10 Common Keto Mistakes
1. Only measuring keto weight loss on the scales
Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Keto. At number 1, you frequently become frustrated and feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough, despite faithfully following a keto diet.
However, the number on the scale is not the only way to measure changes in your weight. It is not the best way to see your progress. Weight naturally fluctuates up and down and it is influenced by several things.
Fluid fluctuations (water weight is affected when on a keto diet). And how much food is passing through your system on any given day and at any given time. Your weekly weigh in does not give an accurate reflection of your progress and it never will. In fact, it can have a negative effect by discouraging you and making you feel like you have failed in some way.
The reality is, your weight can, and will, often fluctuate by anything up to 4 lbs (1.8 kg) over the course of a day. Dependent on how much food and liquid you’ve consumed.
Other reasons why the scales do not move on keto
There are many other reasons for the fluctuations. Increased oestrogen levels and other hormonal changes, particularly in women, can lead to more water retention. And that is reflected on the scales as a weight gain. It’s simply a number fluctuation and not a sudden increase in body fat.
When the number on the scale isn’t moving, you may still be losing body fat mass, but you are holding on to more water.
If you have increased your activity level or started working out more often than before, you can be starting to gain more muscle mass while losing body fat.
When this happens, your clothes may start to feel looser, especially around the waist and thighs, but your weight doesn’t move much on the scales.
Remember that muscle is denser (not heavier) than fat. So 1 pound of muscle is smaller and takes up less space in your body than 1 pound of fat takes up.
Therefore, it makes far more sense to measure your body size instead of relying on the scales alone.
Measuring your waist, thighs, and upper arms with a tape measure every couple of weeks, as well as taking photos is a far better way to see when you are actually losing body fat. Even when that scale number doesn’t move, or even goes up!
Bottom Line: There are so many factors which can affect your weight number on the scales. Fluid fluctuations, muscle mass gain and the weight of undigested food. You may be losing body fat even if the scale reading doesn’t change much. Don’t give up now because you think it isn’t working! Forget the scales and keep going!
2. Eating too many or too few calories
The general consensus is that a small calorie deficit is needed for weight loss. Keto is not an excuse to eat high fatty foods in abundance without paying attention to how much you are consuming.
The most recent research shows us that the calorie deficit needed by each individual varies from person to person. We all have different calorific requirements on a keto diet.
Some people start keto and think they are not eating very much. Your portions may well be much smaller than before. You may feel as though you’re not eating very many calories. But in fact, most of us have a tendency to underestimate just how much we eat.
When you change to a high fat diet like keto, you are actually eating more than twice as many calories, gram for gram, than you do on a traditional high carb diet. That means, you tend to eat smaller portions but still consume enough calories to support your normal bodily functions and brain activity.
Things to note on keto are that you may be consuming too many foods that are incredibly healthy but are also higher in calories. Things like nuts and cheese for instance. Watching your portion size is key.
Not enough calories?
Now, on the other hand, decreasing your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive. When do not consume enough calories your metabolism accounts for it and slows down. This causes weight loss to stall and even stop completely.
Studies have proven time and time again, that people on very low-calorie diets (less than 1200 calories per day) end up with loss of healthy, essential muscle mass and they significantly slow down their metabolism.
This is why low-fat diets are only effective short term and rarely lead to permanent fat loss. People tend to put the weight back on when they start to eat a normal, healthy amount of calories again.
Bottom Line: Consuming too many calories and too much fat can stop you from losing weight on keto. On the other hand, consuming too few calories or not enough fat can make you feel hungry, slow down your metabolism and reduce essential muscle mass. Eating well on keto prevents all these.
3. Not eating enough protein
Getting enough protein is extremely important for everybody, and even more so when you are trying to lose weight. Protein has been shown to help with weight loss in several ways.
It helps to stabilise your appetite and can increase the feelings of being full. That in turn naturally decreases your calorie intake providing a small deficit for weight loss.
Consuming protein can increase your metabolic rate and of course it will protect your essential muscle mass while you lose weight.
On keto, you typically get 20% to 25% of your calories for protein sources.
To optimize your keto diet and help with weight loss, make sure each of your meals contains a good portion of a high-protein food. Protein typically comes from animal sources, so meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. As well as some plant-based sources, you should include protein each time you eat.
Bottom Line: Your moderate protein intake on a balanced keto diet will ensure you achieve healthy weight loss by stabilising your appetite, helping you feel full, and increasing your metabolic rate.
4. Having unrealistic weight loss expectations
Having healthy goals for your weight loss, along with any other health-related goals, will keep you focused and motivated on keto. But if you have unrealistic expectations this can work against you.
Research has shown that people who expect to lose the most weight, often end up quitting or going off keto sooner than people who under estimate how much they will lose.
If you are realistic and adjust your expectations, this can help prevent you from getting discouraged and improve your chances for success.
Keto is not a quick fix diet. If you go in thinking you will continually lose several pounds every single week, you will be disappointed and this can make you feel like giving up too soon.
Bottom Line: Unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration and make you feel like giving up keto. Make your goals more realistic and that can increase your chances of more successful weight loss. And be patient.
5. Not reading labels
This is so important on keto. Reading ingredients and checking the carb content.
Many people do not actually know what is in their food. Numerous processed foods, even something as simple as a pre-packed, pre-cooked chicken breast, can be full of sugar.
Failing to read your labels can cause you to eat unhealthy ingredients like sugar and flour.
One of the biggest culprits are sausages. You would be forgiven for thinking they are just meat. Some good choices can be made but mostly, you should be avoiding them. Even your typical butcher sausages can be full of fillers so ask what is in them.
There are so many foods which are labelled with a healthy-sounding name or claim to be “low carb” on the front of the packet. Another common one that can be misleading is the “high protein” bars.
High protein does not mean it is low in carbs and is usually the opposite. These types of foods may give you a false sense of security about choosing whether you should eat it or not.
To get to the most important information needed on keto, you must look at the ingredients list and nutrition label, which are usually on the back of the container. Don’t rely on the traffic light system sometimes shown on the front of packets.
Bottom Line: Your food labels will show you all the information on ingredients, and carb content. Make sure you understand how to accurately read labels.
6. Eating too much fat
Keto, or ketogenic, is very effective for weight loss. Studies show keto can tend to reduce and stabilise your appetite and helps keep blood sugars stable.
Some keto diets give you the green light to consume unlimited amounts of fat, with the assumption that keto reduces your appetite therefore that will reduce your calorie intake.
However, many people, especially those who have spent years yo-yo dieting, can be leptin resistant. That is, people may not experience a strong signal to stop eating. You never feel quite “full” and you always finish the plate full even when you have already consumed enough.
As a result, you may consume far too much fat and therefore too many calories to achieve your fat loss goals.
If you are adding large amounts of fat to your meals or beverages (like a BPC) and you are not losing weight or seeing the results you want, then cut back on the fat. You want your body to burn the fat you consume AND your stored body fat.
Bottom Line: Although low-carb and keto diets help reduce hunger, adding too much fat may slow down or prevent your weight loss.
7. Not eating whole, single-ingredient foods
Keto, at its very basic roots, is eating real, whole foods.
One of the worst things you can do for both your general health and for fat loss is to eat a lot of highly processed foods.
Convenient snacks and quick grab and go processed foods can be low in carbs and considered keto friendly, but they are never as healthy as eating real whole foods.
One of the biggest causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes are high sugar and highly processed foods that are readily available on your supermarket shelves. Research shows in both animal and human studies that processed foods are a major cause of both these. As well as rising numbers of heart disease.
This could be put down to the negative effect processed foods have on our gut health and that they cause inflammation in our bodies. It is also very easy to overeat processed foods. Keto on the hand, is a naturally anti-inflammatory way of eating that can be sustained for life.
Bottom line: Although pre-packaged processed foods can be keto friendly, you should, when possible, choose whole, single-ingredient foods that are minimally processed. Get cooking and learn how to food prep in advance so you don’t need to reach for convenience foods.
8. Not tracking what you eat in any way
Nobody wants to feel like they are “on a diet”. But few of us are really aware of the accurate nutritional and calorie values in our meals.
Eating all the right balanced and nutritious keto foods is a good way to lose body fat. However, you might still eat too much fat or too many calories to lose weight.
You might not be eating adequate amounts of protein, or keeping your carbs low enough to keep you in ketosis to support your weight loss efforts.
Studies show that tracking your meals help you get an accurate picture of your calorie and nutrient consumption. It also provides accountability and helps you learn about portion sizes.
Some people find tracking to be a chore and makes them feel like they are dieting rather following a new healthier lifestyle.
But, you don’t need to track forever. You can use this as a learning tool when you first start out and return to it periodically to help keep you on track as your appetite and lifestyle change and adapt.
In addition to tracking your meals and saving your recipes, most apps allow you to log your daily exercise and link to your fitness watch as well. So it’s not all about keeping a strict record and counting every time you eat. Love tracking, or hate it, not tracking is one of Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Keto.
Bottom Line: If you’re not tracking what you eat, you may be consuming more carbs, fats, or calories than you think. Or you may be missing out! You may be getting less protein than you think. It’s good to find out and learn about portion sizes.
9. Not Intermittent Fasting or eating too often, even when not hungry
This definitely deserves a mention in the Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Keto. For decades the conventional advice has been that we need to eat every few hours in order to prevent hunger or slow our metabolism. More small meals, more frequently. But this tends to lead to people over eating over the course of the day and you never truly feel full.
Keto is a way of eating that satisfies your huger and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. That’s the key.
Studies show that keeping blood sugars and insulin levels low and stable mean your body keeps burning fat for energy in a constant cycle between body fat and dietary fat.
The recommendation to eat breakfast every morning, regardless of whether you actually feel hungry or not, appears to be very misguided. One study found when people skipped breakfast, they took in more calories at lunch than when they’d eaten a morning meal. However, they ended up consuming less in the day overall.
Eating when you’re hungry and only when you’re hungry has been shown to have the most positive results for weight loss while on a keto diet. People do not tend to snack between meals on keto, and they don’t tend to over eat in general.
It is the times in between your meals, and overnight while sleeping, that your body is burning off the most body fat. So curb the snacking and eat adequate amounts at meal times to keep you feeling full and energised.
Do not let yourself go hungry! That’s when bad decisions are made. Allow your body to tell you when you are hungry. Also check that you aren’t simply feeling thirst. A glass of water may be what your body is craving and not that extra chunk of cheese.
Bottom Line: Eating too often can slow down your fat loss. Intermittent Fasting helps boost your metabolism and helps your body tap in to its own fat reserves for energy. Eat only when you’re hungry.
10. Overestimating how many calories you burn during exercise
How many times have we been told that exercise boosts our metabolism and speeds it up? Although exercise does increase our metabolic rate a bit, it’s probably less than you think.
Studies have shown both healthy weight and overweight people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn during exercise, often by a significant amount. And as a result, they end up eating more because they thought they would burn it all off.
Of course, any kind of exercise or simply moving around more is good for us and it helps our overall health and well-being. It can help improve our mental health as well. It can boost your weight loss but it is simply not as effective as we have been led to believe.
This is one reason why keto is so effective for fat loss in people who have limited mobility. Keto uses fat to make energy and even while we sleep, our bodies continue to make energy to carry out basic functions and maintain our healthy brains.
Bottom Line: Studies show people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn during exercise. So do not think you can eat lots more because you did that 3k walk or managed a full on spin class.
10 common mistakes people make on keto when trying to lose weight
So there it is. The Top 10 Mistakes People Make on Keto. Now you know what to look out for and how easy it is to avoid them. Get started with us today by purchasing our exclusive keto guide and flexible meal plan which has been designed especially for the UK market.