The keto diet is all about restricting carbs and controlling calorie intake for the day – but there is more nuance to losing weight than simply cutting off grams of carbs and calories.
There could be several reasons why you are not losing weight in ketosis – overeating could be one of them, not giving enough time could be another.
But what if you’ve done nearly everything you’re supposed to do to maintain ketosis and you’re not losing weight on keto diet? The first step is to not get frustrated and give up. The second is to course-correct your knowledge about what the keto diet actually entails. Read this post to learn what the keto diet actually is.
We’ve rounded up the most commons reasons why you may not be losing weight in ketosis.
You Are Getting More Carbs Than You Realize
“I’m in ketosis and not losing weight” – If you are asking yourself this question, you may be taking in more carbs than necessary. The overconsumption of carbs could be hurting your attempts at weight loss and getting to a healthy weight.
It’s not impossible to overeat keto-friendly foods instead of high-carb junk foods. You may not realize you’re getting more carbohydrates than you expect from certain keto-friendly foods. For example, even a different brand of cashews can have a different composition of daily macros than what you’re expecting. Once you acquire a taste of cashews, it may be hard to stop.
This is a problem because, by definition, the keto diet won’t work if you are not in a calorie deficit. It is highly recommended to meet a dietitian to determine the range of calories to restrict.
You Are Eating Too Many Grams of Protein
Most people confuse the traditional low-carb diet that allows a moderate amount of protein with the keto diet. However, a high protein diet is unlikely to trigger ketosis because the body can convert the excess proteins into sugar.
Ketone production is mostly possible during a high-fat diet. People should get the majority of their calories from fat, which should represent anywhere from 50% to 60% of their caloric intake. However, if a person’s diet consists of 35% protein or more, then they are unlikely to go into ketosis.
The opposite end of the spectrum is low protein intake. Protein is an important macronutrient that will keep you satiated. If you don’t consume enough proteins in the day, you will feel more hungry and that will increase your likelihood of binge eating. Furthermore, not eating enough protein could lead to a loss of muscle. Try to eat only 35% of proteins or less. Your balance of nutrients and calorie quality plays a vital role in hunger suppression.
Cheating with Too Many Low-Carb Treats
Another possible reason for not losing weight in ketosis is that you are binge eating too many low-carb treats. Just because a product is rated ‘keto-friendly’ does not mean you can indulge in a buffet of low-carb pancakes and cheesecakes every day. Although they may be very low in carbs, they can still induce hunger pangs.
You can eat them in moderation – as rewards for sticking to the keto diet. However, you should always stick to real food for your daily macronutrient and calorie intake. Also, try not to eat too many chewing gums or mints because they may contain sugar or sweeteners (a source of hidden carbs).
The Keto Diet is Not Easy to Follow Long-Term
It also goes without saying that following the keto diet, in both the short and long terms, is not easy to follow.
In fact, getting your body to ketosis may be the hardest part – and staying the course may be even harder. During ketosis, the body turns to fat for energy instead of glucose. However, it’s not so easy to switch off your sugar cravings – like turning off a light bulb.
For full disclosure, there are very few long term studies on the ketogenic diet. Most studies are conducted for a period of six months. Any claims about the results of the keto diet conducted over six months fall within the realm of experimental or anecdotal evidence. Anyone can make or refute those statements and they should be taken with a grain of salt.
You Have not Achieved Ketosis
It is one thing to follow the keto diet; it is entirely another to achieve ketosis.
Most people are unable to achieve ketosis because they are not restricting their daily intake of carbohydrates. A 2019 study on ketosis concluded that carbs should only represent 5 to 10% of a person’s daily calorie intake. For most people, this could mean the consumption of around 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrate intake level.
People who are new to the keto diet may unknowingly consuming more carbs than they realize. This means that their body no longer has the incentive to produce energy from fats, and this will prevent the body from burning fat.
There are tools you can use to test if your body has achieved ketosis. We did an in-depth article on testing for ketosis (in urines).
You can check out the article here.
To summarize the article briefly, you can use urine strips to test for the presence of ketones in your body. Simply hold the test strip in the urine stream (or collect the urine in a sample and then dip the strip). Now compare the color of the strip to the color chart on the test kit. This will give you an idea of whether your body has entered ketosis, and the range of ketone levels in your urine.
Those Dairy Products Maybe too Carb-Heavy
It is not unknown for dairy products to take you in and out of ketosis. Certain dairy products such as flavored yogurt contain a very high amount of carbs. Moreover, many people prefer to eat their yogurt with other toppings that could further spike their carb count for the day. Make sure to check the brand of dairy products you are taking as well as the carbs they contain. The extra calories are simply not good for you.
You are Closer to Your Target Weight
It is common to have no weight loss on keto and plateau very early. This is because weight loss is linear and predictable. Unfortunately, that is not the case, especially as you get closer to your ideal weight.
If your body weight is at a ‘healthy’ level and you want to lose 5 to 10 pounds, you will find it much harder to lose more body fat. Besides, you will feel much more hungry on a keto diet if you are already near your target weight.
Losing more weight may require slightly reducing your caloric intake. You can also try to do more high intensity interval training (HIIT) that burns more calories. Working out on keto and not losing weight is entirely possible because you could get more hungry and start eating more and spike your carb intake.
Most fitness experts agree that you should be in a calorie deficit of 200 to 500kcal to weight loss. This will prevent you from entering starvation mode and still convert more fat for fuel. Use this calculator to measure your maintenance calories and the calorie deficit you’ll need to achieve your target weight loss.
Most alcoholic beverages, including spirits and wine, are very high in carbs. The keto diet does not allow the use of alcohol. Dry wines and alcohols such as vodka and gin, on the other hand, are lower in carbs and maybe more acceptable on a keto diet.
But binging on\ these drinks could result in weight loss. Moreover, it’s an easy way of increasing your caloric intake without providing any nutrients to your body. That’s a double whammy you don’t want on your keto diet.
As a rule, try to completely avoid alcohol when you’re on the keto diet.
You Are Always Weighing Yourself
Try not to weigh yourself everyday! This is because you can gain anywhere from 1 to 4 pounds based on natural fluctuations related to water retention and hormonal balances. Women may notice these fluctuations more often.
This can be a problem if you are motivated purely by the reading on the weight scale. There is more to weight than just fat – you could be gaining muscle and getting heavier as a result. Your body could be recompositioning to more muscle instead of fat – and that is contributing to weight gain. Depending on your weight loss goals, that could be a good thing!
This is why most people wonder, “I got fat on keto”.
“Why am i not losing weight on keto anymore?”
The answer may come down to stress.
Stress is a major factor that is responsible for weight gain. The body produces a hormone called cortisol when it is stressed, which can store more fat around the stomach area and make it much more difficult to use weight. Stress is also linked to adversely affecting your metabolic rate, as a result, you could store more fat than you realize.
Studies show that stress can also result in numerous health issues and lower the rate at which the burning of fat can occur.
Try to identify your daily stressors and isolate yourself from them. This could include mediation, taking a few days off from work, going for a walk, or even hitting the gym. And as always, try to sleep at least 8 hours a day to get your body fully rejuvenated. Keto dieters should prioritize their sleep pattern and hours of sleep along with a good workout regimen. The lack of sleep could be contributing to the stress hormone.
Relying on Blanket Statements
Sometimes, making blanket statements can be counterintuitive to your goals. For example, it is very common on social media to see trends pivoting from labeling a certain type of food as being bad for keto to being good for keto – all in the span of a few days. Whereas in reality, there are so many shades of grey to these statements. And all of these problems could be contributing to your weight loss plateaus.
Note that true weight loss plateau is not uncommon. Your approach to weight loss is simply a matter of adjusting your calories from carbs and activity levels.
Your weight loss journey is unique to you and varies from person to person. Your results will vary from those of your friends. Trust the process and give it time – your body may be getting used to the new lifestyle changes and needs more time to adjust.
We hope this blog answers your question on “why am I not losing weight on ketosis diet”.
It is important to have a balanced weight loss plan. To design your own keto diet plan, check out this post.