If you’re thinking about starting the keto diet, you may be feeling overwhelmed and excited at the same time. On one hand, countless success stories exist of people losing weight, gaining energy, and improving their overall health on this high-fat, low-carb diet. On the other hand, there are also many misconceptions and pitfalls that can make it challenging to navigate.
As someone who has personally experienced the ups and downs of starting the keto diet, I want to share nine things that I wish I had known before embarking on this journey. These tips will help you avoid common mistakes and set yourself up for success on the keto diet.
It’s Not Just About Cutting Carbs
The keto diet is often referred to as a “low-carb” diet, but it’s important to understand that it’s not just about eliminating carbs from your meals. The key to success on the keto diet is achieving a state of ketosis, where your body burns fat for fuel instead of glucose. This means you must also focus on increasing your fat intake and moderating your protein consumption.
Meal Planning Is Essential
Because the keto diet relies heavily on specific macronutrient ratios, meal planning is vital for success. It’s important to plan out your meals for the week ahead of time, so you know exactly what you’ll be eating and can make any adjustments as needed.
You May Experience the “Keto Flu”
Transitioning to a high-fat, low-carb diet can come with some side effects, commonly known as the “keto flu.” This may include fatigue, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms as your body adjusts to using fat for fuel. It’s temporary and can be mitigated by staying hydrated and increasing your electrolyte intake.
Don’t Forget About Hydration
One of the most common pitfalls of the keto diet is dehydration. As your body adjusts to using fat for fuel, it releases stored water and can lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough fluids. Be sure to increase your water intake and consider adding electrolytes as well.
Be Mindful of Hidden Carbs
Carbs can hide in unexpected places, so it’s essential to read labels and be mindful of ingredients in packaged foods. Some sauces, dressings, and even seemingly healthy snacks can contain hidden carbs that can throw off your macros and kick you out of ketosis.
Tracking Your Macros Is Crucial
To ensure you’re in ketosis, tracking your macros is essential. This means keeping track of your daily intake of fat, protein, and carbs to ensure they align with the recommended percentages for the keto diet. Using a tracking app or journal can make this process easier.
Don’t Be Afraid of Healthy Fats
The keto diet is all about consuming healthy fats, so don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your meals. Avocados, olive oil, and nuts are all excellent sources of healthy fats that can keep you feeling full and satisfied while on the keto diet.
Stick to Whole Foods
It’s easy to get caught up in the novelty of keto-friendly snacks and treats, but it’s important to remember that whole foods should make up most of your diet. Focus on incorporating quality proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats into your meals rather than relying on processed or packaged options.
Patience is Key
Everyone’s body is different, and results may vary when starting the keto diet. It’s important to be patient and not get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stick to your macros, and give your body time to adjust to this new way of eating. Results will come with consistency and patience.
Starting the keto diet can be both exciting and overwhelming, but armed with these nine tips, you’ll have a better chance of success. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and listening to your body and making adjustments as needed is essential. Don’t be afraid to seek support from others who are also following the keto diet, and always consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet. Above all, stay consistent and have patience – results will come with time and dedication. Happy keto-ing!
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