Starting the keto diet can be confusing and overwhelming. This guide will help you to avoid 12 common keto diet mistakes so that you can hit the ground running with your keto journey.
So what is the ketogenic diet?
The Ketogenic Diet, also known as the Keto Diet, is a way of eating fat to fuel the body rather than sugars.
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Your body is able to use two different fuels to function
- sugar (carbohydrates / sugars).
In our culture we have introduced so many carbohydrates and sugar based foods to our body, that our bodies rely on this to function.
However, when you become fat adapted (rely on fats to fuel the body) then you are able to lose fat much quicker, brain function increases, and energy levels go through the roof!
Why do people make so many mistakes?
Well, mainly because we are human! We humans love to just get on with it, and sometimes we rush into new diets without fully understanding the functionality behind the process.
It’s like when you attempt to build those bunk beds and ignore the instructions. You are able to build the bunks.. but where does that left over screw go?
Similar to building the bunks, following a keto guide is very important.
Ideally you would follow our keto kickstarter challenge!
We would encourage you to take a week or so to fully research and understand the keto diet before starting.
This will ensure that you know what works, and what doesn’t work on the keto diet.
This will also help you avoid these very common mistakes.
So what are the 12 common mistakes that people do on the keto diet?
MISTAKE 1: Being afraid of fat
You will learn very quickly on the keto diet, that fat is actually your friend.
We have been told time and time again that fat is dangerous for the body and can cause heart complications and high fat content in our bodies.
Fat is a very amazing fuel source that can be used to fuel your body in a very effective way. If you are going to reduce your carbohydrates and quit sugar, you are going to need a new fuel source.
There is so many health benefits to including healthy fats in your daily diet. Eating healthy fats will not make you fat, in fact it will help you lose weight.
Yes, you read that right!
Eating healthy fats for weight loss is the key!
When you are first starting to add fat to your diet, you will want to build some fat into every meal and snack.
When you do this, two main things will happen:
- You will feel fuller much quicker and longer
- You will eat less as your body will feel satisfied
Both of these support weight loss as you won’t be reaching for those sugary snacks between meals.
Solution: EAT FAT!
MISTAKE 2: Eating too much protein
The keto diet requires you to eat 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
This can be confusing when you begin to build your meals, as it is very easy to replace your carbs with protein rather than fat.
For example, using chicken breast to gain a ‘full feeling’ rather than fats. It seems for natural to use the chicken breast as the main fuel source as it is ‘healthy’ and it ‘fills’ us up.
Yes, you can still eat chicken breast!
What I am saying is you need to add a lot of fat to your meal and you likely need to reduce the portion size of your chicken breast to fit within 20% protein for the day.
When you eat too much protein it will block your body from using the fat as its fuel source and you will not get into ketosis.
This does need to be a balance, if you don’t eat enough protein then your body may start using your muscle mass.
Solution: Balance and tracking your food is the key!
MISTAKE 3: Not listening to your body
Your body does communicate with you, you need to learn how to hear and understand what it is trying to tell you.
It is much more important for you to listen to your body rather than following exactly what someone else is telling you to do.
Your body knows you the best, it knows what it needs to survive.
Your body can communicate to you through:
Solution: Pause and listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you
MISTAKE 4: Not forward planning
Plan, plan, plan! It is so important.
I have written a whole article on the importance of meal planning. This is the number one key to success.
If you can plan out your meals for the week, ingredients you need, and prepare for them, then you are certainly on a path to success.
Grab our free printable meal planning sheet here:
MISTAKE 5: Eating too little fat
Just like in mistake number one, people are scared of fat. I know that this is a massive mind shift, but you no longer need to fear fat.
You need to eat a lot of it! No I’m not talking about having a pound of butter on a plate and eating it by the spoon load.
I’m talking about eating fats in a really healthy way. Fats need to be of high quality and healthy. We really recommend organic fats where possible.
We also recommend natural fats. By natural fats we mean fats that are not man made, not processed (or little process needed), and come from natural sources.
Some examples of these are:
- organic cuts of meat
- fatty fish
- olives and olive oil
- coconut oil
- dairy products
- butter or ghee
Remember to add 70% of fats to your meal.
Solution: Add 70% of fat to every meal you eat
MISTAKE 6: Consuming too many calories
Yes, you are eating high fat. And, yes fat has high calories.
However, you need to eat a moderate number of calories if you are wanting to lose weight.
So how do you do this?
You need to track your meals and the food you are eating. The interesting thing about fat is, that you don’t need to eat as much fat to feel full as you may imagine.
When you track your meals you will be able to see exactly how much fat you are eating and how many calories you are eating.
Solution: Track your meals on an app such as Carb Manager
MISTAKE 7: Eating without thinking!
Who doesn’t love to watch TV while you eat? Reaching for the cookie, putting it to the mouth without even looking… guilty!
However, when we mindless eat like this, we miss vital communication to the brain that we are eating.
And, we miss vital communication from the stomach to the brain that we can stop eating now. Mindful eating is a really good way of eating as you enjoy every bite.
You know what you are eating and you are aware of it.
Solution: Mindful eating, be present while you eat
MISTAKE 8: Avoiding vegetables
The keto diet does not mean a bacon and egg diet! It is so much more than this!
Vegetables still have such an important role in the keto diet. Vegetables are where your body gets so many essential, healthy nutrients from.
Make sure you are eating a lot of vegetables on the keto diet. There are some vegetables that you do need to avoid as they are high in carbohydrates.
This is usually the vegetables that grow underground. The best vegetables you can be eating are green leafy ones that are full of fiber.
Solution: Eat heaps of low carb vegetables daily!
MISTAKE 9: Avoiding salt
Ok, so I never realized how much salt they put in take away and pre-made foods to make it taste good!
When you cut out these foods, you are cutting out your salt consumption too. It is really important that you eat enough salt every day.
I am finding that I add heaps more salt then what I usually did when I was also eating take outs.
Do not be afraid of salt, it is a essential mineral that your body needs to function.
Solution: Add quality salt to every meal
MISTAKE 10: Using pre-packed foods
The food industry is very clever, and they have smartly produced “keto friendly” pre-packaged food.
This is fine on the odd occasion when you have no other options. However, no packaged food can ever replace the nutrients and richness of fresh food.
Be aware, just because it says KETO on the packet does not mean that it is actually suitable for the ketogenic diet! Read the ingredients closely.
Every meal you have, try to make yourself and add lovely fresh herbs and vegetables to it. This is where your body will thank you the most.
Your body LOVES fresh vegetables and herbs. They are what your body needs to function. Prepacked meals usually have preservatives or other chemicals in them to keep them from spoiling before you consume them.
Fresh is always best.
Just because it says ‘low carb’ or ‘keto friendly’ does not mean that it is the best option for your body.
Solution: Reduce the pre-packaged foods you are eating even if they are ‘keto’
MISTAKE 11: Not reading food labels
I cannot stress this enough! Food advertisers are incredible cunning and will attempt to get you to buy their product in a number of ways.
I cannot count how many times I have picked up a ‘no added sugar’ box of something then look at the nutritional food label that states that the sugars and carbohydrates are both through the roof!
The label is the only wording you should be paying attention to.
When I am reading a label I first look at the ingredients and ask myself if I can 1. read the words and 2. happy with the ingredients. If I cannot read them, I do not buy it.
If I see something on the label that I am not happy with e.g. a preservative, then again I do not buy it. Once I’ve checked the ingredients I then check the total net carbs.
If they are low I will consider buying the product. If they are crazy high, the item goes back onto the shelf.
Remember do not rely on packaged foods as your main meal input.
Fresh is best!
Solution: Pause and read the label!
MISTAKE 12: Eating the wrong fats
Yes, there are wrong fats. First the ‘right fats: are all the healthy fats:
- organic cuts of meat
- fatty fish
- fatty meats
- olives and olive oil
- coconut oil
- dairy products
- butter or ghee
Fats to avoid: Processed, man-made fats. Do not get fooled by Vegetable oil (canola, soy, ricebran, grapeseed, corn etc). I used to the think that because it was made from vegetables it must be healthy!
Ah, no! Avoid this as much as those other processed oils!
Another fat that people assume is healthy is margarine. This is terrible! Do not consume this no matter how ‘natural’ it states it is on the container. This is not a good fat for you.
Solution: Only eat healthy, natural fats
Too many mistakes?
Feeling overwhelmed? Please don’t.
We are here to support you along the way.
We have some really good beginner posts that might help you get your head around how to start the keto diet with success and avoid all of these common mistakes!