Getting rapidly fatter, darn it

(Laura) #1

I am only five weeks in, but I am definitely getting larger. It’s uncomfortable. It’s happened so rapidly that I don’t walk the same, I feel large and uncomfortable sometimes at night, and I need new clothes. Two sizes bigger clothes!! It is not a cute, happy weight gain. It’s a sudden and unwieldly weight gain, everywhere. And like I said, so fast!

I’m not particularly increasing calories, that I know of.

Is this common? I am hoping that it’s not a harbinger of huge weight gain to come on keto. I don’t even know if you can gain that much fat in 5 weeks; I’m hoping it’s water. Though the weight gain began more like 2 months ago, before I started keto.

Besides keto, the other thing that’s new is I’ve started running again after 2 years of injury and surgery. I was pretty sedentary during those 2 years (but didn’t gain much weight).

I’m keeping my total carbs below 25 and often below 20. I’ve had some obvious symptoms of transitioning to ketosis.

Does keto make some people fat?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Keto is a ‘normalization process’. That means if you eat keto and remain in ketosis consistently - and by consistently I mean 99+% of the time - your metabolism will move towards your ‘normal’ and fixing whatever is broke in the process. Everything related and/or dependent on metabolic function will also move towards your normal.

If your normal happens to include more stored fat than you’ve been accustomed to packing around previously, then “Yes” keto can make you get fatter. Simply because you were too skinny before and that was not your normal. For optimum health we need to have some percentage of body weight in the form of stored fat. It’s a moving target that varies with age and body structure. Women generally need more fat than men.

For example, I’m a 76 year old male. I have about 14-15% body fat and for a male that’s within the normal healthy range, although (and for my age) at the lower end of that range. Maybe before you started keto your body fat was at the lower end of the healthy range for females of your age, etc. So you’re moving towards a more healthy %.

5 weeks is not long. You might just be going through a blip. In your avatar photo you look quite thin. So maybe you’ve been underweight and gaining towards a more healthy weight just seems disconcerting.

I’ve been consistently in ketosis for 4 1/2 years. My weight is stable at 145 pounds and my body fat at 14-15%. Both have been so since less than 6 months on keto.

Hope this helps.

(Laura) #3

I don’t think I was underweight before, because I’ve long been under the care of a doctor (just because of great heath insurance in the past) and everything has been healthy. I’ve always been the same size, my whole adult life, even after having a baby. I have gotten too skinny a couple times during extreme stress, but always got back to normal. I feel my best at 15 lbs lighter than I am now.

But also, this new weight does not look or seem healthy. I now have fat rolls, my tummy looks like the Michelin Man when I sit, my son says “Mommy, you’re fat” (he means compared to before), and I have no shape or curves at all. I’m built narrow, so even with an extra 10-20 lbs, I waddle instead of walking normally. I even started to snore at night now, and just feel fat instead of strong and healthy.

(Laura) #4

I just checked the mirror again and my stomach is poking out as if five or six months pregnant.

I do like the idea that keto heals what needs healing. Maybe this is just some part of that process? If I come out of this larger and plumper but in a strong and fit and curvy way, not a pregnant Michelin Man way, I’m all for it.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

Maybe you’ll get some ideas from this:


What about your protein and fat? Are you watching those at all? You’re not going to gain from protein, but you absolutely can with fat. You shouldn’t be gaining weight, if you are you’re over eating for your metabolism, especially if you’re doing the butter and bacon on everything version of keto. Fat has 9cals per gram unlike protein and carbs which have 4, so you could very easily crank up your intake way over what your metabolism can deal with without noticing.

At one point thanks to a slowed metabolism (my own fault) it took near nothing to fatten me up, it was terrible, I was in no way even remotely coming close to over eating (or eating enough) but since my metabolic rate was garbage it didn’t matter. I see you’re a former distance runner? Runners are the worst for that! What you guys call efficiency everybody else calls a slowed RMR.

I’d honestly just get your RMR checked so you can see what’s going on given you very likely have that problem. You can figure it out yourself as well, just takes some playing around to find that magic number. I’d use cronometer and track all your intake as accurately as you can, it will start painting a very clear picture for you soon enough. If you wind up liking it and doing the paid version you can graph any metric is uses like calories vs weight, or carbs and protein vs weight comes in handy when this happens.

(Polly) #7

Forgive me if you have already considered this, but could you be pregnant again?

(Laura) #8

I definitely am not pregnant.

(Laura) #9

I read about a metabolic lab in D.C. that measures RMR. One thing the article mentioned: When you exercise, your RMR is lower the rest of the day. A related thing the article mentioned: Most our caloric output (70-85%, depending on who you are) is just what we already burn when resting, doing nothing, and fidgeting.

I’ll try cronometer. One of my stressors in life is that I have way too much going on and so I may back off if it’s complicated and stressing me out. I do like what Michael implied-- possibly this is a good weight gain that I can relax and embrace (and find a good tailor).

When I think of my health I always feel guilty about two things: I’ve never done yoga, and I’ve never done weight-lifting. I am intimidated by both because of the time involved and the learning curve.

I was running 40-60 FAST miles a week as a working mother, before my foot injury and surgery that I’m healing from. I’d do about 6:00 pace. No other exercise. The only other exercise I enjoy that much is skiing and long walks. Before I had my son, I ran for college on a scholarship and then trained with an Olympic coach and ran a lot more and a lot faster, ever since age 18.

Now, I’m starting off at 2-3 miles a few times a week, much slower-- 7:30-6:40 pace. That’s after 2 years of no exercise except squats. Not even walking. The pace sounds fast to people, but because of my running form and my background, it doesn’t feel fast and doesn’t cause me to sweat much or breathe too hard.

I gained all this weight a few months ago suddenly, right after I started running again. There were also a couple stressful things going on. But stress has not ballooned my weight before.

Moving forward, I think I’ll run only 3 days per week and keep the miles low. The other days I’ll try yoga and (gasp) weights. And long walks. Maybe I’ll finally get a dog. I believe in weight lifting; I just don’t like it because I’m very very bad at learning new physical skills.

(Laura) #10

I’ve been poor about measuring those. I only measure carbs and – very roughly-- calories. I eat bacon, avocados, beef, cheese, fish cooked in butter, keto turkey meatballs, eggs, nuts, and then whatever else I find that’s keto. I’ll try more protein and that should lead to less fat. In other words, less reliance on the nuts and cheese!

My only fake-food keto “snack” has been this keto ice cream that I think I’m finally weaned off of. But I was still keeping the total carbs low (I’m not so sure about “net carbs” unless with vegetables). If I eliminate the weird ice cream and eliminate nuts, maybe that will help. Nuts are yummy but they always make me feel crummy after eating them.


One can gain fat on keto, sure, the body still happily raises fat reserves when overeating, at least many people surely function like that. My body only can gain fat extremely slowly even if I eat tons of fat and sugar and probably many people gain easer on high-carb than on keto even with similar calories…?

So, gaining fat on keto is possible, sure but you still need very very much extra energy for some extra fat appear. You can’t store fat without that energy.

So it’s quite odd if you don’t even eat like crazy and gain quickly. Gaining quickly is very extreme to me to begin with, as far as I know, people who tried eating really, really much, couldn’t use the food so well so gained little… But we all heard about quick gain so maybe it just happens at extreme overeating or under certain circumstances…?
Still, you don’t eat fat in insane amounts as you say so I can’t imagine how your body could gain fat. It’s probably at least partly water.
Your metabolism had no reason to go bonkers suddenly either…

It’s a good idea to restrict your food choices a bit for a while, you actually want to lose fat right now and for some (like me), that’s zillion times harder than not gaining… I never could slim down with much nuts and cheese, that’s sure. Sweets are probably fine for me unless I get tempted to eat way over satiation but carnivore solved that potential problem. I heard sweeteners may make a mess for some people though.

Not necessarily, be careful with fat if you are like me and love fat and it miraculously always find the way into your life despite trying to keep it “low” since a decade. But the key is choosing satiating, good food. There are less and more fatty options like that, at least for me. But we shouldn’t go leaner than what suits us. I like eating fatty and it’s fine, I just need to avoid the not satiating fats (for me not satiating, they may be perfect for others).

I hope things get better, it’s not fair that you try to do things right, okay food, exercise and still have this… :frowning:

(Laura) #12

I am starting to think that the most likely culprit is I was just slowly gaining over those two years of being sedentary, but I wasn’t really noticing it because Some repeated times a very low calorie might’ve caused a lot of water weight loss.

I’ll post a photo of my awkward weight gain. As you can see I’m still not a large person by any means, but the placement of weight isn’t looking healthy. And my clothing really is very suddenly too small.

(Laura) #13

And—This is me a year and a half ago and how I always looked. Those pants are very tight on me now.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #14

I’m guessing you’re an ectomorph. I spent 60+ years looking like your “…year and a half ago and always looked…” photo. I managed to survive the better part of 7 decades eating SAD without major damage. I spent the decade of my 60s slowly terraforming myself into your “…recent…” photo. In my case, however, 3 1/2 months of keto put me back to normal again, meaning the same weight/BF/conformation I had at age 18. I also ran competitively in high school and university. In your case something else appears to be going on. Maybe the ladies on the forum - not all of whom started keto to lose weight - have some ideas. Mid-life changes for women are probably lots more complicated than for men. And a big change in diet might result in some temporary unexpected results. @lfod14 and I disagree about lots, but I agree with his advice above to measure/track your macros (including fat) at least for a while. While keto mostly works via normalizing hormones and processes, it certainly is possible to eat too much of the wrong stuff. Especially when you start and are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

You may also find of interest the (mis)adventures of another ectomorph here:

(Laura) #15

I think he must be right and it is heartening to hear that you have maintained after being an ectomorph and gaining some weight. Thank you for pointing me to that other thread! Kind of makes me want to avoid intermittent fasting for now before I know what I’m doing.

I found the same clothes and here’s a photo of me in them just now. If you all can avoid the awkward camera face which makes me look like a serial killer in action, Maybe I don’t look all that unhealthy after all and I can just make sure I’m not gaining too fast after an initial three month period of reasonable calorie intake on keto.

But I’m definitely going to increase my protein and maybe weight lift.

Unfortunately I was raised in the fat phobia era. I grew up thinking that whole grains and vegetables were the key to health and longevity. I don’t think I ever have eaten very much fat except as a treat. I probably ate more candy that I did fat.

(Robin) #16

Your before photo was of a very thin (too thin) person, unless you were extremely lean from exercising and that was your healthy metabolism. But… I don’t know your age, so this has to be a question. For most of us, our 20 year old body will change and become more shapely over the years. If you were my daughter (mid thirties, 5’10” and 140lbs without really trying), I would tell you that you look much healthier today. “Fat” on the female body is a necessity. Forget what you have been taught to believe. Smaller is not always better. do what is healthy and makes you feel better. But dump the head game that comes from scales and mirrors. You are lovely. You got this.


That’s true, but the line moves depending on your activity, in your instance an endurance runner would be burning astronomical calories during, and very little after, probably just basal metabolism. Where somebody lifting for muscle gains wouldn’t burn anything impressive during, but their RMR would be elevated all day because of it.

When I get mine done they want you typically first thing in the AM and fasted probably for that reason.

Like anything there’s (some) learning curve but it’s super easy, I can put in even a huge complicated meal in under a minute. You can also scan barcodes of stuff to put it in that way.

(Laura) #18

Thank you for that! Encouragement is very important here. I am 44 years old. Maybe what I need is a new wardrobe because half the problem is that a lot of my clothes are looking awkward on me. I think I was healthy before, but also, it’s important to hear I might’ve looked too thin. Looking healthy is important to me because if I look too skinny then I may come across as not very professional.

My perspective has been a bit skewed for a personal reason, for the last six years I had a boyfriend who ended up cheating and leading a double life and every time he would come back to town I would want to quickly get into great shape— as if it was all about the short term. That was not a good way of thinking about physical health or anything else. I was not crash dieting or anything, but I was often extremely stressed and not really thinking about what was healthy for me. I suppose that recently I did not want him to see me my new size in new clothes— I did not want him to think that I would age and change — but that is just a very stupid way of thinking. It’s nice to hear the reality, which I agree with, that women age and change shape naturally. I mention the personal issue because I am very hazy on what I was actually doing with my body all those years when I was overly stressed and over excited and always looking forward to those visits… And in some denial about so many things! And addicted to carbs. When we think that way we are bound to make poor choices and wreak havoc on our bodies.

(Joey) #19

@Lc14503 +1 to @robintemplin’s comments.

You may find some of this NOVA special of interest. It’s somewhat off-point when dealing with carb-restriction concepts, but the section on how girls are prompted through culture to go for the Twiggy look might be of particular interest.

Keep eating healthful foods, get appropriate exercise, get sufficient sleep, and let your body determine what it needs to look like over time. :vulcan_salute:

p.s. - And don’t let the ex-boyfriend get inside your head. He doesn’t belong there.

(Robin) #20

Love a good recommendation like this. Thanks!