This is the #1 question I get asked. How do I get started? The simple answer is start limiting your carb intake. But really, there is a lot more to the Ketogenic Diet than just limiting carb intake. A little bit of research can go a long way when you are preparing to adopt a Ketogenic lifestyle. If you’ve found me, then you have obviously started the process! Good for you! You don’t have to spend days or hours researching. You just need to visit a few websites or check out a few books to get a basic idea of what Ketogenic eating is about!
Research: Just spend a little bit of time finding out what Keto is all about. There are some basic truths about Ketogenic eating, but there are a lot of liberties that people take that still result in ketosis. Part of being successful is finding out what will work best for you while getting you into a state of ketosis. Generally speaking, most people limit their carb intake to 20 grams of carbs per day.
- Net carbs vs. Total Carbs: Some count net carbs while others count total. Net carbs means that you can subtract the amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from your total carbs and that is the number you count towards your daily total (the idea behind this is that fiber and sugar alcohol don’t have an effect on your blood sugar, so they don’t count). Total carbs means you count all the carbs.
- Carb counting vs. Macro counting: Again, I’ve seen people go both ways on this one. Some just count carbs and are successful at reaching a state of ketosis and ultimately weight loss. Others count all of the macros to make sure they are getting the correct amount of fat and protein. There are many keto calculators that you can find online. If you choose to count macros, they can help you find out where all your numbers should be!
- Tracking vs. Intuitive eating: The best way to ensure that your carbs/macros are staying on point is to track them. There are a lot of apps out there that can help you track what you are eating. However, it can be cumbersome and time consuming for some. You can also choose to eat intuitively, and only eat when hungry and eat to satiety. This works well, especially when you eat only foods included in a ketogenic food list. The food you are eating (off the list) is going to be low in carbs and higher in fats. So you will get full before you can eat too much!
- Measuring ketosis: There are ways to check if you are in ketosis, but its not always necessary. If you eat keto foods, you will eventually reach ketosis. But, if you want reassurance, you can purchase a glucometer that measures ketones (these are expensive and require additional purchase of testing strips) or you can purchase Ketone reagent strips. They are much less expensive, although less accurate. But, after some time, you’ll be able to tell you’ve reached ketosis by how you feel. Measuring ketones just gives you a peace of mind in the beginning that you are on the right track!
- Start your research here with some of my favorites: These are great resources with lots of information and great recipes for when you start to feel adventurous: Caveman Keto * Ditch The Carbs * I Breathe I’m Hungry
Planning & Shopping: Planning is a good idea. Plain and simple. Planning ahead ensures that you know what foods you can eat and that you have them on hand! Spend time finding and printing a keto food list like the one here. From this list, you will be able to create a meal plan for the week and a grocery list. Meal planning doesn’t have to be in depth and it doesn’t have to be concrete! Simply make a list of breakfasts, lunches and dinners to choose from each day. If you don’t like planning on ahead, you won’t have to do it forever, I promise. But in the beginning, it really is a good idea to ensure success! Make a grocery list and take it with you along with your keto food list to the store! Make sure you get plenty of keto foods, so you have options for each meal!
Doing: You’ve done your research, planned your meals and done your shopping. Now the big day is here! Don’t panic! Relax and get ready for your life to change for the better. There will be times in the beginning when you want to quit. During those times, find a keto approved snack and think about why you started this journey in the first place. These are the times that I like to turn to social media. It’s much easier to stay inspired when you can turn to people who have been where you are now and came out successful on the other side!