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Can You Lose Weight Without Exercise on the Keto Diet?

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  Published on November 1st, 2021
  Reading time: 3 minutes
  Last modified July 5th, 2023
can you lose weight without exercise

If you’re just starting out on your health journey, simply the idea of hitting the gym may evoke feelings of intimidation, dread, and fear. And that alone can convince you to throw in the towel before you’ve even begun. The good news? You can drop the pounds eating a ketogenic diet without having to break a sweat because good health is based on what happens in the kitchen.

Read on to find out how you can lose weight without exercise while on the keto diet.

How Do I Get Started on the Ketogenic Diet?    

The key to the ketogenic diet is achieving the metabolic state of ketosis at which point your body burns stored fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As a result, you lose body fat and, as an added bonus, research shows your mood improves. [1]

To reach ketosis, getting the right balance of macronutrients (aka macros)—carbs, protein, fats—is essential. Because that looks different for every person, a good place to kickstart going keto is calculating the optimal breakdown specific to you. Roughly speaking, the ketogenic protocol calls for 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. The overarching idea is to scale down on the carbs and replace them with protein and healthy fats.

Can you lose weight without exercise

Having less carbohydrates to burn translates to having less sugar to combat (and sugar turns to fat) so that, alone will help you lose weight without exercise while on keto. 

What Can I Eat on Keto? 

Once you’ve established your macros, set yourself up for success with keto-approved meal planning. Stock your kitchen with whole, unprocessed foods (think: avocado, grass-fed beef, seafood, berries, and leafy greens), while leaving the likes of bread, starchy vegetables, legumes, and sugary drinks at the door. 

Not sure what to make for dinner? Keep it simple with salmon served with asparagus and bell peppers cooked in ghee or whip up grilled chicken fajita kabobs.

Can you lose weight without exercise

Round out your supper with a no-bake cheesecake that you’d never guess is keto-friendly (yes, you can have dessert on keto!). 

When following a keto nutrition plan, you’ll be consuming significantly less sugar and carbohydrates than if you were eating the standard American diet. Therefore, it’s typical to experience health benefits from weight loss and reduced inflammation to balanced blood sugar levels and less cravings. [2]

Keto and Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting—a way of eating that switches between periods of fasting and eating—when paired with keto can produce even greater improvements to your health. One of the most popular methods of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method. It calls to have a “feeding window” of eight hours and then a fasting period of 16 hours which usually takes place overnight. For example, if you wake up at 6am, delay your first meal until 10am (you can still have your morning pick-me-up!) and end your window of meals by 6pm.

Because of the typical reduced caloric intake that comes with intermittent fasting, it can lead to not only greater weight loss, but also enhanced metabolic health. Furthermore, according to a recent study, intermittent fasting has a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. [3]

However you choose to approach your foray into the keto diet, keep in mind that it’s your unique journey—do what feels right for you. And you don’t have to let the fear of sweating it out at the gym keep you from reaping the benefits of embarking on the keto lifestyle.

Katherine Chang is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, covering everything from fashion and lifestyle to health and wellness. While she was first drawn to writing about fashion, Katherine became passionate about health and wellness and learning about homeopathic ways to help herself and others feel their best after being diagnosed with Crohn's disease. In her spare time, you'll find Katherine breaking a sweat (and making friends) trying out the latest fitness class, grabbing a matcha with her dachshund, Rex, or switching between reruns of Friends and Gilmore Girls.



McClernon, F.J., Yancy, W.S., Jr., Eberstein, J.A., Atkins, R.C. and Westman, E.C. (2007). The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self-Reported Symptoms. Obesity, 15: 182-182. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2007.516


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.


Dong, T. A., Sandesara, P. B., Dhindsa, D. S., Mehta, A., Arneson, L. C., Dollar, A. L., Taub, P. R., & Sperling, L. S. (2020). Intermittent Fasting: A Heart Healthy Dietary Pattern? The American journal of medicine, 133(8), 901–907. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2020.03.030

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