It is estimated that the average person gets around 60% of their daily calories from carbohydrates like bread, pasta, chips and so on. Although these food sources can be effective energy sources, they often cause a variety of health conditions like leaky gut, diabetes, and obesity.
That is one of the reasons behind the rise of popularity of low-carb eating styles, especially the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet, where you will replace carbs with fast. In simple terms, your body will start using fat as the main source of energy.
How does it work?
You may be wondering, how does it really work? The main idea is to cut out almost all the carbs from your menu. And by almost all, I really mean almost all. Once you do this, you will force your body to switch from using carbohydrates as a main source of energy to using fat as a main source of energy. This state is called ketosis and this is the place where the magic happens. (See also: What Is the Keto Diet?)
To move your body into ketosis and remain there, you need to go very low carb. The amount of carbs depends whether you are just starting out or already fat-adapted. If you are just starting out, we would suggest to cut down your carbs as low as a maximum of 20 grams per day. Following this rule, you will be in ketosis usually during a week (this can depend on the individual).
Why should anyone want to follow this eating style?
The one main reason why the keto diet is so effective and enjoyable is that of the keto diet foods. They are fulfilling and enjoyable. The low carb keto foods are not rocket science. You can get everything needed from the nearest grocery store. The keto diet food list does not include any starchy veggies, fruits, grains, sugars, desserts or anything sweetened. It is solely depending on your carbohydrate restriction. The reason why you should very precisely follow what you eat is that this will make or break your ketosis journey – as eating more carbs than supposed to will bring you out of ketosis very quickly and slow down your body’s fat burning capabilities.
Here are 8 tips to kickstart your journey
- Drastically cut down your carbs – This is probably the most important part of the start and also has the biggest impact on your journey. Start slowly removing carbs from your daily menu. I am not going to lie to you, it is not easy, especially when you have been living your whole life on carbs. The idea is to lower your daily carb intake down to a maximum of 20 grams of net carbs per day. This is the drastically limit that will help you to get into ketosis quickly. Most people who start out will reach ketosis in that way for 7 days. During the first weeks don’t worry about calories, or nitrates, or Omega 3’s or anything similar. They definitely are important in the long run, but as your goal is to reach ketosis as fast as possible, they have little value to you. The most effect will come from cutting carbs down.
- Don’t panic – The start will be though. That is why you should prepare yourself mentally. No diet is easy from the start. As with other diets, the keto diet also has some so-called side-effects. This is called the keto flu, which affects most people during their first weeks. Potential symptoms often include fatigue, some headaches and feeling weak. In order to minimize its effects and overcome it, just make sure you drink plenty of water, add bone broth to your daily menu and you will find yourself in ketosis no time. An additional effective solution to help to avoid keto side effects, and get into ketosis faster are exogenous ketones but it is suggested looking into that once you have experienced ketosis, have already loosed some weight and you know what keto diet means. The main remedy would still be bone broth.
- Exercise – This is a no-brainer. Although for this eating style to work, you do not need to work out, to lose fat, you should use exercise as a tool to get into ketosis faster. Exercising will help to deplete your body’s glycogen reserves, which is stored glucose. Once your glycogen reserves are emptied, your body can enter ketosis and us fat as the main source of energy. And by exercise, I mean either visiting the gym, doing light jogging or even usual daily walking is good enough. Do whatever feels the most comfortable for you and your lifestyle. Keep in mind, that you should be fitting the eating style to your life, not the other way around.
- Eat lots of fats – This is the part which is the most enjoyable of this journey, fats. Yes, you can start out your mornings with bacon and finish up your evenings with heavy whipping cream. To enter ketosis, you will need to eat a lot of high-quality fats. The quality problem you may sometimes experience is that it can be challenging at times to eat enough fat needed. Pick fatty cuts of meats, add coconut or olive oil and spice them up with full-fat mayonnaise. Eating fats are the magical tool for fighting with hunger, it will help to suppress appetite and you feel satisfied and happy.
- Don’t forget to eat your veggies – It’s easy to focus only on protein and fats. One thing to remember is that leafy vegetables are nutrient-dense, low in carbs and perfect for your digestive system. So, make sure you combine your fats with vegetables. But keep in mind, that you need to eat the right types of vegetables (like leafy greens) and avoid starchy veggies, most legumes, etc. It’s important to know which keto foods are helping you to get into ketosis, and which foods are killing your keto game.
- Intermittent fasting – This tip is not for everyone. Although if you are willing to step an extra step, it can help you a lot, especially in the beginning. Intermittent fasting is already a popular addition to anyone who is trying to manage their weight. If you haven’t heard about it before then, in a nutshell, it can be understood a way of eating, where you skip the breakfast and eat later during the day. There are many possible iterations of IM, we suggest following the 16:8 eating window rule, which is exactly how it sounds. You will fast 16 hours (meaning you don’t eat anything, but can drink water or black coffee, to suppress appetite) and eat during an 8-hour eating window. This has shown to be a very effective way to manage your appetite and to get into ketosis.
- Cook at home – One of the perks of the keto diet is that you can effectively eat out when following the keto diet. In a nutshell, just replace carbs with leafy greens and eat fatty meat. Although this may seem very simple, we would suggest you cook at home, at least during the first months of your keto adaption period. Cooking at home will give you bigger control over the macros of your foods, the taste, and the amounts. Of course, this requires some planning and preparation to some degree, but it also helps with the discipline. Me, as someone who has hated cooking in general, I found that cooking when you have a specific list of foods is way easier and quicker. Sometimes, too much choice is not a good thing. There are just as many simple and basic recipes that are unbelievably tasty and fast to make.
- Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is in the grey area when it comes to the keto diet. This means it is not completely forbidden but nor is it in the green light zone. Alcohol is not a good way to “spend your calories” as it will fill up your stomach and will create cravings during and after. First, your body needs to burn out the alcohol, after that, it can start burning whatever was left after that. If you are just starting out, we would suggest to cut out the booze 100%. Once you have some first-hand experience with ketosis and you know if this eating style is for you, we would suggest then doing more research on that topic.
About The Author:
Alex Reed is a health enthusiast, whose mission is to help to change lives, using the ketogenic lifestyle. So everyone can benefit from ketosis and the magical effects it has on the human body.