You’ve already taken a big step by choosing the keto diet. Now, there are certain measures to make you fully prepared for this challenging but rewarding journey.
A ketogenic diet simply consists of meals that are low in carbs, high in fats and moderate in proteins. This is when your body relies on fats for fuel instead of sugar. At this point, the body will be in a metabolic state called ketosis.
Every stage in this diet can be done easily and faster if you apply these rules carefully. That’s why the small details make a huge difference.
When I mentioned stages, I’m talking especially about the “keto flu”, which is the first and the hardest part because you will feel dizzy and tired but it will last for a couple of days.
In a matter of fact, keto is not that hard. It’s just replacing carbs with better food that triggers stored unnecessary fats in the body.
The beginnings are always the hardest. Instead of feeling unsure and overwhelmed, we will help you with each step in order to be fully prepared, mentally and physically.
Here are 12 steps that you should consider before starting a keto diet:
Table of Contents
1. Consult Your Doctor
The keto diet is very good for your health. It’s better if your doctor knows that you are doing it.
A piece of advice from an expert is highly recommended. Do not hesitate to seek your doctor because he can tell a lot about your body than you.
The goal of seeing your doctor is to treat any medical issue you have or to make sure that you are in reasonable health.
Consult your doctor if you have:
- Kidney or liver disease.
- Gall bladder problems.
Even though the keto diet is good for diabetes (Type 2 exactly), it’s better to let your doctor know what you are consuming on a daily basis.
The other two problems can affect your overall health when you are on keto. Ask your doctor for more information or treat them if possible so you can start your diet.
Another disease that is rare but should be diagnosed is Hypothyroidism caused by insufficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. Which results in weight gain.
This must be treated before any diet because it can be the reason for your weight gain.
2. Define Your End Goal
Keto was mainly designed for weight loss but regarding the other health benefits that it provides you, there is no wonder it can be used for other concerns.
Do you want to lose weight? Gain weight? Improve your physical or mental performance, or treat diseases like type 2 diabetes? This should be set before starting.
Concerning weight loss, you should simply create a calorie deficit which means consuming fewer calories per day than your needs.
If you are looking to gain weight, you can maximize your calories by eating more keto-friendly food.
However, I personally don’t recommend keto for weight gain because I think it’s useless to go through all this while you can do it just by eating more.
On the other hand, some athletes use the keto diet to improve their performance in an upcoming competition because of the amount of energy that they can get from fats.
Although keto is great for this, you can see these benefits only after a while of being consistent on the diet. Experts say it takes 29 days to feel the peak of energy on keto.
3. Track Your Macros
Now, you know what your end goal is chances are you know what to do about your macros.
Looking to lose weight? Eat less.
Of course, you need more fats than usual but be careful with how many calories you consume. Fats are the most caloric dense nutrients. 1g of fats is 9 calories compared to 4 calories per 1g of carbs of protein.
Not all calories are created equal, right?
Your focus on a keto diet is to get into ketosis. This state is reached by limiting carbs strictly, below 50g net per day (Ideally 20g), and increasing fats while keeping protein moderate.
You can track your macros using this awesome keto calculator.
4. Consider The Side Effects Of The Diet
A diet very strict in carbs, high in fats in order to put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis will definitely come with a price to pay.
Although we are praising keto diet, it’s important to know about the side effects and figure out if it’s right for you.
From feeling dizzy and tired to low libido, these are all keto flu symptoms that you might experience for days or even a week.
Most of these symptoms will fade away by themselves, but you can minimize them by drinking a lot of water because they are mainly related to dehydration.
Other side effects can occur from your current health situation, like kidney or heart damage which, as I mentioned before, should be treated by your doctor.
RELATED: Side Effects Of A Keto Diet
5. Is Keto For You?
With all the research you are going to do before you start the diet, this question should be asked first. Is keto for you?
First of all, you should know that keto is very strict in carbs than any other low-carb diet. That’s why some types of food or drinks are prohibited like bread, beer…
The diet is praised and recommended by a lot of doctors for a reason. It burns fats faster and without hunger, also for fuel, the body will rely on fat which is the most energy-efficient nutrient.
The best time to start a keto diet is when you have no important event that requires full mental awareness in the next 2-3 weeks. For example, if you are still on the keto flu you won’t perform effectively when you have an important exam or a competition.
6. What To Do After Keto?
Once you reach your goals with the keto diet, you have to think about the next step.
Most experts don’t recommend keto for the long term because it can result in other side effects that will follow you forever.
The body definitely needs carbs and nutrients for healthy functioning. That’s why you need to get back to carbs once you finish it, just make sure to implement a healthy diet but not your old eating habits.
Looking at the bright side, once you lose weight with the keto diet, it becomes harder to gain fats as before. It can prevent it only if you implement healthy eating habits in your life.
This summarizes all that we have said before “short term keto is used for long term results”.
7. Eat Keto At Restaurants
Being on a diet usually means staying away from restaurants but that’s not the same for the keto diet. You don’t have to say NO to night outs with your friends. All you have to do is act smart about it.
When you are in a restaurant, it’s time to change what you are used to ordering. No more bun or bread, no more candies or that big glass of beer.
Instead, look for a low-carb salad, some meat with it and one glass of wine will do the job. Also, pay attention to the amount of fats you consume, carry a bottle of olive oil with you in case you don’t find one in the restaurant.
The bottom line is that you should be careful with your calories, fats, and carbs. It’s an advantage that you can enjoy meals in restaurants but you should always be cautious.
RELATED: Cheat Meals On A Keto Diet?
8. Practice Mindful Eating
Losing weight is a change in your life. It’s challenging and it depends on how you feel.
While you’re dieting you will experience some cravings, hunger, fatigue… But that should not stop you. All you need to know is that this is all normal and you can always do something about it.
Surprisingly, meditation can be useful for this. In fact, when you take full control of your body, you can easily control your mind.
There is a specific type of meditation designed especially to help with weight loss called “Mindful Eating”. It is basically focusing on just eating away from any distractions.
With this technique, you can easily control your hunger, eat when needed and stop when your body tells you to stop.
Also, there are so many ways you can practice this type of meditation.
9. Plan Your Keto Menu
Now, after doing all the research and making sure that you are eligible for a keto diet, it’s time to plan your meals. But before loading your grocery bag with food, you should consider a few things.
First of all, you need healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). These can be found in whole food. Limit unhealthy fats that come from oils, red meat, full dairy products…
Also, you should include nutrients in your diet because they keep your brain healthy. In fact, most of the symptoms on the keto flu are caused by the lack of nutrients in the diet.
A handful of nuts filled with vitamins, calcium, and minerals is very important for your overall health. You don’t have to eat it every day but make sure you get what you need.
10. Gather The Essentials
Starting a keto diet doesn’t require a lot, but when you want to take it to the next level, you definitely need to add a few other things.
The most important task is to calculate your macros. Even though it’s not necessary to measure everything you eat, knowing how much you are consuming is a plus point.
In this case, a scale to measure food is definitely important for you. Every portion you are eating, it’s better to know how much it weighs. That makes it even easier to calculate your calories.
Also, you need some supplements because not all keto-friendly foods are efficient when talking about nutrition.
You don’t get all vitamins, minerals, magnesium… from your diet, and this can affect your health in the long run.
To not feel overwhelmed, here are some of the basics of highly recommended supplements on keto: Magnesium, Omega 3, Vitamin D.
Wondering what to eat on a keto diet?
We provide you a 7-day keto plan with our top picks dishes. We made sure that you will get low-carbs and high-fat meals with the most tasty flavors. And, of course, we want it to be for everyone, that is why it is a Plan on Budget.