Weight Loss & Keto — What They Don’t Tell You About This Low-Carb Diet
I’ve been hearing a lot recently about friends and family trying Keto for weight loss, so I wanted to do some further exploration into what this is and how it works. The Keto Diet has gained popularity for many health benefits — like reduced appetite and inflammation, increased endurance, and better focus — but weight loss happens to be the most common reason people seek out this timeless eating regime.
While this primary goal is widely due to positive results seen time and time again, losing weight on the Keto Diet does not come without a few obstacles and considerations that people typically aren’t aware of before starting.
What is Keto?
The low-carb, high-fat Keto Diet works by restricting carbohydrates. Limiting consumption to no more than 50 grams of carbs per day sends the body into a state of “ketosis,” in which the body starts to use ketones for its primary source of energy rather than carbohydrates.
Don’t get me wrong here, sure this sounds effective for weight loss, but personally, cutting carbs is severely overrated. But without me getting to opinionated here, let’s look at the real question…
Can You Actually Lose Weight on Keto?
Theoretically, losing weight is totally possible through the Keto Diet. Combined with being in ketosis, maintaining a calorie deficit state through tracking calories — as well as protein and fat intake — leads to successful weight loss primarily from fat. When compared in studies, it has been found that low-carb diets are more effective for helping people lose weight than low-fat diets.
Again, I say “in theory” keto for weight loss works because it’s all about its stickability. Most people tend to have a hard time sticking to diets that restrict certain foods in general. So basically, if you know you’re someone who easily gives in, this probably isn’t the diet for you. Since being in calorie deficit is the most consistent way of losing weight no matter what diet you’re on, I prefer to not restrict the type of foods I eat and just eat less of everything.
Read my blog, “How to Stick to a Diet: Swap Your Fad Diet for a Sustainable Lifestyle.”
Quick Weight loss in the First Week
While weight loss tends to occur quickly in the first week of starting Keto, this is actually just water weight since the alternative fuel source of ketones produces a diuretic effect. This first week of transitioning into ketosis can often result in losing between 2-10lbs. Once this period ends, weight loss will begin to happen at a much slower and more consistent pace, typically seeing a reduction of 1-2lbs per week.
Dealing With Keto Flu
An unexpected result of transitioning to ketosis and restricting carbohydrates is a state that’s called the keto flu. This is the body’s response to no longer getting its fuel from carbs like it’s used to. While this doesn’t occur for everyone, it can be an uncomfortable experience for those it does impact that can last between a couple weeks to months.
This is usually the breaking point for most people trying keto for weight loss.
Symptoms often only come one or two at a time and can include sugar cravings, dizziness, brain fog, poor focus, nausea, cramping, muscle soreness, and insomnia. People with higher metabolic flexibility — usually more active people, although genetics can affect this — typically don’t experience keto flu symptoms at all.
To ease symptoms, try drinking more water (with a pinch of unrefined salt). Increasing electrolytes along with sodium, potassium, magnesium, and fats like MCT oil often helps as well. Other healers include doing a low-intensity morning walk or exercise, meditation, getting 7-9 hours of sleep. For those struggling with keto flu, it is advised to avoid high-intensity exercise, don’t overeat protein, and avoid stress.
Watch Out for Certain Foods and Take Breaks
Restricting carbs on keto for weight loss isn’t as obvious as just cutting breads. Also pay attention to avoiding high-carb veggies, peanut butter, and processed meats. If you have food sensitivities, always avoid those foods as they can impact your body’s healing and can even cause inflammation or bloating, especially those with dairy sensitivities.
If weight loss begins to plateau, take breaks from being calorie deficit. Every two weeks, calculate how many calories you need to maintain weight and eat that amount before going back to a deficit. This does NOT include doing cheat days, as this can actually lead to gaining 4-6 lbs of water weight back rapidly in just a day.
Rapid weight gain following cheat days is usually where a lot of Keto dieters fall off the wagon.
Everyone loves (and I might argue, needs) cheat days! So, imagine when I learned you’d gain back so much more weight off one cheat day or meal just because your body by then is so not used to carbs. No way, dude.
Try Lazy Keto as an Easier Option to Lose Weight
For those struggling to adapt to the restrictions of the Keto Diet, trying Lazy Keto may be a helpful alternative to make the transition. This method still involves cutting carbs, but with no rules on calorie, fat, or protein intake.
While this version does not dramatically cut calories, being in ketosis can still suppress appetite and cravings, aiding in less calorie intake and leading weight loss. The downside is that it can be challenging to tell whether the body is truly in ketosis, making results much less consistent.
I personally tend to follow a “lazy keto” diet every now and then where I will barely eat any carbs all day. It does leave you feeling quite energized during the day time. But at the end of the day, I need just a little something to satisfy my carb craving.
In general, weight loss and Keto go hand-in-hand. Its apparent that the diet’s rules follow general weight loss rules, like cutting carbs and sugar and reducing calories. However, I still believe these restrictions can be very challenging, especially for women.
I know several people who have tried doing Keto and ended up quitting because of Keto flu symptoms or because they had a cheat day and gained more weight than they had before. Sure, you could argue that’s just water weight, but it’s still enough weight to discourage someone from getting back on track.
What’s Life without a Baguette here and there?
To this day, I’m a firm believer in finding balance in every diet. Rather than restricting what foods you eat, enjoy them all in little portions. Personally, I don’t think counting every macro or calorie in every meal or drink you have anywhere you go is a good way to live life. If anything, this method adds a lot more stress. Imagine going out to eat with a friend who lived by this diet and stressed over every little thing on the menu — no thank you.
If you’re curious to still try Keto though, I truly wish you the best of luck! Learn how you can tailor your diet plan and get started on their website.
Have you tried the Keto Diet for weight loss? Let us know in the comments about your experience.