The Keto diet has also become popular to improve lean muscle, increase fat metabolism, and lose weight quickly. But starting a ketogenic diet can be daunting for some.
A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat based nutrition plan that trains your metabolism to use ketones for energy.
There are medical reasons to incorporate a Keto plan into your life, like improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation. If you decide to try Keto, there are ten essential tips for starting a ketogenic diet that you should keep in mind.
Starting a ketogenic diet isn’t as simple as deciding and then going with it for a week to see what sticks. It’s essential to understand what ketogenic is and then how to achieve that state of the body.
Ketogenesis is when the body produces ketones bodies by breaking down fat. This is how the body begins to get energy, and the only way to get into a ketogenic state is through dieting.
But before you start counting carbs and trying to lose weight, it’s crucial that you also know what starting a ketogenic diet looks like.
Tips for Starting a Ketogenic Diet | Know What You Can Eat
In other words, do your homework before starting a ketogenic diet. Review your options for keto-friendly food. Then, take stock of your kitchen, and when possible, discard any and all foods that are high in carbohydrates.
Candy, chocolate, sugary drinks, bread, pasta, and rice are all no-nos on Keto, and if they are in the kitchen, they can become a temptation. Make a list.
Go to the grocery store. Read labels and restock!
Plan Your Meals
While it’s certainly easier to follow Keto when your partner and family follow the plan, it is possible to do Keto for one, with some planning. Many ketogenic recipes can be enjoyed by everyone you cook for, and many non-ketogenic recipes can be modified to be Keto friendly.
Here’s your excuse to spend an hour on Pinterest or Google; you can find tons of Keto recipes! Once you have a week’s worth of essential recipes, staying on track is much easier.
Take time once a week to meal plan and prepare meals ahead if you can. The time investment will pay off.
Decide Whether You Will Do “Intermittent Fasting”
Intermittent fasting is thought to be one of the best ways of starting a ketogenic diet and maintaining ketosis because you are reducing calories and not consuming protein or carbs.
It is a good idea to plan and read up on fasting strategies before you add this to your Keto plan. If you have blood sugar issues, you will want to discuss fasting with a health professional before you begin.
Know What To Expect with Starting a Ketogenic Diet
When you first start a ketogenic diet, it is pretty standard to feel tired and moody. You might even feel slightly nauseous or just “off.” These are typical symptoms of your body adjusting to using ketones for energy rather than carbs.
It’s sometimes called “carb flu” and can last a few days to weeks. During this time, be sure to drink a little extra water. If the symptoms annoy or distract you from daily life, add a few carbs like low-sugar fruit or sweet potatoes to your diet to ease the transition.
After your body has adapted to the transition, you will likely find a boost in mental and physical energy. You will have fewer afternoon “crashes,” and you might sleep better and wake up refreshed.
Generally, after the transition, you will also tend to have fewer food cravings and feel less hungry.
Learn to Monitor Ketosis
How do you know when you are in Ketosis? You’ll wonder this many times, especially in the beginning. A Ketosis Monitor or Ketostix from a local convenience store can answer this question.
Most people on a Keto plan with 20 grams or less of carbs per day will achieve Ketosis in about 2 days.
Protein vs. Carbs – Choose Wisely
Many people on a Keto diet consume too much protein. Excessive protein without the proper fat and carbs can actually force your body to turn the amino acids in protein to sugar, which will kick your body out of Ketosis.
On the other hand, Keto is a low-carb diet, but that doesn’t mean a NO-carb diet. In fact, choosing nutrient-rich carb sources like non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits can help keep you balanced and even help fuel specific workouts.
Stay Hydrated While Starting a Ketogenic Diet
This might seem like a simple concept. It is! But it is not quickly followed. We often get so busy we just “forget” to hydrate. Start by drinking a full glass of water within an hour of waking up to “wake up” your metabolism and continue to hydrate throughout the day.
If you are planning on fasting during your Keto plan, you will find that staying hydrated will help keep you full and energetic.
Make Sure You Get Enough Sodium
This one might sound odd. Aren’t we usually told to reduce our sodium intake? That is true for the typical higher carbohydrate diet; however, on a Keto diet, insulin levels are lower.
This causes the kidneys to excrete more sodium. Adding a moderate amount of sodium will be beneficial. The general recommendation is 2-4 grams of additional salt.
Have an Exercise Plan
Regular exercise is essential to your plan if your goal is to lose weight and build lean muscle. Generally, lower intensity, steady-state cardio is the most fat-burning form of exercise and, therefore, keto diet friendly.
However, you need not give up on anaerobic exercises such as high-intensity intervals (HIIT) or weight training. Although this form of workout uses carbohydrates as a primary fuel source, you can adjust your diet accordingly to provide enough energy for your exercise.
Don’t forget about flexibility and stability exercises like stretching and yoga.
They are always helpful for improving range of motion, supporting joints, and improving body alignment.
Be Willing to Commit to Start a Ketogenic Diet
No diet will work on its own. Be honest about how much time and effort you are willing and able to put in. If you see yourself falling off the no-carb wagon a few weeks into your journey, Keto might not be for you.
The results, like any other diet plan, are not magical or immediate, and there will be days you will want to give in to a craving or ditch the plan altogether.
It can take a week to achieve a state of Ketosis and longer than that to achieve your desired results. Keto works for many people, but it will only work for you if you stick to it and give it time.
More Keto Diet Ideas
Whole30 vs Keto Diet: What’s the Difference? | Whole30 and Keto have a lot of things in common. But the diets still have some differences.
Keto vs Atkins: Low Carb Diet Differences | Atkins is another diet that is a lot like a low carb diet. However, they may not be precisely the same.
Keto vs Paleo Diet: What’s the Difference? | Paleo and keto are definitely two different diet plans that offer different benefits and disadvantages to weight loss.
Dairy Free Keto Breakfast Recipes | Starting your day off right helps make sure you stay on track all day long, every day.
Low Carb Chocolate Dessert Recipes | Chocolate fits into a low-carb diet perfectly, which might be why the diet works so well for so many.