Many people don’t realize that making the change to consume a strictly ketogenic diet is actually a complete lifestyle change that will affect many aspects of their lives. It not only changes your food choices but completely restructures your metabolism. Some people think that it will be a quick and easy weight loss diet and once they’ve reached their goal weight they can go back to carbs and sugar. However, that can not only upset your body, but throw your metabolism off. It’s always important to do your research before starting any major dietary changes as there’s a lot more to sustaining your body on a keto diet that what you read on social media. Here are eight things to keep in mind whether you are thinking about or starting a keto diet.
Week One is Not Exactly Fun
Going from a diet full of carbs and sugars into one mainly focused on fat and protein can be a difficult adjustment for your body. Many people think they will see instant results immediately upon starting the ketogenic diet and that just isn’t true. It usually takes your body two to three days to enter a state of ketosis, which is where it starts burning ketones (which come from fat) instead of glucose (which comes from carbohydrates). Also during the first week, your body is craving sugar, which can hit you hard and make you feel ill and lethargic. This is the time when many people quit, thinking the keto diet isn’t as great as it seems or may believe that their body won’t be able to handle the process. It’s important to stick with it through this week as the benefits and results are soon to come.
For someone new to the keto lifestyle, counting your daily macros can be an extremely effective way to keep track of fat, protein, and carbohydrate intake. If you’re someone used to counting calories, those days are over. With a keto diet, you want to focus on how many grams of each macro nutrient you are getting in the food you eat. There are many apps available that provide an easy way to track and show your daily intake numbers.
Helps with Medical Issues
Many doctors have recommended following a ketogenic diet to their women patients who suffer from PCOS, fibroids, or endometriosis. This diet has also been recommended to Type II Diabetes patients and has been found to completely eliminate symptoms and issues when followed correctly. The keto diet has also been prescribed for epilepsy patients for years. It is not the newest craze in fad dieting, but a very beneficial path to greater health.
Electrolytes, Electrolytes, Electrolytes
When you switch to a diet primarily made up of fats with some protein thrown in, your body may not get all of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at an optimum level. Adding certain electrolyte supplements to your diet, like sodium, magnesium, and potassium, will keep you from getting headaches and feeling generally unwell, symptoms common with an electrolyte imbalance. Drinking a salt water mixture is a popular method to solve this problem among many on a keto diet. Supplemental drops are also available to remedy this.
Fat Loss Can Be Easy
For those starting a keto diet strictly for the weight loss benefit, the pounds you can drop while putting your body into ketosis are pretty incredible, especially if you have over 50 pounds to lose. Many people see fast results just by changing their diet, without needing to exercise. Of course, it’s always beneficial to exercise and adopt a healthy lifestyle, and exercising while on a keto diet would really show spectacular results.
A Free and Clear Mind
One of the greatest results of living a keto lifestyle is the mental clarity and improved focus you will attain. Cutting carbs to such a low level and upping fat intake allows your body to spend less energy craving food and lets your mind focus on other important tasks. The mental clarity alone is what keeps many keto dieters staying true to that lifestyle. By living less “in a fog” and more in the here and now, many keto dieters have added improved quality of life to their list of benefits. And when you are feeling so much better mentally, other habits in your life may follow suit, leading you to a happier and healthy lifestyle.
The Keto Diet Isn’t New
Some followers of the keto diet are often criticized for following a “fad diet.” In actuality, the ketogenic diet has been around for hundreds of years. Ancestors in the hunter-gatherer societies ate mostly fats and proteins with very little carbohydrates, such as meat, nuts, and berries. Increased endurance and stamina from eating such a diet allowed them to travel great distances and lead a very active lifestyle.
You Aren’t Going to Eat Boring Food
Many people are turned off by the ketogenic diet because it severely limits carb intake and pretty much eliminates sugar from your meal plan. Since our culture is largely centered around food, for holidays, gatherings, or festivals, it can be difficult to figure out a realistic way to enjoy the keto diet when you’re cutting out many of your favorite foods. However, there are countless articles, Pinterest boards, and even cookbooks dedicated to offering creative meal options for those following a keto diet.
All in All
If you have decided that a ketogenic diet is right for you, whether for weight loss, improved mental clarity, or both, it’s important to have a support system, especially during the first week when your body is going through major metabolic changes. There are countless social media groups specifically set up for supporting fellow keto dieters. Many fitness websites have sections about the keto lifestyle. And if you’re running low on ideas for meals, a quick search on any bookselling site will bring up numerous cookbooks especially for those on a keto diet.