- Are you asking, ” Why can’t I stick to keto?” If you are, then examine your willpower and energetic body.
- You should stick to a strict keto diet (20-30 grams of total carbs) for a least one month, and thereafter you can increase your carbs, if you’ve met your health goals.
- You will know you are in keto is working for you once you get into ketosis.
- Reasons for people not being able to stick to keto include the following:
- #1- You’re listening to others.
- #2- You’re not in ketosis and have cravings for carbs.
- #3- The need to balance your chakras.
- #4- PMS makes you crave carbs.
- #5- Poor sleep.
Have you had a hard time sticking to a keto diet?
Have you asked yourself, “Why can’t I stick to a keto diet?” Are you constantly feeling like you’re falling off the bandwagon? If so, you are not alone! Many of us have been there and thought, ” What I want is a big, juicy doughnut full of carbs right now. ” Or maybe you’ve felt like throwing those keto snacks in the garbage. If this is you, I get it. I can’t tell you the countless times I have felt like not sticking to my keto plan and thinking, “I am bored with this keto food; give me some carbs!” So, in this article, I will examine five reasons that may be causing you to stray from your keto diet. I will also put a remedy for each reason; that way, you can increase your compliance.
How do you stick to a strict keto diet?
I will explain this question further below, but an answer I will give you now is this, ” It depends on your willpower.” Now, that is a brief answer, and actually, it goes so much further than your willpower itself; it has to do with your energetic body. When I go over why you can’t stick to keto and then identify the solutions, it will be more clear as to what you need to do to stick with a keto diet.
Why is keto not working for me?
Okay, so if keto is not working for you, then you need to figure out why. Overall, the keto diet is very effective for weight loss and improving health. So, that being said, you need to try to evaluate what exactly you’re doing wrong. For starters, I suggest you read my recent article, ” Why Am I Not Losing Weight on The Ketogenic Diet?
In this article, I went over five different methods for you to discover exactly why you aren’t losing weight on keto. This article goes right along with your ability to be able to stick to keto. I think my goal with both of these posts is for you to identify with the reasons and acknowledge them. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledgment. Right?
How long should you stick to the keto diet?
The response to this question depends on you. Overall, I don’t look at keto as a diet but a lifestyle. For example, I follow a keto diet most of the time; however, I am at the point now where I have keto-carb cycling days. The above question should be: How many days should I stick to a strict keto diet and keep my total or net carbs between 20-30? Now, that would give you a different answer, of course! This response would also depend on you and your body. If you limit your total carbs to under 30 for a whole month, but you still haven’t dropped the weight that you want or reversed some of your health problems, then you may want to stay on keto for longer.
How do you know if keto is working?
YOU will know keto is working when you start getting symptoms of ketosis. These symptoms may include increased energy, headaches, weight loss, and thirst. As far as the headaches, that is a symptom that will dissipate. After you get over the initial detoxification during ketosis, you will start to feel great! When I am in ketosis, it changes me. I feel more motivated, productive and my self-esteem improves. It is so great that I am always ready to get back there if I get kicked out of ketosis!
Another obvious way to know if keto is working is by weight loss. If you notice that your clothes are fitting better, then you know keto is effective for you. When you see these changes, then there is no reason for you to test your ketones. Unless of course, you want to!
Reason #1- Others influence you not to do keto
Alright, so let’s be completely transparent here! One of the reasons you may be asking yourself, ” Why can’t I stick to keto?” could be influenced by your family, friends, and co-workers! They tell you, ” Come on, just one bite of this delicious piece of cake ( non-keto, of course),” or you may hear things such as, “keto? Oh, that’s boring. ” If this sounds familiar, and you can’t stay keto-compliant, then you are being influenced by others!
Again, we have all been there. I can’t tell you the countless times people have offered me some sugar-laden treat, and I’ve had to say, “No” politely. However, that being said, there have even been times when I didn’t refuse that delicious treat. Afterward, I either ate the treat and felt awful afterward OR I threw it in the trash.
Remedy-Do not let others affect your decision to do keto!
Can I recommend earplugs and blinders to all those who want to influence your ability to do keto? No, I can’t, but what I can do is recommend that you strengthen your willpower to say, “No.” If you exert this word, then more people will respect you, and as a result, you will gain more confidence in yourself. If there is a party and you know you’re going to cave, then have a plan. For example, say you are going to a birthday party, and you know there will be a cake. Instead of eating that carb-laden piece of cake, take a keto-friendly treat with you.
If you don’t want to decline when someone asks you if you want any cake, then I would say, “yes.” You then have the following choices: eat the piece of carb-laden cake, eat your keto treat or put the piece of cake in the trash. If you chose to eat the piece of cake, be prepared for a few minutes of pleasure for hours of not feeling good. On the other hand, if you choose the keto treat, then you can still stay in at least a mild ketosis and you will be proud of yourself. If you like the option of placing the cake in the trash, then that is fine too! SERIOUSLY. If you think about it, it is trash when you eat it too, so really, you are disposing of it the same way as if you were to put it in your body.
Reason #2- Your not in ketosis and have cravings for carbs
So, there is something about ketosis that makes you not reach for a bag of chips. Ketosis, actually in itself, will suppress your appetite. The clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied)1.
How long until I get in ketosis?
This question will vary from person to person. For some people, it may take a week, whereas, for others, it might take a day. It all depends on how fat-adapted you are! Since I have been doing the keto diet for years, I tend to go into ketosis in about a day. If I have been off keto or fasting for a little while, I like to check my ketones frequently to see if I am in ketosis. However, once I have been doing keto and fasting for at least a week, I will only check my ketones once a week.
Use blood monitoring to check ketosis
When I check my ketones, I like to use the Keto-Mojo. Now, the reason for this is because checking your ketones via blood is the most accurate way to measure them. You could use a breath meter or urine strip; however, these two tests are affected by different variables. If you want to read more about this, please go to my post called, What You Need to Know About Monitoring Ketosis Blood Levels.
Remedy- Get into ketosis!
So, the remedy for this one is obvious. YOU need to do whatever YOU can to get into ketosis. The best and most secure way is to limit your total carbs to around 20-30 grams per day or 20 net carbs or less a day. The best way to do this is to stick to a simple keto diet with no keto treats. If you want to learn more about what you need to eat, visit my Keto Pantry post, except do not eat any PMS, period, or peri/menopausal treats. If you want a good app to track your carbs, then I would download Cronometer.
When you pick which type of keto you’re going to do in the app, I would choose rigorous( which will put you under 20 net carbs per day). I also would start checking your ketones at least once per day with a Keto-Mojo device. In Cronometer, there is a place where you can input this data.
Reason #3- You need to balance your chakras
If you are asking yourself, “Why can’t I stick to keto?” and you have some emotional imbalance in your life, then you may need to balance your chakras. Overall, I would say the majority of us would discount the fact that our stress eating is due to a lack of chakra alignment.
Lack of willpower could be Solar Plexus Chakra imbalance.
The chakra most with not being able to stick to keto would be the Solar Plexus Chakra. The reason for this is because our Solar Plexus Chakra is mainly associated with our willpower. If you want to learn more about the Solar Plexus Chakra and Weight Loss, then I have a podcast, video, and blog post that you can view( click on the words podcast, video, or blog post to choose how you want to view the topic).
Other chakras that may be involved
If you cannot feel secure in your life, your Root Chakra may be out of alignment. The Root Chakra being out of balance can make you want to overeat any and everything! If this sounds like you, it may be your Root Chakra preventing you from being keto-compliant.
If your Sacral Chakra is out of balance, it can also cause you not to stick to keto. If you are overly emotional or depressed or there has been sexual abuse in your life, it may mean your Sacral Plexus Chakra is out of balance. A Sacral Plexus Chakra misalignment can manifest in addictions, cravings, and overeating2.
If you aren’t able to forgive yourself or others, then it is hard to be self-nurturing. As a result, it will be hard to stick to keto or any other diet plan in that manner! When out of balance, we are not centered in love towards ourselves and can use food in a self-nurturing way3.
If you are having difficulty with self-expression and can’t be who YOU want to be in life, then your Throat Chakra could also affect your compliance with keto. If unbalanced, the Throat Chakra can cause stress in the thyroid gland, which is connected to our metabolism, which in turn relates to how fast or slow we burn fat 4.
Remedy – Learn how to balance your chakras!
If you think any of the above chakras are being affected, then start looking at balancing your chakras to be keto-compliant! I would start by listening to my podcasts. You can start with the original one called Keto diet and chakra balance for your health. After you do this, then you can begin to listen to my other ones. I have done a podcast on each chakra, starting at the Root Chakra, and have gone to the Crown Chakra. Learning to balance your chakras will not only affect your ability to do keto, but it will also improve every other aspect of your life!
Reason #4-PMS is affecting your appetite.
So if you are wondering if you get a pass for PMS, then you are right. Yes, PMS hormones or menopause hormones can be why you can’t stick to keto. It turns out that there are actual physiological symptoms that are associated with an increased craving for carbs during our menstrual cycles.
If you have increased craving during your PMS cycle, then blame three hormones; estrogen, serotonin, and cortisol. It just so happens that prior to your menstrual period, you will experience a fluctuation of these hormones that is NOT so good for your appetite. Let me further explain all three of them.
Estrogen and Cortisol
So it turns out that the body regulates estrogen and cortisol, and they have a relationship. As estrogen increases in the week before your period, cortisol also increases when you are experiencing PMS. This spike in cortisol, the stress hormone, puts the body in a state of high stress and, in turn, high metabolic stimulation. Consequently, your appetite is heightened, and cravings for foods high in carbs and fat emerge5.
Studies have shown that a drop in serotonin before your period will increase your craving for carbohydrates. If you don’t know what serotonin is, then let me explain6. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with well-being and feeling good. It is believed to influence the types of foods that are craved during PMS. During PMS, serotonin drops, which causes cravings for carbohydrates7.
Carbohydrates are used in serotonin production, so the body signals you to eat them in an attempt to counter the dip. If your cortisol is high and serotonin is low, you are likely to crave simple and sugary carbohydrates (aka why many women crave chocolate). If your cortisol is high and your serotonin level is relatively normal, you will likely crave foods high in fat and high in carbs.8
So what do you do with all these carb cravings on keto??
Yikes! So what is a holistic keto goddess like yourself to do? Well, I am going to work on another blog post just for this topic! However, to sum it up, for now, let me give you a hint. You allow yourself to go up a little on your carbs just for the 3-5 days before your period starts. For example, let’s say that you have been eating around 20-30 total carbs per day and avoiding those keto treats, you would then give yourself permission to increase your carbs for 3-5 days prior to the start of your period.
So what do I mean by keto treats? You know those keto cookies, muffins, and bread that you are told to stay away from when doing strict keto? Well, now you have full permission to eat those things! When I am about to start my cycle, I like anything from Sami’s Low Carb bread, Nush Cookies, BHU Keto Bites, and keto marshmallows ( yes, I know how to keto splurge)! Now, all this being said, you want to allow yourself maybe 1 or 2 of these keto treats tops per day. Remember, you don’t want to negate all of your weight loss efforts.
If you consume keto treats during this time, it will make you feel like you are at least doing something to help your cravings, and you will be more compliant in the long run. Plus, it’s a lot better than having something that will completely throw you off track. Once you are done with PMS and start your cycle(start bleeding), try to avoid any of those keto treats until PMS strikes again.
Reason #5- Poor sleep is interfering with your keto compliance.
Okay, so the last reason you may be saying, ” Why can’t I stick to keto?” is poor sleep. When you don’t sleep, you are more hungry. It turns out, that there is an actual legit reason for this. When you don’t get good snooze time, certain hormones will go up that make you ravenous and want that juicy carb-laden doughnut. Ghrelin is closely related to hunger while leptin is tied to feeling full. A lack of sleep has been found to trigger increased levels of ghrelin and decreased levels of leptin, leading to increased hunger and appetite9.
Remedy – Start sleeping and improve your keto compliance!
Alright, so the remedy for this one is easy. You must sleep in order to improve your ability to even want to do keto. Listen, I’ve been there and I know sleeping is easier said than done. So, that being said, I am going to give you some tips. First, I am going to talk a little bit about sleep hygiene. One of the top reasons that people aren’t sleeping is that they aren’t exerting good sleep habits. I am going to mention a few below, but for full information, I am going to refer you to the National Sleep Foundation( click here to review the complete list of tips). Here are the tips:
1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
2. Avoid caffeine after 12 pm.
3. Avoid alcohol in the evening.
4. Do not use any electronics a few hours prior to bedtime.
5. Keep your bedroom cool, preferably between 5.5 degrees C (60 degrees F) and 19.4 degrees C (67 degrees F).
A word about keeping cool at night
So some of you may be thinking,” Won’t my electric bill go up in the summer if I have to keep my bedroom between 60-67 degrees F?” The answer to this is a definite yes. So how do you keep your AC bill low during the summer if you need your room to be so cool? Well, let me tell you how I do it. I use a Chilipad. Ever since I purchased a Chilipad for my bed, I have kept my electric bills at a minimum. How does it do this? It does this by keeping your mattress cool, that way you don’t have to crank down your AC.
A Chilipad is not only good for saving money on your AC bill, but it also helps you stay asleep. In order to get good sleep continuity, it is also essential to keep your core body temp between 60-67 degrees F. Ever since I’ve gotten mine, I’ve slept like a baby. Literally! I also don’t notice hot flashes at night with my periods! It is wonderful! In fact, I like it so much, I take it with me when I travel (except if I have to fly).
Another perk to a Chilipad, is it can keep your bed warm. During the winter, I use it on my mattress to warm it up before I climb in. Once I am in bed, I crank it down so I stay cool at night. I have definitely noticed my ability to stay more keto-compliant since I’ve gotten my Chilipad!
I hope this article reels you into why you have been saying, ” Why can’t I stick to keto?” Once you acknowledge the reasons, then you can start the acceptance process. In turn, you will improve your ability to stick to keto. Remember, keto is a lifestyle, and you have to make a choice to be in it for the long haul.
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[toggle title = “References”]
Gibson AA, Seimon RV, Lee CM, Ayre J, Franklin J, Markovic TP, Caterson ID, Sainsbury A. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):64-76. doi: 10.1111/obr.12230. Epub 2014 Nov 17. PMID: 25402637.
Møller SE. Serotonin, carbohydrates, and atypical depression. Pharmacol Toxicol. 1992;71 Suppl 1:61-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1992.tb01630.x. PMID: 14805616.
Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, Van Cauter E. Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Dec 7;141(11):846-50. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-11-200412070-00008. PMID: 155832269