Just about everyone seems to be talking about keto these days, from celebrity keto enthusiasts and keto recipes on Facebook, to keto dog food. You may have already heard about the benefits of keto for weight loss, as well as other health benefits, and even how it can help with work productivity. But how do you get started.
For the uninitiated, keto may sound confusing or even overwhelming, with strict rules on what you can and can’t eat. However, if you know how to approach it, eating keto doesn’t have to be too difficult: here are our top tips for getting started on your keto diet.
How Keto Works
A keto diet is designed to get your body into a state of ketosis. This means that your body starts to convert fats into ketones, and then use these as the primary source of energy, rather than sugars. This leads to rapid weight loss in overweight people. The ketogenic stage also has a range of other health benefits.
To do this, keto involves eating a high-fat diet that boosts ketone levels and helps you to attain ketosis. A classic keto diet typically includes a fat intake of 80 to 90% of your energy coming from fat, although keto for weightless generally recommends between 60 and 80% fat intake. Importantly, fats should be a mixture of healthy plant and animal-based fats including olive oil, coconut oil, butter, meat and so on.
In order to achieve this high percentage of energy from fats you need to greatly reduce your carb intake, to around 5 to 10% of your diet. It is generally recommended to have less than 50 grams of carbs per day, or less (below 20 grams) a day if you are trying to quickly kick-start the ketosis process.
How to Get Started with Keto
Remember Your Motivation
Keto, like any kind of major lifestyle change, requires a high level of discipline. Avoiding foods you like and being vigilant especially while you’re eating out or at events can be very difficult, especially at first before you establish strong habits.
In order to overcome this challenge, motivation is key. Remembering why you started the journey and keeping this in mind every time you’re tempted to deviate will be your best defense. Think about why you want to follow a keto diet, and dig deep: if you want to lose weight, what are your underlying motivations to lose weight? This could be something like being healthier to make sure you are fit and healthy to support your children as they grow up.
Sort Through Your Kitchen
Sticking to a diet like keto is a lot to do with controlling impulse. It is relatively easy to avoid eating junk food if it’s not in front of you, but much harder if it is sitting in your fridge or cupboard. Prepare by going through your kitchen before you even start, and throw out all high-carb and high-sugar foods. Remember that some foods contain “sneaky carbs”: be sure to read all the labels to check for foods that are high in carbs that you might not expect.
Eat Coconut Oil
One of the most challenging parts of a keto diet is getting into ketosis in the first place. Once your body is in ketosis, you have more energy, your carb cravings stop, and it is much easier to stick to your keto diet. Coconut oil is great because not only is this a healthy fat, it also has special fats that help you get into ketosis faster. These are called medium-chain tryglycerides (MCTs), and are absorbed by the liver much faster than other fats, meaning they can immediately be used for energy, the process that happens during ketosis.
Be More Active
It makes sense that if you’re trying to lose weight, extra exercise in addition to the keto diet is going to help. However, even if you’re starting a keto for other reasons than losing weight, it is a good idea to exercise more because this supports the ketosis process. Exercise used the glycogen (sugar) stores in your body, which are then replenished when you eat carbs that are broken down into glucose and then converted to glycogen. However, in the low-carb keto diet, once you remove these glycogen stores your body will be forced to use fat to break down for energy, helping to kick-start ketosis.
Water is important for so many processes in our body, and ketosis is no exception. At the beginning of your keto diet, your body is in transition. In order to support this transition and keep your electrolytes in balance, you need to keep your body hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, especially in the first few days of the keto diet.