You’ve finally decided to go for it. No more excuses. It’s time to lose that extra weight and finally fit into that pair of skinny jeans you’ve been holding on to. You’ve tried a few fad diets in the past but you’re confident the ketogenic diet is the perfect one to help you finally reach your weight loss goal. But how fast do you lose weight on keto?
While we don’t have a crystal ball that will tell us exactly how much you’ll lose and by when, we do have a few suggestions that could help you speed up your weight loss while keeping you safe and healthy. Losing weight with ketosis can be fun and rewarding if you know where to start. Let’s begin!
Why We Lose Fat with Keto
It sounds counterproductive. How can eating mostly fat help you lose a ton of fat quickly? But when done properly, the keto diet does just that. Here’s how.
Our bodies normally rely on carbohydrates for energy. Carbs make up the bulk of the typical American diet (think sandwich breads, pizza crust, pasta, processed foods). The body turns carbs into glucose which is then used for energy.
When carbs are mostly cut out of our meals and snacks, like in a ketogenic diet, the body starts to temporarily panic as it looks for an alternative energy source. It quickly realizes that fat is the best option.
As the body starts to burn fat, the liver produces ketones. Testing for the presence of these ketones is how we know we’re in ketosis. Because our body is essentially burning the fat we eat and then some, weight loss can quickly occur.
If you go back to a carb-heavy diet, the weight will probably come back. But if you stick with a ketogenic diet or utilize exogeneous ketones, you can keep the weight off for good.
A study published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews found that the ketogenic diet can help people burn 10 times more fat than those who follow a standard diet.
In the study, 30 adults diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were split into three groups. The first group followed a ketogenic diet with minimal to no exercise. The second group followed a typical American diet with minimal to no exercise while the third group ate a typical American diet and exercised for at least half an hour a day, up to five days per week.
After 10 weeks, all the participants were evaluated. In the ketogenic group, there were significant changes. The participants had lost weight, improved their BMI, and boosted their resting metabolic rate. According to the researchers, “All variables for the ketogenic group out-performed those of the exercise and non-exercise groups.”
While it’s important to note that the study focused on those diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, it’s not farfetched to assume that similar results would arise in a study of otherwise healthy participants.
Your Weight Loss Is Dependent on a Few Factors
It’s understandable that you would want to know how fast you can lose weight on keto. But the answer isn’t so simple. It depends on a variety of factors and ultimately comes down to you as an individual. Here are a few things to consider when trying to determine how fast the weight will come off when eating a ketogenic diet.
Are you moderately or extremely overweight?
Do you know your BMI? This will help you determine how fast you’ll lose weight on keto. To calculate your BMI, complete the following equation.
(Weight in Pounds x 703) / Height in Inches²
For example, someone who weighs 175 pounds and measures 5’7” wants to know their BMI. The first step is to get their height in inches, which comes out to 67. Here’s what the equation looks like.
(175 x 703) / 67²
123,025 / 4489 = 27.40
We then use the following chart to determine the results.
- Underweight: 18.5 or less
- Normal: 18.5 – 24.9
- Overweight: 25 – 29.9
- Obese: 30.0 or more
This individual is overweight based on their BMI. If you’re obese or overweight, you can expect to lose weight faster on keto. But if you fall into the normal range, your weight loss goal probably isn’t too high, and the process may be slower. If you’re underweight according to your BMI, speak to your doctor about using the ketogenic diet to lose weight.
Do you exercise?
Switching to a ketogenic diet is a great start to losing weight. But if your daily habits focus around the television, your weight loss will be slower than someone who jogs or hits the gym several times a week.
While you don’t have change everything about your routine (and we don’t recommend it), taking as many small steps towards a healthy and active lifestyle will speed up your weight loss while on keto. Start going for a 10-minute walk after dinner or head to the gym once a week with a few friends for support. Every minute counts.
How healthy are you?
How would you describe your current health? Certain medical situations can slow down weight loss. These include hormonal or metabolic issues.
If you’re just starting out on a ketogenic diet, it doesn’t hurt to have a full check-up to make sure everything checks out. If it turns out you do have an issue that could slow down your weight gain, that’s okay. But it’s best to know about it sooner than later so you don’t become frustrated with your progress.
Suggestions for Weight Loss Success on Keto
There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ketogenic diet experience.
Calculate your macros
In a ketogenic diet, a standard recommendation is to eat 5% or less of carbs, 25% protein, and 70% fat. But this is just a standard recommendation. Your needs could be a bit different based on your sex, age, and activity level.
Figuring out your macros takes a bit of time but it’s not overly difficult. Check out our guide to get the exact percentages and carbs you should be eating of fats, carbs, and proteins to maximize your weight loss.
Be patient when waiting for ketosis
Don’t eat one keto meal and jump on the scale. It’s going to take some time to enter ketosis. For most, it will happen within a week. For some, it can happen in just a couple days.
The first week can be difficult if you develop the keto flu (symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, aches) but it will be worth it. Once you believe you’re in ketosis, start testing using a blood ketone meter or other testing method.
Know the best ketogenic foods
Even once you’ve figured out your macros, there’s a little more that goes into what you eat. It’s important to understand the kinds of food you eat are just as important as the percentages.
You’ll want healthy choices, like avocado, full-fat dairy, and grass-fed beef. At the end of each day, make sure you’ve had a variety of healthy ketogenic foods.
Get up and move
If you already exercise, keep it up! But if you don’t, now is the perfect time to add physical activity into your routine. Walk around the block, join a volleyball league, or just hit the dusty elliptical in your basement. Adding 30 minutes of daily activity can make all the difference when it comes to fast weight loss.
What Kind of Weight Loss to Expect
We’ve given you a few tips and tricks regarding weight loss on keto. But now it’s time to talk about why you’re really here. How much weight can you lose on keto? Here are some numbers to keep in mind.
Immediate weight loss
The first week on keto is usually the most impressive. The weight loss is quick and for some people it can be as high as 10 pounds! But this isn’t the case for everyone. If you don’t have a ton of weight to lose, you may only lose a couple pounds (which is still great for only a week).
One important fact to keep in mind about this initial weight loss is that most likely, the pounds that came off were in water, not fat. That’s because being in ketosis can leave you headed down the path to dehydration. It’s important to drink plenty of water when following a ketogenic diet, no matter what, but it’s especially crucial during the first week or two.
As your body plows through any glucose reserves, it will begin to eliminate any water that was used to store them. So, in actuality, even though this weight loss doesn’t signify true fat loss, it’s a good sign that your body is headed in the right direction.
Short term weight loss
Once you’ve been following a ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks, you can expect the weight loss to slow down a bit. The good news is that the weight that does come off will be actual fat now.
You can expect to lose about 1-2 pounds a week, depending on how much weight you had to lose. In theory, the more weight you have to lose, the faster it should come off. But there are factors, like thyroid conditions or hormonal imbalances, that could slow down weight loss in heavier people.
At this stage of keto, it’s important to keep going. Look for fun new recipes to try out, add a new exercise to your routine, or buy yourself a pair of pants in your newly earned smaller size. Even if you’ve lost 10 or 20 pounds and reached your goal, quitting keto now will just result in weight gain. Now’s not the time to get discouraged.
Long term weight loss
Once you’ve bene following a ketogenic diet for several months, you’ll feel like a pro. However, you can expect that most of your weight loss will have already taken place (unless you had more than 30 pounds to lose).
But because you stuck with the ketogenic diet for so long, you’ll know first-hand that it’s a great solution for sustained fat loss. Just keep in mind that even though the pounds aren’t flying off anymore, there are still plenty of other ketogenic benefits you should be experiencing.
Keto Weight Loss Success Stories
Looking for some inspiration? Maybe you can relate with one of the following stories.
Jeremy knew he needed to lose weight. His high school body had long left him, but he wasn’t much for salads and diet soda. So, when he heard about the ketogenic diet, or a lifestyle that still allowed him to eat burgers and bacon, he was all in.
Jeremy’s BMI put him at an obese level. He wanted to lose just over 50 pounds. He spent a weekend eating all his favorite carbs before finally starting his keto diet the following week.
The first week was terrible for Jeremy. He was tired, crabby, and just plain miserable. But when he stepped on the scale at the end of the first week, he couldn’t believe he had dropped 8 pounds by simply eating fat. This was just the right amount of motivation to keep him going.
Over the next couple of months, Jeremy lost another 15 pounds. As he entered his third month of keto, he was about halfway to his goal but felt he had reached a plateau. Instead of thinking keto had done everything it could for him, Jeremy stuck with it. He added an extra hour of exercise a week and discovered a few places carbs were hiding in his diet.
After another six months, Jeremy had lost another 12 pounds (a rate of about half a pound per week). The last ten pounds or so were slow and steady but Jeremy was able to reach his high weight loss goal of 50 pounds in under a year with keto.
Katie was a proud mom but she was struggling to lose the last few pounds of baby weight. She decided to give keto a try after weight loss shakes and funny wraps around her waist had failed her. She dove into keto head first and never looked back. The first week she lost only two pounds, but this was a fifth of her 10-pound weight loss goal. She was happy with her progress.
Katie made a few mistakes though and plateaued early. She was still eating too many calories in a day. She was so focused on macro percentages that she didn’t take calories into consideration. After she realized her mistake, she got back on track. It took her just over a month to reach her weight loss goal.
Other Benefits of Keto
While many turn to a ketogenic diet because they want to lose weight, there are several other benefits associated with the diet and lifestyle. Noticing any of the following is a good indication you’re in ketosis and should all serve as motivation to continue on your keto journey.
When you’re first starting a ketogenic diet, you may actually feel quite tired. This is normal and should subside within a week. Once this tiredness lifts, you’ll be surprised to find you have plenty of energy to get through the day.
You’ll no longer experience the lows and highs of eating carbs. Have you ever eaten a carb-heavy meal, only to fall asleep just moments after sitting on the couch? When you eat a balanced ketogenic diet, you shouldn’t have that heavy feeling in your stomach or eyelids.
Our brains are better fueled by fat. Many rely on a ketogenic diet simply because of the cognitive benefits. Those who are strong followers of keto say they can feel their mental fog lift away when they start to enter deeper states of ketosis. Many rely on exogeneous ketones for a boost of mental clarity when needed.
Eating a ketogenic diet allows you to focus on eating more natural and healthier foods. You’ll be skipping the processed junk and focusing more on healthy fats and proteins. These both can lead to healthier hair, skin, and nails. The ketogenic diet has helped many finally fight back against acne.
Prevention of chronic diseases
Eating a ketogenic diet has been linked to prevention of several diseases. Because of its boost in brain power, there are strong links between keto and Alzheimer prevention. Early studies have also shown promising results regarding keto and cancer. Because cancer cells can’t feed on fat (and therefore grow or multiply) a ketogenic diet could have a promising future in cancer treatment or prevention.
The ketogenic diet could be the missing link standing between you and your weight loss. If you start the diet for the right reasons, follow it as instructed, and avoid common pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to speedy weight loss that won’t come back.
We hope our tips have empowered you and instilled confidence in you. We know the ketogenic diet will provide you with plenty of benefits, including amazing weight loss. Good luck and we would love to hear your weight loss success stories!