Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of Keto! If you are reading this, you have self-identified as being new to keto - a beginner. First of all, let me say congratulations on finding your way to a new way of life that has proven to be transformative – even life-changing - for thousands of people, myself included. Learning how to reduce your dependency on carbs is a life skill that - once mastered – can result in many incredible mind and body benefits, including but not limited to:
- Easy/effortless weight management
- Improved cognitive function
- Lowered blood sugar
- Lowered insulin
- Reduced inflammation
- Pain management
- Improved sleep
- Increased energy
- Less hunger/hanger
- Emotional benefits: (better, more even moods)
…And much, much more!
Many people “come for the weight loss, but stay for the health benefits”. If this is you (i.e your initial goal is weight management) then there are a few specific things you need to know.
- Keto or VLCHF (Very Low Carb High Fat) diets are not the only way to lose weight – but for many people they are extremely effective and worth trying properly.
- One of the reasons keto or VLC diets are effective for weight loss or weight management is because the increased focus on consuming fat and protein helps you to stay feeling full and satisfied for longer. This benefit won’t work if you then continue to eat when you are not hungry i.e out of habit or out of boredom.
- Every body is different, and it will be important for you to customize what you do to your own personal situation, sensitivities and goals. For example, if you are on medications you will need to factor that in and work with a supportive
- Many qualified and otherwise excellent doctors, nutritionists and dieticians are not actually up to date with the latest in nutrition science; you may need to consider finding new, more current and open-minded advisors.
Common myths or arguments from the “Old School” way of thinking about food:
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
- You need to eat 6x per day i.e you should eat small meals often to keep your metabolism going
- Eating fat will make you fat
- “Healthy whole grains” should be the basis of a “well-balanced diet”
- Glucose is the body’s “preferred” fuel
- Low carb diets are a fad and have been proven to be bad for you
- Eating fat will clog your arteries and give you heart disease
Tips for getting started/enjoying keto success!
- Clear out your pantry. Be ruthless. You can’t eat junk (“carbage”) if it's not there!
- Re-stock your pantry and fridge with delicious keto-friendly foods – use our Keto 101 guide for more information on which foods to choose and which to avoid. The 101 guide is available to download for free at www.ketologie.com.
- Join a support group either online - or in real life! There are lots of keto and paleo meet-ups that are a great way to socialize and share recipes, tips for success etc.
- Choose your group or your ‘gurus’ carefully. Ask yourself, are they successful with their mind and body health? Is the tone of this person or group truly uplifting/supportive or are they a bit judgy/snarky/full of self-importance? To make positive change you need to immerse yourself in a positive environment.
- Plan your meals/food in advance, so you have all that you need on hand and therefore can avoid making last minute bad decisions.
- Focus on what you will be eating, not what you won’t be eating.
- Start with easy keto options, not difficult “keto-fied” versions of your favorite carbage. For example, eat eggs &bacon for breakfast or a fat-based smoothie, don’t try to make keto bread/toast/pancakes.
- Consider taking stock of your starting place (‘before’ photos; weight; HbA1c; waist/bust measurements). This is totally optional, but often people wish they had done it J You can buy A1C self-tesing kits at your local pharmacy/drugstore.
- Don’t worry about measuring your ketones, just focus on eating as few carbs as possible (less than 30g per day is a good goal; less than 20g per day even better)
- Don’t fear hunger (if it happens in between meals). Drink some water, go for a walk. Many people mistakenly think that hunger gets worse and worse but in fact it comes in waves that will wash over you and then magically disappear if you give it a chance.
- Don’t fear cravings (drink some salt water, bone broth or exogenous ketones).
- Even if you don’t have cravings, increase your intake of salt, broth or ketones as you need more sodium, potassium and magnesium on keto. You do not want to suffer the dreaded keto flu!
- Stay positive and remind yourself that you are in charge of your body and your life – not the other way round!
- Speak nicely to yourself and to others about your actions, thoughts and emotions. Be your own best friend!
OK! So if there is one thing you want to do, it’s keep the carbs ultra low. Do this by choosing healthy fats, protein and leafy veg. Increase your salts. Watch our for hidden carbs! For example, sausage meat is often full of grain. Eat real food – for example choose butter, not margarine. Avoid fruit juice, milk and most commercially available dressings/sauces including ketchup.
If in doubt, ask your new keto friends for easy recipes and tips. Keto can seem confusing at first, but it’s really super simple, delicious and affordable once you’ve got the hang of it. And remember what we say in our tribe: “Keep Calm and Keto On!”
Arohanui (much love), Tracey