Weight loss is one of the most popular uses of the ketogenic diet these days. If you’re using keto to drop pounds, you might wonder how fast you can expect it to happen. Since everyone is different, it’s hard to get a specific answer, but this article will cover what you can generally expect along with some tips for losing weight on keto.
Weight Loss on Keto: Everyone is Different
Everyone’s body is different, which means weight loss can happen at varying rates depending on your situation. For example, if you have a lot of excess weight to lose, you’ll likely notice faster weight loss in the beginning. Once you reach a lower weight or if you start at a lower weight, the loss might happen at a slower rate.
If you have any hormonal or metabolic issues, the process might be slower than expected. That’s okay, too. The key is to stay consistent and focus on eating healthy keto foods. Treat the keto diet as what it is — not simply a diet, but a lifestyle and metabolic shift in your health.
Now, that being said, what we can tell you is the average results people experience when losing weight on keto.
Average Weight Loss on the Ketogenic Diet
Typically, in the first week of the keto diet people see a very quick drop in weight — anywhere from a few pounds to as much as 10! That’s because keto causes you to initially release a lot of water weight (not fat) from drastically cutting your carb intake.
While this isn’t fat loss, it’s a sign that your body is working its way into ketosis: fat burning mode.
After a week or two, weight loss will happen at a slower and more steady pace. This is also the period of time when you’re getting keto-adapted as your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat. It’s also good because you’ll actually be losing fat now.
A safe, average loss from here is around 1-2 pounds per week. Sometimes this is a little less or more.
As you get closer to your goal weight and overall body weight decreases, weight loss slows down. This is because as your weight decreases, your total caloric needs each day decreases. So, even if you still have a deficit of calories to lose weight, it will now be a smaller difference.
You might have some weeks where it seems you haven’t lost anything, then you’ll weigh a week or two later and be down 3-4 pounds. The key is to stick with it and not get discouraged; just make sure you’re still in ketosis and give your body time to do its thing.
Factors Affecting Keto Weight Loss
The rate of weight loss also depends on other factors. For example, if you exercise while eating keto, that will affect the amount of calories you burn each day.
Also, let’s remember there are some important steps when eating keto:
- Figuring out your macros
- Getting into ketosis (this usually takes anywhere between 2-7 days)
- Testing your ketones regularly and properly to make sure you’re staying in ketosis
- Eating a clean ketogenic diet (and avoiding any hidden carbs)
If you feel like your weight has stalled even after sticking with it or it isn’t happening as fast as it could, there might be some areas you can tweak. Below are some additional factors to consider.
Weight Loss Tips on Keto
Decrease carb intake (or protein). Lack of weight loss could mean you’re not staying in ketosis. Look over what you’re eating daily and make sure you aren’t eating too many carbs. This can easily kick you out of ketosis. The same goes for protein. Even if carb count is low, too much protein can lead to gluconeogenesis where the body turn protein into carbs. This can also kick you out of ketosis.
- Find hidden carbs. There might be certain foods you’re eating that have more carbs than you realize. This article can help you look for any hidden carbs in your diet.
- Increase your fat intake. Make sure each meal and snack is heavy in fat. Increasing your proportion of fat can naturally reduce your carb and protein intake.
- Eliminate dairy. Yogurt, hard cheeses, and whey proteins can elevate insulin levels and kick you out of ketosis. Try going easy on these and seeing how your body responds.
- Eat less nuts. Although nuts can be keto-friendly, they’re not all created equal — and we must be careful not to go crazy on them because they do contain some carbs. Learn more about which nuts are best here.
- Cut out artificial sweeteners. Like dairy, these can raise insulin levels and affect ketosis. Plus, they contain a lot of junk we’re just better off avoiding. If you must use a sweetener, stick with stevia or these top keto sweeteners.
- Check calories. Although it’s harder to overeat on keto due to the filling nature of fats, it’s still possible to eat too many calories on keto. Make sure you’re still staying in a deficit (eating less calories than you burn) each day.
- Drink lots of water. Since carbs cause you to retain water, a lack of carbs can lead to faster dehydration and possibly constipation. To keep things moving properly, stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water each day.
- Eliminate processed foods. Whole foods are always better, and a lot of foods out there might be labelled “low-carb” or “keto” but still be full of junk.
- Try intermittent fasting. Only eating within a certain period of time, which is the basis of intermittent fasting, can help speed up weight loss and reduce overeating at night.
Those who have yoyo dieted a lot in the past might also need to give their bodies time to recover from damage. It might just meaning giving the body time to heal while focusing on healthy keto nutrition.
Also, make sure you aren’t under eating too much. While a deficit is necessary, too little food can actually cause metabolic damage and do more harm than good.
Don’t Discount Other Signs of Progress
When going keto, it’s important to focus on more than just weight loss, even if you have a lot to lose. Overall health should be the goal, so give yourself credit for any and all benefits you notice from the ketogenic diet. That could be:
- Healthier hair, skin, and nails
- More mental clarity
- Reduction in cravings
- More energy throughout the day
- Less inflammation
- Eating a diet that can protect from chronic diseases
- The knowledge that you’re putting health-promoting foods in your body
Although weight is a good indicator of progress and is certainly an important marker of health (to an extent), remember that it’s not all about the number on the scale. In fact, many on the keto diet will say they noticed differences in the mirror more than on the scale.
Try measuring your waist in inches or use a skinfold measurement. If you’re weight lifting at the same time, you might be replacing fat loss with muscle gain. While this might not move the scale much, it’ll show up on your body.
Take Home Message
The ketogenic diet is amazing for losing weight and improving your health, so stick with it and don’t be afraid to make changes as needed. Track what you eat, stick within your keto macros, and test your ketone levels frequently to make sure you’re staying in ketosis. Most of all, give your body time to respond to the great changes you’re making for it.