A low carb diet is excellent for dropping weight, and better yet, studies show that it also helps reduce the risk of diabetes and other health issues. Since it focuses on taking out foods that are easy to overeat, you end up eating more of the good stuff (i.e., protein and fat) as opposed to carbohydrates. Since carbs raise blood sugar, your levels should stabilize as well.
However, with any diet, including the keto diet, there is always going to be stumbling blocks and the Body Reboot book offers excellent tips on how to overcome them. From eating too many allowed foods to not incorporating the right type of exercise, some of these missteps can set you off course. However, before you throw in the towel, stay ahead of the game by understanding what errors to avoid.
Not Knowing Your Ideal Macronutrients
You may or may not have heard of the term “macronutrients,” which refers to carbs, fats, and proteins. All three are the essential components of every diet. For the keto diet, it's true that it's alright to eat plenty of foods that are high in protein and fat, but the KetoDietApp reminds us that counting calories is still important.
As you may know, calories do count, even on a low-carb, ketogenic diet. When you eat nutritious foods low in carbs, moderate in protein and high in fat, you will naturally eat less. For this reason, most of you won't need to count calories on a keto diet.
However, just following a low-carb diet doesn't guarantee weight loss. It helps to keep an eye on your fat intake. The closer you get to your target weight, the more important that becomes. Additionally, you need to ensure that you're eating sufficient amount of protein to stay satiated and prevent muscle loss.
Eating too Many “Allowed” Foods
When you're on the keto diet at first, it's okay to eat more protein and fat since your body will be going through ketosis and adjusting. However, don't overdo it by eating too much of one type of “allowed” food item such as an avocado. If you do find yourself overeating favorite foods, you may start gaining weight as opposed to losing it.
Because you're keeping your carbs low (anywhere between 50 to 100 grams, depending on your exercise level), you may find yourself reaching for more of the macronutrients you don't have to restrict, like protein and fat. That often means overdoing it on the meat and cheese, which can not only have health risks, but can also cause weight gain as these foods contain a lot of calories.
So going low-carb isn't a license to eat as much of these foods as you want. Rather, follow the low-carb food pyramid to find the optimal amount of macronutrients for you and let your appetite be your guide—eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortable.
It's true that following the low-carb food pyramid will help guide you, like Richard N. Fogoros, MD recommends. However, if you tend to overeat, writing down what you're consuming every day, as well as the number of calories you're eating, should help keep you accountable.
Not Incorporating the Right Kind of Exercise
Exercise is still relevant while on the keto diet, but it should be the right type of activity. Since it's easy to get tired out while exercising for an extended period (more on that below), Muscle & Fitness reminds us why high-intensity workouts are the way to go.
While the low-carb diet can help you get ripped by cutting your bodyfat levels, it also can cost you valuable muscle size. That's because stores of glycogen (stored glucose from carbohydrates) inside your muscle tissue and liver are compromised when your carb intake is too low. And with low stores of glycogen, it's difficult for your muscles to exert the sustained, high-intensity effort required to lift weights. Essentially, you suffer a decrease in strength, your training poundages drop and your muscles get less stimulation, which leads to muscle loss.
In addition, when you diet (whether low-carb or otherwise), you're almost always in a hypocaloric state (you take in fewer food calories than you burn). In this environment, your body looks for the “missing energy” it needs to function, usually breaking protein structures into amino acids, which can then be used for energy.
Because of those factors, you need to structure your resistance training so that it's brief, heavy and intense. Brief workouts Opens a New Window. consume fewer calories than longer workouts. For those of you who don't feel like you've had a good workout until you've spent the entire afternoon in the gym, remember this: There's an inverse relationship between training volume and training intensity. You can train hard for a short period or not-so-hard for a longer period, but you can't train hard for a long period! In fact, if you truly give it your all on every set of every exercise, you won't last longer than 20-30 minutes per bodypart.
Not Consuming Enough Sodium
One of the main mechanisms behind low-carb diets is a reduction in insulin levels.
Insulin has many functions in the body, such as telling fat cells to store fat.
But another thing that insulin does is to tell the kidneys to hold on to sodium.
On a low-carb diet, your insulin levels go down and your body starts shedding excess sodium and water along with it. This is why people often get rid of excess bloat within a few days of low-carb eating.
However, sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body and this can become problematic when the kidneys dump too much of it.
This is one of the main reasons people get side effects on low-carb diets… such as lightheadedness, fatigue, headaches and even constipation.
The best way to circumvent this issue is to add more sodium to your diet. You can do this by adding more salt to your foods, but if that doesn't suffice then you can drink a cup of broth every day.
I personally like adding a bouillon cube into a cup of hot water, then drinking it like a soup in a cup. It actually tastes really good and supplies 2 grams of sodium.
It makes sense that a low-carb diet can lower your insulin levels and lead to the keto flu, which means you're likely going to feel tired and achy. To prevent a sodium deficiency make sure you're adding enough sodium to your daily food intake as healthline recommends.
Comparing Your Results to Others
It's easy to get caught up in a comparison trap, like Low Carb and Loving it tells us, but it's more important to focus on your success and keep pushing forward. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others too much, take a break from social media or follow these tips instead:
Some people will be able to eat more carbs a day than others. For example, my friend who is in her 3os can eat 50 net carbs a day and she is still averaging 10 lbs weight loss a month with no exercise. While I in my 40s can eat only about 30-40 net carbs and I will lose 5-10 lbs a month. If you belong to some of the low carb Facebook groups, you are probably going, how come this person is losing so much while I’ve stalled out?
They are eating the right amount of carbs, fats, proteins for their body. You need to find the right combination for your body. Don’t focus or get disheartened by others success. Celebrate their success with them and remember your time is coming! Just keep in telling yourself, if they can do it, so can I!
Not Eating the Right Carbs
Yes, we realize this sounds like an oxymoron since you're on a low-carb diet, but even on the keto diet, it's okay to have a small number of carbs, specifically 20 to 100 grams per day, depending on your body mass. However, keep in mind that there are good carbs and bad carbs so choose wisely.
Not all carbs are created equal, so you don't want to slurp down a soda with your Instagram-worthy salad and grab a chocolate chip cookie afterward. Skip the refined and overly processed carbs like white bread, pasta, bagels, sugary beverages, and baked goods, and fuel up on carbs that are also high in fiber—they'll add to the fullness factor. Leslie recommends a half to one cup of whole grains like quinoa or oatmeal and one to two pieces of fruit each day. That will keep your carbs low enough to lose weight and allow your body to have the energy to function. Plus, they also offer valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs to have a strong immune system.
Women's Health makes another valid point, which is it's important to watch your portions. For example, overeating protein while on the keto diet isn't a good idea, even though protein and fat are what keto dieters should eat the most. Read on to learn more about the appropriate protein range to eat.
Eating Way too Much Protein
Healthline also reminds us that while on the keto diet it's no doubt necessary to eat protein, but in moderation. The goal when you start the keto diet is to go into and keep your body in ketosis. Eat too much protein, and ketosis may not be possible.
Protein is a very important macronutrient, which most people aren't getting enough of.
It can improve satiety and increase fat burning compared to other macronutrients.
Generally speaking, more protein should lead to weight loss and improved body composition.
However, low-carb dieters who eat a lot of lean animal foods can end up eating too much of it.
When you eat more protein than your body needs, some of the amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis.
This can become a problem on very low-carb, ketogenic diets and prevent your body from going into full-blown ketosis.
According to Volek and Phinney, a “well-formulated” low-carb diet should be low-carb, high-fat and moderate protein.
A good range to aim for is 1.5 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.7 – 0.9 grams per pound.
Not Eating Enough Fiber
Fiber is crucial while you're in ketosis, and you can get it by eating vegetables and seeds such as chia. Reader's digest also offers some other suggestions on how to incorporate fiber into your daily meals.
When you’re focusing on protein and fat, you can miss out on fiber. You need 20 to 35 grams a day for digestive health and to help prevent colorectal cancer. Eat a variety of vegetables and be sure to include fiber-rich options such as asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes. Avocados are a fantastic healthy-fat choice because they’re also rich in fiber.
Including low carb, fiber-packed seeds such as chia, hemp, and flax in your diet will boost fiber along with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. You may also want to add in some bran or psyllium as a fiber supplement. Talk to your doctor first to make sure it won’t interact with any medications or supplements you’re already taking.
Since you're limiting carbs on the keto diet, you should look at the ratio of net carbs compared to fiber. In other words, how many carbohydrates do you need to eat to equal a gram of fiber? You should go after foods that have more fiber than carbs since your carb intake should be restricted.
Now that you understand what to avoid while on the keto diet, continue to learn more ways to prevent burn out. That way you can stick to a diet that can help you stay healthy and fit!
There's a book that dishes all about the keto diet and reveals all of its amazing benefits. At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Head to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: Muscle & Fitness, KetoDiet Blog, verywellfit, healthline, Women'sHealth, Low Carb and Loving it, Reader's Digest
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