Struggling newbie


Hello everyone,
I have been doing keto for about two months now and I am really frustrated, looking for some advice.

I started really trying to lose weight about 5 months ago. I was doing straight calorie in calorie out diet and it was working slowly, but I was always hungry. So I decided to try and switch to keto.

I got the initial drop of 7lbs when I first started, but it has been a real struggle since then. I am now bouncing between 252 and 255 lbs. One day up, one day down.

What I am seeing is that some days I am going over my calorie count but I am finding it hard to strike the balance with calories and macros. Things higher in fat are usually higher in calories and when I eat those there is less protein, typically. So one day I get in good fat, but too many cals. Another day I get good protein, but not enough fat. The only thing I manage to stay consistent on is 20 to 22g carbs a day. Does anyone have any references or suggestions on where I can find some help on how to find recipes that are high fat and protein but low carb and calories? I feel like this should should be way easier than I am making it… Any help is appreciated!

(Allie) #2

Stop limiting calories and just limit carbs to 20g.

(Cindy Ward) #3

Stop tracking calories. Seriously. Eat <20g of carb per day, eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re satiated. If you’re used to doing CICO, then you have to change your thought patterns, because keto does NOT rely on calories to work. It relies on your body changing from a sugar burner to a fat burner and that takes TIME. While you’re adapting, you need to eat so your metabolism improves…and calorie restricting won’t help with that.

So even if you must track macros, ignore the calories. Seriously. :wink: Eat fatty meat, allow yourself to eat the healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, olives, etc), and keep your carbs <20g/day.

I’d also say, quit driving yourself crazy with the scale. Don’t weigh daily unless you really are ok with seeing numbers go up and down. Since you’re really frustrated with that right now, I’d say you’re not (ok watching scale numbers) so remove that stress from your life. Make a commitment to weigh no more than once per week or better yet, commit to keto fully and then weigh once/month.

Good luck!


As someone who always snacked, I needed to track my macros and what I eat, so I use Cronometer app. It’s helped me hold myself accountable and given me the information I needed about what I’m eating.

That said, I suggest you continue to stay consistently under 20 net carbs a day, meet your protein macro, and stay under your fat macro if you are trying to lose weight. I’m no expert, but have been eating this way since the end of July. I want my body to burn my own fat stores, so while I am not afraid of animal fat, or olive oil, I consider my fat macro as a limit. If I am under the limit, all’s well.

I concentrate on eating enough protein, and staying under my carb limit. I suggest you consider doing this as well. You can easily cut fat out of recipes, and if you are left feeling hungry, snack on a tablespoon of butter. : )

Don’t forget your electrolytes. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are all necessary and important.

(Ilana Rose) #5

You’ve made it through the adaptation period, many people see only modest losses before this since hunger is still high as your body adjusts. So you are neither alone nor is your story even at all unusual.

As @GreeneggsNham has said the fat macro is NOT a target but rather a maximum. You want to eat 20 g of carbs or less, try to hit your protein target as near as you can, and add only as much fat as you need to meals to keep you from being hungry. Don’t think about or worry about calories. If you follow those guidelines you will not be eating too many.

Now that you are past the adaptation stage you should try to increase the periods of time where you eat nothing so your body is producing it’s lowest insulin. This is when your body turns to you body fat for energy.

Most people first give up any snacks. This is often followed by dropping one of the three meals we regularly have on the SAD.

If you polled people here I’d guess most eat two or fewer meals a day. But don’t do this until you appetite starts to diminish. That’s the greatest magic of keto, less appetite and better control leads to weight loss. But you are just entering that sweet spot now.


Thank you!

(Ilana Rose) #7

Oh, and with respect to the protein macro, don’t over stress about perfection. Five or ten grams up or down in a day won’t break ANYTHING. I’d shoot more for a weekly average.

The only thing you have to be very strict about is carbs. That’s why 20 g a day is recommended. This works for all but the most metabolically deranged. A lot of people, however, are confused about what carbs are though, and if they aren’t using a tracker can be WAY off even while thinking they are being strict. For example, all vegetables have net carbs but I’ve seen people treat several as if they haven’t any and will eat a whole head of broccoli, for example, and not count a single carb of it. I’ve seen the same treatment of animal products like cream, cheese, and eggs. They all have carbs and should all be counted. I’m not suggesting that you are making either of these mistakes but rather am just including it for completion and for others reading who may be.


Hi, sounds like I had a similar situation. Lost the initial excess water quickly but then didn’t really go into proper weight loss.

BTW remember measuring weight daily will be frustrating because your body retains and controls water levels but only to +/- 4.4lbs or 2L accuracy. So use an average over at least a week or instead of weighing measure the waistline and other places. I also use an electronic keto meter once a week. Watching the scales is said to be frustrating so …

In my case I was indeed consuming 20g carbs but was still eating a lot in general, as if I hadn’t eaten real food in 20 years and was making up for lost time, so I was not losing weight due to double portion sizes at every meal. To be specific I was having too much protein, 80-100g should’ve been it, not 180g. And I was fearing fat, but realized a tablespoon of olive oil in salad was needed or some butter here and there, problem solved.

Sometimes carbs sneak in unexpectedly, it’ll be some sweetener or some snack or something.

Don’t worry we all have had to make plenty of tweaks. It will be something minor I’m sure.

Here’s some of my references, these guys have plenty of YouTube Vids as well:-

“The Art and Science of Low Carbooydrate Living” Drs Phinney’s and Volek. Very technical but brilliant.

Hands on “how to guides”, very specific and plenty of sample meals:

  • “The new Atkins for a new you” - Drs Westman, Phinney’s, Volek, **
  • “Atkins Eat Right, Not Less” Colette Heimowitz **
  • “Atkins For Life Low-Carb Cookbook” Veronica Atkins (yes that’s his wife)
  • “Fat for fuel with keto recipes” Dr Mercola

If you only get 1 or 2 books I’d get those marked **

And yes I interchange between “keto” and “Atkin” resources just as Phinney’s and Volek do, if you stick with 20g they amount to the same thing, the Atkins crowd have been doing this for decades and have prettier pictures in their cookbooks and great guide experience and material.

Tim Noakes, Tina Teicholz, Gary Toubes, Robert Lustig … all brilliant references …


That could be your problem. “Not enough fat” should be defined by “I’m still hungry”. Not by some macro guesstimate that’s been set. The carb and fat macros are upper limits. The protein macro is a lower limit.

My three keto mantras:

  1. “Minimal carbs. Adequate protein. Fat as needed (for satiety).”
  2. “Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Mostly meat.”
  3. KCKO (“Keep Calm, Keto On”)

For me, one of the big advantages of keto is that I’m no longer ravenously hungry all the time. It has a natural appetite suppressant for a lot of people. That’s where the reduction in calories come from. Hopefully without any sense of deprivation.

Focus on keeping carbs low and getting enough protein, and let your (physical) hunger sort out the fats (and calories). For so many, the hormonal roller coaster of the sugar-insulin cycle has destroyed any true sense of hunger.

(Ilana Rose) #10

Thank you @Alex99 for reminding me what the actual question was…doh!

He’s given some excellent recommendations, to which I would add the following. Consider perusing the thread here:

It’s people on this forum posting pics of their meals but they are all willing to share recipes and ideas as well. I like it better then the cookbooks in general because they are more real food and real meal centered. The books tend to try to mimic the SAD with lots of deserts, fat bombs, and “bready” recipes. I think that stuff, with all the sweeteners, nut flours, cream cheese, and cream, leads to overconsumption in many people much like the SAD does.

I’d also recommend Jason Fung’s book “The Obesity Code”. It’s not a book about the ketogenic diet but it’s the very best book about how and why we gain and lose weight and although I read all the others first (Phinney, Taubes, etc), Fung brought it all together and made me really get it deeply. Nonetheless, I also highly recommend Phinney and Taubes as well.

I also second @Alex99’s point about tweaks. We all stall. Some right away and some much later, but we all eventually have to figure out what is stopping our losses, and most of us many times before we reach maintenance. There is a TON of experience on what can lead to stalls on this forum if indeed it turns out that you have reached one.


Mostly what these guys have said. Concentrate only on carbs < 20g per day, for now. Forget qabout the other macros.

Eat when you’re hungry. Fattier cuts of meat are better. When you get to the point of be able to control your hunger (and it WILL happen for you at some stage), you can start to adjust your macros INCLUDING calories. Record everything you eat from day 1, so you can be more effective when you start to adjust the macros.

Good luck.