How to lose weight with keto (2021 getting-started guide) : 1200isplentyketo


Have you had a ‘line in the sand’ moment and want to make a change? Or perhaps this craziest of years has left you heavier or unhealthier than you’d like to be.

I tick both boxes and the first thing to say is self-compassion is key. It’s been a rough year for everyone and even if it hadn’t we’re only human. Be proud of making it here and having the courage and self-reflection to make a positive change.

Now, I’ve got skin in this game. I lost 80lbs on keto before I started this sub but life isn’t a linear journey. I learned it’s easier than I thought to slip into my old bad habits under times of stress and as a result I’ve gained 65lbs back… but I don’t take this as a negative. As a wise person once said, “don’t be afraid to start again. You’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience”.

I know truly what a daunting point this can be. I’m right there with you, turning over the notebook to reveal a blank piece of paper with no small amount of trepidation and a wish for things to be different.

r/1200isplentyketo - How to lose weight with keto (2021 getting-started guide)

Why keto?

Alittle basic knowledge doesn’t hurt. For 99% of people, weight gain happens because they eat more energy than their body uses (the extra is stored as fat). This means losing the weight is relatively simple: eating less energy than the body needs means it uses those fat reserves to make up the difference.

So simple, yes, but not easy. That ‘energy’ (calories) comes in a range of options:

  • low calorie – vegetables, fruits which give vitamins and nutrients

  • medium calorie – starches (potatoes, bread, nuts and pulses) which give energy and fiber

  • high calorie – fats (including butter, cream and oils)

  • high calorie – chocolate, crisps, white bread, sugary cereals, smoothies, cereal bars and alcohols (most offer very little nutrition for the amount of calories they have which usually comes from sugar which gives a mood boost)

Eating food high in vitamins, healthy fats and fibre keeps our bodies functioning well and keeps hunger low. Sadly, convenience and cost can mean packaged food is often the first option – with extra calories and fewer nutrients. These sugar-heavy snacks are quick and satisfying – but the sugar high is usually followed by a low which leads to a crash and more hunger. That can result in eating more… and soon you take in more energy than you need. We’re not just bodies, though. Our minds need energy too – and these convenience foods mean it’s easy to get trapped in the temporary highs from alcohol and sugars to get us through stressful times. This is why weight loss isn’t linear or (necessarily) easy. It is very possible, though. I can’t understate the freedom which comes from breaking the bonds of these addictions and learning to find healthy and positive habits.

Sustainable weight loss takes time – it’s a marathon not a sprint whatever route you take. This time is good, though, it lets you focus on building a sustainable lifestyle and improving your mental wellbeing. Don’t put off doing something because of the time it will take to do it, the time will pass anyway. Soon 6 months will pass and I want to be standing there at the end of them 5 stone lighter!

You don’t have to do keto to lose weight. You can follow the steps below and track what you eat – as long as it’s less than you use you’ll lose the weight just fine. For some people that is more sustainable. The benefit to the keto approach is by cutting out sugars you:

  • break the sugar-rush cycle (and feel full on less, helping you eat fewer calories)

  • break the sugar habit and focus on alternative ways to raise your mood (helping you maintain a healthy weight by building better habits)

  • lose weight at a faster rate than non-keto diets (especially in the first 6 months)

  • reduce the loss of lean muscle (which can happen when you reduce calories) because the amount of protein you eat is chosen to support your muscle mass


  • to lose weight eat fewer calories than your body uses

  • weight loss is possible for everyone – but it’s a marathon not a sprint

  • sustainable weight loss needs focus on the mental as well as the physical

  • keto can help by reducing cravings, hunger and muscle loss

If you want to find out more:

How to get started

  1. Use a scale and tape measure to take your starting weight and measurements (and if you’re feeling brave a photo in front of a mirror).

  • for example, neck, bust, chest, waist (thinnest point), belly (widest point) and hips

  • use these numbers to get an accurate body fat estimate

  • your body may change even when the scale doesn’t so these will all help to motivate you

2) enter your information here to find:

  • how much energy your body needs right now (your total daily energy expenditure, TDEE)

  • a weight in the middle of the normal (healthy) range for your body (a good final goal weight)

  • your BMI (which along with body fat percentage is a good overall proxy for health

3) find out how much you need to eat to lose weight healthily by taking 500 calories from your TDEE

4) set yourself some mini-goals (it’s mentally easier to look at losing 10lbs than 100) and it helps to have a positive mindset because every pound is progress to be celebrated

  • for example, losing 10% of my starting weight, being 20% to your goal or reaching an overweight BMI range

  • a safe rate of weight loss is 2-2.5lbs a week or 8-10lbs a month

5) find your macros (how many grams of carb, fat and protein you will aim for a day)

  • stay under your carb goal, hit protein goal to minimise muscle wastage and add more fat if you’re still hungry

  • if you want, follow the myfitnesspal guide below to find and track these numbers automatically

6) buy a food scale

  • if you’ve got a lot to lose you might get away with not tracking in the beginning but you will need to the closer you get to your goal weight

  • if you eat 100 calories (1 banana) over your TDEE a day by the end of the year you will have gained over 10lbs! Every calories counts

7) download an app to track your progress, food and exercise, for example:

  • myfitnesspal

  • calorie counter

  • fitbit (if you have a tracker)

  • or you can use my spreadsheet (metric or imperial) which also helps you set realistic mini goals and weightloss bingo

How to use myfitnesspal to find and track your macros

This is an easy way to get everything set up quickly. Go to Myfitnesspal and make a free account (if you don’t have one already). Then:

  1. Click ‘My home’, ‘Settings’, ‘Food and exercise diary settings’ then ‘nutrients tracked’ to change your key tracked nutrients to be carbs, protein and fat.

  2. Click ‘My home’, ‘goals’ and ‘Edit daily nutrition goals’ to change your tracked macros. Pop your dieting calories from step 2 into the ‘calories’ box.

  3. Set the percentage of the carbs box to be either 5 or 10% (depending on where you want your carb allowance to fall).

  4. Set your protein percentage so the grams in the box to the left is about the same as your lean (muscle) mass.

  5. Finally adjust fat so the percentage makes 100. Save!

What will my days look like?

All you can ever change is today. Don’t focus on the mountain – walk a step each day and that will take care of itself.

With that in mind, here are the steps I will be taking each day:

  • weigh myself (you can do this weekly or monthly if you don’t want to do it daily)

  • track what I eat in myfitnesspal (and make sure I keep to my calorie limit and macros)

  • aim to drink 2-3 litres of water a day

  • do some exercise (even if it’s just a quick walk outside)

That’s it! Rinse and repeat = success!

Tips for success

  • planning (and entering) your meals into your tracker on a Sunday can take all the stress out of meals during the week – I find I don’t snack as much when I know what’s coming

  • browse subs like ours (use the flairs in the sidebar to filter) and get ideas for meals and food

  • this site is both a wonderful resource and has meals plans for your first few weeks all made up#

  • put your food on sideplates instead of normal ones to help trick your brain into thinking you’re still eating ‘full’ portions while you get used to healthy ones

  • build in treats (for example, a ‘me’ evening or sugar free jelly and whipped cream)

  • don’t forget about electrolytes. Stock-cube broth is cheap and easy, Lo-salt is helpful or you can add electrolyte powder to some water every day

  • don’t forget to drink water (at least 2 litres a day) this helps everything

  • it can help to throw away carb-heavy foods from your home to remove temptation (or at least put them out of reach)

  • don’t change everything all at once, focus on diet for a couple of weeks, then add another goal (for example, exercise). This time gives your body and mind time to adjust

  • it’s ok to make mistakes – it’s the trend that’s important. One meal won’t make you fat – just as one salad won’t make you thin. You never fail unless you give up, keep going and you will get there 🙂

  • weight loss isn’t linear, especially for women who tend to hold water on a monthly basis. Sometimes the scale will stay the same or rise and your measurements will shrink. Keep calm and keto on!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to message me or leave them below.

We’ve got this 😀

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