The biggest struggle people have with keto diets is the start. It’s significantly harder than other diets, requiring a serious lifestyle change.
First, consider your mental state—you’ll need to be mentally prepared before you start this diet and truly committed to face the side effects and persevere despite them.
In any case, here are a few steps to follow if you are wondering how to get started on keto.
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Learn Which Foods Are Good to Eat and Which Ones to Stay Away From
Educating yourself on keto-friendly ingredients is the first step you should take if you want to start keto.
Many foods typically considered healthy won’t fit into a keto diet. Take a look at some of the foods you should avoid:
- Cereals and grains
- Nut butters that include added sugar
The first three on this list are foods many people consume when trying to lose weight. However, if you want to achieve ketosis, avoid them.
On the other hand, here are a few keto-approved foods:
- Seafood, especially oily fish like salmon
- Vegetables for a low carb boost in vitamins and minerals
- Meats and poultry for protein
- Nuts (including sugar-free nut butter) for the healthy fats
If you want to eat right for a ketogenic diet, you need to educate yourself on the macronutrients of different foods.
You must realize that a keto diet has to be high-fat, low calorie, and includes the required amount of protein.
Be Ready To Eat A Lot Of Fat
Fat gets a bad rep, and so many of us have been misled to believe that a low-fat diet is the ideal route to weight loss and better health.
Most of us are more accustomed to removing fat from your diet. You have probably been searching the supermarket aisles for low-fat or fat-free products for years.
Instead, the best way to start keto is to change your perception of fat. You’re going to need to add a lot of fat to your diet. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but that’s how this diet works.
The fats you consume will be turned into ketones, which will get your body into the “fat-burning” stage.
You’ll also notice that eating a lot of fats will keep you fuller for longer. That means fewer late-night cravings. As long as you’re consuming healthy fats, there’s no need to worry about upping your fat intake.
Understand How Much Protein You Should Have
One of the most common mistakes that people make when starting a ketogenic diet is focusing so much on the high-fat part that they forget the importance of protein.
Everyone’s individual protein needs are different, but there is a basic amount of protein that your body needs in order to function properly.
If you start a keto diet without fully understanding how much protein your body requires, you run the risk of going into malnutrition.
Obviously, this means your body won’t be burning fat as efficiently as it can on a ketogenic diet. I suggest that you calculate your minimum and maximum protein intake requirements and try to adjust the amount of protein in your diet accordingly.
Consider speaking to a dietitian or a nutritionist for an exact breakdown of how much fat and protein you should include in your diet. Generally speaking, however, it should be around 20% protein for a ketogenic diet.
Improve Your Cooking Abilities to Make Fresh Food, as High-carb Processed Foods Aren’t Allowed on Keto
Once you fully research the requirements of a keto diet, you will realize that it’s much easier to cook your food (and cheaper too!).
Finding food that meets your specific requirements is a lot more difficult if you’re shopping at the readymade section of the supermarket or buying food from a restaurant.
If you want to learn how to start a keto diet at home, cooking is the only way to go.
Learning to cook means you can customize meals to your preferences and ensure that they adhere strictly to the specifics of your keto diet.
At first, you’ll probably need to start cooking from recipes labeled as keto-friendly.
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to make substitutions from standard recipes to make the meal fit within your ketogenic diet.
Get Used to Reading Nutrition Labels
Even if you cook food from scratch, you will still probably use some store-bought ingredients in your recipes. This is especially true if you’ve got a busy schedule and need to use more convenient ingredients.
However, not everything marketed as healthy or keto-friendly is going to be suitable for your diet.
Learn how to read and understand nutritional labels. In most countries, these labels are standardized and include specific information regarding the carbohydrate, fat, and protein content in food.
Once you familiarize yourself with nutritional labels and get in the habit of reading them, it’ll be much easier to build recipes to your specific requirements.
Know the Possible Side Effects You Might Experience
Another important aspect of getting on a keto diet is the side effects. So many people tend to quit before they see any results because they experience some adverse reactions in the beginning stages.
Getting to know the potential side effects of going keto before you start will help you prepare for them both mentally and physically. The following are some of the side effects of the keto diet you may want to get familiar with:
- Keto breath
- Keto flu
One of the main reasons that the ketogenic diet is for the short term is because it may cause harsher side effects if continued for longer. The long-term side effects include decreased bone density and kidney stones.
Make A Meal Plan Like A Pro
Going keto can be tough if you’re not used to cooking every meal from scratch. Because eating home-cooked meals is much easier than buying food for keto diets, it’s a good idea to start meal prepping.
If you have your meals ready beforehand, sticking to your keto diet plan will be much easier. However, if you’re new to meal prepping, this can make starting difficult. Here are a few tips to meal prep like a pro:
- Bulk prep your proteins. This means cooking large amounts of your proteins together and then portioning them out for your daily intake.
- Your freezer is your friend. You don’t need to cook all the parts of your meal if you can freeze some parts to be cooked later.
- Cook low-carb veggies in different ways to change it up. You don’t want to get bored of eating the same steak and sweet potatoes.
- High-fat sauces and low-calorie spices are flavor enhancers. Keto meals don’t need to be boring or monotonous. Change it up with different sauces or spices.
Make a Plan for After Keto, as It’s Not Meant for Long-term Weight Loss
Keto is meant to be a temporary diet to induce fat burning.
While the results of this diet are remarkable, there is no point in going through all that trouble if you’re just going to go back to your old ways.
The best thing to do is make a plan for your diet after you’re gone with keto.
So, you must figure out what permanent changes you would want to make to your diet and how you will slowly move out of keto. You don’t want to push your body out of the fat-burning state you have nurtured but rather capitalize on it by opting for a healthy yet sustainable diet.