Keto Weight Loss in 5 Easy Steps (+ Real-Life Examples)
CLEARLY the “eat less”, “eat low fat”, and “just eat everything in moderation” diets haven’t worked too well for most people.
So, if you’re still trying to lose weight and keep it off, then maybe it’s time to try something that’s working for tens of thousands of people right now…
The Ketogenic Diet.
But is it all too good to be true?
Yes, we believe Keto is fantastic for weight loss. We’ve just seen it work for way too many people (check out the success stories below). But it’s also not for everyone.
So, in this post, we are giving you the real facts behind all the hype as well as real-life stories of people who have lost a lot of weight on Keto.
PLUS, how to get started on Keto to lose weight in 5 EASY Steps.
Once you’ve started the diet, you can also try these tips and tricks:
Table of Contents – Keto For Weight Loss
Got specific questions? Why not jump straight to that section with our table of contents.
- What is the Ketogenic Diet?
- Keto Weight Loss Success Stories
- The Science Behind Keto
- Who Should Go Keto?
- Who Shouldn’t Go Keto?
- How To Lose Weight On A Keto Diet:
- 5 Steps To Get Started On Keto…The Healthy Way
- Answers To Your Keto Questions:
- How long it will take to lose weight?
- How long should I go keto for?
- What keto foods do I need to eat to lose weight?
- What ketone levels do I need for weight loss
- How do I stick to a Keto diet?
- What if I don’t lose weight?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
THE HISTORY: Originally the Ketogenic diet was created as an effective treatment for epileptic children.
BUT NOW: More and more people are finding that a Ketogenic diet has tons of benefits, including:
- a healthy way to lose weight,
- control blood sugar levels,
- improve your brain function, and potentially even
- reverse a myriad of health conditions.
How does keto do this?
The Keto diet puts your body into a powerful fat-burning metabolic state called nutritional ketosis.
NUTRITIONAL KETOSIS: In nutritional ketosis, your body generally uses very few carbohydrates for energy. Instead, it switches to using ketones (which are produced from the breakdown of fats).
According to Dr. Stephen Phinney, M.D., PhD. from Virta Health, “Carbohydrates are an energy source, but they’re not the only one your body can use. When there’s very little carbohydrate in your diet, your body has a natural and readily available option – nutritional ketosis. And what it will use is fat—the fat in the foods you eat as well as your own stored body fat.”
That’s why the keto diet is often called a fat-burning diet…
You can literally be burning your own body fat for energy!
(It’s still unclear whether ketosis is the magical factor that makes a Keto diet so effective for weight-loss, but whatever it is, it seems to work!)
So, how do we get into this nutritional ketosis state?
You can get into nutritional ketosis by eating fewer carbohydrates and more fat.
CARBOHYDRATES: Specifically, you eat under 25 grams of net carbohydrates per day, then your body will likely start using fat as an energy source instead.
FATS AND PROTEINS: To make up for the decrease in carbohydrates that you’ll be eating on a Keto diet, you eat more healthy fats and good proteins on keto as well.
But just how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates should you eat on keto?
KETO MACROS CALCULATOR: This is a very popular question, and there’s no perfect answer. To get an idea, please use our Keto Calculator here.
The answer will depend on various factors including:
- Your current weight.
- What percentage of your body weight is fat.
- How much you move and exercise per day.
- What type of exercise you do.
But please remember that this is just a guide. Your body is a complicated machine and will require tweaking!
In particular, many people find they lose weight even when they eat much higher amounts of protein (and lower amounts of fat) than might be suggested.
BASICS OF KETO
The Ketogenic Diet is a low carb, high fat diet that helps to put your body into nutritional ketosis. This state can help your body burn more fat.
Eat Fat. Lose Fat. Too Good To Be True?
Check out these inspiring Keto weight loss stories that people have shared:
Keto Weight Loss Success Stories
You’ve probably seen some the remarkable weight loss stories out there – here are a few more examples from Craig and the community at ruled.me:
1. Maegan Rohrbach says:
“In under 2 months I had lost 20 pounds, gotten rid of my sugar cravings, quit falling asleep in class, began working out again, and dropped my depression medication.”
2. Mandy and Mike Gregor went keto together, losing 62 lbs and 30 lbs:
“We’ve never felt better, and we’ll never look back.”
3. Ben is using keto for more than just weight loss:
“I lost 115 pounds in 11 months and have kept it off. Now I am doing keto again to help me reach my athletic goals.”
4. Wim and Saïda Tilburgs from the Netherlands:
“Wim lost 40 kg (88 lb) and reversed all the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Along the way, he solved most of the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)…Saïda lost 20 kg (44 lb) and reversed all her symptoms of painful osteoarthritis and inflammation.”
And we’ve got some more success stories here and here.
WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS ON KETO
Anecdotally, a lot of people have lost a lot weight using a Keto approach.
The Science Behind Keto Weight Loss
Ready for some science to back this up?
Ok, here are some of the scientific studies…(remember, there are limited studies on Keto as it’s still pretty new)
Low-carb diets are good for weight loss
A study comparing two weight loss diets found the group who ate a modified low-carb diet (low in carbs but higher in protein/fat) saw greater weight loss. (1)
In fact you could lose up to twice as much weight!
When 53 women spent 6 months following either a low-carb or a low-fat diet, the low-carb group lost twice as much weight on average. (2)
A keto diet makes you more likely to lose belly fat
Exactly why this is the case is unclear, but this was the conclusion of a study which followed participants on a ketogenic diet versus those on a traditional low-fat diet. (3)
You don’t just lose more weight, you also feel less hungry while on Keto
And that’s why Keto is more sustainable than many diets. One study compared women who ate a low-carb/high-fat diet with a similar group on a high-carb/low-fat diet, and found greater weight loss and lower reported hunger levels in the low-carb group. (4)
Registered Dietitian Abbey Sharp, RD notes, “The keto diet also has an impact on our hormonal levels. Many studies have looked at whether the state of ketosis suppresses our appetite through the actions of leptin and ghrelin. A 2013 study found that after patients lost weight on a keto diet, our hunger hormone (ghrelin) was altered and suppressed. A systematic review also concluded that the state of ketosis appears to be a plausible explanation for the suppression of appetite.” Listen to our podcast with Jimmy and Christine Moore about real food keto.
KETO SCIENTIFIC STUDIES
It’s unclear scientifically what makes Keto great for weight loss (whether it’s ketosis, low carb, high fat, or high protein).
But there’s are definitely signs from the scientific community that it works well whatever the exact mechanism is.
Who Should Go On A Keto Diet?
IF THIS IS YOU: If one of the descriptions on this list sounds like you, then Keto is likely a fantastic diet for you to try to help you lose weight.
As with any diet we write about, we recommend you consult with your medical practitioner before starting it as we’re not doctors or nutritionists. We just love learning about the science and sharing what we learn with you.
- YOU WANT TO OPTIMIZE YOUR BODY AND HEALTH: You’re doing pretty well health-wise and just want to lose some fat, increase your energy levels, and have clearer, more focused thinking. These are all some of the benefits you’ll see on the keto diet and they make it worth a try even if you’re already healthy.
- YOU WANT TO GET RID OF SUGAR CRAVINGS: You’re constantly craving sweet things or struggling with a sugar addiction. If you take a look at some of the success stories in the previous section, you’ll see that keto is especially effective for eliminating sugar cravings. For example, Mikaela states out that: “it is the only way of eating that I find actually keep my craving and sugar addiction under control.”
- YOU WANT TO STABILIZE BLOOD SUGAR: You have blood sugar issues and you need a diet that will help you get your blood sugar under control. The keto diet is great for stabilizing blood sugar levels, as avoiding carbohydrates means you also avoid the blood sugar spikes and drops caused by them.
- YOU WANT TO HEAL OTHER HEALTH CONDITIONS: Studies have shown that the keto diet can reduce risk factors for heart disease by: lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol (5), decreasing your triglyceride levels (6), and effectively treating metabolic syndrome (7). Keto is also still used as an effective treatment for epilepsy (8). And there’s research into using Keto to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. (9, 10, 11)
- YOU WANT TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE: A healthy Keto diet (yep, you can also do Keto unhealthily!) can be a great way to improve your overall health. It can boost your nutrient intake (i.e., those essential vitamins and minerals) as well as give you the energy and mental motivation to start moving and exercising and enjoying life more.
WHO KETO IS GREAT FOR
Keto is a great weight loss diet for you if you’re looking to generally improve your health, get rid of sugar cravings, and stabilize blood sugars.
Keto Isn’t For You If…
Keto is definitely not for everyone!
We’ve listed a few of the main scenarios when you should definitely watch out before trying Keto.
- You’re suffering from serious health issues or autoimmune conditions, as you’ll want to get these treated and taken care of first before attempting the diet. Keto can potentially be an additional stress on your body that it just doesn’t need right now.
- You’re on medication for diabetes (e.g., insulin) which affects your blood sugar levels. You’ll run into problems because keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels, too. So you’ll need to work with a doctor to adjust your insulin dose accordingly if you plan on trying keto.
- You’re taking medication to lower your blood pressure as this could put you at risk of lowering your blood pressure too much. That’s because keto can often help reduce high blood pressure the natural way – so you’ll need to ask your physician’s advice first.
- You’re currently breastfeeding which means you’ll be losing sugar via your milk (up to 30g per day). So you might need to eat a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
- You’ve given keto a try and still don’t feel great after a month. Try adding more carbs into your diet and see if you feel better. Even though it’s not backed up by science, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that some people just do better on a higher carb diet, particularly women.
- You’re worried about thyroid/adrenal issues. There’s no clear evidence either way that Keto impacts your thyroid or adrenals, especially if you’re eating enough calories. Dr. Tommy Wood, M.D., PhD says, “Much of the data used to support the idea that the ketogenic diet causes thyroid/adrenal issues come from studies where people are in a calorie deficit. If you’re on a ketogenic diet and eating enough calories, then this problem often goes away.” However, if you’re concerned, he suggests that it’s best to track your symptoms (mood, energy) and thyroid levels (e.g., basic blood tests) and pay attention to how your body feels. Consistently being colder in the morning while on Keto can be a sign that you should tweak your diet.
WHO KETO ISN’T FOR
It’s important to use Keto correctly and to notice how you’re feeling on Keto. In particular, be aware of any medications you’re on that could be affecting you.
How To Lose Weight On A Keto Diet:
Let start by telling you that Keto is NOT easy. So, if you’re looking for a magic pill to shrink your body, then this is not it!
I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating low carb junk food on a Keto diet. Please please don’t do this!
Don’t just eat low-carb bread, pizza, and sugar-free desserts! That way you’ll not only help yourself look and feel better as well as drop clothes sizes, but you’ll actually make a huge difference to your health long-term.
We know it can be daunting starting a new diet, so here are 5 steps to get you started the HEALTHY WAY.
5 Steps To Get Started On Keto…The Healthy Way
STEP 1: Start Preparing Now
Don’t put your health off.
TAKE A SMALL ACTION RIGHT NOW: Do something today to move forward, even if it’s just downloading our free Keto Food List here.
It’s best to start Keto during a less stressful week as it does take a bit of preparation (both mentally and around your home).
If this week isn’t ideal, then schedule a date in your calendar right now for when you’ll start.
STEP 2: Clear Out Your Fridge And Pantry.
Don’t keep tempting foods lying around.
It will trip you up on those bad days. You won’t always feel motivated to stick to Keto, so make it easier for yourself to succeed.
STEP 3: Restock With Keto Foods.
Ensuring you have plenty of healthy Keto foods around is essential. Here are some of the basic categories:
- Green leafy vegetables,
- Seafood and fish,
- All meats,
- Health fats (e.g., coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, tallow, lard)
- Some nuts and seeds,
- Some fruits like avocados and berries.
STEP 4: Be Prepared For Keto Flu
If you’ve been eating a lot of sugary and high-carb foods, then you’ll probably experience Keto Flu.
WHAT IS KETO FLU? As your body adjusts to burning fat instead of sugar, you’ll initially feel dizzy, hungry, tired, and may even have headaches.
Certified Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach Lori Ballan says, “These symptoms are indications that the body is getting rid of carbohydrates from the body, thus the name, Keto Flu. This can also be caused by not enough electrolytes in the system (Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium).”
- Eat Slightly More Fats. But don’t go overboard if you’re unused to eating fats as your body may have a hard time digesting it at first.
- Eat More Calories. It’s easy to cut out all your regular high-carb foods and not replace it with anything. Add in more leafy green vegetables (try a green veggie smoothie), eggs, fatty fish (like salmon, mackeral, and sardines), and fatty meats (like oxtail, brisket, bacon, ribeye steaks).
- Add in Some Clean Carbs. Add in a small amount of root vegetables (like carrots and sweet potatoes) to help with your transition.
- Make Sure You Get Plenty of Salts. It’s easy for your sodium and potassium intake to drop too much on Keto, so make sure you add salt to your food and eat plenty of foods high in potassium like avocados and dark leafy greens. More suggestions here.
- Drink More Water. Dehydration can often cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue. So make sure you keep hydrated.
- Exercise (If Possible). Exercise when you’re feeling the symptoms of Keto Flu may seem like a horrific idea. But, it can help your body become more metabolically flexible and therefore transition from a sugar burner to a fat burner faster. Obviously, only exercise if it’s safe for you to do so.
You can also consider supplementing with a ketone supplement to give your body the energy it needs while it adapts to burning fat for fuel.
STEP 5: Have A Support Group
It can be tough going it alone. Get your family and friends on board so you can help support each other.
JOIN FB KETO SUPPORT GROUPS. Or join one of the many Keto facebook groups, like our new one, Real Food Keto Weight Loss Facebook Group here. We’ll be launching regular free 7-day Get Into Ketosis Challenges soon…
JOIN KETO FORUMS. Keto forums on reddit or our new one at the Keto Summit here are great places to ask questions and share your knowledge.
Have some burning questions right now? Check out the FAQs section below where we’ve already answered some of your most commonly asked questions.
Answers To Common Keto Questions:
QUESTION 1: How long before I see results on keto?
It honestly varies from person to person.
Results don’t happen overnight and you’ll have to be a little patient in the beginning.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. TRANSITION TIME. It can take two weeks (and sometimes longer) for your body to adapt to burning fat instead of burning sugar, and during this time you might experience “keto flu” (see the section about for 6 tips to get over keto flu).
While keto flu feels uncomfortable (symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and nausea), it’s often a sign that your body was highly dependent on sugar/carbohydrates and is now becoming keto-adapted.
2. WEIGHT FLUCTUATIONS. You might see short term fluctuations in weight due to water retention, particularly if you’re a woman (yep, it’s hormone-related). So don’t stress out if you see your weight go up a few pounds even. For more on being a thriving woman, listen to podcast episode 022.
3. LONG TERM SUCCESS. Most people who stick with the diet long-term see meaningful results as all those success stories above have demonstrated. By making a commitment to stick with the diet for at least a month you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of seeing success. Of course, many people see results after just a week or two, but we just don’t want you to stress out if you’re not seeing results quite so quickly.
QUESTION 2: How long should I go keto for?
There has been nothing to indicate that being in ketosis long term is harmful and many people swear by it long term as a great way to live. But the science on this is young still…unless you consider the possibility that people in prehistoric times might have been pretty ketogenic considering they ate mostly a diet of meat (including all the organs and probably bone marrow, which are very fatty) and some vegetables.
However, as Chris Kelly pointed out on a webinar, it’s likely we’ll never have accurate data on this point since you can’t really perform a study where you put a group of people on a ketogenic diet for their entire life and make sure they don’t eat anything else.
QUESTION 3: What foods should I eat to lose weight on keto?
We highly recommend doing keto the healthy way as it’ll help you lower inflammatory, heal deficiencies, and lose weight and keep it off.
YOU SHOULD EAT THESE FOODS ON KETO:
- Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale, arugula),
- Fish (e.g., sardines, salmon, cod, mackerel),
- Other seafood (e.g., oysters, clams, mussels),
- Organ meats (e.g., liver, bone marrow, heart),
- Various meats (e.g., beef, chicken, lamb),
- Healthy fats (e.g., olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, tallow, lard, coconut oil and MCT oil).
- Some fruits (e.g., berries, coconut, avocados, olives), and
- A small amount of nuts and seeds.
YOU SHOULD AVOID THESE FOODS ON KETO:
- Grains (e.g., wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice),
- Pseudo-grains (e.g., amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa),
- Starchy vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes, potatoes),
- Sugary fruits (e.g., bananas, pineapples, mangoes),
- Dried fruits (e.g., dates, raisins, prunes),
- Seed oils (e.g., canola oil, sunflower oil),
- Artificial sweeteners and all junk processed foods (e.g., diet sodas, pizza, candies, bread, cakes, cookies), and
- Dairy products (e.g., cheese, milk, yogurt).
For more details about what foods are keto and what foods are not keto, check out our Keto Diet Food List here.
QUESTION 4: Do I need to measure my ketone levels?
You definitely don’t need to measure ketone levels or even achieve high ketone levels to lose weight on a ketogenic diet! But…
That said, it can be helpful to measure your blood ketone levels in order to troubleshoot any issues and to make sure you’re on the right track. We’d recommend getting a blood ketone meter and the accompanying ketone measuring strips.
The urine sticks are just not very accurate and don’t provide you much info.
QUESTION 5: How can I stick to a keto diet?
KETO IS HARD TO STICK TO: One of the main complaints people have about keto is that it is restrictive and hard to stick to.
And we know from first hand experience that it can be tough – especially if you like going out to eat or socializing with friends (honestly, who doesn’t!!).
TIPS: So here are 4 tips to help guide you:
1. HAVE A DETAILED GOOD PLAN.
It helps to know exactly what to eat every day. None of us have time to count carbs or figure out which recipes are Keto and delicious to eat.
If you’d like Keto meal plans complete with shopping list and nutritional data delivered to your inbox every week, then sign up for our “3-2-1” Keto Meal Plans here.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU’LL DO IN EMERGENCIES.
Most people fall off the keto wagon when they’re traveling or during a stressful period at work or at home. The best way is to recognize that this might happen to you and to prepare for it. Prepare keto snacks to take with you when you travel or have to work late. Think about where you might be able to get a keto meal at a restaurant if you need to (steak restaurants are great!).
3. TRY NEW KETO FOODS.
It can be easy to get bored with a new diet, especially one that doesn’t include many of the foods you typically eat. So, be curious and look up new recipes to keep you interested and your taste-buds satisfied. Check out our Keto cookbooks for ideas.
4. IF YOU FALL OF THE KETO WAGON, JUST BACK ON. (Watch Kate’s video on Mindset here!)
Please don’t blame yourself if you fall off the Keto wagon.
Your health is a journey and every step is the right step. If you fall off the wagon one day, then simply choose to get back on it the next day.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Lao Tzu
QUESTION 6: Why am I not losing weight on Keto or why has my weight-loss plateaued?
If you don’t see weight loss after 1 month of being on Keto, then here are some possible reasons:
- SNACKING TOO MUCH. Nuts and seeds and dairy products (especially cheese) are really easy to overeat. In fact, we highly suggest avoiding all dairy (except some ghee) as it can also lead to unwanted inflammation that could make weight-loss harder.
- LOW CARB TREATS. Consuming too many processed low-carb treats is another common cause of weight loss plateaus. By cutting out processed foods and artificial sweeteners you can reignite your weight loss, and it’s much healthier for your body in general as well.
- TOO MUCH STRESS. Being stressed out can also stop you from losing weight. That’s because stress causes your body to produce cortisol, a hormone which encourages fat storage. It’s not easy to de-stress, but it’s definitely worth focusing on. Meditation and exercise are both great ways to do this.
- TOO LITTLE SLEEP. Not getting enough sleep is another thing which can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Make sure you’re getting enough hours of quality sleep each night by using blackout curtains, avoiding blue light in the evenings, and sleeping in cooler temperatures.
- NOT ENOUGH MOVEMENT. Not exercising is another common issue. While you don’t need to run all day or do CrossFit, it is good to incorporate more movement in your daily routine. Adding in a 30-60 minute walk each day helps many people get over their weight-loss plateaus. Learn about how kettlebells could benefit your keto diet.
If you’re sure those are not issues for you, then it’s always beneficial to run tests to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues that might be blocking your weight loss.
Registered Dietitian Jillian Kubala, RD sums it up well: “Eating too many calories, lack of activity, chronic stress, underlying medical issues and not following the recommended macronutrient ranges can all negatively impact weight loss. To maximize weight loss on a ketogenic diet, get adequate sleep, reduce stress, be more active and consume whole, nutritious, low-carb foods whenever possible.”
Please Take The Next Step…
FIRST STEP: If you’re interested in starting a Ketogenic diet, then please take the first step and download our Keto Food List here.
Then follow the 5 Steps For Starting Keto I detailed above.
It can be daunting at times, but please know that we are all here to support and help you. So, join Real Food Keto Weight Loss Facebook Group here. Take part in the discussions on the Keto Forum.