Why Am I Not in Ketosis Yet?

Kermit Need to Look at These 12 Stumbling Blocks to Ketosis
Having trouble getting into ketosis?

If you're having trouble getting into ketosis, one of the following 12 stumbling blocks might be standing in your way.

Ketosis occurs when your glucose supply runs out, but sometimes the body can fight back pretty hard. In addition, all of those little cheats, low-carb products, daily stress, and even your current weight all affect your body's ability to burn fat for fuel.

Are you ready to discover what's standing in your way? If so, this post will show you.




I definitely know how you feel. Some people have lots of difficulties getting into ketosis, but don't let that fact overwhelm you and convince you to turn back. 

Just because you don't seem to be making any progress and other people are losing a ton of weight on Induction, that doesn't mean that a low-carb diet is the wrong choice for you. 

There's still hope even if nothing you've tried so far has worked, and even if you can't seem to get into ketosis no matter what you do. If your clothes are still tight, the scale isn't budging, and your Ketostix are either still tan or barely pink, all is not lost. 

Okay?

There's always a reason why you're craving those chocolate chip cookies the kids are eating. There's a reason why you're having a hard time at work and still feel exhausted all the time. You just gotta find the barrier to ketosis and banish it from your life.


2 Men Laying Their Head Down on the Table
Are you still feeling exhausted and tired?
What are you doing wrong? Why no ketosis yet?



Yes, I know that's more difficult than it sounds, so if you're like most people, you're probably wondering:
  • What am I doing wrong?
  • Why am I not in ketosis yet?
Here's the fact:

Ketosis occurs when the body has exhausted all potential sources of glucose. 

For most people, that happens in only a few hours to a couple of days, max, but for some people, the body can put up quite a fight before it relents and begins to use your fat stores for energy.

If you can't figure out why you are not in ketosis yet, here are 12 main stumbling blocks that might be getting in the way:

[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy something after using one of those links, I might receive a small financial compensation, at no cost to you.]



Pinterest Image: Steak Grilled Medium


1. Are You Following Your Low-Carb Diet Exactly?



A lot of people tell me that they have been following a low-carb diet for one or two weeks, but nothing is happening as they expected. The scale hasn't budged, and their cravings haven't gone away.

When I question them further, they will often admit that they only cheated once or twice during the past 10 to 14 days.

A low-carb diet is not a low-calorie diet. You have to follow your low-carb program exactly, or you won't be able to get into ketosis and stay there.

Not in Ketosis? Eating Popcorn at the Movies Can Interfere With Ketosis!
Before fat adaption, you have to do low carb by the book.
Even one little cheat can interfere with ketosis.


While an occasional cheat day won't harm a low-carb diet after your body has been trained to predominantly burn fats for fuel, if you eat a brownie, drink a glass of wine, or treat yourself to some other high-carb food during the first month or two, it can prevent you from becoming fat adapted.

The heart of a low-carb diet is to deprive your body of high-glucose foods, so it will switch metabolic pathways. You need to follow your low-carb plan of choice exactly, to do that. Your body must believe that carby food is no longer an option.

If you keep eating higher carbs foods, your body won't make the switch to burning fats instead of glucose. It will just keep on craving glucose. Once it knows there are carbs available, the body will use other forms of adaption to wait out the carb-famine – instead of burning body fat.

2. Are You Eating Any Atkins Bars?


Grilled Chicken Breast and Sweet-Potato-Quinoa Salad
Atkins Diet today is a low-glycemic plan.
It is not always very low in carbs.

I know that Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. tells you that Atkins bars are fine to eat on Atkins Induction, but most of that is pure marketing hype.

Atkins bars contain a boat-load of glycerin, sugar alcohols, and other high-glucose carbohydrates that the Atkins diet doesn't count. While Atkins advertises itself to be a low-carb diet, today, it is a low-glycemic plan. It may, or may not, be low in carbs, depending on your food choices.

If you have gastrointestinal issues when using sugar alcohols, you might be able to get away with very small bits of sugar alcohol in your coffee or tea without it affecting your ability to go into ketosis.

If you don't have any gastrointestinal issues from consuming sugar alcohols, this means:

Your body is metabolizing the sugar alcohol as if it were real sugar!

It doesn't ignore all of those carbs no matter what the label says.

Sugar alcohols were once thought to be the holy grail for dieters because they don't raise your blood glucose level and were thought to escape being metabolized. That theory didn't hold up to biological scrutiny. 

Sugar alcohols cause your insulin level to go up, which is the total opposite of what Atkins Induction is trying to accomplish.

Many people who find it impossible to get into the state of ketosis are consuming several Atkins bars per week, and not just a single bar when low-carb choices are scarce. 

It's best to stay away from the Atkins bars completely, but if you can't do that, at least wait until your body adapts to the state of ketosis before you try to add the Atkins bars to your diet.


3. You're Already in Ketosis, but Don't Know It


Photo of My Hot Poppers I Just Finished Baking
Most people who fear they are not in ketosis actually are.
If you have eliminated most sources of glucose,
you are in ketosis.

Getting into ketosis requires you to eliminate all sources of available glucose, forcing the liver to rely on its glycogen stores, the storage form of carbohydrates, to keep your blood sugar stable.

Once glycogen starts to run low, the body will turn to oxidizing amino acids to make up the difference. If protein burning continues for more than a few days, the liver will stop oxidizing protein for energy purposes and begin to break down fat instead.

If you're eating 20 net carbs per day, or less, it will only take one day for your glycogen stores to diminish to the level where the body begins to adapt.

Your body will use other methods to get glucose before it turns to using fat. Without a ready supply of available glucose, the body has to eventually turn to its fat stores, or you would die.

According to The Ketogenic Diet, by Lyle McDonald, this is because the:
  • brain
  • central nervous system
  • red blood cells
  • a few kidney cells
  • and all other cells without mitochondria
cannot use fatty acids for fuel. These cells are dependent on glucose because it takes mitochondria to burn fat.

While most low-carb experts will tell you that protein can be converted into glucose to save the brain and central nervous system, what they don't tell you is that:

Converting protein into glucose is a lengthy, complex process. The body only uses this pathway if there is no other alternative to get the glucose it needs. Gluconeogenesis is demand driven. Any glucose made from protein goes into filling up your depleted glycogen stores FIRST.

It is not used to feed the brain except during a temporary emergency.

It is more efficient for the body to make ketones to keep the brain alive, since the brain can derive up to 75 percent of its energy needs from ketones.

Once the body kicks up its ketone production, you are in ketosis, regardless of what else is going on.

4. How Do You Know that You are NOT in Ketosis?


Many people tell me that they are frustrated with how their low-carb diet is going. They are having trouble getting into ketosis and want to know what they are doing wrong. My usual reply is to ask:

How do you KNOW that you are not in ketosis?”

Over the years, a couple of people have told me that they purchased a blood ketone meter and using the meter revealed they were not in ketosis. But, the number one answer I normally receive is that the:

Ketosix are not turning dark.”


Some people will tell me that they are in light ketosis because the sticks are only turning pink, and they want to know how to get a deeper color. However, pink sticks do not mean that you are not in ketosis.

Very few have actually told me that the sticks are not turning any color at all.

For some reason, most dieters believe that the color on these urine-testing sticks available at Amazon is an indicator of whether or not they are in ketosis. I see this misconception a lot at low-carb forums, as well.

Ketosis is like being pregnant.

Ketosis is a metabolic state, so you are either in that metabolic state, or you are not. There is no such thing as a lighter state or a deeper state of ketosis. You are, or you arent.

There are states where you are creating, processing, and hording a larger amount of ketones in your kidney or bloodstream than other dieters, but manufacturing an excessive amount of ketones doesn't guarantee you'll lose body fat. 

It is only when your muscles begin using fatty acids for fuel that you begin to lose a decent amount of body fat each week. If you are turning the Ketostix any color at all, if your blood ketone level is .5 mmol/L or higher, you are in ketosis.

Period.

5. Are You Drinking a Lot of Water?


Water doesn't keep you from going into ketosis. It actually helps you process more body fat. 

But since a large proportion of low-carb dieters insist on using their Ketostix as a measurement of whether they are in ketosis, or not, I thought I'd mention a reason why your Ketostix might still be tan.

Ketostix measure ketones by concentration. 


They don't measure a specific number of ketones being dumped by the kidney, so if you drink an adequate amount of water, that solution will be diluted.

In fact, when the ketone strips turn purple, that indicates that you are severely dehydrated. If you are drinking an adequate amount of water, the ketone strips will be tan, pink, or lavender. Rarely dark.

I have only seen dark Ketostix in people who have never been on a low-carb diet before. Many newbies will make an excessive amount of ketones until their body learns how many ketones it needs to survive. 

But you can also turn the ketone strips a darker color if you're over eating fat.

6. Ketones Cannot be Stored in the Body


Another thing to be aware of is that the kidneys do not dump ketones consistently. 

They will only dump them when the concentration builds up to an unhealthy level. Since the kidney has no way to store ketones, it finds high levels irritating, so it gets rid of them, but not on a regular basis. Ketone dumping is intermittent.

For that reason, the color on your Ketostix won't be consistent. They will read different levels at different times of the day. If your sticks are tan, that doesn't mean you are not in ketosis. It simply means that either:
  1. the concentration of ketones has been diluted by drinking a large amount of water; or
  2. you are not dumping ketones at the exact moment that you checked.
Dumped ketones can sometimes mean that you have too many ketones built up in your bloodstream. To correct this problem, and keep you from going into ketoacidosis, insulin is secreted and any acetoacetone ketones are transported from the bloodstream to the kidney.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate ketones do not show up on your ketone sticks. The sticks don't test for beta ketones. They test for acetoacetone ketones, the precursor to the beta ones, so if you're dumping beta-hydroxybutrate, you won't know it. You'll only see when acetoacetate ketones are ditched.

The insulin secretion brought on by high blood ketone levels alerts the liver to the presence of high ketones in the blood. These high ketone levels tell the liver to slow down ketone production until further notice.

This doesn't mean you're no longer in a state of ketosis. You are, but the process slows down until the brain has used those extra ketones, bringing them back down to a safe level.


7. Are You Stressed Out and Frustrated?


Stressed Out Over Not Getting Into Ketosis?
Stress raises Cortisol levels,
and Cortisol causes insulin secretion.


Making the color of your Ketostix or the number on the scale very important can create a lot of internal stress. When stressed, the body produces cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones to deal with the emergency.

An emergency situation, real or imagined, is always prepared for by creating an extra dose of energy, so you'll be able to fight your foe or run from something that is dangerous.

To make these preparations, cortisol clears the bloodstream of all fats, stores it as triglyceride in your fat cells, and then signals the liver to break down its glycogen stores into glucose and dump that glucose into the bloodstream.

As long as the mind believes you're in an emergency situation, real or imagined, the amount of blood glucose you already have doesn't matter. Extra glucose will go into the bloodstream and fat burning will stop cold.

This has nothing to do with the amount of carbohydrate you're eating. 

As long as your stress level is high, you will continue to predominantly burn protein and glucose for fuel instead of fats.

While consuming less protein can encourage the body to use some of its fat stores, due to a lack of calories, breaking down triglycerides into fatty acids isn't as quick as using protein or glucose is, so the body won't be primed to use fatty acids for fuel if cortisol is always high. You won't be fat adapted.

In addition to predominantly using glucose, high cortisol also slows down metabolism, shuts down non-essential body systems, and encourages protein to be stored as glycogen for easier access.

8. Are You Eating Less Than 20 Carbs a Day?


One of the tendencies I often see in low-carb dieters is the knee-jerk reaction of lowering their carbs if the weight isn't coming off as quickly as they expect.

For some reason, many people believe that if 20 carbs a day is good, then 5 or 10 or even zero will cause them to lose weight faster.

This is not true.

While those who are severely insulin resistant will have to drastically restrict their carbohydrate intake, in most individuals, cutting your carbs down for too long a period will cause cortisol levels to surge.

This is why our article on how to get into ketosis in less than three days includes a diet menu that is limited to three days.

9. Are You Eating Enough Fat?


I talk about eating too much fat all the time on this blog because that is the problem I see more than any other. 

If you're having trouble getting into ketosis, eating more fat won't get you there faster. Eating lots of fat on Atkins Induction can give you a false sense of security because the body will use dietary fats to make ketones. 

But if you go too low in fat, that can cause your cortisol levels to rise, and you'll stay in glucose-burning mode.

When I was in my weight-loss phase, I discovered that if I ate less than 60 grams of fat per day, the weight stopped coming off. Not because it takes fat to burn fat, but because my body wasn't comfortable giving up its fat stores when it thought the fat in my environment was too limited. Going too low in fat stresses the body.

And, you don't want to do anything that will set off your body's starvation alert system.

This is why I always recommend that you put your weight-loss scale away for at least the first month and let your body adapt to your new way of eating before you start to tweak anything. You can actually make the situation worse by making the wrong changes.

10. Are You Exercising Too Hard?


Weight Loss Can Stop in Ketosis if You Over Exercise
Beware of too much exercise when getting into Ketosis

Heavy exercise, when combined with a low-carb diet, does some strange things to your metabolism because a low-carb diet uses the starvation pathway. Excessive exercise tends to freak the body out.

In fact, some dieters have reported that even after several weeks, their body fat still hadn't budged. It was only when some unforeseen circumstance arose that interfered with their exercise program that the weight started coming off.

Apparently, for them, the body saw exercise as a threat to life and slowed down their metabolic rate, plus other adaptions, to match the incoming amount of calories.

Biologically, exercise affects cortisol levels, as described above, so you don't want to overdo it until you know how your body is going to react to carb restriction. 

If you're struggling to get into ketosis, try dialing your exercise back a little to something your body can tolerate without triggering a starvation response.

Intense exercise burns ketones, which can make it look like you are not in the state of ketosis, even when you are.

Initially, almost every body system will use ketones for energy, but as carbohydrate restriction continues, your muscles will go insulin resistant, so they can save those ketones for the brain and central nervous system.

Instead of using ketones, your muscles will start to burn fatty acids for fuel, which means you won't need to make as many ketones as before, so fat loss will slow down and come into line with your activity level.

11. Is Your Calorie Deficit Too Large?


A calorie deficit is required for a low-carb diet to work. There is no doubt about that.

But if you try to go too low in calories, to pick up the weight-loss pace, you can trigger a starvation response. If this happens, cortisol levels with rise, and your body will quickly slam on the breaks:
  • leptin levels will plunge
  • lowering your metabolic rate
  • shutting down non-essential body systems
  • raising your hunger level and cravings for sugar
  • going back to predominantly burning glucose
While a large deficit will result in weight loss, with your body on high alert, you won't receive as many benefits from being in ketosis. In addition, once the body adapts to that large deficit, you won't lose weight as quickly as you might think.

12. Are You Already at a Normal BMI?


You wouldn't believe how many people go on a low-carb diet, even though they are already at a healthy weight.

Most of these normal-weight individuals are concerned about a few bulges that traditional dieting hasn't been able to get rid of.

I get that.

However, a low-carb diet isn't designed to attack stubborn fat pockets.

A low carb diet works best for those who are metabolically challenged or working with severe insulin resistance, such as PCOS. It is also useful for those who need to be gluten free, have cholesterol imbalances, or are trying to control a serious binge-eating issue.

If you're already at a normal weight, switching to the starvation pathway won't work. The less body fat percentage you have, the less body fat your body will mobilize on a daily basis to save your life.

When you are close to a normal weight, your calories have to be quite low to get the job done. For that reason, a low-fat, Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF), or some type of cyclic carb diet works best for those who are already at a healthy BMI. 

This is because the only calories you can decrease without muscle wasting are fat calories. For ideas on how to decrease your fat intake, check out the following article: Use These 3 Easy Steps to Trim Your Calories Without Counting Them

Trouble Getting Into Ketosis? Give Your Body Time to Make the Adaption



Getting into the state of ketosis isn't hard.

However, you will likely experience a lot of frustration, confusion, and misery if you are trying to use weight loss to measure the metabolic state of ketosis.

Ketosis is simply a state of being where ketones are being made from triglyceride breakdown in the liver to help keep you alive.

Ketosis is no more magical than that.

It's a survival technique, a tool you can use, but you have to understand what you're doing, and why you are doing it.


White Bathroom Scale and Someone Standing on It
Becoming preoccupied with the number on your
weight-loss scale keeps you frustrated and angry.
Give yourself time to adapt to Ketosis.

Focusing on weight loss during the first few weeks, rather than giving your body ample time to make the necessary metabolic adaptions, can actually backfire on what you're trying to do. 

Most of the time, fast weight loss – especially during the first few weeks of a low-carb diet – comes from muscle tissue, rather than body fat.

Muscle loss isn't the target.
  • Chasing after unrealistic expectations
  • using Ketostix for something they were never designed for
  • and identifying with the number on the scale
will only cause your cortisol levels to swell and your blood glucose level to go up. Your self worth and self discipline will mercilessly plummet, as well.

The body strives for equilibrium.

It will adapt to your current situation and correct necessary imbalances, but it won't happen overnight.

Ketosis is the easiest way to lose weight, but it isn't the fastest way.

Shedding your body fat permanently will take awareness, re-evaluation, and a willingness to do something different.

If you're looking for a fast fix, ketosis isn't it.


Comments

  1. I'm on keto diet for a while, and i already lost a lot of weight. This diet really turned my life better. If you don't know where to start, or you just want to spice up your diet meals. Check ou this book http://tastyketo.com/keto-cookbook/ . Over 370 recipes, macros, meal plans and shopping list. It really made mylife easier.

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    1. Congratulations Naomi,
      It's so good to hear from those who have found success following a low-carb plan. I'm sure your cookbook will be a lot of help to others. Thanks for the link.

      Delete
    2. I visited your blog, but there weren't any posts. So you're only selling the cookbook??? Then I visited your google+ looking for information, but there were links to other things than Keto. I'd like to read your about your journey to help me decide if I want to buy.

      Delete
    3. I don't understand what you're talking about. What blog didn't have any posts? You're replying to a post right now. I am not selling anything. I just blog.

      Delete
    4. Sorry Vickie, I was responding to Naomi. Your blog is fine.

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    5. Naomi, I meant for this response to go to you:

      I visited your blog, but there weren't any posts. So you're only selling the cookbook??? Then I visited your google+ looking for information, but there were links to other things than Keto. I'd like to read your about your journey to help me decide if I want to buy.

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    6. Okay. What you're saying now makes sense. Sorry for the confusion. I haven't had time to check into it further. What you're saying so far is disturbing though.

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    7. Vicki - Can you help me? have been very overweight and have 100 pounds to lose now so probably very insulin resistant - Am 5"2 at 240 and have been on Atkins for 5 - 6 weeks with minimal weight loss and no sign on keto stix for ketosis. eating the 20 carbs per day.

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    8. Sorry for the late reply. Our internet service has been down. Have you been on diets before? How many calories are you eating? I can't run macros without your age. And I'm assuming you're female? I'm only 5 ft myself, if that, so I completely understand.

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    1. You've done Atkins before, so your body already knows how many ketones to make for fuel. You won't create very many over what your body remembers that you needed last time. Initial weight loss will be small.

      How old are you? I need to know that to run your stats through the Keto calculator. Most of the low-carb folks that I know who are on maintenance eat less than 1200 calories a day to maintain their weight.

      How much did you weigh when you went on Atkins the last time? Have you ever been seriously overweight, or just a little? (This will tell me how insulin resistant you might be, or not.)

      How much do you want to weigh? The average weight for a 5ft 7in female is 135. You're only 5 pounds above that, which means low carb won't work as quickly because you don't have a large percentage of body fat to mobilize and use. The body will be much more conservative in letting go of any of it. When you're close to a healthy weight, dieting is very difficult because to lose 1 pound a week, you have to be in a 500 calorie deficit. A 250 calorie deficit will allow you to lose 1/2 pound per week. Since low-carb uses the starvation pathway, slower is always better.

      1 kg is 2.2 pounds, which is a pretty good weight loss for your size and current weight, especially at 1250 to 1350 calories. Protein amount is good since you're close to goal. 20 carbs is what it takes to get into ketosis, but you don't have to stay at that level if you don't want to. Sometimes, not eating enough carbs (or fat) can be a problem for those who are just a little overweight.

      Your past dietary pattern of not eating much for 2 to 3 days and then binging was on Atkins? That's what the body does to try and maintain balance. This is why it's best to lose weight very, very slowly when you're close to goal already.

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    1. Good Morning. So the binging was before going low carb again.

      At 146 (highest) the odds of you ever having been insulin resistant are slim to none, so high insulin isn't what's causing the binging.

      Okay. I ran your stats, and what you're doing fits firmly within the Keto Diet guidelines for a 20% deficit. Currently, your maintenance calories are about 1500 or so. At 1250, you're running a 250 calorie deficit.

      According to the calculator, that deficit will provide a weight loss of about 2.5 pounds a month, or just a little more than 1kg. That's what you're seeing.

      With a low-carb diet, the protein and carbs stay about the same, no matter what calorie level you're doing, so the speed at which you're able to drop the body fat depends on how much fat you're eating. To increase fat loss, you simply drop your calories a little more.

      However, you don't want to drop them so low that you get hungry and binge. That would defeat the purpose of going low carb. It's better to take it slow and easy, especially if you only want to lose 12 pounds.

      Maintenance calories for 128 pound with your stats would be about 1400 calories, so the deprivation on calories would only be temporary. As you age that calorie level will have to come down though.

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    1. You're welcome. Keep in touch. I'd be interested in knowing how it goes for you to cut down on the cheese.

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  5. How can I figure out what my goals should be for carbs protein fat etc? Can you put that into your Leto calculator? I just had a baby 4 months ago. I am 5'5 190 lbs. heaviest I've ever been. I am just starting out. Tomorrow is day one. I need all the help I can get

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    1. Getting into ketosis is going to take a few days. For the first couple of weeks, just eat what you need to eat to be full and satisfied. You want to give your body time to adapt to the state of the ketosis. To figure out your specific aims for protein and fat, I need to know how old you are.

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  6. I am a 5'11 female. Weigh 185 at age 31 and am having a hard time losing weight as i feely metabolism has slowed considerably. I eat 1300-1400 kcal/day and burn 2600 kcal/day according to my fit bit as i am quite active. I have kept my carbs under 20/day for the past month without much luck, but i have been eating the Atkins products and this could be my problem. However i was wondering what you thought my Fat/carb/protein intake should be?

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    1. 1300 to 1400 calories is a super-large deficit, especially if your activity is burning 2600 cal a day and you are only eating 20 net carbs. Body won't like that very much.

      Low-carb diets are not designed for "heavy" exercise. While exercise burns ketones, and Dr. Atkins clearly stated that exercise is not optional, "heavy" activity will cause your metabolism to tank. Just keep that in mind.

      I'm not sure how Fit Bit works. Does it show you "extra" calories above what your body needs to survive, or is the 2600 your total expenditure for the day?

      I plugged your stats into the Keto Calculator and got a maintenance calorie amount of 2032 for light activity and 2286 for active. The Calculator isn't that accurate for activity, so the person who designed the calculator tells everyone to use sedentary. I didn't for you, though.

      When you're highly active, you don't want to take your food intake too low, or you'll stress the body. Cortisol levels will rise, which defeats what you're trying to do, so I did the figures for 1500 calories a day. That would still be a 1,000 calorie deficit if Fit Bit measures your total body expenditure for the day.

      1500 calories (25% deficit on food alone)
      20 carbs a day
      93 grams of protein
      117 grams of fat

      Some people who are less than 40 pounds from goal do better at a higher carb level than 20. The Atkins Diet advises people with less than 40 pounds to lose to start at 40 and skip Induction. However, that is based on the fact that most people within that degree of overweight are not insulin resistant.

      Atkins products cause a LOT of people to stall, if you're talking about the bars. The bars contain sugar alcohol, which is handled by the body in exactly the same way as it handles sugar. So yes, the bars can be extremely problematic because they don't count all of the carbs and calories - but your body DOES.

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    2. Thank you so much, you are wonderful for doing this for those of us that need help.

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    3. You're welcome. Let me know how it goes.

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  7. I am a 56 year old female. I started the Atkins diet at 178lbs. 2 weeks later weighed myself after induction phase and weighed 182lbs - a 4lb gain!! I never cheated and can't understand this. I was on the Atkins diet 15 years ago and lost 11 lbs in the first 2 weeks. I go to the gym every other day and do about 30 minutes on the tread mill. I drink alot of water so I'm not dehydrated. Please help! Thank you for a response - Frustrated

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    1. Dieting experience won't be exactly the same the second time, even though your first time was 15 years ago. What you lose during the first two weeks is glycogen and water. No body fat. The body has to adapt to the carb deprivation.

      I've heard of people going up on the scale during Induction, although it's relatively rare. Most people just don't lose anything at all. Water retention is my best guess. It's extremely common in those who return to Atkins.

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  8. Hello Vickie,
    I am so happy I stumbled onto your blog. I am finishing my first week of LCHF. I am 43 weight 154, 5'4, and am at the heaviest I have ever been. My goal weight is 120lbs..
    I am learning as I go, though I have been reading a lot!! I am trying to keep my Carbs at 20g a day and caloric intake at 1200-1300. I am not sure how to calculate my fats and proteins.
    A lot of what I eat emphasizes on fat!! Fat this and fat that. What about fat bombs, do you think they help?
    Valerie

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    1. Hi Valerie,
      You'll run into tons of conflicting advice, but I just watched a video by Steven Phinney, the creator of the Nutritional Ketosis diet, (what most people call LCHF), and he said to use 20 percent of your maintenance calories. That isn't always easy to figure out though, lol. I am 5 ft tall and I aim for 72 to 90 grams of protein. You need to eat enough protein so that you don't burn muscle.

      As long as you're curtailing your calories, the fat works out to what ever is left over after you hit your carb and protein targets.

      The more fat you eat, the less body fat you burn, so just go with whatever is comfortable for you right now. Since you are only 1 week into this, your body needs time to adapt to burning fat for fuel. Fat bombs are okay, but they won't speed up weight loss if that's what you're asking.

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  9. Hello I started lo carb again after doing low fat and lo calorie diets. It is going on three weeks. I went over 20 carbs twice. I feel like I'm in ketosis although the sticks says slightly. I lost 6 pounds and then gained 3 back. My usual day is 2 eggs 2 sausage patties, 1/2 pound of sliced pork or a chiicken breast, 4 slices of cheese, and 4 (burger king) hamburger patties. I use low sugar milk (1 cup 5 carbs). In my coffee and 4 Splenda. I take tramadol for knee pain and levthyroxine for thyroid. I am not giving up Just wonder if you think I'm on the right track. When I eat veggies, it's salad, spinach and cabbage. Vingegar and oil for dressing. Thanks

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    1. Yes, you're on the right track. When you have a dieting history, water fluctuations are common, and with thyroid issues, the weight tends to come off more slowly. Just make sure that you eat just enough to satisfy hunger.

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  10. I'm 63, trying keto for past 6 weeks, have lost 8 lbs and a few inches, clothes that haven't fit for a year fit better now, was in ketosis but now am not...can't eat many eggs without stomach upset so use greek yogurt in the morning with walnuts and blueberries, staying under 30 carbs....haven;t lost any more weight since initial 2 weeks...very hard for me to eat 1300 calories even eating bacon, cheese and full fat dressing...started at 157 now 147..i"m 5 ft 6..would like to lose 15 more lbs...I have a protein shake using coffee, ice and almond milk and veg protein powder..is that ok

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    1. It's very common to retain water, especially if you don't have a lot of weight to lose. If you've lost a few inches, that might be what's going on. As long as you're eating adequate protein and staying under 30 carbs, just eat to appetite for the rest. The protein shake is fine.

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  11. Hi Vickie, I am 44 years old, currently weigh 184 lb and am 5'1". My husband and I both began eating LCHF about 10 weeks ago. He has lost 32 pounds while I have lost 12 (I am down from 196). We got test strips and it does show that I am in ketosis but it was trace amount. I do keep my carbs under 20 grams, some days even closer to 10-15. I have started walking and resistance training but still not losing much weight. I have never done this before and am learning as I go. I never have paid much attention to how much protien I am eating, and didn't think to until I read through this blog. I am experiencing high blood pressure that I believe is largely due to my weight so I really want to get some pounds off to try to improve my BP. Is there anything you could offer me as to how much protien/fat I should be trying to get and how to best measure them?

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    1. Hi Venessa. I ran your stats through the Keto Calculator and came up with these figures:

      1250 calories (25% deficit)
      78 to 80 grams of protein (about 12 ounces)
      20 carbs
      96 grams of fat

      Any color on the test strips, even trace, means you're in ketosis just fine, and spilling one of the three types of ketones. The body is simply "using" the ketones instead of throwing them away. There is no correlation between the amount of ketones the kidney dumps and how many are backed up in the bloodstream because they are different types of ketones.

      Resistance training requires you to eat more protein for muscle repair. Maybe 90, instead of 80, which would be 14 ounces per day instead of 12. Going higher in protein means you have to compensate the calories by going a little bit lower in fat. About 90 grams of fat instead of 96, to make the calories come out the same.

      With low carb, protein is a set amount. Carbs are set according to your tolerance. And fat is used to regulate your calorie deficit. Going lower in carbs than your personal sensitivity won't help you lose weight faster. Speed of weight loss is determined by your calorie deficit.

      The lower in carbs you go, the higher in protein you have to eat to feed the brain; otherwise, the body will slow down your metabolism.

      Ordinarily, just eating at 20 carbs will cut your appetite enough to lose weight, at least at first, but it doesn't work that way for everyone. Short people have to use higher calorie deficits. Plus, a lot depends on your past dieting history.

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  12. Vickie! I am 40 years old, 188 is my weight and I am 5'4, I have been in Atkins for the last 3 months and lost 20 lbs, my weight loss is extremely slow, what can i do to speed it up? Follow the diet very strict, can i also have stevia?

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    1. Stevia is fine. The speed at which the fat comes off is generally dependent on the amount of fat you're eating, how active you are, if you have any food sensitivities, and if you were able to ramp up the enzymes needed to burn fat efficiently.

      When I fine-tuned my own low-carb diet, I simply dropped the fat a little bit, then waited a few days to see if the weight came off faster. If not, then I dropped it a little more.

      This doesn't always work though. If you're already eating at a lower fat level, you would do the reverse. Raise fat a little bit. It's all about finding the exact macros that your body is comfortable with.

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  13. I started the diet a few days ago, 27 year old male that is 5 ft 6 in at now 203 pounds.

    I eat 3-4 large white eggs, some shredded cheddar cheese, 2 strips of bacon, and 3 turkey sausage links for breakfast.

    I don't normally have a lunch, and eat either a steak, chicken, or pork chops with green peppers for dinner.

    A week before I started this diet I cut my calorie count to ~1000 and still ate some carbs. Been drinking water like a somebitch. And I went from 213 to 203 pounds. I think I need more fat,calories, and protein though looking at this. I also don't know if I have hit ketosis but in a week I'm gonna use my grandmother's blood tester who has diabetes and check my levels with it.

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    1. If peppers and the carbs in eggs and sausage are all of the carbohydrates you've had for three days, you are in ketosis. Nutritional Ketosis, which is what your menu actually aligns with, says to eat to appetite.

      Most people find that the initially appetite reduction of ketosis fades a bit after they become "fat burning" adapted, which will bring your calories up automatically. You "want" your body to use your fat stores, so dietary fat is just how you control your calorie intake. At this point, however, since you're just a few days into this, calories are not that much of a concern.

      You'll know if you're not eating enough fat and calories because you'll be tired and washed out.

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    2. Well I haven't been tired or washed out, I had insomnia the last day and didn't sleep at all. I think how ever I will be keeping the cal intake low and start walking 5 miles a day on top of what I'm doing now.

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    3. Just going by how you feel is definitely the best way to do this. Some people can easily handle a large calorie deficit, while others can't. Low calorie is what works best for me, too.

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  14. This article helped me in so many ways, thank you so much!!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad that I could help. If you have any questions, please ask.

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  15. I was getting discouraged as the Ketosis strips revealed either "trace" amounts of ketones or none at all. I came home dehydrated after a sweaty day at work. The first thing I did when I got home was use the bathroom and that was when the Ketosis strip was dark red. I learned that drinking plenty of water that I normally do affects the readings. I guess the best way to see if you truly are in ketosis is when you have not had water in a while. Go to the bathroom first and urinate and then go back to the bathroom a half hour later and try getting some urine out of you and that is typically when the strip will be at its darkest color.

    I was having low-carb insomnia for a while. I would wake up after an hour of going to bed and then awake around 1am and then 3am and would stay awake for over an hour. I found that a 10oz glass of Low Sodium V8 helped me to sleep. The first time I tried it was to sleep until 3am but I immediately fell back to sleep and woke up at my alarm clock. I've been doing it ever since.

    Just my 2-cents on the subject.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. I never thought of withholding water to check your ketones. That's a great idea. I also didn't know about the V8 helping you sleep. I have sleeping issues myself, so I looked it up, and a can has 6-net carbs (just 7 total). I'm going to try this myself. Thanks again.

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  16. I am only a few lbs from my goal, but went back to Atkins 72 induction to get a clean start on adding back some carbs. After reading some of your posts, I bought and read the original Atkins book, and followed it for the 1 week induction. I was not seeing any change in the keto sticks, even on a 10 gram carb diet for 5 days. Based on the book, I deleted the salad and lemon juice, eating only meat for a true 0 carb 2 days. At the end of the 2 days, the keno sticks turned purple, not the darkest shade but in the middle of the range. I'm curious if I can draw any conclusion from that. I have read your posts, so I do understand that the keto sticks are not a reliable way to test for ketosis, but do you think that means I was not in ketosis on the 10 grams of carb? I did eat more meat to compensate for the loss of the salad, so maybe that caused more ketones to be excreted. None of the other factors changed, e.g. amount water, exercise, etc. I won't spend any time working about it, and it won't change my plan to move to level 2, but I am curious if it means anything.

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    1. The longer you've been on low carb, the fewer acetoacetone ketones you'll make because the body converts them into ketones that the brain can use. The ketones the brain uses are NOT discarded into the urine.

      However, if you're only a few lbs from goal weight, you won't have that much body fat, so it makes sense that eating more meat caused the sticks to show a darker shade of purple. The sticks measure acetoacetate ketones made from dietary fat. Not just ketones made from body fat, which is why it's almost impossible to determine anything about ketosis by what they say.

      But at 10 carbs a day you have to be in ketosis or you'd die. The brain needs 120 grams of glucose a day and anything less than that creates some degree of ketosis.

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