There are many issues and mistakes people encounter on their ketogenic journey. They are typically knowledge based and as you are learning and developing your lifestyle you may follow down some of these detrimental pathways.
Please note that these aren’t the end of the world but aren’t helpful to maintain your personal sanity. A great many of the below go counter to what you think and have been taught over a lifetime.
Re-teaching yourself to understand that your belief system was built incorrect takes a while for most people.
Not Eating Enough Quality Fats
This is trouble for most people starting a ketogenic diet as we have been told most of our lives that this is dangerous to our health. That you should limit your intake of fat is almost synonymous with “good health” to us.
There could be nothing further from the truth as your body requires fatty acids and cholesterol to function properly. If you consume incorrect or poor quality fats, you are what you eat, your body attempts to utilize them for all your cell membranes.
This can lead to defective cell structure that then will have to be repaired at a later time. This is why you should always aim to intake quality fats from good natural sources.
Saturated fat isn’t the evil man in the closet waiting to cause you issues. Saturated fats are natural and are incredibly good for your mind and body to consume. Your body needs these fatty acids to function along with the cholesterol content to patch your body and cells.
Unfortunately online this has led to groups who believe calories don’t matter and that you need to eat 1500 calories of fat a day. Since it is difficult to consume this much due to your body being full as nature intended they coach people to add butter to coffee or other ways to massively ingest it.
Please don’t follow this path as it only leads to weight gain eventually as your body still will process it into energy and then into fat.
This doesn’t mean drinking your fat through butter coffee, and butter chugging. Manage your food intake thoughtfully, not mindlessly.Josh Koop
Not Getting Enough Salt and Electrolytes
Salt is another item which has been demonized through our health and wellness systems. The news telling you constantly to eat less salt because it can cause high blood pressure and other ailments. Well the good news is that you need to consume more salt on keto.
When you start a ketogenic diet you will hear and maybe experience “keto flu”. This isn’t a sickness as much as a electrolyte imbalance caused by your body flushing out the electrolytes with the associated water weight. Since this occurs to stave off keto flu you always want to add on electrolytes to meals.
if it tastes salty then you have added too much. Need large amounts of potassium, sodium and magnesium.
Salt And Sodium
You want to ensure you salt food until your body tells you enough. It is a smart system which will let you know if there is not enough salt your body will tell you by having the food to taste bland. This is the signal from your body that it wants more salt added.
If you should add too much your body and tongue will signal you by sending the over salty signal. You are shooting to add salt to the middle ground, or sweet spot, between these two points.
Your body requires 4000+ mg of potassium per day. This should be an easy target to get to as many foods that are available on Keto have a high amount within them per serving.
Like salt you can add potassium through a product called “lite salt” or “nu-salt”, you can check them out on Amazon, which is a potassium based salt replacement additive.
It should be your last resort though as spinach, avocado and many other foods provide this to you without expensive extras.
Your body requires around 400-500 mg per day of magnesium and like potassium this is available in high quantities through proper nutritional eating.
This way has a nice method for supplementation through Epsom salt baths, you can check the price on Amazon, I try to take one weekly to allow myself to absorb any that my body accepts.
I also do this because I love baths and the relax time to listen to my audible books on my phone, though you can space out in other means.
Continued Snacking Or Grazing
As a species humans didn’t graze and we aren’t a grazing animal. A grazing animal is never done processing food, similar to cows like above, where they are eating almost their whole time awake. This is due to them having multiple stomachs and needing to process and reprocess foods.
In a human grazing means you either have a bad habit you have formed and need to break or you haven’t consumed enough at the previous meal. If you didn’t eat enough then you need to start working on that and make sure to add more quantity to your main meals.
You should be eating 1-3 discreet meals per day for insulin and blood sugar to normalize. This allows you to better track your macro nutrients and overall caloric intake to ensure you are in a deficit to lose body fat. Most people under estimate the amount of calories in snacking foods.
Comparing Personal Results To Others
This one hits just about everyone, especially if they have been online reading posts on Facebook, Instagram and similar platforms. You start doubting if this “keto” diet is for you because you have lost 4 lbs and someone else in the same time has lost 20 lbs.
Numerous things can come into play on your journey. Your age, current weight, gender, medication, sleep, and other factors all influence your progress. You need to know that just because you aren’t at the same speed as another person isn’t a reason to quit on yourself.
In most cases you have gained the weight over years of improper eating and it won’t be solved in months. Also in your health journey you will hit “plateaus” but please note that if this occurs it isn’t a real stop in your progress.
Your body isn’t a perfect machine where results are consistent, sometimes body repairs take precedence and if this occurs your weight may not change. If you are at the same weight for 4+ weeks then you can start to re-evaluate if you are at a plateau based on food intake or lack of exercise.
Worrying About Portion Sizes And Calorie Counting
Tracking calories long term is proven to not be effective for weight loss. Fortunately you can manage this today through macro-nutrients which is smaller and easier to manage along with having access to numerous phone and tablet applications.
Many people believe calorie counting doesn’t work but they have some fundamental flaws in their theory. Most people know their “calories” or “macros” only from an online calculator.
What you don’t understand here is that this number is only a guesstimate and it will get you close but each person has a level of variability.
This variability means you may need to eat more or less than this number the calculator gave you. What you need to do is track long term and then use the overall data to learn whether you require more or less to lose body fat, or more for mass gain.
If you try to drastically lower your calories this will inevitably lead to the detrimental effect of lowering your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
The lowering of your BMR means you would then need to eat less to lose weight which is a downward spiral, please don’t cut too hard and fast. Manage lowering overall calories in manageable 100 calorie segments and stay there for a week at least to evaluate.
Trusting Nutrition Labels & Food Manufacturers
The last issue we will cover today is around nutrition labels and food manufacturers. Remember their primary job is to sell food items to people and to do that their role is to play to the “buzz words” to help convince you to buy.
This means that they will, by law, roll any count for grams in the direction that is beneficial to them. For example on a nutrition label a product tests at 5.9 grams of carbohydrates, they can legally list it on their label as 5 grams. This leads to hidden carbs and “carb creep” especially on ketogenic diets.
Then there is the recent game of “net carbs” which was specifically built and used for targeting low carbohydrate diets with food they would traditionally skip.
The thing is net carbs frequently aren’t what you have been led to believe, they aren’t free and they have a metabolic cost many times. There are some fibers recently like IMO which have a blood sugar impact and are still legally listed as fibers on product.
The end all be all to be amazing with keto and get amazing results is to remove those things from your diet. Instead learn to eat only whole real foods that don’t feature a label.
If you choose something with a label then target getting items which have a limited amount of ingredients, I try not to purchase if the label has more then 3 ingredients.
Final Thoughts on Frequent Mistakes Made on Keto
I hope you haven’t fallen into the pitfalls listed above, I know that I have on occasion let these things get into my head and it caused me to fight unnecessary battles.
I don’t want to see other people fight through these same issues as it can feel defeating make the changes to your diet today to live healthy lives overall.
Please let me know if you know of any other issues and pitfalls where you have maybe been stuck and I can work on adding more to this to help the next person out before they hit a snag.
As always please share this out if you found it of value and let me know if you yourself have been stuck in any of these issues!