Keto is about ketosis:
Keto is a way of eating. The main part of keto you need to worry about is getting into ketosis–this is done primarily by limiting carbs. When you’re in ketosis your body is primarily using fat for fuel instead of the glucose you get from eating carbs. Many studies point to this being more efficient for your body– with people reporting weight loss, more energy, and more mental clarity. To learn more about the science and benefits check out the What I’ve Learned youtube channel.
There’s varying levels of strictness that people follow, and you have to figure out for yourself what works for you. I’m going to focus on the main things that have worked for me personally: Macros, Electrolytes, and Avoiding High Glycemic Index Foods.
Download the Carb Manager app. Most people customize it and set the carbs to 20g/day, which is low enough to get most people into ketosis but gives you some room for more variety in your diet. You need to track EVERYTHING you eat at least at the beginning. Eventually, you’ll learn what is high carb and it’ll get easier and you may not even need the app. Premium will give you the ability to also track electrolytes, which is important but if you can’t afford it just use pencil and paper for that part.
Net Carbs are a Limit — Don’t eat more than 20g per day. This is the biggest part.
CALCULATE NET CARBS
Total Carbohydrates -minus- (Fiber) -minus- (certain sugar alcohols) = Net Carbs
Read which sweeteners are OK for keto and can be subtracted on Keto Connect:https://www.ketoconnect.net/best-sugar-substitute/ (The 3 favorites are usually Erythritol, Stevia, and Monkfruit) (Maltitol is BAD)
Moderate Protein — is a Goal — You need to try to reach the amount it tells you every day. Try not to go over too much, you need to be focusing on getting fats in your diet.
Fat is a Lever — Eat to be full — You eat UP TO the amount listed, as needed to feel full. This is your primary source of energy on a keto diet, so don’t skimp! Fat is fuel! (A lot of people take the approach of not limiting fat intake the first 2 weeks though, which I do recommend.)
Calories — Some people count calories, some just go by how full they feel.
If you don’t get enough electrolytes within a few days you may end up with what’s known as the keto flu– feeling tired, achy, and sick. Yes they are higher than what you might find on a regular diet. You can read about that more on RuledMe if you’re interested.
A.) 200mg of Magnesium Pills every day. This is what I use but you can look into others, just be aware of absorption rates. You can get magnesium from food, but due to overfarming there tends to not be enough in the food alone. https://amzn.to/3COJLNR
B.) Salt your food heavily and eat lots of meat.
C.) If you want to be extra careful and make things easy you can get a drink like LMNT Drink Mix. These flavored drinks are loaded with the electrolytes you need for your day and are very useful early on while you’re getting used to keto. Just one less thing to think about.
3.) Avoid High Glycemic Index Foods
When something has a high glycemic index it simply means it has a high impact on your blood sugar. This contributes to insulin resistance and often racks up the carbs. I did eat these initially in things like Halo Top or Protein Bars with reduced sugar — but even though it fit in my carbs limit my weight loss was slow and I still felt tired. You can just google the glycemic index of foods, but the main ones I avoid are:
– Sugar/High Glycemic Index Sweeteners like Maltitol, High Fructose Sweeteners, Coconut Sugar, Agave, Honey, etc.
– Grains of all kinds: Wheat, Rice, Oats, Quinoa, most breads/cereals, etc.
– Most fruits, but small amount of berries OK
4.) Optional: Weigh Yourself and Take Pictures
Pictures tell you a much clearer story on body composition, skin clarity, and inches lost. Try to find a somewhere you can always take a picture in the same place. Make sure your whole body can fit into the picture. Tie up your hair, and pick an outfit that will let you see the progress (swimsuit/swim trunks). You may also want to do a second set of photos in a less revealing outfit so it’s something you’re comfortable with posting online later. My set of poses is like this:
– Front Flexing Biceps
– Side with hands on back of head
– Back Flexing Biceps
For most people you want to weigh yourself once a week — put it on your calendar so you don’t forget! In the first week of keto you may lose more (because you’re also loosing water weight). But the scale isn’t always the best way to measure — as your body adjusts/gains muscle sometimes your weight goes up. Increased electrolytes often mean temporary bloating, increased muscle mass sometimes means an increase on the scale, sometimes you just drank more water that day. What you’re looking for is a decrease in weight over a long period of time — my chart goes up and down a LOT, but overall it’s going down.
I’ve created a Google Sheet with things you may be interested in tracking. The 2nd tab shows a chart with Weight Over Time. Feel free to add or delete columns depending on what you’re interested in tracking. Some people may find they get obsessive if they track too often, some people (myself) like to see things generally improving because it keeps them motivated. Pay attention to your thoughts and do what is right for you.
Health Tracking Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wsGRtxcY8HZLtmoQ59P240odUU-JWK8NYcQqyLe82Dg/edit?usp=sharing
What do I eat?:
There are many options of what to eat, but some favorites are: fatty cuts of meat, vegetables, cheeses, almond/coconut flour, and a small amount of berries. You’ll generally avoid things like bread, sugar, grains, potatoes, and most fruit.
Don’t feel limited, if you can think of it there’s probably a keto version of it. Including Mac&Cheese, mashed “potatoes”, pancakes, and even pizza! If you are craving something just Google “keto pizza” for example.
1.) Create a board on Pinterest for Keto — start pinning anything that looks good. Put your meal ideas into Carb Manager BEFORE you eat.
2.) Look at Keto Grocery Haul videos
3.) Google Free Keto Meal Plan. There’s many options.4.) If you run into problems or have questions, google it! You’re not alone! The keto reddit is a fantastic resource. https://www.reddit.com/r/keto/
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, I am just sharing some info about how I eat. There’s no one diet for everyone so you need to keep your medical history in mind.