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Starting a ketogenic diet can seem daunting to some. Especially because we have grown up following a food pyramid based diet, which is comprised mainly of carbs, some protein, and very little healthy fat. Here is a list of 5 habits to help you successfully make the transition over to a ketogenic lifestyle.
1. TRACK YOUR MACRONUTRIENTS
What are macronutrients? Macronutrients are foods that are required in large amounts in the body, such as fats, protein, and carbohydrates. And tracking them, until you become more comfortable in the ketogenic lifestyle, is going to be so valuable to your success.
First, it will hold you accountable to yourself. If you are eating too many carbohydrates, you will need to write that down. Or, if you are eating what you think is the perfect keto diet, your tracking journal can give insight into what may be stalling your progress. A great website for tracking your macronutrients is Cronometer.com. Click here for the link that is already set for nutritional ketosis
2. MEAL PREP
The plus side with following the ketogenic diet, is that you won’t have as hearty of an appetite. That is because healthy fats have a much higher satiety level than carbohydrates. And ketones provide a long-lasting form of energy, where carbohydrates provide quick bursts of energy, that dissipate very fast. This means that you won’t need to make nearly as much food as you would on a moderate to high carb diet in order to be properly prepped for the week.
One way to prep your meals for the week is to do all your grocery shopping and cooking on the weekends. That way, you are ready to successfully go back to work on Monday with all your keto meals, and you won’t be tempted to eat something that could stall your diet goals.
The best way to be a successful meal-prepper is to learn how to cook! This is essential! If you have never learned how to properly cut and store fresh veggies, take a class, or watch a YouTube video. If you don’t know how to cook and cut meat so that it is tender, go learn. It is important that you enjoy the food you are eating.
3. PREPARE TO FEEL TIRED THE FIRST WEEK
As your body adjusts from primarily using glucose from carbohydrates as energy, to using ketones from fat, it will need an adjustment period. Your body is always trying to find a state of homeostasis, and when it is no longer receiving the consistent form of energy it is use to, it’s instinct is to slow down. You will feel tired. This may last a few days, up to a couple weeks. Once you power through it though, you will feel the best you have ever felt. You will have sustained energy all day long. You can eliminate brain fog. And you will no longer be plagued with feeling “hangry”.
Take it easy on your workouts while you are making the switch over to ketosis. Instead of adding more stress to your body with difficult workouts, do restorative exercises, such as walking, or yoga.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR HUNGER CUES
It will take a couple of days before your appetite will start to change. But watch out for it. Most of us have trained ourselves to eat 5 small meals a day, or to always be snacking. That is just not necessary on a ketogenic diet. Fat has a higher satiety level, keeping you feeling full, longer. So, it will become important to break some of those lifelong habits of grazing all day, to just eating when your body is telling you too. A great way break the habit, is to listen to your body first thing in the morning. If you are not hungry, DO NOT EAT. Wait until you feel as though you are ready for your meal. It may not hit you until early afternoon.
5. ELIMINATE PROCESSED, LOW QUALITY FOODS
Your focus should be on eating whole foods, from reliable sources. So that could be organic vegetables from a local farm as your first choice. Or to buy your meat and dairy from a local farmer who allows his animals to graze on grass year round. You should also eat high quality fats. Below is a list of fats you should avoid, that are highly inflammatory in the body. And I've included a list of fats that are healthy and delicious to add to your diet as well.
FATS TO AVOID- Margarine, omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, sunflower, peanut and canola etc.), due to their highly processed nature, and high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
FATS TO INCLUDE- Avocado oil, ghee, organic extra virgin coconut oil (unrefined), lard, tallow, organic olive oil, macadamia oil, red palm oil, palm shortening , duck fat, grass-fed or raw butter, coconut butter, and MCT oil
I hope this list will help you successfully make the transition into ketosis.