Jumping into high-fat, low-carb eating? Here are 7 things you need to know to sidestep challenges and set yourself up for success.
How do you make practical preparations in stocking your fridge and preparing mentally for the big change to come? Consider this your step-by-step guide.
1. Have an After Plan, Because Keto Isn’t Meant to Be a Long-Term Weight Loss Solution
A keto diet is not a forever diet. It’s designed to be short-term. While Mancinelli says that some people go on a keto diet a few times per year, others will use it to lose weight and change their eating habits.
A whopping 46 percent of American adults still eat what’s considered a “poor” diet in American Heart Association standards, notes a study published in June 2016 in JAMA, which was based on a survey of nearly 34,000 people. For some people, going on a keto diet is an effort to change those poor habits, but there’s the risk of falling back into your old ways once the diet is over. Don’t go straight back to a standard American diet, because you’ll likely lose any health benefits and regain the weight.
Your ultimate goal should be “to shift your diet to a healthier pattern that involves eating less bread, less pasta, less flour, and less sugar,” as well as more nonstarchy veggies, she says.
2. Talk to Your Family About Your Weight Loss Goals on the Diet
Tell them your plan. You may not be able to eat what they’re eating during family mealtimes, so you’ll want to prepare them (and yourself) for what your new habits will look like. Because this diet is often done only short term (three to six months), you can assure them that it’s temporary.
If you get pushback, announce: “I’ve done my research, I’ve figured out it’s safe, and I really want to try this,” recommends Mancinelli. They don’t have to like what you’re doing, but it does help if they have your back. In a study published in September 2014 research in Obesity, having the support of friends and coworkers helped dieters more successfully lose weight and maintain that loss over a two-year period. It also can’t hurt if everyone knows your goals on a keto diet so they’re less likely to push office treats or suggest splitting a side of fries when you’re out to dinner.
3. Up Your Electrolytes to Prevent or Mitigate Unpleasant Keto Side Effects
In ketosis, Mancinelli explains, your kidneys excrete more water and electrolytes. Make sure you’re getting the sodium and potassium your body needs to function well. Salt your foods, drink salted bone broth, and eat nonstarchy veggies, such as asparagus, kale, bell peppers, and arugula.
4. Hone Your Cooking Skills to Make Fresh Fare, as High-Carb Processed Foods Aren’t Okay on Keto
Look at a variety of keto websites and cookbooks for keto-approved recipes you’ll love. Mancinelli recommends finding four to five recipes with foods you know you’ll like. “That way you’re not standing around wondering what to eat, and turn to carbs,” she says.
5. Switch Up Your View of Protein — This Is a Moderate-Protein Diet
One of the most common misconceptions about the keto diet is that you can eat as much protein as you’d like. But this is not a diet where you watch carbs only — you also have to keep your protein intake moderate, says Ginger Hultin, a Seattle-based registered dietitian, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition, and the owner of ChampagneNutrition. Protein can be converted into glucose, and therefore overeating protein can take your body out of ketosis. Think of your ratios as a small portion of meat topped with a generous amount of fat, rather than the other way around.
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