Getting Started with Keto: 5 Quick Tips to Kickstart Your Low-Carb Diet
So, you’ve done all the research, read every guide and decided that a keto diet is right for you. Congrats! But starting a keto diet plan is no easy feat, especially for a beginner. To help you gest started, here are some quick tips to help you on your keto journey!
Quick Recap: What is the Keto Diet?
A ketogenic or keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet designed to change the way your body runs. Ordinarily, your body obtains fuel from the glucose found in carbs and sugar. But when you drastically cut back on carbs through fasting or dietary restriction, your body must run on an alternate fuel source.
On a typical keto diet plan, you’ll consume anywhere from 65 to 90% of your daily calories from fat, 5 to 25% from protein and 4 to 10% from Carbohydrates. X This will shift your body into a metabolic state called “ketosis”. When ketosis kicks in, your liver will convert your body fat into “ketones”, an alternative fuel source for your brain and organs.
You’ll literally burn your own fat for fuel on a keto diet, and without the highs and lows of sugar weighing you down, you may experience additional benefits like heightened concentration and more energy!
Will Keto Make Me Sick? A Word about the Keto Flu
There’s an adjustment period to every lifestyle change, and starting a keto diet is no exception. As your body gets used to running on ketones instead of glucose, it may protest with cold and flu-like symptoms in the first week.
Symptoms of the “keto flu” can include everything from headaches and fatigue to diarrhea and nausea. All the while, your cravings for sugar and carbs can go through the roof. Not everybody experiences the keto flu, however, and not everybody experiences it the same way. Where one person may be bedridden by it, another may have no symptoms at all.
Thankfully, these symptoms usually pass after the first week, but since there’s no way of knowing how the “keto flu” will affect you, it’s a good idea to start your keto diet during a week where you have nothing else to worry about.
Tip #1: Prep Your Kitchen Ahead of Time
Before you embark on your keto dieting journey, it’s a good idea to have your kitchen prepped ahead of time. Stock up your pantry with keto essentials: healthy fats, like coconut and olive oils, non-starchy veggies like spinach and arugula, and hearty proteins like chicken, fish and eggs.
As for your sugary goodies like candies, snacks or ice cream, toss them in the bin, or better yet, donate them to a local food bank. You’ll definitely be glad your high-carb foods are out of the house when those 3 am ice cream cravings hit. There are tons of keto desserts and keto snacks on the market you can satisfy your sweet tooth with. Just be sure to check the labels for hidden surprises like artificial flavors or preservatives.
Tip #2: Start Small with Simple Ingredient Swaps
Chances are if you try to dive into the deep end and quit all of your favorite foods cold turkey, you’re going to end up relapsing. That’s why it’s a good idea to ease into a low-carb lifestyle instead.
In the weeks leading up to your keto diet, try making low-carb substitutes for some of your favorite meals. Try ordering a salad instead of french fries at your favorite fast-food joint, or substitute your burger buns for lettuce leaves.
Small changes add up fast, and easing into these diet changes may even alleviate keto flu symptoms. Brick-by-brick, you’re building healthier habits, and you’ll be in full ketosis before you know it.
Tip #3: Don’t Be Afraid of Fat
We’ve been taught to fear fat as a culture, especially saturated fats. But on a keto diet, the bulk of your daily calorie intake should come from fat. That can be a tough mental hurdle for some people.
It’s been hammered into our minds that saturated fats are abysmal for our health, making LDL cholesterol, coronary heart disease and obesity skyrocket. But recent studies have revealed that saturated fats are not as bad as they seem.x Not only has saturated fat’s role in coronary heart disease been greatly exaggerated, but a diet high in fat, like the keto diet, can lead to health benefits like increased longevity and a healthier brain. x
Don’t be afraid of indulging in healthy fats like grass-fed beef or coconut oil in your keto meals. Not only will eating fat not make you fat, but fats can also boost your energy and help you reach your weight loss goals even faster!
Tip #4: Fill up Keto-Friendly Dinks
Although drinks like sodas and lattes are excellent for a quick jolt of energy, their high amounts of sugar are also excellent for mid-day crashes and packing on pounds. To keep yourself from guzzling down sugar-laden beverages, try getting your energy fix from green tea or coffee instead.
Don’t like your coffee black? No problem! Try sweetening it with a low-glycemic sweetener like stevia. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try melting a spoonful of butter or coconut oil into your coffee. It’s called “bulletproof coffee”, and it’s the perfect way to fuel your day without all the carbs and sugar of a Starbucks latte.
Tip #5: Incorporate Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is another popular weight-loss method that’s taken the world by storm, and for good reason. Research has shown that restricting your eating daily eating hours can lead to everything from improved longevity to lower risks of cancer and heart disease. X Not to mention the weight-loss benefits.
To double up the benefits of your keto diet, try combining it with a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of both eating methods at once, helping you reach your weight-loss goals even quicker!
Bonus Tip: Be Kind to Yourself
Let’s face it: low-carb diets are hard. No matter how much willpower you muster, it’s inevitable that you’ll slip up at some point. We’re only human, after all. When this happens, try not to beat yourself up about it! The key is not to turn a one time treat into a week-long binge.
Many people implement the strategy of cheat meals or even cheat days to stay sane. Having an indulgence to look forward to can make sticking to your keto diet plan much easier. No matter how you choose to treat yourself, remember to indulge smartly and in moderation. As you adjust to your new keto lifestyle, always remember to be kind to yourself. You’re doing your best, so cut yourself some slack on your keto weight-loss journey!