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A ketogenic diet requires a significant cut in carbohydrates in your diet and replace it with healthy fats. The dietary change helps your body re-adjust and use fats as the main source of energy. The high fat, low-carb diet has been linked with many health benefits including, reduced inflammation, better brain performances, and rapid weight loss.
The rapid cut in carbohydrates causes some problems to users and at times, may relapse and keep on taking carbohydrates. Here are a few tips to help you start a keto diet plan;
Keto diet tips
1. Try intermittent fasting
ketosis faster and helps you lose weight. During the fasting, you do not take any food or drink with calories for a specified period. When you do not consume calories for some hours, the body depletes all glucose reserves and starts burning fats for energy.
A Harvard study found out that intermittent fasting can manipulate your body mitochondria and increase your lifespan.
Several types of intermittent fasting will help you enter ketosis faster. Skipping breakfast is a healthy way to get started. When your body is keto-adapted, fat fasting helps in fast weight loss. Consuming 80-90% calories from fats for about 3-5 days allows your body to speed up metabolism.
2. Decrease stress
When you are stressed, cortisol (stress hormone) is very high in the blood. Hugh cortisol levels elevate your blood sugar levels, thus limiting ketosis. The body will burn glucose in the blood for energy, which makes it hard to enter ketosis.
If you want to start on the keto diet, take steps to reduce your stress levels, such as getting enough sleep, yoga, and meditation, regular exercising, and adapting to relaxing techniques and podcasts.
3. Prioritize your sleep
Poor sleep raises stress hormone, cortisol which prevents fat-burning. It is crucial to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep on a proper sleep schedule when on the keto diet. Various studies have found that irregular sleep can hurt your weight loss goal. [*][*][*]
You can also choose a quiet, dark room with chilly temperatures for better sleep. Using supplements like melatonin will improve your sleep.
4. Add more salt to your diet
When on a keto diet, the insulin levels fall; hence, the body does not need to hold onto sodium but excrete it. [*][*] It is encouraged that you add an extra 3-5 grams of sodium to your diet to avoid the electrolyte imbalance. Here are the best salts you can use;
- Himalayan sea salt which has natural trace minerals
- Drinking bone broth daily
- Sprinkling pink salt on your food
- Eating low-carb foods that have natural sodium such as cucumber and celery
- Eating macadamia nuts
5. Exercise regularly
Doing regular exercises helps you in the transition to the high-fat, low carb diet by boosting ketone levels. Working out helps get rid of any glucose; thus, your body enters ketosis faster.
Exercising involves high intensity, and low-intensity exercises will deplete glycogen revives, and your body will go into full ketosis.
Here is an example of a perfect working schedule throughout the week;
Monday: Lower bodyweight training for 30 minutes. It includes running and walking on a treadmill, deadlifts, and squats.
Wednesday: 30 minutes of upper body workout. Involves dumbbell rows and shoulder press and bench press.
Thursday: low-intensity exercise; walk for 30-40 minutes
Saturday: high-intensity full body workout for 45 minutes
6. Stop drinking soda and using sugar substitutes
While diet soda does not have any calories, it may contain sugar substitutes, which may result in increased blood sugar levels. You will also increase your sugar cravings.
Using sparkled water is the best alternative to soda.
7. Batch cook
Batch cooking your favorite keto meals sets you up for a week. Whenever you feel hungry, you have ready food, which prevents you from slipping to any diet.
8. Drinking plenty of water
In the early days on a keto diet, the body excretes huge amounts of water from your body. You must stay hydrated to maintain the electrolyte balance. Aim to drink at least half of your body weight ounces of water daily. Learn more about what is in your drinking water from our friends.
9. Consume carbs from vegetables
Adding low-calorie, non-starchy vegetables in your diet provides the body with fiber, vitamins which have many benefits. Here are some vegetables you can eat;
- Brussel sprouts
10. Use MCT Oil Regularly
MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil is immediately metabolized into ketones, thus helping your body get into ketosis when glycogen reserves are not depleted.
MCT oil and coconut oil are molecularly different. MCT oil is made up of 100% medium-chain triglyceride (capric acids and caprylic acids), while coconut oil is made up of 35% long triglycerides, 50% lauric acid and 15% medium-chain triglycerides. This means MCT oil is absorbed faster, while coconut oil takes longer in the digestive process.
11. Improve your gut microbiome
Gut health affects everything for the mental health of the digestive system and all systems in the body. When your gut flora is healthy, metabolic flexibility, insulin sensitivity, and body hormones are more efficient. These processes are useful in the transition from glucose to fat energy.
When the body is on optimal metabolic flexibility, the body seamlessly adapts to a low-carb, high-fat diet. Eating the low-carb, high-fat diet as significant benefits to your gut health, making it a very efficient fat-burner.
12. Invest in a food scale
Weighing the amount of food you take on every meal is essential for keto beginners. Often, people overeat on keto diets that kick you out of ketosis. Getting proper proportions of food for every meal will keep you healthy.
13. Use exogenous ketones
Similar to using MCT oil, exogenous ketones are a shortcut to ketosis. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is a very popular ketone that is actively utilized by the body. The ketone supplement is helpful in the initial days since it signals the body to start using ketones instead of glucose for an energy source.
While starting on the keto diet with BHB, you may experience keto flu. Here are some cures for keto flu.
14. Count your carbs
Consume a maximum of 50 grams of net carbohydrates on a keto diet.
Net carbs = Total carbs-fiber
You can use MyFitnessPal to calculate the carbs in your diet.
Some food may seem keto-friendly but are loaded with sugars. Such foods include;
- Chicken wings loaded with barbecue or buffalo sauce
- Most fruits (blueberries are fine in small amounts)
- Low-fat foods like yogurt
- Breaded meats
15. Measure your ketones
Ketones are measured using urine sticks or glucose meter. They give you the measurements of ketones in your blood; hence, you can observe your diet.
16. Always have convenient snacks at hand
Preparing keto food can be daunting at times. The best remedy is to have some keto-friendly snacks which you can eat when you are hungry. Here are some great choices;
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Beef jerky
- Premade guacamole
- Keto MCT Matcha Fat Bombs
- Pre-cooked bacon
17. Clear out your kitchen
Clearing all carbohydrate food like bread, sodas, candy, and rice from your kitchen will reduce the temptation to eat them. Replace them with starchy vegetables and keto-friendly food and snacks. You will curb cravings and stay on the right ketosis track.
18. Be prepared when eating out at restaurants
When going out, ensure you know the best keto food to eat. Most restaurants have plenty of food that is keto-friendly on their menu. Here are some food to buy when on ketosis;
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, and green salad.
Lunch: green salads and sugar-filled dressing with olive oil and vinegar.
Dinner: fatty steak and vegetables.
If you are starting on the ketogenic diet, try out any of the above tricks and find out which works best for you.
You can start by cutting little carbohydrates in your diet until you achieve the best keto diet.