If you’ve been trying to lose weight or get fit within the last two years, you have likely heard about a diet called keto. Basically, those following the keto diet drastically limit their carb intake while increasing their protein and fat intake. This results in a state called ketosis, where the body begins burning fat stores instead of immediately available glucose stores that are provided by carbs. The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets on the market, with searches for “keto” outpacing “paleo”, “intermittent fasting”, and other popular diets on the website.
If you’re interested in losing weight with keto, you may feel overwhelmed by the successful photos, recipes, and products flying around social media. Luckily, there are some easy tips to make transitioning into a keto lifestyle much easier.
Easy Hacks To Go Keto
Here are some easy tips to make transitioning into a keto lifestyle much easier
1. Building a Habit
Like any diet, keto has to start with building a habit. If you’ve ever been determined to lose weight, start a diet, and begin working out every single day, you know the “false start” syndrome is absolutely real. Dieters do very well for one day, cutting down calories and increasing physical activity, only to fall off the wagon the very next day.
This comes down to habit. We all have eating habits, whether that’s looking for salads on the menu or just sticking with a burger for every night out. Your body will always go back to the habits you’ve reinforced unless you consciously attempt to change your routine. Habits are built slowly, so starting on any diet should be a gradual change.
Instead of completely cutting out carbs tomorrow, try choosing them with less simple carbs (processed sugars, bread, etc) and go with a lighter meal consisting of a few complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein.
Reward yourself after the meal with an episode of your favorite TV show, a call with a family member, or a nap! This way, you begin to build a good association with low-carb foods. Over the course of your diet, continue choosing fewer carbs each day until you get to your target carb goal while continuing to reward yourself for good behavior.
Start by creating good associations with foods that are recommended in keto
Protein is one of the most important aspects of the ketogenic diet. Without sufficient protein, your body will be starved of nutrients that provide energy, muscle-building capabilities, and overall quality of health. However, many people already have trouble getting a sufficient amount of protein into their diet, especially when cutting down to lose weight.
To accommodate for the lack of carbs, you have to increase protein. This can seem impossible at times, but luckily, several products can help you reach the recommended intake level each day.
For example, keto protein powders are a great way to easily increase your protein levels without stuffing yourself with bland chicken breasts. Many powders contain collagen, which is a strong protein derived from animal bones and tissue. Collagen is present in our skin, hair, and nails, which is why it is also present in so many skincare products. In addition, it is an alternative for high-carb, high-sugar protein powders you can find elsewhere.
3. Savory Substitutes to making keto easy
When you’re feeling like a fulfilling, savory meal, it can be tempting to reach for a carby meal like pasta, bread, or starchy vegetables. Without these filling portions, a meal can feel unsatisfying. Luckily, there are plenty of satiating substitutions for those following the keto lifestyle.
Pasta can be replaced with products found in several health stores made from almonds, coconut flour, or other groundnut flour. You can also make your own noodles and pasta by combining egg yolks and mozzarella cheese, par-baking in a 350-degree oven, then slicing the sheet of noodles into thin strips. In addition, you can replace any pasta with zoodles, which is zucchini run through a spiralizer to make noodle-like veggie strings you can heat up and serve with low carb keto sauce.
If you’re looking for a bread replacement, you can combine almond flour, eggs, and mozzarella cheese, microwave until easily combined, then place the mixture into your desired shape onto a baking sheet and into the oven. This method can also be used to create pizza dough, English muffins, or any other bready recipe your heart desires.
You don’t have to starve to follow the keto diet. Many of your favorite meals can be replicated with a mixture of nut flour, cheese, and eggs. This combination creates a dense dough similar in texture to moist bread, which is perfect for pizza, sandwiches, or dinner rolls.
4. Sweet Substitutes
A great way to ease the transition to a keto lifestyle is by substituting regular sugar with calorie-free sugar replacements. Popular compounds include erythritol, stevia, and xylitol.
These are sugar alcohols, which taste sweet like sugar but pass through your body instead of being processed into glucose. You can find replacements for sugar that measure cup-for-cup. This means that you can swap sugar out in a multitude of recipes. Be it your morning coffee, or anytime you need to sweeten anything up.
Keto diet has many replacements for your favorite treats
5. Occasional Treats
As with any diet, sustainability is an issue if you’re 100% perfect. At some point, you will want to cheat. Keto is especially great for this because there are so many replacements for your favorite treats.
If you keep a treat under around 5 grams of carbs, it’s generally acceptable to stay in ketosis. Pick a day a week to have a keto replacement for your favorite treat or have your actual favorite treat. Just pick one treat, don’t have a “cheat day” as that could set you back in maintaining a consistent fat burn. This way, you stay fairly low-carb, but you still get the reward of a treat for doing so well on the diet.
6. Overcoming the Keto Flu
If you’ve done research in the keto diet prior to this article, you’ve likely heard of a phenomenon called the “keto flu.” This condition is a collection of symptoms, like nausea, weakness, headaches, and constipation. After the first week of starting the ketogenic diet, you may experience some of these symptoms. This is due to the rapid and drastic diet change.
To best deal with the keto flu, make sure you follow some basic body maintenance rules. Stay hydrated by drinking your recommended intake each day. Because the keto diet requires cutting down on fruit and other sugar-filled foods, you may not be getting a proper amount of liquid each day. Eat more often and consume a variety of colorful vegetables. Your body needs vitamins and nutrients from a variety of places. So, cutting out one section of your macronutrients may deprive you of certain nutrients. Finally, if symptoms last for more than a week and become unbearable, try easing into the diet slowly. Incorporate some fruit back into your diet, along with other complex carbs that take a while to break down. This may allow your body to adjust to the sudden lack of carbohydrates.
7. Finding a Keto Buddy
Facing any new diet can be daunting when you’re by yourself. If your family and friends eat a classic, high-carb diet, the temptation to join them is extremely high. However, if you find an ally in your keto journey, avoiding the risk of carbohydrates becomes much easier. Not only do you get a friend to share tips and recipes with, but you’re also held more accountable to your diet when someone else is doing it with you. Studies show that we are far more likely to follow the eating habits of the group rather than our own diets. By finding another person to join you, you increase the chance of sticking to your diet. This is because you will naturally mimic their eating habits.
Finding another person to join your keto lifestyle can be difficult. However, a family member or friend likely also wants to lose weight or improve their eating habits. By providing research and proof that the keto diet works, you can likely convince them to try the diet with you. Tons of research is present on the benefits of a low carb diet, and you can find a number of articles explaining the science behind the magic of a ketogenic diet.
8. Meal Prepping
This diet may seem intimidating because it requires cooking, prepping, and substitutions you may not be used to. Finding a quick, convenient snack can be difficult when you’re constantly reading nutrition labels to find a low carb option. To combat this, try meal prepping for 1-2 days of the week; meal prepping your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack will cut out the decision process for you. This will then make bad choices less likely to tempt you. If you already have a meal prepared with you, you’ll be far less likely to reach for a high-carb alternative.
Sunday is a great day to get your meals prepared. Simply make a plan of each meal you want to have during the week. You should then spend a few hours preparing and cooking your ingredients. Follow this by packaging each meal into Tupperware to grab it and go on your way out the door. Make this process easier by choosing meals you can eat two or three times a week. This way, you can make a big batch of two meals and continually munch on them every other day.
In addition, you can try preparing large quantities of meal components you know you like, (scrambled eggs, chicken, salad mixes, and vegetables) so you can create a new combination before you leave. One day you may have chicken and veggies, and another day you may create a scrambled bowl with eggs, vegetables, and bacon. This method allows for much more flexibility when choosing what to eat each day.
Motivation is tough to find today. It seems impossible to get as fit as models and athletes look, so what’s the point of even trying? Luckily, the internet offers a huge community of keto inspiration stories, recipes, and tactics to keep you on track.
Be sure to reach out, post pictures of your progress, and integrate yourself into the keto family. Like finding a friend to join your diet, when you’re held accountable by other people, you’re far more likely to reach your goals.
The ketogenic diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With some determination, nutritional supplements, and a motivating community, most anyone can use weight using this dieting tactic. Be sure to contact your dietitian or physician before making any changes to your diet. Make sure you stay safe and maintain your health while attempting to lose weight.
We’ve written another article on Keto diets that you may enjoy. Click here.