Are You Standing in Your Own Way?

Learn how to recognize habits and attitudes that can sabotage your keto progress.

Article by Mary Roberts | 18 Oct, 2020

Article originally published on on 7/21/16. It has been heavily edited for re-publication.

Whether they know it or not, many people are experts at self-sabotage. These folks often say they want things certain in life, but for one reason or another they trip themselves up, give up, and their goals always remain just out of reach. It's also true that self-saboteurs often do not recognize their own involvement in their plight. You might be wondering if that's you. We can't say for certain, but we can help you identify how you may be getting in the way of your Ketogenic Success.


  • If you are the kind of person who is easily frustrated after a week or two (or a day or two) of no losses and immediately start tweaking things to force results, your impatience with the process may be a form of self-sabotage. Losing twelve pounds the first two weeks is exciting! If, by the third week, you lose one pound (or less) and then start panic-planning egg fasts, you're allowing impatience to psych you out. Our best advice is to relax and trust the process. While losing half a pound (or more!) per week is great, the truth is that most of those very large, initial losses are the elimination of excess water your body was carrying. Fat loss, on the other hand, can be a very long, arduous process. We realize everyone wants to reach the finish line as soon as possible, but the truth is that weight loss isn't a race and you're not in competition with anyone. If you are expecting every week to be like week one or two, you will be sorely disappointed, and maybe even tempted to give up. The solution is to adjust your expectations, with the understanding that weight loss isn't a linear process, and that there are other measurements by which you can judge your success when the scale doesn't move. If you physically feel better, are mentally more clear, Or if you notice you've lost physical size (aka, the inches are coming off), it's an indicator that you're doing things right and you should be patient with the scale. 

Repetitive Exercise

  • If your exercise/workout is the same every day- same pattern, same length of time, same activity- that can contribute to slower progress. Our muscles have memory and need to be challenged. If you're doing the same movements, over and over again, your body will get very efficient at it and will not be stressed enough to burn off a lot of fuel or to grow. Mix it up and do different activities, or change your workouts around to surprise your muscles each time you exercise.

Eating When You're Not Hungry

  • Diet dogma tells us we need three full meals and six snacks a day. The truth is, humanity did not evolve to spend a lot of time every day eating. Our ancestors spent most of their lives cycling through periods of feasting and fasting, so trying to "speed up" your metabolism by constantly eating is fighting against our evolutionary reality. Further, on a ketogenic protocol, the idea is to keep the glucose and insulin (your fat storage hormone, by the way) circulating in your body relatively low and stable the majority of the time. Frequent eating never allows glucose and insulin to come back down to baseline and stay there for a while, which is the exact opposite of what a ketonian body needs. The solution is to let go of the dogma that says you need to spend most of your day eating. Listen to your body and learn to recognize what it needs and when.

Pointing Fingers

  • When we make mistakes, it is very tempting to push the blame onto another target. This is a natural, human tendency. It's also a form of self-sabotage. Blaming someone or something else for your bad keto decisions may make you feel better in the moment, but it tends to prevent you from examining the circumstances around the mistake. After all, if it's someone or something else's fault, the problem can't possibly be us or something we need to change, right? The truth is that without self-examination and being able to recognize the situations in which you struggle, it is harder to avoid walking right back into a bad choice. When we, instead, acknowledge our own culpability in our mistakes, we have an opportunity to decide how to choose more wisely the next time.

Dreaming More Than Doing

  • Work will get you where wishing won't. You can spend all day thinking about how great you're going to look and feel when you lose weight/get in shape/get healthy, but the truth is if you don't take the right action, you won't get the desired results. Telling yourself, "Someday, I'm gonna lose weight. Someday, I'm gonna work out," etc., and so on, without making a decision and taking concrete steps to accomplish these things is a form of self-sabotage. Remember, "Someday" is not a day of the week. Decide and do it.

Dedications Trumps Motivation

  • Motivation doesn't come naturally. Sure, you can get temporarily excited about things, but excitements tends to wane over time. The same is true of the ketogenic lifestyle (or any dietary change). When we begin a ketogenic way of eating, we may spend a lot of time figuring macros, looking up recipes, meal prepping, and planning our days, but long-term success is more than these things. Yes, they can absolutely help you! The mistake is when we lose that initial excitement and fall off the wagon when we stop feeling motivated. What will get you past complacency and on to your goals is dedication and consistency; just doing it, every day, no matter what. The truth is if you wait until you are "in the zone" to live ketogenically, you're sabotaging yourself. If, instead, you live every day dedicated to your lifestyle- yes, even the days where you're just not "feeling" it- you are far more likely to have a successful journey.   

Learning to recognize self-sabotage is a key to long-term Ketogenic Success. If you find yourself engaging in any of these behaviors, it's OK! The first step to correcting a problem is knowing there is one to begin with. Once you've figured out how you might be standing in your own way, it is that much easier to move.

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