The ketogenic diet can seem like one of the most difficult diets out there. This isn’t exactly true. The keto diet is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. However, there are a few things you need to know before starting a keto diet.
When I first got started with the keto diet I didn’t do much research ahead of time and was caught off guard by some of the things that occurred the first month or so. I can see why some people don’t share some of the things I am about to tell you. They aren’t pretty and actually a little gross. Not everyone wants to talk about the ugly stuff. I get it.
If you have been around here awhile you know I like to get down and dirty. Also, I feel like if I am sharing keto lifestyle stuff I need to share ALL OF IT. The last thing I want is to inspire my readers to try something new and for you to get caught off guard by some of these things.
What you need to know before starting a keto diet.
It’s not a calorie free-for-all
This is my BIGGEST pet-peeve when it comes to the keto lifestyle. Many people will have you think you can eat as much as you want as long as it is low in carbs. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Without getting too deep into the science behind the keto diet, yes you can eat until satisfied but to really lose weight there still needs to be a calorie deficit.
This was one place I went wrong when I first got started and had trouble losing any weight. In fact, on my first attempt at the keto diet
For me, once I realized this error and I got my food under control the weight started melting off.
You can’t have cheat days
If you are used to a weekly cheat day then the keto diet might be difficult. It’s not that you can’t ever “cheat” or deviate. In the beginning, if you are serious about losing weight you need to be very strict.
This is because your body needs time to adapt to burning fat for fuel instead of glycogen (carbs). It can take anywhere from 1 week to a month to start burning fat efficiently. If you are having a “cheat” it will ruin that progress.
Due to that, I highly recommend that you wait until you can fully commit to a few solid weeks of strict keto eating before starting a keto diet.
Once you become adapted to burning fat for fuel you can have a treat here and there. Even so, you still don’t want to do it too often. The goal of the keto diet is to reach ketosis and stay there. Eating a carb-heavy treat will knock you out of ketosis and it may take a couple of days to reach ketosis again.
Potassium, Magnesium and Sodium are a MUST
I am sure you have already heard of the dreaded “keto flu.” Part of the problem is that eating a very low carb diet is a diuretic. That means it flushes the water right out of your body and along with the water goes your electrolytes.
When your electrolytes are low you will feel pretty cruddy. The keto diet can also cause a detox effect as well. The symptoms are very similar to a cold. Hence why it is called the keto flu.
If you are able to stay on top of your electrolyte consumption from the get-go the keto flu will not be as bad. So take an electrolyte supplement and drink lots of water.
Skip the Keto Coffee and Fat Bombs in the Beginning
Remember earlier when I mentioned the not so pretty side of keto? Well, this is it. Fair warning.
This is THE thing I wish someone would have told me before starting a keto diet.
One quality keto coffees and fat bombs share are that they are both very high in added saturated fat! How is that a bad thing you ask? Aren’t we aiming for high fat?
Yes! But in the beginning, it’s the type of fat that matters. You are likely coming from a carb heavy diet so your body isn’t used to processing an excess amount of fat.
Consume an excess of saturated fat and your liver will go crazy producing extra bile. Bile is an intestinal lubricant and producing a lot of it will cause…
In the beginning, stick to whole foods and focus on monounsaturated fats. This is essentially what the keto diet is all about…whole foods and healthy fats. Somewhere along the way
What works for some may not work for you
This is very important. Everyone responds to the keto diet differently. As a starting point, you should aim for 75% fat 15-20% protein and 5-10% carbs. Try it for a few weeks before you alter your ratios.
You will likely have to play around with the ratios to find your sweet spot. Your sweet spot is where you will feel your best and continue toward your goals.
I recommend calculating your macro need and then track your food in an app until you find what works for you. This macro calculator makes it very simple to determine your daily needs.
Personally, I keep my carbs at about 30 grams per day. Any lower and I just don’t feel my best. Like
Of all the things I have learned along my keto journey, these are what I felt everyone should know before starting a keto diet.