When you’re starting a new diet or committing to a lifestyle change that will leave you happier and healthier, you want to get things right the first time. Regardless of how much research you do, little ketogenic diet mistakes can add up, limiting the positive effects of this way of eating.
Instead of always looking at what to do, it might be easier to take a look at some of the most common ketogenic diet mistakes that people make when adapting to this lifestyle. By learning from mistakes other newbies made, you can avoid them, putting yourself ahead of the game.
Here are some of the ketogenic diet mistakes others have made when starting keto:
1. Not Eating Enough Fat
This is one of the ketogenic diet mistakes that people have a problem with the most. Everywhere we look, we are told that fat is bad and should be limited as much as possible. It’s important to remember that the same people telling us that are the ones who say we should be eating grains every day.
When a lot of people start keto, they think they can just leave out the carbs and be in good shape. That might mean having regular meals, such as grilled chicken, with your family but not eating the sides, such as breads, noodles, and rice. While cutting out the carbs is an important step when starting a ketogenic lifestyle, getting an ample amount of healthy fat is just as important.
If you’re focused on just eating lean meat, you may find yourself in a huge caloric deficit. While you definitely want a caloric deficit if your goal is to lose weight, being in too much of a deficit can actually cause your body to store the fat you’re trying to shed. Not getting enough fat in your diet can also leave you feeling sluggish, lightheaded and weak.
Since everyone has different goals, it’s best to use a keto macro calculator to find out how much fat you should be consuming.
2. Eating Low Fat Foods
While this could technically be combined with the mistake number one, I wanted to give it it’s own section because I think it’s very important. Simply put, if a food is advertised as being low in fat, put it back and look for the full fat version. Smother your vegetables in butter, eat delicious full fat cheese, leave the skin on your chicken thighs. Enjoy all the fats!
You may also notice that foods that are advertised as being low in fay often contain more carbs that their normal fat counterparts. That’s because when the fat is taken away, something has to replace it. That replacement is often things like sugar or flour.
3. Eating Too Much Protein
Next on our list of ketogenic diet mistakes is eating too much protein. Here’s yet another mistake that so many people struggle with. After being told that fat is bad and protein is good for so long, it’s hard to change that way of thinking. Now, I don’t want to say that protein itself is bad, because it’s not. Protein is a very important part of your diet, but you need to have it in the right amounts to get positive benefits from it.
When you first begin a ketogenic diet, you’re more than likely going to see a large drop in weight, especially for the first couple of weeks. Now most of this will be from excess water, but it will still be nice to see on the scale. After that initial loss, your body will eventually normalize itself and you’ll begin losing one to two pounds per week. This, of course, varies from person to person and is dependent on a number of things, specifically how much weight you have to lose.
If your weight loss is stalling and the scale isn’t moving, you should consider taking a look at your protein intake. Remember, no matter what your macros are, protein should only make up 20 to 25% of your daily calories.
4. Eating To Meet Your Maximum Macros
Your macros are so important to this way of eating, but you should not be treating them like a race to the top. Not a single day goes by when I don’t see the same questions on message boards and social media groups. They say things like “I’m not hungry, but I still need to eat 30 more grams of fat, what should I eat?”
Let me answer that question for you right now. Nothing. You shouldn’t eat a single thing. You know why? Because you just said you weren’t hungry. If you are not hungry, don’t eat. It’s that simple. The total amount of carbs, fat, and protein in your macros is just the maximum amount you should eat, not a number that you have to hit. What’s more important is that your ratios are correct, or at least close to correct, by the end of the day.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
I know that water is not the most exciting beverage out there, but it does so much good for you. Since this diet is high in fat and moderate in proteins, the water goes a long way to helping your liver and kidneys process them efficiently.
Just can’t stomach water or want something with some flavor? Consider adding some flavor enhancers. Mio makes great carb-free products. Click here to check out a variety pack on Amazon.
6. Regularly Drinking Alcohol
An alcoholic beverage every once in a while isn’t going to have too much of a negative effect on the lifestyle. The problem is that with low-carb diets becoming more and more popular, the alcohol industry is beginning to put out more products that are low in carbs. While this is a good thing, it does not mean you should be drinking it on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, regular alcohol consumption can have a very negative effect on your weight loss. I’m a strong believer in never drinking your calories and every single calorie you consume through alcohol will be empty, meaning it will have no nutritional value whatsoever.
Not only will these calories have no nutritional value, but it can also interfere with nutrients being absorbed through the foods you eat. This is because your body will naturally process any alcohol you drink first. This also means that fat burning is put on hold until every bit of alcohol is out of your system.
If you drink regularly and are stuck in your weight loss journey, consider cutting the alcohol.
7. Not Buying Frozen Produce
When you make the decision to give up your healthy eating habits, one of the first things you might do is going into your refrigerator, freezer, or pantry and throw everything that will not work on a keto diet. When you do this, you obviously need to buy food to replace it. Unfortunately, the food you are throwing out is a bunch of processed food that is full of chemicals that make them non-perishable, or close to it. The foods you’re replacing them with are not processed, meaning they are very perishable.
So what does this mean? It means that if you go crazy buying fresh vegetables, you may end up throwing a lot of it out. Things like broccoli and cauliflower can start to go bad in just a few days. Other fresh produce may last a bit longer, but if you buy a lot at once, it’s almost impossible to eat through it all before it turns.
To prevent this from happening, consider buying frozen vegetables. Obviously, not every kind of vegetable will have a frozen option, but by buying the ones that do, you can focus on eating the fresh produce first and eliminating waste. It’s also easier to portion out, making this one of the easiest ketogenic diet mistakes to avoid.
8. Not Eating Enough Vegetables
Speaking of produce, it’s amazing to see how many people think of keto as a meat and cheese diet. Sure, you can eat plenty of both, but you definitely want to make sure you get enough non-starchy vegetables into your diet as well.
Vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower has tons of nutrients and fiber that you really need to be eating. Not only are these foods incredibly healthy, but they help fill you up without adding many calories to your meals.
9. Not Getting Enough Sleep
This is one that often catches people off guard. We live in a world that seems to get busier all the time and there doesn’t ever seem to be enough hours in the day to finish everything we need to do. Because of this, many people choose to simply get less sleep, thinking that they simply don’t need it. Unfortunately, that is far from the truth.
When you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep, your energy levels will begin to drop. Not only does this inhibit your glucose metabolism, but it also slows your leptin production, which is a hormone produced by your body to tell it that it is full and not hungry. Additionally, people who don’t get the sleep they need tend to store more fat around the abdomen.
Improving your sleep may require a bit of planning, especially if you’ve gotten into a habit of staying up late, but there are a few things you can do to get your sleep schedule back on track. First, you should be aiming for at least seven hours of sleep, nine if you can. If you workout, finish your workout at least four hours prior to your bedtime. Finally, leave the electronics off. No television, laptops, tablets, or cell phones. Looking at the illuminated screen stops melatonin from developing in your brain, which is what’s responsible for telling you that you’re tired.
10. Not Avoiding Cheat Meals
For some reason, a lot of people want to reward themselves for losing weight by eating unhealthy food. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but a treat is by far the most common reward that people give themselves.
Here’s the thing that you won’t see from a lot of websites. There isn’t actually anything wrong with a cheat meal every once in a while. We’re only human and regardless of how long we’ve been on keto, there are times when cravings occur and you decide to indulge. It’s bet to limit these meals to just a few times per year and focus the rest of your time on eating healthy. Weekly or monthly cheat meals do far more harm than good and that reward may result in taking a big step backwards in your progress.
Need A Little Extra Help?
These are some of the most common ketogenic diet mistakes that are seen among people who are new to keto. If you worry about making these mistakes and would like a structured keto program, we recommend Leanne Vogel’s The Keto Beginning.
For just a one-time payment of $25, you get the Beginners Guide to Keto, a full 30-day meal plan, a weekly diet plan, over 70 recipes, many of which can be prepared in 15 minutes or less, a weekly grocery list, and a private Facebook group where you can get unlimited support throughout your keto journey.
Want more information? Click here for our review of the program
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