The Complete Beginners Guide: How to Start a Keto Diet
Starting a Keto Diet
Now that we know what the Ketogenic Diet is, let’s talk about how to get started.
When starting your Ketogenic journey, if it important to make sure you are planning and tracking.
But first and foremost, arguably the most important thing is to change your mindset. Changing your mindset is by far the most important step in the whole process.
Starting a keto diet can be challenging. There is a lot of information floating around, some good, some not so good. And there are a lot of roadblocks that can sabotage your best efforts.
You can spend time researching and reading and hoping it will sink in, but if you don’t commit to yourself that you are ready to make a change, you will become frustrated and give up. Trust me, we’ve all done just that! But not this time! This time, you are going to have all the tools you need to get started and quickly find out for yourself all the benefits of Keto!
The most important step to being successful on the Keto Diet is to first – change your mindset
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What to Do Before Starting a Keto Diet
Let’s talk about How to Plan on Keto.
As with anything, having a plan is a crucial step in being prepare on Keto. It would be very difficult to start anything without having prepared ahead of time or at least have an idea of what is coming.
- Research Keto Recipes – There are tons of Keto recipes on the internet that are easily found through simple google searches or Pinterest searches. You know what kind of food you like and believe it or not, there are tons of Keto alternatives to your favorite foods that are just as good and 50 times healthier. There are also plenty of resources online where you can get free sample meal plans to help give you a good starting point. Sign up for our newsletter and get our Free 14-Day Meal plan. It’s just that simple!
- Remove trigger foods from your kitchen – There are probably foods and snacks in your house that once you have one, you have more until all the sudden they are all gone. Probably some chips or peanut butter cups maybe? Get rid of them. Put them in the trash and take it out of the house. And then don’t buy them again.
- Find Keto Kitchen Exchanges – These include things like removing vegetable and seed oils and replacing them with Olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil. You can exchange pasta for zucchini noodles, processed American cheese with real cheese and regular all-purpose flour with Almond or coconut flours. See our helpful post about Easy Keto Kitchen Exchanges for a more detailed list of keto products that we use in our own kitchens.
- Weekly Meal Planning – Each week you should set aside time to plan your meals for the next week. Find 4-5 recipes you like, decides what your schedule for the week looks like and decide which meals work best on what days.
For example, if you work full time, maybe you want to find meals that can be prepped on Sunday and reheated throughout the week. Or maybe the kids have practice in the evening a couple days a week. On these days, you could easily have made a double batch of the previous night’s recipe and just heat up the leftovers for an easy, no mess option for dinner.
Taking the time to plan your meals, shopping lists, meal prep and snack options is the best way to keep you on track and on Keto, especially during the time when you are adapting to the new keto lifestyle.
- Best Snacks for Keto – When you find yourself needing a snack between meals, make sure you have several choices within reach so you don’t break down and grab something that will kick you out of ketosis. There are so many quick and easy options you can keep on hand at any time and whip up super quick. Here is a short list of our favorites but check out our post of the Top Keto Snacks when you have time.
- Tuna with Primal Avocado Oil Mayo
- String Cheese
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Sugar Free Beef Jerky
- Pork Rinds
- Dark Chocolate
- Avocados or Guacamole
- Sugar Free lunch meat roll ups
- Macadamia nuts
Tracking your carbs is KEY!
Carbs are in almost everything! It is absolutely essential to use a food tracking app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. Both these apps have free versions that work fantastic.
You set you limits for each macro – fat, protein, and carbs – and enter your food in every time you eat or drink something. You will be surprised how quickly the carbs can add up if you aren’t careful with your measurements. Even when you think you eating something that is sugar free, there are still other ways carbs find themselves in there.
And yes, even vegetables have carbs in them. Opt for the ones lowest in carbs in the beginning of your adaption phases such as leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower, cucumber, etc.
The great thing about these food tracking apps is you can always look up carb counts as well as check restaurant nutrition information prior to dining.
How long does it take to lose weight on Keto?
Since the Ketogenic diet is so effective for weight loss, the most common question is how long does it take? Well, with anything, it definitely doesn’t happen overnight, but people can start seeing weight loss in only a few days.
There are 4 phases to Keto that we refer to as Adaptation Phases.
- Getting into Ketosis
It usually takes about 2-6 days of carbohydrate restrictions to start for your body to start looking for another fuel source. When you lower carbs to 50g/day, within the first 2-4 days you will start showing elevated ketone levels. This is a sign your body has burned through its carbohydrate stores and has started to using fat as a fuel source. You are in ketosis!
During this time, you may experience what is referred to as the keto flu. I know the word “flu” sounds awful but its not as bad as it seems and there are ways to help you get through it. See our post about Combating the Keto Flu for helpful tips and tricks to get you through those first couple of days.
Within these first few days, you will start seeing the pounds come off! Stick with it! Great things are happening. 😊
2. Becoming Keto Adapted (fat burner)
Depending on the needs of your body, this phase could take from 2-6 weeks or more. Most people start feeling the benefits of the ketogenic diet around 3 to 4 weeks.
During this time your body and cells get better at utilizing fat as their primary fuel source, which results in fewer craving, improve moods, more energy and of course, MORE WEIGHT LOSS!!
3. Becoming Fat Adapted – around 2 months and beyond
This is the phase where we want to be.
When we are Fat Adapted, that means that our body can efficiently and effectively switch between burning glucose (carbs and sugar) and burning fat (ketones). This phase can take 6-12 weeks to get to depending on your body and the level of metabolic damage that needs to be repaired.
The great news is, its never too late to repair your body and get yourself on the right track.
Being Fat Adapted is where we want to be! During this time and beyond is where you will experience all the benefits of the Keto Diet. You’ll feel boundless energy, increased mental clarity and your body is a fat burning machine!!!
4. Maintenance Mode
There will come a time on your Keto journey where your body is happy. We call this the body’s set point. This is where your body feels nourished by all the healthy fats and proteins you have been feeding it and doesn’t feel like catastrophe on the horizon and it needs to store fat for later.
Your body is fat adapted, effectively burning ketones and body fat and running like a well-oiled machine.
At this time, you will notice your weight loss slow or stop. This could be that your body has reached the point where it is happy or what we refer to as body homeostasis. Be happy! This is a huge accomplishment.
Continue living the Ketogenic lifestyle and you’ll continue to reap all the wonderful benefits of the Keto Diet.
Another reason you’ve may have stopped losing weight is because you’ve hit a stall on the weight loss. Check out our post Weight Loss Stalls for tips on how to kickstart your weight loss again.
Testing your Ketone levels on Keto
When the body metabolizes fat, it creates Ketones. Nutritional Ketosis or Fat Burning mode falls in the range of .5-1.5 mmol/l.
Methods of Testing Ketones
There are 3 methods to test Ketones in the body and each method has their own benefits and shortfalls:
- Ketone Urine Strips
In the beginning, Ketone Urine Strips work well, are inexpensive and can be bought at any drug store or online. However, the longer you are in Ketosis, the less accurate these strips will become because you will be more efficient at using the Ketones for energy and therefore won’t have a lot of excess ketones for the strip to read.
2. Ketone Breath Meters
Ketone Breath meters work well too and after the initial investment, there is very little additional cost, with the exception of fresh mouth pieces and batteries. You can purchase your own KHC M3 Ketone Breath Meter here:
3. Ketone Blood Testing
The last method is a blood ketone monitoring system. This method is the most expensive with a continued cost for testing strips but is the most accurate.
Ketone blood testing is the same as glucose testing for diabetics except it uses a Ketone strip rather than a Glucose strip.
The meters can tell the difference between which strip is inserted. A new player in the Ketone Blood testing field is Keto Mojo. This system seems to be the most cost effective with a purchase of the initial bundle – meter, testing strips and lancets – and then additional testing strips of $.99 each. You can purchase your Keto Mojo bundle here and receive 15% off your kit: https://bit.ly/2E6xnvr
You can also use a Precision X Glucose/Ketone Testing Meter. These meters are fantastic as well and can be bought on amazon. Use these links for the meter, strips and lancets.
And there you have it! Essential tips on how to start a keto diet. Have a plan and stick to it. Track all your food so you don’t go over your carb limit each day. And last but not least, stay positive. You and your body will thank you!!
For more help, reach out to us at HoleKeto (www.holeketo.com). We have many great coaching options to assist you on your Keto journey.