Everyone expects dramatic weight loss results when on the keto diet because of what’s been touted by those succesful on it. But what if you’re in ketosis but gaining weight? Or maybe you’ve hit the dreaded keto plateau and can’t seem to budge the number on the scale. What gives?
I’ve been there and I can tell you exactly what’s going on. Everybody’s body is different but if you’re gaining weight while on the keto diet, it’s usually for one reason:
You’re eating more calories than you’re burning.
Keto isn’t a magic pill. You’re still going to have to watch your calories. Because it’s such a delicious diet, I mean eat all the bacon, cheese and fat?! We get caught up in fat bombs and fancy recipes and quickly go over our calorie requirements for the day.
Here’s another truth bomb for you:
Give up the fat bombs.
Fat bombs are causing your weight gain or stall. So many of us think that we have to meet our daily intake of fat macros while on the keto diet but the truth is that your body has more than enough fat stores to burn through.
There’s no need to feed it more in excess. Eat fat to feel full sure, but allow your body to burn through the fat stores that you have. Don’t overeat or load up on fat bombs to meet some magical macro figure that a keto calculator spit out for you.
Stay below 20g of carbs and eat moderate protein but there’s no need to eat more fat than you need to feel full. If you’re below your fat macros for the day, great! That means your body will have a chance to use up some of the fat you’re carrying around.
Did you know that your body uses up the fat you eat first before it starts to use up the fat you have stored as energy? That means that if you’re eating enough fat everyday to fuel your body, you will never burn through the fat you’re carrying around.
Hello keto plateau.
Let’s break this all down.
In this post you'll find:
What is ketosis, really?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body is starved from glucose and switches to using fat as an energy source. You can enter this metabolic state by consuming less than 20g of carbohydrates per day.
By eating so few carbs, your body will turn to fat for energy since it’s no longer able to use glucose which it gets from carbs and sugar.
Using fat as an energy source has many health benefits we’re now learning and is a viable option for your body. There’s no need to consume carbs in the high amounts we’re used to.
Being in ketosis also allows you to consume a much higher amount of fat than you’re used to because you’re now using fat as an energy source to get through your day.
Of course, the quality of the fat is important and it’s still important to maintain a caloric deficit if weight loss is your goal.
This way of eating is just a little easier for lots of us because thanks to being able to eat more fat, the food that we eat tastes better and keeps us fuller for longer.
This means it’s easier to maintain long-term than a low-fat diet may be.
This one lesson was hard for me to learn because I have a heavy sweet tooth and though my cravings were reset on keto and I didn’t miss cake and chocolates at all, the moment I started making fat bombs I couldn’t get enough.
Heavy whipping cream in my morning coffee was delicious but totally unnecessary. I made the switch to MCT oil powder in my coffee which is still deliciously creamy and has so many more benefits for a much better calorie trade-off. (Hey, use the code ONANDOFFKETO for 10% off your own MCT oil powder and see what I mean!)
Just starting your keto journey? Here’s my guide on getting into ketosis quickly. Also useful if you’ve slipped out of ketosis and need to get back in.
If you’re lost and not sure how to get started with the keto diet, this meal plan is for you. It’s a fool-proof guide to winning at the high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.
The Usual Culprit When You’re In Ketosis but Gaining Weight
Like I said before, calories matter.
Most of us when starting our keto diet stumble upon the magical macro ratio:
70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs.
So we download fitness apps to track everything we eat and struggle to eat enough fat to maintain the above ratio. Even resorting to loading up on bulletproof coffee every morning and a fat bomb after supper to meet our fat macro goals.
This is totally unnecessary if your goal for being on the keto diet is weight loss.
You must allow your body to use some of the fat stores it has and the only way it will get to do that is if you remain in a calorie deficit and stop eating so much fat.
I know, the point of the keto diet is low carb high fat. But always remember that the low carb portion of that equation is the most important factor.
It is imperative that you stay under 20g of carbs. But there’s no reason to eat more fat than it will take to make you feel full.
If this sounds disappointing and yu feel as if you’ll once again be eating low fat foods, that’s absolutely not what I mean. Eat your eggs and bacon, eat your steak and spinach and absolutely eat your salmon and broccoli.
But do you need the cheese sauce with the broccoli? Do you need extra butter on the steak? Do you need a mug bread with your eggs and bacon? That last one speaks specifically to me as I LOVE eating a whole bug bread with my morning eggs and sausage and this was really piling on the calories even though it was low carb.
The truth is that eggs and sausages by itself is totally satisfying. The mug bread was just extra. Keto isn’t a magical pill and it’s not an excuse to overdo it.
So Why Are Fat Bombs so Popular and Who Needs Them?
After a while on keto you WILL lose the weight and start to enter a stage where you’re maintaining.
At this point it will become important to maintain your macro ratio so that you don’t continue to lose weight and so you have enough fat to use as fuel for your day.
Also, if you work out a lot or are otherwise very active, you may want the extra fat to help you push through your workouts.
Fat bombs are great for a little treat but there’s no need to eat them everyday to meet your goals. If your goal is to lose weight, fat bombs are actually being counterproductive for you and might be the one reason you’re not losing weight while on keto.
How to Break through a Keto Plateau
So what to do when you’ve realized you’re weight loss has stalled on keto and you’re not losing weight or you’ve even begun to gain weight?
Intermittent fasting, fat fasting or an egg fast have all been touted to help reset your body and break though a stall.
I have not tried any of these except for intermittent fasting and this I swear by. Intermittent fasting has a number of benefits and the one I cling to is the fact that because I’m skipping an entire meal for the day, I’m allowed to indulge just a little more at meal time and still not consume too many calories.
Intermittent fasting makes it really hard to overeat.
And when you’re intermittent fasting and in ketosis at the same time, then fasting becomes super easy because fat-adapted people don’t get crazily hungry like we used to do when we relied on carbs for fuel.
Because your body is using up your fat stores when you’re in ketosis, it’s getting what it needs even when you’re fasting and so you’ll feel slightly hungry sure but you won’t be that crazy person who needs a Snicker.
Intermittent Fasting Basics
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that promotes weight loss, fat burning, muscle building, and many other health benefits through a very simple eating pattern.
It’s probably the easiest “diet” to follow because all you have to do is eat at a certain time, then stop. That’s it.
Many people call intermittent fasting a diet, but might more suitably be called a pattern of eating or dieting for optimal success. It teaches you a lot, including how to listen to your body’s hunger signals, and to follow a healthy pattern of eating.
You are following a specific pattern each day, where you only eat during a shorter block of time, fasting for the rest of the day, except for having coffee, tea, and water. This pattern helps your body to burn food more
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are a few ways you can do intermittent fasting which makes it perfectly adaptable to your lifestyle. It is very flexible, so you can look at the different methods and choose which one works best for your schedule. Here are the popular versions:
16:8/LeanGains – This is a popular option, allowing you to eat for 8 hours, then fast for 16 hours. This one should be done as often as possible. It can be done every day of the week if you’d like. When I just started, this is the type I followed. I did it every weekday and ate freely on the weekends. This is a good one
5:2 – The 5:2 intermittent fast stipulates that you to eat how you normally would 5 days out of the week, then have 2 alternating days of the week where you fast for 24 hours. On your fasting
Warrior Diet – With the warrior diet, you go 24 hours between eating, having just one large meal at the end of every fasted day. This is also called the OMAD diet aka one meal a day.
Eat-Stop-Eat/24-Hour – This is similar to 5:2, except
Tips for Starting Intermittent Fasting
Like I said, intermittent fasting and keto go hand in hand. Eating high fat makes it easier to skip meals because when you’re fat-adapted, meaning your body is now using fat for fuel instead of carbs, you have
To start intermittent fasting, decide which type best suits your lifestyle and determine what your eating window will be. I started with 16:8 and chose an eating window of noon to
Don’t go extreme on the first day. A 24 hour fast for your first time is just brutal. The benefits of fasting really kick in at 16 hours so you want to try and go with at least that one for your first few days. After that, you can stretch your eating window to 6 hours, fasting for 18. Then do my favorite type of fast, the 20: 4. This means I’m really only eating one meal at
Listen to your body. The intermittent fasting method you are using might not work well for you, so if you notice any ill side effects, go back to your normal way of eating.
It is also important to keep up your electrolytes even when you’re fasting and to drink adequate water to stay hydrated. Adding pink salt to your water or taking your keto supplements will help you to stave off ill feelings.
Fasting is undoubtedly the best way to break a plateau, reset your body, get back into ketosis and start burning some of your fat stores again.
If you’re in ketosis but gaining weight or you’ve hit a plateau, give intermittent fasting a try.
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