There are a lot of myths surrounding keto for women – especially when it comes to hormones! Inside we’ll take a closer look at some of these common misconceptions and show you how to avoid mistakes when starting the keto diet.
Keto for Women: What You Need to Know First
The keto diet is all the rage right now and it’s easy to see why. The keto diet can lead to dramatic weight loss, reduced appetite, and overall just feeling “good.”
The Atkins Diet and South Beach Diet are both incredibly similar to the keto diet, especially in their early phases. The keto diet will feel familiar if you’ve tried those plans before.
Normally, the word “diet” makes you think of going hungry at meal times, and having to give up all your favorite foods. However, the keto diet revolves around eating a low-carb diet rich in healthy fats and protein.
That means that favorites like bacon and peanut butter are still on the menu!
In this article, I want to break down some of the most common myths about keto and women, as well as ways to set yourself up for success.
Read this next: Want to see our own REAL results? Read our article “What is Keto” to get our complete beginner’s guide and see my before/after photos!
Does Keto Affect Women’s Hormones?
If you have read a lot about the keto diet already, you may have encountered those that say the keto diet can disrupt a woman’s hormonal balance.
While nutrition certainly does have an effect on hormones, a ketogenic diet done properly should not negatively affect hormones. (This article provides a more thorough breakdown of the science involved).
More likely culprits of hormone imbalance in women:
- Not consuming enough calories
3 Mistakes to Avoid on a Keto Diet
The following mistakes may cause symptoms that are mistakenly attributed to the keto diet. Keep reading to learn more about these mistakes – and more importantly – how to avoid them!
Mistake #1 – Not Eating Enough Calories
If you don’t eat enough calories each day, you can upset your body’s hormonal balance. Studies show that restricted calorie intake for an extended period of time alters hormone levels in women.
However, what I love about the keto diet is that you don’t need to count calories. Instead, the focus is on eating more keto-friendly foods like good fats and fewer carbohydrates. Done properly, this will put your body into the state of ketosis, where it burns fat as fuel.
Because you’re limiting carbs on a keto diet, it’s especially important to make sure that you’re getting enough food. Keeping track of what you eat can be helpful for not only counting carbs, but to make sure you aren’t under eating by mistake.
Mistake #2 – Overtraining
Overtraining is when you exercise too much, without giving your body time to properly recover.
Consistent overtraining puts a strain on your body; which can cause you to feel fatigued and weak. Overtraining also increases your risk of injuries.
Because a keto diet limits carbohydrates, you need to be mindful of how much and how hard you exercise.
This does not mean you need to give up exercising altogether, but rather to choose workouts that best compliment the keto diet.
High intensity cardio requires more carbohydrates because your body needs the glucose provided by carbs to fuel these challenging workouts.
If you regularly engage in the following types of exercise routines, you may want to try a Targeted Keto Diet (more carbs at specific times) or switch up your routine:
- High-intensity cardio
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- High-intensity sports such as soccer
Moderate to low intensity exercise is recommended on a standard keto diet.
Best exercises while on the keto diet include:
- Low-intensity cardio (steady pace for a longer duration)
The keto diet helps support a moderate exercise routine, so if you already follow a low or medium intensity exercise routine, you’re on the right track.
Mistake #3 – Stressing Out
Finally, and this will probably not come as a surprise, stress levels have a profound effect on your hormone levels.
It often seems difficult to avoid stress – life is difficult at times! When you can’t avoid it, finding ways to manage stress levels is your best strategy.
Also, if you are feeling stressed, foregoing a tough gym session for a lighter stretching session may be a good call. Building yoga or meditation sessions into your routine is great.
After all, exercise should be help reduce stress, not add to it!
Similarly, waiting before diving headlong into a brand new diet when you are feeling stressed is wise. Your diet can have a really positive impact on stress, but you shouldn’t rush into any major changes if you’re already feeling overwhelmed.
Set Yourself Up for Success
If you are considering the keto diet, start slowly and build up to it.
Try limiting your carb intake slowly – don’t just go cold turkey! Instead, gradually reduce carbs in your diet week by week. This way, your body can adapt to the change, and it will serve as much less of a shock to the system.
It’s also helpful to read up on the keto diet before you start, so you know all the ins and outs of the program and how to do it correctly.
Finally, making a shopping list and a meal plan will make sure that you have all the foods you need ready to go and are less likely to make impulse purchases or eat things you’ll wish you hadn’t later.
Like any diet or exercise program, the keto diet isn’t for everyone. Always consult with your health care professional before starting a new diet regimen.
Related: How Many Carbs Can You Have on Keto?
Our Favorite Keto Recipes:
- 50 Easy Keto Recipes for a Month of Healthy Food
- Keto No-Bake Cookies
- Keto Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2-Minute Keto Mug Cake
- Keto Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Crispy Baked Kale Chips
- Buffalo Chicken Keto Cauliflower Tots
Disclaimer: This post is based on personal experience and is not intended to be medical advice. Results may vary. Always consult your health care provider before starting any type of diet or exercise routine.