Want to lose weight by cutting carbs but not sure where to start? Learn how to use keto macros for weight loss success so you can finally shed those excess pounds.
The ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short, is one of the most popular weight loss hacks on the internet. But is it just a fad? The data shows it doesn’t seem to be just hype.
When you enter and stay in a state of ketosis, you can lose weight quickly. Then, once you get used to low-carb eating, you’re more likely to keep off the weight in comparison to other weight loss methods.
The key to kick starting weight loss on keto is to optimize your daily macro nutrients (aka macros for short) to force your body into burning fat instead of carbs. Thankfully, it’s much easier than it sounds but it does take some discipline.
If you’re ready to slim down for good, cutting carbs may be the way to finally lose the weight for good. So let’s take a look at the easiest way to start your low-carb journey.
How To Start A Keto Diet
The first thing you need to do is calculate the optimal macro nutrient profile that you should target daily. But don’t worry, you just need to use a free keto macro calculator to figure that out.
To use the calculator, you simply plug in all your metrics: age, weight, height, gender, activity level, body fat percentage, and goals. If you’re not sure of your body fat percentage, there are pictures to gauge your level
The three macros to track are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Your daily targets on keto are to consume 65-80% fat, 15-30% protein, and 5-10% carbs.
It may sound complicated, but it can be made simpler when you use a keto diet app along with healthy meal prep for weight loss. If you plan your meals in advance using an app or meal planning software, it makes staying on plan much easier.
Limiting the amount of carbohydrates in your diet makes adopting will likely require a significant lifestyle change. That’s because carbohydrates are the main source of energy for a standard American diet.
To make it even more challenging, seemingly healthy forms of carbohydrates also need to be restricted. That means virtually no wild rice, quinoa, or high sugar fruits like papaya.
In order to have keto diet weight loss success, the only carbs you should really eat are low-starch vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and other low-carb plant based foods.
Optimizing Keto Macros
With a reduction in carbs, your primary source of calories comes from protein and fat. On a ketogenic diet, you’ll be consuming moderate protein levels and high amounts of fat.
This is one of the main differences between the Atkins craze of decades past and keto. The Atkins diet, at least the first phase of it, is heavy on protein. As long as you don’t eat carbs, you can have all the meat you want on the original Atkins plan.
But the amount of protein you eat on the ketogenic plan is described as “adequate.” You can have a few ounces of protein at every meal but not a huge steak.
One of the reasons is that when you eat too much protein in one sitting, it may raise your insulin levels. So it’s best to, at least first, keep protein levels moderate.
That means you have to eat plenty of dietary fat for keto diet weight loss success. In fact, you’ll need to have at least 60-70 percent of your calories coming from dietary fat.
Think of it this way: on your dinner plate, two-thirds of your plate will come from fat. Some foods contain both protein and fat. Think of meat, nuts and seeds and nut/seed butters, as well as dairy.
Can A High Fat Keto Diet Make You Fat
In the past, we’ve been told that high fat diets are the reason why more than two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. So isn’t eating fat something Americans already do?
On the contrary, most Americans consume too many carbohydrates, especially refined ones that break down into sugar very quickly. Think any food you can get at a state fair.
According to this Popular Science article, the average American’s calorie intake is anywhere from 45-65 percent carbohydrates. So if you’re an average American, switching from carbs as your main fuel source to fat might be challenging.
Using a keto diet for weight loss success usually limits your carbohydrate intake to 50 grams per day. But many people following the diet use net carbs and limit them to 20-25 grams daily. Net carbs are just the total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.
Eating high amounts of fat won’t make you fat when you severely limit carbohydrate intake.
Just look at Inuits in the Canada’s far north who subsist on whale blubber. As long as they stay away from American junk food like soda, the Inuits don’t develop obesity from eating a high-fat diet.
Eating a high fat diet—and starving your body of carbs—is how you will lose weight. When you deny your body carbs, your body goes into starvation mode, even if it’s getting enough calories from mostly fat and some protein.
When your body is starved of carbs, it switches to fat as its main energy source. Thus, you’re tapping into your body fat for energy and your fat cells will shrink over time.
Keep in mind there are no long term studies that prove that sticking to this way of eating is healthy (again, we’re talking about in the long run).
However, plenty of people are having long term success on a ketogenic diet. Moreover, they’re able to keep the weight off much longer than those following other weight loss plans.
Low-Carb Meal Prep For Weight Loss
Not only is it important to know what to eat, it’s also vital to learn how to meal prep.
You will also discover that there are many low-carb rice substitutes for keto that you can use to cut carbs. For example, try using shredded cauliflower instead of rice as a side with stir-fry dishes.
Average Weight Loss With Ketosis
By now you might be wondering, ok, I’ll give the diet a try; so how much weight will I lose?
Before answering that question, keep in mind that depriving your body of carbs can lead to flu-like symptoms.
To prevent feeling lousy during the first few days, make sure you’re getting enough cream of tartar in your diet.
No, cream of tartar is not the same as tartar sauce. It’s actually a powder.
It helps to prevent “keto flu” because it’s rich in electrolytes. Minerals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium may help lessen the severity of carb withdrawal.
Pouring sea salt on your food and in your water can help as well. Or, you can just drink your favorite keto electrolyte drink.
But the answer to the question you’ve been waiting for is that you can lose up to a pound a day your first week or two.
Keep in mind, however, that much of it will be water weight. That’s because stored blood sugar binds to water. And if you’re starving yourself of the carbs, the sugar-water chemical bonds will break.
After you adjust to the diet and you’re in a state of ketosis, the weight loss will be more gradual. Obviously, the more fat you have to lose, the more dramatic the results will be at first.
Keto Macros For Weight Loss
The key to keto diet weight loss success is, just like any other plan, sticking to it. One reason why some people have great results is you don’t have to count calories. But you will lose weight more effectively if you count macros using a meal planning program or app.
You also don’t need to starve yourself like other lose-weight-quick diets. You just need to significantly reduce the carbs. But you won’t miss them as you fill up on delicious high fat foods.
With so many low-carb foods available, it’s super easy to get into ketosis—and stay there. You’ll also find tons of easy keto recipes online to satisfy cravings for your favorite foods. You just need to make lower carb versions.
However, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or other health professional before dramatically switching your eating routine. So be sure to ask your doctor if following a keto eating plan is right for you.
Keto Recipes To Try
Need a few ideas to get you started? You’ll find some of our favorite low-carb recipes below.
- Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are just as good as Tollhouse but made with keto-friendly flours and sweeteners.
- Vegan Peanut Butter Cups can easily be made low-carb by replacing the maple syrup with a keto alternative.
- Homemade Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole has all the flavors you love but uses a homemade mushroom soup and fried onions.
- Filipino Chicken Adobo is made with just five ingredients for an easy dinner that the whole family will love.