You’re ready for a new and improved you. Congratulations. There are so many wonderful benefits to the ketogenic diet, you can expect many positive changes, both physical and mental. So, let’s not delay and get the journey started.
Clear Your Pantry
We’re sure you have plenty of willpower, but there is no need to confront a kitchen filled with tempting sugars and carbohydrates. Make a clean sweep and pack the offending items in a box. Then donate the loot to a needy neighbor or a soup kitchen. They will appreciate your gesture, and you are on your way to a keto lifestyle. If you have family, try to get them involved. If they refuse to refrain from eating carbs and sugar, at least insist they do so away from home. It’s a fair request.
The keto diet does not require you to live by the tyranny of the scale. As a matter of fact, as you build up healthy muscles, you might notice a slight initial gain. That’s great, so don’t worry.
You should, however, have an idea of what your starting point is. If you opted for the keto diet solely to lose weight, you’ll be able to track your progress. But don’t become a slave to the scale. The occasional weigh-in, perhaps once a week, is enough.
What About Your Favorite Meals?
Perhaps the very thought of giving up your favorite foods has prevented you from getting started on the keto way of life. Relax. The truth is, for every dish that you love and can’t live without (yes, that includes cheesecake and mashed potatoes!), you can easily find a low-carb substitute that is just as tasty.
First, let’s consider items at your market labeled “low carbohydrate.” Labels are frustratingly deceiving, and you’d have to be a nutritional expert to understand them. All-too-frequently, off-the-shelf low carb products have simply substituted sugar for carbs, so don’t fall for that bit of deceit. You need to learn to read labels with the diligence that you’d read your wealthy uncle’s will, but your best bet is to stay away from these products and simply find healthier substitutes. The same goes for anything labeled “low fat,” which inevitably means added sugars.
Craving a taco? Use a lettuce wrap instead of a taco shell. Do you want rice or mashed potatoes? Grate or rice a cauliflower, and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Can’t give up your favorite pasta dish? Turn a zucchini into “zoodles” by slicing it or using a spiral cutter and enjoy your pasta. You absolutely have to have your favorite dessert? On the keto diet, you can. Just bake with almond flour and use unsweetened applesauce and/or avocado to create some sweet smoothness.
Learn about coconut oil, which can be used as a butter substitute in sautéing, frying, and baking. Coconut oil has incredible health benefits, especially for Type-2 diabetics.
On the keto diet, you’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite meals, only better.
Always Stay Hydrated
The keto diet tends to lower your insulin level, so your kidneys may be excreting more liquid than usual. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
Condiments Can Be the Enemy
Don’t assume condiments don’t count on a diet. On the keto diet, they most certainly do. Ketchup is filled with sugar. Not all salad dressings are equal. Read the label, and never opt for the “fat-free” version. They have merely substituted sugar for fat.
Ordering salads when eating out is one of your best options, but beware of the dressing that the restaurant serves. Either ask about the ingredients, or better, bring your own salad dressing. Don’t hesitate to do that, even in a posh eatery where the Maître d’ might become spastic at the sight of you pulling salad dressing out of your bag.
Keep Track of Your Ketone Level
It’s especially important to remain aware of how your body is responding to the keto diet at the start of the diet. You can do so by doing a simple urine test. You can also purchase a blood ketone meter. It is recommended to perform the test early in the morning.
Friends and Family Can Be Annoying – Bless Their Hearts
Those nearest and dearest to you may not always understand what you are doing. When eating as a group, they may put subtle pressure on you to “just try a bite,” or “one slice of cake won’t kill you.” Or worse, “but I cooked it especially for you!”
It will take resolve to stick to your diet. It may help to fill up on keto-friendly snacks before you sit down and eat. Enjoy some nuts, an avocado, or just a leg of chicken before you eat, and you will be less tempted.
Celebratory occasions, especially if you’re the guest of honor, can be a huge hurdle. When the gang at the office or your parents enter a room with a cake yelling “Surprise!” on your birthday, it’s hard to refuse. So, try being a bit sneaky, instead.
By all means gush over the offering. You are expected to do that. You can even help cut slices. Then, discover a sudden and irresistible urge for coffee, which you verbalize loudly and clearly. Gently remove yourself from the center of activity to get coffee for yourself and anyone else. By the time anyone notices, hopefully they’ve missed the fact that you haven’t eaten anything.
Traveling while on the keto diet can be a challenge, so be prepared. Pack a personal blender with some avocados and bananas for a few quick and healthful smoothies. Pack some anchovies or tuna for protein.
Eating out isn’t as difficult as you may think. Even fast-food places have salads, these days. In any restaurant, stick to meat and vegetables and forego the potatoes and noodles.
You can even navigate the tricky maze in a Chinese restaurant. While abstaining from rice, you can enjoy the following: clear soups, steamed fish with vegetables, egg foo young, stir-fried dishes, Mu Shu without the wrappers are just a few suggestions. Ask your server if your meal can be prepared without cornstarch which is frequently used as a thickener.
Even if you end up in a fast food place that doesn’t have salad, simply toss the buns from your burger and just eat the meat. You can do the same at a friend’s house or at a BBQ.
The keto diet will build muscle mass and give you added energy. Don’t forget to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It can be as simple as walking more, taking the stairs, or joining a gym.
How Long Should You Stay on a Ketogenic Diet”
The amount of time spent on the diet can vary and should be discussed with your doctor. Many people who use the ketogenic diet for weight loss remain on the diet for several weeks, until they have achieved a goal, then they turn to a paleo diet or other maintenance eating. You do not want to lose weight only to return to your old eating habits.
If you are on the ketogenic diet for medical or therapeutic reasons, check with your doctor to ascertain if you should remain on the diet for a longer period of time.