So what exactly is ketogenic & how is it different from low carb?
A low carb diet is essentially the removal of sugar and grains in all forms from your diet. Your diet will consist of mostly meat, dark leafy veggies with some lower sugar fruits and beans. You also don’t need to track as much on a typical low carb diet, you just need to eat less bread, pasta, potatoes, processed foods, high-sugar fruits, etc. This is fine, but you really won’t see the type of results you will get on a keto diet.
A ketogenic diet involves the use of macros & it is recommended that you do some light tracking of your macros (carbs, fats & proteins) in order to get your body into the fat burning state of “ketosis.” When you achieve ketosis (which, when doing the keto diet right, could just be in a couple of days!), your appetite will be naturally suppressed & your body will become a fat burning machine. Seriously. Your body will start to burn fat for energy which will help you feel less tired, more energetic and the pounds will start falling off.
Calculate your macros
When thinking about your macros, I like to remember this little tidbit “Protein is a goal. Carbs are a limit. Fat according to energy needs and body fat goals.” Most people when starting out on a keto diet, think that reaching your fat goal is most important. While it is important to reach your macro goals, I like to remember that the first goal I should make sure that I hit is protein while not going over my carbs. Then to stave off hunger and keep my energy up, I” work on my fat goals.
Calculate your personal macros with this helpful online calculator here! This is a great jumping off point and will help you get started. Feel free to play around with your macros as you start following the Keto diet for awhile.
Testing For Ketosis
You can test yourself to see whether you’ve entered ketosis just a few days after you’ve begun the keto diet! Just use a ketone test strip and it will tell you the level of ketone bodies in your urine. If the concentration is high enough, you’ve successfully entered ketosis! This is a great way to see if your macros are working for YOU and depending on your results, the perfect time to stay on track or lower your carbs.
Benefits of Living Keto
Keto isn’t just a diet, it’s a way of life. This lifestyle has a ton of benefits, one of which is of course weight loss (you can read about my 65lb weight loss here)
When eating keto, most people:
–Experience more weight loss
–Have higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) & lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL)
–Show reduced blood sugar and insulin levels
–Feel less hungry throughout the day and more satisfied with their meals
–Feel energized throughout their day
–Enhanced brain performance
–Lower risk for heart disease factors & certain types of cancer
Weight loss on Keto
From February to May of this year, I have lost 28 lbs thanks to Keto. Since May, I have successfully kept the weight off & have noticed that I am having an easier time sticking to a diet. Which is saying a lot since I survived a typically carb-fueled summer!
Where do I find Keto recipes?
Pinterest is full of great recipes, but make sure you read the ingredients & calculate the carbs yourself. A lot of recipes can be misleading with carb counts or when labeled low carb. I don’t think bloggers are intentionally misleading you, I think a lot of times people consider something low carb or keto when it doesn’t have potatoes or bread in it. But as we know, low carb keto is much more than that so definitely double check everything before you eat!
My favorite investment (literally less than $35 lol) has been the Keto in Five recipe ebooks. These are my favorite because the recipes are super simple with just 5 ingredients in each – and not weird ingredients you can never find, just simple whole foods. Each recipe has the calories and macros worked out for you so you know exactly what you are eating. The ebooks also have 120 recipes so you’ll never get bored & you can check out my 7 Day Low Carb Meal Plan here where I outline how to get a weeks worth of meals from the ebooks!
If you love the books then you might want to check out the weekly meal plans that I’ve reviewed here. You get different recipes, grocery lists, ingredient substitutions, tips & more delivered to your inbox every week.
I work full time, take classes part-time and run a mildly successful blog/ Pinterest so these weekly meal plans have really saved my life. They can be made for one person or the whole family so I save my fave recipes and make them for dinner parties, the holidays or just meal prepping for the week.
So, how can I start a ketogenic diet today?
The first thing you need to do is identify what you can & cannot eat. This can be tricky if you do not prepare your own food because some stores will add some sneaky things to normal foods (for example: did you know taco bell adds OATS to their ground beef?!).
This list gives you a good idea of some things to do before you get started.
- Identify foods you can and can’t eat (Simple Keto Grocery List may help).
- Take inventory of what you already have then toss or donate what you know you can’t eat. If you share a pantry with a non-keto family member or roommate, reorganize your keto friendly foods eye-level and move the other stuff lower or higher on the shelf so you’re not looking at it!
- Determine your macros (calculator link).
- Sign up for a macro tracker (MyFitnessPal is so easy and free!).
- Plan ALL of your meals – this is so, SO important. When you are first starting out, planning out your meals and your macros will help you lose weight fast and easy. Like I said above definitely double check ALL recipes labeled low carb and keto. Or simply sign up for meal plans or get ebooks that have the recipes and macros calculated for you!
- Baby steps are ok – starting a new way of life can be overwhelming so don’t feel bad for taking it one step at a time. Day 1-3, stop eating bread. Day 4, remove all added sugars, etc.
- If you are still struggling, check out my top Keto Essentials guide here. These items helped me with my sweet tooth, getting over the keto flu, meal planning & more.
I hope I’ve made starting out on a Keto diet as easy as possible for you! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.