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How Much Weight Can You Lose on Keto (and How Fast)?

Aug 19th, 2022

Weight loss is one of the most common goals of the ketogenic diet. If youre using keto to drop pounds, youre probably wondering how quickly you can expect to see keto diet results.

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Since everyone is different, its hard to get an exact answer, but this article will cover the average weight loss rate for most keto dieters, tips for successfully losing weight on keto, and how to avoid common weight loss mistakes.

Everyones body is different, which means the weight loss rate for each person is different too. Your individual keto diet results can vary depending on four main factors.

Are you overweight? Whats your energy level? Do you have thyroid problems? Do you have insulin resistance or other blood sugar issues? What is your metabolic state?

Your overall health determines how fast you lose weight. For instance, if you have any hormonal or metabolic issues, the process might be slower than expected. Thats OK.

How much body fat do you have to lose? Whats your muscle mass? Whats your BMI (body weight to height ratio)? If you have a lot of excess weight youll likely experience more and faster weight loss in the beginning.

Your exercise and eating habits make or break your weight loss efforts. What does your keto meal planlook like? Are you eating clean keto foods like coconut oil, avocado, and MCT oil, or do you choose high-fat junk foods like processed meats? Are you watching out for hidden carbs? Are you exercising? The energy you spend on a daily basis and your way of eating impact how efficiently your body burns fat.

Your body needs time to become fat-adapted, and the time it takes to get there depends on your metabolism. For instance, if youre coming off a standard American diet (SAD), and your adult body has never run on ketones before, your adaptation period might take a little longer. Youll lose weight when your body is in a state of ketosis.

The key to keto diet results is consistency. That means eating keto-friendly foodsincluding healthy fats, veggies, and quality meats. Treat the keto diet as what it is not simply a diet plan, but a lifestyle and metabolic shift in your health.

Before you embark on your keto weight loss journey, its important to get the basics right.

Some people think shifting from the high-carb standard American diet into a paleo or low-carb diet is enough to enter ketosis. But this isnt always the case. Its important to make sure youre running on ketones instead of carbs. Otherwise, youre not going to burn fat or lose weight.

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Use the keto calculatorto get your personal keto macros. Having a nutritional target based on your body composition will make it a lot easier to enter and remain in ketosis (and lose weight). It might seem like a lot of work to track your macros, but once you get an idea of how many grams of carbs, proteins, and fats are in the foods you eat most often, it will start to become second nature.

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Adequate protein should be eaten on a ketogenic diet. For most people, it is undesirable to lose muscle mass. Set this ratio at a minimum of .8g/lb of lean body mass. Increase the ratio based on your strength goals and exercise demands.

It is highly recommended that on a ketogenic diet, you keep your carb intake to 5% or less of total calories. This works out to be an average of 30g net carbs a day.

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--Protein (g)

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Worried that this is too much protein? Most keto macro calculators will tell you that your protein needs to be only 10-15% of your total calories. We dont agree. Check out the video below by our founder Dr. Anthony Gustin to understand why he made this macro calculator with higher than most protein recommendations:

Getting into ketosisusually takes anywhere between 2-7 days. It all depends on your specific body and metabolic state. Dont rush this step if you want to avoid the keto fluor any other potential adverse effects. Women especially should allow time to get into ketosis to avoid over-stressing your system.

Testing your ketone levelsis the best way to track if youre in ketosis or not, at least in the beginning. The most accurate tool is a bloodketone meter. If your levels remain above 0.5 mol/L, then youre in nutritional ketosis. A less expensive option is to use urine test strips.

The quality of your food matters, not just your macros. Sure, you can stay in ketosis by eating processed cheese singles and ham slices, but thats not going to nourish you in the best way possible. Focus on quality keto foodslike avocado oil, fresh leafy greens, wild fish, and grass-fed beef instead.

Youll lose pounds faster if you increase your daily physical activity. Keep in mind you dont have to go to the gym 6 times a week or jog every morning just move more in your everyday life.

For instance, take a short 2-minute break from sitting in your chair every hour, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk during your errands if possible, get a standing desk, or take phone calls standing up and pacing around. These small calorie-burning movements add up at the end of the day.

As you know by now, not everyone loses weight at the same rate. But below is a general outline of what people typically lose when following the keto diet.

In the first week of the keto diet, many people see a very quick drop in weight anywhere from a few pounds to as much as 10. Thats because when you lower your carb intake, your body releases a lot of water weight (not fat).

Why does this happen?

Carbs need water to stay in your body. When your body doesnt use glucose immediately, it stores it as glycogen in your muscles and glycogen binds to water. Each gram of glycogen is stored with 2to 3 grams of water[*].

When you first switch to keto, your body will burn all the glycogen reserves first before using fat. Once it runs out of glycogen, the water that was needed to store it gets eliminated. Thats why the number on your scale changes so drastically in the first week of the keto diet.

While this isnt fat loss, its a sign that your body is working its way into ketosis: fat-burning mode. This rapid water loss may also lead to dehydration and constipation, so drink more water than you normally would each day to keep things moving.

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After a week or two, weight loss will usually happen at a slower, more steady pace. This is also the time when youre getting fat-adaptedas your body switches from burning carbs to burning fat, which means youll actually be losing fat now.

A safe average loss is around one to two pounds (0.5-1 kg) per week.

Heres what studies say about losing weight on the ketogenic diet:

Weight loss varies depending on how long youre on the keto diet, how much weight you have to lose, and your health condition. People seem to lose the most fat during the first 2-3 months of the keto diet, although you can continue losing weight as long as you follow the diet.

As you get closer to your goal weight, weight loss slows down. As your weight decreases, your total daily caloric needs also decrease. So even if you continue on a deficit of calories to lose weight, it will now make a smaller difference.

You might have some weeks where it seems you havent lost anything, then youll 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 youre still in ketosisand give your body time to do its thing.

One study found that after one year on the keto diet, men and women between 30-69 years who weighed between 90-100 kg lost a total of 14 kg (30.8 pounds).[*]

However, most of that weight was lost in the early stages of keto. They:

This means the keto diet is effective for fast and sustained fat loss. Youll see the biggest changes if you stick with it for a few months, and you wont gain the weight back if you stick with it for the long-term.

If you feel like youre going through a weight loss plateauafter sticking with the keto diet for a few months, your habits or food choices could be hindering your progress. Below are common weight loss mistakes and what to do about them.

This one may seem obvious, but its common to exit ketosis without realizing it. This is why tracking your ketone levels is crucial. One of the biggest reasons people dont see keto diet results is because theyre not in ketosis.

What to do:

Some of the foods you eat can have more carbs than you realize. These hidden carbs can put you over your daily carb limit and bust your weight loss efforts.

What to do:

You dont have to be lactose- or casein-intolerant to have a problem with dairy. It can impede weight loss even if youre digesting it with ease. Some dairy like yogurt and whey protein may elevate insulin levels and kick you out of ketosis. Figure out which camp youre in.

What to do:

Although its harder to overeat on a high-fat (and more filling) keto diet, its still possible to eat more calories than you need. If you dont stay at a calorie deficit, you wont lose weight.

What to do:

Those who have yo-yo dieted a lot in the past might also need to give their bodies time to recover from damage. This might mean allowing your body to heal while focusing on healthy keto nutrition.

When going keto, its 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:

Although losing weight is a good indicator of your progress, remember that its not all about the number on the scale. In fact, many keto dieters say they noticed differences in the mirror more than on the scale.

If youre weight lifting at the same time, you might be replacing fat loss with muscle gain. This might not move the scale much, but itll show up on your body.

The ketogenic diet can help you lose weight and improve your overall health, so stick with it and dont be afraid to try new keto hacks as needed. Track what you eat, stick within your keto macros, and test your ketone levels frequently to make sure youre staying in ketosis. Most of all, give your body time to respond to the great changes youre making. Soon enough youll have the keto diet results you want.

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How Much Weight Can You Lose on Keto (and How Fast)?

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