Updated: Apr 11, 2020
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Starting a new diet can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Similar to starting a new fling; in the beginning you're excited about everything some might even say obsessed so you go hard for the 1st couple of weeks, before you start to see what's really underneath and what sacrifices you are truly going to have to make to get to the lifestyle you claim you want. Eventually once you've realized that you had no idea what you were getting into and are not ready for the commitment you just start to fall back until the spark fizzles out and you are back where you started.
A new diet is forging a new relationship with food, and if you aren't done with your old relationship or ready to commit, jumping in head first without being ready and committed can do more harm to your body and self esteem than good.
With these 5 tips you can feel more comfortable just getting started.
1. Understand What a Keto Diet is and How it Will Effect Your Body.
The short answer to this is that the Ketogenic Diet is a diet that focuses on changing the energy source your body fuels from to a more natural and sustaining source like fat rather than carbohydrates. Our bodies get energy from carbohydrates which is basically sugar. In a normal American diet the body is taking in way more carbs than it actually needs, so it begins to store the fat for later. <Enter love handles> When we limit our carb intake the body needs to find a different energy source to fuel from, so it begins to utilize that stored fat.
This change can benefit you in a number of ways but most people start because of the
benefits it has on weight loss.
2. Adjust Your Expectations To Be More Long-Term.
A big selling point in the recent years for the Keto diet has been the effect of rapid weight loss on the body. What they don't tell you is that the initial weight loss can be water weight or inflammation from your old diet. So you may shed pounds early but you may also plateau pretty quickly or even gain the weight back. So adjust your expectations to be more about changing your body long-term. Its a marathon not a sprint and while the Keto diet is a way of changing your eating habits to lose weight, the food can't be the only thing working on losing weight. You have to put your body to work as well. As your body adapts, so should your plan.
3. Start Off Slow
Once you really get into Keto it can get pretty complicated. Pace yourself there is a lot to take in. If you don't want to risk overwhelming yourself and biting off more than you can chew, you may want to start off small.
Start by just cutting out a few of your essential carbs like potatoes and bread for the first week then add rice and pasta to the cut the following week and so on until you are completely low carb and high fat foods only. I find that this helps with the feeling of deprivation, that can lead to cheating or quitting. Once you actually start paying attention to the carb counts, you will realize that there are A LOT of things from the average American diet that you can not eat on Keto. It can be overwhelming when you're first starting out, the flavors are new, the ideas are new, it's no small adjustment that's for sure.
One thing that helped me was; just starting out with the basics, bun-less burgers, bun-less hotdogs, and taco salad saved my life the first few weeks of Keto. Instead of jumping in head first with all the "ketofied" recipes, it's best to keep it simple in the beginning and just avoid some of the things that your used to. Your palate may need some adjustments to all of the new ingredients you will be replacing in your favorite dishes and if you are not used to it, you may be ruling out something you just weren't ready for. Switching to a healthier diet is not always budget friendly, Keto is no different. So start off slow so you can learn to live off the essentials.
4. Do What Feels Right For You.
Doing your research is necessary for obvious reasons, but there are many different versions of the same diet out there. So don't feel obligated to do anything one way or no way. Everything is an adjustment and what works for others may not work for you.
In Keto there are 3 different styles. Now there are far more complicated versions of the Keto diet that we will get into in another blog when your ready for that, but for now I’m strictly talking about the basic styles of Keto; Strict, Dirty and Lazy.
Strict Keto means tracking all of your macros, calories, and using meal tracking apps or notes. Strict Keto is more focused on the quality of food and less likely to eat anything presumed bad for you, Grass-Fed, Cage Free, or Organic can be found on the label of most Strict Keto foods.
Dirty Keto may also be tracking macros but is not as concerned with eating some processed unhealthy foods if it still hits those macros. A Power Bowl from Taco Bell and diet soda would be an ideal lunch.
Lazy Keto means not tracking macros or their calories. Lazy Keto is fine with just limiting carb intake (20g-30g Carbs per day will usually keep you in Ketosis) and just keeping it simple. Lazy Keto have been known to eat a lot of salads.
I like to think of myself as all of the above because it just depends on the day. I can be strict, lazy and dirty and as long as I’m committed I will see results. So do what works for you, listen to your body, and don’t be too hard on yourself if everything is not as you read it to be.
5. Plug into the Keto Community
You’re apart of a community now and this community loves to share. We share our experiences and our opinions to inform, encourage, and warn each other about what's out there with Keto. We can use each other as a resource when feeling lost or confused by all of the complex information out there surrounding diet and nutrition. It is important to keep in mind that the advice and reviews are individual and based on personal experiences usually. What yields results for 1 may not yield the same results for you, and what is considered tasty to some; might be disgusting to you. So take everything with a grain a salt and then do what's best for you. That's why it's encouraged for everyone in the community to connect and share because everyone won't agree but someone will relate and hopefully grow from your experience. You don't have to be an expert nutritionist to share your experience or recommend a new recipe and you don't have to agree with every expert nutritionist out there, but it is important to do your own research so you know what is based in opinion and what is science.
Now that you have some idea of what you may be in for, I hope that you feel a little less intimidated and a lot more excited. At the end of the day what's most important is the commitment to the journey and a willingness to be open to new experiences and new hurdles. Check out our other posts and stay connected.