The internet is full of articles about the keto diet and its powerful ability to flip the fat burning switch inside your body. In this article, I want to focus specifically on the Keto diet for beginners.
It’s effects on body composition are undeniable, I can personally vouch for this – having used the diet on my own body, as well as numerous clients. At the same time however, there’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, as well as ‘representatives’ -if you will, that make the diet overly complicated to get into.
Don’t get me wrong, those people probably have the best intentions of spreading the word about the keto diet, but this can make it increasingly difficult for beginners to start with the diet.
I’m here to change that.
I want everyone to be able to enjoy the keto diet in all its glory – whether you are a full-timer, stay-at-home mom, student, or if you are retired. I will explain the keto diet for beginners, which means – very basic terms and establish some easy to follow rules which will get you the results you have been dreaming of!
The Only Rule To Follow
Before we dig into the details I want to deal with the obvious elephant in the room. This will be the hardest and the only diet rule to stick to, but I promise you that it will only get easier after that.
The keto diet relies on you getting your daily energy from two sources. The fat burning switch is flipped by consuming large amounts of fat, and your cells will be built/rebuilt with protein.
Will I not get fat by eating so much fat? – No, by eating large amounts of fat your body will be wired to burn fat as its source of energy. If you then eat slightly fewer calories than you burn daily – your body will burn through your body fat stores like snow in the sun.
There – that means very little to no carbs on a ketogenic diet. You see – carbs will get stored in your body as glycogen, which is another source of fuel that your body prefers over fat. Only when glycogen has run out(if you consume no carbs) will your body turn to its stored fat for energy.
This is why the ketogenic diet is so much stronger than any other diet around.
Does that mean you have to second guess how many carbs is in everything I eat? – No, while you will have to pay some attention to the nutritional value of the foods you are having, I will make it very easy for you by establishing some easy-to-follow rules which will allow your body to remain in ‘ketosis'(the bodily state you enter when you are following a ketogenic diet) or at least get as close to it as possible.
Your body does not have to be in full & measurable ketosis in order to reap the fat burning benefits
What Your Meals Will Look Like
So, from this point it is only going to get easier.
Since you are most likely coming directly from a carb laden diet, I will show you some degree of mercy, and allow you to have a small portion of carbs with every meal. These carbs will be from a high quality source like sweet potatoes, or rice/quinoa if that’s more your forte. It goes without saying that simple sugars like candy, candy bars & fast food to name a few – are going straight into the bin, where they belong.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you would measure the ketones in either your blood or urine you may not test for measurable ketosis when consuming some carbs, but since you are consuming such a low amount of carbs overall – your body will still learn to be very effective at burning fat.
When we are faced with a situation in which we have to adjust to a new standard(in this case a diet, but this basically applies to every aspect of your life) we often only tend to pay attention to the factors that are challenging, scary, or new to us. In the case of the keto diet, we are almost programmed to only think about the foods we aren’t supposed to eat anymore.
While that is understandable, it is also a wrong way of thinking. A far more powerful motivator is to think of the new possibilities. Again, in the case of the keto diet fats will be the center of your meal(along with protein following along), this leads to an entirely new way of eating.
In my opinion cooking and eating in general became fun again. Also don’t be surprised with the combinations of foods you yourself can come up with once you realize the foods you CAN eat.
Meat, eggs, fish, fruit(mainly berries), nuts, nut butters & loads of vegetables(especially leafy greens) are going to be the cornerstone of your diet. You can even have bacon while you are shedding body fat with this diet, I mean – how amazing is that?
Since fats are so important in this diet you are going to need plenty of it, even when you are attempting to lose weight. A good example of a meal would be one piece of salmon(baked in butter, olive oil, or coconut oil – doesn’t really matter as long as the oil isn’t rancid), a small serving of rice(half a fistful) 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and a large salad consisting of rocket, tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and pine nuts as a finishing touch.
A meal composition would look something like this: half a fistful of carbs, 2 fistfulls of vegetables, and eat fats until you feel satiated. Yes, it is actually that simple.
Keto On The Go
Since you are allowed to have a small serving of carbs with every meal – you’ll have a far easier time adhering to the keto diet when you are living your everyday life than compared to the traditional keto diet, where you are basically allowed to have 0 carbs.
Even if you have a full time job you can find the time to bring a healthy whole grain slice of bread(one slice 😉 ) topped with chicken breast, avocado, olive oil and a couple of slices of beets with you.
Of course there are endless combinations you can create with the earlier listed foods. Once you have taken a few weeks to get the diet into your system, as well as your old eating habits out of the window it will become your second nature. You won’t even think twice about it!
The keto diet is the most powerful tool I know of to change your body composition. The ability to burn through your fat stores as fast as with this diet is unheard of. You’re basically programming your body how to burn fat by eating copious amounts of it, if you then eat fewer calories than you burn per day you will burn through your fat stores rapidly.
Having said that, there are a couple of downsides to the ketogenic diet that I want to address(but luckily can easily be overcome)
First of all, since you aren’t consuming a lot of carbohydrates you may get a slightly low intake of dietary (insoluble) fiber. If you have a low intake of fiber your appetite will almost be insatiable.
Your stool will likely also be sub optimal. I therefore highly recommend that you take in a lot of vegetables, preferably with every meal, as well as supplementing with fiber. It doesn’t really matter from which source; Psyllium husk, glucomannen, inulin will all do just fine. Don’t forget to also drink enough water when you are consuming more fiber!
Second of all, if you are into heavy lifting like me, you need to have a fairly high protein intake to make sure that your muscle recovery is at its highest pitch. To ensure that, it is paramount that you take in a high quality protein drink before, and after your workout. Since you are following the keto diet, I recommend having plenty of fats along with these shakes. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Meal Replacement shakes from Ketologic® – which not only has high quality protein, but also has a large amount of high quality MCT fats in it. MCT fats are rapidly absorbed by your body and will give you the much-needed quick energy burst around workouts you need!
I’m not gonna lie – even though this way of practicing keto is going to be far easier and less restrictive than the tradition setup, it will still take some getting used to not eating as much carbohydrates as you have done before.
You will need to rely far more on fats to base your meal structure around. While this is definitely a bit of a challenge (in the beginning) it can also bring you with some fresh ideas for meals that you may not have thought of before.
If you are still struggling where to start, but you still want to give the ketogenic diet a fair shot I can highly recommend Leanne Vogels The Keto Beginning which is basically the entire keto diet laid out in recipes. Her recipes are so delicious and healthy at the same time, you won’t even feel like you are on a diet. You will not feel deprived and you will lose weight in the process – oh and there will be no need for calorie counting. Weight loss has never been this easy!
Leanne has done all the heavy lifting for you with this plan, all you have to do now is eat it, and trust me it will be the most enjoyable weight loss journey you have ever embarked on.
If you have any questions about the keto diet, how to start, or any other related question – feel free to ask me in the comments below!