Gaining Weight on TDEE? Stay calm. There is a reason and it will stop.

Everyone freaks out if they gain some weight when they start doing TDEE. You need to stop. Keep Calm and Keto ON.

There are a few reasons this happens. I talked about it in depth here: Why you might gain on TDEE

Rule number one of TDEE:

Make sure you are doing it right. You have to calculate your TDEE right. Using your actual weight and not your goal weight. Make sure carbs are below 20g and your protein is low enough. Between 0.45g per KG of ideal weight to 0.8g per KG of idea weight should do it. I recommend 1.0g per KG as this is more than enough to meet and exceed your amino acid requirements. The rest needs to be fat. There are some caveats here. The biggest one is if you have more than 100 lbs to lose you may need to find a midpoint between TDEE at 3 days a week exercise and your Base Metabolic rate.

How to get your TDEE

Now if you have the right number but are gaining, CALM DOWN. It won’t be forever. Here are the hows and whys of what is happening:

1. If you have yo yo’d or have restricted calories for a long time, your metabolism is completely in the crapper. This is what TDEE is meant to fix. You will be using far less energy than someone who eats appropriately. This means that if you eat more than what you ate when you restricted the chances of you gaining weight are higher. Much Higher.

2. If you don’t have much weight to lose and you have restricted for a long time you will be at even more of a disadvantage because everyone knows that when you are near goal weight, even the tiniest fluctuations in diet can cause big swings and with chronic restriction, again, you have put your metabolism in the crapper. Again, this can be fixed with TDEE.

The average person that has not yo yo’d forever or has not chronically starved themselves will likely start losing right away. You are not likely that person. I would assume you meet one or both of the conditions above.

This is what will happen to you. It is like the exact reverse of caloric restriction:

1. You will initially gain weight (you lose weight quickly with restriction)
the weight gain slows as metabolism starts to rise (the weight loss slows with restriction as the metabolism lowers)
2. The weight gain stops as metabolism matches with caloric intake (weight loss stops with restriction for the same reason)
3. The weight should start to come off (weight starts to come back on with restriction)

This is the process it takes to reverse the years of damage that most people have done to their metabolism by restricting calories. It is the reality of it.

I know you have done this for X number of days and think that it is the end of the world that you have gained X number of pounds. In reality, you didn’t get to the state you are in in 30 days. It took you years to become over weight and to tank your metabolism. It will not take you 30 days to get out of it. It took me 13 years and I am still learning and evolving. 30 days is a blink of an eye.

Everyone needs to keep calm and realize that the “I want it now” mentality is what got you where you were and it will keep you from getting where you want to be. Slow down and heal yourself for a better tomorrow. The skinny jeans will still be there in a year from now.

Keto ON!

Coach Jack

If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.

Check the details here:

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19 Replies to “Gaining Weight on TDEE? Stay calm. There is a reason and it will stop.”

  1. What’s the best way to figure out my ideal weight? I had a goal of losing 20 lbs when I originally started keto. I’ve surpassed that goal by 20 lbs, so I have no idea what my ideal might be.

    1. That is kind of hard to answer. My ideal weight is supposed to be 175 lbs. I cannot get there. It is physically impossible. My lean mass is 172 lbs so in order to be 175 I would have to have zero percent body fat and I would be dead. A man needs 4% minimum to live.

      The beauty of keto is yur body kind of makes up it’s mind about what weight it wants to be. I’ve yet to see anyone get too skinny on Keto. YOu tend to get to a point where your body is happy and healthy and weight stops comming off. For some people unfortunately that is still very overweight. Is there a way to get past that happy point to a place where your mind is more happy? Sure. It is just hard to do.

  2. Would you please further explain the last sentence in the paragraph under “rule number one”?

    1. If, for example, you have 100 plus lbs to lose, you will likely come back with a TDEE at 3 days a week exercise setting in the TDEE calculator of more than 3,000 cals. That is too much for a woman. The more weight you have to lose the more skewed the calculation gets. That is the one major flaw with these calculators.

      If this is the case, you set the calculator to base metabolic rate and get that maintenance number calories. Do it again using the 3 days a week exercise setting and get that maintenance calorie number.

      If the first number was 2000 and the second number was 3000 calories you would use a number in the middle as your new TDEE. So 2500 calories.

  3. Hi there Jack – great article. You say to stick to 20g of carbs per day, which is what I was adhering to when I was sticking to 1600 or so calories a day. Now that I am eating to my TDEE, My FitnesPal tells me to eat 2700 calories per day!!! It has adjusted my 5% carb intake to 34g or carbs per day. Is this correct?

    1. Nope. Don’t listen to MFP. It is not 5% carbs it is 20g carbs no matter what your calories.

    2. You can adjust those goals, you do not have to accept their number. Also since the app does not have anything between 5% and 0% you can still just not use the last 5-15 grams on the daily totals, just do the fat and protein under that calorie requirement.

  4. Will you keep losing inches even though gaining weight at first?

    1. Some do experience this. Keto tends to increase human growth hormone which quickly builds lean mass while the fat is being burned. Since muscle is far more dense than fat, it will have a smaller volume for a similar mass. Since you may have gained more muscle than fat, you will be smaller but potentially heavier.

      Women seem to experience a greater increase in HGH than men do for some reason.

  5. Hi there, thank you for so much good information, I saw in one post that you do not recomend TEE uner 1800, i calculate mine out to be 1378; should i adjust my macros up to the 1800 TEE?

    1. Yes. A 40lb 4 year old child requires 1600 cals a day so an adult who weighs well over 100 lbs needs more.

  6. Admin,
    Thank you so much for your invaluable information and for your countless hours of time and effort. and of course…for sharing.

    Please confirm /correct my numbers based on my stats:
    50 yr old female, 5″0′, medium frame, desk job
    Light workout combo of cardio/weights: 3x/week/45min-1 hour
    CW: 148lbs
    GW: 120lbs
    TDEE for maint: 1670cals
    Carbs: 20g (80cals)
    Protein: 50g (200cals)
    Fat: 154g (1390cals)

    Thanks again!

    1. Minimum caloric intake for a woman is 1800 cals. This is what is needed to get adequate nutrients.

      20g total carbs
      50g protein
      169g fat

  7. Please confirm /correct my numbers based on my stats:
    68 yr old female, 5″1′, medium frame, 3x week exercise
    CW: 246lbs
    GW: 140lbs
    TDEE: 1922 cals
    Carbs: 20g (80 cals)
    Protein: 50g (200 cals)
    Fat: 182g (1642 cals)

    1. I got 2180 but that is likely close enough.

      I would just do:

      20 carbs total not net
      50g protein
      200g fat

  8. Please help with figuring out protein grams needed to eat

    54 year old female
    5’3”
    No exercise yet
    CW 150
    GW 130

  9. I’m a 48 year women , 5 fl 9 inches tall. Exsercise 4 times a week cardio, three days lifting weight.
    Cw, 190
    Goal: 175
    Used the calculator on your site and it said 1500to 1700 calories
    (However your pins say nothing lower than 1800)
    Can you plz help me with my macros.
    Thank you for your time

    1. Not at all sure where you got those numbers.

      Tdee is 2400 calories

      Protein requirement at ideal weight is between 60-75g with max dose per meal being 22g.

      Ideally these would be your macros:

      20g total carbs
      66g protein
      228g fat minimum

      Protein needs to be split into 3 meals of 22g max. This will be the most you can absorb for protein synthesis. More than this will simply be wasted.

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