The keto diet is well known for promoting weight loss at a high level. The diet works by putting your body into a state of ketosis, which is when your body stops using glucose for energy and begins turning stored fat into fuel, effectively burning off fat as energy.
This is done through a low carb, high fat diet, which restricts the amount of glucose that your body receives and processes, forcing it into a “starved” mode without actually making you hungry.
Unable to find glucose to convert into fuel, the body then begins producing ketones, which are broken down from fat stores in the body, and slowly works its way through your extra fat.
This process is known as ketosis. It’s a tried and tested weight loss method that many people swear by and it has tons of other health benefits, too.
Many people go into the keto diet expecting a miracle. Everyone wants weight loss to happen immediately and wants to see results and drop a dress size within days, but of course, this isn’t possible.
While the keto diet is effective, it won’t show you immediate results, and there isn’t a single diet in the world that will. The question is, how long will it take for you to start seeing weight loss results while you’re on the keto diet?
Every One Is Different
The true answer is that the number can differ between different people. After all, everyone’s body is different. But the simple, general answer is that weight loss in itself begins in the first week of a keto diet.
Most people who begin the diet see a very sudden loss of weight, which can be up to 10 pounds, but this isn’t the actual weight that they want to be losing. Instead, this is water weight that is released from cutting your carbs. It isn’t fat loss yet, but when you notice this sudden water weight drop, you’ll know you’re on the right track to ketosis.
After the first couple of weeks, your body will begin to adapt to burning fat in place of glucose and carbs. Weight loss will slow and hit a steady, gradual pace as your body burns through your fat stores. At this point, you can aim to lose around one or two pounds per week, and you will probably naturally be losing about this much or a little less.
As your goal weight approaches and you lose even more weight, the weight loss process will slow down even further as your lighter body’s calorie deficit shrinks.
You may hit a few weeks where you don’t notice any weight loss, then weigh again in a month and see you’ve dropped a few pounds. By this stage, your body’s weight loss progress will be slow and need patience if you want to see results. If you hit a plateau that lasts for a couple of months or more, you can re-evaluate your meal plan and dietary requirements to see if something is causing the hold up.
There are, of course, other factors that will affect how quickly you lose weight.
1. Your initial body fat at the beginning of the diet. This is one of the main affecting factors. The more fat you have originally, the faster you will burn it off. The less fat you have to burn, the less excess you have therefore the slower you will lose it.
2. The amount of exercise you do. Moderate, regular exercise done right can help you lose even more weight more quickly – sometimes up to three times as fast! Be sure not to overdo it, though, as doing too much exercise can actually reverse positive effects, or cause you to injure yourself.
3. Your ketone level. The degree of the state of ketosis you are in affects how much weight you lose and how much fat you burn. You can measure your ketone rate with urine strips, blood tests, and breath tests. However, do note that you don’t need to have a very high ketone production for effective ketosis and weight loss.
4. Your macros. Your macro-nutrients should be calculated properly so that you are getting the right amount of each food class.
To do this, first determine how many calories you should be eating. Calculate how much protein you need to eat based on your activity rate and lean body mass, then from there, work out the calories remaining after your protein consumption.
Decide how much of a calorie deficit you want – a moderate deficit always works best – and work out the amount of fats you’ll need to eat. Your carb intake should be 5% of your total food consumption.
If you need help, look up a keto macro calculator or talk to a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist. Don’t forget to recalculate your macros every month, as your body’s needs and measurements will change over time!
5. Your previous dieting experience. If you’ve been a bit of a yo-yo dieter in the past, you may have done some damage to your body’s metabolic system. Don’t worry, it won’t be permanent! All this means is that you may have to give your body a chance to recover and get back into tip top fat crunching condition. Focus on good nutrition and eating the right foods and your weight will slowly fall into place.
What To Do if Your Are Not Losing on the Keto Diet?
If you find yourself reaching a weight loss plateau for several weeks or think you are losing weight much too slowly, then there may be an aspect of your diet or lifestyle that is preventing further weight loss. Here are some ways to help get your weight loss progress up again.
1. Remove dairy from your diet. You shouldn’t be eating too much dairy to begin with, but excess dairy can result in higher insulin levels. Reducing your dairy intake can help keep your body in a stable state of ketosis.
2. Lessen your legume intake. Nuts are generally keto-friendly, but some of them have extra carbs. Do your research and pick and choose which nuts are safe for you to eat.
3. Find out if you’re consuming extra hidden carbs. Really be sure to check the labels of all the food you buy. They can be hiding in snacks, cereals, sauces, and condiments. When you’re on a diet as strict as the keto diet, you have to carefully read the ingredients listed on every single food item you purchase, even ones you think wouldn’t have any carbs or sugar in them. Better safe than sorry!
4. Stop using artificial sweeteners. Even if sweeteners aren’t technically sugar, they still raise your insulin levels and can knock you out of ketosis. If you regularly use sweeteners, cut them out. Some sweeteners are alright on a keto diet, but they should be used in moderation, so tread carefully.
5. Reduce your intake of processed food. If you can, cut them out completely. Whole foods and meals you cook yourself are always a healthier and safer option for staying in ketosis. Even foods that claim to be healthy or low in carbs and sugar can be full of other ingredients that are affecting your ketone production.
6. Make sure you’re eating the right amount. Eating too little can slow down your metabolism and make fat burning come to a crawl. At the same time, make sure you aren’t eating too much, either. It’s hard to eat too many calories when you’re on the keto diet, since it’s so filling, but as you lose more and more weight this could be a possibility. Recalculate the amount of calories you need and make sure there’s a deficit! You shouldn’t be eating more than you burn.
7. Adjust your macros. Perhaps the ratio of your carb, protein, and fat intake is off and causing your body to be removed from the state of ketosis. Look over your daily meals and reduce any extra carbs you might be eating. If you’re sure your carb count is very low already, decrease your protein consumption instead.
Eating too much protein can cause the protein to be broken down into glucose, once again kicking you out of ketosis. If the decrease in carbs and proteins makes you feel hungrier or gives you too much of a calorie deficit, then up your fat intake.
8. Stay hydrated. Carbs cause water retention, so eating less carbs means you are likely to be dehydrated if you aren’t drinking enough water. This can also lead to constipation and a host of other health problems. Make sure you’re drinking at least a gallon of water every day, especially if you’re just starting ketosis, and even more so if you work out alongside your diet.
9. Give intermittent fasting a try. Intermittent fasting is when you only eat during certain periods of the day and do not eat for the remainder of them. If you have a tendency to snack late at night or have dinner after dark, then this might be a good option for you.
It is important to remember that every person’s body is different. While there may be a general timeline that most people can expect to follow when on a keto diet, the fact remains that results will differ among different people.
If you compare yourself to your friends or family who are also on the keto diet and beat yourself up for having different results, you won’t get anywhere! Your body is unique, processes things in its own way, and should be allowed to progress in its own time.
The keto diet, when done correctly, will definitely guarantee results. You will lose fat, lose weight, feel better than you ever have, and look your best – but you can’t rush it or force it to happen faster than it naturally will.
All good diets are acts of patience, even the keto diet – which is already a diet that burns fat and causes weight loss extremely quickly! It might not even be inaccurate to say that it’s the fasted safe, healthy way to lose weight.
Don’t Stress Over the Scale
While on a diet, it can be easy to focus only on the numbers on the scale. If at some point, you notice those numbers starting to go up, don’t fear!
If you are working out alongside your keto diet, you may begin to gain overall body weight as you progress further in your diet. This is not because of fat, but because you’re building muscle and increasing your muscle mass, and muscle is twice as heavy as fat.
So it’s not all about your weight exactly. Pay attention to how your clothes fit and how your appearance is changing in the mirror. Measure your waist or hips, or use a skinfold measurement to measure your body fat as you go.
The longer you’re on the keto diet, the more likely you are to lose inches instead of fat and gain lean muscle.
Sometimes, it can be easy to focus only on your body’s size when dieting. But the keto diet isn’t just meant to help you shed weight, it’s meant to make you healthier overall.
Try not to only concentrate on your weight; instead, take some time to notice other benefits that the keto diet is giving you!
You may begin to notice increased energy and better mental focus, or you might realize that you don’t get sick as often as you used to.
You may also feel less cravings, have less pimples and reduced inflammation, and find that your hair, skin, and nails appear healthier.
While weight is a decent indication of overall health to a certain extent, there is more to health and happiness than your weight and the size of your body.
The keto diet is designed to make you a healthier person with more resistance to diseases and better performance. Pay attention to all the subtle but sure improvements happening to you overall and give yourself credit for sticking to the diet that is making them happen!