As you found your way to my site, I’m sure many of you were searching for information on the Keto way of eating. You watched a friend lose a ton of weight, or an acquaintance brag about how great they feel and the magic word “Keto” is always the answer.
But what is Keto exactly? And does it work? This article will give you a foundational knowledge of the Keto way of eating and answer in whole on if this diet really works.
The Basic Premise of Keto. Does it Work?
First, let’s define what the ketogenic diet entails. The keto diet is a way of eating that focuses on low carbohydrate intake, high fat, and moderate protein.
The concept is if you restrict your carbohydrates to a low intake, you will essentially train your body to use fat as its source for energy rather than fast releasing carbohydrates (that turn into fat if not used efficiently and in timely manner of eating them).
As a type 2 diabetic, this concept was always talked about in my nutritional education sessions with my diabetes coach.
The difference between low carb and keto though, is that keto relies on fat for energy consumption. Whereas most dietitians will tell diabetes patients to up their protein if they are still hungry.
Another huge difference in diets is that the Keto diet is HIGHLY restrictive in carbohydrate intake.
The typical diabetic is restricted to 40 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Whereas the keto goal is typically 20 grams per day (give or take depending on your macros which is what we will get into next).
So did Keto work for me?
YES! With a lot of habit changes, tinkering in the kitchen, and PERFECTING my macros, I can say that keto has been a success for me. I have been eating keto off and on for about 12 months and continue to reach my weight loss goals alongside my health goals.
Is it for everyone?
NO. Please do not engage in Keto way of eating unless you are extremely committed to the change. It takes a toll on your body and organs going off and on this diet and can cause some serious damage if you don’t educate yourself and act accordingly.
So, if you are fully committed and want to know how I am succeeding with Keto, please read on.
However, please know that all of this information is from my own research throughout the year and personal experiences with different tools, apps, and guidelines set by my doctor while adjusting my meds.
Each situation will require its own adaptation of the diet. ALWAYS consult your healthcare provider before taking action.
What’s The Big Push On Macros & How It Makes Keto Work.
So let’s get down to business.
If you know anyone that is fully Keto and committed, they likely talk about their macros more than you care to hear about.
Macros counting is taking calorie counting one step further and measuring macro nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Each individual has a unique macro make up.
In the case of keto the main macros you need to pay attention to are protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake. This is calculated based on gender, activity level, and weight of the individual. In general this is how your macros should look
- FAT- 60-75% of your caloric intake should be from healthy fats
- PROTIEN- 15-30% of your caloric intake should be from proteins like chicken or fish.
- Carbohydrates- 5-10% of your caloric intake should be complex carbohydrates. (Note: count your carbs as NET carbs not total carbs.
The reason behind counting macros is to try to get your body to achieve ketosis consistently. Ketosis is a state of energy consumption accomplished by your metabolism. Basically, when you are in ketosis, you are in fat burning mode.
It’s really important to know your macros and what foods to eat to get the most bang for your buck. I can write an entire article just on this topic but here is a quick overview of the most important rule.
TOTAL CARBS VS NET CARBS- Total Crabs are the amount of carbohydrates calculated in entirety. Net Carbs are the totals carbs accounted for minus and fiber or sugar alcohol. This is a key concept to understand when first starting out because a lot of vegetables have carbs in them, but still allowable if you consider the net carb value.
- Example a whole English cucumber has 22 grams of carbs, which is over my personal daily allowance. However, when I subtracted the fiber in that cucumber it calculates to 9 grams of carbs, which is only 1/2 my daily intake. Once you understand the carb structure and find foods that offset the carb count, you’ll learn to eat with intention which is the first step to becoming successful on this journey.
Tools To Make Your Keto Journey Work From Day 1
The first step to success is knowing your macros and holding yourself accountable to them.
This knowledge will natural cause intentional actions that will move you to your health goal. Here are some great tools that I still use today and would not live without when I first started.
- Carb Manager App-
- This app has a free and premium version. The free version is enough to begin with, but in all honesty the premium version is worth its weight in gold for meal planning and on the go food logging.
- Carb manage is an app that calculates your macros, sync with your fit bit to record calories burned throughout the day, auto adjusts you macros in accordance to weight loss and activity level.
- The premium version allows you to meal plan with specialized diets, you can add your own recipes in to calculate macros, and you can connect with others and view their recipes to see what works for them.
- It’s truly the most recommended app for all of its functionality and convenience.
- I LOVE my fit bit ya’ll! I literally let it track my sleep, steps, exercise, and even have used the coaching session to do my couch to 5k program.
- It auto syncs with Carb Manager and the dynamic duo paired together is the ultimate accountability tracker.
- You even get little badges when you achieve new milestones. Silly, I know, but super motivating when trying to really change habits and stay consistent with a new lifestyle.
- A Proper Scale-
- I didn’t want to put this one in because people OBSESS over the scale and what it says. But data and numbers motivate me and most others.
- When you SEE progress, you tend to keep going with more enthusiasm,. Here is my advice on scales.
DO NOT WEIGHT IN EVERY DAY. Literally once or twice a month is sufficient to weight in.
Why? Your body will fluctuate daily depending on your sodium levels, water intake, stress etc. When you lose weight, it’s not an overnight thing. As long as you stick to your plan and consistently put the work in- YOU WILL SEE RESULTS.
Create Your Keto Plan & Make It Work. No Excuses.
If you downloaded Carb Manager, it’ll be extremely easy to implement a plan through their premium service. However, If you want to go solo at this- here is my advice.
- Plan around your time and money-
- What foods can you afford to eat frequently that are Keto friendly?
- How much time do you have to prepare the foods on a daily basis?
- If you are on the go what can you prepare once a week and have ready for when you need to grab something quickly?
- Work your plan-
- Once you figured out the foods and recipes you like and will eat, stick to the plan.
- Commit to yourself that you will eat what’s planned out for you and when you go to that cookie or cracker ask yourself why?
- Identify the reason and remedy the action with a healthier habit.
- Example- I always ate my cookies at night when I was too tired to cook. I identified my laziness/tiredness to cook as the core problem. So, I made a point to bake a batch of keto cookies every Sunday and stick them in the freezer. Every morning I pulled one out from the freezer that would be ready to eat by the evening.
- DO NOT EXCUSE YOURSELF.
- Honestly, how many times did you tell yourself you were too broke or too tired to make a special diet work?
- Instead of saying. “I can’t because…..” ask yourself “How Can I…?” How can you make this work.
- You’re worth the time and effort- don’t limit yourself.
The Keto Way Of Living Works, If YOU Work.
Always remember that Keto is a way of eating.
It is truly a lifestyle change that will forever change your habits of eating but it doesn’t change overnight.
Keep pushing through, forgive yourself when you make a mistake and do better the next time. As long as you stick with the advice and tools given to you in this article, I’m confident you’ll achieve your health goals.