I hit my 6-month mark on my Keto journey! 85 pounds down. The first before and after is my starting photo- to today. The second picture is a 6-week difference (not much) but I feel some change; I feel my clothes fit differently. I would be lying if I said making this commitment and keeping it, was easy. I’ve had many breakdown moments, my share of disappointment, pain, struggle- you name it, but mentally, I am growing and becoming such a better person.
My Top 6 Keto Tips:
1. Only Consume Keto Foods and Ingredients
Keto foods are foods and ingredients that are very low in carbs. What “very low in carbs” means exactly will depend on your daily carb limit. For example, we recommend keeping total carbs below 35g and net carbs below 25g (ideally, below 20g) so that you can reap the benefits of eating highly satiating foods and ketosis. (To figure out your net carb consumption, simply subtract total fibre intake from total carbs.)
To have such a small amount of carbs, you must be vigilant about your food choices. You may find that many of your favourite foods will put you near your carbohydrate limit for the day with just one serving. Even healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are packed with sugar and carbs, but don’t get discouraged — there is plenty of delicious food you can eat on the ketogenic diet.
For example, you can have a Bacon Breakfast Bagel for breakfast, a Thai BBQ Pork Salad for lunch, and a Keto BBQ Chicken Pizza for dinner. All of them are delicious and relatively low in carbs.
Check out this list for some more ideas of what you should and should not eat on the ketogenic diet:
- Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
- Low carb vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and other keto-friendly vegetables >
- High-fat dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
- Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
- Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
- Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
- Do Not Eat
- Tubers – potato, yams, etc.
- Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
- Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
- Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
To see more specific advice on what (and what not) to eat, click here.
For more ideas on what you can eat, check out our recipe page and our low carb cheat sheet.
You can also make plenty of keto-friendly baked goods and fried foods with keto flour like almond flour, coconut flour, and the other keto-friendly baking ingredients that you will find in this article.
However, eating these foods and making these keto recipes will not guarantee you the results you want. Once again, the key to weight loss is eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its weight. Even if your diet consists of absolutely no carbs, you can still gain weight. This is why it is so helpful to be aware of how many calories and grams of carbs, fat, and protein you are consuming on a daily basis.
2. Know What You Should Focus On
Do calories matter on keto? What exactly should you eat? Why does the keto diet work so well?
Depending on who you ask, you may get a completely different answer. Even some research papers will propose one hypothesis while other data clearly suggests that it’s not true (like the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis for obesity).
With all of the contradicting beliefs in the keto diet world, it is hard to know what is actually true — and without the truth how are you supposed to know what to do if things don’t go as you initially hoped?
Do you focus on limiting carbs more? What about exercising? Should you intermittent fast?
After digging through the research, It becomes clear that people lose weight on keto because of one thing — the fact that keto dieters tend to eat much fewer calories than they did before without noticing.
It doesn’t matter how much you restrict your carbs and how many grams of fat you eat. The key to burning off your own fat is being in a calorie deficit.
If you can find a diet that allows you to eat fewer calories than before without battling against cravings and hunger (like keto dieting does for most people), then you’ve found one of the most sustainable ways to lose weight.
The best way to create a diet like this is by following these two principles:
Eating mostly protein-dense and fibre-rich foods because of how satiating they are.
Eliminating all calorically-dense processed foods from your diet because of how easy it is to binge on them.
The primary reason why the keto diet is so effective for weight loss is that it follows these two principles better than almost every other popular diet. As a result, people who are following the keto diet feel more satisfied than ever before on fewer calories and start burning off excess body fat.
To learn more about how to lose weight on keto, check out this article.
To sum up this tip more succinctly: Eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its weight (not carb restriction) is the key to weight loss. If you are not getting results you want, it’s best to adjust your lifestyle and way of eating that allows you to be in a calorie deficit. One of the best ways to do this is by eating keto foods
3. Change Your Food Environment
Our current food environment is nothing like what the human race initially evolved to handle. It is easier than ever before to gain weight, and our brains and bodies are not designed to handle our abundant food environment.
We are incessantly bombarded with endless processed food options, food ads, and smells that trigger our desires. As a result, the oldest parts of our brain motivate us to hunt for that food, which we now have a 100% chance of getting — and we don’t have to exert much effort at all to get it.
We will then act out our ancestral programming by eating the most calorie dense foods (i.e., pizza, french fries, cookies, cakes, etc.) and eating much more of those foods than what our body needs to energize itself until the next meal. This results in a vicious cycle of overeating and weight gain with the subconscious intention to prepare us for a famine — a famine that never comes.
To prevent these desires from being triggered and make it easier for you to stick to your diet and lose weight, there are a couple of things you can do:
Only have keto-friendly food in your house or where you stay. When we are hungry, it suddenly becomes so much easier to convince us to cheat on our diets and our goals. Hunger is a strong motivator, but it is irrational and doesn’t care about your “rules”. For this reason, it is best to plan for the worst. Throw all carb-rich foods in the trash (or hide them in a hard to access place) and make sure the healthiest keto foods are most easily accessible. If you are still struggling with overeating keto foods, then make sure you only have foods that require some preparation and effort before eating. This will make eating much less seductive and you’ll end up eating fewer calories.
Plan your meals ahead of time. Following a plan is a great way to stay on track and prevent yourself from succumbing to other food temptations. If you are travelling, make sure you have snacks, pre-made meals, and/or keto-friendly options at restaurants you can rely on. If you are at home, make sure you follow a plan that gives you the fats, carb, and proteins you need and nothing more.
Avoid convenient foods that you can easily binge on. If food is convenient and tasty, you will be much more inclined to eat more of it. For example, I can eat a ridiculously unhealthy amount of keto ice cream when I know its in the freezer waiting for me. This is why I only make one serving at a time and stick to enjoying that. The thought of making another batch is such a turn off after I finish my normal serving. The same goes for keto baked goods as well. If you find you can eat a lot of something without stopping, you must make it much harder for yourself to consume too much of it.
Only eat the foods that you measure and track. Don’t stray away from your macronutrient goals too far by adding extra ingredients that you don’t measure. Adding a little extra oil, meat, cheese, etc. to each meal will add up to the point where you end up gaining the weight back.
By using these four strategies, you will eventually make the keto diet into your new lifestyle. Your brain and body will habitually do things that are healthy rather than unhealthy, and you will find it much easier to lose weight than gain weight.
4. Track Your Macros
The current research data suggests that we tend to underestimate how many calories we eat. At times, the difference between estimated calorie intake and actual calorie intake is so profound that you may think you are eating much less than before but you are still gaining weight.
In fact, many of us will have plenty of low-calorie days where we do lose a bit of weight, but then our subconscious weight-regulating mechanisms will kick in to motivate us to eat more the following day. This will cause you to either gain more weight or hit a weight loss plateau that you just can’t seem to break.
The worst part is that we are typically never aware that this is happening, and we start to blame ourselves or the diet when the truth is that we just need to take an objective look at how much we are eating.
One of the best ways to track what you are eating is by using a calorie tracking app and a scale. By using both, you will be much more accurate in knowing what you are consuming and have all the info you need to start losing weight consistently again.
When it comes to tracking calories, I prefer to use MyFitnessPal (for general macro tracking) and Chronometer (for more specific macro and micronutrient tracking). If you’d like to get started with tracking your calories using these apps, check out our guide on the topic — It has everything you need to know so that you can set up MyFitnessPal and Chronometer for your specific macronutrient needs.
To find out what your calorie and macronutrient needs are, plug your info into our keto calculator. It will tell you exactly how many calories and grams of fat, protein, and carbs you need to eat on a daily basis to get the results you want.
Another way to increase the accuracy of your calorie tracking is by using a food scale. Most people measure the amount of food they eat by guesstimating – which typically causes you to eat more calories than you intend.
There are certain things I look for when buying a scale, and most importantly include:
Having a conversion button. Most calorie tracking apps and websites use a mixture of units. Having a conversion button on your scale can make it much easier for you to measure your food. A gram to an ounce and ounce to gram conversion button is the one that I most commonly use.
Automatic Shutoff. Make sure you research the scale you are buying. If the scales have an automatic shutoff, it can be troublesome to properly measure your food. Try to find scales that allow you to program the automatic shutoff or require you to manually turn it off.
Tare Function. Being able to place bowls, plates, and utensils on your scale make it a lot easier to weight things out. Make sure that your scale has a tare option, which will allow you to place an item on the scale and revert back to 0.
Removable Plate. Cleaning scales can be a huge hassle when dealing with messy foods. Double check that the scale you are buying has a removable plate for easy cleaning.
Once you start tracking your food consumption more precisely, you can almost guarantee that you will get the results you want.
However, there is one crucial caveat. We cannot ignore how much our food environment impacts what we eat and how much we eat. Even with a scale, an app, and a keto calculator, it is still possible to cheat — especially when you are travelling or have easily accessible “cheat” foods in your house.
5. Prepare for the Keto Flu and Other Keto Concerns
Going from a diet that doesn’t limit carbs to a ketogenic diet will cause many changes throughout your a body that won’t feel too good at first.
The first phenomenon that will occur is a rapid loss of water and minerals like sodium. As a result, many ketoers will experience flu-like symptoms during their first few days of keto dieting. For example, here are some of the symptoms you may experience:
- Sugar cravings
- Brain Fog
- Poor focus and concentration
- Stomach pains
- Muscle soreness
6. Collaborate With Other Keto Dieters
One of the most overlooked diet tips are to use social support to your advantage. When you have people to share your questions, struggles, concerns, and accomplishments with, it will be much easier for you to stay on the diet and get the results you want.
This is why we put together a page full of success stories and an online keto community. The success stories will show you what’s possible and give you a source of inspiration when you are struggling, and the keto community has over 23,000 members that are there to support you on your weight loss journey.
But before you pose any questions to the group, continue reading this article. It will probably clear up any confusion you may still have about keto — especially regarding common keto struggles.