Troubleshooting Keto: A Beginner’s Guide to Low-Carb Success
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Troubleshooting Keto: A Beginner’s Guide to Low-Carb Success

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Troubleshooting Keto: A Beginner’s Guide to Low-Carb Success

Posted 2 months ago

Brian Stanton

Brian Stanton


Life is full of challenges to overcome. Did you think succeeding on Keto would be the exception?

Probably not. You knew some troubleshooting would be involved. 

Maybe you're struggling with weight loss, Keto flu, or a deep nostalgia for blueberry muffins. 

This article will help you solve those problems so you can cash in on the Keto health benefits that inspired you in the first place.

Keto Weight Loss Troubleshooting

Most people use the Ketogenic diet as a weight loss tool. The evidence suggests it's effective for this goal[*][*][*], but let's review some common snags. 

Why am I not losing weight on Keto?

If you aren't losing weight on Keto, you're probably over-consuming calories. Consuming more calories than you expend means you won't shed pounds.[*

Keto does help with this problem. It eliminates binge-worthy foods (refined carbs) and reduces hunger hormones like ghrelin.[*

But these natural advantages won't save you if you gobble 900 calories of roasted nuts while binge-watching Love Island. Let's run through a few strategies that can help. 

First, logging every bite in Carb Manager keeps you accountable to your diet. You won't eat the cashews because you don't want to report the calories. 

You should also mind your body's satiety signals. Have a small handful of nuts and wait 15–20 minutes. You probably won't be hungry anymore. 

But the most essential tip for establishing healthy habits is to control your environment. If you don't keep dangerous foods around, you won't eat them. 

How do I deal with weight loss plateaus?

You lost weight on Keto, but now you're stuck. Don't panic. 

First, realize that early Keto weight loss is often water weight. That's your body shedding stored sugar (glycogen) as you adapt to lower carbohydrate intakes.[*

Fat loss takes more time, so be patient. That's the first principle. 

Along with patience, take a holistic approach to sustainable fat loss on Keto. Minimize carbs, get enough protein, manage caloric intake, prioritize sleep, and keep stress low. 

Check out our blog on breaking through Keto weight loss plateaus for a deeper dive. 

Keto Flu Troubleshooting

Keto flu is a catch-all term for the fatigue, headaches, gut issues, and other symptoms that often plague low-carb newbies. Let's troubleshoot. 

How long does Keto flu last? What are common causes and remedies?

If you feel lousy on Keto, you may need more time to fat-adapt. Your brain doesn't switch from burning glucose to burning ketones overnight. It could take a few days. 

Other causes of Keto flu include:

  • Not consuming sufficient calories
  • Not getting enough electrolytes, especially sodium
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Dehydration
  • Eating too many carbs to enter ketosis

The remedy depends on the cause. Some are easy fixes, while others require more tinkering. Read our Keto flu article for the full treatment.  

What should I do about gut issues?

Your digestion may require more tinkering on Keto. Some explanation will help. 

Restricting carbs means restricting fiber-rich foods like apples, potatoes, and yams. Your gut may protest with constipation, diarrhea, or other unpleasant symptoms. 

Address this fiber deficiency by consuming non-starchy plants like avocados, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and kale. Build your meals around these foods.

But more fiber isn't always better. For instance, studies suggest that low-carb and low-fiber diets can improve IBS symptoms.[*][*

Experiment to find your optimal fiber intake. And remember to read our article on Keto and gut health. 

What should I do about sleep issues?

Although research suggests Keto may increase deep sleep[*], many people report insomnia. The reason why isn't clear. 

It could be a matter of undershooting calories. Gnawing hunger is not ideal for drifting off. 

If you're eating enough, bear down on your sleep hygiene. These tips will help. 

Miscellaneous Keto Troubleshooting

Let's cover a few more Keto questions that defy categorization. 

What should I eat on Keto?

A simple Keto success strategy is to eat nutrient-dense foods high in protein and low in carbs. Fill in the rest with healthy fats. 

One formula is to start with protein (eggs, meat, fish, whey, etc.), add non-starchy vegetables, and top with olive or avocado oil. Explore our mega library of Keto recipes for more ideas. 

Snooping for a comprehensive Keto food list? We have you covered right here

How do I track macros?

Just log your meals in Carb Manager. It automatically tracks your progress towards daily macro and calorie goals. 

Macro tracking is worth the few seconds of moving your thumbs on your trusty smartphone. It exponentially increases your chances of success vs winging it. 

Why am I not in ketosis?

So you've performed a urine, blood, or breath test, and you're officially not in ketosis. You're probably eating too many carbs. 

Are you tracking every bite to ensure hidden carbs aren't sneaking into your diet? You'd be in ketosis if you were. 

Our article scuba dives into this question. Check it out

Why is my exercise performance suffering on Keto?

You may still be fat-adapting. It could take months (even years) to unlock the maximal benefit. 

In a 2016 study, ultra-endurance athletes consumed a low-carb diet for approximately the time required to update one's mailing address with the IRS. (20 months on average.) Their average fat burning was 59% higher than high-carb counterparts. Their peak fat-burning was 230% higher.

That's the complete adaptation, but a few weeks should be fine for non-professional performance. Read this blog for tips on exercising while you Keto-adapt. 

Keto is too restrictive for me—what should I do?

If you feel strangled by the rules of Keto, you have a few options:

  1. Knuckle down for a little longer
  2. Expand your Keto menu
  3. Try another eating approach

On knuckling down, your appetites often adapt if you push past the initial cravings. Then Keto won't feel like a straightjacket anymore. 

And remember to expand your low-carb menu beyond meat, fish, eggs, and salads. A good Keto dessert can make you feel like a kid again. The Carb Manager kitchen is here to help. Check out our thousands of chef-created recipes to suit every craving, under Meals > Recipes in the app.

But say you've tweaked your Keto diet to perfection. You've done everything right, and it still isn't working for you. 

Don't get down on yourself. Try something else that includes more carbs. 

Keep working at it. You'll solve this challenge like you've solved many others. 

Comments 2

  • BarbaraB61

    BarbaraB61 a month ago

    Thanks for the information

    • FantasticCauliflower767576

      FantasticCauliflower767576 2 months ago

      Here we go!