Ahh... January. The month of new beginnings and New Year's resolutions. Maybe the holidays have derailed your healthy habits and you're looking to get back into shape, lose some excess weight, or just increase your overall level of energy and wellness. Whatever your goals, the health benefits of the ketogenic diet are numerous, including weight loss, increased mental performance, improved mood, and more restful sleep.
If you're looking to go keto, we've got some helpful tips that will kickstart your new year and help you hit your goals.
1. Prepare Your House
Clear out your cupboards of all the junk food and high-carb snacks. There's nothing worse than sabotaging your diet because you had a moment of weakness and ate a box of cookies. Don't keep any of that stuff in the house. Instead, replace these foods with keto-friendly snacks and ingredients so you're armed and ready when hunger pangs strike.
Here are some quick and easy keto snack ideas:
- String Cheese
- Pork Rinds (aka chicharrones)
- Dark Chocolate
- Nut Butters (almond, peanut, macadamia)
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Tuna or Chicken Salad
2. Plan Your Way Through It
If you're new to the keto diet, your biggest question is likely what to eat on a keto diet. Make sure you've picked out some keto recipes and have a plan of attack for your daily meals. You don't have to make complicated meals at each sitting. Keep it simple by crafting a plate that's centered around some dark leafy greens, a nice piece of meat, and a good amount of healthy fat (such as coconut oil, grass-fed dairy, non-trans fat oil-based dressings, or creamy sauces) on the side. You can also do a quick Google search for keto meal plans so you're armed with recipe ideas and a shopping list. As well, if you sign up for our newsletter you'll be one of the first people to get our 28 Day Keto Meal Plan that we'll be launching soon!
3. Arm Yourself for the Keto Flu
It doesn't happen to everyone, but the majority of us will get flu-like symptoms when our body transitions from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. It typically only lasts from 3-5 days, but it can derail even the best of us if we're not mentally and physically prepared. The best way to combat the keto flu is to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes of calcium, magnesium, and sodium. As well, you can consider supplementing with exogenous ketones. Exogenous ketones not only provide ketones and energy but also have electrolytes. Just be sure to drink plenty of water and feel free to add extra salt to what you're eating these first few days.
Keto Flu Symptoms:
- Bad Breath
- Trouble Sleeping
- Feeling Weak
- Trouble Sleeping
Keto Flu Remedies:
- Drink more water
- Eat more fat
- Replenish electrolytes with bone broth
- Supplement with electrolytes, MCT Oil and/or exogenous ketones
- Ease up on exercise temporarily but be sure to stay moving
4. Don't Worry About Perfect Macros at First
If you find keto daunting but want to give it a go. Ease into it. The ideal ratio of macronutrients for the ketogenic diet can vary based on several factors, such as weight and activity level, but typical guidelines aim for a calorie breakdown of 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. This can be daunting at first to track every meal and make sure you're hitting your daily macros. Instead of stressing about the perfect macros, focus first on reducing your carb intake. Once the low-carb challenge becomes easier to manage, get your protein and fats aligned with your macro goals and get into ketosis.
5. Make Intermittent Fasting Part of Your Routine
One way to kickstart ketosis is to fast. A great way to do this is to implement intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is when you fast for an extended period of the day and then eat at will during the non-fasting period. A good way to start is with a 16/8 fast. Simply don't eat anything for 16 hours and then eat to satiety during the other 8 hours. A lot of people find that a good place to start is eating during a window of 12pm-8pm and fasting the other hours of the day. If your goal is ketosis, be sure to maintain your macro goals and feel free to eat whatever your daily calorie goals are during the 12pm-8pm window.
6. Get Support from your Family and Friends
One of the best ways to ensure we stick to any new diet or goal is to have someone hold us accountable. Tell your family and friends that you are embarking on a ketogenic diet for better health and you want their support. Tell them not to tempt you with sugary treats or other carb-heavy foods and instead ask them to send you any good keto recipes they find. Even better, ask them if they want to join you on this journey!
7. Test Your Ketone Levels
If you really want to know if you're in ketosis then you need to test your ketone levels. The two most common methods are a urine test or blood test. Both tests can be performed at home very easily. Urine tests are a more affordable option; however, they can also be a bit unreliable. Blood tests with a simple prick. Our recommendation? Keto Mojo. They make an affordable and reliable glucose and ketone meter kit. According to Volek and Phinney who wrote, "The Art and Science of Low Carb Living" the optimal range of ketones is 1.0-3.0 mmol.
What is the ketogenic diet?
At its core, the ketogenic diet involves a drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake with an increase in fat consumption. It's a low-carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet that triggers your body from being a glucose burner to a fat burner via the process of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when you deprive your body of glucose and it has to find another source of energy: fat! For more information about ketosis, ketones, and the ketogenic diet, check out our Beginner's Guide and sign up for our newsletter.