Today there are multiple ways to lose weight. The ketogenic diet, a high fat, low carb diet, is one of them. In fact, going on the keto diet is a very effective way to shed the pounds and keep the fat off for good. We talk about how weight loss on the keto diet happens in the Body Reboot book, and to start you off provide a brief overview of this high-fat diet in this article. It’s exciting to learn that it’s possible to lose weight and keep it off. Using the methods below, apply these techniques to start the keto diet and start seeing results.
The Bulletproof blog provides an excellent overview of the keto diet is, and how it forces the body to burn fat as opposed to glucose. Incredibly, a body can transition from burning glucose to burning fat! And the results from the body burning fat are incredible.
The keto diet forces your body to burn fat, rather than glucose, for energy. When your body can’t get glucose from bread and pasta, your liver converts body fat and fat from your diet into molecules called ketones, an alternative source of fuel. This puts you into ketosis, aka prime weight loss mode.
When you’re on keto, you’re less hungry. Ketones help control hormones that influence appetite. They suppress ghrelin, your “hunger hormone,” and at the same time they boost cholecystokinin (CCK) — the hormone that keeps you feeling full. You won’t want to snack as regularly, making it easier to go longer without food. Your body will then reach into its fat stores for energy. The result? More weight loss.
You eat a ton of good fats on keto, and fat is satiating, helping you feel full for longer. Fat also keeps your blood sugar stable, so you don’t experience energy highs and lows. When your body runs on ketones for fuel, it has a steady supply of energy in the form of body fat. When your body relies on glucose, it needs a regular hit of carbs to keep it going. Think of how you feel after eating a white bread sandwich and kettle chips for lunch. You’re ready to raid the fridge a couple of hours later. When you instead eat some grass-fed steak with butter-drenched steamed vegetables, you’ll power through your afternoon minus any distracting cravings.
Perfect Keto goes into further detail regarding how to use the keto diet to lose weight loss, but don’t let the specific information they talk about below overwhelm you. If you follow the diet and start seeing results, that means you’re on the right track! Check out how to keep track of your macros by following these specific steps. You can still lose weight without keeping track of your macros, but you should have a good idea as to how many daily carbs and fat you are eating, or at least keep track of your macros. Try keeping track of your macros until you get the hang of the keto diet and start seeing results.
Using the ketogenic diet for weight loss is all about tracking and calculating:
Your personal needs and goals determine a lot when using the ketogenic diet for weight loss. The most important step is calculating (and sticking to) your macros.
USING A KETO MACRO CALCULATOR
To calculate your macros, start with a macro calculator.
If you use a fitness app like MyFitnessPal, you’ve already used a macro calculator, although the free version of the app only gives you a calorie budget.
In calculating your macros, you determine your intake of carbs, protein and fat according to your BMR (basal metabolic rate), activity level, body composition and weight loss goals.
Calculating your macros is essential to achieving your goals.
So what goes into calculating your macros?
#1: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your BMR is the base number of calories you need to support your body’s vital functions (breathing, heart beating, digesting food) without counting the calories needed for daily activities and exercise.
Your age, gender, height and weight determine your BMR.
Weight and height: The bigger you are, the more calories you need so your organs can support you.
Age: Muscle mass goes down as you age, which can decrease your BMR.
Gender: Body composition differs between men and women.
We get a close calculation of BMR using the Harris-Benedict equation:
BMR formula for men = 66 + (6.2 x Weight in pounds) + (12.7 x Height in inches) – (6.76 x Age)
BMR formula for women = 655.1 + (4.35 x Weight in pounds) + (4.7 x Height in inches) – (4.7 x Age)
A 28-year old woman weighing 130 pounds and standing at 5’2 would calculate her BMR as:
665.1 + 565.1 + 291.4 – 131.6 = 1390 calories needed to support bodily function
A 28-year old man weighing 182 pounds and standing at 6’1 would calculate his BMR as:
66 + 1128.4 + 914.4 – 189.28 = 1919.52 calories needed to support bodily function
#2: Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Your TDEE includes all sorts of exercise, whether it’s your daily workout or physically demanding days at work or at home. This matters in calculating your calories and macros.
Use these numbers as a guide:
1.2: Little to no exercise
1.375: Light exercise, 1-3 days per week
1.55: Moderate exercise, 3-5 days per week
1.725: Hard exercise, 6-7 days per week
1.9: Very intense exercise
Which number best matches your activity level? Multiply that number by the BMR number you calculated above. The product is your total daily calorie expenditure, or total calorie burn.
For example, a woman with a BMR of 1500 who does moderate exercise would have this formula: 1500 x 1.55 to get her total daily calorie expenditure, 2,325.
She burns 2,325 calories to support her body and daily activities.
#3: Your Body Composition: Body Fat Percentage and Lean Body Mass
Your body fat percentage determines your lean body mass — the total weight of your body minus your fat mass — which in turn determines the amount of protein you need to maintain your muscles.
This is why most gyms have skinfold calipers, which are surprisingly near-accurate. You can purchase a pair online.
#4: Calculating Your Body Fat and Lean Body Mass
Subtract your body fat from your weight and you get your lean body mass.
Convert your body fat percentage into pounds first. For example, your body fat is 25% and you weigh 150 pounds.
150 pounds x .25 = 37.5 pounds of body fat.
Next, subtract that from your weight.
150 pounds – 37.5 pounds of fat = 112.5 pounds of lean body mass.
Save your number. You’ll use it later to calculate your protein.
Ruled.me also does an excellent job of summarizing what the keto diet is and how it helps dieters lose weight. It’s also interesting to take note that your weight loss may not always be consistent, and in fact, you may lose nothing one week and then lose 3-4 pounds or more the following week.
When carbohydrates are restricted for a couple of days, the body will start to produce ketones. This alternative fuel source comes with many benefits for the brain and nervous system, while it simultaneously promotes weight loss.
Once the body enters ketosis and starts to burn ketones for fuel, most ketogenic dieters will experience increased energy levels and decreased appetite. This leads to the consumption of fewer calories, resulting in more weight loss.
Another reason why ketosis and weight loss are linked is that ketones have a mild diuretic effect. This is important to know because many people will mistake their rapid weight loss on keto as if it is all coming from fat. In reality, the rapid weight loss that occurs in the first week of the ketogenic diet is mostly due to water loss.
Once you’ve made it through the first week of keto and you are in ketosis, fat will steadily fall off your body (as long as you are in a calorie deficit). The average weight loss at this point is around 1-2 pounds per week — the majority of it coming from fat.
As you get closer to your goal weight and your overall body weight decreases, weight loss will slow down. This happens because as your weight decreases so will your daily caloric needs. For this reason, you may want to recalculate your calorie needs every month or so.
Keep in mind that weight loss may not be consistent either. You might have some weeks where it seems you haven’t lost anything — then you’ll weigh yourself a week or two later and be down 3-4 pounds.
Another reason it’s easy to lose weight while your body is in ketosis is that it gives your body a friendly metabolism boost. Mind Body Green explains why this is the case:
You'll be delighted to know that you don't have to count calories on the ketogenic diet. Simply eat until you're full and try not to snack. Ketosis is a natural metabolic booster, so don't be afraid of the “fat calories.” You'll convert healthy fat to brain- and heart-healthy ketones and use them for fuel, while the excess is excreted in your urine. Metabolism is generally calculated in clinical studies with measurements of what is called a respiratory exchange ratio. On average, men burn an extra 450 kcals per day while women burn an extra 150 kcals/day in ketosis. This might not seem like much, but it adds up. Remember, don't get obsessed with the amount of fat you're eating. The fat turns into ketones, which are a nice, high-octane fuel for your body.
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