10 Ways to Stay Motivated on the Keto Diet
Let’s talk about how to stay motivated on the keto diet. One of the important things to remember is that the ketogenic way of eating is the natural diet that human beings should eat. (We call it a “diet” for convenience but it’s more accurate to describe keto as a way of eating.) Ketogenic eating is really the diet that we prospered and evolved with for hundreds of thousands of years.
However, as with any change, it can be difficult to stay the course. Many people who try keto, stick with it for a month or so. Many people even see great results but still quit. You can be caught off guard like that. You can really do well and suddenly, one weekend, it all goes out the window and you get demoralised and quit. We’re here to help you stay motivated on your keto diet. The fact is, we’re human and we have to deal with all sorts of complex thoughts and feelings which ultimately determine our motivation to do something.
So, here are some key tips to help you stay motivated as you start ketogenic eating.
1. Take basic measurements before you start your keto diet
Nothing boosts motivation like seeing progress. So, take basic body measurements before you start your keto diet so you can see how your body is changing through ketogenic eating.
Here are the measurements you should take – be sure to write down the date you took the measurements:
- Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don’t pull the tape too tight.
- Chest: Measure just under your bust.
- Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist.
- Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips.
- Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.
- Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf.
- Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow.
- Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.
- Weigh yourself
Note, your weight will naturally fluctuate over the course of a week. This is due to water gain, food-weight gain and muscle gain. You can step on a scale and find you’ve gained two pounds in two days and you might get down and think you’re getting fat again. That’s not fat! You can’t put on that amount of fat in 48 hours. It’s just the natural fluctuation of a healthy human body. So, don’t weigh yourself any more than once a week. (We don’t weigh ourselves at all).
Check your measurements each week to stay motivated on the keto diet. Your scales may say you’ve made no progress at all but you’ve lost two inches from your measurements. That’s a huge deal. Maybe your measurements haven’t changed but your A1C blood result went down 0.3 – that’s another huge victory – a bigger victory than the scale moving.
We don’t care what the scale says if your blood sugar, energy levels, measurements etc. are good. You’re going to get there eventually. Sometimes it seems like it’s never going to happen but if you keep doing the right things and measuring properly, you’re going to be very happy. Ultimately, you’re going to be OK.
2. Going off-plan is natural and to be expected
We don’t know where people get the idea that their weight loss or health journey must always be consistent and flawless or they have “failed”. That’s just crazy. Get rid of that mindset. You’re human, doing the best you can whilst juggling thousands of other things in your life.
We’re not advocating messing up – we want you to try your best to stick to the keto diet – but when you do falter, learn from it. What was the trigger for your failure? What were the alternative actions you could have taken?
When you slip and eat something you really know isn’t good for you, you will probably feel guilty. That feeling is good for you! Feeling bad is your body’s way of saying “That’s not good for us – don’t do that.” Use slipping up as built-in regulator to keep you on track. It’s not failure, it’s feedback. Don’t even sweat messing up because it’s actually a good thing because you get immediate feedback – “I’m not doing that again!” and that will help you stay motivated on the keto diet.
3. Your body needs time to adjust to keto
If you’re reading this, chances are the keto way of eating is new to you and your body needs time to adjust. Your body has become slowly poisoned over the years by incorrect diet advice that is being debunked every day (e.g. eating fat makes you fat. It doesn’t.) You’ve probably eaten the wrong things this for years, even decades, so you need to realise that change is going to require time and you need to be kind and patient with yourself.
How you’ve been eating is just a habit – like chewing finger nails. It feels natural and comfortable even though it’s not good for you. But as with any habit, it can be broken. It just takes time, intention and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone for a while each day.
4. Develop the right mindset
One of the best tips to stay motivated on the keto diet is to expect challenges when you’re on the journey. Staying keto can be hard. It’s not difficult like coal-mining but you need to develop the right mindset: expect challenges and acknowledging them as part of the journey. The process is as valuable as the results.
What thought-patterns and beliefs are holding you back? (Not just in keto, but in your life in general?) Do you think you’re “too old”? Have you already written-off keto because you have failed with diets in the past? Do you think your situation is “hopeless” because you’ve tried to lose weight in the pass and none of it has worked?
5. Stay motivated on the keto diet by focusing on health, not weight loss
Rest-assured, you will lose weight if you follow the keto diet. That’s just a given. So, what we recommend you focus on is improving your health because losing weight will just take care of itself if you follow the keto way of eating.
So, don’t just rate your progress in terms of weight loss but also how you’re improving your overall health. (Also, realise that not all improvements are visible – lower cholesterol, improved blood pressure, reversing type 2 diabetes).
The first thing to realise – and this is motivating in its own right – is that as soon as you start the ketogenic way of eating, you are stopping the slow poisoning of your body. And most modern diets are poisoning you! Sure, it may not be as deadly or dramatic as cyanide, but poor eating habits maintained over decades can bring about premature death or make your life miserable.
Start to accept health as your right and start to appreciate it. Look after your health and tell yourself you deserve to be healthy. Make it an integral part of your daily life – like bathing or sleep. Make health a priority that’s first and foremost in your mind.
6. View stumbling blocks as stepping stones
There’s a saying we like, “The obstacle is the path”. A stumbling block can be a stumbling block or it can be a stepping stone. It’s a matter of perception. When difficulties arise, ask yourself, “What’s the bright side to this? What lessons can I learn? How can I use this? How is this going to make me better/stronger?”
Control what you can. If you can control something, control it. If you can’t, then you’ve got to learn a strategy that works for you to let it go right because if you’re focusing and agonizing over stuff, you can’t change. You’re wasting all your energy and you’re not helping yourself and you’re not helping your loved ones. Fix the things you can fix and let the rest go.
7. Be patient with yourself on your keto journey
Diets should not be all-or-nothing. If you fall off the wagon one day, so what? Forget it and start again tomorrow. What matters is what you eat most of the time, not what you do occasionally. So, if you have a non-keto meal or day, don’t sweat it. It’s sad how many people just quit keto because they have the slightest setback. What matters is the general trend – are you heading in the right direction overall? If so, occasional detours are OK.
8. Build a support team
Recruit your family, close friends and others on the keto diet to help motivate you on your keto journey. It’s important to have people in your corner for a few reasons.
- Accountability: You may be more driven to succeed when you know people are watching.
- Sustainability. As friends and family notice your transformation, you are more likely to stay motivated because of the feedback but also because others may start seeing you as an inspiration. There’s more at stake than just you.
- Support. Close friends and family will help us when we’re down. They will give you encouragement and a new way of looking at things when you’re having a bad day or week. We are easily our own worst critics and having a support team keeps that in check.
- Other people’s results will motivate you. It’s not a competition but when you see other people’s results, it gives you hope that you can get there too. And you can. If you eat ketogenically, the results are a given. Don’t sweat it, you’ll get there. But you can only get there if you keep with it. Again, it’s not a competition – you’re fellow travellers on a journey together. People want you to succeed and they will help you get there. Don’t be envious – be inspired. They did it, you can too – and more people than you know are happy to help you.
- It’s just more fun. Having people interested in your progress and keeping track of your results just makes it more exciting and rewarding.
9. Remember why you first started
What brought you to keto? Maybe you are miserable being overweight or suffering from obesity-related health conditions. Maybe your life is not in a good place – you’re anxious, depressed, lonely or feel that your life is in a rut. Maybe you’ve finally decided to fix the whole weight issue thing once and for all. Whatever you’re looking for keep hold of those reasons and remind yourself regularly why the keto journey is important for you.
You may find sticking to the keto diet difficult at times, but you also know that being overweight is difficult too. Choose your difficult.
10. Giving up is not the answer
Maybe you’ve just had enough of keto. Maybe it’s “not working” or you’re having a really bad week – or even month. Don’t quit. Keep pushing forward. It may seem hopeless (it’s not) but one thing’s for sure: whatever you’re looking for is found going forward, not back. You know what the past was like. You know the answer is not there. So, let go of any negative thought that may be rattling around in your head and just take one day, one moment, at a time. Keep going down the road and you will eventually reach your destination.
So if you fall off the wagon, if you have a bad day or even week, don’t beat yourself up over it. The past is past. What are you going to do moving forward? Each day can be a fresh start if you let it. Just bet back into the keto diet saddle and you will reach your weight and health goals.