Are you in ketosis and not losing weight? There may be a few reasons why. Ketosis doesn’t mean weight loss and there are several other factors at play. Find out what.
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Ketosis doesn’t mean weight loss
Let's discuss the misunderstanding that ketosis equates to weight loss. So put it straight - ketosis doesn't mean weight loss. At all.
But first, something else needs to be mentioned. It breaks my heart when I hear so often from these women who have been doing keto for 1 month and “only lost 8 pounds” and are discouraged and considering giving up.
My empathy side wants to hug them and tell them to stick with it and they are doing fantastic because they are.
My no-nonsense, tell it like it is side wants to smack them (lightly) upside the head and say the following:
1. 8 pounds in 1 month is about 2 pounds a week which is higher than the recommended 1-2 pounds per week of SAFE weight loss. Now in the first few weeks, water weight is lost. Let’s even subtract that. So let’s say they lost 3 pounds of water weight and 5 pounds of fat. That is still more than 1 pound a week.
2. I’d ask if they gained 8 pounds a month. Chances are their answer is NO. I think we all know gaining weight is WAY easier than losing weight yet we don’t gain 2 pounds a week usually in which case why does one think they should be able to lose more than that?
And another thing, these women want to give up because they aren’t losing fast enough, well… where will that leave them? GAINING the weight back if they go back to bad habits. How is that a win?
So, don’t tune out because you think I’m too harsh. Rather, let’s solve this together, ok? So stay with me.
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Ketosis doesn’t mean weight loss
Now, the second thing I want to get out there is this: ketosis doesn’t mean weight loss. The other very popular thing I hear is “I’m in ketosis now and I’m not losing any weight. I’m frustrated.”
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns ketones for energy instead of glucose.
Now, to further dive down, those ketones can come from your fat being burned or from the ketone drink you just slammed.
You might think that ketosis *should* equate to weight loss since you are burning fat. Well, not necessarily. There are 2 reasons why not.
- Just because you are burning fat, does not mean you aren’t packing it on at the same rate.
- Are you really burning your fat or are you taking ketones?
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Calorie deficits are still important
Keto way of eating or not, you have to have a calorie deficit to lose weight. I think that is a surprise for some people just starting keto. There is this weird concept that keto is this stuff your face with bacon and butter and lose a ton of weight diet.
If only it were that simple, right? First and foremost, the bacon and butter should not be all you eat. You should be getting PLENTY OF VEGGIES! In fact, please pause and read Keto and Veggies: Are Veggies Optional.
You still need a deficit. It is science, folks. In order to LOSE weight, you have to have a deficit. Period. End of story.
Do you want to help that along? Exercise. To go along with the bacon and butter idea, so many people think you don’t have to work out on keto.
I mean, do you HAVE workout, ever? No. But do you want to be healthy with a nice calorie burn potentially adding to your deficit? Darn right
You’ve heard me say before that you do NOT have to “get your fat in”. As a reminder:
Carbs are a hard ceiling, stay under.
Protein is a goal, try to hit it.
Fat is an upper limit, not a goal.
In the end, if you don’t “get your fat in” and are not hungry, great. Skip it.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not understanding this. So it will be 9 pm at night and they are shoving fat bombs down their throat to “get their fat in”.
Don’t do it.
If you aren’t hungry, let your body burn your own fat vs giving it fat when it doesn’t need it.
Keto is high fat, yes. But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to eat all of it each day. And you shouldn’t unless you are hungry.
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Let’s talk about the second thing, exogenous ketones. I’ve talked about this before, but let’s refresh a little bit.
Someone said to me the other day (which is literally where this topic came from) “I’m not losing any weight. I’m doing everything right and hitting all my macros and I make sure to take my exogenous ketones each day”.
Well, that is a huge red flag for me right off the bat.
If she isn’t losing weight, one reason could be that her body isn’t burning her fat for ketones for energy.
And one reason THAT could be the case is that she is drinking ketones and her body doesn’t have to.
The body is going to get by doing the absolute minimum. It is a survival technique. So, if there are ketones readily available, then it will use those rather than going through the process of burning fat to get the ketones.
Ditch the exogenous ketones. Do not listen to those people who say they will get you into ketosis faster, blah, blah, blah.
To wrap this up, let’s again make clear “Ketosis does not mean weight loss”. Being in a state of ketosis can help a variety of things like brain fog, energy, etc..
But unless you are creating the appropriate conditions for your body (as we discussed) then you will not lose weight other than some water weight up front.
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