This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Keto tips for beginners. How to start the keto diet?
The Keto diet is simple in theory: low carbs, moderate protein, high fat. But what to eat, what to avoid, or how much to eat? Here are the 5 steps that I’ve found are most effective to get started:
Step #1: Prepare
The Keto diet is likely a big departure from your normal eating habits, and you may have withdrawal symptoms if you try to change your existing eating habits overnight. I recommend committing to the diet for one month and giving yourself time in the first two weeks to slowly remove items, and slowly add things in. All of this will help minimize withdrawal. After these two weeks, you can go full on Keto!
Slowly stop snacking between meals, and slowly stop eating 3 hours before bedtime.
Stop chewing gum (yep, gum has carbs in it!), reduce all fruits and all sweet drinks, and reduce your alcohol intake (there are certain alcohols you can have on the diet…more later).
Increase water intake slowly each day until you’re drinking about 90 ounces/day (women), and about 125 ounces/day (men).
If you aren’t already moving your body, slowly start doing this until you’re walking for about 20 minutes 2-3 times a week. It doesn’t need to be brisk or fast…strolling is fine.
Slowly remove all baked goods and starchy snacks from your home. Yes – have that last piece of pie and then let it go. If your family will continue to eat these foods, find a way to put them in a cupboard or area in your fridge where they are as out of your view as possible.
Add in a detox supplement to assist your body to get rid of toxic waste, improve your digestive system and nourish the liver. I talk more about the importance of a detox here.
Step #2: Learn to count your macros
Every food is made up of three components: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These are macronutrients (or ‘macros’), the building blocks of every food. In the U.S., these are counted in grams. The general guideline on the Keto diet is that you eat three meals a day, about 4-5 hours apart, with each meal comprised of:
~10 grams of net carbohydrate (or less)
~20 grams of protein
~30 grams of fat (or more)
So, roughly speaking, when you start the program, the ratio of carbs to protein to fat is (10 : 20 : 30), with the aim to keep your carbs at around 20-25g, overall, per day while adjusting your protein and fat up as needed.
What foods do you eat and how much?
Get my FREE Keto Diet “10:20:30 Guide”
(great for hanging on the refrigerator)
Step #3: Get a good weigh scale
Get a good weigh scale to monitor your progress. Weigh yourself undressed at the same time every morning. I own the Tanita HD-366 scale and I would also recommend any of their other scales as they are all excellent.
Step #4: Buy your groceries
Do this a few days before you start Keto Day 1. Included here should be a Ketogenic Supplement such as those from Keto OS (see flavors and current price on Amazon) and Perfect Keto (see flavors and current price on Amazon). My husband and I use both of these brands and they are excellent. These supplement drinks provide an exogenous ketone source, in powder form, designed to help you stay in ketosis (i.e. your fat-burning state) and can help you cope with getting through the “Keto Flu.” As well, these Ketogenic supplements improve my overall energy, my ability to focus, my mood and my sleep. Note that some flavors do have caffeine, such as the Keto OS orange, while some do not (like the Perfect Keto chocolate). On first glance, these do look expensive, but, when you do the math on a monthly supply, it comes out to about the cost of a cup of coffee (depending how much you drink!) I have a half of a scoop of the caffeine-charged in the morning, in place of coffee for the day. OK, now, on to the food list:
Get my FREE Keto Diet grocery list to take to the store!
For a more a detailed list on what you can (and cannot) drink on Keto, check out my Keto Friendly beverages post, here.
Step #5: Start!
On Keto Day 1, drop your carb intake to about ~20-25g/day. It will take about 3-5 days for your body to use up all the excess carbs in your system before it flips from a carb-burning to a fat-burning state. It’s then possible you may have mild flu-like symptoms for several days (known as the ‘keto flu’) while your body adjusts to this new program. Don’t worry. This will pass.
Keep a food journal of what you eat and the grams. I’ve included great tasting and easy Keto recipes for you to eat!