Can't Stay on Keto? 5 Hidden Reasons

blog you tube Mar 26, 2024
Graphic with a photo of Lesya and the title

Struggling to stay on track with your keto diet? You're not alone. 

Today, we're uncovering five hidden reasons why sticking to keto can be a challenge, especially for women. 

These insights might just be the game-changer you need.

As someone who has navigated the ups and downs of keto, I've seen how a one-size-fits-all approach can often fall short, especially for women. 

Let's explore how we can tailor keto to better suit our unique needs.

1. Following the Male Version of Keto

It's a common scenario: many women embark on a keto journey following plans primarily designed for men. 

This oversight is like trying to wear shoes that don't fit – they might look great, but they won't get you far comfortably.

You see, men and women have fundamentally different physiological needs, and this becomes glaringly apparent when we talk about the menstrual cycle. 

Women’s bodies go through a rhythmic dance of hormonal fluctuations each month, and these phases – menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal – have distinct nutritional requirements. 

Following a keto plan tailored for men is like trying to dance ballet in hiking boots – you can try, but it's not going to be graceful or effective.

During the follicular phase, starting right after menstruation, estrogen begins to rise. 

This is when many women feel at their peak – energetic and strong. 

A study in the 'Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism' suggests that during this phase, women's bodies can handle carbs more efficiently. 

So, a keto plan during this time could incorporate a slightly higher carb intake to sync with this natural metabolic shift.

As we move towards the ovulatory phase, our bodies are primed for high-intensity activities. 

This is the time to capitalize on strength training, and a slightly higher protein intake can be beneficial, supporting muscle repair and growth. 

It's like fueling your body's engine optimally for the journey it’s undertaking.

Then comes the luteal phase, where things can get tricky. 

Progesterone rises, and so do cravings and appetite. 

Women often report feeling hungrier and may struggle with strict keto here. 

It’s akin to a long-haul flight – your body needs more sustenance to keep going. 

During this phase, slightly increasing healthy fats and maintaining moderate protein can help mitigate cravings and keep energy levels stable.

It's important to listen to your body during these phases. 

Cycle syncing isn't about overhauling your diet every week; it's about making small, intuitive adjustments. 

So, if you’ve been following a one-size-fits-all keto plan and struggling, consider this: 

Your body's needs change throughout the month. 

Tailoring your keto approach to your menstrual cycle could be the key to not just enduring but thriving on this journey.

If you want to know more about how to carb cycle around your period when on keto, download my Carb Cycling Cheat Sheet in the description.

2. Generic Keto Macros for Women

Now, let's tackle the second hidden stumbling block for women on keto: the pitfalls of generic keto macro calculations. 

Relying on these one-size-fits-all macros is like using a map designed for a completely different journey. 

Sure, it might get you moving, but it won’t necessarily take you to your desired destination.

Generic keto macros typically don't account for the intricate nuances of female physiology. 

Women's bodies, particularly when it comes to fat metabolism and hormonal fluctuations, operate differently than men's. 

It’s like trying to navigate a complex network of roads with a map that only shows the highways. 

You need more detailed, specific guidance to navigate the smaller, crucial paths that are unique to your body.

A study published in the 'Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism' highlights this very issue. 

It points out that women and men metabolize fats and carbohydrates differently, especially during exercise. 

This means that the standard macro ratios often touted in generic keto plans may not be the most effective for optimizing women's metabolic health and weight loss.

So, what does a female-tailored keto approach look like? 

Imagine tailoring a dress to fit your body perfectly. 

Similarly, your keto plan should be tailored to fit your unique metabolic needs. 

This might mean adjusting fat and protein ratios during different phases of your menstrual cycle or considering factors like your activity level, age, and specific health goals.

In essence, moving away from generic keto macros and adopting a female-focused approach is about honoring and aligning with your body’s inherent needs. 

It’s about understanding that your path to wellness isn’t a straight line; it’s a beautifully winding road that’s uniquely yours.

3. Not Enough Protein

The third hidden reason many women struggle with sticking to keto is a critical one: the misconception about protein intake. 

There's a persistent myth in keto circles that eating too much protein will turn into sugar in your body, derailing your efforts. 

But let's clear the air – this is like fearing rain in a desert; it's much less common than you might think.

The process referred to here is gluconeogenesis, where your body makes glucose from non-carb sources, including protein. 

However, it's a demand-driven process, not supply-driven. 

This means your body converts protein to glucose only when it needs to, not just because there’s extra protein.

 It's like your body having a savings account; it only dips into it when necessary.

A study in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" underscores this. 

The research shows that even high protein intake isn’t likely to affect ketosis significantly for most people. 

It's crucial for us, especially as women, to get enough protein. 

Protein is the building block of our muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones. 

It’s like the foundation of a house – without a strong base, everything else is unstable.

Adequate protein is also key to feeling satiated. 

Ever find yourself rummaging through the kitchen after dinner? 

That could be due to not getting enough protein. 

By ensuring sufficient protein intake, you can help curb those hunger pangs and late-night snack temptations.

 It's like filling your car with quality fuel; it runs longer and more efficiently.

So, if you’ve been skimping on protein in your keto diet, it might be time to reconsider. 

Look at protein as your ally, not your enemy. 

It supports your body’s needs, keeps you full, and can be a powerful tool in your keto arsenal. 

Remember, keto is not just about cutting carbs, but about finding the right balance that fuels your body optimally.

4. Too Much Cortisol and Carb Cravings

Moving on to our fourth hidden reason behind keto struggles: the often-overlooked relationship between cortisol, our stress hormone, and carb cravings.

This relationship is particularly crucial for women, whose bodies often react more sensitively to stress. 

It's like uncovering a hidden layer in the complex story of our health and diet.

When stress knocks on our door, cortisol levels surge. 

Think of it as our body's built-in alarm system reacting to a perceived threat. 

This hormonal shift can stir up a storm of reactions, including a heightened appetite for carbs. 

Carbohydrates help increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that brings a sense of calm and happiness. 

It's our body's natural attempt to self-soothe, akin to seeking solace in a storm.

However, on keto, where carbs are significantly reduced, this instinctive craving can become a battleground. 

A study in the 'Psychoneuroendocrinology' journal illustrates this point. 

It shows that high cortisol levels are associated with cravings for sweet, high-carb foods. 

On keto, this can lead to a challenging push-and-pull scenario, making it harder to stick to the diet and potentially leading to stress-induced eating.

Dealing with cortisol and carb cravings on keto isn't just a matter of willpower. 

It's about understanding and managing your body's stress response. 

By implementing stress-reduction techniques, prioritizing sleep, and perhaps adjusting your diet to include cortisol-regulating foods such as healthy complex carbs, you can better manage these cravings and stay true to your keto journey.

5. Mental Blocks and the All or Nothing Mentality

Our fifth hidden reason behind keto struggles is perhaps the most formidable yet often underestimated: the mental blocks and the all-or-nothing mentality. 

This mindset can be a significant barrier, turning the keto journey into a rollercoaster of binge-restrict cycles. 

It's like being trapped in a maze where every wrong turn leads back to square one.

The all-or-nothing mentality is akin to setting up an impossibly high bar for success. 

You're either strictly adhering to the keto diet, or you're off the wagon entirely. 

There's no middle ground, which can be incredibly stressful. 

It’s like walking a tightrope; one misstep and you feel like you’ve fallen. 

This pressure can lead to binge eating, especially when faced with 'forbidden' foods, followed by periods of extreme restriction – a cycle that's not only harmful to your physical health but also to your mental well-being.

Breaking free from this cycle requires a shift in perspective. 

Instead of viewing keto as a strict set of rules, think of it as a tool in your wellness toolkit. It's like painting a canvas – there's room for creativity and flexibility. 

Some days might be stricter, and others might include mindful indulgences. 

The goal is consistency, not perfection.

So, if you find yourself caught in the all-or-nothing mindset, take a step back. 

Reflect on why you started keto and remind yourself that your journey is unique. 

Allow yourself the grace to explore, adjust, and find a path that leads to sustained success, both in keto and in your overall health.

Which hidden reason resonated with you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments, and let's navigate these challenges together!

If you’re struggling with sticking to keto and want to try a carb cycling approach instead that aligns with your female hormones, I would love to speak with you. 

Book your free consultation today. 

Now, if you are sticking to keto but still aren’t losing weight, the next video is for you. I will share the shocking reasons you aren’t losing weight on keto.

I’ll see you there!