Making a lifestyle change is hard. Avoiding these 9 common keto mistakes will make your lifestyle transition just a little bit easier.
Don’t worry if you accidentally slip up and find yourself making one of these keto mistakes. It happens to all of us. It’s natural to backslide a little or to let your new habits start to slip.
That’s why this list is here. To remind you and get you back on track. Or maybe to help you figure out why things aren’t progressing like they did previously. It’s all a puzzle you have to piece together.
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one, I may make a commision at no extra cost to you.
If you are unsure what a Ketogenic Diet entails, you can read more about it in the Ultimate Guide to Keto for Beginners.
9 Keto Mistakes You Might Make
Below you will find a list of the most common keto mistakes. This is by no means the only things that could mess you up. It just happens to be the most discussed topics when you are on different forums and groups that offer support for Keto-ers.
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
Let’s just get this one out of the way right off the bat. You didn’t gain weight or become unhealthy at the same pace as someone else. You are not going to become healthy and lose the weight at the same pace either.
Your body is unique. Daily habits vary from someone else. It’s possible that you don’t have as much to lose or you are more sensitive to dairy than your friend who can lose 5 lbs a week.
This is where you start chanting the mantra of the “Little Engine That Could” and you just keep on chugging along. You didn’t get here overnight and you won’t be able to fix it overnight.
Cut yourself some slack and focus on each day. Before you know it, all those days of focus will lead up to a month of focus. Then it will be 3 months of focus.
Take pictures when you start. Each month take the pictures in the same way and in the same outfit. Put them away and then look at them in another month. You may just surprise yourself.
This one is a big one for me as well. I started before a friend of mine. I lost 15 lbs and thought I was doing great. She started 3 months after me and lost 40 lbs. I was cussing!
But…we are different. And our body chemistry and build are different. I can’t compare my journey to hers, so I just keep plugging along.
2. Thinking Keto is a Quick Fix
There is no such thing as a “quick fix”. If someone promises instant results and no side-effects, you need to run in the opposite direction.
Keto might feel like it works quickly. This is probably because you don’t feel like you are being tortured like other diets and “fixes” make you feel. There are no moments of thinking your stomach is going to eat through your spine. You will not think that if you have to eat one more piece of kale without dressing that you will seriously hurt someone!
This is not a “6 weeks of suffering” and you are done with the program type of diet. This is a lifestyle change. Start thinking long-term and permanent. Will you slip up and eat some cake or have a cocktail loaded with sugar?
I splurged for my daughter’s graduation. But I didn’t eat the cupcake at a retirement party the week before because I was preplanning my cake eating. I knew life was going to happen and I let it, on my terms. That helps you keep on track for the long term.
It also helps you to realize it’s not the end of the world and you don’t have to throw your plan out the window and eat all the things!!
3. Still Thinking Fat is Bad
Fat is good. Say it with me: fat is good. This is one of the easiest keto mistakes to make. We have all been told for years that fat is bad. Less fat. Fat-free. You see it everywhere!
You need to be focusing on eating fat. It will make up the majority of your calories. Like 75% of your calories. That’s a huge shift from focusing on carbohydrates. Your body needs fat to enter ketosis, which is the basis of the ketogenic diet.
Fat does not make you fat. That seems like a contradiction doesn’t it? Your body does not break down and store fat the same way it does carbohydrates and sugars. It’s simple sugars that get stored as fat in your body.
Your body views sugar the same way a squirrel views nuts. Fuel for later. It knows that it can store it in all those little pockets and access it later if you don’t have enough calories.
Show your body that you will still be feeding it by eating just a little below a deficit and then feed it good quality nutrients. Once it realizes you aren’t going to crash and burn from lack of sugar it will start to process those stores and trust that you will continue to give it adequate calories and nutrients.
4. Not All Fats Are Equal
There are some bad fats (now that I just told you how great eating fat can be). You want to avoid processed fats. Synthetic fats like margarine or canola oil are BAD!!
Your body does not like these fats and they will not help with your cholesterol, blood pressure or inflammation.
The best rule of thumb is to ask yourself “Is this natural” or “How processed is it”. If it had to go through some crazy chemical or heating process to be consumable (rapeseed oil or soybean oil) then it isn’t a good fat.
Fats from animal sources: think bacon, eggs, lard, butter are great. Fats from plants that didn’t go through a major process to make them edible: coconut, avocado, hemp, nut butter are all good.
5. Too Much Protein
The focus of a keto diet is on fat. Not protein. Don’t make this keto mistake. It’s really easy to do. You start looking for a snack in the kitchen or planning dinner and avoiding carbs leads to thinking about meat. Before you know it, your meal is focused around a protein and some green leafy veggies and you have left out the fat.
Protein only needs to be about 20% of your daily calories. (If you are doing the math…that leaves about 5% for carbs).
Eating too much protein will slow your process. Your body will start to convert the leftover protein into fat for storage (similar to carbs and sugar).
This is an easy mistake to make and I found myself doing this when I got busy. I would grab some jerky or a piece of leftover meat because it was easy. Then I would eat a salad. It was easy to forget about the fat (and harder to find a quick source that wasn’t just coconut oil off the spoon…YUCK!).
If you want to make things easier for yourself, prep some fat bombs or some easy fat sources that you can grab out of the fridge. Pair these with a veggie and you have a meal that is not only quick and easy it’s nutrient dense as well.
Did you know: Your body absorbs more nutrients from plant foods when they are served with a fat? Most of the vitamins and minerals in plants are fat soluble which means they need fat to be used by your body!
6. Mixing Up Your Meals
I get it. It’s way easier to just eat tuna with an avocado all week long. You don’t have to think about what to pack for lunch. You just grab the same thing each morning and head out the door.
Your body needs more than that. So does your brain and your taste buds. Mix it up. Eat leftovers for lunch. Or even breakfast and try to add some variety and spices to your meals.
Not only will you offer your body more nutrients this way, you won’t get bored and toss it all out the window when something really yummy and different tempts you.
You need to enjoy your food. Eating the same thing day after day is dull (unless of course, you are one of those people who needs the routine…then, by all means, find your routine and stick to it). We eat food to celebrate and to show we are adventurous. I’m not saying these are good reasons to eat food, but it’s part of our nature and culture.
Your brain wants you to try new things. It helps keep you happy and excited about the next meal. It’s also a great way to be creative. Mix it up!! Literally 🙂
If you are confused about ways to make your favorite meals low-carb, check out this post on ways to substitute other things in a recipe to make it low-carb.
7. Not Sleeping Enough
What? You should sleep more?!
You betcha! Your body does it’s best repair work when you are snoozing. Just because you feel like burning the candle at both ends is productive, does not mean that it really is. Burnout is real. You need some downtime and your body needs to complete its repairs.
Not getting enough sleep isn’t just one of the common keto mistakes, it’s a general healthy lifestyle mistake.
Aim for 7-8 hours a night. Uninterrupted if possible. Keep your phone on “do not disturb”. There are mixed studies on whether or not you should lock the cat or dog out of the room. I’ll leave this one up to you, but if you notice that you are waking up whenever the animals move it might be something to consider.
Your body balances hormones, cleans out toxins, repairs cells, and a number of other tasks when you sleep. Giving your body an adequate amount of time to do all this will make you healthier.
It will also help you to lose weight. You definitely won’t feel the need for a triple shot mocha with extra syrup if you are sleeping well and you won’t need a donut or sugar bomb to help you focus through that afternoon slump.
8. Not Drinking Enough
Water. Not adult beverages (that could be one of the keto mistakes!).
You need to be drinking at least a gallon a day. That just seems insane. The trick is starting when you wake up and then sipping all day long. Set goals for yourself (a certain amount of water by 1 pm.). Another trick is to set reminders on your phone so you will stop and take a drink.
A gallon is 4 of these Nalgene water bottles. I take two of them to work with me and fill them up first thing in the morning. My goal is to drink them both by noon or 1-ish. Then I refill them and try to finish them up by bedtime (the last few ounces are used to take my vitamins).
You will be using the restroom more often. That’s a given. And you will probably get up at least once at night.
So much for getting enough sleep right?
After about a week or so that will even out and you will figure out when to stop drinking in the evening so you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night.
This one could also go with not getting enough electrolytes. Having a mild keto flu now and then will not lead to a very pleasant experience and will make it harder to stick to your plan.
9. Letting the Scale Dictate Your Mood
The scale is not the boss. Don’t let it control you.
If you can step on the scale each morning at the same time (after going to the bathroom, completely naked) and objectively record your weight then go for it.
However, if you step on the scale and 6 ounces more than yesterday sends you into an emotional tailspin then you need to hide that dumb thing!
Take measurements instead. Go based on the way your clothes fit. Do not let the numbers on a machine dictate your sense of self-worth and accomplishments!
Try measuring once a week. Or even once a month. Your weight is going to fluctuate daily based on how much water you were able to drink the day before, how much sleep you were able to get, what you ate, your hormones and so many other factors. Don’t let that set the tone for your day.
Yes, the process is about weight loss. But it’s long-term weight loss. Not day to day loss. Look at those numbers objectively or avoid the scale until you can! Find other ways to determine your success.
Always a Snag: Avoid The Most Common Keto Mistakes
You are bound to hit a snag here and there. It’s all part of the process. What really matters is how you deal with making keto mistakes and the figure out a way to move forward.
Don’t let slipping up and making one of these keto mistakes derail you and ruin your progress. You know how to pick yourself up and move forward. Keep making goals and moving forward and you will see results.