Before starting a ketogenic diet weight loss program, you should do your research. Get a little bit of background information about the keto diet before you begin. That way, you can be prepared for what to expect. Here are three common questions people generally want to know when they start a keto diet:
When Do You Actually Start Losing Weight?
If you’ve never tried cutting out your carbs before, it may be difficult at first! It may catch you by surprise the way your body craves those carbs. You may start wondering when this ketogenic diet weight loss really starts to take effect. We’re all impatient to shed those pounds, after all!
Well, the short answer is that it depends on your metabolic situation as an individual. The long answer is a little more complicated:
Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss: What Does That Really Mean?
At the end of the day, it all depends on what you mean by “weight loss.” Your body can lose weight in a lot of different ways, and it’s not always going to be fat. Your first bit of weight loss will most likely happen fairly quickly. It usually happens within your first few days. But this isn’t going to necessarily be the kind of weight that comes off your belly.
At first, your body will get rid of its glycogen reserves, as well as some water. This type of weight loss will tend to happen pretty fast. If you’re not in full ketosis yet, then your body will want to hold onto its body fat. This is because it takes a lot of work for your body to turn fat into usable energy (ketones).
Once you’re over that hurdle, you’ll start to lose weight in the more fatty parts of your body. Your body will siphon its calories from your body fat or the fat that you’re eating. Caloric intake still matters here, but you’ll find that it will be easier to keep your calories in check because you won’t be as hungry.
How Long Does It Take for Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss to Be in Full Effect?
Everyone is a little different and requires more time to enter ketosis. Ketosis is a shift in the way your body gets its energy. If you deprive your body of carbs and glucose, then it will turn to fat as an energy source instead. When this happens, your body starts to burn fat as fuel. This is what we want! It can take a week or it can take three weeks; it depends on what your metabolism is like.
When your body starts burning fat full time( instead of carbs and glucose), it will start to produce ketones for energy. This is how you know for sure that the diet is working. After this point, you should start losing weight. As long as you’re not taking in an unreasonable amount of calories.
How do you know that you’ve achieved ketosis and that the diet is working? Well, some people just like to wing it and wait for the “symptoms” to show up (like weight loss and appetite suppression). But if you want a better indicator, you can always use a home testing kit such as urine ketone test strips. You can find them at your local pharmacy or on Amazon. Ketone test strips are a very inexpensive, easy way to help you keep track of your ketosis. This is especially important when you first start the keto diet and if you “cheat” on your diet. The keto strips can help keep you on track. When your body is in ketosis, excess ketone bodies are excreted through your urine. You can test your pee to find out if these ketone bodies are present. If they are, congratulations! You are in ketosis.
When it comes to ketogenic diet weight loss, it’s similar to other kinds of diets: no changes happen immediately. It usually takes at least a few days for the first bout of weight loss to happen. At first this will be mostly “water weight” but as the weeks go by, you will start to lose fat. It happens gradually, however, this diet definitely works for many people. If you stick to it, you will reap the rewards! Every few days the numbers on that scale will start to go down. You can see for yourself how others have done it. Check out some inspiring keto diet before and after photos here. They will help keep you motivated!
Elena Daisley is a licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientist (MT, ASCP certified) with over 10 years of experience in the medical field. She holds bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Laboratory Science from the University of Central Florida. Elena enjoys helping others on their journey to healthier living.