Have you seen the results of friends or family got you intrigued to start the keto diet? If you’re about to start then check out these 7 Keto Tips.
You’ve just taken the step to pursue a lifestyle that can have a huge positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
This quick guide will walk you through some of the powerful tips to follow when starting the ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive guide on the basics of keto check out our keto guide for beginners.
Once you’ve finished this article, don’t forget to read our guide on how to do keto on a budget to do the diet without breaking the bank.
7 Best Tips For Starting Keto
These keto tips will help you start the keto diet successfully and prevent some of the common mistakes that a lot of newbies make, enjoy!
1. Don’t fall for all size fits one approach
Some people feel guilty or feel like they’re doing something wrong when they don’t get the same results as other people. Don’t fall into that trap and let it put you off persevering.
E.g., someone who weighs 250 lbs may lose weight more rapidly than someone who’s only looking to lose a few pounds. This is primarily because the heavier person carries more water weight that disappears faster when they start the keto diet. Another reason is that they will use more calories for everything than their leaner counterparts.
Think about your current condition and what you’re hoping to achieve. If your goal is only to build muscles, your calories and macros should not be the same as someone who’s trying to lose weight.
Use a keto calculator to find how many calories and the percentages of each macronutrient you need to consume per day to reach your goal. This is something specific to you and your starting weight etc.
2. Start by reducing your carb intake gradually
Take a week to reduce your carb intake slowly and introduce more healthy fats into your diet. You don’t have to jump straight in going strict keto and 20g or less of carbs. For a lot of people that change is just too drastic.
This approach may help reduce your chances of experiencing sudden carb-withdrawal symptoms if you’ve been eating a diet full of refined carbohydrates and processed foods all your life.
Here are some low carb swaps you can try:
- Cauliflower rice instead of regular rice (quicker to cook)
- Half an avocado with eggs instead of toast for breakfast
- Fat bombs instead of anything sweet
- Blend 2 tablespoons of butter in your morning coffee instead of milk and sugar
- Diet coke or sparkling water instead of regular soda
- Zoodles instead of pasta or noodles
The idea is to replace some of your high carb foods with low carb keto-friendly alternatives. This could help you decrease your carbs from 250+ grams per day to 100 or less.
3. Start on a weekend and meal prep
A lot of people prefer to start the keto diet on a weekend because it gives them more freedom and time to prepare for it. You can use it to buy your keto groceries and start cooking some meals in large batches to last for at least 3-4 days.
Four benefits of meal prepping:
- It saves you from wasting time thinking about what to cook.
- Reduces the temptations to cheat.
- It helps you get your portion sizes and macros right.
- More time to focus on other things.
One study found that meal prepping was associated with the consumption of high-quality foods and reduced risk of being overweight or obese .
Starting on a weekend will also make it easier to deal with keto flu symptoms if and when you experience them.
We have tons of great recipes here at I Eat Keto, but I’d recommend starting with these cheap keto recipes for some easy to prepare meals that can be made in advance.
4. Prepare to prevent or face keto flu
The keto flu tends to appear in the first couple of weeks as you transition from a lifetime of relying on sugar and glucose as your main fuel source to using fats for fuel.
It’s not the actual flu, but rather some flu-like symptoms that you may or may not experience on the keto diet. It’s due to the sudden withdrawal of carbohydrates and the loss of electrolytes .
As you progress with the diet these symptoms become less common and more of the benefits of the diet become apparent. Check out our guide to keto signs and symptoms here for more tips on how to reduce the worst of them.
Fortunately, you can prevent it or reduce the impact of keto flu if you include the following in your keto diet:
- Avocado, mackerel, and spinach in your diet for magnesium. You can also take it in supplement form and/or Epsom salt baths.
- Spinach, avocado, salmon, and eggplant for potassium.
- Bone broth
- Sip water with a pinch of salt in throughout the day
- Low carb soups
A lot of keto dieters prefer to make soups and bone broths in large batches to drink throughout the week. It’s tasty, filling, and helps you get your electrolytes.
For a more in depth guide to the keto flu and how to prevent it, check out our keto flu guide here.
5. Adapt the diet if you want to gain muscle at the same time
Depending on your goals, you may be coming into the keto diet hoping to also be able to build some muscle and tone. But to acheive this you need to make a few tweaks to the diet to avoid disappointment.
The ketogenic diet can help you build muscles. However, you may also benefit from the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) on your workout days.
The idea behind TKD is to up your carb intake before exercising and reap its benefits without compromising on ketosis.
If you wish to practice it, consume 25-40 grams of healthy carbs about half an hour before you start working out. Some people may get out of ketosis for a few hours, but the high-intensity training session will help get back in faster.
You can also speed up the process further by having your dinner early and skipping breakfast the next morning.
Check out our guide to working out on the keto diet for more advice on building muscle or doing athletic activity on low carb diets.
6. Understand the Keto Diet is different for Men and Women
Many women have reported getting their period back after a long absence and beating infertility on keto. Research also indicates that the ketogenic diet could be useful for treating hormonal disorders such as PCOS .
However, some women may experience adverse effects such as regaining weight or not losing weight at all. This is often due to hormonal imbalances, mainly from the sudden transition from high carb to a low carb diet.
If you’re a woman, consider following tips 1 and 2 for easier transitioning into the keto diet. You may also want to keep your carbs between 40-50 grams per day to reduce hormonal side effects.
Another best approach is to consult your doctor before starting the diet, especially if you have any hormonal health conditions.
7.Did you cheat on Keto? here’s what to do
Don’t beat yourself and quit if you happen to cheat on the keto diet. It happens, we all do it.
While it’s not something you should feel okay doing every day, occasional cheating is inevitable. The best you can do is get back on that wagon and try to stay on longer next time.
The chances of cheating might be higher on the days you’re on vacation or at a family gathering. There are many ways you can avoid it and still eat keto when you’re out. However, mistakes can happen.
Here’s how to get back into ketosis quickly after your cheat meal (or day):
- Have your last meal by 6 pm
This will increase your time of being in a fasting state until the next morning, and fasting is one of the best ways to speed up the time it takes to enter ketosis. I know this sounds scary at first, going for a long time without eating, but this is an instinct we’ve learnt from constant snacking and being told to eat 3 meals per day.
The reality is you’re not going to starve if you bring your dinner forward a few hours and breakfast back. 12-16 hours of fasting can have some great benefits for your body and mind and is a great way to help reset your relationship with food and cravings.
- Skip breakfast entirely or have a bulletproof coffee
Skip your breakfast the next morning, or have some butter coffee. This will further extend your fast from the night before, so your body will soon have used up the glucose stores it rebuilt during your cheat meal/day and will have to return to ketosis sooner for fuel.
Fasting in general is a great tool when combined with keto. We have a comprehensive guide to intermittent fasting here that’s worth checking out.
There’s a good chance you will come across MCT oil at some point during your keto journey. It’s a supplement made out of medium-chain triglycerides, and it has proven health benefits such as improving your energy and performance .
A lot of people prefer blending mct oil in their morning coffee for an extra energy boost. It can work, however, make sure to start with a small dosage for a few weeks to avoid any digestive problems.
A hit of MCT oil can re-trigger ketosis with this easier to burn fuel, helping if you’re feeling sluggish following your cheat day (don’t forget this counts towards your days calories though so don’t go mad!)
If you’d like to give it a try we recommend this product from Sports Research for a good balance between quality and price.
- Do some exercise in the morning
Do some exercise the following morning. Fasting combined with exercise is a surefire way to get into ketosis faster.
Go for something low intensity at this point, if you haven’t eaten for a while and you’re not back into ketosis yet the last thing you want to do is sprint until you (inevitably) pass out. Slow and steady wins the race here.
A brisk walk for 30 minutes in the morning, or some light cardio in the gym is all that’s needed to get the blood pumping and starting burning the last of those glucose reserves.
- Go zero carb the next day.
Try not to have any carbs at all the next day or limit your carb intake to 20 grams for a day until you get back into ketosis.
This will mean keeping a close eye on what you’re eating and the carb counts on everything. Which is actually a great idea to do once in a while to train yourself to know instinctively what is and isn’t so keto friendly.
We’ve got more steps for getting back into deep ketosis here with our optimal ketosis guide.
BONUS TIP: Remember it takes time to become fat adapted
Fat adapted or keto-adapted is when your body has become used to burning fat for fuel rather than glucose. A bunch of physiological changes have taken place inside you to adapt your body better to a diet high in fat.
Once this happens you’ll be able to resist cravings without even realizing it, and your overall energy and performance will also improve at a faster rate when you’re fully keto-adapted.
A 12-week study compared the effect of the ketogenic diet and a high carb diet in 23 endurance athletes. The participants were assigned to either a high carb group or a low carb keto diet group, but both groups performed the same training sessions.
Results showed that becoming fat-adapted helped the athletes in the keto group to lose more body fat and improve body composition and performance than the high carb group .
You don’t have to do anything special other than following the diet as you normally would. However, some things, such as avoiding cheat days, can help you become fat-adapted faster.
Being strict with the diet in the early few weeks to months will make all the difference as you break bad habits of the past, and your body begins to adapt to this new way of eating.
It may take anywhere from 1-5 months to become fat adapted and you start to really reap the benefits of going fully keto. This is really the long-term goal with going keto, the longer you stick with it the easier it gets!
- It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when you’re starting a new diet like keto, but following some of the tips we’ve discussed will make your journey easier.
- You’ll find it more comfortable to transition into the keto diet if you gradually reduce your carb intake rather than starting strict keto from day 1. The latter will also work fine, but taking time to ease into the low carb diet can help reduce carb-withdrawal symptoms.
- Other tips we’ve discussed, such as meal prepping, can also be a huge advantage for newbies to avoid overwhelming yourself straight away.
- It’s always recommended to consult your doctor before making significant changes to your lifestyle, especially if you have health conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure.
7 Keto Tips – Get Started on Your Keto Adventure Today!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and found at least some of them useful for your own diet going forward. We love to hear from you guys how you manage your keto diet and I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you might have in the comments section below!