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Beginning a new weight-loss diet is not always a simple transition. And the ketogenic diet — a trendy low-carb, high-fat plan that may produce quick results — is no exception.
One of the biggest hurdles of going keto is putting and keeping your body in ketosis. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that tricks your body into burning fat instead of carbs for fuel (when it doesn’t have enough carbs). So, naturally, to achieve ketosis, you’ll have to say goodbye to carbs and hello to fat — and lots of it.
Keto Diet Overview
It depends on which version of keto you’re doing, but generally, you’ll aim to get 5 to 10 percent of your total calories from carbs. The goal is to consume only 20 to 50 grams (g) of net carbs per day — or less than the equivalent of ½ cup of long-grain brown rice, which contains about 26 g of total carbs. Net carbs are defined as carbs minus fibre and sugar alcohols, according to the website for the Atkins diet, another low-carb plan. For most people, going that low won’t be easy: The typical adult over age 20 gets nearly 50 percent of their calories from carbs.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to reach for lots of high-fat foods, like lean meat, avocado, olive oil, butter, cheese, and eggs. The goal is to get about 60 to 80 percent of your daily calories from these kinds of foods.
That’s just part of the struggle when following keto. You’ll likely also see various side effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and drowsiness — all signs of the so-called “keto flu.”
But as any keto diet beginner knows, the possibility of losing weight can be worth enduring temporary physical aches and carb cravings (as long as you’ve cleared trying the diet with your doctor, that is). Even so, it’s apparent that what a keto dieter really needs is resourceful information, and tons of encouragement — all of which we aim to provide below.
How to get Started on the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet — a high-fat and very low-carb eating plan — can be tough to start. After all, it’s likely a radical departure from the way you’re eating now (a typical standard UK diet is high in carbohydrates and processed foods). But many people are trying the keto diet, which puts your body in a state of ketosis. That’s what happens when your body’s carb-burning switch flips to a fat-burning one, a change that can cause weight loss and has even been credited with controlling diabetes.
How do you make practical preparations in stocking your fridge and preparing mentally for the big change to come?
Consider this your step-by-step guide.
Know What Foods You’ll Eat and Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet
In following a keto diet food list and meal plan, you’ll be severely limiting carbs on this diet. Start off with between 20 and 30 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day. Also make sure that you know what foods have mostly carbs, fat, and protein, so you can make the right choices. For instance, it’s not just bread, pasta, chips, cookies, candy, and ice cream that contain carbs. Beans may contain protein, but they’re also very high in carbohydrates. Fruit and veggies also mostly contain carbs. The only foods that don’t contain carbs are meat (protein) and pure fats, like butter and oils (including olive oil and coconut oil).
Examine Your Relationship With Fat — Keto Involves Lots of It!
People are afraid of fat because they’ve been told that it’ll kill them. To prepare for a high-fat diet, which can be uncomfortable at first, start making small adjustments to what you eat every day, we suggest, like ordering a burger on lettuce leaves and subbing green veggies for fries.
Instead of potatoes or rice with your meal, opt for a nonstarchy veggie. Start cooking with more oil. Realise that old dieting habits — like making a plain skinless grilled chicken breast — just don’t make sense on a keto diet because you won’t get enough fat.
Slowly start pushing out carbs and getting in fat. If you’re afraid of fat, a ketogenic diet won’t work for you.
Hone Your Cooking Skills to Make Fresh Fare, as High-Carb Processed Foods Aren’t Okay on Keto
Look at a variety of keto websites and cookbooks for keto-approved recipes you’ll love. We recommend finding four to five recipes with foods you know you’ll like. That way you’re not standing around wondering what to eat, and turn to carbs.
Try Bulletproof Coffee — It’s One of the Best Keto-Friendly Drinks
Made by mixing coconut oil and butter into your coffee, this drink will help keep your hunger at bay, giving you time to plan your next meal.
Just note that coconut oil has the potential to send LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels soaring, so if you have or are at an increased risk for heart disease because of family or personal health history, you’ll likely want to avoid this drink. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor.
Talk to Your Family About Your Weight Loss Goals on the Diet
Tell them your plan. You may not be able to eat what they’re eating during family mealtimes, so you’ll want to prepare them (and yourself) for what your new habits will look like. Because this diet is often done only short term (three to six months), you can assure them that it’s temporary.
If you get pushback, announce: I’ve done my research, I’ve figured out it’s safe, and I really want to try this.
Tips for Succeeding with the Keto Diet
Plan Out Your Keto Diet Menu In Advance
Below are tips to help you get started and succeed with the keto diet.
Plan Out Your Keto Diet Menu In Advance
When you’re starting a new diet, it’s helpful to plan out your meals and snacks in advance. This way, you won’t be tempted to order pizza or reach for a bag of chips when hunger strikes. If need help we offer a free sample keto menu for getting started with your first week to give you some ideas.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Electrolytes
One common side effect of the keto diet is a loss of electrolytes, which can cause symptoms like headache, fatigue, and muscle cramps. To make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes, drink plenty of fluids and eat salty foods like celery, olives, and pickles.
Weigh Yourself Regularly
A big part of this diet is keeping track of your weight. Weighing yourself regularly will help you stay on track and see results.
When you’re on the keto diet, it can be easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle. But adding in some regular exercise can help you lose weight and feel better overall. Try starting with a simple 30-minute walk every day or by doing our Simple 3 Day A Week Full-body Workout Routine
Take a Supplement If You’re Not Eating Enough Fat
If you’re having trouble getting enough fat on the keto diet, consider taking a supplement. There are many different types of supplements available, so talk to your doctor to see if one might be right for you.
Use Supplements Sparingly
While supplements can be helpful, it’s important to use them sparingly. too many supplements can actually be harmful. If you’re not sure whether a supplement is right for you, talk to your doctor.
Buddy Up With a Friend on the Keto Diet
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re struggling to stick to the diet, buddy up with a friend who’s also doing the keto diet. Support from friends can be a great way to stay on track and motivated.
The keto diet can be a great way to lose weight and improve your health, but it’s not right for everyone. Make sure you do your research and talk to your doctor before starting the diet. And if you decide to try it, follow these tips to help you succeed.