This is a guest post written by Kristen Harris of Tales From Home.
When I first heard about the Keto diet I became confused and slightly skeptical. The thought of eating fat and losing weight seemed contrary to everything I had been taught about nutrition. But, my husband wanted to give it a try so I jumped on board.
I can honestly say keto has been one of the best decisions of my life. It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming for beginners, but if you follow these 5 steps to understanding Keto, you will soon be on your way to a healthier, happier you!
Keto for Beginners Step 1 – What is Keto?
Keto is a way to eat that teaches your body to rely on ketones instead of carbohydrates for energy. Ketones are created naturally in your body by breaking down fat when there is a lack of carbohydrate or glucose in your diet.
The main goal of the Keto way of eating is to enter a state of Ketosis and Fat Adaption. In order to enter Ketosis, your diet must be very low on Carbohydrates – typically around 20g of net carbs a day. Teaching your body to be fat adapted takes some time. The transition from sugar craving hungry person to a fat burning machine can take as little as three weeks. If you stick to your guns and refuse the carb cravings, fueling your body with healthy fats instead, you’ll get results.
Keto for Beginners Step 2 – How Keto Works
So now you know the definition of Keto, but you’re still wary about eating more fats. I understand. Most of us have spent our lives learning that fats are bad. When you look at the science behind Keto, however, it starts to make more sense.
The average diet for most people today is very high in carbohydrates. We are fortunate to live in a world where many of us have an overabundance of food available. Not only do we have food but we have luxury food – ice cream and cake and pasta. Gone are the days when most people survived on what they could grow or hunt.
Humans as a species did not evolve to eat this way. When we eat a diet high in carbs, our bodies happily and quickly turn that sugar into glucose and use it for fuel. The glucose that is not used for fuel gets stored as fat, along with any fat your diet contains.
You can see where we are going with this. Unless you are active enough to burn all of that carb and fat energy up on a daily basis, it gets stored in your body for later. This is a survival mechanism of our bodies historically designed to help us survive periods of low food. Unfortunately, this survival mechanism now works against us because very few of us live in first world countries and experience famine.
When we eat a Keto diet, we are limiting the number of carbs for our body to use. This forces our body to use the fat we are eating and the fat already stored in our body. This leads to weight loss.
Keto for Beginners Step 3 – The Benefits of Keto
Historically the Keto diet has been used to treat many conditions including epilepsy in children and certain types of cancer. However, there are many benefits to this way of eating that goes beyond these treatments.
Most people start Keto in order to lose weight. Once your body becomes fat adapted and you have entered a state of ketosis, your body will use both the fat you eat and the fat already stored in your body for energy. Since you are no longer storing fat and excess carbs, you lose weight.
As an added bonus, most people find that they are less hungry on a Keto diet. Your body is burning up its own stores rather than telling you to run out and eat some bread in order to replace the quickly burned carbs you had for breakfast.
The up and down yo-yo effect that carbs have on our blood sugar makes it hard for our brains to focus for long periods of time. The ketones that your body derives from fats, however, are pretty consistent and keep your brain going at a steady pace.
Lower Blood Pressure, Better Cholesterol
Numerous studies have shown that diets low in carbs have a beneficial effect on both blood sugar and cholesterol. The Keto diet tends to lower bad cholesterol which also raises good cholesterol. I can say from personal experience that blood pressure is improved. My husband used to take one and a half pills of blood pressure medication and was constantly hypertensive. He slowly weaned off completely.
Your body is only capable of storing a set amount of glucose for fuel. On the other hand, it has plenty of fat stores and the ability to store even more. The result is that your body has a steady and easily available source of energy always on hand.
Keto for Beginners Step 4 – How to Start Keto
Getting started on Keto can seem overwhelming and confusing. However, at its core, it is very simple. Keep your net carbs under 20g a day, and you are well on your way. It is important to be relatively strict with yourself at the beginning of your Keto journey. This will help banish carb cravings quicker and allow you to become fat adapted.
Avoid foods that are high in carbs – potatoes and starchy vegetables, grain-based foods, fruits and highly processed sugary foods. No more candy, donuts, and soda. Instead, you should focus on filling your diet with a variety of leafy green vegetables, meats, and healthy fats. If you have trouble figuring all of this out, then I have an excellent Keto Starter Pack designed just for you – which you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE HERE.
In order to avoid the worst of the induction phase Keto flu symptoms, it is important to get enough electrolytes. Many people suggest chicken broth or pickle juice when feeling down. Use fat bombs or coconut oil to help you feel energized. If you are used to heavy exercise, you might see a decrease in ability while your body adapts. Don’t worry! You will soon perform better than ever as this effect is just temporary. Remember your body has been running on sugar, and it’s going to take some time for it to switch to fats.
Keto for Beginners Step 5 – How to Calculate Net Carbs on Keto
One thing that many people just starting the Keto way of eating find confusing is how to calculate Net Carbs. Although there is a great deal of confusion about this, the process is very simple! While reading your nutrition labels follow the following formula.
Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = Net Carbs
For Example – A Keto Cookie sweetened with Erythritol and created using Coconut or Almond Flour might have the following nutritional information:
Total Carbs – 7g, Fiber – 2g, Sugar Alcohol – 3g
Your Net Carbs would be calculated as 7-2-3 = 2g Net Carbs per cookie.
Keto for Beginners – The Journey to a Healthier You
Keto is a way of eating that becomes a lifestyle change for many people who start. Although it can be difficult at first the benefits tend to win people over. Keto has allowed me to go from being someone who couldn’t roll out of bed in the morning without feeling poorly to someone with energy to spare. Keto has allowed me to love myself again and for that, I will always be thankful.
It is important to remember that not everyone’s journey will be the same. While some people see great results in a fairly short period of time, it is slower for others. As long as you are eating healthier and stay the course, results will come!
Kristin is a stay at home mother of two. She has been enjoying the Keto lifestyle alongside her husband for quite some time. As a content creator for the blog TalesfromHome.com, she has written and experimented with many Keto related recipes and articles. Her family enjoys fitness-related activities. They run, do yoga and hike as well as some creative pursuits such as crafting and painting. She has an unhealthy obsession with the Dollar Store and Golden Retrievers.