The Mistakes At A Glance
- Going All In On Keto
- Being Scared Of Fat
- Letting The Carbs Creep Back In
- Losing Too Many Electrolytes
- Reluctance To Try New Foods
- Lack Of Planning
- They Focus Too Much On The Weight Loss
- Adding In Intense Training
The Pitfalls Of Keto
It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been sitting on some sort of weight loss plan. The ketogenic diet is a different beast altogether, with plenty of obstacles that can trip up the most seasoned of dieters.
The first few weeks of adaptation can be enough to get you thinking that keto is just more trouble than it’s worth. But if you can go in while knowing the lay of the land, you’re setting up for a much easier diet.
So in the spirit of making sure you don’t end up wasting your time, here are eight classic bits of keto quicksand to look out for.
1. Going All In On Keto
People get stuck in the mindset that the harder the diet is, the greater the fat loss will be. So when it comes to dropping carbs, they tend to skip a few stages and bring it straight down to zero. That can be a big problem if they’ve been living on a thousand calories of sugar. The body has to make a huge transition in order to survive, and that typically induces a greater starvation response. Hunger goes up, the dreaded keto flu sets in, and each day becomes a titanic test of willpower.
2. Being Scared Of Fat
When the carbs come down, the body’s going to be in desperate need of a sheriff in town. This is where the fats should naturally be increased, but that can be hard to do when you’re in an environment that has demonised fat for half a century. Orthorexic dieters can be reluctant to start adding spoonfuls of olive oil onto their salad. Especially when just one adds more than a hundred calories to the counter.
3. Letting The Carbs Creep Back In
Sugar isn’t just a fuel source, it’s an addictive substance. If the body’s not getting its fix, it’s going to jack up the craving signals to try and tempt you into finding a new source. Foods and condiments that appear healthy by the label can often contain a ton of sweeteners and sugars. Salad dressings, herbal tea, starchy vegetables, these might suddenly start to look a lot more appealing. Without really noticing, you can end up piling back the calories.
4. Losing Too Many Electrolytes
The keto flu often drops by uninvited during the first few weeks of dieting, putting people under spells of brain fog, headaches, and lethargy. And it’s usually for one single reason. Lowered insulin levels leads to the body expelling excess water and electrolytes, which is a happy turn of events for the scale, but not so good for the brain. A lack of hydration and salt intake will only exacerbate this issue.
5. Reluctance To Try New Foods
Experienced dieters will often have meals that they unerringly stick to, come what may. This becomes a bit of an issue when carbs are taken off the menu, because it requires a bit of foraging in order to find new sources of flavour and nutrition. The traditional grilled chicken breast won’t work so well when it doesn’t have a healthy side of rice to back it up.
6. Lack Of Planning
You need to take some preemptive action in the kitchen before going keto. Many classic carbs can be replaced with fat, protein, or even calorie free substitutes, but you’ll have to find them first. If the kitchen cupboards are still stocked up with cereal boxes when the cravings start to kick in, the diet may start to unravel. Willpower is notoriously difficult to rely on.
7. They Focus Too Much On The Weight Loss
Diets get framed mainly as a tool for dropping the scale down, and that’s absolutely fine. There has to be some sort of tangible goal that can motivate people to make the first step, and there needs to be a measuring stick as the diet goes on. But the benefits of keto go far beyond weight change, and when people get too obsessive with fat loss, they fail to register the other positive effects that the body is undergoing. Without including them in the frame, it’s a lot harder to stay motivated.
8. Adding In Intense Training
During keto, your body-fat can provide tens of thousands of calories, providing all the fuel the body needs during most activities. But there’s still a point where it starts to fall short of the mark. During explosive exercise, your body switches to glycogen for energy, and supplies will be running short when you’re not bringing in any extra carbs. So there’s an inevitable drop in performance on keto, unless extra measures are used to supply workouts with fuel.
If you’re worried I’ve been giving you more questions than answers, don’t sweat it. I’ll be posting a follow-up piece soon that will delve into the fixes for these dietary mishaps.
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