The keto diet has emerged as the plan for women who want to shed fat fast. But many women encounter obstacles that sabotage slimming. Here’s how to move past them and achieve your goals:
Not losing fast enough? Eat more fat.
Frustrated because pounds aren’t dropping off as fast as you’d like? Chances are, you’re not consuming enough fat. Studies show that women tend to underestimate how much fat they should eat to hit their keto goal, often getting just 30 to 40 percent of their total calories from fat. Consume 70 percent, though, and wow! “Eating plenty of dietary fats paves the way for weight loss,” promises David Perlmutter, MD, author of The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan ($10.55, Amazon). He explains that once the body is supplied with enough fat to produce ketones efficiently, metabolism kicks into high gear and cells begin to burn stored fat for fuel within just five days.
The proof: Researchers at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, found that keto dieters’ resting metabolic rate was as much as 10 times higher than those on a standard American diet.
Hit a plateau? Enjoy alkaline foods.
If your weight loss has stalled, pile your plate with alkalinizing foods like leafy greens (especially kale, chard, collard greens, beet greens, and dandelion greens), non-starchy vegetables (think broccoli and peppers), and lemons. These foods counter the high amount of acid produced from eating meat and dairy foods, which can hamper your progress.
“The body accumulates fat as a way of storing the acidity it can’t process,” explains natural-health expert Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD. Another reason to load up on alkaline foods: Scientists from the UK’s University of Cambridge found being in an alkaline state produces more fat-burning ketones.
Craving carbs? Try keto cycling.
Try building in “carb breaks” — two consecutive days per week where you can eat up to 70 total grams of carbs (like fruit, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal) a day — after a one-month keto adjustment period. Not only do these breaks make dieting feel less restrictive, they can also speed you toward your slimdown goal, maintains Oxford-trained physician Tommy Wood, MD, in Seattle. “Cycling back in some carbohydrates stimulates your metabolism,” he asserts.
Indeed, in a randomized trial published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects who used this strategy lost 11 percent of their fat mass and gained 2 pounds of muscle after 10 weeks. For the women we talked to, those results transferred into real-life weight loss — as much as 20 pounds in 10 days!
Hungry all the time? Add more oil.
All fats are satisfying, but medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) also reduce the production of hormones that make us want to overeat. What’s more, “MCTs are broken down rapidly and go straight to the liver,” explains nutrition specialist and neurosurgeon Joe Maroon, MD. “There, they’re either immediately burned for energy or turned into ketones.”
For best results, opt for a product labeled “creamy” or “emulsified,” and stir into your morning coffee or tea. Note: Taking too much MCT oil too fast can cause GI issues, so experts advise starting with 1 tsp. a day, adding another teaspoon every three days until you get to a tablespoon.
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This story originally appeared in our print magazine, Keto Over 50.