Losing weight is a primary reason why people start the Ketogenic diet.
But without a properly formulated low-carb, high-fat diet, you may not experience the same fat burning benefits that others are experiencing.
In this Keto Beginners Series, we’ll go over the main reasons why you may not be losing weight on the Ketogenic diet.
#1. You’re Not Exercising Enough
Adding physical activity into your lifestyle is a crucial component of any weight-loss strategy.
Exercising improves your body’s metabolic flexibility which means it becomes easier for your body to start using fats for energy rather than carbohydrates.[*] During your Keto-adaptation phase, this is crucial because it shortens the time in which you experience flu-like symptoms which may cause unwarranted carb and sugar cravings.
Adding a strength training routine into your regimen will also help you burn more overall calories during exercise and while resting.
If you’re a beginner, make it a habit to perform strength training exercises at least once or twice a week along with a cardio session at least once a week.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, it’s best to slowly ramp up the intensity, duration, and frequency of your exercise routine to allow your body to build tolerance to exercise and avoid injury.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a minimum of 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate activity to maintain general health. Build up to surpassing that recommendation in order to aid in weight loss.
#2. You’re Not Eating Nutrient Dense Foods
Just because you’re eating low carb foods does not always mean it’s nutritious.
Consuming processed Keto foods like lunch meats, vegetable oils, and hot dogs may help you reach your fat macros for the day but doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose weight. (See our article on Dirty Keto for more information)
Without nutrient-dense foods, you’re not providing your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. This can lead to various hormonal and metabolic imbalances which can hinder your weight loss efforts on Keto.
Stick to eating unprocessed, Ketogenic whole foods like grass-fed beef and healthy fats like avocado and macadamia nuts and avoid processed foods as much as possible to get the best weight-loss benefits from your Keto efforts.
#3. You’re Eating Too Many Calories
Against popular opinion, you cannot eat endless amounts of food and still lose weight just by restricting carbohydrates.
In order to lose weight - no matter what diet you’re on - you must be eating at a calorie deficit. This means you should be consuming fewer calories than your body burns off on a daily basis.
While it may feel daunting at first to have to track your calories, using calorie-tracking apps such as Carb Manager makes it extremely easy. And after a month or two of tracking, you’ll know exactly how much you should be eating to start losing weight.
#4. You’re Eating Too Much Fat
While the Ketogenic diet encourages people to eat large amounts of fat, many beginners often overdo it.
Fats contain 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates and protein only contain 4 calories per gram. If your main goal of Keto is to start losing weight, it’s crucial that you calculate how much fat you need to eat and still stay in a caloric deficit.
We recommend focusing on eating a healthy amount of protein before indulging in large amounts of fats. Protein has a satiating effect so eating the right amount will ensure that you don’t eat an excess amount of calories and end up gaining weight rather than losing fat.
#5. You're Not Monitoring Your Carb Intake
If you’re eating too many carbs, your metabolism will turn to glucose for energy rather than burning fat for fuel.
The only way to start burning ketones and your own stored body fat for energy is by keeping carb intake under 50g of total carbs per day.
Look out for hidden carbohydrates in some “low-carb” foods like vegetables, dairy, and some nuts. Make sure you track your carbohydrate intake at the beginning so you know whether or not you’re staying under 50g per day.
#6. You’re Constantly Stressed Out and Not Sleeping Enough
The stress hormone cortisol has been linked to storing body fat.
People who are sleep deprived are chronically stressed which can lead to unwanted weight gain even if they are eating at a slight calorie deficit.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can negatively alter your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin[*], leading to increased appetite!
#7. You May Have a Leptin Resistance
If you’re brand new to Keto and you aren’t seeing weight loss, there’s a chance that you have leptin resistance.
This is the hunger hormone that signals to your brain that you’re full when there’s enough fat in your diet. If you have leptin resistance, it may cause persistent food cravings and increased appetite.
If you’re really struggling with weight loss and hunger while following the Keto diet, it may be beneficial to get tested for leptin resistance.
For better leptin sensitivity and reversal of leptin resistance, it is often recommended to be sure to get plenty of good quality sleep, reduce stress levels, get omega-3s, and eat anti-inflammatory foods.[*]
A Properly Formulated Keto Diet is a Great Weight Loss Tool
If you’re a beginner to Keto and you aren’t seeing the best weight loss results, most of the time just a slight tweak in your diet plan can give you monumental results.
The fastest way to start seeing results is by tracking your calories to ensure you’re eating the right kinds and amount of food, keeping stress low, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
Note: The content in this article is not medical advice and is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Always talk to your doctor before changing your diet.