When I decided to go keto I just jumped right in and made some total newbie keto mistakes. In this post I will share those newbie keto mistakes with you so you can avoid them and get off to a smooth start.
But first, what is a keto diet?
A keto, or ketogenic diet, is simply a way of eating that is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. Some people eat this way for weight loss, others to control blood sugar or to cut cravings. You can learn more in this blog post: What Is The Keto Diet and 5 Reasons All Your Friends Are Talking About It
5 Newbie Keto Mistakes I Made.
1. I didn’t have a clear reason WHY I wanted to go keto.
When I started eating a high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet I was really excited about some of the benefits:
- weight loss
- reduced cravings
- stable blood sugar levels
- healthy brain function
- more energy throughout the day
- balanced hormones
But a list of benefits doesn’t help when your teenager offers to bring you a Culver’s Pumpkin Gingerbread ice cream with extra caramel sauce.
When starting a keto or any type of diet, or beginning a new project or goal, it’s important to have a clear reason WHY you are making a lifestyle change, what your expected results are, and how to measure those results.
How to avoid this keto mistake: Write down your WHY and review it often.
Make your WHY as specific as you can. “I want to fit in my size 4 jeans” doesn’t cut it. Think about what in your life will change when you eat this way. For me, it’s about stopping some of my auto-immune symptoms, healing my leaky gut, making the cravings disappear, and, yes, fitting into my size 4 jeans again.
Pro Tip: Set a reminder in your phone to review your WHY at least weekly.
2. I didn’t truly understand how to eat keto.
When I started researching the keto diet I was super excited. I read blog posts, testimonials, and, of course, browsed Pinterest for recipes. I was getting a mish mash of information from all over the internet.
And then I dove in.
Taking action is great, and I have no regrets. But I soon realized that there was more to learn than just fat, protein and carb macros. There were tips and tricks of those who had gone before me. Some people ate dairy and processed foods. Some keto dieters didn’t.
I wanted to understand WHY I needed to limit my carbs and eat more fat.
I wanted a reference, a guide. I wanted someone to break it down and explain keto to me in detail. (Easy-to-understand detail, preferably.) I didn’t want to have to constantly search for answers.
How to avoid this keto mistake: Pick a keto reference guide and read it.
I decided to go with the digital book called Keto Beginning. Once I understood the basics, I bought the Fat Fueled program too. Both of these are clear, concise, easy-to-follow resources loaded with useful info, meal plans and recipes.
You can also find lots of resources on Amazon. These all have very high ratings:
- The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet, with More Than 125 Delectable Recipes and 5 Meal Plans to Shed Weight, Heal Your Body, and Regain Confidence
- The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever
- Ketogenic Diet:The Step by Step Guide For Beginners
- Keto in 28: The Ultimate Low-Carb, High-Fat Weight-Loss Solution
3. I wasn’t willing to bend the rules.
Here’s the deal… I am the only one in charge of what goes into my mouth. And how much I eat, what types of foods I eat, and when. I know myself enough to know I get extremely anxious when I am presented with a series of rules to follow. Or specific meal plans.
Sometimes you gotta ignore the rules.
We went to a delicious Brazilian barbecue to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday. This style restaurant is perfect for eating keto. A huge salad bar, delicious meats, cheeses… I could have 100% stayed true to keto guidelines.
But I wanted the cheese rolls.
Light, fluffy, warm little rolls with a melted cheese center. I hardly ever eat rolls, or any gluten for that matter. But I was craving those rolls that night.
I ate six. (They’re tiny, lol.) Six delicious, gooey cheese rolls. And I felt zero guilt.
It’s called a treat and life is too short not to treat yourself occasionally. When I got home I got right back on plan.
How to avoid this keto mistake: Don’t be a slave to rules, whether they’re your own or someone else’s. It’s ok to listen to your body or heart when making food decisions.
4. I was discouraged by my lack of weight loss.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose weight. And the quicker the better. (If you’ve ever backslid on your weight loss journey, you can read about my recent struggles HERE.)
So the first week I hopped on the scale every morning. And guess what? It didn’t budge.
After an entire week of eating strictly keto I hadn’t lost one single ounce. I was more than a little discouraged.
That’s when I had to take a step back and ask myself why I was doing this? I wanted to lose weight, yes, but I also wanted to overcome my obsession with food. I wanted to heal my gut. I wanted more energy and I wanted to stop joint pain and crazy rashes that are part of my auto-immune issues.
After just a few days of low carbing, my cravings were gone. This was a huge success. I realized I couldn’t rely solely on the scale to gauge my progress.
How to avoid this keto mistake: See #1 and be very clear on your WHY. Define all the different ways success looks and feels for you. Weigh yourself weekly but don’t obsess about it.
If you have other specific symptoms you are trying to overcome, do start a journal to track them. You can journal online or use a simple notebook. And don’t forget to monitor your mood as well. I am much more even-keeled when I eat keto.
5. I felt obligated to intermittent fast along with eating keto.
In the keto community you will see a lot of talk about intermittent fasting. This simply means eating within a certain window of time, say 11am to 7pm, and then fasting – not eating – the rest of the day. For many people it might mean skipping breakfast. Some people intermittent fast longer.
Me, being the Diet Type A person I am, decided to throw myself into intermittent fasting right out of the gate. Guess what?
I wasn’t ready.
I was going from a period of eating crap and gaining weight, to trying to take control of my diet again with real food. Throwing intermititent fasting into the mix too soon just stressed me out. Not only did I worry about my macros, but I also obsessed about when to eat. Things like “it’s only 9am but I’m really super hungry. Sorry, can’t eat because I’m IF’ing.”
I hadn’t yet learned #3. I wasn’t willing to bend the rules.
Also, there is also no rule that says you have to intermittent fast while following a keto diet.
If you’re interested in IF’ing, I recommend you take a peek at some of the resources I mentioned in #2. (And here is a great article on intermittent fasting.) Then decide if it’s something you want to try. Never pressure yourself to do something you’re not comfortable with. And never force yourself to make too many changes all at once.
Now I IF, well, intermittently. I don’t follow an exact schedule. If I’m not hungry in the morning, I don’t eat. If I’m ravenous, I’ll have a meal. Simple as that
How to avoid making this keto mistake: If you feel called to intermittent fast, then learn about it. If it feels natural and right for you, give it a try. Maybe IF is for you and maybe it’s not, but don’t feel pressured to do it.
6. I focused on what I couldn’t have.
This didn’t happen for too long, thankfully, but I wanted to mention this mistake:
I focused on the foods I couldn’t eat.
You know, things like bread and tortilla chips and my beloved ice cream.
Isn’t it better to focus on all the things I can eat and enjoy? Guacamole with crunchy raw veggies. A grilled steak with butter. Delicious “candy” made with coconut and pecans.
Eating keto doesn’t mean deprivation. You can have so many wonderful, delicious foods. Be open to trying new foods, new combinations and new recipes.
How to avoid this keto mistake: In the beginning follow a meal plan so you have plenty of recipe ideas. Focus your attention on all the delicious foods you CAN eat. And remember #3 – you make the rules. If you want birthday cake & ice cream on occasion, go for it.
7. I compared my progress with other people.
Guess what? You and I are unique people. We have different relationships with food, different diet and eating histories. Different hormonal issues, different personalities.
My path to healing my gut and weight loss is not going to look the same as yours or anyone else’s.
It’s great to read testimonials and see what has worked for other ladies, but it’s discouraging to compare yourself and your progress to others
How to avoid this keto mistake: Stay focused on your WHY and your unique situation. Resist the temptation to compare your journey with anyone else’s.
Learn from my newbie keto mistakes.
Keto eating is not for everyone. But if you decide to make the leap to keto eating I hope you learn from the newbie keto mistakes I made.
If you want to learn more about a keto diet, I’ve linked to some great resources below. Wishing you much health and happiness!
How to get started on the keto diet.
Do you want to see if the keto diet is right for you? I strongly believe we are all individuals and need to experiment on ourselves to see what style of eating will give us good health, eliminate cravings, get us to an optimal weight. (Of course you should always check with your doctor for his or her advice.)
After winging it for a few weeks, I decided I wanted to really understand the basics of keto and have a little guidance. The Keto Beginning is where I started. It is a 188 page PDF guide to all you need to know about keto eating and how to get started. You can download it immediately and it includes a 30 day meal plan, shopping lists and recipes.
If you have been eating keto for a while and want to tweak things, get better results, have a more thorough understanding of the benefits (and have even more recipes and meal plans), this is a great resource. It’s a 324-page PDF guide you can download instantly that shows you exactly how to achieve hormone regulation, balanced moods, increased energy… while eating fats and following a keto diet!