Everyone loses weight at different rates, but we can share that most report losing a significant amount of weight during their first week on a ketogenic diet and consistently after that.
Several factors contribute to weight loss on keto. From age and gender to a person's general health or activity level, there are many variables.
We'll unpack some of the factors that primarily contribute to weight-loss rates on a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet below.
What is the Recommended Weight Loss on Keto?
As we mentioned, everyone loses weight at varying rates on a ketogenic diet, but here are some general frameworks observed by many on a low-carb, high-fat diet, as a reference.
First Week: Fast Water Weight Loss (2-10 pounds)
Observing a significant weight loss during the first week of any diet is encouraging. And it's not at all uncommon to hear someone mention looser clothes or a loss on the scale after just a week on keto, pretty amazing!
For those of us desperate to release some excess weight, it can be a potent mental boost to see the scale drop anywhere from two to 10 pounds during their first week on a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet.
The good news is that your LBD will fit better than it has in a while, but note that this initial, although welcomed, weight loss is mainly a release of water weight.
Why might you ask? Well, when we steer clear of the dinner bread rolls out at restaurants or in the daily reality of a mixed dietary household and replace carbs with fats, our bodies release more fluid (or water weight) than usual.
In addition to an increased release of water weight, the body loses increased amounts of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, as well.
Fortunately, we can support our hydration and nutritional needs while eliminating the unnecessary carbs and sugars effortlessly by drinking lots of fluids and consuming foods rich in electrolytes, like pure water, coconut water, or bone broth, respectively.
Furthermore, once we remove carbohydrates and refined sugars from our diets, several amazing things happen.
Our bodies convert to burning fat and ketones for fuel in the absence of high levels of sugar in the body, which triggers the metabolic state of nutritional ketosis.
Take this initial period to become acclimated with the myriad of food substitutes you can use to mimic, if not improve, some of your favorite high-carb dishes. You won’t even miss the old versions once you get the hang of it!
Short/Medium-Term: Steadier Weight Loss (1-2 pounds per week)
Once your body has released a significant amount of water weight during phase one of the ketogenic protocol, the weight loss may start to slow slightly; but it should still continue to decline at a steady pace.
Although the first period on keto and the significant reduction on the scale may make you feel excited and encouraged, don't fret during this more mature time during your keto journey as your body becomes fat-adapted in this stage.
Plus, since the body shifts from burning glucose to using fat and ketones for fuel in the short-to-medium phase—weight loss remains effortless, virtually on auto-pilot.
Expect to lose, on average, one to two pounds per week in this phase, which usually starts a few weeks into fasting from carbs and sugar.
Long-Term: Slower Weight Loss
You may have experienced yourself or heard from a friend that it is always most difficult to lose the last 10 pounds approaching your goal weight, and that's not just a figment of your imagination; it's a very common occurrence.
Also, as your weight decreases, your caloric needs change. Meal choices that you've eaten so far to lose weight without fail, in the same portions you're used to, may no longer provide success on the scale.
Be mindful of how foods affect your results each week and adjust your program accordingly. Some weeks may show your body at the same weight on the scale, which can be a bit frustrating.
However, weighing days down the road may show a loss of several pounds—stay consistent and patient, and focus on lost inches or non-scale victories during these times.
It may be easier said than done, but try not to get too caught up in the numbers on the scale and measure success by the way you feel and how your clothes fit.
Trust and stick with the process, and, in most cases, you will eventually show progress again. However, keep in mind that the following factors may contribute to your rate of weight loss:
Again, many factors will determine your weight loss and experience on keto. Your activity level, energy level, and susceptibility to insulin resistance, all directly impact weight loss.
In addition to metabolic function, overall hormonal health can directly impact weight-loss rates: informing the body to either store or release fat.
Your present weight, the overall amount of weight you'd like to lose, and factors like your muscle mass and BMI (body weight to height ratio) will all play a significant role in rates of weight loss on keto.
If you've eaten a Western Diet until now, your body likely uses sugar (glucose) as fuel. Once the body's glycogen stores deplete, by abstaining from carbs and refined sugars, the body is brilliant enough to seek an alternative, premium, source of energy: fat.
You have fat and ketone bodies in abundance in your system when in metabolic ketosis, and, luckily, this nutritional state provides many health benefits.
Fat-adaptation converts your body into a fat-burning machine while effortlessly suppressing the appetite to aid in continuous weight loss—suddenly your body is working for you in the battle of the bulge!
Plus, fat and ketones are a premium form of energy, preferred by the system, and perfect to sharpen the mind while providing a boost of energy to the body.
Eating a low-carb diet is excellent, in many variations, to achieve several goals. However, our daily lifestyle choices play a huge role in our success on a ketogenic diet.
Our daily habits range from whether we eat pasture-raised eggs and sugar-free bacon, along with an MCT-infused coffee for breakfast or scarf down less nutrient-dense low-carb packaged breakfast foods straight out of the microwave.
Also, consider your level of activity each day. Are you a powerlifter or runner, or are you someone who sits at a desk most of the time, living a more sedentary life?
Remember, diet and activity level will mostly dictate your success on keto, in addition to eliminating carbs and refined sugars, of course. Consider your habits and act with intention daily.
Calculate Your Keto Macros for Weight Loss
It's impossible to hit an unidentified target. Working toward a broad goal will likely produce mediocre results.
Your best bet to achieve specific results is to eat based on a personalized macronutrient profile. Your profile would include the ideal number of calories, fat, protein, and fat to eat every day.
Take a free online quiz to determine your ideal keto macros, based on your current health status and desired goals, and adjust your plan as you go.
Again, everyone's body composition varies, so having personalized macro information is essential to achieving targeted results.
Strictly tracking macros when starting keto may be helpful for some, while others enjoy eating healthy fats until satiated and living intuitively; do whatever works best for you.
But, honestly, as the body becomes fat-adapted, you will notice a change in your hunger levels. Many people mention forgetting to eat or being able to fast with ease due to a naturally suppressed appetite while in ketosis.
What is the Whoosh Effect?
Just the mention of this frustrating element of weight loss evokes a hearty collective sigh, but for clarity and encouragement, we'll touch on it.
Have you ever been losing fat consistently for weeks and floating on a victory cloud lined with on-scale and non-scale victories, and then crickets?
Suddenly all the results you witnessed week after week slow or stall completely, even though your routine hasn't changed.
Then, suddenly, you notice a significant loss on the scale again. No worries, as annoying as it can be, the whoosh effect is normal.
As the body gets acclimated to food targets and activity types it can become complacent. So, you may need to shake things up in your routine a bit to get your juices flowing again.
Stick with keto, remain committed to the protocol through the slower weight-loss periods, and you will certainly reach your goals in the long-term.
Why Did I Stop Losing Weight on Keto?
Keto is a rich and satisfying diet, and many find weight-loss success when living the low-carb, high-fat lifestyle. However, some experience weight loss for a while and then hit a plateau but can't figure out why.
Here are some mistakes you may be making that can cause a weight-loss stall on a ketogenic diet:
Mistake #1: Not Being In Ketosis
You may have remained very strict about clocking ketones after each meal when starting keto and then slacked a bit as the weight seemed to melt away effortlessly, but are you consistently maintaining ketosis and steady weight loss, now?
It's easy to get a little too confident after following keto for a while. Soon you may notice that the results of eating a little extra keto cake or some cheese here and there can add up on the scale.
Even eating a few too many low-glycemic fruits or veggies, or other packaged keto goodies can impact our carb macros and compromise progress.
Return to the basics and eat healthy fats, dark leafy greens, and premium protein sources, and little else for a while, to reset your body and push your metabolism toward nutritional ketosis.
Also, stay hydrated, replenish electrolytes often, and get adequate rest daily.
What to do:
- Continue tracking your ketones. A fantastic way to keep your ketone levels up is supplementing with exogenous ketones, like Keto Activate. Just putting a scoop in your favorite drink can set you back into ketosis quickly—it’s simple and delicious.
- Decrease carb intake. Review your daily meal plan and make sure you aren’t consuming too many carbs.
- Bump up your fat intake. Gravitate toward healthy fat when selecting each meal or snack. Remember, consuming more fat can effortlessly suppress your appetite and subsequently reduce your carb, protein, and overall caloric intake.
Mistake #2: Not Looking Out For Hidden Carbs
Would you believe some varieties of bacon contain forms of sugar (a.k.a. carbs), and you could be eating them with abandon thinking otherwise.
Beware, some of the foods you eat can have more carbs than you realize, and these hidden carbs can put you over your daily macro limit and derail your weight loss efforts.
What to do:
- Eliminate processed foods. These often contain a lot of sneaky carbs, even those branded as “healthy.” Stick to whole foods instead and save packaged or processed foods for occasional treats.
- Eliminate artificial sweeteners. Manufactured artificial sweeteners (e.g., Splenda, Equal, etc.) can elevate insulin levels and compromise ketosis. Plus, they contain a lot of junk ingredients, best avoided in your diet.
- If your sweet tooth is rising and you genuinely want a confectionary item, opt for those that use erythritol, monk fruit, stevia, or these other excellent keto sweeteners.
- Beware of hidden carbs. This article can help you look for any hidden carbs in your diet.
Mistake #3: Not Checking How Your Body Reacts to Dairy
We know it's delicious in an array of cheeses and luscious heavy cream, but too much or any dairy for some, can, unfortunately, hinder weight loss.
Also, you don’t have to be lactose-or-casein intolerant to have a problem with dairy. It can impede weight loss even if you’re digesting it with ease.
Some dairy—like yogurt (watch out for sugar content) and cheese—may elevate caloric intake to the point of creating a surplus, and subsequently zero weight loss.
What to do:
- Measure your ketone levels. Check before and after eating dairy to determine how your body reacts.
- Opt for high-quality dairy. Seek out organic or pasture-raised dairy products to avoid unwanted toxins or antibiotics.
Mistake #4: Eating Too Many Calories
Eating a high-fat diet makes overeating kind of challenging because we often feel satisfied, quickly, and for long periods.
However, despite the benefit of appetite suppression most notice on keto, it’s still possible to eat more calories than you need.
And make no mistake: If you don’t stay at a caloric deficit, you won’t lose weight.
What to do:
Track your calories. It's easy to become overly confident once you eat intuitively, but if the scale stalls, you may want to use a keto calculator, food scale, and food tracker to tighten the reigns until you’re back on track.
Eat fewer nuts. Although some nuts are keto-friendly, they’re also high in calories, and it's easy to blow your macros pretty fast without a few handfuls of these seductive, savory, pods. Keep track of your intake when snacking. Learn more about which nuts are best on keto here.
- Try intermittent fasting. Excluding eating to specified periods—which is the basis of intermittent fasting—can aid in faster weight loss and can quickly curb overeating. By fasting, you’ll find it almost effortless to stay in a caloric deficit and will notice a drastic reduction in a food craving.
Don’t go, overboard. Make sure you aren’t eating too few calories. While a caloric deficit is necessary to release body fat, too little food can cause metabolic dysfunction and can do more harm than good, slowing your metabolism and triggering the body to store rather than release fat.
Is There a Keto Meal Plan for Weight Loss?
There are many keto meal plans on the market, and not all are equal in quality or depth. However, we at Konscious Keto love the low-carb, high-fat lifestyle and have created personalized plans proven to get results.
We are true believers in the ketogenic lifestyle because we have seen its ability to change thousands of lives, and counting.
So many of the members in our keto community have benefited from our customized meal plans, and we couldn't be more committed to helping more in our circle find the same remarkable success.
Take a look at our 30-second quiz to see which keto meal plan for weight loss is ideal for you. Also, remember to check us out on Facebook, as we'd love to see you within our thriving Konscious Keto community, too.
No One Size Fits All
Weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Everyone's needs are specific to their daily habits and lifestyle. Yet, some standard guidelines that we've shared should help set you on the right track.
Focus on setting out your keto journey with intention. Write down your goals and post them in places where you can see them often.
Also, adopt meal prep as a weekly commitment to ensure you're organized with balanced keto meals all week long. Do whatever it takes to make keto work for you; trust us, it's worth it.
- Ketogenic Diet and Metabolic Therapies. (2016). Oxford Medicine Online. doi: 10.1093/med/9780190497996.001.0001
- Sumithran, P., & Proietto, J. (2008). Ketogenic diets for weight loss: A review of their principles, safety, and efficacy. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 2(1), 1–13. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2007.11.003
- Rubenstein, J. E., & Vining, E. P. G. (2004). Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy and the Ketogenic Diet, 95–102. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59259-808-3_6
- Dupuis, N., & Auvin, S. (2016). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Ketogenic Diet. Oxford Medicine Online. doi: 10.1093/med/9780190497996.003.0017
- Bharucha, B. (2019). Keto is the Hottest Weight Loss Trend this Year! Acta Scientific Nutritional Health, 3(8), 29–30. doi: 10.31080/asnh.2019.03.0362
- Kossoff, E. H., & Freeman, J. M. (2004). The Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy and the Ketogenic Diet, 53–61. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59259-808-3_3