Keto Rules: Everything You Need to Know to get Results

So, you’re thinking of beginning Keto.  Congratulations!  The Keto diet is a healthy way of increasing your energy, burning away stubborn fat and stabilizing your blood sugar levels.  Before you embark on this healthy lifestyle there are a few simple rules that you should know in order to be successful.  The following article will explain the top 10 things that you should do so that you can maximize your results on Keto.

What is the Keto diet?

First off, it’s important to understand what Keto is.  The Keto diet is an ultra-low carb diet that focuses on healthy fats with a moderate amount of protein.  Keto aims to switch your body from burning glucose to ketones for its fuel needs. 

The Keto diet seeks to do this by limiting the number of carbs that you eat.  When your body finds itself short on carbohydrates, it cannot produce enough glucose to completely fuel everything it needs to.  Instead, it switches to producing ketones for fuel.  Ketones are made from the stored fat cells in your body so you’re literally burning away your fat for energy

10 rules to follow for successful Keto

There are plenty of things that you can do in order to be successful on the Keto diet.  It’s a diet that relies on accurate tracking and you need to pay close attention to what you eat.   This can make it a little more challenging for some people to follow; however, once you master the following basics the Keto diet will become second nature. 

1. Macros matter

This is listed at number one for a reason.  Your macros will make or break your Keto!  Your diet should be made up of mostly fats with a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs.  A typical Keto diet will have 70-75% of your calories coming from fats with 20-25% coming from protein and 10-5% coming from carbohydrates.  If you eat 2000 calories a day this means that you should eat 1400-1500 calories of fat, 400-500 calories of protein and only 100-200 calories of carbohydrates. 

Keeping your carbs to under 50g a day is essential because if they creep above that you might kick your body out of ketosis.  If your body is getting too many carbs it will ramp glucose production back up and scale back on the number of ketones it produces.  Eating too much protein can actually cause your body to begin breaking it down in order to form glucose so you need to keep your protein levels down as well.

It stands to reason that you’re going to consume more calories from fat then from any other source because your body relies on fat in order to produce ketones.  You can’t produce all the ketones your body requires from stored fat so it’s important to keep feeding your body a steady supply of dietary fat.

2. Focus on healthy fats

Fats are important; however, not all fats are created equal.  The Keto diet focuses on healthy fats that come from sources such as fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.  These sources of fat are mostly composed of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fat.  On Keto you want to ensure that you have very little saturated fats with no trans-fats if you can.  This is accomplished by focusing on plant-based fats, limiting the amount of fats that come from red meat and completely avoiding fats that come from processed foods.

Just because the Keto diet is high in fats doesn’t mean that it’s unhealthy.  Some fats are actually good for you and it’s been shown that a diet high in Omega 3’s and unsaturated fats is actually good for your heart health because it raises the amount of HDL (your good cholesterol) while lowering the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol).  So, whenever possible, opt for a handful of nuts or some sliced avocado over that plate of fries or nacho chips.

3. Plan your meals ahead

This is a big key to success on Keto.  Because your macros are so important it can be difficult to make sure you meet your requirements on the fly.  If you’ve been working all day and you have to come home and figure out what to make, chances are your decision will be a lot less healthy and focused more on convenience than what’s best for your Keto.

In order to set yourself up for success, pick a day of the week and sit down and write out all the meals that you’re going to make for the upcoming week.  This allows you to plug them into a nutrition app such as MyFitness Pal and see if you’re meeting your macro goals every day.  If you find that one day needs a little tweaking, it’s no problem because you don’t have the ingredients laid out in front of you. You’re just planning. 

Planning also allows you to buy only what you need so that less food goes to waste.  If you can squeeze a little bit of meal prep in ahead of time (chopping veggies, browning meat, etc.) than bonus points to you! 

4. Eat homemade whenever possible

If you’ve bought the ingredients you need, and you know exactly what you’re going to make then cooking at home is a lot less of a chore.  When you make your own meals for Keto, you’re able to strictly control what goes into your body, and what you leave out.  This allows you to make swaps and substitutions that are difficult to do with store bought or restaurant meals.  It also allows you to make sure there are no hidden preservatives, sugars or carbs.

5. Get plenty of electrolytes

One of the biggest problems that people on Keto have is not getting enough electrolytes.  Electrolytes are vital in regulating the level of water inside the cells in your body.  They allow for the movement of water into and out of cells until the levels are just right.  Too little electrolytes can cause headaches, cramping, muscle spasms, and other unwanted side effects.  Calcium, sodium and potassium are all electrolytes.  Focus on eating enough foods that are high in these minerals in order to prevent uncomfortable Keto side effects.

6. Stick with whole foods

Whole foods are foods that only have one ingredient on the label (and often they don’t have a label at all).  These are the foods that are made in nature, not in a lab.  Vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and meats are all examples of whole foods.  In order to avoid processed foods when you do your grocery shopping it’s a good idea to stick to the exterior of the store and avoid the inner aisles.  Processed foods contain high levels of preservatives and chemicals and they make it more difficult to truly know what’s in the food you’re eating.  This can make it difficult to accurately keep track of your macros, which, as you know, is essential to your Keto diet.

7. Track your ketones

Everyone has a slightly different level of carbohydrates that they can tolerate before their body switches from making ketones to making glucose.  This is why it can be helpful to track the number of ketones your body is producing in order to come up with your personalized number.  You might be able to eat up to 50g of net carbs without kicking your body out of ketosis, or you may only be able to tolerate 20g of net carbs.  You’ll never know for sure unless you test.

This can be easily accomplished in one of three ways: urine test strips, blood tests and breath tests.  Urine test strips are readily available, inexpensive and non-invasive.  However, they don’t give you a detailed number of how many ketones your body is producing.  Breath tests are also non-invasive and they’re more accurate than urine tests, although they are more expensive.  Blood tests are the most accurate and most expensive method and they’re a little more invasive than the other two testing methods.

8. Exercise

If you really want to get the most out of your Keto you should exercise.  Your body will be producing a more stable form of energy which can help power you through longer and more intense workouts.  Take advantage of this added energy by exercising and helping your body to lose more weight. 

Try not to make the exercise too intense in the first few weeks of Keto because your body will be going through a lot and it needs your compassion more than anything.  After you feel as though you’ve adjusted you can ramp up the intensity and really supercharge your results.

9. Don’t be put off by the Keto flu

When you first begin Keto, you’re going to feel as though you’ve been hit by a truck.  You’ll be run-down, achy and you’ll feel like you have the flu.  This might cause you to ask, “Hey, where is all that extra energy I was promised?”  Don’t worry, the Keto flu is completely normal, and you should feel better in a few weeks.

It’s a difficult process getting your body to switch from glucose to ketones.  This causes you to go through a bit of a withdrawal.  However, your body will adjust and adapt to its new energy source and this will allow you to feel better than you ever did on your higher carb diet.  So, stick with it, and know that the discomfort is only temporary.

10. Pay attention to your body

Above all, you need to pay attention to how your body feels.  If you’re experiencing anything that makes you think that something’s off, you need to talk with your doctor.  The Keto diet may not be right for everyone and you might have to switch to a less intense version such as cyclical Keto.  You’re the best judge of what works for you and together you and your doctor can come up with the perfect diet for your individual needs.

Conclusion

Keto is a great way to lose weight, gain energy and stabilize your blood sugar levels.  However, in order to see results you need to do it properly.  If you stick to the above rules you should see the results that you want with little to no problems while on Keto.

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