Struggling to lose weight on keto? Help is at hand.
The Keto or “Ketogenic” diet is one of the most popular choices for folks looking to break their carb addiction and lose weight quickly.
But some people find that they struggle to lose weight on this diet, despite their best efforts.
There are many reasons you’re not losing weight on keto and some include not actually following the diet’s “protocols.”
So let’s see if we can find out what’s causing you to struggle to lose weight while on keto, because with a few simple tweaks, you’ll be losing weight in no time.
What is the Ketogenic diet?
The keto diet is based on severely restricting carbohydrates in favour of fats and protein. eating fewer carbs in your daily diet. In fact, some experts suggest that daily carbs should be less than 50 grams per day (ideally 20 grams). However, while reducing the carb intake, the diet calls for a higher protein and fat intake.
The “rules” for keto requires an average of the following food percentages per day:
- 75% calories from fat from foods
- 20% of calories through protein
- Only 5% of daily energy requirements from carbs
Following the intake of portions per day should aid with your weight loss goals. However, for some folks, weight loss isn’t happening.
Tip: New to keto? We wrote a beginners’ guide to the keto diet – check it out here.
Understanding some of the reasons you’re not losing weight on keto
Let’s first break down the above groups (fat, calories, carbs) and see why our body needs them.
Healthy fat plays a vital role in helping the body regulate heat and is thus insulating to prevent becoming too cold. However, apart from insulation the body also needs fat to help with cell development as well as energy and vital organ protection. Fat is also important for hormone production.
Did you know your brain is up to 60% fat?
Healthy sources of fats include nuts, seeds, animal fat, dairy (for those who aren’t intolerant to lactose) and avocados.
Protein is considered the building blocks of the body. It builds and repairs muscle and tissues (as well as bones, skin, cartilage, blood).
Protein is used to create chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), enzymes and chemicals which perform numerous crucial functions within the body. It’s also important for hormone production.
Carbohydrates are an energy source for the body. They are a fuel source that you body can run on.
Proponents of the ketogenic diet believe that humans do not require carbohydrates to survive (unlike fats or protein which are critical for life).
Too much sugar and refined carbohydrates (processed foods) have been linked to unwanted weight gain, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Whether or not you’re a fan of keto, it’s in your best interest to cut down on refined sugar.
For some tips to lower your sugar intake, read this post here.
10 reasons you’re not losing weight on keto
Too many carbs
As mentioned earlier in this post, the aim of the ketogenic diet is to cut the carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. Some people only reach ketosis if they consume less than 20 grams of carbs per day!
The reality is that if you’re not losing weight on keto, it might be because your carb intake is higher than you think.
The body resorts to burning fat for energy when there are fewer carbs. This is known as a “state of ketosis.” Weight loss is possible when the body burns its own fat for energy. However, if there are more carbs, the metabolism will store it as fat for energy reserves and this will lead to excessive weight gain.
Solution? Carefully track your food intake (weigh an measure everything) for a few days to see how many carbs you’re averaging.
If it’s over 20 grams net carbs per day, then modify your diet to comply with this keto rule and then see if the weight begins to shift.
Not enough nutritious foods in your diet
The keto diet thrives on a balance of nutrition in your diet. So yes, you need to up your consumption of fresh leafy greens, and low-sugar fruits (eg: berries) and vegetables. Don’t forget that healthy fats are vital too.
Fresh foods are far better for your diet than processed foods filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives.
You might not be losing weight on keto due to other health concerns
You could be unaware of the fact that you’re suffering from an undiagnosed condition. Certain health conditions prohibit effective metabolism and thyroid gland function. These factors may increase your chances of weight gain. At the very least certain health conditions could make it considerably hard to lose and keep weight off.
Depression may also lead to weight gain and an increased appetite. Women who suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or simply POCS are at high risk of gaining weight even whilst on the keto diet.
If you suspect an underlying condition that could be preventing your weight loss, please seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical specialist such as an endocrinologist. Further investigations and blood work would be required to diagnose your condition so do not just Google and self-diagnose!
More calories than you need
The reason keto works is because it forces your body to burn its own fat for fuel. The lack of carbohydrates also keeps insulin spikes to an extremely low level.
However, the fact remains that if you overeat, you won’t lose weight.
In fact, you might even gain weight on keto!
To have success on keto requires you to listen to your body’s natural satiety cues and don’t eat past fullness.
Fats are extremely satiating, and you might find yourself in a habit of serving up more meat than what your body actually requires.
Listen to your body and don’t overeat even though you’re eating keto.
You’re not realistic about your weight loss goals
Sometimes it’s easier to set unrealistic weight-loss goals than to admit that it simply is impossible to lose 20 kilos in one month. You need to be realistic about your goals to lose weight.
If you’re over 40 years old or happen to have a slower metabolism, you might have to work twice as hard compared to someone who is 20 years old with a faster metabolic rate.
Go easier on yourself because stressing about losing weight may just lead to “stress eating” and extra, unwanted weight gain.
Dehydration may cause people to gain weight as the body struggles to function more efficiently. People who drink less water may also tend to want more snacks or feel hungrier between meals. The more water you drink the longer you’ll feel full and not looking to snack in-between.
Certain drinks such as caffeinated coffee and alcohol can contribute to your body becoming dehydrated. If you’re not keen on only drinking water then you could drink rooibos or other herbal teas because they are not as dehydrating as coffee.
Dehydration can also occur as a result of medication. You need to check with your health specialist before deciding to reduce your medication. You cannot simply stop taking the medication in an attempt to diet more efficiently.
More snacks = more weight gain
More reasons you’re not losing weight on keto may be because you’re snacking. We’re not saying you shouldn’t snack at all or to deprive yourself of your favourite bites, but too much may just be the problem.
You might be enjoying keto-friendly snacks such as biltong, peanut butter and nuts, but these are high-calorie options that can hinder your weight loss efforts.
Take stock of how often (and in what quantities) you’re snacking and see if you can cut back a bit.
You might find that this tip alone will help you start losing weight not he keto diet!
You’re no longer exercising
Another reason why you’re not losing weight on keto might just be due to the fact that you’ve pressed pause on exercise. This is an easy way to jeopardise your weight loss goals because you’re not helping your body develop “good habits” such as building lean muscle.
Exercising will also give you a chance to burn any excess carbs. While this isn’t an overnight fix, it is possible and a long-term goal you ought to be proud to work on. If there is one thing to remember and that is a balanced diet goes together with exercise.
When we are stressed, the body releases cortisol. Cortisol is not a bad hormone in and of itself. In fact, it’s important for controlling “blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure.” – Hormone.org.
But chronic stress is definitely not a good thing for the body because cortisol stimulates insulin which can lead to cravings of your favourite sweets and chocolates.
No energy due to a lack of vitamin B
Vitamin B complex is important to maintain healthy levels of energy. A deficiency could lead to legarthy and you’ll feel mentally and physically drained. This leaves you vulnerable to snacking and sneaking in some sugary treats in order to “boost” your energy levels.
If you’re doing keto, rather get your vitamin Bs from dark leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli. You can also get vitamin B supplies in dairy products like milk, eggs, and cheese as well as meat.
Some folks opt to take a vitamin B complex in supplement form.
Closing thoughts as to why you’re not losing weight on keto
The beauty of the keto diet is that it encourages you to eat natural, whole foods and unlike calorie-cutting diets, you never have to feel hungry.
Hundreds of thousands of people have successfully lost weight – and kept it off – doing keto. These same people will tell you that they “tried everything” but only saw true results once they cut out the carbs.
That being said, you still have to follow the diets carefully in order to see the best results.
So if your weight loss has stalled or you’re not losing weight at all, work through these tips and see if you’ve somehow gotten off track.
Chances are it’s a quick fix to get you back on the weight loss train.
Are you on the keto diet to help lose weight? Or have you ever tried keto? Let us know.