so much unnecessary pressure.
There might be 11 reasons (or more) why you don’t lose weight on keto, but a million reasons to stay on keto.
We just learn together, as we go on the keto journey, what works for us and how.
We learn together the traps, tricks, tips of the ketogenic diet.
And we enjoy each step of the way.
Whether we eat too many carbs or calories, too often, too little, or not enough fat.
Whether we gulp down our food, don’t drink enough water, or consume a tricky maltitol as a substitute for sugar.
Whether you expect too much from your body, too soon, or simply haven’t reach ketosis yet.
Whether we feel stressed or have a subsidiary health condition that undermines our efforts to lose weight on keto.
There are always ways to address the problems and get into a state of ketosis and reach our goal to lose weight on keto.
Good luck on your keto journey!