How To Properly Set Up Your Ketogenic Diet For Fat Loss (Part 3)

Alright Folks,

Today we’re going to get to the last part of this series on ketogenic diet myths, mistakes and how to properly set up your own ketogenic diet.

I’m sure most of you are curious about how to properly set up a ketogenic diet, as the previous blogs in the series have been dedicated to myths and mistakes around nutritional ketosis.

If you’re looking to lose body fat you’ll need to be in a calorie deficit, and If you’re looking to maintain your weight you’ll need to balance your calorie intake with your output to match up.

In large this comes down to your calorie balance which means if you burn more calories than you take in you’ll lose body fat.

If you match your calories to the amount you’re burning each day your weight will stay the same, and if you eat more calories than you need you’ll gain weight.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to setting calories is these are estimates and a good starting place, but there are so many complexities to the human body you should expect some margin of error.

This is why adjustments after the initial calorie targets is so important, because we need to see how the body responded to that initial calorie and macro target and use that information for inform how to make an adjustment.

If you’re currently stuck and need help making an adjustment or are missing the mark with your own fat loss and health goals click HERE to hop on a complimentary nutrition strategy session.

Calorie Balance.png

Setting Calories

The first thing we’ll need to find is the amount of calories you require to maintain your

bodyweight. Once we know this we can figure out your calorie deficit for fat loss.

There are a lot of formulas and calculators out there to establish what your baseline calorie intake should be, but I like to keep things as simple as possible.

To find an estimate of the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight simply multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 13-17.

The reason for the wide range is based on a number of factors such as:  height, gender and daily activity.

If you have a pretty sedentary job that requires a lot of sitting or you’re a smaller woman choose the lower 13-15 end of the spectrum.

If you have a high output manual labor style job, or lead a  really active lifestyle with 3-5 trips to the gym week, I’d go with the higher end of the spectrum 16-17.


If you’re a 165 pound male who works at a desk all day and isn’t all that active other than going to the gym to train 3 times a week multiply your bodyweight by 14-15.

165 lbs X 14-15 = 2,310 - 2,475 calories for maintenance

Now a 165 pound male who works an intense manual labor job and trains 3 times per week would use 17.

165 lbs x 17 = 2,805 calories for maintenance

A  woman who’s 125 pounds and works a job where she’s on her feet all day say a waitress and trains 4-5 times a week should go with 15.

The reason why she would go with 15 instead of the 16-17 range is because she has a lower body weight and as a result her basal metabolic rate (BMR) would be lower.

125 lbs x 15 = 1,875 calories for maintenance

Conversely a woman who’s 125 lbs works at a desk job for the majority of her day and hits the gym 2-3 times per week would would go with 13.

125 lbs x 13 = 1,625 calories for maintenance

Copy of Calorie Balance.png

Setting A Calorie Deficit

In the beginning a good start is to reduce calorie intake by 20% so you can get some initial fat loss. Moving forward you’d reduce your calorie intake by less, usually in the 5-10% range. The goal is to always eat as much as possible while losing at a steady rate.

Let’s use our 165 pound male who works an intense manual labor job and trains 3 times per week as an example here.

165 lbs x 17 = 2,805 calories for maintenance

2,805 (maintenance cals) X 0.20 = 561 calories

2,805 (maintenance cals) - 561 (cals) = 2,244

Calorie intake for fat loss: 2,244

Macronutrient Breakdown.png

Your Macro Breakdown

Now that you know how many calories you’ll need to eat to lose body fat, the part of this equation is to find out where those calories are going to come from to set up a proper ketogenic diet.

As mentioned in the newsletter from earlier this week on a ketogenic diet people typically consume between 30-50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Carbs: For the ease of this all let’s set carbohydrates at the higher end with 50 grams per day and use that as a starting point. Maybe later into the diet you play around with the 30 gram range, but for now 50 grams is a good starting place.

Protein: Next when looking at protein there’s an important note to make which is in the first few weeks of a keto diet it’s wise to have protein a little higher than the normal range to help stave off any muscle loss from the transition over to a more ketogenic state, this can be accomplished with around  140-160 grams of protein.

After the first few weeks of adapting to the ketogenic diet you can drop protein a little bit so it fits into 15-20% range of total calories.  

Fats: After carbohydrates and protein are set, the rest of your calories will be dedicated to your fat intake which should make up around 70-75% of your total calorie intake.

Copy of Macronutrient Breakdown.png

Putting It All Together

To help put this all together in a neat little package I’m going to use a 165 pound male who works at a desk all day and isn’t all that active other than going to the gym to train 3 times a week.

He find he first finds his maintenance calorie intake by multiplying his body weight by 14.

165 lbs X 14 = 2,310 calories for maintenance

Now we’re going to find how many calories he’ll need to lose body fat while following the ketogenic diet.

2,310 (calories for maintenance) x 0.20 = 462 calories

2,310 (calories for maintenance) - 462 calories = 1,848

Calories for fat loss: 1,848

Now we need to set his macros for the keto diet:

Since we know how many calories he’ll need to eat to lose fat the next part of the equation is to determine which macronutrients those calories are going to come from based on the keto diet principles.

An important thing to keep in mind is the different caloric content of the macros, which comes into play below:

1 gram carbohydrates = 4 calories

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

We’ll need to go through and do some math to figure all this out.

Carbs: 50 grams

Protein: 165 lbs x 0.7 = 115.5 (116 grams of protein)

And lastly we set his fat intake as the remainder of the calories. To do this we subtract the calories from carbohydrates and protein from total calories needed for fat loss.

1. ) Get calories from carbohydrates

50g (carbohydrates) x 4 ( calories per 1 gram of carbs) = 200 calories  

2.) Get calories from protein

116g (protein) x 4 (calories per 1 gram of protein) = 464 calories

3.) Add protein and carb calories together and subtract from total fat loss calories

200 (carbs cals)  + 464 (protein cals)  = 664 calories

1,848 ( fat loss cals) - 664 = 1,184 calories towards fat intake

4.) Fat intake

To find the grams of fat you should be eating simply divide the remaining 1,184 calories by 9 ( calories per 1 gram of fat)

1,184 / 9 = 132 grams of fat ( rounded up from 131.5)

Our example 165 lb male’s calories and macros for fat loss on a ketogenic would be:

Calorie Intake: 1,848 calories per day

Carbs: 50 gram per day

Protein: 116 gram per day

Fat: 132 grams per day

If you have any questions about how to go about crunching the numbers or setting this up for yourself send me message or email me at