Can't get into ketosis!


Hello!! I’m confused & frustrated & really need help… I started keto 7 wks ago & have been staying below or near 20 net carbs/day (macros goal is 5% net carbs/75% fat/20% protein; cal goal is 1600 but am usu 1400-1500). I monitor my glucose/ketones 2x/day (1 hr after waking & 3 hours after dinner) w/ my Keto-Mojo meter. I eat very few “dirty carbs” - lots of clean/whole foods. The problem is so weird: I cannot get into ketosis (ketones usually around 0.2-0.3; glucose usu 75-90) and I’ve only lost 10 lbs. I replaced the meter batteries & ran a solution calibration test - the meter is fine. What is totally weird is that last summer for 5 wks I did EXACTLY the same thing & was in ketosis (usu moderate, sometimes high, sometimes low) almost the entire last 4 wks and lost 17.5 lbs.Can anyone help me w/ WHAT is going on??

(Allie) #2

It’s registering ketones, that means you’re in ketosis.
There are masses of posts like this on here, the search function is extremely helpful.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

As noted, if you’re registering ketones on your KetoMojo you’re in ketosis. You’re doing fine. My only suggestions would be don’t waste time and energy thinking about ‘whole’ carbs ‘good’ carbs ‘bad’ carbs and ‘dirty carbs’. All carbs are glucose - and you don’t need to eat it. The less you eat the better. Also, you’ll find it more useful to calculate your macros in grams, not %. Welcome and best wishes.

(Joey) #4

Ketosis probably has little to do with what you’ve described. My guess is that you are repeatedly losing (and regaining?) water weight.

Please stay hydrated, maintain your electrolytes, eat more healthy fat calories to satiety (you’re likely starving your metabolism), and put the meter aside for a while. I know that’s hard to do, but I doubt your goal in changing your eating lifestyle was simply to score certain numbers on your Mojo, right? :vulcan_salute:


Your need for proteins should primarily be based on lean body weight and not on caloric intake.

And your need for fat can be satisfied with stored body fat. You have no way to know how much of that is being done, so a caloric goal of fat also doesn’t really apply.

I see keto as simply “Minimal carbs. Adequate proteins. Fats as needed (for satiety).”

First, determine your macros in grams, keeping in mind that the proteins macro is a lower limit, while the fats and carbs macros are upper limits.

So, two priorities:

  • You need to keep carbs low to stay in ketosis.
  • You need to make sure you get enough proteins. Your body needs them. Being significantly low on them over an extended period can cause the body to get them elsewhere. That may mean a breakdown of muscle tissue. Not good.

After that, ideally, it should be hunger that determines how many fats and additional proteins (and thus calories) you need to be eating, if only because leaving yourself hungry all the time means keto won’t be sustainable. You don’t need to eat all of the fats macro if you’re not hungry, because the body can make up the difference with stored body fat.

(Robin) #6

You’re doing great! A standard motto around here is “If you’re breathing and staying under 20 g carbs, you’re in ketosis.”
You got this!


Great point @SomeGuy I’m so numbers/data driven, and I’m comparing to the super fast weight loss results I had last June. I don’t get why I’m not losing weight. Same calorie and water intake, same exercise level. Only diff is I turned 50 — maybe that’s it! Haha (NOT!)

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

Keto is a process of metabolic normalization. You’ve been damaged by years/decades eating some variation of SAD. The specific damage and its extent determine how long it takes to fix. Even if you start keto with the primary intention to lose weight/fat - sometimes other stuff takes precedence. My advice is simply to stay in ketosis consistently - 100% of the time - and let your metabolism do what it needs to do. Your metabolism has 4 1/2 million years of experience - it’s way smarter than you think.

(Joey) #9

It’s hard to lose a lot of fat (or gain muscle) so quickly in a healthy sustainable way when you’ve been adding it (or losing it) for decades.

On the other hand, water is easy to lose (and retain). And dietary carbs do prompt the body to retain more water than is otherwise healthy.

Notice your blood pressure dropping along the way? Now there’s something that’s actually worth measuring on a regular basis. Though highly variable from moment to moment, lower blood pressure in general (especially diastolic) is a very common benefit of carb restriction as water weight comes off. [My wife’s internist took her off her high blood pressure meds shortly after she went keto - hasn’t needed them since.]

And yes, women do often report having slower, sometimes seemingly disappointing initial results when cutting out the carbs. This is especially the case for post-menopausal women. Hormones play a very significant role in just about everything going on metabolically.

It’s been noted that women tend to have the “keto benefits” commence internally before they become more obvious externally. Perhaps this reflects their more introspective, sensitive, thoughtful tendencies? :wink:

Anyhow, as a data geek, I can relate to wanting to track everything - not a bad impulse for some things. But if you’re convinced (as most of us on this forum are) that sharply curtailing carbs produces significant health benefits - both internally and ultimately externally - then hunker down and stay the course.

Hopefully, this time it won’t be an on & off again thing, since your body needs good health all the time.

Best wishes.

(Robin) #10

@elizabetsyp Keep in mind, our clothes will always be a truer reflection of fat loss. I had a 2 month stall and saw a significant difference in my clothes. Especially in pants sizes. When I get to wear a belt? That’s a win. And when I keep tightening it? Wheeee! In other words, you can lose fat before pounds.

Also, turning 50 probably means peri-menopause… so your body has a lot to juggle right now. Be patient. You got this!

(Bacon is better) #11

To help answer that question, we’d need to know some fairly personal information about you. From your name, I’m guessing that your sex is female, and you’ve stated that your age is 50. But we also need to know your height, current weight, desired weight (body fat percentage will be helpful, too), what medications you take, and a representative day’s diet. Also, what you are drinking.

Here are some of the causes of fat loss not happening:

  1. Not eating enough. If 20 g of carbohydrate is 5% of your caloric intake, then you are eating only 1600 calories a day. Short rations tell the body there’s a famine going on, and to hang on to every resource it can. Many, many people on these forums have reported that their fat loss didn’t start until they started eating more food, not less. A ketogenic diet should be eaten to satiety, not to a calculated caloric intake.

  2. Women’s hormones. Especially at your age, which you say is 50, menopause means a series of hormonal adjustments. Starting a ketogenic diet also means a series of hormonal adjustments, as well, both before and after menopause. It can take a month or two for the rebalancing to finish before fat loss starts.

  3. Amount of excess fat. If you are close to what your body considers ideal, the fat will come off much more slowly than if you have a couple of hundred pounds (90 kg) to shed.

  4. Inability of scale to properly measure progress. A surprising number of people add lean mass while shedding fat, and this confuses the scale. Pay attention to the fit of your clothing, as another guide to progress. For twelve months after my initial weight loss, I continued to lose inches, even though the scale number was stable. So obviously, I was shedding more fat, but putting on enough lean mass to keep the scale number from changing.

  5. Higher ketone level does not mean faster fat loss. As far as we can tell, fat loss happens simply from lowering insulin levels enough to get into ketosis at all, and not from a certain level of ketones circulating in the blood. Also, you are measuring only your serum β-hydroxybutyrate—what are your serum aceotacetate and serum acetone doing in the meantime?

P.S.—This question gets asked and answered extremely frequently on these forums, so you might find it helpful to do a forum search, to see what additional information comes up that might help you.

(Joey) #12

:point_up_2: This post by @PaulL should be embroidered on the Forum’s welcome mat.

{we do have a welcome mat, don’t we? …}

(Marianne) #13

I agree with this recommendation. From what I’ve learned, if you stay under 20 g carbs/day, you will be in ketosis. Tracking is like weighing - useless and can quickly sabatoge any progress you’ve made (whether it’s good or bad). You can tell by your appearance and clothes if you are losing weight. You really don’t need to know the number, which can fluctuate wildly by the hour or the day anyway. If you are in this for the long haul, I would eat to your macros every day (not calories), and stop the tests and weighing yourself.

Good luck!

(Marianne) #14

Love this!

(Alec) #15

Perfect! You’re doing this just right. This is exactly what you should expect. This is perfectly normal. If you keep on ketoing for a year you will have lost 74lbs… how many do you have to lose?

And well done on losing 10lbs!!