10 Keto Mistakes – Starting a Ketogenic Way of Eating
Keto mistakes are inevitable even for somebody that researches for months before starting. I would like to think that I am pretty proficient in all things keto at this point. I have been eating a keto lifestyle for over a year now and lost 45 pounds. 6 months of that year has been in a maintenance phase of keto rather than actively trying to lose weight.
I think one of the main questions to ask before starting is keto, is why? Why are you wanting to do keto as your way of eating? I have been having digestive issues ever since having my daughter that many procedures and medications have been able to suppress mostly, but I was still having random painful episodes. I thought I needed to try a diet that was much smoother on my guts and I felt like eliminating sugar of all kinds could be a good try. That, and I had some weight to lose and I had done low carb in the past and it worked well with my body.
Here are some mistakes that I made as well as others said they made when starting out eating keto.
The first and probably biggest mistake that I think people make is going overboard with all things keto. That means drinking bulletproof coffee, egg fasts, intermittent fasting, fat bombs, or drinking exogenous ketones all at once or within the first 2 months. KEEP IT SIMPLE at the beginning. Don’t over complicate it to the point that you cannot see yourself doing this everyday. You need to first making this way of eating into a habit and trying to do all these things at once just set yourself up for failure. Simple meals that can be meal planned or easily tracked are best. I was eating the same things for breakfast and lunch every single day and cycled through the same 5 dinners for 2 months until it just became second nature to question the carbs.
One thing that I see a lot of in the keto communities is that new people are trying to find replacement items for what they loved. Buying low carb bread or tortillas, Halotop ice cream, sugar free candies and sweets can be a fun experience to try and research but they really are not helping your brain make the shift to the new way of eating. Some people are “clean keto” where they only eat whole foods and nothing processed. If that is something that you think you could accomplish, it can be a good way for you to develop those good keto eating habits. When you become fat adapted and it is now just the way you always eat, you should be able to introduce those replacement items.
The biggest mistake that lots of people make, as well as myself, is not getting enough electrolytes. Electrolytes are extremely important on keto. Salt, potassium, and magnesium are your best friends and making sure you get plenty of those will make your transition much smoother. I enjoy drinking a powerade zero about twice a week to help with electrolytes, but at the beginning you will need a bit more. Here are some good electrolyte supplement links that I know are popular or that I use.
Viewing keto as a diet is the wrong mentality when starting on this way of eating. I know that some high performance athletes use keto randomly when cutting, but I am pretty sure athletes like that are not going to my blog for info. Eating keto is not a diet. It should be a complete shift in how you view food for the rest of your life, ideally. This can also depend on WHY you are doing keto. If you have poor gut health, inflammation, diabetes, or PCOS keto could definitely become your way of life as it has mine.
Say it with me – FAT is a lever, PROTEIN is a goal, and CARBS is a limit. Make friends with your macros and remember these 3 things about them. If your macros is 120 grams for fat, that is not a goal to reach. When I started that was my fat macro, but I tried to get at least 80 grams a day so that my body would burn my muffin top fat as well. You want your body to get used to using fat as an energy source at the beginning so you want to keep fat higher, but you also want your body to use your stored fat (i.e. lose weight) as energy as well. Too much protein can make your body change the protein into stored glucose called gluconeogenesis so keep your protein to the goal, but not higher. Obviously carbs is a limit. Under 20 net carbs and you are in ketosis no matter what.
A lot of people think that they have become fat adapted too early or they think it has become routine too soon. This results in cheating too early. Cheating at the start goes along with #1 mistake. Keep it simple. Don’t try to add in a cheat snack here or there. It is a steep slope down to a bag of chips and french fries. I didn’t cheat for the first 5 months and I think it was very helpful. Now that I am in the maintenance phase, I will have a carby snack here and there and I can tell that it does slow down any progress for me. This flows into the next mistake well…
Setting up unrealistic goals is another mistake that can be harder for more than others. If you have been addicted to pop and currently drink 5 cans of Dr. Pepper a day, don’t cut cold turkey. You will want to crawl into a hole and never come out….oh and quit keto. Switch to Diet Dr. Pepper and then once you think you can make that change try and remove them from your day slowly. Our bodies have become addicted to sugar and cutting those out all at once can be really hard on your mind and body.
I have seen this happen with a lot of new ketoers in the various communities I am in and that they are not listening to their body. They see what all these other people are doing and think they need to do this. If you like routine, like I do, eat the same thing every day. If you don’t like eggs, don’t eat eggs. If you don’t like eating gobs of cream cheese in fat bombs, then don’t. Try to be flexible in what you are eating, what works for your life, and what will make you succeed.
This kind of goes along with the mistake above and that is staying in groups that hinder your progress. I started out joining about 10 different keto facebook groups and within a month I narrowed that down to 2. I pride myself on joining the Keto Connection Facebook group the first day it started. When there were only 300 people in the group it was easy to treat others with respect and where they were at in their journey. Now that group has over 150k members that all have different views and they have no problem telling you when they think your way of keto is wrong. If you are the type that does not like judgement or has a hard time not comparing yourself to others, you need to find the right community for you.
The last mistake that I think a lot are not doing at first is not tracking meals/macros at first. Using an app like MyFitnesspal can be so helpful to know what is going in your body. I can’t suggest using a tracker more and I guarantee this is one of the main things that helped me succeed. Once you start learning the macros for food from memory tracking will just become second nature or you might not even need to be as strict with tracking.
I hope that some of these mistakes that I made and others made can be helpful for you to be as successful as possible. What are some of the mistakes you made when starting keto that you think could be passed along to the new generation of ketogainers?
If you are interested in starting the keto way of eating checkout this Keto Beginners Guide. It gives great information when starting out and has lots of meal and food ideas!
Here is a Keto weekly meal plan as well that is balanced and ready to go!
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