Diets don’t come much more effective than keto. When you follow the keto diet, you all-but eliminate carbs from your meals and fill up on healthy dietary fats and tasty protein instead. This puts your body into a state called ketosis, where your body burns fat at an accelerated rate.
Most keto dieters lose as much as ten pounds in the first two weeks alone!
However, while keto is relatively straightforward, some dieters lose weight more slowly, and some even gain weight.
In this article, we will reveal how you can be in ketosis but gaining weight and what you can do to fix this problem.
In Ketosis But Not Losing Weight
The good news is that getting you back on the road to weight loss is usually a straightforward process. You’re probably doing something that is easily identified and remedied. Maybe you’re eating too many nuts, or there are hidden carbs in some of the foods you’re eating.
Either way and whatever the cause, we’re here to help!
Once you’ve identified your keto weight loss barriers, you’ll soon be on your way to fast and easy weight loss.
Are You Actually in Ketosis?
Keto diets promise to put you into ketosis, and most are successful. However, it can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks to enter ketosis, depending on how low your carb intake is and how many carbohydrates you have stored in your body. Being sedentary can also delay your descent into ketosis.
So, before you write off the ketogenic diet, you should first check that you really are in ketosis. Popular methods for conforming ketosis include:
- Blood test – taking a pinprick of blood, you can use a blood-testing unit to accurately determine the concentration of ketones in your blood. Ketone blood testing machines are readily available, easy to use, and not expensive. Most also display your blood glucose levels, which is another useful measure during a ketogenic diet.
- Breath test – if you don’t like the idea of needles, you can use a ketone breath tester. However, these devices only detect acetone, which is just one type of ketone and not the most important during the ketogenic diet.
- Urine test – ketones are transported out of your body in your urine. Peeing on a keto stick will give a rough indication of your ketone concentrations. The keto sticks change color in the presence of ketones, usually turning purple. However, this is not the most accurate measure as the result will be affected by things like your hydration levels. Drinking a lot of water will dilute the ketones, giving a potentially inaccurate result.
Are You Consuming Hidden Carbs?
Just because you think you are following a low-carb diet doesn’t mean you actually are. A lot of seemingly keto-friendly foods contain hidden carbs that could derail your diet. Common sources of hidden carbs include:
- Canned vegetables
- Condiments and sauces
- Low-carb sweeteners
- Medications and supplements
- Non-dairy milks
- Processed meats
- Restaurant foods
- Some shellfish
- Soup mixes
Take a moment to read the label on the food you are about to eat. Look for hidden sugars and carbs. Also, make sure you aren’t consuming too much of low carb foods. While a 100 gram/3 ½ ounce serving might be low in carbs, eating 300 grams of that same food could be enough to tip you over the edge and out of ketosis.
You Are Eating Too Much Food
Initially, at least, you can eat large amounts of protein and fat and still lose weight. That’s because getting into ketosis is accompanied by a significant loss of water. Water is heavy and losing even a little can have a noticeable effect on your scale weight.
Don’t let this initial weight loss make you think that the amount of food you eat isn’t important on keto – it is. Once you are in ketosis, you can undermine your diet by eating too much food, even if it is keto-friendly.
To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than usual. Excess calories from any source will stop you from losing weight.
The good news is that most high fat/high protein foods are very filling, so eating less shouldn’t leave you feeling hungry.
You Aren’t Tracking Your Carb Intake
Getting into ketosis usually means limiting your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. You MAY be able to get into ketosis while eating more carbs than this but exceeding the recommended 50-gram intake could also be enough to stop you in your tracks.
Avoid wasting your time by using a food app and tracking your carb intake. After all, if you aren’t analyzing and measuring what you’re eating, all you are doing is guessing (and hoping!) that you aren’t consuming more carbs than you should.
Once you are in ketosis, you can be a little more generous with your carb intake, but it still needs to stay relatively low – 75-100 grams per day. Again, tracking your intake will ensure that your carbs are not higher than they should be. If you aren’t measuring your carb intake, you cannot manage and manipulate it.
You’re Enjoying A Few More Treats Than You Should
On keto, there are several “approved’ treats you can enjoy to break up your diet and reward your efforts and progress. However, while occasional treats won’t punt you out of ketosis, too many treats invariably will.
Common treat foods on keto include:
- 70% cocoa solids chocolate
- Low-carb protein bars
- Low-carb bread, cookies, and snack bars
- Flavored yogurt
While these foods are low in carbs, they are not carb-free, and you cannot eat them with abandon, even if you’ve been “good” on your keto diet. Such foods are treats and not keto staples. Eaten occasionally and in small amounts, they shouldn’t affect ketosis. But, eaten in large quantities, they could disrupt ketosis and cause weight gain.
You don’t have to exercise to lose weight on keto, but physical activity can certainly help. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn, and the faster you’ll lose weight. In addition, exercise during ketosis forces your body to make more ketones, and that will accelerate weight loss too.
Finally, exercise and physical activity will improve your body’s ability to process carbs. While you won’t be eating a lot of carbs on keto, you’ll still be consuming some, and even a little exercise will make those carbs less impactful.
Try walking for 30 minutes per day or, better still, clocking up 150 minutes of exercise per week. Good options include jogging, running, and swimming, group exercise classes, and strength training.
Regular exercise can also help you manage your stress. Stress is another cause for weight gain on keto.
You Are Approaching Your Target Weight
The more weight you’ve got to lose, the faster you’ll lose it, initially at least. But, as you start to close in on your target weight, you may find that your rate of weight loss decreases. And while this is perfectly normal, it’s undoubtedly frustrating!
Shedding those last few pounds requires patience and increased attention to detail. You really must monitor your carb and calorie intake and move your body to exercise your way toward your weight loss goal. Even small keto mistakes can be enough to bring your progress to a grinding halt.
If you are stuck in a weight-loss rut, you may find that skipping a few meals, a dietary method called intermittent fasting, helps you reach your end goal a little easier. Often, a week or two of intermittent fasting is all that’s needed to unstick your keto diet progress.
There Is an Underlying Medical Condition
If despite fixing all the obvious issues, you are still not losing weight on keto, it may be because of an underlying medical condition or because a medication you are using is preventing weight loss.
Conditions that could be affecting your ability to lose weight include:
- Cushing’s syndrome
- High insulin levels
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If you’re sure that you’re doing everything right, and you STILL aren’t losing weight, you should speak to your doctor. They will be able to carry out tests to identify the source of the problem and may be able to provide a resolution.
Keto is usually a reliable diet. The premise is simple; consume less than 50 grams of carbs per day to trigger ketosis and easy fat loss. You don’t need to starve yourself, and you’ll find that keto-friendly drinks and meals are surprisingly filling. And once you are actually in ketosis, your energy levels will soar.
But, while keto is straightforward, it’s not necessarily an easy diet to follow. It’s quite restrictive, and you’ll have to give up certain foods, many of which are considered dietary staples, like bread, rice, and pasta.
There also pitfalls you need to avoid during the keto diet, such as those dreaded hidden carbs. Other issues that keto dieters face include keto flu and the difficulty of finding keto-friendly food to eat in restaurants.
But, if you can overcome these barriers, keto is a very effective diet that should produce impressive results. It’s slightly controversial, and some people are worried about eating lots of fat but, contrary to popular opinion, keto is a very healthy diet. It could even be good for your heart. It’s certainly an effective treatment for type II diabetes.
If you’re on keto but have hit a weight loss plateau, review the information in this article, take action, and get your diet back on track. You’ll soon be enjoying easy, rapid weight loss again.