This guide will teach you everything you need to know about keto weight loss.
Actually, all of weight loss in general.
Think of it as a keto diet for beginners manual
How to set up your keto diet.
When you should and shouldn't make adjustments.
Plus much much more.
Let’s get started…
but first click here => 1
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Chapter 1: But first…
I'm not kidding you, the title says it all…
this is and will be the best damn keto weight loss guide on the internet.
Before we get into it, I want to bring to light some of the misinformation I see being spread throughout the keto universe.
In fact, this one particular notion being spread by many of the “gurus” is leading many individuals astray. Can you guess what it is? It's this notion that it's not your fault.
And here comes the other BUT.
It is your fault…
Chances are, you landed on this particular keto weight loss guide because you're unhappy with your weight, or your body, for whatever reason.
I hate to sound cliché like we're in AA or something, but the sooner you are able to accept that it is your fault, the sooner you're going to start making progress. 2
And time for the last BUT.
But I'm not here to motivate you to lose the weight or scold you for all the decisions you made that led up to this point. I was where you are right now, and sometimes still find myself there every once in a while.
In fact, if all I've done by the end of this guide is motivate you… then I've failed. What I really want is for you to take the information presented to you and begin taking ACTION towards your weight loss goals.
The Truth is, motivation is only one percent of the equation. The other 99 percent of the equation is taking action.
It's the action you take that ends up motivating you and becoming an endless loop that makes taking more action towards your goals inevitable.
Most people commit to action only when they feel a certain level of motivation, and they only feel this motivation when they feel a strong emotional response, usually a negative one.
And that's why people (not you because you're an action taker right?) are more likely to take action ONLY when they are afraid of the consequences, or they've already experienced them.
For many, this usually means they were diagnosed with something horrible, had a loved one diagnosed or pass away from an illness, or maybe they just finally got fed up with feeling like crap or how they looked in the mirror.So don't fall into the motivation trap, the trap where you must feel motivated before taking any action. If you're waiting for motivation to hit, you may be waiting a long damn time.
As funny as it sounds, the more you look for motivation, the less motivated you become. C'mon. Really? Yes, because now you're too busy looking to get motivated and spending less time doing what you already know you need to do.
Chapter 2: Keto, the best diet for weight loss?
Another tidbit the keto gurus want to leave out is that EVERY diet works.
Don't believe me? Let's dig into some of the research down below.
A study in 2009 by Sacks FM et al. looked to see if there was an advantage for weight loss by emphasizing different macronutrients (protein, fat, or carbohydrates).
The research concluded that reduced-calorie diets resulted in similar weight loss regardless of which macronutrients they emphasize. 3
don't believe me? A more recent study, this year as I write this in 2018, by Gardner et al. sought to determine the effect of a “healthy” low-fat diet vs. a “healthy” low-carbohydrate diet over a 12 month period.4
In this randomized clinical trial consisting of over 600 adults, weight change over the 12 months was not significantly different for participants in either the low-fat or the low-carbohydrate group
Dietary modification and adherence is the key to successful weight loss. In fact, satiety, hunger, satisfaction, and most of all… behavior modification are more strongly associated with weight loss then which diet you choose.
The people most successful in keeping their weight off are those who changed their relationship with food.The healthy diet that will work for you is the one that you can stick to. There is no “best diet.”
So yes, all diets can work in the short term, but some diets may be better suited for you than others. Is that keto? there's only one way to find out.
All diets work by, in one way or another (whether they admit it or not) having you control calorie intake.
You get the picture.Consistency with calorie intake is more important than your sugar intake, meal timing, fat intake, eating “clean” foods, and any supplement you can find.
Sometimes strict dietary rules CAN be helpful in the case of any the diets above, but we'll come back to this a bit later on in the guide.
To clarify: all diets work by, in one way or another, having you control your calorie intake.
When it comes to weight loss, neither a low-fat diet nor a low-carb diet is inherently superior, so choose an eating style that fits your food preferences, health goals, and lifestyle.
Most importantly, choose an eating style you can sustain. It's not that people fail with diets, people fail to maintain their diets over the long-haul
Think about it, anybody can stick to a diet for a short period of time.Losing the weight is not what's actually hard, it's keeping the weight off. Willpower is not enough to lose weight and keep it off.
This is the reason why people find it easy to fall for the latest Netflix food documentary telling you that the key to weight loss is to consume nothing but juice or that meat is making us fat, not only fat, but it will kill you. *sigh*
So like the Superbowl champions every year, people will inevitably jump on this bandwagon, like almost every diet.
People will likely begin to see some initial weight loss, sometimes even lots of weight loss, but somewhere down the line, they realize they can't sustain it and revert back to their old ways.
… and BAM regain almost all the weight and sometimes even more.
Moral of the story, there are MANY ways to lose weight, and using a keto diet for weight loss is one of them. This doesn't mean that a low-carb diet is ideal for everyone, but for some people such as myself, it fits the criteria for MY food preferences, MY healthy goals, and MY lifestyle.
Plus, it makes me feel FANTASTIC.
If you come across an article that tells you that keto is the BEST diet for everyone then go ahead and close your browser window, they are trying to sell you something.
Chapter 3: Things to consider…
So now that I've explained to you that any and every diet can help you achieve your goal, here's 7 ways a ketogenic diet may benefit you in adhering to your diet and reaching your body recomposition goals.
This is the best friggin keto weight loss guide on the internet after all.
A KETO diet and weight loss… 7 Reasons it may be beneficial for YOU.
Rapid initial weight loss
Especially for obese or overweight individuals. Let's face it, seeing progress early on is very motivating.
Typically, during the first week of a ketogenic diet, people see a rapid drop in weight – anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds. This is unrivaled by any other diet, but it is also not all coming from fat, not a majority of it.
In fact, most of this weight loss is the result of the body shedding water weight as a consequence of decreasing or eliminating carbohydrates, and that's because every gram of carbohydrate carries with it about ~3g of water.
But like I said, this is not inherently a bad thing since it can be very motivating to see the scale drop at the very beginning of any diet, just don't be surprised if it doesn't drop that rapidly every week ok?
There's something about low carbohydrate diets, especially ketogenic diets, that causes people to have fewer cravings, especially that of many trigger foods that tend to be very calorie dense, but nutrient poor.
A study in 2012 by Martin et al. found that compared to a low-fat diet, low-carb dieters had more significant decreases in cravings for high carbohydrate and high sugar foods. 5
I don't know about you, but most of the foods I tend to overeat happen to be pretty high carbohydrate/high sugar combined with high amounts of fat. Ice cream and donuts anyone?
When you go on a weight loss diet, it's no surprise, but you typically feel hungrier. Surprisingly, the ketogenic diet does not seem to follow suit
Ultimately, fat loss depends on expending more calories than are consumed. Many individuals have difficulty restricting calories on a high-carbohydrate diet.
If lowering carbohydrates increases satiety, and makes it easier to control calories, then a low carb or ketogenic approach to weight loss may be the better dietary choice.
Increased and steady energy levels
Opposite of a standard high carbohydrate diet, a ketogenic diet relies on fat stores and dietary fat instead of carbs for energy.
It is because your body can tap into these stores (your fat) at any time that you’ll enjoy a constant, steady stream of energy instead of dips throughout the day because you’re not spiking your blood sugar levels.
Gone are the days where you wake up hangry or experience those afternoon slumps after your lunch break.
At least for the most part.
Mental clarity and increased cognition
Elevated ammonia levels and depressed GABA levels contribute to a condition called “brain fog,” and ketosis increases this GABA signaling. This might explain the cause for why people experience clearer thoughts and even a sense of euphoria. 6
Ketone bodies are the most energy-efficient fuel, especially for the brain.
Compared to glucose, ketone bodies are an ideal energy source for the brain, as they supply more energy per oxygen consumed, provide energy at a faster rate, regulate energy levels, balance the glutamate/glutamine ratio, and reduce damaging free radicals associated with inflammation.
Let me make note, that within this entire guide when I refer to “weight loss” what I am really referring to is FAT LOSS.
Our goal here is not only to just lose weight but to lose weight in the form of fat. This is why combining a ketogenic diet with some form of resistance training is HIGHLY recommended.
Even with the absence of resistance training, the ketogenic diet can still elicit a muscle sparing effect. More specifically, the ketone body called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) has been shown in one study to decrease leucine oxidation and promote protein synthesis. 7
This may be why many individuals, especially bodybuilders, are drawn to ketogenic diets in an attempt to lose body fat while sparing the loss of lean body mass. 8
Eating a ketogenic diet that is very low in carbohydrates helps halt the surges of insulin that raise blood sugar and create inflammation in the body
There are many factors involved in chronic inflammation, but our dietary choices make up a big chunk of that.
Also, recent research has shown that beta-hydroxybutyrate, one of the three ketone bodies, can block what’s called the NLRP3 inflammasome, an immune system receptor linked to inflammation.
Now that I've expressed why you may be interested in utilizing keto diet for weight loss, here are some things you may want to consider.
Considerations for picking a diet
Is keto the right weight loss diet for you? I don't know, you'll have to ask yourself and come to that conclusion on your own. That said, here are some things you may want to consider before picking a diet.
Taste preference: Does your diet support your personal taste preference? If using keto for weight loss, you may want to ask yourself if you enjoy fattier foods versus carby foods.
Can you rid your diet of basically every carbohydrate-based food? Because If you enjoy carb-filled foods significantly more, perhaps a ketogenic approach may not be what's optimal for you.
Remember, you have to actually enjoy the diet otherwise (at least as much as you can…) you are likely to give up eventually.
When referring to health, I am referring to both psychological and physiological health as having one without the other is a recipe for disaster.
When referring to health, I am referring to both psychological and physiological health as having one without the other is a recipe for disaster.
One of, if not the biggest, psychological factors is how restrictive a diet is, or better yet, how restrictive the diet SEEMS to the dieter
It’s usually when we tell ourselves we can't have something, it makes us want it that much more. Simply being on a diet, you're going to feel restricted, and that's something you have to take into account.
Then, we have to take into account our own personalities when it comes to dieting. I don't know how many times I've heard “as long as it fits your macros bro” or you can eat anything as long as it's in moderation.
And this is great advice if you are a “moderator.”
Moderators are those who do better when they avoid absolute truths and strict rules.
These are the individuals who can have one oreo and put the bag away… the ones who can open a pint of ice cream and have three spoonfuls and pop it back in the freezer.
I, my friend, am not a moderator.
For years, I've tried this approach of “moderation” only to end up failing and failing hard. It wasn't until I realized that I wasn't a moderator, I was an “abstainer.”
It is far easier for me to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately.
If I try to moderate, I inevitably end up exhausting myself debating whether or not I should have some? How much? Should I have some now? How about tomorrow?
On the other hand, if I never do something, it requires no self-control; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control.
In the end, there's no right or wrong way, it's just a matter of knowing which strategy works better for you and suits your personality.
If moderators try to abstain, they tend to feel trapped and rebellious. And, when abstainers try to moderate, they up spending a lot of energy trying to justify why they should indulge.
And believe me… I can probably justify why I should be able to eat that entire pizza and pint of ice cream if given enough time. This is why strict dietary rules can be helpful for one person and detrimental to the next.
The other end of the health equation is the physiological factors that come into play when choosing a diet. Most importantly is the quality of the foods we eat and the current level of body fat percentage you are at when starting the diet.
On the topic of food quality, we'll save that for another discussion altogether, but just know that food quality does matter and will play a role in both your health and longevity.
Now, on the topic of body fat percentage, there is plenty of research to suggest that your body fat levels will semi dictate what type of macronutrient composition may best suit you.
That is because one of the primary determinants of insulin resistance is one's body mass index (BMI), more specifically, fat mass.
Basically, this means people with higher levels of fat mass don't respond as well to carbohydrates as those with lower levels of body fat. 9
This leads to those with a higher body fat percentage tending to fare better on a lower carb diet due to this insulin resistance
And conversely, someone with a lower body fat % tends to fare better with more carbohydrates, there are, of course, exceptions, and more importantly our preferences. But this holds true for most.As long as there is a calorie deficit in place, YOU WILL lose fat. However, in my experience, people with higher levels of body fat tend to fare much better restricting carbohydrates.
This restriction can come in the form of a low carbohydrate diet or a very low/no carbohydrate diet such as that of a ketogenic approach.
All of this is important to understand because while the basics of changing your body composition come down to energy balance, each person is different when it comes to psychologically and physiologically meeting his or her needs.
Once you've understood your own personal psychological and physiological needs, you can then begin to put the pieces of your diet together.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Now onwards we go to setting up your diet.
Chapter 4: Setting up your ketogenic diet
But first, a brief interruption to dispel another common misconception.
Despite what Dr. Keto told you and how it's all about your hormones, insulin, and pesky little gremlins keeping you from losing weight, the real reason you're not losing fat is that you're eating too much.
Yes, even when you swear you're not.
I have a slow metabolism, maybe my body is in starvation mode?
Here comes the but's again.
But what about metabolic damage or a slow metabolism or how about my body is in starvation mode, that's why! I mean, the intrawebs told you so it must be true.
Just to get everyone up to speed, starvation mode or “metabolic damage” is this idea that if you eat too little for an extended period of time, your body will compensate by somehow halting fat burning in its tracks and possibly even doing the opposite causing you to gain weight… on like 900 calories.
When you reduce calories, there is, in fact, SOME slowing of your metabolic rate over time. What DOESN'T happen is your body mysteriously enters the twilight zone where the laws of thermodynamics cease to exist, thus resulting in no fat loss on an absurdly low amount of calories.
The leaner and lighter you become the fewer calories your body will require to keep itself alive and functioning, that's just common sense. This process is referred to as adaptive thermogenesis.
Basically, your body has adapted to the lower energy requirements of your lighter, and hopefully leaner self.
And even then, studies have shown that when people have lost vast amounts of weight, the actual change in their basal metabolic rate is only around ~10%-15%. 9
The majority of the reduction in metabolism comes from decreases in the physical components such as NEAT (but we’ll get to that later on in this guide). Naturally, you begin to move less, so it only makes sense that you are not burning as many calories.
Don't believe me still?
Calorie intake was first established for 12 weeks before the experiment on a diet of 3,200 calories per day, then followed by the 24-weeks of semi-starvation at 1,570 calories a day.
Their calorie intake was then reduced further throughout the study to keep weight loss happening.
On top of the food restriction, they were required to work 15 hours per week in the lab, walk 22 miles per week, and participate in a variety of educational activities for 25 hours a week.
This was roughly around a 50% deficit in calories, general guidelines for most aggressive fat loss protocols still range in the 20-30% deficit; only half the amount of that in the study.
All the men lost about 25% of their total body weight and ended up around 5% body fat. By the end of the study, the men's metabolic rates dropped by about 40%, but their actual BMR only dropped by around ~15%.
Metabolic rate takes into account everything including physical activity while Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is how many calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but sit on your butt all day, literally.
So to give you a better idea of what actual “starvation” looks like.
Now go look in the mirror, don't look that emaciated? You're not starving.
Ok, finally let's get into it.
Setting up your ketogenic diet take two
When setting up your keto weight loss diet, there is a hierarchy of priority as illustrated below.
Starting from the bottom and moving our way up.
First off, what this pyramid leaves out is that the number one successful way to lose weight and keep it off is through behavioral modification.
Meaning, implementing LIFESTYLE CHANGES and good daily habits is the ultimate way to lasting fat loss.
As you can see, calories come first. Despite all the nonsense you've heard about calories not mattering on a ketogenic diet, they do.
Again, if someone tells you calories don't matter as long as you control insulin and
If your goal is to lose body fat, which is why I assume you're here in the first place, then the most efficient way to do this is to take in less food
You can also increase your activity to create the deficit needed or utilize a combination of both (less food and move more).
To work out your fat loss calories, you can use the keto macro calculator or simply take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply it by 9-14, which will be further explained below
Ideally, you would have kept a food journal and figured out what your maintenance calories were based on a week or two of record keeping.
Maintenance calories = the number of calories it takes to roughly maintain your weight. This would make it a lot easier and be more of an accurate starting point.
But I digress.
This is only a starting point, and adjustments should be made based on actual results; therefore it's easier to get a number and run with it rather than being paralyzed by fancy equations.
The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start seeing results. Remember, action action action action action action action action. TAKE ACTION!
So back to 9-14, why the range? Well, there are a lot of factors that go into someone's calorie needs. Here is a very rough guideline on where you may fall on that spectrum.
– If you're a sedentary female (desk job) who might train 3x a week at a very low intensity (or not at all), then first… start training, but stick with the lower end of (9-10)
– If you're a female who works a fairly active job and/or you're training more frequently 3-5x a week at a moderate to high intensity, go with the mid-range of (10-12)
– If you're a sedentary male then same deal, except lucky you… you have more muscle than your female counterpart, so you get to start a bit higher. Go with the low-mid range (10-12)
– If you're a male who works a reasonably active job and/or you train pretty intensely 3+ more times per week then go with the higher range of (12-14)
Ok, so we've calculated calorie intake either by using the calculator or using the simple equation above and finding your body weight multiplier. Now, we are gonna set your macros.
Macro is short for macronutrient, and macronutrients make up the components of food in the form of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Technically alcohol is a macronutrient as well, but we're not diving into that in this guide.
Macronutrients contain calories and each macronutrient contains a certain number of calories per gram.
So basically, protein and carbohydrates both contain 4 calories per gram while fat contains a whopping 9 calories.
Now, every other ketogenic site on this earth will have you calculate your macros based on percentages, but I ain't about that life. 11 Here, I'm about getting you results, and by results, I mean fat loss.
My recommendations will be more evidence-based and skewed toward body recomposition, not based on if you were an epileptic child who would need to stick to specific percentages for the treatment of a disorder unless you consider fat a disorder.
The first macro we'll set up is our protein. Now, contrary to popular belief, protein does not automatically get converted into chocolate cake aka gluconeogenewhat? 12
Technically, gluconeogenesis is happening all the time, but there is a common misconception in the ketosphere that “a little extra” protein in the diet will magically turn into chocolate cake. Sorry, but if that were the case, I would probably just eat some chocolate cake.
All kidding aside, you would need to eat a significant amount of protein to knock yourself out of ketosis. Secondly, ketosis is technically not our goal… right?
Fat loss is. Lastly, I would rather have gluconeogenesis occur from the protein I eat rather than break down my hard earned muscle tissue for energy.
Even if we get knocked out of ketosis, which would only happen temporarily, ketosis is a welcomed side effect, not our primary goal. Myself, along with many others have successfully eaten high protein diets while maintaining a state of ketosis.
Myself, along with many others have successfully eaten high protein diets while maintaining a state of ketosis.
So back to protein shall we? Protein is quite essential when it comes to fat loss. In fact, I would venture to say that protein is probably the most critical macronutrient of the three.
Protein is responsible for:
Muscle retention. In conjunction with resistance training, eating sufficient protein helps to limit or even stop the body from burning its own protein (muscle).
Satiety. Of the three macronutrients, protein is more satiating than either fats or carbohydrates. Additionally, protein stimulates the release of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) which is thought to help regulate appetite.
Deliciousness. Protein is just delicious.
So how much protein do you need?
Again, we're not basing macros on percentages. Instead, we are going to calculate macros on body weight and more specifically lean body mass.
total weight – fat mass = lean body mass
Or at least that would be the ideal situation.
The problem with setting protein or any macro according to lean body mass is that most people simply don't know their body fat percentage and figuring it out can be both time-consuming… and possibly even inaccurate.
Just like we used per pound of bodyweight to calculate our total calories, I have a simple way to figure out how much protein you should eat. Set your protein intake at 1g per pound of DESIRED body weight. 13
For example, if you are a 150lb female and want to weigh 120lbs, then you would eat 120 grams of protein per day.
This usually works well since it almost ensures an adequate amount of protein, and when it comes to protein too much is better than too little.
Easy Peasy. Now let's move on.
A SIDE NOTE
Carbs and fats
Lastly, we have our carbs and fats.
Why am I grouping the two? Well, being a ketogenic diet we're basically eliminating almost all carbohydrates except that of those coming from leafy greens.
So first, let's go over carbohydrates because then it will be a no-brainer when it comes to determining our fat intake.
When it comes to carbohydrates, I generally recommend people utilizing a ketogenic diet for fat loss to limit their TOTAL carbohydrates to 30g or less. Yepp, you heard it… TOTAL, not NET.
Simply because I know people will take 30g of net carbs way too far. Sure, they might stick to 30g of “net carbs,” but they also have 40g of fiber, and another 40g of sugar alcohols from their “keto-friendly” treats… but hey, those aren't net carbs, so they don't count.
Funny enough, those tend to be the same people who wonder why they aren't seeing any results, but they conclude it's because their body is in “starvation mode,” and they are barely eating anything.
The majority, if not all, of carbohydrates consumed, will come from vegetable sources. So green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, etc. are all fair game
Which leads us to our last macronutrient. FAT.
We've basically covered protein and carbohydrates, the last remaining macronutrient is fat.
To reiterate everything up to this point, we've set our calories at roughly 9-14 x our body weight in pounds. We've also calculated our protein, or instead simply set it, at our desired body weight, and limited our carbohydrates to less than 30 total grams.
In practice, it would look a little something like this:
A common misconception
Now, there is often another misconception about ketogenic diets and that you must consume large amounts of fat to enter a state of ketosis.
Although a high fat intake is necessary for epileptic children since they must maintain a deep level of ketosis, dietary fat is not required to be in, or enter, a state of ketosis.The only requirement for the body to enter a state of ketosis is a reduction or elimination of carbohydrates.
Then why have any fat at all?
The primary reason for the inclusion of dietary fat in our ketogenic diet is to keep caloric intake high enough to prevent a slowdown of metabolic rate. Setting our calories too low increases the likelihood of muscle loss and metabolic slowdown. 14
Besides, fat promotes feelings of fullness and makes food taste better. Remember how diets must be enjoyable for adherence?
To summarize in one graphic
Keto and micronutrients
he next level of our pyramid brings us to micronutrients.
Micronutrition may sound boring, but you can't afford to ignore it. Long-term deficiencies will ultimately impact your health and as a result, sabotage your fat loss efforts over the long term.
Some things to note:
- Since you are dieting, you are at a higher risk of micronutrient deficiencies simply due to eating less.
Six micronutrients (vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin D, vitamin E, chromium, iodine, and molybdenum) were identified as consistently low or nonexistent in many diets.
- A multivitamin isn't a substitute for a nutrient-poor diet but can act as insurance on a nutrient-rich one. After all, a poor diet with a multivitamin is still a poor diet.
- If you have issues with energy, sleep, or just feel off, it could be that you're deficient in some vitamins and/or minerals such as electrolytes.
- When it comes to water intake, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 5 clear urinations per day.
At the end of the day, if your diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods and you're fulfilling your 30g of total carbohydrates with green leafy vegetables you should basically have most, if not all, of your micronutrition covered.
So you've calculated how many calories you should eat and have your macros all figured out, now what do you eat? This section usually leads us to the inevitable debate between the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) crowd and the “Clean eating” crowd.
The truth is that no food is inherently good or bad , but of course, there are foods which are probably more nutritious (fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.).
The problem with this line of thinking is that it creates a black and white, good vs. bad, neurotic mentality toward food.
I know, because I used to be of this mentality.
If It Fits Your Macros
The exact opposite of the clean eaters, basically
The intent behind IIFYM was originally to prevent the neurotic mentality of clean eating and let people know that it was ok to have such “forbidden foods” once in a while so long as you accounted for it.
Much like anything, people took it out of context and used it as an excuse to fill their diets with pop tarts and ding dongs.
The best approach likely falls somewhere in the middle of these two trains of thought. Food quality does matter, so let's exercise the 80/20 rule when it comes to food choices.
80% of the time stick to whole nutrient-rich foods and 20% of the time feel free to have your keto treats and snacks.
For a list of foods, you can visit the keto foods list or click here to download a printable list of foods you can take with you to the grocery store.
Word of warning, almost everyone has some sort of trigger food or hyper-palatable food that can trigger overeating. What triggers me may differ than what triggers you.
For example, give me a jar of peanut butter, and I can comfortably sit there and eat the entire jar with a spoon.
Foods such as nut butters, or better yet, nuts in general, are types of foods that are hyper-palatable, calorically dense, and easy to overeat if you don't pay attention.
You'd be surprised at just how little a single serving is of peanut butter is according to the nutrition label.
And no, a tablespoon doesn't mean how much you can fit onto one tablespoon.
As you can see above, the difference between 100 and 200 calorie spoonfuls looks negligible.
So when it comes to choosing what foods to eat, be mindful of your personality type. If you're a restrictor, while no foods are technically off limit, some foods should be limited or avoided altogether since it can lead you down the wrong path.
This might mean that you should steer clear of these foods and even go as far as not having them in your home.
During a diet, hunger and cravings are almost inevitable, and like I always like to say… willpower is finite. Meaning, everyone caves in eventually.
I do, you do, your best friend does… it's human nature. That's why you have to create an environment that is conducive to your goals instead of relying on your willpower to get you through 100% of the time.
Besides, when dieting, you're better off choosing high-volume foods. High-volume foods are foods that are low in calories, but high in nutrients. High-volume foods are those with high water and fiber contents, such as vegetables.
These types of foods increase gastric stretching which can help one feel full and satisfied which is quite important on a diet.
At the end of the day, be mindful of your food choices.
Onto another hot topic in the keto community.
One of the significant benefits of a keto weight loss diet is that often, many people report never feeling hungry. On a weight loss diet, this is probably the most crucial part of the equation.
After all, the most successful diet is the one that you can adhere to, and most people end up quitting their diets, yes plural, because they are just plain hungry and miserable.
Just remember, it's still a weight loss diet, and there WILL be times you will feel hungry, and you WILL have to dig deep, even on a ketogenic one.
I know what you're thinking already, this is the part where you want me to tell you that intermittent fasting is the holy grail. If you are already doing IF and it's working great for you, awesome.
If not, don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much.
Intermittent fasting and just plain fasting, in general, has become rampant, but especially within the keto community. Just pop open Instagram, you'll see people going 16 hours without eating, then progressing to 20 hours, next thing you'll notice they are eating once a day.
Before you know it, they are seeing how many days they can go without eating.
But it's for the autophagy Steven. 15
Stop kidding yourself.
First off, there are many health benefits to fasting, that's not what we are debating here. I know, and you know that you're fasting because you want to see the scale drop and you want to see it drop as fast as possible.
I get it ok?There is nothing wrong with implementing intermittent fasting, but at the end of the day, there is no additional fat loss benefit once calories and protein are equated for. 16
Meaning, if you lose weight on 1800 calories and you eat that spread over 6 meals vs. 1 meal, it really won't matter all that much.
As recent as this year, 2018 depending on when you're reading this, after a 1-year study by Sundfør et al., they concluded that both intermittent and continuous energy restriction resulted in similar weight loss.
However, they noted in their study that the feelings of hunger were more pronounced in the group that was doing intermittent fasting.17
I actually find that myself and many others experience the exact opposite concerning hunger. The sole reason I recommend intermittent fasting for most people is that they are better able to manage their hunger earlier for a bigger payoff (more substantial more satiating meal) later.
Mind you, while most people intermittent fast by skipping out on breakfast, you can do the opposite and eat earlier in the day and start your fast earlier as well.
There is some evidence to suggest that while intermittent fasting leads to no additional fat loss over regular calorie restriction, there may be some benefit to Early Time-Restricted Feeding (eTRF).
eTRF is a form of IF that involves eating early in the day to be in alignment with circadian rhythms in metabolism. In practice, instead of doing what most people do and skip breakfast you would eat breakfast and start your fast by about 3pm.
The jury is still out on this one, but the research shows that eTRF improved insulin sensitivity, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite.
So while not a direct correlation with increased fat loss, you can see how improving these factors may lead to greater adherence.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have one or two substantial meals instead of 4-6 small bite-sized meals throughout the day. 18 I also like to go to bed on a full stomach, but that's just what works for me and my preferences.
So, if you want to give IF, or even eTRF,
Which finally leads meads to the question, how frequently should you eat to maximize fat loss?
You should eat 8 meals at two-hour intervals throughout…
As stated previously, it really doesn't matter all that much once calories and protein are equated for. Meaning, in every trial that matched for calories and protein, 1 meal versus 6 meals, low carb vs. high carb, the end result is generally the same.Eat the number of meals and at the frequency that suits YOUR preferences and YOUR lifestyle the best. Whether you enjoy eating three to four times or only once or twice, it really will not make much of a difference regarding fat loss.
Since we are talking about weight loss, you will probably benefit from eating bigger meals but less frequently, unless you enjoy eating smaller sized meals.
And off to the last little totem on the pole. Supplements.
Supplements, as the name implies, are meant to complete or enhance, not take the place of.
Unfortunately, when it comes to 95% of supplements, as sexy as their claims are, very few supplements actually work and even then, you'll only notice the benefits if your diet, training, and lifestyle
I know a lot of people reading this will disregard that statement and look below to see what magic pills, powders, and potions I'll recommend.
But that's not you, right?
I know YOU definitely have your diet, training, and lifestyle optimized and are about to peek below to see what you can add to further your health and fat loss effort; therefore, these are for you guys and gals.
Also, bear in mind that not all supplements are created equally. Many companies use fillers, have no quality control, and sometimes just blatantly lie.
The below supplements are what I recommend based on companies I trust and have also been third party tested to make sure what they say is in it is ACTUALLY in it.
Caffeine has been shown to aid in fat loss, gym performance, appetite suppression, and if you're drinking it,
aka black gold, aka coffee, aka nectar of the gods,
it's also filled with plenty of antioxidants.
The dose is often based on body weight, set at around 1.4–2.7 mg per lb of body weight or 3–6 mg per kg. This is about 200–400 mg for most people, although some studies use up to 600–900 mg. 19
Start on the low end to assess your tolerance before working your way up.
It's hard to give a blanket recommendation since some can tolerate 50mg, while others may tolerate 500mg and go right to bed.
Regarding when to take it, caffeine should be taken 30-60 minutes before exercise for its performance boosting benefits since it reaches peak stimulatory effect somewhere between 30 and 70 minutes.
Just be mindful if you workout in the evenings
Not a fan of coffee? You can try other caffeinated beverages or use caffeine tabs. Tabs usually come in 200mg doses but there a link below to 100mg tablets for easier adjustment.
Recommended: Caffeine Tablets
Creatine is probably one of the most thoroughly tested supplements that
Creatine has been proven to be safe and dirt cheap, which makes it a no-brainer in my opinion.
When it comes to dosing creatine, there is no need to front-load or doing a “loading phase.” Just take 3-5g (teaspoon) daily whenever convenient to you in the form of creatine monohydrate.
You can literally buy a 6 month+ supply for ~$30
By fish oil, I am referring to EPA and DHA, the most useful types of omega-3s, which are generally found in fatty fish and algae.
Regarding body recomposition, fish oil has been linked to increased fat oxidation and decreased fat storage, but omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with numerous health conditions: reduced inflammation, reduced risk of cancer and diabetes, and improved heart health.
While there are no “official” recommendations of just how much fish oil to consume, a minimum of 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA seems to be the general consensus by most health organizations. 20
Getting in enough vitamin D is essential for optimal health, and it makes this guide because nearly 50% of the population has a vitamin D deficiency.
Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions similar to a hormone, and every cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun, hence why it's given the name the “sunshine vitamin.”
Consuming 400–800 IU of vitamin D should meet the needs of ~90% of healthy people. However, a variety of studies show that taking more than this is linked to more significant health benefits
Your vitamin D needs depend on a variety of factors. These include your age, skin color, current blood vitamin D levels, location, sun exposure and more.
If you're getting enough natural sunlight exposure regularly, go with the lower end and vice versa.
- Recommended Vitamind D: Vitamin D3 Soft Gels
Like Vitamin D, magnesium plays a vital role in everyday bodily functions, and it's estimated that 80 percent of adults are deficient in this vital mineral.
While magnesium can be obtained from our diet, soil depletion lowers the amount of magnesium present in our foods making it hard to get from diet alone (hard, but not impossible). Our bodies also lose stores of magnesium every day from normal functions.
When it comes to dosing magnesium, a good rule of thumb seems to be 200-400mg daily.
- Recommended Magnesium: Pure magnesium glycinate
- Recommended Magnesium: Zhou magnesium glycinate complex
Electrolytes (sodium in particular)
We've gone over magnesium already, so let's briefly go over sodium. A lot of the unwanted side effects that many experience on a keto weight loss diet is due in part to a deficiency in electrolytes, most notably, sodium.
Reason being, not only are you eliminating carbohydrates, you're probably not consuming many of the pre-packaged foods that you once were. You basically hit your body with a double whammy when you switched to a ketogenic diet.
For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, the body stores an additional ~3-4 grams of water. Eliminate carbohydrates, and you quickly see what happens as experienced by the frequent urination during the first week of a ketogenic diet.
Not only are you eliminating carbohydrates, but most people generally switch to whole foods (a good thing) instead of prepackaged foods.
However, the problem with this is that those pre-packaged foods are typically filled with tons of sodium already. You've now drastically cut your sodium intake without adding them back in.
It is suggested that you take anywhere from 4-6g of sodium per day whether from supplementation or just liberally salting your foods.
- Recommended salt: Redmond real salt
- Recommended salt: Celtic sea salt
- Recommended salt: Pink himalayan salt
A multivitamin CAN be useful especially while dieting and calories are low. A multivitamin can serve to help cover any nutritional deficiencies almost like an insurance policy. Again, NOT required, but may be beneficial.
The trouble with most multivitamins is they are filled with inferior ingredients and forms of vitamins and minerals that are not bioavailable and full of garbage. So like most other forms of supplements, quality does matter.
- Recommended multivitamin: Pure multivitamin
Lastly, a list of all the effective keto weight loss pills.
Chapter 5: Making adjustments to your keto weight loss diet
One of the biggest differences between those who are successful and those who are unsuccessful with any diet is their ability to track fat loss and make adjustments.
There are certainly a number of tools that ketogenic dieters can use to maximize results. These include the weight scales, various body fat testing methods, blood ketone meters, a tape measure, etc.
The difference maker: How to track fat loss and make adjustments
And off to the first BUT of this section.
But first, let's differentiate between weight loss and fat loss. One of the reasons why I don't recommend using the scale as the only means to measure progress is that it is often unreliable
There are just too many factors that can influence what the number on that pesky little thing will give you on a daily basis.
To give you an example:
Weight loss is easy, don't drink water for a day or two and you'll quickly drop three to five pounds on the scale. However, when you drink water again, you'll soon regain that lost couple of pounds, so apparently, it wasn't ‘real' weight loss.When most people refer to weight loss, what they really want and are referring to, is fat loss.
Without knowing where the lost weight is coming from (fat vs. muscle vs. water), you won't know whether your diet and exercise is working optimally.
What's EVEN WORSE, if you are NOT exercising, you can almost be sure that over half of the total weight loss will be from muscle and water, not fat.
The leaner are when you start dieting the more susceptible you are to muscle loss.
This often leads people to what is commonly referred to as skinny fat or basically a skinnier version of your fat self.
To make it clear, your goal should be maximal FAT LOSS not WEIGHT LOSS. Retaining as much muscle as possible while burning fat should be your priority instead of just weight loss.
Muscle helps burn more calories at rest, promotes insulin sensitivity, helps preserve and maintain healthy bone density, and frankly, it just makes you look sexier…
On how to track progress
If you are putting in a serious amount of effort with your training and nutrition, you owe it to yourself to take a few extra minutes each week to track your progress.
Tracking progress will help ensure you are on the right track and achieve your goals is a systematic way. Here are my top 3 methods based on ease of use and accessibility for most people.
Wait a second, didn't you just say the scale wasn't a good way to measure progress? Not quite. A scale is a valuable tool, one of many, and can be useful if you know how to use it to your advantage.
Here's how to use the scale.
Weigh yourself every morning upon waking, preferably after going to the toilet. Scale weight will fluctuate day to day, but we're after averages and trends over time.
At the end of every week, add up all your weigh-ins and divide it by 7 (assuming you weighed yourself all 7 days).
Frequency of measurement: DAILY
Much like scale weight, I suggest measuring in the morning when you wake up, after going to the toilet. If you have someone that can do this for you, i.e. your spouse or partner, great… if not, do it yourself.
Either way, make sure it's usually best done by the same person whether yourself or another for consistency.
When used in combination with the scale, this will help you to gauge muscle growth and fat loss in different areas. Make sure you measure the largest point in each area.
Frequency of measurement: ONCE A WEEK
Our third method of measurement will be pictures. Your goal is to take two photos, front
Why not every week or every other week? Simply, changes will be too small to be noticeable.
Every four weeks seems like a happy medium to show some decent progress. Everyone loves progress pictures, side by side comparisons end up being great motivation when you're able to see where all your hard work is going.
Aim to use:
- Same lighting conditions
- Camera angle
- Distance from the camera
- Time of day
Frequency of measurement: ONCE A MONTH
Some additional methods of measuring progress can include subjective feelings. After all, everything affects everything else.
Rate all of these on a scale of 0 – 5.
- Sleep quality (0 = Slept like a baby. 5 = GIVE ME COFFEE.)
- Stress levels (0 = Life's great! 5 = The world's gonna end.)
- Hunger Issues (0 = No prob Bob. 5 = I'm gonna chew my arm off.)
- Energy levels (0 = Let's smash a workout 5 = Carry me!)
Lastly, another useful data point to track is your gym performance. Am I getting stronger? Faster? Maintaining my strength?Strength maintenance is usually a good indicator of muscle preservation.
However, this is not always the case, and in some lifts the leaner you get, the less you will be able to lift due to a change in leverages vs. actual muscle loss.
And while we're on the subject of tracking progress, you might be wondering why I didn't recommend monitoring body fat percentage. Getting a body fat test done is not as convenient and widely available to individuals as the methods listed above.
Besides, most people are aiming for a certain “look,” so what would it matter what the scale or a body fat test told you if you liked what you saw in the mirror?
Let me answer that for you.
More importantly, every method of measuring body fat has their own set of accuracy and consistency issues.
Over the long term, having your body fat tested is a great way to measure progress, but in the short term, where the decisions and adjustments happen accordingly, it doesn't fit the bill.
Gauge progress by looking at data over a more extended period, about four weeks. Analyze the trend, not the day to day fluctuations or even the week to week ones.
This means you'll have to exercise some patience and hold off on making adjustments.Don't fix what ain't broke.
If your weight is slowly increasing while your stomach measurements gradually decrease, this indicates simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain.
Muscle growth will hide fat loss which is another reason why we cannot just rely on the scale.
Making adjustments to your diet
It's inevitable, every diet will need to be adjusted as you lose weight and get leaner. If you've come to the point where you are experiencing no weight loss on keto here's what you do.
Bear in mind, if you are just starting your fat loss efforts, it takes the body some time to catch up to the deficit. I suggest waiting at minimum 3 – 4 weeks before making any adjustments to allow enough time to gauge actual progress.
Assuming you've done the above, waited a good 3-4 weeks, been tracking progress and still see no weight loss on keto. How do you make the adjustment?
The impatient dieter would probably do something drastic like cut 1,000 calories from their diet, the patient dieter would make SMALL adjustments.
Just remember, it's not how fast you get to your goal, all that matters is that you get there.
Years from now, you won't even care or remember if it took you 3 months, 6 months, or over a year. You'll just be glad that you've built up some great habits and that you got where you so wanted to be today.
So how small of an adjustment? Reduce your calorie intake by 5-10%.
For example, if your starting calorie intake was 2000 calories, you would further reduce this by only 100-200 calories.
Where should the adjustment come from?
Since carbs are already low, the only two remaining macronutrients to pull from are protein and fat.
Since we calculated protein based on our lean body mass or our ‘desired body weight,' this number must remain the same. This leaves only fat as the lever to dial back on if we aren't seeing the progress we desire.
In the case of our 2,000 calorie dieter who will make a 100-200 calorie adjustment, let's call him Bob, he will reduce his fat gram intake by 100-200 calories.
This means Bob will reduce his fat grams by 11-22 grams and keep his protein and carbohydrate intake the same. That's it.
After making this adjustment, Bob will keep an eye on his weekly average weight, measurements, and progress photos.
If after another 2-4 weeks things look like they are stalling, Bob will make another 5-10% reduction. If progress is steady, he will stay the course and continue doing what he's doing.
Experiencing a keto weight loss stall? Perhaps it's time for a diet break.
Yes, you read that right… a diet BREAK.
You've read earlier, or at the least heard of intermittent fasting, now let's talk about intermittent dieting. Basically, I'm talking about breaking up your dieting with periods of 10-14 days where you bring your calories back up to maintenance.
Reasons for taking a diet break.
When we diet, specific metabolic adaptations take place to counteract the caloric deficit. This is part of the reason why we must make small adjustments on a continual basis.
A short period of regular eating has the potential to reverse some of these adaptations and allow our hormones to recover to normal, or at least semi-normal levels.
Dieting sucks, so sometimes taking a diet break is what we need to re-light the fire we had when we first started. Taking a break also allows us to recover emotionally and mentally… and possibly relieve some stress that has accrued.
How to implement the diet break.
In a perfect world, you would take a break from counting food entirely and eat to your hunger. If you know that free reign to eat according to hunger is a bad idea, then you may want to keep to semi-regular meals and times.
Just like we used a simple calorie calculation to determine our weight loss calories, you may do the same to get a baseline maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to calculate your weight in pounds by 14-16 calories.
The increase in calories can come in the form of increased protein or from fat, your choice. It really won't matter too much whether you choose protein vs. fat, all that matters is that you increase your calories for the 10-14 days.
Current literature does suggest that the increase in calories should come in the form of carbohydrates as carbohydrates has the biggest impact on hormone levels.
That said, I will leave that at your discretion as to whether or not you wish to consider using a ketogenic approach during your periods of bringing calories up to maintenance.
For many individuals who adopt keto as a lifestyle this may not be a feasible option. In this case, make up the increase in calories by bringing up your fat intake.
Remember, we are trying to give our bodies a break, so don't panic and overcompensate by trying to do more cardio or anything of the sort. In fact, this is a great time to actually take it a tad easier if you've been going balls to the wall.
How often to implement a diet break.
The leaner you are, the harder it generally is to keep dropping fat. Also, the leaner you are, the harsher the metabolic adaptations become as you diet down.
Since leanness plays a part in how fast our body decides to hate us, this will determine how frequently diet breaks should be taken.
You can expect a rise in the scale weight due to the increase in food, but that is to be expected.
Don't panic, we actually want this, and if you've followed the (14-16 calories per pound of body weight), and didn't go on a binge fest, then you likely didn't put on much if any fat.
This increase in scale weight will soon subside once you return to a caloric deficit.
Chapter 6: How fast can you lose fat?
First off, what's the rush?
Like I mentioned earlier, whether it takes you 3 months, 6 months, or 12+ months, years from now you won't even care or remember. You'll only care that you lost the weight and built up the habits that kept it off.
Besides, you didn't gain all that weight in a month, so why are you expecting it to come off in one?
Average weight loss in ketosis? Is there a keto weight loss rate you should be aiming for?
You'd be quite surprised, or maybe not, to see how often I get questions like ‘What's the average weight loss in ketosis?' or is there a ‘ketosis weight loss rate I should be aiming for?'
It's the ones who have this fast fat loss mentality who are also the ones who tend to regain the weight back after they end their diets, or quit entirely before accomplishing their goal.
Not to say that there is no such thing as aggressive fat loss diets or that they don't work, because they do.
It is because this mentality encourages the use of fad diets that won't be sustainable in the long-term nor will it help you build proper habits that allow you to maintain the fat loss in the long-term.
So be patient young grasshopper.
Now that's out the way, just how fast should you be expecting to lose fat? To circle back, there is no average weight loss that everyone can expect while in ketosis or any other diet.
However, there is a sensible weight loss rate you could aim for, but this is dependent on how much fat you have to lose
The higher your starting levels of body fat, the faster you can expect to lose. Conversely, the leaner you are, the slower rate of loss will be or at least should be, to best minimize muscle and strength loss.
With that said: I like to set fat loss targets between .5 – 1% of your total body weight per week.
The benefit of using percentages is that the rate of loss will automatically scale as your weight decreases.
So, if you have a lot of weight to lose you will have a higher target, but this will be autoregulated downward as you drop weight and have less to lose overall.
For example:When in doubt, take the slower route.
If you're unsure where to start, err on the side of slower fat loss rather than faster. If you were to ask me, I would probably tell you to eat as much as possible while still losing fat.
It may take a bit longer to reach your goal weight, but you will probably lose less muscle, feel better, and you get to eat more food vs. if you take a sledgehammer approach and be more aggressive with your calories.
Chapter 7: Training for fat loss
Remember back when we discussed the difference between Bodyfat vs. Bodyweight and how what most people want, yes… including you, is FAT loss and not just weight loss?
Well, if you are not including any type of resistance training in your keto weight loss program then the likelihood a good chunk of the weight you'll lose will be muscle.21
Where many folks go wrong
This is where most people go wrong. Many people I see on ketogenic diets either do no exercise whatsoever, or the only form of exercise they perform is some form of cardio, like running. 22
What, so cardio is bad?
There is a common misconception that you need to do cardio to lose weight, but the truth is you can lose weight without it. Cardio, in the context of weight loss, is another form of calorie reduction.
Everyone should do some type of cardio for health purposes, and even more so if it's something you enjoy, but when it comes to fat loss… it's not required nor high on the priority list.
So what should I do?
Since our primary goal is ‘fat' loss, then our efforts should be to not only get rid of fat but maintain or even possibly gain as much muscle as possible. To do so, we must include some form of resistance/strength training in our regimen.
This is the part where a lot of females tell me, ‘but I don't want to get bulky.'
Believe me, the fact that you don't want to get bulky is already a sign that you won't, combine that with the fact that females don't carry as much testosterone as men and you're all set.
Besides, do you see all the guys in the gym who actually do want to get big and aren't? It's not that simple.
If you are wanting to lose fat and ultimately change the look of your physique, you need to incorporate resistance training.
Note: I said you need to, not, if you want to.
That lean, toned or ripped look that you so desire comes down to having at least some muscle in combination with a low enough body fat percentage.
In fact, the more muscle you have, the more you can get away with concerning body fat percentage, hence why I said ‘low enough.'
Simply put, the more muscle you have, the less fat you have to lose actually to achieve the look you desire.
To top it off, since there is no such thing as spot reducing fat (sorry everyone, but it's true), one way around that is to spot increase muscle. By increasing muscle on certain parts of your body, you can help “tighten up” that area.
At the end of the day, resistance training is essential for maintaining lean body mass, strength, and function. Being a functionally fit human being is vital for daily living no matter whether you want to lose fat or not.
I'm not saying you have to be a bodybuilder, there are plenty of workouts you can do with dumbbells at home or even with just your body weight.
What matters is that you progress over time in whatever you choose to do by increasing the resistance (weight), doing more reps, doing more sets, or a combination of the three.
If you're looking for a little more guidance on bodybuilding or putting on some muscle, you can check out the guide on the keto diet and bodybuilding.
Ok, so lifting weights will make me lose weight?
Not exactly, it's just one of the tools we are incorporating to get you that sexy body you so desire. When it comes to losing body fat, there is an order of importance as illustrated below.
Wait a minute… what the heck is NEAT?
I'm glad you asked, NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT encompasses all of the activity that you accumulate throughout the day that isn't intentional exercise.
This may mean washing the dishes, fidgeting, folding clothes, etc.
Uhm, so what does this have to do with my weight loss goals?
Let me explain. There are 24 hours in a day, and if you're lucky, maybe you spend around an hour of that each day working out.
This means that the other 23 hours of your day will have a more significant influence on how many calories you burn vs. what you can accomplish in a one-hour training session.
So, giving you the benefit of the doubt here… but say you train an hour a day seven times per week, that's seven hours of physical exercise versus 161 hours of no training.That's ~95% of your week.
OK… 96% if you want to get all technical on me.
What's your point?
My point is, the more active you are throughout the day, the more things begin to add up – taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a little further, getting up from your desk for a light stretch or short walk on your break, etc.
This is why fitness wearables can be useful tools since it gives us a simple way to measure activity (i.e. steps).
Moral of this story
When it comes to training for fat loss, a combination of both cardio and strength training should be incorporated, if not for fat loss, at least for your health, but the majority of the calories burned will come via non-exercise activity.
Chapter 8: Keto weight loss F.A.Q.
Just a little keto weight loss F.A.Q.
This portion will be updated as questions come pouring in.
Have a question of your own? Leave it down below in the comments section.