You’ve heard all the buzz about the ketogenic diet and even seen some great before and after pictures. Now, you want to know how to start the ketogenic diet for weight loss. It can sound very confusing at first with all the talk of macros and ketones, the net carbs versus the total carbs. It can even sound a bit unappealing when you hear that it is about 75% fats! For years that alone scared me off! Don’t worry. This diet can be simplified to fit even the busiest lifestyle!
Doing this diet for weight loss is a little bit different than doing this diet for epilepsy. You can be a little bit more flexible with your macronutrients. You don’t have to worry about being a gram off on your carbohydrates when you are doing this for weight loss.
Find Your Starting Point
This will probably be the only time that I tell someone to step on the scale. However, if you are getting started with a weight loss goal, you need to have a solid starting point and a firm goal in mind. Otherwise, you may end up like millions of other dieting casualties.
- Weigh Yourself – Know your weight. It may not change, but it is good to know.
- Measure yourself – Sometimes when we lose weight and add muscle, the weight doesn’t change, but the inches do!
- Take pictures – It is great to have before and after photos as evidence that something is working for you. Don’t forget to take some starting point pictures. Plan on taking some as each month goes by.
- Assess what you are currently eating. Examine the packages of food that you have and see what the carbohydrate count is for the foods that are in your refrigerator. If they are over 20 grams per serving, you’ll have to eliminate them from your diet. They are likely leading to insulin resistance and weight gain.
Learn the Foods that You Can Eat
The main thing to keep in mind on a ketogenic diet is that you want to cut your carbohydrates to less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. If you want to see faster results, you will focus on total carbohydrates. For somewhat more relaxed results, use the total carbohydrate count.
When I was getting started counting carbohydrates, I was completely overwhelmed. I had some ideas of low carbohydrate foods and was checking the nutrition labels. I was frustrated by trying to calculate the macros every day. Thankfully, I had a conversation with my sister, who had been diagnosed at age 3 with type I Diabetes. She said, after a while, you know which foods you can freely eat. Focus on those. She admitted to me that she didn’t always count carbs when eating lettuce, celery or zero carbohydrate foods like meats and cheeses.
Here are some foods that you should freely eat on the ketogenic diet:
- Meats – shrimp, bacon, hamburger, beef, chicken, salmon
- Eggs – deviled eggs, egg salad, scrambled eggs
- Cheese – string cheese, cheddar cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella
- Mayonnaise – great for chicken salads and egg salads
- Celery – fun with cream cheese
- cucumber – sliced and put into salads
- pickles – dill pickle relish, pickles as a side dish
- Lettuce – great for salads and wraps
Just within this list, you could create a whole week’s worth of meals and not even worry about carbohydrates! However, if you are like me, after a while, you’ll be craving variety. That is when you’ll want to check out the free keto cookbook for some fun recipes.
Start Eating Keto Foods
Wait, what about calculating my macros? Shouldn’t I know exactly the amount that I’m going to eat? No. Get started incorporating the lower carbohydrate foods into your diet first. Lots of people will tell you to figure out the macros and then calculate out each one for every meal. However, I want you to make this a lifestyle. I want to simplify the ketogenic diet for you. Getting used to these nutrient dense, low carbohydrate foods is an important step. It is far more important than measuring out each gram of carbohydrate.
As you incorporate more and more keto meals into your lifestyle, you’ll discover that you are pretty satiated and you won’t feel that you need to eat nearly as often as you once thought you needed to eat. Spend a week or two just getting used to the keto meals and foods and purging your refrigerator of the high carbohydrate foods that you shouldn’t be eating. Removing the temptation of high carbohydrate foods will ultimately lead to success.
Some people like to start by making one meal per day ketogenic. They figure out the breakfasts that they will eat on the ketogenic diet. Once they have mastered a keto breakfast, they start swapping out the high carbohydrate foods that are in their lunch for something more keto friendly. For me, I love chicken salads, egg salads and tuna salad for lunch. It is easy to pack and take with me to work.
Figure Out the Macros
Now that you know what foods are low carbohydrate and you’ve gotten used to eating lower carbohydrate at a few meals, you should take a look at the macronutrient ratios that you should be hitting. For weight loss, the most important macro is going to be 20 grams of carbohydrates. You’ll want to make sure that you stay below that number.
The next macronutrient that you want to consider is your protein intake. The ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet. Twenty percent of your diet should be .
Finally, you should be consuming about 70% fats. This can come from fatty cuts of meat like bacon, butter, avocados or oils and salad dressings.
The keto buddy is a great app to help you calculate your macros. Here’s a link to it – https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/page/KetoDiet-Buddy
Track Your Foods
Once you have a good idea of the foods that you should be eating and are comfortable incorporating them into your lifestyle, you should track your food consumption. I will admit, I’ve only done this for a month or two. Once I had a good routine of eating low carb/high fat foods, and saw some improvements in my health, I let this step drop off a bit.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a healthy way of eating, not simply a quick fix to get to your weight loss goal. Your goal should be to create a healthy lifestyle. Tracking your foods won’t be necessary after you’ve gotten used to the diet. It will become second nature to eat low carbohydrate foods.
Join a Support Group
I tried doing the ketogenic diet last year on my own. I had a friend that was doing it and I started to incorporate the concepts into my diet. I was moderately successful with it on my own. However, when I discovered that there are whole facebook groups dedicated to learning about the ketogenic diet and getting healthier with it, I joined a few of them. I noticed that my committment to my health skyrocketed as I discovered other people who I could help and who could help me when I got down about the diet or just wanted to cheat on it.
You may discover that you don’t participate much in the support group, but you may find that you make loads of friends from it. Ketogenic support groups also share recipe and snack ideas in case you find that you need variety in your life.
Support groups will share awesome resources with you, such as books, ketone testing devices, and other concepts such as intermittent fasting. These can help to support your progress and success.
In your ketogenic journey, your weight loss progress may stall. This is a great time to turn to your support group and ask for advice. Often they can tell you to adjust your macronutrients, or figure out if there is a food that may be slowing down your progress. (This is quite often dairy!)