In the beginning of a change to a ketogenic way of life and nutrition many make mistakes or see things as failures that are just do to a lack of clear details and understanding.
I intend to help with some of these below to ensure you are working from a position of knowledge. So what are some common Keto mistakes and fails?
The most common is not understanding your goals which is followed closely by judging yourself versus others. Food intake and quality is typically the other primary problem for people as they choose too much fats instead of protein or their own body fat.
Below I have expanded on these concepts and mistakes to hopefully help shed some light on them and to give you guidance hopefully at a time when you need it.
This is not an exhaustive list but more aligned with the issues I have encountered and found very frequent with people online and in person that have limited successful diets.
While researching this I found Dr Ken Berry talking along a similar path and wanted to add for more context:
Not Understanding Your Goals
You need to know what your overall goal is in starting this change to your diet. Are you trying to cut fat off your body, gain muscle mass, get fit for summer? You need to take the time to really understand your personal goals of this decision.
The goals will dictate what you will need to do during this transition. For fat loss you will want to look into lowering your overall fat intake so that your body fat starts to be utilized for the fuel source instead of table fats.
If you want to gain muscle you need to evaluate your protein intake and caloric intake along with enough fat intake to provide you proper energy for the exertion.
Don’t Compare Your Results To Other People
You are unique and your results will be also, this is a very key thing to understand and take to heart. You will lose faster than others and slower than others, this isn’t bad or proving that you aren’t eating right. Typically the larger you are the faster you will lose and the less you have the slower you lose.
If you continue to stress yourself out by comparing yourself to others is that you will cause yourself to self sabotage. This is the most dangerous thing that you can do to yourself and your long term success.
Be Unique. Be Yourself. Be Glorious!Josh
No Cheats Or Indulgences For A Minimum Of 6 Weeks
You want your body to start fully utilizing fat as its energy source but for many of us it will have been decades since it has truly been forced into this method of power generation. This means it is for all intents, “dusting off the machinery”.
The longer you can go without indulging in carbohydrates the more adapted your body becomes and at the same time the lessening of your WANT of carbohydrates will happen.
This is how you slowly start to remove all these “cheat” days from your calendar and over time you will come to notice that you can’t remember the last time you have had non-vegetable carbohydrates.
It is a pretty crazy feeling to walk the doughnut aisle in the grocery store and get a sick to my stomach feeling from just the smells alone of sugar! Years ago that would have made me buy one on the spot to eat “on the way to the car” as I was a sugar and carb addict.Josh
Not Understanding Macronutrients
You need to really start to learn about nutrition, not just work from what you hear from random strangers online, myself included.
Learn about how your body utilizes foods and resources to better your understanding as this will help drive results and ensure you make better choices when life throws you a curve ball.
I can’t understand how many people post they don’t know how to eat out on a ketogenic diet, this is about as easy as it comes from a dieting perspective, you want to have some good meat and vegetables.
I’m uncertain how you could make it any less complex than that, this is why I feel it is imperative why you need to learn about food and nutrition.
Saturated Fats Are Good For You
Your body requires saturated fats to function at peak levels, now this is something no one will argue. Unfortunately, many will though follow that up with “too much is bad for your heart”.
There have been so many studies since the start of the lipid hypothesis that have tried to prove this and guess what, yeah, not one of them has ever proved anything.
Eat the good quality saturated fats from whole food sources whenever possible, avoid seed and man made oils at all times or limit to when eating out and it is uncontrollable.
Carbohydrates Aren’t The Devil
This is the counter to the saturated fats above and that is many Keto zealots will act like carbohydrates are the biggest danger to humanity.
This isn’t really a truthful statement either, carbohydrates are a fuel source like fat and guess what, when we couldn’t find animals or bring home food guess what humans ate, correct, vegetables.
I think what we have lost through time is an understanding of using the proper fuels for the need for the time. We have become this weird twisted version of vegetarians to carnivores and we continue to think we need to be only one or the other.
We didn’t thrive and become the dominant species we are today by being ultra selective in our foods.
Moderating Meat and Protein Intake
This is a big one as many see the breakdown of macronutrients and try to shoot to lower their carbohydrates and proteins to add more fats. This is an inferior method to weight loss as this will cause loss of lean body mass and the generalized slowing of fat loss over time.
Each person needs to know their protein intake and make sure it is enough to at lest sustain their current level of muscle mass.
This number in a overall generic level is about 0.8 grams per pound of lean body mass, I would suggest that most people attempting to lose body fat still up this to 1 gram per pound.
This will help encourage body repair and cell maintenance with extra to maybe add a little mass as you are losing your body fat.
Failing To Learn And Research
A key thing to your development in the ketogenic way of life is learning to take everyone else’s information and re-compile them into your own personal view. You should never stop learning and reading and tweaking your nutrition and foods to get the best possible results in the long term.
Believing someone else should come due to your own research and matching logic and comprehension, when you don’t agree you should be able to read the provided proof and then research the opposite side of the argument.
Learn and adapt constantly, make sure that as you are gaining experience you aren’t losing perspective also.
Copying Other Peoples Meal Plans
Meal plans and food on Keto aren’t something which can be shared. Concepts and decisions can be similar but each person is unique and have specific amounts to eat within a day. You will want and need to tailor this to your own choices.
We have previously covered some of these other options to help you figure out your food intake easier and more efficiently before.
If you don’t want a meal preparation and delivery service then I personally love Real Plans as their service is about teaching you how to shop and to make grocery lists and gain the skills necessary to not need help over time.
Real Plans provides menu options which you can select that are automatically entered into a shopping list which you can access on your phone while at the store.
Limiting Overall Salt & Electrolyte Intake
We have been fed a lot on why we need to limit our intake of salt. While this may have some ground on a normal Standard American Diet (SAD) it doesn’t hold up to a ketogenic lifestyle.
See when you eat a ketogenic meal plan your body drops the extra fluid which contains all those electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium.
When that excess water weight is dropped with those electrolytes we end up being short the needed minerals which is what causes the dreaded keto flu which we wrote about here.
Instead you want to learn to salt your food liberally as your body needs this salt to function properly and you can face exhaustion, sleep issues and other problems if you don’t maintain this correctly.
Make sure that you start to salt your meals to taste as your body will let you know if you need more salt. When you try to eat and your food tastes bland, this is the signal from your body that it wants more salt added to your food.
Add it slowly to find the target where you no longer are signaled and you will have your body running clean.
Continuing To Snack Through The Day
This started with the nutritional supplement companies telling you that to “stoke your metabolic fire” you were required to eat every 3.2 seconds or you may face death. I know I am being sarcastic but it is the prevailing “belief” that you must eat consistently to keep your metabolism running.
This is entirely false as our bodies run 24/7/365 and whether you eat once or six times per day the amount of “fire” built in your metabolism is the same.
What’s worse is that instead of letting your body just burn through body fat you are continuing to provide it table fat and carbs instead to use shutting down the body based fuels.
Remember the body based storage is always last of use as it is the “security” blanket to our body ecosystem and it will hold it until it has no choice but to use it.
By extending the periods between food you tell it that if it needs energy it has to sink into this body reserve pool which helps you lose body fat fast and effectively.
Trusting Nutrition Labels
One thing most people tend to not have much understanding around is nutrition labels. These labels are taken as a “fact” as to what a serving size of foods contain, what many don’t know is they are allowed deviations from the listing on the packages.
You can be spot on your nutrition per a “label” and scanning application but still over consume 15% greater calories in a day. These companies aren’t trying to confuse you or mess with your weight loss but manufacturing always has deviations in the process.
This is why I recommend sticking to a whole foods based diet as much as possible using only the outside of the supermarket to choose your foods. Hoping also that they don’t have a “nutrition label” to guide you so that you can listen to your body instead of just a tracking app on your phone.
Final Thoughts on Common Keto Mistakes
I hope that you leave today with some more clarification to your concerns and issues and that you are driven to get the goals you targeted. This would bring me nothing but a huge joyous smile and hope that you will spread the word further to the next person!
Please feel free to share this online with anyone who may be dealing with these questionable feelings and may be making mistakes so we can get them back on track!
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