You’ve decided to jump on the wagon and try something new. A few people you know are doing Keto and you want to see what it has to offer you. But where do you start? Here is the basic info I give to people who are just getting started.
- Don’t start with a focus on food/calorie restriction
- Track your food intake
- Go easy on yourself
Focus on Fat Adaptation
I know you probably ended up looking at the ketogenic diet as an opportunity to lose weight. But before you can successfully lose body fat and spare lean tissue on a ketogenic diet you must give your body time to adapt to burning fat for fuel. Until this happens, any caloric restriction will result in metabolic adaptation and potentially significant loss of lean tissue along with a host of hormonal issues. You will feel like you’re on a diet. Just like every other diet. Give yourself a chance at success by aiming for fat adaptation first. Start by eating roughly the same number of calories with a ketogenic macronutrient profile as you did before going keto. Don’t know how much that is? Start by tracking your current food intake before you even make the shift.
Track Your Food Intake
Use a tool like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and macronutrients. I know you don’t want to track everything you eat, but without that data, you’re shooting in the dark. The premium version allows you to track macronutrients by grams instead of percentage. Again, if you don’t know how much you’re eating on a daily basis, track a few days and find out. Just track everything you eat and you’ll get a glimpse. If your weight has been stable, you can safely use that number of calories as a guide to getting started on keto. If you need help figuring out how much you should be eating, you can request a consultation.
What are Keto Macros anyway?
Carbohydrates: A good starting point is to set your carbohydrates to 20-25g/day to start or around 5% of daily caloric intake. Some people advocate up to 50g. Many cannot get into ketosis eating that many. 1g carbs = 4 calories.
Fat: Set your fat to 70-80% of your daily caloric intake. Remember: 1g fat = 9 calories
Protein: Set your protein to the remaining calories. This should be somewhere around .6g/lb lean body mass or slightly more. 1g protein = 4 calories
Sample 2,000 calorie diet profile:
- Carbohydrates 25g
- Protein 70g
- Fat 180g
Once you’re all set with your macros in place, eat foods only from the ketogenic foods list, and use a food scale to track the amounts of each. Again, I know this is no one’s favourite activity, but after a while you’ll no longer have to track.
Go Easy On Yourself
This adaptation takes some time. People can get what is affectionately known as Keto Flu during the initial days of eating this way. Your body has no idea how to get the energy it needs from the source of fuel you’re giving it. Your workouts will suffer. Your energy levels will suffer.
Stay the course.
A Few Final Notes…
- Add fat to everything. I melt tasty grass-fed butter on meat and eggs and use heavy cream in my coffee.
- Drink lots of water and add salt to all your food. You will eventually just crave it. Your body will have no way
to hold the water in without the glycogen stores (hence, why I sweat like a pig as soon as I start to move).
You need the salt in the body – Himalayan Pink salt is recommended.
- Despite what some Keto lists say, fruit is not Keto. But you can have a few berries here and there… and by a
few I mean like 4 or 5 berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Supplements: I can’t speak for everyone doing keto but one thing you need for sure is Magnesium. Try keto
without and find the muscle cramping to be brutal. Charleyhorses and overall DOMS after workouts. I do
500-1000mg/day, Vit D, C, Omega 3, Hawaiian Spirulina (reduces triglycerides in the blood).
- Many people drink bone broth or add collagen to their keto diet