Tips for Success on a Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic, or “keto,” diet has soared in popularity in recent years – and for good reason. This low-carb, high-fat diet helps dieters lose weight without counting calories and constant feelings of hunger.
The keto diet works by retraining your body to use fatty acids instead of sugar for energy. The fatty acids are also called “ketones” (hence the name of the diet”), and the state of using ketones for energy instead of sugar is called “ketosis.”
While the ketogenic diet can be highly effective, it can also be difficult to get right. To maximize the effectiveness, here are our top tips for success:
1. Have a meal plan
To achieve ketosis, your daily food intake must reach a specific ratio of fat, carbs, and protein. Because eating high-fat and low-carb is wildly different than how most Americans eat, careful planning is necessary to make sure you follow the diet guidelines.
Reaching ketosis is more complicated than simply avoiding the bread basket when you’re out to dinner. Without dedication and a detailed meal plan, you won’t achieve the results you want with the ketogenic diet.
2. Test your ketone levels
To check if your body is in a state of ketosis, your ketone levels can actually be tested. There are multiple methods, outlined here, but the most popular is urine strips.
Checking your ketone levels helps you stay on track with the diet. Like with any diet, measuring is a critical part of success.
3. Prepare for initial negative side effects
Many people experience negative side effects when they first reduce carbs to this level. Our bodies are accustomed to using sugar for fuel, and our bodies do not always react well when switched to using fat.
Side effects can include headaches, fatigue, brain fog, cravings, irritability, and constipation. But these effects typically only last one to two weeks. In fact, most keto dieters report feeling better than they did before the diet started. So mentally prepare for the difficulties of the first week or two, knowing that you will feel great afterward (and be losing weight)!
There are also ways to minimize these side effects, including staying properly hydrated, exercising regularly, and eating every three to four hours. For more on the most common side effects of the ketogenic diet and how to avoid them, check out this article.
4. Reduce stress
Stress is the enemy of ketosis. When we’re stressed, our blood sugar levels increase and our ketone levels decrease. This makes it difficult to stay in ketosis. To reduce stress, focus on exercising and sleeping well. You may also want to try mindfulness or meditation techniques.
The ketogenic diet can be a great way to lose weight quickly and safely, but it does take a lot of planning and work. At Essential Weight Loss, we create meal plans for our clients that fit in the keto diet. We take the work out of the ketogenic diet so that you can focus on losing weight instead of researching the carbs in every food you want to eat.
If you’re interested in learning more about the ketogenic diet and if it could work for you, schedule a visit at Essential Weight Loss today.