Cholesterol

So you just started Keto...

You have been lurking around Keto forums and Facebook groups. You saw all the success stories, read all the mixed advice... And you want a piece of the action. Everyone loves bacon and eggs, right?
You have probably calculated your macros too and have downloaded My Fitness Pal onto your phone.
Now what?
Suddenly the hold the sugar has on you starts to manifest. Cravings become a bit harder than expected and to top it all, you are still not 100% sure you're doing everything right with all the different advices about what and how much to eat. And should you take supplements... blah, blah, blah.

Here's the thing: when I first started I thought I knew everything (first rule of stupidity) but I got confused. So I followed my macros to a "T". I tiptoed with what I knew and plodded along.
Guess what? That is fine. It worked for me, it allowed me to start my journey. And the more I learned the more relaxed and confident I became. I could start to make adjustments and face the challenges in front of me.

So, what's my point with all this?

At the risk of repeating myself and blurting information that everyone knows here's my top 5 advices for when you start Keto and you think you already know the basics. 
  • Don't worry about calories in the first 2 weeks.
I have seen some people fail because they want to achieve perfection. Getting it done is better than getting it perfect in many cases. So if you struggle in keeping your calories low, don't stress. The most important factor is that your carbs are below 20g (some people can be higher... but 20g is a safe bet for the majority) and you're not eating ridiculous amount of protein.
You can attack calories later on, and between us, calories are not that straight forward anyway. In truth you can still lose weight by eating the same amount of calories or even higher. It's quite complex. Have a read here if you want to know more.
  • Don't worry about fat. Pretend it's the holidays and you can eat all you like when it comes to fat.
It is a high fat diet after all. Fat does not have to be ridiculously high and trust me your body will tell you when you had enough but in the beginning fat is your friend.
The golden rule in relation to macros is that carbs are a limit, protein a target and fat is for satiety. So fat will be up or down depending on your hunger.
You don't even need to track them but to some people it helps visualise their portions.
Your body has been used to glucose as the primary fuel almost all your life, so transitioning to using fat is not as a clean cut deal. In the beginning, your body may struggle to change fuel sources so you will feel hungry as it runs out of glucose. By increasing fat you are not only not giving in by adding more glucose but also signalling that fat is the fuel source available.
Fat is very satisfying so you will feel full quickly. As you get more adapted you will notice your hunger diminishing and eventually eat less. The high fat part of your diet does not have to be the fat on your plate but you need to be fat adapted for you to use the fat on your body efficiently.
  • Don't worry about supplements. You can cross that bridge when you need to.
This may be controversial but hear me out.
I didn't take any and I doubt very much that tribes in the Alasca that live on fat take any supplements either. In fact I doubt that at any point in the history of humanity, prior to abandoning a diet based on real foods, we had to take any extra pills. That being said, there may be cases you need to. For example if you exercise regularly or if you are deficient on any of the main electrolytes. 
But let's assume you are a regular joe with no natural electrolytes deficiency and gym sessions are rare or not intensive. And the supplements you want to take is purely because you believe that by restricting fruits and cereals you will be missing out.
Most of the reasons behind needing certain nutrient from fruits is because our diet is high in carbohydrates. And removing carbs from our diets changes everything. Plus you can have the most of the essential nutrients in Keto foods anyway. Vitamin C, for example, is found in higher concentration in cauliflower than oranges, and potassium can be taken from avocados, which have a lot less sugars than bananas.
My point is, if you follow Keto by eating real foods, with healthy fats, nice dark green vegetables (this is where you get your magnesium too, by the way) and good sources of protein then chances are you will not be missing out on anything.
The only thing you need to add to your diet is sodium. Again, the reason lies with the lack of carbohydrates which were making you hold on to water and salt. As this no longer happens, we can and should eat more salt.
  • Don't panic.
Everyone goes through changes at different stages. So no need to panic if you're not losing at the same pace as others are. It's not a race, and definitely not a sprint.
So you gave in to a side of chips, or the recipe you just tried had more carbs than you realised.
Take one day at a time. Keep calm and Keto on. Even if you fail one day it doesn't mean you have to fail every day. It will get easier the more fat adapted you get.
I personally found it easy to cut out sugars and anything that mentally feels like it belongs in the past life. That was my way of staying focused. That and keep reading everything I found. Eventually pieces started to fit in and it became second nature. You almost have to exorcise all the dogma you have been force fed your entire life.
  • Keep it simple in the beginning.

In time everything will make sense. Add more fat and salt than what you're used to and cut out sugars, grains and starches.
Eventually you will learn recipes, easy ones, and you will find what works for you. But I still like, and often miss if I go without, to go back to basics. A nice ribeye steak with creamy spinach is my all time favourite.
I never bothered in finding Keto bread recipes and only recently had some nice sponge cakes, Keto friendly. Some like to have this crutch. It can be helpful but it can also drag you down. Your call. But I would bet that the more you concentrate on what you can't have, the less you pay attention to what you can have. And trust me when I say Keto is not as restricted as one might think. After all, sugar, as we know it, is actually a recent development. 

Still, almost every recipe made with real foods can be adapted to Keto. And there's chefs, like Carrie Brown, that develop low carb recipes since going Keto.
But I would advise to keep it simple until you're fat adapted.
You can thank me later.

I am not sure if this is helpful but there you have it.
One day at a time. Just keep calm and Keto on.


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