HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LOSE WEIGHT ON KETO?
If you’re curious about the keto diet, then you’ve probably seen some of the amazing transformation stories from everyday people who have shed some serious pounds. This is a diet that has been reported to help those who previously found it difficult to lose weight and lose it fast, but how fast can you really lose weight on the keto diet? Is it safe? And what kind of keto diet results can you expect?
Read on to learn all you need to know about keto weight loss and how to lose weight fast on keto.
DOES KETO WEIGHT LOSS REALLY WORK?
A common question for those new to keto is, “does the keto diet really work?” It’s easy to be skeptical when there are so many success stories, but once you look at the science behind the diet and read a little further into the stories of these individuals you’ll see that yes, keto can be an effective tool for weight loss
Of course, as with any diet (or anything in life!), the results people have seen with the keto diet are individual to their circumstances. Everyone is different and until you start keto you won’t know how your body will react physically, or how easy you may find it to follow mentally. Some factors that can change how fast you see keto weight loss results are:
- Body composition (body fat percentage, height, weight, gender)
- Health conditions
- Metabolic rate (fast, slow)
- How active you are
- How “cleanly” you eat·
- How often you cheat
- How much energy you are able to maintain for daily activities
WHAT’S THE AVERAGE WEIGHT LOSS ON KETO?
As we just mentioned, the average weight loss people see when they follow the keto diet varies significantly from person to person. It goes without saying that a five-foot woman who only has 20lbs to lose will lose the weight at a different rate than a six-foot man who has 150lbs to lose.
However, we can consider the typical results you can expect in the first week, month and 90 days of being on the keto diet.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LOSE WEIGHT ON KETO?
Keto weight loss results to expect after the first week
After your first week of following the keto diet, you will likely see a significant drop in weight. On a “normal” diet with a caloric deficit and regular exercise regime, most people can expect to lose one to two lbs a week, while those following a keto diet typically see a drop of anywhere from two to ten pounds.
While this is awesome, you should know that most of this weight will be water weight. Why? Because carbohydrates retain water when they are stored in the body. Lets review: Your body stores carbs as glycogen, for every gram of glycogen stored there is about three grams of stored water, so as you restrict carb intake your body loses its carb stores of glycogen plus the water stored with it.
That being said, during your first week your keto weight loss will largely be water as your body is depleted of its carbohydrate stores. Once you’ve burned through the glycogen stores your body will have to use your fat stores for energy.
Keto weight loss results to expect after a month
Four to five weeks into the diet, you’ll be past feeling the early effects of the diet and hopefully be settling into this new way of eating. If you’re sticking to the diet properly, not cheating too often (ideally not at all), your body will actively be burning fat for energy. The average monthly weight loss on keto is about four to ten pounds (one to two lbs a week which is considered safe).
If you can, purchase and use a scale that measures your body fat percentage and use that as another guide along your journey. Why? While not 100% accurate, scales that measure body fat percentage can give you a better idea about actual fat lost rather than focusing on pounds lost. If you are doing any extra activity at all, you may be building some additional muscle (which weighs more than fat) so you can track your body fat percentage each week to keep from becoming discouraged if you aren’t seeing the scale move much. (Taking pictures regularly is another great way to see changes in your body that may not reflect on the scale.)
Keto weight loss results to expect after 90 days
After 90 days of the keto diet you will likely see some significant weight loss results. Those with significant weight to lose could drop as much as 30lbs of fat in this time, though of course results vary.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN I EXPECT TO LOSE ON KETO?
While results vary wildly depending on your body and how well you stick to the diet (and for how long), it is realistic to expect that if you are following the diet as directed you should see a loss of at least one pound of fat per week. After three months on the diet, people often see their results slow (called a weight loss plateau) as they get close to their goal weight, and this is perfectly normal. Stick with the keto diet and you’ll eventually see those final pounds ease off.
WHAT IS KETOSIS AND HOW DO YOU CALCULATE KETO MACROS?
Ketosis is the process the body enters when it is deprived of carbohydrate sources for energy, and it’s the state the keto diet will put your body into.
Ketosis occurs when your body runs out of glucose (carbohydrate stores) to use for fuel and starts to use fat stores instead. While this state could even occur on a long food-less flight across the country, the keto diet is all about entering this state for a prolonged period.
Achieving ketosis usually takes two to seven days, depending on how much glucose your body has stored at the time you start the keto diet.
HOW DO I CALCULATE MY KETO MACROS?
It’s easy to calculate your keto macros (your macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat) for effective weight loss with a keto calcultor. This will give you a target to aim for each day, you might also try using a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal, Carb Manager or HighKey’s Keto Calculator to help you keep track throughout the day.
When you first start on the keto diet it may feel like a challenge to eat the percentage of macros that the guide suggests, but after a week or two you’ll have the hang of it and you’ll have an idea of what foods and meals work and what doesn’t. Stick through those early days to help you reach your goals and to achieve your desired keto weight loss results.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO KETOSIS?
Ketosis isn’t an easy state to enter without guidance – hence why the keto diet exists, but once you get your body into ketosis you’ll start to see real results. To enter ketosis you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake down to a minimum (generally below 50g a day – use the calculator for your specific macros) so your body uses fat for fuel.
To get effective keto weight loss, use the calculator above to find out how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need to eat. Generally, fat will make up 70-80% of your daily calories, protein will make up 20-25%, and carbohydrates will make up the final 5-10%.
When you do this your body will use ketones (essentially the fat version of glucose) for energy.
It’s important not to overdo it in the early stages of the diet (such as dropping your carbohydrates to almost 0g) as doing so can cause adverse effects, like keto flu. (This is where your body may start to feel flu-like symptoms as you transition to using fat for fuel). Remember that a small amount of carbohydrate is essential for a fast energy source and healthy function of the body, so do your best to stick with your suggested macros as a guide.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE IN KETOSIS?
So how do you actually know when you’re in ketosis? Well, during the first few days of the diet your body will be in a phase called fat-adaptation, which is where your body starts to produce ketones instead of glucose for fuel. This is a learning phase for your body and some people may feel a little under the weather for a few days, some don’t feel any symptoms at all, and (although not common) some have reported experiencing symptoms for up to a month. Some symptoms reported are:
- Brain fog and confusion
- Mood swings and irritability
- Muscle cramps and/or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Sugar/carb cravings
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms shouldn’t last long, and shouldn’t be severe. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself – be realistic so don’t start keto and decide to start training for a marathon on the same day. Remember that you’re not a machine and you may need to take it easy for the first few weeks of the keto diet.
After the adaptation phase most people in ketosis report feeling energized, like their energy levels are more even throughout the day, they don’t crave sugar or carb-heavy foods, they feel better able to focus, and of course, they see weight loss.
If you really want to make sure you’re in ketosis you can check your ketone levels in the body by doing a breath, blood, or urine test. The most accurate way to test is with a blood glucose meter to check for ketones, but it can be expensive. Urine tests and breath tests are less accurate but much more affordable over the long term.