How long will it take before you start to see some of the gains that the keto diet promises to its newest converts? Most people are eager to see those stubborn pounds fall away, leading them to wonder what the keto weight loss timeline really looks like.
Keto is an effective lifestyle for weight loss, but it’s not an instantaneous process or a magic bullet. Knowing what to expect from your body allows you to mentally prepare for how slow-going and steady the process of weight loss on keto can be.
What Is a Reasonable Keto Weight Loss Timeline?
If you have been agonizing over when you will start to see significant gains from the keto diet, this timeline will give you a realistic idea of what to expect.
Early Weight Loss on Keto
When you first implement a new diet, those early pounds that seem to melt away often give you the incentive needed to stick with your diet for the long haul, even when progress tends to stall. The good news is that early in the keto weight loss timeline, you will see that you lose weight relatively quickly. However, it is important to understand that many of the early pounds will be water weight.
Once your body sheds the excess water weight, you will see an initial period of fat loss. At this stage of the diet, many people experience quite rapid weight loss, such as a 10-pound decrease in the first two weeks of the diet. 
Keep in mind that many diets will sacrifice lean muscle through severe calorie restriction. This is one of the benefits of the keto diet: because this high fat and high protein diet keeps you satiated on fewer calories, you’ll generally eat in a slight calorie deficit and counting calories is not a must as long you stay within your carb count for the day. As a result, most research indicates that ketosis does not impact lean muscle mass.
Keto Weight Loss After Three Weeks
For many people, the biggest challenge when they start to lose weight is the increase in their hunger. One study found that those on a keto diet may have a desire to eat more in the first three weeks of the diet. However, those who stuck with it and lost 10 to 17 percent of their weight did not have increased appetite. 
This may indicate that for many people, it is not until after the first three weeks of keto weight loss that they start to feel the satiety that many keto enthusiasts talk about with a high-fat diet.
While weight loss may start to slow down around this three-week mark, sticking with it will allow you to cut back on calories as long as you continue to consume foods high in fat.
Five Month Successes
According to research, most people see peak weight loss occur right around the five-month mark. If you are dedicated to the keto lifestyle and have minimal slips in consuming extra carbs in your diet, then you may see weight loss of up to 30 kilograms (roughly 66 pounds). 
Most doctors would agree that losing about one to two pounds per week is sustainable and healthy.  That would put you around the 50-pound mark halfway through your first year of the keto diet. After this initial bump on your weight loss, you may notice that the speed of your weight loss tends to decline.
This is because it is easier to lose weight at the beginning and continuing to lose becomes more challenging with sustained efforts. As you get closer to your ideal body weight, your body will begin to adapt which leads to a slow in your weight loss progress.  Keep in mind, too, that even if the numbers on the scale are not changing, your body composition may be changing and you may still be losing fat.
The One-Year Weight Loss Mark on Keto
If you can stick to this new lifestyle for the long haul, you might have some impressive results at the one-year mark. Even if your weight loss tends to slow down at the five- to six-month mark, you can still see significant weight loss at the one-year benchmark. Individuals who had a lot of body fat to lose may see that they drop about one pound per week after the half-year point. When combined with the 50 pounds lost in the first six months, you should see about 75 pounds fall away once you hit this monumental milestone.
From here, your weight loss goal is more likely to involve maintaining your new lower weight rather than focusing on continued weight loss gains. If you still have some body fat to lose, you can continue to aim for losing roughly one pound per week until you hit your goal weight.
At this point, you might start to consume some non-keto foods again such as an increase in berries or vegetables that are higher in carbs like sweet potatoes. Stick with most of the foods that you would have eaten on a keto diet, but you can be a bit less rigid and still maintain your overall gains.
Starting a new diet is an exciting time because you know it often leads to quick and immediate wins on the scale. However, weight loss tends to slow after the first few months. The true test of any diet or lifestyle change is whether you can maintain the new regimen over time. If you are committed to sticking with your keto lifestyle and to making changes when necessary, you can easily shed one pound per week for the first year or more.
Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their
lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary
components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't
typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.
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Ting, R., Dugré, N., Allan, G. M., & Lindblad, A. J. (2018). Ketogenic diet for weight loss. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 64(12), 906.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Key recommendations. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/recommen.htm
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