The Stressful Truth About Weight Loss Failure: How Stress Is Killing Your Ketosis

High Cortisol Levels Ruin Ketosis. Do This to Reverse the Condition and Start Slimming Down!

When Things Change Inside You, Things Change Around you. Unknown

Losing weight on keto can sound simple. “Cut the carbs, increase the fats, and slim down.” And it can seem simple: you might have a friend or colleague who has shrunk several sizes right in front of your eyes, just by switching their foods.

But there is a whole science to keto, and every single one of us has a unique body and situation. That means that we all face different challenges and need a customized approach to succeed with ketosis.

As a keto coach, I often work with clients who have first tried keto on their own and failed. They ate exactly as their macro counting app advised, they followed all of the guidelines that worked for their friend’s slim-down, and still: no ketosis, and no weight loss. If that situation sounds familiar to you, don’t despair! This blog post is just for you.

Our bodies are like chemistry labs, and sometimes, we need to address several functions to get the intended results. That brings us to this blog post’s topic: stress. Because stress is one of the biggest obstacles to succeeding with ketosis and losing weight!

This is how it works: the goal with the keto diet is to switch the body’s fuel source from glucose to ketones. That’s when we’re burning fat for fuel and drop the extra kilos simply by eating.

When we’re stressed, the hormone cortisol increases. Raised cortisol makes the body release glucose, which kills the ketones. This means that you can be eating a perfectly composed keto meal and still, no ketosis! Or you might reach ketosis only to drop out of it quickly.

In today’s hectic society, high cortisol levels are not uncommon. The good news is that it’s treatable. So before you throw in the towel and decide that keto is not for you, explore if stress is the culprit! If it is, it’s about time to make a lifestyle change – not just to get into smaller outfits, but to save your health.

How to Learn If Stress Is Killing Your Ketosis: 

1. Investigate Your Eating.

Are you eating enough fats? Are you staying within your daily carb allowance? Is your food clean enough?

2. Check Your Ketone Levels.

If the answers to the above questions are YES and you’re still not losing weight, something else is probably stopping you. Check your ketone levels at different times during the day. If you get kicked out of ketosis for no apparent reason within short periods of time, it can be a sign of cortisol interfering. 

3. Check Your Cortisol Levels.

You need data to know what’s going on in your body. The adrenal stress index test by saliva measures your cortisol levels over a 24 h period, giving you a complete picture of your body’s stress response. If your cortisol levels are higher than they should, it’s time to take action.

How to Reduce Stress to Boost Your Ketosis: 

1. Ashwagandha.

This herb can lower cortisol levels. Take 500-600 mg per day of a high-quality brand.

2. Meditation.

For reducing stress, it doesn’t get more oldschool than meditation! There are so many different ways to meditate and I recommend that you keep trying until you find a method that suits you. The app Headspace’s free trial is a good place to start.

3. Heart Rate Variability Training.

The frustrating thing about meditation is that it can be difficult to know your progress, or if you’re doing it right. If feedback helps you stick with a habit, heart rate variability training could be for you.

In a nutshell, the space between our heartbeats varies when we are relaxed. emWave2 is a device that guides your breathing by giving you a green or red light depending on how varied your heartbeat is, teaching you how to breathe to relax.

4. Floating.

If you get easily distracted when meditating at home, it could be helpful to commit to a meditative session somewhere else instead. Floating means that you float in salty water in darkness in a sensory-deprivation tank. Studies have shown that the relaxation from floating can reduce cortisol levels.

Alexia Bjarkan

Alexia Bjarkan

Keto Coach at The Benefactory.

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