Weight loss on the keto diet comes easily for many, but for some the weight doesn't shift quite as easily. Here are 9 reasons that might be preventing you from losing weight while doing keto.
#1: You're Not in Ketosis
This seems obvious, but it's the most common reason why some people have trouble losing weight with Keto. In order to be in ketosis, certain conditions must be met. If they're not met: No ketosis.
Track calories, proteins, and fats each day to make sure you're in the proper ranges for ketosis. To determine empirically whether or not you're there, a blood test might be in order.
#2: You're Eating Too Many Carbs
The carb cravings that initially hit hard when starting Keto can lead some people to cave and eat a little extra here and there. This delays the onset of ketosis, and isn't a great idea. Luckily, powering through those first intense cravings without giving in means you'll achieve serious appetite control and far fewer cravings for junk later on.
However, you might feel like you're definitely keeping your carbs below the limit, but you're still not seeing weight loss results. You might not be able to get into ketosis no matter how hard you try. In that case, you might be extra-sensitive to carbs, and you need to go extra-low.
#3: Carb Sensitivity
Being "sensitive to carbs" is another way of saying "insensitive to insulin." Insulin is the hormone that creates usable energy out of the carbohydrates we consume. In a body that has healthy, high insulin sensitivity, carbs are converted into immediate energy or efficiently stored in the cells for future use.
When insulin sensitivity is off-kilter, it's difficult for the body to use excess glucose. This causes blood sugar levels to remain high after meals. Glucose remains unmetabolized or metabolized slowly, leading to weight gain.
Carb sensitivity develops over time in people who've been eating lots of carbs and sugar throughout their lives (read: most people in developed countries). You may need to cut back even more than you already are, which could jump start ketosis. If you suspect you have a medical issue related to blood sugar or insulin sensitivity, consult with a physician before starting any diet.
#4: You're Eating Keto ... But it's Low Quality
Busy lifestyles: Everybody's got one. Sometimes keeping up with everything necessitates grabbing a bite or two (or three) from a universally available, affordable, quick source. We all know it's not ideal, but man, is it always there!
Even if the label says "Low Carb," processed foods might be hindering your progress. It's important to focus on foods that are whole, Keto-friendly, and nutritious. A whole food is any food in its unprocessed form: An avocado (as opposed to prepackaged guacamole), actual eggs (not fast food reconstituted-eggish-substance), pan-seared salmon in healthy oils (not frozen fish sticks). The lack of nutrition in processed foods means they don't fill you up, and they actually lead to more dire cravings.
You can avoid eating foods from the ever-present processed food genre by planning healthy Keto meals in advance. Meal-planning can involve taking one day a week to prepare and set aside what you want to eat for the rest of the week.
#5: Stealthy Sugars
Even if you gave up the big bad sugary treats like sodas and candy bars, there's a possibility you're still getting too much sugar, which is kicking you out of (or preventing) ketosis.
There are many sweeteners and sugar alternatives marketed specifically to Keto dieters. However, despite slick packaging, some of them have more carbs than you'd think, even though they're supposedly low-sugar.
Healthier sweeteners like honey and agave are definitely better for you than refined sugars, but they can still kick you out of ketosis. Some Keto-friendly items like yogurt and salad dressings contain inordinate amounts of sugar. Stay aware of nutritional content.
#6: Calories High, Calories Low
Weight loss requires a caloric deficit, even in Keto. By tracking protein, fat, and calories, you should be able to stay in a healthy range of all three. If you're eating the right foods but still not losing weight, the simplest explanation could be that you're eating too much of them. High-calorie is still high-calorie, so take care to curb the amount of Keto foods you're eating.
Interestingly, eating too few calories can disrupt everything as well. In too great a caloric deficit, the body reacts with certain metabolic changes that ensure it gets to keep its nutrients. Fat and calories don't get burned when the metabolism slows down, and weight might actually become more difficult to lose.
Too much stress interferes with your metabolism in really unhelpful ways. For one, it causes your body to release more of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to to weight gain (especially in the belly). Stress can also make sleep difficult. Getting enough sleep is important for a healthy functioning metabolism.
Techniques like meditation, yogic stretching, and light exercise can do wonders to combat stress. It's also important to not go too hard on yourself with regards to your diet journey. Everyone's will be different. And you deserve happiness at any size.
#8: Exercise Considerations
Exercise is essential. It keeps stress levels low and keeps the metabolism humming along. In Keto, not all exercise is good exercise.
Walking, light jogging, swimming or lifting each day for just a little while can make all the difference. Weightlifting builds muscle, and bodies with more muscle burn fat and keep it off better than those with less. Intense cardio might not mix with Keto right away, so it's best to keep it low-intensity as you begin.
#9: Progress is Not Linear
Everyone's weight loss journey will have its ups and downs -- just like everyone's weight. Fluctuations and plateaus are perfectly normal. Nobody ever loses weight in a purely linear fashion and keeps it off long-term. Periods of amazing progress will be punctuated with periods of slow to none, and there's no way around it.
The two best things you can do if you're experiencing a hiccup in your weight loss progress are to be kind to yourself and stick to Keto. You're doing great!