Congratulations Getting Started with the Keto Diet!
The Keto Diet is a lifestyle choice. And if done right, it's a healthy decision you be glad you made.
At first it'll take a little effort and discipline, but once you get rolling on Keto Diet and the pounds start falling off you'll wish you had found this diet years ago.
And when you've been Keto a little longer you'll develop the Keto habit. It will be second nature and you won't even have to think about it.
Getting started can be easy - read on.
There is a reason the Keto diet has been taking the internet by storm...IT WORKS.
The Keto Diet is a Lifestyle Choice
Maybe it's the weight loss, lower blood pressure, better concentration or the energy that the Keto Diet is famous for that catches your attention.
Or, it could be the desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound that makes you want to jump on the Keto train. (Disclaimer: Don't try jumping over buildings or onto moving trains. The Keto Diet won't turn you into that kind of Super Hero)
Keto will make you feel gooood. I've felt better since I started Keto than I have in years.
Whatever your motivation it is better to be prepared before you dive in.
It's a lot easier to stick with if you are ready with the right tools, foods and support.
Start Keto with a Commitment
If you want the benefits you have to commit to the plan.
This is not a marriage and you don't have to commit to it for life but...
You have to take the plunge. Dipping your toe in the shallow end will not work.
What that means is cutting out carbs - all the time. Not just for a meal or two. Or, a day or two.
Don't get me wrong. You don't have to do this forever. You can take breaks whenever you want.
I haven't really wanted to take a break because I feel really good. But you can bet your ass that when I go on vacation I am going to eat whatever I want....probably.
However...if you are going to do this, you have to give your body a chance to reach Ketosis before you will see any real results.
Resolve to give it a week, two weeks or a month...don't cheat.
Most people reach the ketosis state within three to four days of starting the Keto Diet. That's when the magic happens.
GIVE IT A CHANCE TO WORK and save your cheat days for important occasions...you might not even want to cheat after the fat starts falling off and you get in your Keto groove.
Plus...Keto food is damn delicious. There are times - like holidays and special occasions - that call for a Keto break. But once Keto is a lifestyle and a habit, you will find that cheating is infrequent, and getting back to Ketosis will be as easy as fallin' off a log.
A Part Time Keto Diet Can Cause WEIGHT GAIN...
Don't, do it. Do not eat Keto friendly all day and go back to whatever you normally eat at night....There is some science behind this warning but it mostly just common sense.
The Keto Diet is a high fat, low carb diet. If you eat fat all day and cave in to carbs at night your butt will thank you by expanding overnight like you watered it with Miracle-Gro.
Check out this tiny tale of caution:
A friend of mine saw the results that I was getting and wanted in. I explained what she needed to do and gave her the resources she needed to start.
She was super excited to jump right in....Sort of.
She was excited about the eating cheese and bacon for breakfast while losing weight. That part was fantastic.
But the counting calories and tracking carbs part, not so much. It was the giving up beer and goodies part that was just going to have to wait.
So basically she tried to use the Keto Diet as a free pass to eat bacon and cheese, and then in the evening she continued to eat the same way that she had for years...
Can you guess what happened? That's right Detective...she gained even more weight.
I am not poking fun at her, she's my friend and I love her, but it is an easy mistake to make.
I couldn't believe how many carbs I was eating everyday until I really started looking at nutritional information.
Even something as innocent as a peach for instance...has 14 grams of carbs.
Ouch! That is almost an entire days worth for me. I am allowed 20 grams per day. Your allowances will be different. (Edit 2022: I am on a maintenance type Keto now and can and do enjoy a peach or two in the Summer Time.)
The Truth About the Keto Diet?
It is not magic. It is a food/nutrition science tool that works.
Keto is like any other weight loss tool. Just buying the food does not make the diet work.
If you buy an elliptical and use it as a coat hanger won't get you the results you wanted.
Doing the Keto Diet only during the day or talking about it incessantly won't get results either.
You have to dooooooo iiiiiiiiit! All the way.
Understand a Healthy Keto Diet
Healthy Keto is High Fat.
This can be hard to get your head around, but it is imperative that you understand that 70-80% of your calories need to come from healthy fat for Keto to work and be healthy.
Healthy Keto is not high protein.
Normally less than 20% of your calories should come from protein.
You need some protein to maintain your body - muscles and organs bones and such but you do not want your body using protein for fuel.
Healthy Keto is very Low Carb.
I guess this is what everyone knows about Keto.
Less than 5% of your calories will come from carbs - that's how Keto works.
A healthy Keto diet includes lots of non-starchy veggies and fiber.
Lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers etc.
Men should get 25 grams of fiber per day and women should get 35 grams.
Healthy Keto includes healthy fats - lots of them and don't worry it's delicious.
Start With a Plan
It is well known that people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. Cliche, I know. But there is a reason that cliches exist.
At the very least you have to have the right foods on hand. Or you will blow it for sure. This is not a maybe...
Plan a date to start the diet.
By your start date you should have a stock of Keto friendly food, some meals planned, you should know your BMR (see below) you should have a plan to track what you eat.
Make sure that your fridge and pantry are stocked with the right foods to keep you on track.
Take a look at the Keto Shopping Lists so you have an idea of what you need or what you think will work for you.
Plan for What You're Going to Miss
Ask yourself what you will miss and be honest. There is something.
When thinking of the things that you are going to really miss there are two categories, the foods you can live without and those that you can't .
For me french fries were not a big deal.
Beer? This is a much bigger deal in my world, but I have found that I also enjoy vodka and soda.
If you absolutely can't live without chocolate, you should look for a substitute before you start the Keto Diet
Just one Godiva Truffle has 28 grams of carbs and that is enough to ruin your whole day. One stinking truffle!
There are AWESOME Keto friendly substitutes for almost anything and it will help you tremendously if you know about them AND have them on hand before you start.
Plan on Eating More Salt
Don't Freak Out About the Amount of Salt that the Keto Diet Requires
One of the lesser known effects of insulin is that it tells your kidneys recirculate sodium.
When you achieve Ketosis and you no longer have the insulin telling your kidneys to keep the sodium you pass it (pee it out).
Your body still needs the sodium because it is an important electrolyte, so you will need to eat more salt.
Everyone is different but a lot of people have trouble with this one because it is contrary to what we have been told for years.
If you worry about this, bring it up in a conversation with your doctor. Find out how much is right for you.
Plan on Drinking Lots of Water
Without water your body can't do anything very well. This includes burning the blubber.
When you switch from high carbs to Keto you will need even more water.
You will need more hydration to replace the water that you are no longer retaining because you got rid of the sodium that we went over in the above paragraph.
Salt makes you retain water....when your body is excreting the sodium water is going to follow. So you will need to drink more water.
Also, fat is full of stored toxins. You are turning your body into a fat burner and flushing those toxins and that is gong to require more water too.
Plan to Eat a Lot More Salad and Cruciferous Veggies
Salad and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower have lots of important vitamins and minerals that you will need to stay healthy and feeling good on this diet.
When you go Keto you will need more fiber. The The Keto Diet can cause constipation...so more fiber is better to keep you "moving" along with the weight loss.
Plan Your First Week on Keto
Change is hard because humans are creatures of habit.
If you want a snack and your habit is a to grab a bag of chips you should make sure you have a substitute ready.
Sure, I could tell you to keep celery and hummus available but Baken-Ets make a great chip substitute and will help you get the amount of fat you need.
I know that I talk a lot about bacon...because I love it. But I am in no way advocating using the Keto Diet as a free pass to eat a bunch of cheap junk.
I am only suggesting that you have something you like at the ready.
Trust me, it will be easier to avoid caving in and inhaling a doughnut if you have breakfast planned and ready to go.
There are tons of recipe options with this diet.
Plan to Talk to Your Doctor
It is always good advice to consult your doctor when making a significant change to your lifestyle.
Especially so if you are taking medication for any issues like high blood pressure, a heart condition or kidney problems.
Blood pressure medications are made to work with diet that are high in carbohydrates.
Blood pressure meds should be monitored closely by your physician. You may possibly be allowed to eliminate them altogether once you switch to a Keto lifestyle.
I AM MEDICATION FREE AT THE MOMENT BECAUSE OF THIS DIET!
It cannot be stressed enough that this is a conversation that you should have with your doctor.
Plan for Some Side Effects.
Okay, here it is... The downside to this lifestyle change.
I know that I have been talking it up like crazy but there are some possible side effects to the Keto Diet. Side effects that are not exactly like a party.
The most well known is the "Keto Flu" which is just what it sounds like... body aches, pains and headache.
The other two most common side effects are constipation and muscle cramps.
Even if you do have some side effects they are usually mild and temporary.
Plan to Stock Your Fridge With the Right Food
Keto Friendly Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, etc. You can find a more complete list here.
Bacon: I love bacon and it just tickles me that I can eat it sometimes. Bacon is one of the fat-full meats that works well with Keto in MODERATION.
Cheese: Lots of cheese. Almost every Keto recipe has cheese. However, my wife is now doing Dairy free Keto, so I know it can be done. Look at all of the dairy free recipes she created!
Eggs: Lots of keto recipes require eggs. The Keto Diet can be accomplished if you prefer to go the vegan route but I do not happen to be on that plan at the moment.
Oil: 75% of your calories need to come from fat, and that is going to be so much easier if you have oil to cook with.
Alternative Flour and Binding Agents: To stay in Ketosis you're going to have to nix the wheat flour, rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, and all products made from them.
The problem with these is that they don't bind well. The bread you make will be tasty, but flat dense and impossible to slice.
You will need some kind of binding agent. Xanthan gum is great if you're gluten free, or you can use vital wheat gluten if not.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are great for the Keto Diet. They are an easy and satisfying snack. They are low carb, high fat, and even have some fiber.
Sunflower seeds or peanuts in the shells are great for snacking because you can't suck them down too fast. They also have the salt your body needs.
Chia seeds have an enormous amount of fiber in them, and they are nutritional super-food. Chia seeds are a must-have for keto.
Don’t forget all the old standbys like almonds, walnuts, pecans. I buy most of these on Amazon because they have such great deals on them.
Snacks: For the love of Cheese don't forget Keto friendly snacks...
Sweetener: Obviously you will not be using sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup or honey because they all stimulate insulin.
Learn about healthy Keto Friendly Sweeteners and which ones you should avoid.
Artificial, no calorie sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame can cause digestive issues and nerve problems, but you can make your own decisions with those.
What You Should Remove From Your Kitchen
This one is tough. If you live alone...get rid of temptation.
But, if you live with your family or roommates you can't just toss all of their goodies.
Just put them out of sight or resolve to have alternatives at the ready.
The obvious no-no's like sugar, honey, pancake syrup, candy, soda, all manner of sweets, cookies, cakes and doughnuts have to go.
The less obvious diet killers are wheat flour, corn flour, rice flour, bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, beans, chips, crackers, potatoes, and most fruit.
Most of the processed food will have to go as well. Read the labels.
Easy Healthy Recipes to Try:
Learn About Macros
Macros are the three major sources of calories which include carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
What is referred to "your macros" are the proportion of calories you get from each source, and calorie limit for the day.
This is important because all calories are not the same. Only carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin.
The Standard American Diet - AKA SAD - is about 80% carbohydrates and the other 20 % divided between protein and fat.
When combined with the fact that most Americans over eat, the Standard American Diet is making us fat sick and dead.
To get in Ketosis and stay there your macros should be about 75% fat 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
How Do I Get My Keto Macros?
First you need to figure your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). This is how many calories you burn in a day.
Then find yourself an App that will allow you to track what you eat and tell you how much of your calories comes from each of the macros. I used MyFitnessPal, but there are a lot of them out there.
There's a bunch of them out there - there's probably one on your phone already.
You'll want to choose one that has a macros feature and will allow you to enter your keto goals (75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs).
With this app you should also be able to enter the foods you eat, and it will give you a daily pie chart of how your doing.
For example; On a 2000 cal per day diet you would eat less than 5% or 100 calories of carbs (25 grams) 20% or 400 calories of protein (100 grams) and 75% or 1500 calories of fat.
This is the pie chart from my app for one day. You may notice that the protein is a little low, and that is okay as long as the fat is high enough.
You may also notice that the Carbs are at 9% which looks a little high. But that is total carbs not net carbs, and it is net carbs that you are concerned with on the Keto diet.
What Counts as a Carb?
For diet purposes they are sugars (AKA simple sugars), starches (AKA complex carbohydrates) and then there is fiber (cellulose, and gum)
Or for nerdy purposes, any of the group of organic compounds consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, usually in the ratio of 1:2:1.
What is a Net Carb?
The fiber part of carbohydrates cannot be digested, and does not have an effect on insulin, but for whatever reason, it is included in total carbohydrates on food labeling.
So to get the net carbs, you take total carbs and subtract the fiber.
For example, in one tablespoon of chia seeds, there are zero net carbs because even though there’s 5 grams total carbohydrates, there are 5 grams of fiber. 5-5=0 net carbs.
There are about 4 calories in one gram of net carbs. For a 2000 calorie per day diet, that means 100 calories from carbs or 25 grams of net carbs per day.
All of the recipes on CITM have the net carbs figured for you so if you don't like all the math-y stuff...well we try to be helpful.
Now Getting Started on the Keto Diet should be easier.
Do the work, make the plan and join the millions of people who are enjoying the benefits of a Keto Lifestyle.
Want to see if you are in Ketosis? Check the 9 signs.
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