What to do When Keto Stops Working

Whether you’ve been doing Keto for years or you’re brand new to the diet it can be startling and concerning when you don’t see the results that you expect. There’s no need to worry though, there are plenty of logical reasons that your Keto isn’t working anymore and lots of ways of getting back on track. A lot of the time all it takes is a slight adjustment on your part so that you and your Keto diet can regain your harmonious relationship. The following article will help you to pinpoint what in your Keto diet isn’t working and the steps that you can take to get back on track.

Signs that there’s a problem

How do you know if your Keto diet has stopped working? One of the main reasons that people begin a Keto diet is to lose weight. If you’re trying to lose weight on Keto and you’re having a tough time making the scale budge then you might have to make a tweak or two to your diet or lifestyle. If the scale is moving in the opposite direction then this is a clear sign that there’s a problem as well.

Another warning sign that there might be a problem with your Keto is if you begin experiencing symptoms that are similar to the Keto flu that you went through in your first month of Keto. Exhaustion, headaches, sleeplessness, mental fog and stomach upset are all ways that your body lets you know that it’s struggling.

Barriers to your Keto diet working

If you’re not feeling well or you’re struggling with your weight then you might want to take a look at your Keto diet and lifestyle to see if any of the following might be preventing your Keto diet from working.

You’re eating too many calories

One of the biggest reasons that you can struggle to lose weight on Keto is that you’re eating too many calories. This can be a big problem with people who are new to Keto. The healthy fats that you focus on with Keto are nutrient-dense foods. Essentially, this means that a small portion of the food has more calories than the equivalent portion of less nutrient-dense foods. This can make it easy to consume more calories than you should when you’re new to this type of eating.

Macadamia nuts have 100calories per 5 nuts and they’re a very nutrient-dense food. On the other hand, you can eat 3 rice cakes before you hit the 100 calorie mark. If you’re used to being able to eat 3 rice cakes you can see how you might overindulge in the macadamias and consume way too many calories!

Just because you’re healthy foods doesn’t mean that you can eat as much of them as you want without gaining weight. Calories still contribute towards weight loss and you need to account for each and every one of them.

You’re eating too much protein

A common misconception with Keto is that some people think it’s both a high fat and high protein diet. With all of the celebrities posting pictures of their Keto bacon-wrapped everything it can be easy to fall into this way of thinking. The truth is, Keto is a high fat and moderate protein diet. Protein should only account for roughly 20-25% of your daily calorie intake. In the average 2000 calorie diet, this would look like 400-500 calories a day coming from protein sources.

Too much protein can actually kick your body out of ketosis. You can be following the required carb limits and still not be in ketosis if you’re eating too much protein because your body can actually turn excess protein into sugars by breaking them down into amino acids. This is a sneaky way that your body can fuel itself with glucose instead of ketones and it can inhibit your weight loss efforts if you’re on Keto.

You’re eating too many carbs

This one may seem like a no-brainer but if you’re avoiding bread, pasta and rice you might still be taking in too many net carbs. Carbohydrates are found in a lot of the foods we eat and even vegetables can add to our net carb count. This means that tracking your net carbs for each and every item of food that you eat is very important.

You’re not exercising

The Keto diet may be healthy but if you truly want to see results on the scale you need to exercise. It could be that you’re already exercising but with the weight you’ve lost so far on Keto your body has adjusted to your exercise and you need to work harder in order to continue to see weight loss results.

Exercise impacts more than just your weight. When you exercise your body releases endorphins that boost your mood and make you feel better. Exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night and it also helps with improving mental clarity. Exercise can help get a sluggish immune system moving again as well as increasing your energy levels throughout the day. So if you’re having trouble sleeping or you feel like you’re experiencing the Keto flu all over again there’s a good chance that adding some exercise into your day will allow you to push through your weight loss plateau and eliminate any fatigue, headaches and sleeplessness that you may be feeling.

Your stress levels are too high

When you’re stressed out your body produces cortisol. This hormone can play a big role in weight loss. Some types of cortisol can have a positive effect on your weight loss efforts such as the cortisol that’s released when you start a fast or kick your body into ketosis. However, cortisol caused by a stressful environment causes your body to stubbornly hold onto its stored body fat because the survival mechanism in your body kicks into gear.

Our ancestors benefited from this stress response because if we were experiencing environmental stress back then there’s a good chance it meant we didn’t have the resources necessary to find food. In our modern-day, stress is more often triggered by relationship issues, troubles at work or even traffic jams. These don’t affect your food supply, but your body doesn’t know that.

You’re not getting enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased levels of cortisol throughout the body. As you saw above, too much cortisol can interfere with your weight loss efforts. In addition to this, lack of sleep can cause a drop in your energy levels. When you’re tired you don’t feel like exercising which can lead to a drop in your movement even if you feel like you’re moving the same amount. It’s the little things like taking the stairs or bustling around doing chores that you might usually do but you avoid because you just don’t feel like you have enough energy.

A lack of sleep can also lead to problems in the kitchen. Whether it’s making poor food choices, not feeling up to cooking a home-cooked meal or not bothering to track your macros and your net carbs a lack of sleep can cause problems with your weight loss efforts.

You’re not drinking enough water

Water plays a huge role in weight loss and it’s even more important when you’re on Keto. One of the problems many people on Keto face is that they have trouble getting enough fibre. When your body is low on fibre and also low on water your intestines have trouble moving food. This can lead to you feeling bloated and constipated. If you haven’t lost any weight in a while you may be holding onto a bit of it inside your intestines.

Steps you can take to get back on track

If you’re struggling with a weight loss plateau while on Keto or if you feel like you’ve relapsed into the Keto flu then the first thing that you need to do is sit down and really track what you’re doing and what you’re eating. Record every morsel of food that goes into your body, track your movement using an app or fitness tracker, track the number of hours you sleep at night and even track your mood and stress levels throughout the day. Don’t change anything yet, just track it.

Once you have a few days of honest tracking that lets you know exactly what your day looks like you can take a step back and analyze the data. How many hours of sleep are you getting? Are you moving enough to burn calories? Are you eating more calories then you’re burning? Have you had a particularly stressful day at work? Are you overindulging in protein or carbs?

These kinds of questions can help you pinpoint the problem. From there it’s all a matter of adjusting your diet and lifestyle. If you’re stressed try meditating or exercising. If you’re not getting enough sleep, water or exercise then add some more into your day. If you’re struggling with your net carbs, protein or calorie intake then spend some time planning meals ahead of time so that you know that each day you have meals picked out that fit your Keto calorie and macro ranges. Sometimes the simplest tweak to your diet or lifestyle can have the biggest changes and break you out of your plateau.


Weight loss plateaus happen to everyone at some point but there’s no need to panic. Just as our bodies are changing on our Keto diet, our routines and diets also need to change. It often doesn’t take much to get your body back into ketosis and start seeing the weight loss results that you’re looking for.

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