So, you’ve decided to try Keto to take back control of your weight and your life? You probably did an internet search and found so much information (both good and bad) on what to do and how to do it. Then, somehow you managed to end up here. (You poor soul you)
This guide will not be the do all end all of Keto for you. This guide may not even help you at all. This guide is simply a step by step of how I started on Keto, or should I say, how I would have started Keto had I known then what I know now.
First I want to make sure that everyone knows that, while Keto to me is the easiest food lifestyle change I have ever made, it still takes work and dedications, especially in the first month or so while your body is adjusting back to using fat as energy. Our bodies are addicted to carbs, that fast and easy way to fuel ourselves, and much like a drug addict, your body will start craving its drug, and you very possible will start feeling sick (Keto Flu). I will give you some tips on how to mitigate the Keto Flu symptoms, but they will be there, be ready for that.
Second, know that, just with everything else in life, you will get out of this what you put into it. There are several ways to achieve your weight loss and health goals using the Keto lifestyle: Strict Keto, which is what I do, and what this guide will start you out as, this is also the way I would recommend anyone start out as for at least the first 3 months. Dirty Keto, this is a method that still allows you to enjoy some of those sinful treats, then work to put your body back in ketosis over the next few days. This method takes longer to achieve your goals but, for some, allows them to not feel like they are giving up anything. I will explain both of these in more detail at the end of the guide.
SO LETS GET STARTED!!!
STEP 1: Get a Scale
Keto works differently for every person, some foods may have a positive effect on me, but a negative effect on you. Weighing yourself at the same time everyday will give you an idea if your food choices and meal timing is working for you.
STEP 2: Find Your MACROS
There are a few websites out there that you can find your macros from, but what are MACROS? This is a breakdown of how much protein, fat, and carbs you should be consuming in a day. I prefer This One
If the image above were to be your results, it means that by the end of the day, you need at least 146g of Protein, you are allowed up to 29g of carbs, but should stay under that, and you need at least 181g of fat.
STEP 3: Finding the Right Food
Now for the hard part, figuring out what you can eat… if you’re like most people, you’ve heard that all you eat on Keto is bacon, cheese and steak… and while this is almost true, there is a lot more to it than that.
First let’s talk about basic nutrition needs, there are these things called vitamins and micro nutrients that we need for our bodies to function correctly. These vitamins and nutrients come from vegetables. Vegetables, for the most part, have quite a bit of carbs. So how do we manage this?
Introducing NET CARBS
Calculating net carbs is something you will do multiple times a day, so it is important that you get the hang of it now.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the above image, the standard nutrition facts that is printed on most food you buy today. To calculate the net carbs, you take the TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE (in this case 16g) and subtract the DIETARY FIBER (in this case 2g) then, subtract one half of the sugar alcohol (in this case one half of 10g which is 5g) so the food that is represented by this label has 9g of NET CARBS per serving.
“OK GW, that’s all fine and good, but how does this help me get my vitamins and nutrients?” I am SOOOO glad you asked that. Let’s look at the nutrition facts of 1 serving (1 cup) of uncooked spinach.
Look at all those Vitamins and Minerals, and at only .4g of net carbs. Truly a super food.
Now this brings up my next big point… Dietary Fiber is your best friend. When we put a lot of protein in our bodies, and not enough Dietary Fiber, we tend to plug up the plumbing, which, if you have done your research before this you know that constipation is one of the side effects of the Keto diet…Well, if you’re not getting enough Dietary Fiber it is.
The next part to be aware of when choosing food is FAT. In order to get your body to start using your body fat for energy, you have to supply it with enough through your diet, which is why your MACROS will likely tell you that you should be eating more fat than anything else in your diet. This is also the next big negative that most people are worried about with the Keto lifestyle, how can eating all that fat be healthy? Well, if you are not paying attention to the kinds of fat you are eating, this can be a worry…. so what do we do to avoid that?
The 3 kinds of Fat: Saturated Fat, Poly-unsaturated Fat, and Mono-unsaturated Fat. (There is Trans Fat too, but just plan to stay away from that like the plague) This is a lot of science stuff but I am going to try and break it down for you. Let’s think of fat like a parking lot, Saturated Fat is a parking lot with no open spaces. Poly, half the spaces are free, and mono is an empty lot.
Saturated Fat is the bad stuff, this is what clogs your arteries, and it is what is stored on your gut, butt, thighs, etc. it is very hard for your body to process without help. Poly Fat is exactly what your body needs for energy, your body breaks this fat down and uses it as fuel. So how do we get Saturated Fat to become Poly Fat? Eat plenty of Mono Fat. Mono Fat comes along will all of its parking spaces open, and talks to the Saturated Fat, the Saturated Fat lets half of its cars go park in the Mono parking lot, and BAM you now have 2 Poly Fat parking lots.
So where do we get this amazing fat? Well, a quick google search will give you a large list, but my favorites are Almonds, Avocado, and Olives.
STEP 4: Intermittent Fasting
This is actually optional, and there are many ways to do this if you chose to. Here I am going to tell you how I do this, and why. Do a google search to find the different ways and test them out to see which works best for your body.
Why do I do it? The whole point of the Keto lifestyle is to get your body to use fat for energy, it does this by going into a metobolic state called Ketosis. When your body needs energy, it metabolizes fuel, for the last couple thousand years, that has been the carbs we eat, but in times of no carbs, our bodies use Protein and Fat.
My day starts with a protein drink, either Muscle Milk, or BANG Keto-Coffee. This gives my body a few extra grams of protein to use through the day so it doesn’t start processing my muscle mass for energy. I go about my day, whatever that looks like, and I eat one big meal around 6 pm. This way my body has all day to use up energy and let the ketosis do its work on my body fat, then I eat to replenish the nutrients and other material I used through the day.
I hope this helps and please feel free to leave comments.