Taking up keto can be pretty daunting at first. Chances are you may have heard about the ‘dreaded’ keto flu, and are worried about how your body will cope during the transition towards far burning ketosis. Well, be assured that you are not alone! Plenty of people have enjoyed some remarkable success with ketogenic diet plans and there’s absolutely no reason why you should not be able to join them. Whether you’re considering keto for weight loss or long term bodily health, here are the nine crucial steps everyone ought to take before starting keto. Understanding these and applying them before your start date will considerably enhance your prospects for success!
1) Learn About Fat & How It Applies To Your Diet
To put it into the bluntest possible words – much of what you have been taught about fat over your lifetime has been wrong! Even though no end of scientific research proves that fat consumption is an essential component to our health and that sugars (especially refined carbohydrates) are the root cause of obesity and other diet-related illnesses, people are still wary about relying on fat for up to 65% of their calorific intake. Your body will also need to transition from a ‘general’ diet to a ketogenic one, and that is the root cause for keto flu that affects about 69-70% of people who take up keto for the first time.
2) Prepare For Keto By Reducing Your Sugars Intake
Our advice here is to start slowly and not make an immediate overnight leap from a general diet to a ketogenic one. Changing many years (or perhaps an entire lifetime) of eating habits so quickly delivers a shock to the system – and it can take as long as two weeks for keto flu to pass. You can mitigate against this to a considerable degree by gradually cutting back on carbs and sugars before going full keto. Take as long as you need – a few weeks is a perfectly reasonable number – but remember that it is essential to keep to this consistently. There are no ‘cheat days’ with keto and the sooner you get used to this fact the better.
3) It Is Not All About Protein
Unlike other diets out there the keto plan does not place a huge focus on shifting from carbohydrates to protein. Too much protein can actually create excess glucose that’ll knock your body out of ketosis – so our advice would be to focus much more on healthy greens and low carbohydrate vegetables for most of your meals (alongside those fats of course!). Keto does allow a moderate amount of protein – for example, oily fish is a keto mainstay – but don’t assume you can tuck into a sirloin steak for breakfast every day. No matter what menu choices you make understand that you should eat considerably more fat compared to protein sources. Get used to this eating style by trying out some high-fat protein sources that can be used once you go full-keto. Mixed menu options that offer variety and actually taste good are crucial for any diet – and keto is absolutely no different.
4) Bulletproof Coffee Is A Keto Mainstay
Chances are that most people who have researched keto will have come across many different bulletproof coffee recipes. These present an easy way of cramming those essential fats into our daily staple – but finding a recipe that works for you takes a little trial and error. Some people love the added flavorful punch of coconut oil while others may find MCT a more benign alternative. Whichever option you choose, bulletproof coffee is brilliant for stimulating the metabolism and encouraging ketosis – so get ready to drink at least two or three cups a day. Weaning yourself off your regular cup of Joe is one of those little hurdles that many people need to overcome when transitioning towards ketosis – so try and gradually work up to this beforehand.
5) Up Your Water Intake
Sounds easy to just start drinking more water, doesn’t it? But have you figured out how that’ll be implemented into your daily schedule? Forgetting to drink enough water is one of the most common causes of overeating and you’ll discover that most people who successfully undertake a ketogenic diet will tend to carry a bottle of water around everywhere they go! Switching from sugar-packed soda and energy drinks can be really awkward and something you definitely do not want to perform while also starting up a ketogenic eating plan. You’ll be doing yourself a massive favor by cutting out everything besides water and bulletproof coffee before starting keto – and remember that this can take a few weeks before it becomes a routine habit.
6) Plan For Introducing Keto Into Your Routine
You really can take yourself out of keto by making just a single slip up. Figuring out ways how you can adapt your lifestyle towards this diet takes more effort than many people make allowances for, and is probably the #1 cause for people failing at their first attempt. How are you going to incorporate ketosis when invited over to a friend’s home for dinner without causing a fuss? Are you sure that fruit/veggie isn’t secretly packed with sugars (a keto food checking app can really be a lifesaver here)? Will a single slice of chocolate birthday cake make a difference? We could list on the permutations forever but hopefully, you get the idea. Planning is essential for incorporating this eating structure into your life – and doing so effectively does not mean you need to become a recluse or always skip the party!
7) Discuss Keto With Friends & Family
Moving on from the point above, one of the best bits of advice anyone can take before starting keto is to be open and transparent about it with your friends, family, and perhaps even the occasional colleague. Expect some people to preach about the usual misconceptions – that the diet is somehow unhealthy tends to be the most common. You’ll be able to explain your decision because you’ll hopefully have read up about the truth and have all the scientific evidence supporting keto (the fact it is used in some military training is a good one) at hand by this stage. You don’t need to justify anything to anyone – just make sure they understand that you’re trying a potentially life-changing diet that will involve some changes. It really doesn’t have to be a big deal, and once you’re underway and appreciating those changes you’ll never look back anyway.
8) Up Your Exercise Schedule
One of the best aspects of keto – and another reason why it is sometimes used in medical settings – is that you can lose weight on this plan without undertaking huge amounts of grueling exercise. That being said, those who do up their exercise schedule tend to enjoy better results. By spending more energy your body will gobble up excess glucose and rely more upon its own fat. Quite a high proportion of people who try keto for the first time swear that starting to take more exercise a few weeks beforehand reduced their exposure to the keto flu symptoms for this very reason. Our advice is to experiment a little by finding a suitable and enjoyable form of exercise that you can easily perform on a semi-regular or even daily basis. It doesn’t have to be too aerobic and some people find that weights/core training is actually more effective for keto. If you’ve ever been tempted to get into climbing then keto could present the perfect opportunity!
9) Learn About Electrolytes
‘Electrolytes’ is one of those slightly spooky terms that tends to make people unnecessarily scared of keto! You will pass more water while in ketosis and this can lead to electrolyte deficiencies in extreme cases. By understanding and appreciating this fact you can easily find ways to supplement your diet with additional electrolytes. Apply a little extra salt to your meals, and look to include electrolyte-rich yet handily low-carb foods into your daily eating plan. Bone broth is a popular one but hardly to everyone’s tastes – so perhaps look at the likes of avocados, bell peppers, leafy veggies, and some seeds and nuts instead. Introduce these into your diet before you start keto, there’s masses of online recipe resources to help you along the way.
Hopefully, these nine crucial steps will not only help to reassure those new to keto that it is nowhere near as difficult as many are led to believe, but also that a well planned ketogenic diet can be surprisingly easy to get right from the start. The key point to take away from this article is that the vast majority of people who use the ketogenic diet successfully are those who build up for a few weeks before going ‘full keto’. Rather handily that process includes making some healthy and progressive life choices too and provides plenty of time to plan your eating schedule and make any other secondary changes to your routine.