New to Keto? You’ve come to the right post.
An old Keto pro? You’ve also come to the right place.
Sometimes we find ourselves getting comfortable and lax with our health. I know what Keto is and how to follow it. But that doesn’t mean that after a year I’m still as strict as I used to be. This blog is dedicated to the basics of Keto success, which you are either learning now or refreshing and reminding yourself of now.
What is Keto?
Your body needs fuel. It can use either carbohydrates (carbs) or fat for what it needs. Carbs and excess protein turn into glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel very easily (in most cases). When your body has glucose to use it stores the fat for later. When glucose is used up or is unavailable, your body switches to fat for the energy it needs. The fat is turned into ketones naturally and is then used by your body. When your body burns ketones for energy, you are now in a state of Ketosis, or Keto for short. The fat can come from what you consume or what your body has stored, but it will take from the stored fat last, so that is important to keep in mind.
The Keto lifestyle is basically consuming a very small amount of carbs (20 grams or less daily) so that your body is forced to be in ketosis. In the beginning you have to train your body to make this change and you will see and feel many changes, including rapid weight loss, which is mostly water weight in the beginning. Keto’ers, or those in ketosis, do not retain water like they did before. After the initial weight loss and you’re keto-adapted (used to fat for fuel), you will see real changes in fat loss and improved health.
That was a really long way of saying that your body is a machine that runs off of fat…either the fat you feed it or the fat it has stored around your body. To do this, you should eat 20 grams or less of carbs daily.
There are a few more tidbits, such as foods to avoid and whatnot, like grains and sugar. But you can learn about that another day.
Macros…What Are They & How Do I Figure Out Mine?
Every body is different. What my body needs is much different than what your body needs. A simple calculation of where the calories are coming from is a ratio of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5% carbs. I did say simple though, right? Using apps and macro calculators help a great deal in identifying your specific keto macros. I particularly like the Keto Calculator on Ruled.me. It’s easy to use and understand.
I’m a 38 year old woman who is 5’7″ weighing 266 pounds. When I calculate using the Keto Calculator on Rules.me to reach my goals, my macros look like this: 1799 calories, 126g fat, 146g protein, and 20g net carbs.
(Carbs are total. Net carbs are carbs minus fiber. Some Keto’ers use carbs and some use net carbs. I use net carbs and am happy.)
Try a macros calculator and see what you come up with for yourself. This is super important information, so be sure to write it down or add it to your app.
You may find that the ratio is not good for you. For instance, some body types are better with more protein, while others seem to do well with way more than 75% fat and zero carbs. You will want to make adjustments based on your own body and how you feel.
You will want to keep carbs low. Most people do well on 20g carbs daily, but if you’re pregnant or have other needs, perhaps aiming for 50g is better until you are well enough to drop down to 20g.
There are a lot of great resources and medical professionals who support Keto as a healthy lifestyle. One of which is Dr. Eric Berg. While many of us believe intermittent fasting (IF) are helpful, Dr. Berg is a true believer who strongly believe Keto and IF got together to improve and maximize your health.
Fasting is when you go without eating for a long time and is usually seen as suffering. IF is a small fast that can be done multiple times during the week and isn’t generally very much of a struggle at all.
When you eat anything your body has an insulin spike (just smaller when on keto) and stops or slows ketosis. But when you’re IF and in ketosis your body has time to rest and heal…and the more time you have between meals, the longer your body has to heal itself. The reason its easy with keto is because you don’t get very hungry when you eat a lot of fat…you feel full and satisfied.
I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone until after they are fully keto-adapted. And you should start off slowly, gradually increasing the length of each fast. It doesn’t work well for everyone, but most people do quite well. And remember, you aren’t starving because your body will consume the stored fat if it needs more.
Usually you will skip breakfast and have coffee, pushing your first meal of the day back a bit. Then you will eat your second meal and that’s it for the day. Go to sleep and wake up to do it again. The most common fast is 18:6 IF, which means you fast for 18 hours and eat during a 6 hour window (1 or 2 meals). Most of the time during a fast you’ll be sleeping anyway, so you will hardly notice you aren’t eating.
A typical day of IF:
- 6 A.M. wake up and have a cup of coffee (some say butter is okay, some say it isn’t…I do butter and am very happy)
- 1 P.M. eat a good lunch
- 6 P.M. eat a good dinner
- 9 P.M. go to bed
Great Keto Meals/Snacks: (I’ll work on updating all of these recipes so you can click on the links to find more information.)
- Magic coffee
- Taco salad with nuts and seeds for crunch, your favorite taco meat, shredded cheese
- Bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, zucchini and squash, and a side of avocado
- Crack chicken over steamed broccoli
- Porterhouse steak, creamed spinach and mashed cauliflower
- Chicken wings and bacon with ranch
- Kalua Pig (pulled pork) salad with ACV dressing, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, cucumbers and fresh bacon crumbles
- Bacon wrapped pork chops with roasted cauliflower and guacamole
- Baked salmon with pesto butter over a pile of parmesan and herb cauliflower rice
- Fathead pizza or cheesy bread
- Chocolate peanut butter cups (fat bomb)
- Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs
- Chocolate chip protein cookies
- Keto chocolate frosty
- Blackberries and whipped cream
- Be kind & forgiving to yourself!
- Get a Keto-Buddy! You don’t want to go through this alone. Having the support of family, friends or even a new Keto Facebook Friend will make all the difference in the world.
- Salt everything! You need to keep up your electrolytes and since you’re not retaining water, you lose electrolytes way faster than before.
- Check labels, ingredients lists and nutritional information on all packages.
- Stop and figure out why you’re hungry. Are you upset or bored? Or are you really hungry? If you’re hungry too soon…did you eat enough fat?
- Figure out your macros and keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
- Pay attention to how you feel! There is a reason you feel a certain way. Are you missing something nutritionally? Maybe you need to change your diet a little or add a supplement.
- Track your progress and successes in many ways, not just by the number on the scale. I wish I took real before photos so I could see the difference (I just thought this would be like everything else I tried and failed.)…and I wish I took measurements too! It’s also important to do your blood work before starting, so you can see how that improves as well.
Please comment below any questions or suggestions you may have.
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