There’s nothing easy about the ketogenic diet. It’s a challenge to maintain, but it’s worth it. When you follow the keto diet, your body burns fat instead of carbs as its primary source of energy, which puts you into a state known as ketosis. The ketogenic diet has been proven to help with weight loss and decrease risk factors for diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease
. Even if you’re excited about the potential benefits of following the keto diet, sticking to it isn’t easy at first. The transition from a standard American diet filled with carbohydrates to a low-carb diet can take some getting used to—especially when you want to eat something that isn’t also low in carbs! To help you stay on track and meet your goals even when you feel like giving up, we have some helpful tips for staying on track with your Keto Diet plan:
Make sure you’re consuming enough calories.
When you first start following the keto diet, it’s essential that you increase your intake of fat to meet your body’s demands. However, you need to make sure that you’re also eating enough calories to meet your body’s needs. If you’re not consuming enough calories, your body will break down your muscles to use as energy. To calculate how many calories you need, you can use an online calculator like the one provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Don’t rely on the scale to determine whether you’re meeting your goals.
While the numbers on the scale may change, weight loss and fat loss don’t always correlate. Many factors affect how much your weight changes, like fluid retention, glycogen, and how hydrated you are. When you first begin following the keto diet, you’ll likely see your weight drop quickly. This is because many of the carbs you’ve been consuming are no longer being metabolized, so they’ll just be excreted through your urine. The scale can also be deceiving in the opposite way!
While you may not see the number on the scale change much (if at all), your body composition may be changing. When you start following the keto diet, your body will begin to use fat stores as its primary source of energy. This is why you may see a reduction in water retention and a decrease in fat percentage.
Don’t fear fat!
Fat is a crucial component of the keto diet. While it’s true that the ketogenic diet is fairly high in fat, not all fats are created equal. Fatty foods like avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and dairy products are all keto-friendly and should be included in your diet. If you only consume foods low in carbohydrates, you’ll miss out on important vitamins and minerals that can only be found in other food groups.
Fatty fish, avocados, dairy, and nuts are great sources of nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and magnesium, which are all essential for good health. Fatty foods also help keep you full longer and curbs your appetite. This is important on the keto diet, as you should try not to eat large meals that increase blood sugar levels, as this can kick you out of ketosis.
Plan out your meals for the week, and make sure everything is ready to go before you start.
Prepping your meals ahead of time is key to success on the keto diet. You should be consuming between 60-80% of your daily calories from fat. If you were to eat out for lunch every day, you’d probably pass that threshold before the end of the day! By prepping your meals, you can make sure you’re meeting your macronutrient goals and eating the right amount of calories without having to worry about counting everything you eat. Plan out your meals for the week, and make sure to include snacks so you don’t go hungry. Carbs are usually easy to come by, but the same can’t be said for fat!
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself once in a while.
When you first start following the keto diet, you may feel like you can never enjoy yourself or eat what you want ever again. This can be especially true for people who are following a ketogenic diet for therapeutic purposes, like those with epilepsy. You don’t have to turn your life upside down when you start following the keto diet! Try to keep things in moderation, and make sure to track what you’re eating so you know how much of each macro you’re getting. If you can, try to include indulgent foods in your macros for the week.
Start your day with fats, like eggs and fatty meats.
When you first start following the keto diet, you may notice that you experience increased levels of fatigue. This is because your body is adapting to using fat as its primary source of energy. Getting enough sleep is important, but you can also help combat fatigue by making sure that you start each day with fats like eggs or fatty meats. Fatty foods will help keep you full longer so you don’t get hungry and overeat. When you first start the keto diet, you may notice that you have an increased appetite. This is your body’s way of telling you that it needs more fat and fewer carbohydrates. Fatty foods like eggs or fatty meats can help you meet your body’s demands.
Get lots of sleep!
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health, but many people don’t get enough of it. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to crave sweets and carbohydrates, which can knock you out of ketosis. When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels increase—a hormone that triggers you to crave carbs and sugary foods that are bad for your health. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t let your body fully recover and repair itself, which can lead to weight gain, muscle loss, and lowered metabolism.
Track what works for you and what doesn’t—then, tweak your diet accordingly.
As you follow the keto diet, you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You may notice that you have more energy when you increase your fat intake, or that you prefer to follow a standard keto diet with moderate protein and low fat. Your body is unique, and it’s important to listen to what it’s telling you. Keep a food journal, and track what you eat and how you feel after eating certain foods.
You may notice that you have more energy when you eat more fat or that you crave carbs when you don’t get enough sleep. These tips will help you stay on track when you start following the keto diet. When you follow these tips and take the time to adjust your diet as needed, you’ll find that following the keto diet will become much easier over time.