Transform Body and Mind with the Ketogenic Diet (Beginners Guide)
By Michale Herscu
We all go through periods of life when we feel motivated to make a change. Maybe we’re in a transition period, or a particular rut, or want to tackle something new. One of the best ways to make a positive change in your life is to change your diet. You may be looking to lose weight, feel healthier, have more energy, or even just think more clearly. The ketogenic diet can help you accomplish all that. It may sound complex, but there are things that can help you to get started. Use these tips, and you’ll soon be on a journey to a healthier, more energized you.
What is Keto?
Keto or the keto diet is the act of tricking your body into a state of ketosis. It happens when your body starts burning fat in place of sugars. Keto helps you burn fat faster because it learns to hold the small amount of sugar and carbohydrates in reserve as your body burns fat instead. This requires a diet very high in healthy fats, like certain oils, nuts, veggies, meat and dairy, and very low in sugars and complex carbohydrates, like fruit, pasta, and bread.
What Does It Do?
Keto has a lot of benefits above and beyond losing weight. Just a few are listed here…
- Better Muscle Tone: Because your diet will cut down on sugar, it attacks belly fat, and wherever else you’re likely to find fat deposits. That gives you better muscle definition as you work out since you’re constantly burning off excess fat.
- More Energy: Keto is not a protein-based diet, but the protein to fat ratio is still higher than a diet that includes carbohydrates, and there are no sugar crashes, so you stay energized throughout the day.
- Mental Clarity: We’ve all heard the term “brain food.” It’s no coincidence that the nuts, fish, and proteins most often associated with brain food are keto-friendly. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids tend to be good for brain development, and can even help with anxiety and mental cognition.
- Prevents Disease: The keto diet is great for treating high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes and can raise your good cholesterol numbers thanks to the healthy fats. The low sugar and lack of processed foods contribute to a healthy heart, which helps avoid heart problems later in life.
There are plenty of good reasons to try the keto diet. But how do you get started? These five tips will help you avoid pitfalls, and succeed as you transition to keto.
- Understand Your Goals
The first step to any change is to understand your own goals. Whether it’s about weight loss, improving your health, or seeking a cleaner living and mental clarity, you should have a goal in mind to motivate you as you begin. There will be hard days, and staying motivated depends on you. So understand what you’re giving up, and what you’re hoping to achieve, so you can really appreciate your successes.
- Use A Keto Calculator
One of the most essential parts of keto is counting the right macros for your body type and your goals. Macros are the percentages of fat, protein, and sugar you need in your diet.
Generally, the breakdown should be something close to the following:
- 65-80% Fats
- 20-35% Proteins
- 5-10% Carbs
- Become Familiar with Keto-Friendly Foods and Learn What to Avoid
When you’re starting out, it’s helpful to be familiar with the keto ‘rules’ beforehand. A high-fat diet doesn’t mean swapping out sugar for processed fatty foods. Instead, get your fats from fat sources like fish, pork, and beef, dairy, like butter, cheese, and yogurt, and nut-based flour. Cut out all wheat bread, pasta, and sugars, even natural ones like fruits and maple syrup. Stick to berries and other acidic fruits like lemon.
- Ask About Supplements and Exogenous Ketones
These aren’t entirely necessary when you begin your keto journey, but as you move forward, it’s handy to know what problems you might run into and how to help them. For the first few weeks, your body will likely struggle to process the high-fat content of the food you eat, and this can lead to digestive problems. Keep yourself hydrated, top up on electrolytes, and make sure that your diet has enough fiber. If you’re easing your way into keto, or you’ve had a cheat meal, synthetic ketones can be effective at bringing your body back to ketosis and keeping you losing weight. If you find you’re having digestive issues, MCT oil or fiber supplements can make a world of difference. Get familiar with the language and common needs of the keto diet, and the transition will be that much smoother for you.
- Plan Your Meals
Keto requires you to be comfortable in your kitchen. If you’re not much of a home cook right now, try and learn a few easy keto recipes beforehand so you won’t get tired of eating the same thing, or discouraged when you can’t find anything you like. Make a meal plan every week so you can be sure you’re hitting your macros, and not overwhelming yourself with a lot of extra work, which can also deter you from your goals.
Making a positive change in your life can take work, and planning. The keto diet can change everything from your energy level, your appearance, and even bring a healthy brain with better cognitive abilities. But to get everything you deserve out of this positive change, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the tools and language of keto and stay focused on your own goals. Whatever your goal, keto, and your own focus can help you get there.