Three Frequent Newcomer Pitfalls

Easy ways to avoid the most common early mistakes.

Article by Mary Roberts | 22 Jan, 2021

There are a few common ways that people new to keto may unknowingly hinder their progress. What they’re doing isn’t necessarily wrong, but these habits are not optimal for long-term success.

How You Count Counts

Counting net carbs (subtracting fiber and/or sweeteners from your totals) instead of total carbs (counting everything) is a good way to cause an unnecessary stall. While some people may remain in ketosis at up to 50 total carbs a day, counting net carbs can obscure how many you're actually consuming. This means your total carbs will likely be higher than is recommended (usually around 20) if metabolic healing and weight loss is your goal. Net carbs also allows people to think they are getting fewer carbs while still eating keto junk food. Keto junk food is certainly better than real junk food, but it’s not optimal and is a common source of stalling and bloat.

Planning to Fail 

While many people may occasionally stumble, planning to cheat is planning on failure. The goal with a ketogenic diet is to get fat adapted, and to do that we have to be in a state of uninterrupted ketosis for an extended period of time. Initially, it can take an average of three to five days for a person to get into ketosis. A cheat on day six or seven will knock you out of ketosis and then it’ll be several days before you get back into that state. At that rate, you never become fat adapted because you’re only in ketosis one or two days a week. Constantly bouncing into and out of ketosis can also prolong many of the initial flulike side effects and dips in athletic performance.

Don't Shortchange the Fat

Contray to some of the advice we regularly see floating around, not eating enough fat to feel satiated is a common stumbling block. In the beginning of your low-carb lifestyle, eating a lot of dietary fat is crucial for success. There are several reasons for this, but number one is that eating fat will make you feel satisfied, and if you feel satisfied you’re much more likely to stick with the lifestyle. If you don’t feel satisfied then the likelihood of you maintaining keto long-term is slim to none. Once you are fat adapted, you’ll find you don’t need to eat as much dietary fat as you did in the beginning, but don’t skip that crucial step. Eat enough fat at the outset to set yourself up for success.

For optimal results, give yourself time to adjust to new habits. Don’t do it half heartedly and, if necessary, consider partnering with a coach to help “hold your hand“ or give you accountability. 


Mary Roberts is a Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach with multiple years of experience. She specializes in food addiction recovery.

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