Thinking about finally committing to a low carb lifestyle? The truth is that deciding to get serious about losing weight and transforming your health is a big commitment. It’s not just another crash diet. That’s why I want to get personal and talk about a few of the big things that, looking back, I really wish I would have known before starting keto. 

These aren’t the basic things like what your macros should be or what you can and can’t eat. Instead, I’m sharing some of the other challenges that would have been easier had I known better how to mentally prepare for.

And honestly, they’re good reminders no matter where you are in your journey! So whether you’re just thinking about getting started or already committed, this is where we’re gonna get real.

Why A Low Carb Lifestyle is a Lifetime Commitment

The reality is that transforming your health is a big deal and a big commitment, but it’s also a journey—one that won’t always go smoothly. 

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So you’ve got to be mentally prepared for some of those bumps along the way. 

You’ve got to be ready to keep going, even when you have setbacks or when you hit a plateau. You’ve got to be prepared for when people around you aren’t totally supportive (for whatever reason).

So buckle up, because I’ll tell you right now: it’s not all sunshine and roses.

Even though I’ve had a lot of success following this lifestyle, and even though I am now so passionate about it that I started a whole program and a podcast dedicated to helping other people see those same kind of results, it wasn’t all just a walk in the park. 

There were plenty of low points along the way and more moments of frustration than I’d like to admit. Had I known these 7 things before starting keto, I might have saved myself some heartache!

The 7 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Starting Keto

I’m a forty-something-year-old woman who knows really well what it’s like to struggle with your weight and with eating well and getting healthy.

If this is your first time here, you may want to go back and read about my own weight loss journey. It shares how I lost 40 pounds and kept it off. Plus, it will give you a really good overview of where I’ve been and how I got here.

But today, I want to take that story one step further and share honestly with you some of the things I know now that would have probably made things a whole lot easier for me had I known them before starting keto.

Because as one of my favorite students once said, “Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know until you know, ya know?”

And my hope, in being honest about my own struggles with this lifestyle, you’ll be both encouraged and empowered to make some healthier choices in your own life. These tips will help whether you are reading before starting keto or are right smack in the dab of your own low carb journey!

1. Sustained weight loss takes time (and it’s not a straight line).

Honestly, this is probably the first thing I wish I would’ve been more cognizant of: that sustained weight loss takes TIME. 

And not only that, it doesn’t happen in a straight line. 

There will be days when you are up a little bit, and days where you are down. That’s totally normal! What you’re looking for is a line that trends downward over time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely an instant gratification kind of person. My team has this ongoing joke that by the time I ask them for something, I already wanted it yesterday. 

But it’s true. I hate waiting. I want to take action, do the things, and see results. Right now.

And that’s literally the approach I had always taken to dieting and trying to lose weight. 

I would find the latest fad diet lose-weight-quick approach, and I would go all in on cutting calories and starving myself and drinking all the water and working out. All done with the thought that I could just quickly shed the extra pounds and move on. 

Sure, sometimes I’d lose five or ten pounds, always by making myself totally miserable. Then finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I’d go right back to eating all the things and gain it all right back.

It wasn’t until I finally hit my breaking point that I realized that approach wasn’t working. I needed to make a LIFESTYLE change, not just try another fad diet. 

I still struggled with not being very patient. And honestly, I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this because I often hear it from our clients.

Because even though in HINDSIGHT, losing 40 pounds in 6 months sounds like it happened relatively fast. But, at the moment, in the day-to-day, it didn’t FEEL like it was happening fast. 

It felt painfully, excruciatingly, frustratingly SLOW.

On the other side, I can absolutely say it’s worth it. But I had no idea this was how it worked before starting keto!

Losing water weight vs fat

What happened for me (which is pretty normal for our clients as well), is that I had some initial fast success, where I lost the first 10 pounds or so pretty quickly. It just sort of dropped off in the first two weeks. 

And I was like, YES this is awesome. I’ll be skinny in no time!

But what I didn’t know before starting keto is that those first ten pounds were basically WATER WEIGHT. And not that water weight isn’t real weight or doesn’t count—it does. Trust me, losing 10 pounds of anything feels great! 

However, water weight comes and goes. It fluctuates. It can depend on your cycle and even what you’re eating. 

Carbohydrates literally make you retain water, so when you stop eating them, the water flushes right out of you. 

That’s awesome! But, for most of us who have more than 10 pounds to lose, it’s not enough.

You have to start burning through all that excess fat, and that’s where the frustration starts to happen. I hate to break it to you, but fat comes off a LOT slower than water. That doesn’t mean it’s not working, though. It just means you have to be more patient.

Honestly, I think sometimes that fast water weight loss can almost be a detriment because it sets you up for disappointment later on when the fat loss is steady, yet slower.

I think if I had been more aware of the slowdown and didn’t focus so much on the day-to-day but instead on the results over an extended period of time, I would have had fewer moments of frustration.

So that’s the first thing—SUSTAINED weight loss takes time, and it doesn’t happen in a straight line.

2. Your husband will lose weight faster and easier (even though he cheats!).

My husband lost more weight, faster and easier than I did, even though he was not nearly as diligent or committed. 

I’m not gonna lie. This can be pretty damn annoying sometimes.

This is something I actually hear a lot from the clients in our program. Our recipes are A.) DELICIOUS, and B.) food that is intended to feed your whole family, so they will HAPPILY eat it because it’s so good. 

Because of this, we see a lot of spouses benefit from what I can only call the residual effect. 

They’re eating fewer carbs basically by default, and they end up losing a lot of weight also. And yes, sometimes even faster and easier than you.

In my case, my husband was ALSO trying to lose weight, so he was happy to go low-carb, but his weight came off so quickly, even though he would cheat a LOT. 

He’d drink beer. He’d eat ice cream. And sometimes he would just say, “I’m just going to eat whatever today.” 

And yet he still kept losing weight. 

Seriously, so annoying. 

It’s not that I wasn’t happy for him and his success—I genuinely was—but I just wanted more success for myself. 

Looking back on it, I realize that all the comparison really wasn’t helpful, especially not comparing my results as a 45-year-old woman to my husband. The fact is, women in general, but ESPECIALLY women over 40 have the HARDEST TIME losing weight. 

The deck is stacked against us. I actually have an entire post explaining why women over 40 have a tough time losing weight here.

But comparison is pretty toxic no matter what or who you are comparing yourself to. What I realize now so clearly is that everybody is different. Our bodies are amazingly complex systems! There’s so much at play, and so much variation.

Knowing what I know now, I really wish I would’ve focused a little bit more on my own journey, and accepted it as it came, instead of being annoyed that it seemed so much easier for my husband.

woman sharing 7 things she wish she had known before starting keto

3. Before starting keto, be prepared that you’ll probably feel worse before you feel better.

Here’s something you need to be aware of before starting keto: when you cut out carbs, there’s a lot of adjusting that your body has to do.

I had heard of the keto flu, but until I experienced it, I didn’t really get it. I worried that something was wrong. I also CRAVED sugar like nothing else in the beginning, but I realize now that I was detoxing. 

For the first few weeks, even though I wasn’t hungry, I had basically no energy. I was exhausted.

Luckily, looking back, all of those not-so-great physical adjustments were pretty short-lived. And then, once my body flipped the switch and I became Thin Adapted, it was like a MIRACLE. 

Seriously, I went from being completely spent at the end of my workday to having endless amounts of energy for cooking dinner, going to the grocery store, cleaning the house, and whatever else. 

I felt like a new person.

I know now that whatever discomfort I experienced was totally TEMPORARY, and it was also totally worth it. I would do it all over again, a million times over.

4. When you hit plateaus (and you will), you’ve got to mix things up.

Hitting a plateau was one of the most frustrating seasons of my weight loss journey. Oh, I wish I would have known this tip before starting keto!

Let me clarify this because I don’t mean like when the scale doesn’t move for a couple of days or you notice some normal weight fluctuation. That’s not a plateau; that’s just part of losing weight.

What I’m talking about is when you’re DILIGENTLY doing all the things, but the scale hasn’t budged in months.

That’s exactly what happened to me about 3 or 4 months into my weight loss journey. I lost the first 30 pounds, but no matter how diligently I stuck to what had been working, I just couldn’t lose any more weight. 

This went on for at least a month—maybe even six weeks. And it was SO frustrating. I felt like I was doing everything right, and yet I was stuck. I could understand if I had been slacking off or cheating or whatever, but I WASN’T.

I was in it to win it. But the longer I stayed stuck, the more frustrated I got.

Honestly, that’s really about the time that I started doing a LOT of googling and reading and diving into the actual SCIENCE of weight loss and low-carb eating. I started to see some of the things I had been doing wrong. 

Up to that point, I had basically been just following the traditional keto diet, but as a vegetarian (or technically a pescatarian).

With the traditional keto diet, it worked for a while, and then I found I couldn’t lose any more. It happens for a lot of people for a variety of reasons I won’t totally get into here.

But one of the big things I realized, after I actually started doing a lot of research, is that I wasn’t getting nearly enough protein. I also realized that the best way to GET high-quality, nutrient-dense protein was to start eating MEAT.

So, after 28 years as a vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian, I went back to meat.

And you know what? It made a HUGE difference. 

The last 10 pounds came off pretty fast, and I hit my goal weight almost 6 months to the day after starting.

And I’m not saying that meat is the answer to everything, but in my case, it definitely WAS the answer. I realized I had been SO protein deficient and that I was actually eating too MUCH of some other foods.

This brings me to the next thing I wish I had known before starting keto…

5. Don’t just eat cheese!

Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE cheese. Like really love it. 

I love the fathead dough that’s mostly made out of cheese. I love cream cheese and low carb cheesecake and pork rinds with queso and pimento cheese and cauliflower mac & cheese and cheesy rice and extra cheesy omelets and alllllllllll the cheesy things.

But there is a limit to how much cheese your body can handle.

Especially if that’s the bulk of what you are eating. I wish I would have known that. Because while I still enjoy cheese very much, I work a little harder now at finding a better balance with other foods. 

Now, I eat a whole lot more meat and fish, as well as low-glycemic fruits and vegetables and plenty of healthy fat. (And yes, you really do need more healthy fat in your diet! Here’s why.)

Remember what I said about mixing things up? If you find that your body is not responding well to something—you’re struggling with constipation or you’ve hit a plateau, then cheese and dairy is probably one of the first things you should consider cutting back on, just to see what happens.

Or better yet, add more goat cheese!

6. Perfection doesn’t matter as much as consistency.

Maybe this is more of a mindset or just my own personality thing—but PERFECTION doesn’t matter NEARLY as much as consistency.

As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to diets, I’m the kind of person who likes to go all in and super gung-ho and do all the things. I tend to go a little bit overboard, and then I get overwhelmed. So I lose my focus and motivation. 

Then I give up. 

I want to be PERFECT, but I can only maintain that for a few days at best.

What I’ve realized in hindsight—and what I wish I would have learned a LOT earlier—is that consistency is SO much more important than doing everything perfectly 100% of the time, and checking off every box. 

And that’s hard because I like to check off boxes!

You’ve also got to be able to live your life. So now my motto is this: big goals NEVER happen all at once. They are only the result of small steps taken consistently over time. 

I started to give myself permission to NOT be perfect, but instead to make the best possible choices in any given situation. That meant that sometimes we’d go out to eat or hang out with friends, and my macros would be a little off. 

Instead of letting that derail me (as it would have in the past), I praised myself for making the best choice in that situation. 

Because over time, those small choices add up to a lot of big results.

Honestly, I see this a lot in our program. There are a lot of people with perfectionist tendencies who get stressed when they don’t know an exact serving size or find themselves in a situation they can’t totally control, and they go off the rails. 

I get it—because at one point, I was the same way. But not anymore!

Perfection doesn’t win the race, consistency does.

7. People won’t always get it (or be super supportive.)

This is a HUGE thing I wish I would have known before starting keto. Put simply, people won’t always get it. They won’t always be super supportive.

But, that’s okay.

I had a lot of people tell me that keto wasn’t healthy, and that I was ruining my health. They claimed I was just going to gain all the weight right back. 

Then, I had friends who got weird after I did lose a noticeable amount of weight—almost like they resented it because they had stayed the same.

I also had other friends who flat-out told me, “Keto Ruth isn’t fun Ruth,” mostly because I cut way back on my drinking and was no longer convincing everyone to do Fireball shots during our neighborhood parties. (Do you know how much SUGAR is in Fireball? It’s a lot.)

But I had a LOT of support from the people that mattered to me. 

My husband was and is my biggest cheerleader, and hopefully, he would say that about me for him. We also have lots of great friends who embraced the low-carb lifestyle right along with us, and we organize our gatherings around food and drinks we can all enjoy.

Knowing what I know now, I would say that finding people who DO get it and who are cheering you on is SO key for being able to make your changes stick. 

There is strength in numbers and the support of an awesome community.

That’s honestly why I love our Thinlicious community so much. If you’re in our Facebook group, or especially in the Thin Adapted System, or if you’ve done one of our quarterly challenges, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s AWESOME.

So even if you’re not finding the support you need from the people around you in real life, for whatever reason, know that you can find it online in a community like ours.

Which, honestly, is just one more really good reason to join TAS this week.

Find Support in The Thin Adapted System 

If you’re serious about wanting to transform your life by transforming your health and are ready to:

  • have more energy
  • get your metabolism working again
  • dramatically reduce inflammation
  • reverse your insulin resistance
  • heal your gut
  • and potentially even get off medication

…then I PROMISE there is NO better way to do that than by joining TAS.

I know I’m probably a little bit biased here, but it really is everything that I wish I would have had access to YEARS ago. It would have saved me so much pain, frustration, and struggle. 

It is SUCH an incredible program! It’s SO comprehensive and jam-packed with both the practical tools you need to succeed AND the in-depth, physician-led education that will help you make permanent changes. You’ll also get the ongoing support, coaching, and accountability that will actually allow you to stay on track. 

It really is the total package. 

You can enroll now, but only for a very short time. Ready to get started and change your life? Join the Thin Adapted System today!

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