You have been trying to lose weight for a long time…
You’ve tried going low fat, low calorie, you’ve even tried WW, but none of those were what you would call “successful”. You were about to throw in the towel when you saw an ad online for the Ketogenic Diet (Keto Diet for short). It seemed like the answer to all your weight problems, so you decided to try it. Three days in and you think you’re doing ok with cutting and counting your carbs, increasing your fat and not complaining about the allowed protein, but you’re still disappointed at the results. You seem to be losing a little weight on the scale, but your favorite jeans are still too tight and you’re not feeling great. What should you do?
Luckily there is good news for you. The Keto Diet has never lost its effectiveness, and it isn’t about to start with you. Therefore, you should see how your journey goes by giving it more time to kick in and do its thing. In order for you to decide if this diet is going to give you that magic weight loss that you want so badly, let’s take a deeper look at what the Keto Diet really is and what ketosis entails.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a high fat, adequate protein, and low carbohydrate diet that aims to push the body into a state of ketosis. A person on the Keto Diet aims to take in between 60-80% fat in conjunction with taking less than 20g of carbs per day to get to ketosis. It is during this metabolic process that your liver produces chemicals called ketones and burns fat as its main energy source rather than carbs. The reason why your body is burning fat is because when in ketosis, there are not enough carbohydrates to burn. The Keto Diet is very effective in weight loss because it suppresses food appetite. This is because of the mere fact that when in ketosis since carb consumption is low, fat consumption is high, and protein consumption is moderate, you stay satiated for a longer period of time. Studies have also shown that ketosis helps to reduce the effects of different conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions.
How can you get into Ketosis? Let us count the ways….
Before embarking on the Keto Diet train, (or any new diet plan), you must understand the importance of patience. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. You must be ready to plan your meals, grocery shopping trips, and strategize your social calendar so that you are all set for a successful journey. If you are following the right path, then the Keto Diet will guide your body into the direction of ketosis, and you will see results! You can then let your body take its course. Here’s a few things that need to be in place before a Keto Diet can work, and if done, they may help you get into ketosis faster.
Reduce your carb intake:
This is one of the most important factors when trying to get your body into ketosis.
Normally, your body uses sugar (or glucose) as its energy source. Glucose comes from the breaking down of carbohydrates. But you can make your body use other energy sources, which include fatty acids. Your body stores glucose in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen, so when you reduce your carb intake, the glycogen levels are also reduced, thereby allowing fatty acids to be released into the body from stored fat. Your liver then transforms these fatty acids to ketone bodies that can be used as fuel. The amount of carbs that will work for you varies from one person to another, so you have to determine that once you begin. The ideal, however, is 20 grams per day.
Get more exercise:
Recent studies have shown that the Keto Diet helps some activities like endurance exercises. In other words, being active can help to push your body into ketosis. When you work out, your glycogen stores are depleted. Normally, you’d replenish yourself by eating carbs, but since you’re on the Keto Diet, your carb intake is low so your liver automatically produces ketones to act as fuel.
Do more short fasts:
If you want to get your body into ketosis, a short fast is another way. This is why a lot of people discuss their success with intermittent fasting. This is when you have regular periods of short fasts. Fasting has been used as an effective way for some hard to control epileptic children to reach ketosis because once in ketosis, their seizures stopped. There have been studies that have shown that before starting the Keto Diet, they would fast for 24 hours or more, which would speed up ketosis.
On the other hand, fat fasting entails consuming about 1000 calories every day, where about 80 to 90 percent of what you take in, is made of fat. The important thing to remember is to consume low calories at the same time.
Add coconut oil:
This may sound surprising, but it’s very helpful.
Coconut oil contains a fat known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is unlike other fats because they are absorbed by the liver where they can be used as fuel for your body. Coconut oil helps to increase ketone levels and reduces your appetite.
However, when adding coconut oil you should start slowly. Adding too much at the beginning may cause side effects like diarrhea and stomach cramping. If you want to try MCT’s you may want to start with one teaspoon per day, then work your way up to three teaspoons.
Don’t overeat protein:
This is one mistake that a lot of beginners on the Keto Diet make. They often feel that since they can’t eat carbs, they should make up for it in protein. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. In order to get your body into ketosis, you need to regulate your protein intake needs to be moderate, not excessive. This is the case because you just need enough protein to produce enough amino acids for gluconeogenesis in your liver. Gluconeogenesis is the process by which our bodies produce glucose from a non-carbohydrate source. We also need just enough protein to sustain muscle mass after carbs are reduced. So if there is too little protein, you can lose muscle mass, and if there’s too much protein, ketone production may be delayed, which in turn delays reaching the state of ketosis.
Be mindful of your snacks:
Let’s be honest, we all love snacking. If you are committed to staying on the Keto Diet, you should have a stash of snacks that you can quickly turn to when hunger strikes between meals. You should choose snacks that have high protein content without having too many calories. The best Keto Snacks that I’ve found myself really enjoying Are from Shrewd Food. They have high protein puffs that are simply addictive! They have different flavors that taste just like the snacks I ate when I was younger. My favorite flavor Protein Puff is Nacho Cheese which tastes just like Doritos. It’s incredible to see that now there are fun options out there that can make Keto dieting easier. Another new favorite snack of mine is also from the Shrewd Food’s Keto line of snacks called Shrewd Keto. Those are called Keto Dippers. They are the best snacks that I have yet to find, and once you try them, you will agree that they are so good, you will not believe they are keto, but they are! They are chocolate covered protein puffs (I should call them candy because they are THAT GOOD) in either milk or dark chocolate and have all the right macros for helping me stay on track for keto. Go, Shrewd Food!
Consume more healthy fat:
Eating lots of healthy fats can enhance your ketone level and enable you to achieve ketosis. Some healthy fats include most nuts like pistachio, almonds, macadamia, and pecans as well as avocado and avocado oil. Chia and flax seeds and olives and olive oil are also heart-healthy fat boosters that can add lots of flavor to your meals. When eaten in moderation, you can add flavor while keeping your calories low enough to lose weight.
Whether you’re on the keto diet for weight loss, metabolic health, or enhanced exercise performance, making sure you are tracking your macros will help you succeed. There are many free apps that can help you to keep you motivated. A few of them are, Macro Tracker.Calorie Counter, MyFitnessPal, and Macro Tracker-Keto Diet App. They can help you find recipes, give you workout suggestions, and track your macros. It seems there’s always an app for something…hopefully you’ll use one of these apps to guide you on the right track to finding success on the Keto Diet.