I just wanted to talk a little bit about what you can expect when it comes to weight loss on a low-carb, high-fat diet. If you’re like me, when I first started reading about eating low carb, I got very excited about these stories of weight loss just seeming to happen as if by magic, with the pounds falling off more quickly than you can count.

However when I started eating low carb – that didn’t happen for me. Not straight away anyway. It took a fair bit of adjusting and reading and trial and error before I found my sweet spot and really got to grips with what was happening with my body.

Here are a few of the main points I learned. If you’re experiencing weight loss stalls, or you just want to know what to expect, hopefully, this will help you.

You Really Have to Watch Your Protein Intake

Low carb, high-fat diets that are geared around getting you into a fat-burning state must include only moderate amounts of protein. When I first started, I used the 0.8g of protein per pound of lean muscle calculation. This put me at about 100g of protein/ day. My weight loss didn’t start until I tinkered with this and dropped my daily intake of protein to 45-55g per day. At the time I wasn’t exercising, and I am 5′ 8″.

Eating more protein than your body needs will lead to your body breaking down the protein into glucose, keeping your blood sugars high and blocking your keto-adaptation. Now that I exercise more I have increased my protein – but only a little. I still won’t go over 60g a day usually.

Once I dropped my protein intake, the weight loss started, and continued at a steady rate (about 2lbs/week).

Weight Loss Will Only Happen After Your Body Has Healed

How soon you start dropping excess fat will depend on how much healing your body needs to do. Healing will always be your body’s priority. This is why intermittent fasting is not recommended when you first improve your diet. Getting your three meals in a day means you are maximising the nutrients that you are putting into your body, which allows your body to heal more quickly.

Low Carb High Fat Diets MUST be High in Fats!

It took me a while to get over my fear of fats. Just getting my fats to 100g a day seemed like a ridiculously large amount. But the thing is, you want your body to start producing ketones and burning fat for fuel. For your brain and body tot learn that fat is the preferred fuel, you really have to flood your body with fats in the first few weeks to get the message across. I only started to get fat-adapted when my daily intake of fat was between 160g-200g/day.

And, I was only able to do this once I dropped my protein intake to 45g-55g.

Sleep is Way More Important Than You Think

If you are not getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep per night, at a decent time (say from 10pm to 6pm), your weight loss will stall. Your body needs this sleep time to heal, to produce ketones and to understand that you are not living in a stressful state. Stress will hinder weight loss.

Going Too Low in Calories will Hinder Weight Loss

This may seem counter-intuitive, but when I started, I reduced my calories to 1500kcal/day. I initially lost some weight, but then I began to feel tired, and also didn’t sleep so well. At 1500kcal a day, I couldn’t get in the amount of fat I needed. After the initial weight loss, I stopped losing weight and found I wasn’t getting good ketone numbers, and my blood sugars were still too high (signs that you’re not keto-adapted).

I increased my calories to 1800-2000kcal a day and low and behold; the weight loss started again! So strange, but true.

The Deal is -Low Carb High Fat Weight Loss Can Take Time

I found the best way to approach this diet is to think about healing, health, energy and how good I’m feeling. When you focus on these things and look at what you’re eating as nourishment so you can achieve this, the excess weight will naturally fall away. And what’s more, you will feel amazing, and not be obsessing over those numbers. So often I’ve heard that women have so much healing to do that weight loss that keto for women can take more time and patience.

So what experiences have you had with a low carb high fat diet? I’d love to hear from you, let me know in the comments below!

Framed image linking to ketogenic diet guides and plans

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25 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight on the LCHF Diet?”

  1. My partner and I have just started Keto 4 nights ago now. I’m still doing a lot of research however so far so good! I am however concerned going into my 5th day on Keto and I have actually put on 1kg! Is this normal and / or is there something I should be doing different. We follow a complete dietry plan for Keto. I want to stick it out as the heath side is great 😀

    1. Hi Jamie, that’s fantastic that you and your partner are both doing keto together! Funnily enough I was just talking to a lady yesterday who has experienced exactly the same thing – one week into keto and she has put on 2lbs. Basically, when you switch to keto and reduce the glucose available to your brain, what can happen is your brain has a mini freak out because it thinks there is not enough food available. And what it does is lower your metabolism in order to conserve energy. This is only temporary until your brain starts to understand that there are plenty of fat/ketones it can burn for fuel instead of glucose which doesn’t take long. What’s important right now is to make sure you are getting enough fats in, and don’t reduce your calories. You need to help your brain and body to learn that there is plenty of fuel available (just not in the form of carbs and sugars!)

  2. Hi there. I’ve been experiencing the same thing nearly a month in and only a pound loss and clothes don’t feel any different but don’t want to give up because I haven’t been having the chocolate and crisp cravings. Haven’t done any exercise because my energy levels aren’t there. My boyfriend on the other hand has lost half a stone despite him cheating occasionally. Should I just be patient? How long can it take to see results? Be grateful for any replies.

    1. Hi Michelle, ah yes I know it can be so frustrating that men seem to find it so easy to lose weight compared to women! My suggestion to you is hang on in there. A month is actually still early days with the keto diet, and although some women find they drop a lot of weight in this time, for others it does take longer. If your energy levels are still low, you are still adapting and your body is not yet efficiently burning fat for fuel. When you are adapted, you will find you have a lot more energy and your hunger levels will decrease. This naturally means you will be moving around more and eating less and weight loss will start to happen. Make sure you are not reducing your calories too much in this adaptation phase… if your brain and body feel like there isn’t enough food around you won’t adapt and your body will hold on to excess weight. It really can be counter intuitive, but for us women, we really need to be nourishing and feeding ourselves in order for our bodies to release excess fat. (Our pesky hormones!).

      So yes, my recommendations are: Do not reduce calories too much, make sure you are getting enough fat (and your carbs are low), do not snack between meals (this can hinder adaptation), try some gentle exercise like going for walks to encourage your body to get efficient at burning fats, keep your stress levels as low as possible and get plenty of sleep. Right now your focus should be keto-adapting. And don’t compare yourself to your boyfriend! Men really are like a different species when it comes to losing weight!! All the best, Joan.

  3. Hi Joan 🙂
    I am eating LCHF 15 days. At the beginning the first week I lost 4 kg, but that is it. I am not loosing weight for 10 days. I don’t eat any carbs.I drinking bulletproof coffee for breakfast, I eat lunch and dinner. I don’t eat snacks, maybe once or twice this week. I eat strictly LCHF , but why am I not loosing weight? I am starting to concern. Should I be?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Marija, it’s perfectly normal to have a weight loss stall after the first ‘whoosh’ of weight loss. Your body is still adjusting to the keto way of eating. Give it time, make sure you are eating enough fats (and don’t go too low in calories as this will not help). Make sure you are getting enough sleep and continue to nourish your body so it can heal and find its balance. All the best!

  4. Hi
    I’m in my second week of ketosis , well I cheated on Mother’s Day but showed trace on a keto stick by The following Tuesday and I’m not cheating anymore but I’ve gained a pound. I’m discouraged and want to know how long I should keep eating LCHF? I think I lost weight immediately last year when I started.
    ={

    1. Hi Lauretta, please don’t worry about that pound! Weight can easily fluctuate more than that just because of your body holding on to more water when you eat carbs. Just feed yourself great, nourishing food. Focus on health. Eat when you’re hungry and don’t when you’re not… you’re body will find its balance. 🙂

      1. Dear Joan,
        It’s me again 🙂 . I have something to ask you. As I told you before , I am on LCHF almost a month, without any offense, I eat strictly LCHF. My preference is my health and not the weight loss. Weight loss will come surely as the time passes.
        I have polyp in the uterus, do you know maybe if the polyp will heal , because I am not eating carbs (low carbs) , or get smaller after a period of time?
        Thanks in advance

        1. Hi Marija! In all honesty, I don’t know about this I’m afraid. What I will say though, is I know women have experienced relief and healing from things like PCOS, endometriosis, irregular periods and hormonal health by following a keto diet. So my hope would be that you would notice some improvement. But obviously, I’m not a medical professional so can’t give you anything but my guesses here. I do wish you all the best, I’d be very interested to know how you get on and if you do see some improvements here. 🙂

          1. Thank you very much for everything, I will tell you if there is any improvement. We’ll keep in touch <3

  5. Joan – I don’t have a thyroid gland (take meds to control it) and I’ve had a complete hysterectomy and take bio-identical hormone replacement…I’ve been eating lchf with 16 hour fasting for a week. I just want to make sure it’s ok for me to fast since I don’t have thyroid and gave had a hysterectomy.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Tambi, I’ll have to be honest here and say I don’t know. In general, for women just starting out with keto I don’t recommend fasting. (I believe it’s better to wait until you are fat adapted so you are not putting too much stress on your body at once). My gut feeling would be to take things very easily and slowly, as it sounds like treating your body gently and nourishing it well is of primary importance here. I would love to be of more help, but once questions have medical issues attached like this one, it would be wrong of me to start claiming to have all the answers! Perhaps you could consider finding a naturopath or holistic nutritionist (who understand keto) in your area to discuss this with?

  6. HI everyone! I just started my keto diet literally 2 days ago…I was feeling a bit discouraged cuz I haven’t shown any ketones on a keto stick yet (haven’t tested tonight though yet) but seeing that it can take some time has made feel even more strongly about my commitment to this way of life.(Started it for the weight loss plus my last HbA1c showed me to be prediabetic) so thanks for the encouragement!

    Karyn

  7. Hi, I just started on this keto plan and I exercise daily either biking or walking. I got my carbs to way low. Yesterday I had eggs and bacon for breakfast, lunch was a protein shake, dinner was chicken and broccoli and a snack was a protein bar. I will also snack sometimes on veggies like peppers and yet instead of losing I’m gaining weight according to the scale. People tell me I look good like I lost weight when actually I’m gaining and mostly around the gut. How long to start seeing weight loss? What can I do to help it move along?
    Thanks
    Susan

    1. It sounds like you’re eating too little fat, and too much protein. “Protein” shakes and bars usually have a ton of sugar and hidden carbs.
      For example, today I had coffee with heavy cream, a whole large avocado, with bacon and eggs, cooked in a bit of bacon grease, and topped with shredded whole-fat mozzarella cheese. This was my breakfast.

      For lunch, I made a single pan dish with bacon, chicken thighs, zucchinis, bell and Serrano peppers, and eggplant, all sautéed in a bit of butter, and seasoned with some powdered chicken bullion(Knorr). I mixed in some smoked havarti and goat cheese at the end.

      For dinner, I had a few breakfast sausages, and another avocado.

      The point if the ketogenic diet isn’t really to lose weight, as it’s more of a “diet:what you consume”, rather than a temporary “lose weight, go back to what you were doing before”.

      Don’t worry about the scale. I have one, but I only use it to check my body fat, which has gone down about 2% over a month and a half, which is what I care more about, since weight can fluctuate a lot in one day or even over a week, because of water and other factors.

      When you’re doing keto correctly, most people don’t feel the need to eat as often, since fat is filling. Your body will also let you know, since you will probably feel weird (you could have headaches, dizziness, fatigue, etc., as your body is basically detoxing from glucose).

      Good luck. It’s an ultra-marathon, not a sprint.

  8. Hello! I started LCHF about 2 weeks ago. I also cut out all diet soda (Diet Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper were major addictions) and stick solely to water. About 5-6 days in, I experienced what was a severe energy crash and a rage that I can only liken to hyper severe PMS (but was not as my cycle isn’t due). I got out of bed, took a shower and laid on the couch and proceeded to sleep all day. I finally got up sometime later and cooked dinner and went right back to sleep. My poor husband was living in fear (LOL).

    All of this lasted exactly one day. When I woke up the next morning, I was completely fine. I had mad energy and I have been fine ever since. I was wondering if this could have been a sign that I was going into ketosis? I have really been diligent about watching what I eat and following true LCHF recipes.

    Any advice would be appreciated : )

    1. It sounds like your body was detoxing from the caffiene, whereas true ketosis flu symptoms are caused by your body detoxing from sugar/glucose. Some people never experience the keto flu, so it doesn’t mean anything if you never had those symptoms.

      If you’re not sure if you’re in ketosis, you can use test strips (they measure unused ketones in your urine), and your breath may smell like nail polish remover.

  9. I’ve been on the Keto diet for a month. Initially I lost 6 pounds the first 10 days, but nothing since. I have been eating less than 20 carbs a day ( macros are at 5% carbs 70% fat 25% protein) and have been eating 1400-1700 calories per day. I have done the Keto diet before, and have had excellent weight loss, but this time isn’t going very well. I haven’t lost anything in 20 days, and have been religiously following the diet. I haven’t had my thyroid checked this year, but it has never been an issue before. I’ve been drinking plenty of water, using coconut oil daily, I’m out of ideas. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. You may not be eating enough for your particular body, so my suggestion would be to eat more fat, and a bit less protein.
      (Avocados, cheese, bacon, etc)
      Also, don’t look at the scale so much. Your weight can change multiple times a day because of water, sodium, or a million other reasons, which have little to nothing to do with your body fat percentage.

  10. I started keto 3 weeks ago. Haven’t lost or gained. I am eating the exact macros and calories recommended for my age. I’m 54 and 150lbs. I do not have a gall bladder and thought maybe that was the issue. So I started taking mci oil and a digestive supplement. I exercise lightly but I do walk all day for my job. I really don’t feel any different. I am also pre menopausal. I’ve never really eaten more than 100 carbs a day for the last 7 years, so I didn’t get the Keto Flu. I know this is a healthier way of eating, but I would like to lose 25 lbs. Any advise?

  11. Hi,i have started keto since 1 months , but no result at all , my weight is remaining same,i had a baby 2 months ago and i am overweight ,i am not losing my pregnancy belly fats so i atarted LCHF and my target is 22kg to lose,it has not moved even by 1kg , i don’t know if i should wat more fats or i am eating too much fats that my weight is remaining same or my body needs time

  12. I’ve started 10 days ago and feel 10 years younger. Lots of energy and no sugar craving which is alot for someone who drank a 6 pack of hopsy beer every other night. I have not lost any weight yet but am hopeful. Been tracking my food consumption on the stupid simple keto tracker app. I thought because I went a little over on my proteins and carbs that I may have eaten too much dairy and nuts. Love both more than meat! I have not cheated at all and I gained a pound. I’m not discouraged yet. I thought maybe because of my thyroid and that I’m 50, now entering menopause. I have not had any hot flashes this week and I truly feel so energized that I want to go exercise to give some of this energy an outlet. Maybe not aerobics (yuk) but some walking, swimming, or yoga. Anyhow , I hope I lose some weight soon just to prove to myself that I’m on the right track.

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