MIMOSA & MINERVA
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET, ANYWAY?
A ketogenic (or keto) diet is a low carbohydrate pattern of eating that is commonly also high in fat. There are many variations of a keto diet but generally, carbohydrates are restricted to less than 10% of your total caloric intake with fat and protein making up the difference. A typical distribution of the macronutrients (also known as macros) is shown below:
HOW TO START THE KETO DIET?
Now, let's get to the good stuff! It’s an exciting time when you decide to try out the keto diet, but you don’t want to dive in headfirst without any preparation. Beginning a new diet requires having a plan in place to help make your transition into new habits safe and seamless.
Rather than just rushing to the store to stock up on all the cheese and meat you can get your hands on, you’ll want to put a little thought into how you’ll move forward. It’s important to not only have a clear vision of your health goals, but to make sure you also have the tools to attain them. This can mean anything from stocking up on the right groceries or just approaching the diet with a healthy and clear mindset.
If you’re about to start the keto diet, utilize this checklist to make sure you’re adequately prepared to enter the keto world — you’ll thank yourself later!
- SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR A DIETITIAN
Although your best friend may have had tons of luck on the keto diet, everyone’s bodies are different. A doctor can help evaluate your health and ensure that keto is safe for you. Even if the keto diet is right for you, you may have specific nutritional needs, and your doctor can help guide you to make sure those needs are being met and your diet remains balanced.
- DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Whenever you start a new diet, it’s important to have a clear picture of what you’re looking for. Do you want to lose weight, or are you trying to eat less processed foods? Is there a specific health issue you are concerned about, or are you trying to improve your energy levels? Focusing on your goals can not only help guide your choices, but keep you motivated as well.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to the ketogenic diet depending on their gender, age, height, and weight. To successfully participate in the keto diet, you’ll want to count your macros: the exact amount of carbs, fat, and protein you need to reach your goals. Grab a pen and paper and head over to our calculator to get your targets.
Sticking to your diet will prove to be difficult without keeping the right types of food on hand. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here, we’ve put together a grocery list for you to make sure you have everything on hand for success.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LOSE WEIGHT ON KETO?
Results May Vary. Always Consult Your Doctor Before Making Any Diet Changes.
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?
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.
5 TOP KETO WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKES
- NOT IN KETOSIS
As mentioned in the section above on how to get into ketosis, it’s not easy, and a common mistake is simply thinking you are in ketosis when you aren’t. How can this happen and what can you do about it? The likely case is your eating too many carbohydrates, maybe unknowingly.
The best way to be sure is to test your ketone levels (as explained above), or simply follow your macro guide and track religiously.
- NOT EATING ENOUGH
It’s important to remember that the keto diet is not fasting, and if you feel that way then you likely aren’t doing it correctly. If you are used to eating a diet high in carbs, you may struggle to make the mental shift to a diet high in fats and protein. Don’t simply decide not to eat and if you are traveling always make sure you have keto-friendly snacks with you. (Such as our keto mini cookies.)
Also, make sure you know exactly how much you should be eating by using a calculator like the one above, and of course, listen to your body. Our calculator is as accurate as possible, but if you feel weak and hungry, then it’s time to eat something keto-friendly.
- EATING TOO MANY CARBS
Beware everything carb-heavy, but focus on the yummy foods you can eat instead of those you can’t! The mental shift away from a carbohydrate-centered diet can be difficult at first, but do what you can to stick to keto-friendly foods. Always make sure you have keto-friendly snacks on hand, and if you can, try to keep your home free of some of your old carb-loaded favorites while focusing on your new keto-friendly favorites!
- EATING TOO MUCH PROTEIN
If you want to see the maximum keto weight loss results, it’s best to stick with your macro guide. While protein is a necessary macronutrient, if you eat too much you may risk sabotaging your efforts. Track all the food you eat and be aware of where you’re being a little too lax with your macros. While eating too much protein won’t be like eating too many carbs, it still offers your body an alternative source of energy.
- AN UNKNOWN INTOLERANCE
Food intolerances can vary widely. A typical keto-diet includes dairy and if you have an intolerance to dairy, it could mean that adhering to a keto diet might add a little more challenge. Typically symptoms of dairy intolerance include feeling bloated and uncomfortable after each meal, or some even find themselves regularly running to the bathroom. Less often, intolerance to dairy isn’t visible and it simply raises your insulin levels possibly pushing you out of ketosis. If you are concerned that this is you, test your ketone levels and switch to higher fat content quality dairy products and see if that helps.
The keto diet has been seen to not only have great effects for our waistlines but also other aspects of our health, so it’s well worth sticking with the diet to achieve the results you’re looking for. The success of keto weight loss initially lies in tracking your macros, weight, and ketones regularly. While it may seem overwhelming at first, keto diet advocates report that it becomes easy and routine over time and that feeling great and achieving long term weight loss are the biggest motivators there are!
You’ll find keto much easier if you seek out keto-friendly foods and snacks, and we have a great range of alternatives to your carb-heavy favorites and necessities, like cookies and cereal. Learn more about HighKey keto snacks and cookies.
See also: Keto Diet For Beginners