Keto has been a popular and trendy diet for weight loss for several years, and it has also been used to treat certain medical conditions for even longer. The ketogenic diet, which focuses on very low carbs, high fat, and moderate protein, is a straightforward diet. The only “rule” to remember is to keep your carbs low in order to stay in ketosis.
The problem is that far too many people have made it more complicated, added more rules, tried to make it as clean as possible, and added numerous unnecessary stipulations. This makes it much more difficult to follow and maintain consistency because it becomes stressful and overwhelming for people.
However, if you want to follow the keto diet for weight loss or another reason, the following tips will help to simplify it and return to the basics of the keto diet.
The Basics Of The Keto Diet
1. Ketogenic Diet Fundamentals
Don’t worry about anything you’ve heard about the keto diet before and start from the beginning. The keto diet simply entails eating very few carbohydrates. This alone will help to keep your fat and protein levels in check, as well as your sugar levels low.
That’s all! Don’t be concerned about anything else.
The goal of a keto diet is to eat up to 50 net carbs per day, though many people prefer to stay around 20 net carbs. Why? Some people can achieve ketosis with slightly more carbs, but the lower number of 20 is nearly guaranteed for everyone.
Remember that net carbs are total carbs minus fiber, so enjoy those low-carb veggies!
Find Keto-Friendly Foods You Already Enjoy
Making a list of low- Carb foods allowed on the keto diet that you already enjoy eating is one of the simplest ways to begin a keto diet. This will relieve a lot of stress and assist you in determining meals that you will enjoy even without the added carbs.
Begin with Your Proteins – A simple way to begin your keto food list is to write down all of the proteins you enjoy eating. This includes any meat, such as bacon, sausage, steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, and lunch meat. You can eat chicken or turkey, as well as any kind of fish or seafood. In addition, if you enjoy eating eggs, they are included on this list.
Next, make a list of fats – Many of your proteins will also serve as fats, but don’t forget about other fat sources. This could include olives, avocado, olive oil or avocado oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, nuts and seeds, and so on. Just make sure to consider the carb count and portion sizes.
Include some vegetables and fruits – While you won’t be able to eat all of the vegetables you used to, many of them will be low-carb!
Here are some vegetables to include in your keto diet:
- Cayenne peppers
Concentrate On Balancing Your Plate
Once you’ve compiled a list of keto-friendly foods that you already enjoy eating, you can begin assembling meals. You should concentrate on balancing your plate, as you would with any other diet. This will make you feel more satisfied and ensure that you get all of the necessary nutrients.
Simply eat foods high in protein, fat, and fiber, and you’ll be fine!
Carbohydrates Can Be Obtained From Vegetables
When following a keto diet, your daily carbohydrate allowance is very low. Simply put, try to get the majority of your carbs from vegetables. This is a very simple way to look at it. The majority of your foods will be proteins and low-carb fats, with some approved vegetables thrown in for good measure.
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When Is The Best Time To Start Keto?
When it comes to properly following the keto diet and making it a sustainable way of eating, timing is everything. Much more important than you may believe. You don’t want to rush into it because this is likely to be a significantly different way of eating than you are used to.
Here are some pointers to help you determine the best time to begin the keto diet. Remember that you are making a commitment to your health and goals.
Yes, timing is crucial! This is true of many different diets, but especially those that change the types of foods you eat rather than just the amount you eat.
Here are some questions to think about when it comes to timing your keto diet:
What are the upcoming holidays or special occasions?
First and foremost, avoid starting your keto diet right before an event where you will be tempted to eat everything. While you will inevitably need to navigate holidays and birthday celebrations, doing so will be much easier once you have been on the keto diet for a while. Expecting to handle a holiday party full of sweets just a week after beginning keto will be more stressful than necessary.
If at all possible, time the start of your keto diet so that you have at least a few weeks to adjust to this new way of eating.
Do you have enough time to prepare and plan?
When you have the right amount of time and energy for planning, it will also help to make keto a little easier. Don’t rush into it! You can’t just read one keto article, go grocery shopping, and start tomorrow. You’re making it more difficult than necessary, which will lead to you quitting after a few days.
Is it currently sustainable?
Finally, consider whether now is a good time to be sustainable. This is not a quick fix and should not be considered as such. Because it is a complete lifestyle change, you must be prepared for it. Enter the keto diet with the understanding that you will be eating this way for a long time.
How To Transition Slowly Into The Keto Diet
The slow transition is an alternative to going all-in, which works for many people. This is when you begin to incorporate more keto foods into your regular diet while gradually reducing the high carb foods. It isn’t for everyone, but many people find that it is the best option for them.
Transitioning slowly into the keto diet will also help ease the symptoms associated with the keto flu!
Begin Substituting Keto Foods for Carbs
Begin by making changes to the meals you already eat. For example, if you serve rice with your fish and broccoli, simply replace the regular rice with cauliflower rice. Do this gradually, one type of food at a time. It assists you and your family in becoming accustomed to the small changes required to reduce carbs prior to going keto.
Stop Buying High-Carbohydrate Foods
You’ll eventually want to get rid of all the high carb foods in your house, but if you’re worried about wasting money and food by throwing it all away, simply stop buying them for the time being. Consume the foods you already have, but make a commitment not to buy any more. Eventually, during the transition, you will have all keto-approved foods in your house.
Switch One Meal At A Time
If you’re still not ready to commit to keto, try switching one full meal at a time. Breakfast may be the easiest meal for you because you enjoy eggs and bacon. Begin by eating a keto breakfast every day, then gradually add a keto lunch to your day.
Simple Prep, Planning, and Preparation For The Keto Diet
You won’t be able to stick to the keto diet if you don’t plan ahead of time. This applies to the vast majority of people. This is not a calorie-counting diet in which you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay under a certain number of calories. You are altering your eating habits, the types of foods you consume, and, most likely, the way you prepare your meals.
While this will not be difficult once you get started, you will need to prep and plan all of your meals at first. Your weekly meal planning will become much easier once you become accustomed to low carb foods that you enjoy eating.
Before you go grocery shopping, make a plan!
When you first decide to switch to a keto diet, going to the grocery store can be a little intimidating. But it’s even worse if you’re not prepared. This is why planning your meals ahead of time and having a list of exactly what you need is your best bet.
In addition to having a plan, here are a few more tips to make grocery shopping easier:
Include substitutes in case a food item on your list is sold out- You don’t want to be forced to make a quick decision if the low-carb tortillas are out of stock. So, what are you going to do? Make a list of possible solutions so you know exactly what to do.
Avoid the aisles that are high in carbohydrates- You’ve seen them. These are your bread aisles (unless you need nut butter), bakery section, and the majority of the middle aisles with processed foods and packaged snacks. Aside from vegetables and meats, you won’t need anything else in the frozen food aisles.
Take, for example, grocery delivery. Grocery delivery can be extremely beneficial at the start of your keto diet. You won’t be tempted or stressed out as you walk past carb foods at the grocery store, and you’ll be able to check off everything on your list.
Prepare Keto Meals in Advance
When it comes to meal planning, it is very easy to go overboard and make the keto diet far more difficult than it needs to be. If you are transitioning from rarely cooking to making homemade meals three times a day, you will not last long on this diet.
Begin cooking low-carb meals before embarking on the keto journey. Don’t start keto and make your meals with an entire week of brand new recipes. Stick to mostly familiar meals, with a new recipe or two added every week.
Remember to Include Electrolytes
One of the most common concerns people have when starting the keto diet is the dreaded keto flu. While it is usually much less severe than you might expect, it is still a good idea to be prepared.
The keto diet is an excellent way to lose water weight and reduce inflammation, but it also causes a significant loss of electrolytes. While on this diet, you must find an easy way to replace it.
Here are some pointers to get you started!
Make electrolyte supplementation a part of your meal planning process
Many of the electrolytes you lose can be easily replaced with proper meal planning. Make sure to include sodium in your meals, as this is one of the most important electrolytes you require. This includes eating meals where you may want to add more salt, eating pickles and other foods that instantly increase your salt intake, and even eating processed meat such as bacon and lunch meat.
Before you begin your diet, look for electrolyte supplements
There are also electrolyte supplements available on the market that can replace all three essential electrolytes – sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Powder mixes for water, oral supplements, and chewable vitamins are examples of these.
Be aware of the keto flu
The keto flu frequently causes symptoms similar to the common flu, such as nausea, headaches, body aches and pains, and fatigue. Staying hydrated and increasing your electrolytes are the best ways to combat the keto flu. Aside from that, make sure you get enough rest and eat enough to keep you satisfied, including plenty of fats and proteins.
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Making The Ketogenic Diet Last
There are very few reasons to follow this diet if you do not intend to do so in the near future. This is true of the majority of diets designed to help you lose weight. If you revert to your old eating habits after reaching your weight loss goals, the weight will return.
To avoid this, ensure that it is sustainable for you. This entails removing all rules other than staying in ketosis. Here are some suggestions for making it more sustainable and long-term.
Take Charge of Your Food Environment
Being aware of your food environment is an easy way to make the keto diet more sustainable for you. This includes foods you keep in your house, cooking appliances, and other places you go where there may be food temptations.
Managing Your Carb-Eaters’ Home Environment
The simplest way to manage the food environment in your home is to simply eliminate all carb-laden foods. Unfortunately, this is not possible if you have non-keto children, spouses, or roommates. But don’t worry, there are ways to make things easier on yourself!
The best way to keep your keto foods visible is to keep them out in the open. Also, inquire about “hiding” unapproved foods in cabinets and bins. Move your roommates’ frozen pizzas and meals to the back of the freezer or inside a bin you don’t see very often, while keeping your cauliflower rice and frozen veggies near the front.
When it comes to temptations, know your own limits
When it comes to what most tempts them, everyone is different. For some, it may be avoiding alcoholic beverages with their favorite sugary mixers. Others have a difficult time at the grocery store.
Determine what tempts you the most and try to avoid it if possible. You won’t be able to avoid everything in life; for example, you may have to drive past McDonald’s on your way home from work every day. Is there a way you can avoid smelling those fries through your car windows?
Sometimes you have to make bigger decisions, like spending less time with friends who always want you to try their foods that you know aren’t allowed on the keto diet. Setting boundaries is essential when making a lifestyle change.
Navigating Social Events and Parties
Don’t feel obligated to avoid all holiday parties and other social gatherings. You can still have fun and spend time with your friends and family!
Here are some helpful hints for dealing with them:
- Before you leave, eat a low-carb meal to ensure that you are full and satisfied
- Avoid the area of the party where there is a lot of food that isn’t for you
- Inquire with the host if a low-carb option is available
- Make your own drinks so that you know exactly what is in them
Get Ready to Eat Out While on Keto
Even on the keto diet, you can still eat at most of your favorite restaurants; it just takes a little tweaking to the foods you used to eat.
Discover the Safest Places to Eat
Make a list of restaurants and fast food joints in your area that offer the most low-carb options to make things easier on yourself. This could be grilled chicken nuggets, bowls made by you at places like Chipotle, or restaurants with their own low-carb menu.
Know the Fundamentals of Most Restaurants
Because you don’t always have complete control over where you eat, knowing some of the basic ones to reduce carbs in traditional meals can help.
Here are some quick and easy low-carb meal ideas:
- Instead of fries or rice, serve a side salad
- Order a burger without a bun or a grilled chicken sandwich
- Skip the other sides and bread in favor of “loaded” broccoli
- Get it wrapped in lettuce
Experiment with New Things
Now is an excellent time to experiment! Don’t be afraid to try foods you might not have ordered before. Perhaps you’d like to try a steak with loaded broccoli on the side instead of your usual chicken tenders and fries, or you come across a restaurant that serves roasted brussels sprouts with bacon that you’ve never tried before.
Obtain Outside Assistance
Make sure you have adequate support while on your keto journey. This is critical when making such a significant lifestyle change, and it will make the transition much easier for you. Set boundaries, find people to lean on, and avoid anyone who criticizes your decision to change your diet and lifestyle.
Discover Your Keto Community
The incredible thing about keto is that, due to its popularity, there are many communities out there with people who also follow this lifestyle. Look for online forums, social media communities on Instagram and Facebook, and special groups for keto enthusiasts. You can also find communities in your area that meet up and go to keto restaurants, or perhaps a weekly hiking group with keto members.
Inform Your Friends of Your Lifestyle Change
Don’t be afraid to tell others about your keto diet decision. This will make it much easier to get support from them on the days when you’re struggling. It’s also how you’ll know which friends will be there for you and which you won’t be able to spend as much time with.
Look for Keto Friendly Restaurants in Your Area
Finding bakeries or restaurants with a lot of keto or low-carb options is another great way to get support in your community for your new lifestyle. Many cities have these options, so you know you’ll be eating with people who share your interests. It makes a huge difference in how long you can stay on keto.
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How to Avoid Making Keto Too Difficult
Still feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the keto diet tips and information? Here are some ways to avoid overcomplicating things and get back to basics.
Don’t Worry About Ketone Testing
When you enter the state of ketosis, which occurs about a week after beginning the keto diet, your body produces ketones. When you start burning fat for fuel, you produce ketones. Many people will use a ketone meter to test their ketones to ensure they are in ketosis, but this is completely unnecessary!
Why not put your ketones to the test? Simply put, you are not required to! Ketone meters are expensive and require daily testing of your blood or breath. It’s not uncommon for people to become obsessed with the numbers on the scale, stress out, and then conclude that keto isn’t working for them.
Using a ketone meter to test your ketones is the polar opposite of helpful if you’re trying to make keto easier for yourself.
So, what should we do instead? Simply stick to a keto diet, and you’re done! Count your net carbs each day to ensure you’re getting the right amount of carbs to enter ketosis, and then let the rest work itself out. You will enter ketosis if you consistently consume less than 20 net carbs per day. Allow your body to do its thing.
All macros are not required to be tracked
There are many different people in the keto community who choose to track their food in various ways. Some people use apps like MyFitnessPal to track every macronutrient, while others use Carb Manager to track only carbs, fat, and protein. Some people pay close attention to macro ratios, while others simply make sure they eat less than 20 net carbs per day.
There is no right or wrong way to do it, but there are some approaches that can make the process more difficult.
Who doesn’t need to track all of their macros – If you have previously failed diets because you disliked keeping track of everything, using apps to log all your food, and becoming overwhelmed by all the numbers, tracking is NOT for you. Similarly, anyone who has difficulty mentally tracking every single macro is not advised to do it.
Who should keep track of their macros – Macro tracking is beneficial for anyone who wants to feel more secure about their diet’s carbohydrate, protein, and fat content. Especially if you’re new to keto and want to make sure your meals are meeting your macros.
What you can do instead of tracking – While the net carbs you eat each day are required, everything else is optional. Another option is to practice “lazy keto.” This is where you eat only zero or low carb foods without counting your carbs or anything else.
You Don’t Need Expensive Keto Products
Last but not least, don’t feel obligated to purchase any fancy keto products. While they can be useful and convenient, they are NOT required. This includes everything from branded store products like packaged snacks to purchasing ketones.
Of course, if you prefer to eat these foods instead of preparing your own meals and snacks, go ahead and do so! However, far too many people believe they are required, which is simply not the case.
The basics of the keto diet are quite simple- Keep your carbs low; proteins moderate; and high fat content. They are many extra’s that can be added to the keto diet like specific premade keto foods and keto products along with macro tracking and testing ketones.
But the downside to this is it provides extra stress while on the keto diet! Stress is not good for anyone. When you combine stress with a diet you are trying to stick with it can be difficult to see that diet through to the end of our weight loss goal.
So go back to the basics of the keto diet and start living the keto lifestyle for weight loss and better healthier you!