4+ Weeks into Keto and the scale has barely moved. Would like to build muscle mass and lose a little fat


Hello there,

So I just passed the 4 week point into my Keto journey, and so far I’ve noticed that I haven’t lost much (maybe 2-4 lbs max). I work a very physically demanding job in shipping and receiving, which involves a lot of lifting, pulling, pushing of heavy product, not to mention that I typically achieve roughly 12-15 km a day of walking distance while on the job. I also train in a competitive sport which can get intense at times, so I’m not sure why my body refuses to drop the weight, and I would say the majority of my body fat is around my abdominal region and the “love handles” that just won’t go away.

I’m in my early 30’s, 5’8" and my weight fluctuates between 156-162 lbs on any given day.

As for what I’ve been eating, this is a typical plan:

  1. Breakfast - Bulletproof Organic Decaf Coffee w/ 2x Tbsps of Organic MCT Oil, 2-4 Tbsps of Coconut Milk, and a small sprinkling of Stevia. I tried mixing my homemade Ghee in, but that just made my stomach upset. I sometimes mix in a scoop of NZ Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate, which amounts of around 28g of protein because with my job, I can barely make it to first coffee break without feeling starved.

  2. Break - Few slices of Mozerella cheese, which somehow tides me over until Lunch.

  3. Lunch - Ground Chicken Chili with Celery, Onions, Garlic, Red/Yellow Peppers, all the typical chili spices, and organic chicken broth.

  4. Break - Keyto Life Bar https://www.naturallysplendid.com/product/detail/KEY-TO-LIFE%20KETO%20BAR%20–%20Red%20Velvet

  5. Dinner - 2x Chicken Thighs with 1 cup steamed Broccoli and 2 Tbsps of Ghee OR a small serving of Sauerkraut, with a 1/2 cup of Kombucha diluted in RO water.

That’s pretty much an example meal plan. I do vary the foods, but I’m always being careful to keep low carb. I add in a little extra protein because I can’t afford to lose any muscle for my sport, or my job.

If anyone can chime in here and tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I should change, it would be helpful.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #2
  1. Cut out the processed products and stick with whole foods.

  2. Keep your carbohydrate intake low (under 20 grams/day) and eat a reasonable amount of protein. Then fill in the rest with enough fat to satisfy your appetite. In the absence of carbohydrate, your appetite will be a reliable guide to how much to eat. Don’t skimp on calories, or your body will jealously guard its fat reserves, even on a ketogenic diet.

  3. Remember that the scale is not a reliable measure of progress. Some people put on muscle and grow stronger bones, even while shedding excess fat. This confuses the scale, so keep the fit of your clothing in mind as another measure of progress.

  4. Cut out the manufactured, prepared food-like substances and eat real food. It’s hard to go wrong on a diet of real food. Use the traditional animal fats (butter, lard, bacon grease, tallow) and avoid processed vegetable oils. Eat meat, leafy greens, and vegetables that grow above ground, avoiding sugars, grains, and starches. If you’re not lactose-intolerant, dairy is lovely (so you can go back to making your gravy and cheese sauce with butter and heavy cream).

  5. Ignore the dietary guidelines promulgated over the past fifty years. They are based on no scientific data and often go against what data exist.

  6. Don’t fear fat. The idea that it causes heart disease is mistaken, if not outright fraudulent. Fat has a minimal effect on insulin, whereas carbohydrate stimulates it wildly, and elevated insulin not only causes the body to store fat in excess, it also causes all kinds of systemic damage. Yes, we need insulin to live, but too much is almost as deadly as not enough.


Thanks for the reply! I do need a couple things cleared up if possible:

  1. From what I understand, even on a Keto diet, you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose body fat (or am I missing something?). If I go nuts and eat tons of fat just to stay satisfied, my body wouldn’t need to turn to burning body fat for fuel because it is already overloaded with dietary fat. This part just needs a little clarification.

  2. It’s difficult, but I often just go by what I see in the mirror, more specifically my abdominal region. The layers of fat covering my abs and the love handles don’t appear to have lessened at all, but again I just eyeball it everyday.

  3. I agree with you on this one. I definitely don’t fear fat as I enjoy a lot of Ghee, Coconut Oil / Milk, MCT Oil, and animal fats on a daily basis.

In general, I just feel like I’m doing something wrong because I haven’t seen or felt a whole lot of progress, even though I just passed the 4 week mark. My biggest concern is reducing my protein intake, which to me sounds like muscle loss, which is never good, especially in the activities that I do. If anything, I’m trying to GAIN muscle, not lose it!


Dont eat sweet-tasting foods. Even with stevia or other artificial sweeteners, you can get an insulin reaction. We want to suppress insulin secretion. Do eat breakfast. Have as many eggs as you want and fry them in real butter. Have some bacon too. For lunch try vegetables ( which grow above ground) and meats. Cheese too.Make yourself a hamburger on a bed of lettuce instead of a bun. Check out youtube for keto recipes. Keep track of your macros on cronometer.com. Eat well and enjoy your food. When I read about what you have for breakfast - that is like trying to emulate the diets we all used to do. This is keto- so you dont really need any protein shakes anymore. Eat real protein and if you want fats then eat butter and eggs and avocados and mayonnaise and olive or coconut oil. Eat until you are full. Once you become fat adapted, you will notice that you can really trust your body to tell you when you are full and dont need to eat. Then you can attempt IF or EF or OMAD if you want. But we want our body to switch from burning carbs to burning fat - which is why we then find ketones in our urine. Oftentimes it is hard to switch our minds around to eating what we were always taught to avoid. And last but not least- keep your carbs below 20g per day.

(Bunny) #5

5’ 8” ??? and 156-162 ??? For a male that is like the perfect weight.

With that kind of physical activity your gaining muscle and bone density from not eating refined sugar and the amount you weigh is absolutely nothing compared to being overweight.

If you lost any more weight (e.g. 140) you would be anorexic and loose muscle mass trying to achieve making the scale move down?

Remember muscle and total lean body mass weighs more than fat!

Yeah you may have a little tire around the mid section but you don’t have very much of it.


I get what you’re saying - I am technically in a healthy weight range, but certain body fat (specifically in the abdominal region) is still considered unhealthy, even if you are in an overall healthy weight range. I would just like to get rid of the fat in that area, and since spot reducing fat is impossible, all I can do is reduce it overall.

I can’t really estimate how much fat is around my midsection, but I would say less than 10 lbs.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #7

I agree with @atomicspacebunny that you’re probably at your ‘normal’. So further changes will likely be difficult. We have no control over where our body stores energy in the form of fat. So, it’s a fool’s errand to try to ‘move it from your belly’ to somewhere less ‘unhealthy’. The best you can do is eat more protein, including collagen, and use exercise to increase muscle mass while burning body fat. You won’t ‘lose’ and will probably ‘gain’, but it will be lean muscle/bone etc. and because most of the energy required to do it is located in your belly, that will diminish in the process. That would be a good place to be in my opinion. As always, keep the carbs sub-20 grams per day and the lower the better. You probably don’t want to increase fat intake. There are some folks on the forum experienced in building muscle mass and you might get their attention if you edit the topic title to include muscle development rather than simply weight.

(Allie) #8

Nope. Eat to hunger, listen to your body, and lose the processed junk.

(PJ) #9

I totally understand the frustration.

I have been eating low carb ‘off and on’ for many years. I’ve lost a lot of weight. But what I find is that weirdly, sometimes I don’t. For some time. And then like, a month or two later, suddenly I do again.

I have a theory that the body has a lot of healing to do after we grow up on our food supply, surrounded by all our toxins, dealing with stress, and most of it’s black-box – it’s inside, we can’t see or hear it, so the body’s working on some important internal project (“think I’ll just clear some of this crap off your kidney or liver” or whatever) and we’re like, the scale isn’t moving!

Your diet is good, though the processed stuff is less than ideal, but hey live to do better another day because sometimes people are in a situation where Food Purity™ is just not so workable.

Given how much exercise you’re getting, and I assume you’re drinking a lot of water and not diet soda or something, you should be losing some water AND fat, if you were eating moderate/high-carb before.

I’m thinking that maybe the internal inflammation that exercise tends to bring on – particularly when it’s so constant and a bit extreme like you describe – might be causing your body some issues that are interfering. Not much you can do about that though, except eat well, drink water, keep on keeping on, and I think it will work out. Eventually.

It always has for me anyway and you are younger, fitter, and get more exercise.


Could be a cortisol issue perhaps - I hear that’s no good for the mid-section :woman_shrugging:

Is there anything in all of that “lifting, pulling, pushing of heavy product” that resembles a deadlift? Deadlifts were a real game changer for my core/mid-section. I didn’t lose much if anything in the way of inches or weight but it’s all nice and firm.