A Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Keto Diet

Posted October 21, 2019 by in Health + Fitness
advice on starting a keto diet

What if you could lose weight with every meal? A keto diet is a great way to turn breakfast, lunch, and dinner into weight-loss tools. However, many don’t know how to get started on this amazing journey towards better health and body image. 

Curious about keto? Keep reading to discover our comprehensive guide to starting a keto diet:

how to start a keto diet

What is Keto?

We’ve put together an awesome guide to help you get started with keto. First, though, we must define what keto really is. At a glance, keto may look like other specialized diets such as the Atkins diet. This is because its primary focus is on reducing your intake of carbohydrates each day, week, and month.

However, keto’s requirements are a little different than Atkins. Furthermore, keto has a different operating principle behind it. With Atkins and many other diets, a reduction in carbs is simply a way to boost your metabolism. Keto takes this idea to the next level by putting your body into a state known as “ketosis.” Understanding exactly how this works will help you start to lose weight. 

Many people find out about keto when they start taking their workouts to the next level. Either by joining a specialized gym such as Crossfit or by taking online PT. While popular for weight loss, keto also benefits those who like weightlifting.

The Science of Keto

Keto may sound scary at first because you are basically rewiring your body. But you’ll soon find out this is for the best. Typically, our bodies burn carbohydrates for energy. But too many carbs can lead to excess fat, low energy, and so on.

In the keto diet, you force your body to undergo ketosis. This is a fancy word that means your body is now burning fat for energy instead of burning carbohydrates. The primary side effect of ketosis is dramatic weight loss. And for most people on the diet, this is their main goal.

However, those in a state of ketosis also experience more energy and an enhanced mental focus. These are a nice added benefit on top of the weight loss.

How Will I Know If I Am in Ketosis?

As we said, the goal of ketosis is to change how your body works on a fundamental level. That leaves a pretty obvious question: how will you know if it’s working or not?

For many people, the proof is simply looking in a mirror. If you stick with this diet and are seeing positive weight loss results, it’s likely a sign that things are working. 

If you want to get more scientific about it, it’s possible to use keto test strips or even a blood monitor to verify that you have achieved ketosis. However, working with a keto coach may be helpful at the start of your keto journey to ensure your following the keto diet in a safe and healthy way. 

Is the Keto Diet Right for Everyone?

So far, keto sounds all good. Who wouldn’t want to lose weight while gaining energy and mental clarity? While keto is an awesome way to lose weight and change your life, it’s not for everyone. In fact, certain people can actually jeopardize their health by going on this diet.

For example, nursing mothers need to be wary of going on any kind of strict, low-carb diet. Avoiding carbs while losing up to 30 grams of sugar per day via breastfeeding means that you could possibly get ketoacidosis. Therefore, such mothers should aim to lower carbs but not severely cut them out.

Those who have diabetes must be careful when going on the keto diet. Specifically, you must adjust how much insulin you take to correspond with changes in your diet.

Finally, those with high blood pressure must also be cautious on keto. You must monitor yourself for low blood pressure (a possible side effect of the diet), and you may need to get extra fluid and salt when first starting the diet.

For everyone outside of these groups, getting into keto is just a matter of changing diet and lifestyle.

Multiple Keto Diets

We have been referring to keto as a kind of monolithic specialty diet. However, you should be aware that there are different types of keto diets available. A traditional keto diet dramatically cuts carbs and moderates protein intake. You might consume as little as 5% carbs, with the majority of your diet being fat and the remaining bit (say, 25%) being protein.

With a targeted keto diet, you mostly stick to those ratios. However, you add carbs that correspond to your workout sessions.

With a cyclical keto diet, you alternate between keto days and days of carb consumption. This might include five days of standard keto and then two days of high-carbs (think of these like cheat days).

Finally, there is a high-protein keto variant. In this diet, you still aim for 5% carbs, but your protein consumption is more like 35%, with the rest being fat.

All of this may seem like a lot to keep track of. However, you can make it much easier by taking advantage of an online ketogenic calculator.

What Should I Eat?

There are a variety of awesome keto recipes that can make this diet still feel tasty and fulfilling. To understand those recipes, though, you must understand the basics of what you should and should not eat.

In general, you want to eat things like meat, eggs, and healthy fat. Seafood and chicken are also solid, as are greens and veggies. You can round things out with full-fat dairy, berries, and assorted nuts and seeds. You need to avoid things like bread, sugar, and milk. Pasta is a big “no-no,” as are rice, beans, and corn. 

The good news is that you can find many keto versions of your favorite dishes. For example, burger lovers may learn to love meat wrapped in greens instead of buns. This lets you cut the bread out while still enjoying the full flavor of the meat.

Starting Small

One last bit of advice: you don’t have to jump into this right away. Instead, you can take baby steps and work your way towards keto.

Start by simply cutting down on carbs and moderating protein intake. Throw in some extra water, whole foods, and regular exercise. You’ll start looking and feeling better right away. If you still want to take the keto plunge, it will now be easier.

Starting a Keto Diet: Next Steps

Now you have tips for starting a keto diet. But do you know how else to take care of yourself? We specialize in helping people improve their lives, careers, and homes. To see how we can help you look good, check our health and fitness archive today!