So you think you wanna try the Keto diet?
I’m not gonna lie to you- all diets can suck. The Keto diet (and what exactly is ketosis, anyway?) is no different.
I’m here to tell you, though, it doesn’t have to suck.
In fact, it can be downright liberating, fun, and damn effective for your health. (Note: your body is unique, so be smart. For instance, my genetic testing indicates I should avoid saturated fats, so I do a more vegetarian-ish, low carb approach.)
Even the nerds do Keto:
It’s also been used for a while among the biohacking community which is all about longevity and optimization. Progressive physicians (like Dr. Peter Attia) are also getting on board with low-carb diets and are urging many Americans to ditch the insulin-spiking carbs.
Dr. Attia tells us that the Keto diet, and ketosis, has benefits far beyond just a lean core and improved energy:
Lowered risk of metabolic diseases like diabetes
Improved athletic performance
Brain health longevity
Improved athletic performance
And the list goes on!
But your success will take some planning, research, and mindset work.
What do I mean by mindset work?
Don’t you just grocery shop, make some food, post a pic to IG and eat it?
Nope. Not if you want this diet to succeed.
This diet, like all diets, requires some realistic awareness.
There are TWO main reasons most diets fail:
- Environment- too much and too easy access to food that our species never had access to until recently, thus going against the evolutionary biology of metabolism and
- Mindset- why are you dieting? Sustainable mindsets rooted in stable self-awareness can help make a diet a successful lifestyle.
Once we can stop lying to ourselves with sexy marketing and thinly-disguised self-loathing, we can find the real meaty reasons to follow a diet which can be:
- Glowing health and longevity
- No longer being a slave to sugar addiction, the Food Industry, or other people’s ideas of what we should do with our bodies.
Which leads me to the first Keto diet tip for scared beginners:
Tip Number One: Prepare for the Detox
Funny thing. I was doing variations of the Keto diet over a decade ago. I had no idea at the time that it would become more than a subculture trend.
I was super into physique-building and being lean af.
Which looks impressive for a minute, but is impossible (and unsafe) to sustain. My mindset was not from a supportive, self-loving place.
Nowadays I follow a low-carb, totally unprocessed nutrition lifestyle, with somewhat similar results. The big difference, though, is I’m not miserable.
However, the Keto flu is a real thing, so having a mindset that’s easily diminished by some discomfort is a great way to set yourself up for failure.
You might need to ask yourself what your motivation truly is: do you want health? Or do you want a fitspo bod?
Neither of those things is more “bad” or “good” than the other, but certainly one of those things will lead to sustainable health and significantly more solid happiness.
If you feel you’ll be able to maintain this lifestyle even when there’s a possibility of cranky cravings and early days of fatigue, well then, read on.
Tip Number Two: Actually Surviving Keto Flu
Fact: North Americans are literally addicted to sugar, in all its forms.
The same parts of the brain that light up with drugs like heroin get all fuzzy and happy when you take a hit of sugary heavenly blissful junk food.
First things first: You need to clean out your kitchen. Fridge, pantry, and under-the-bed-stash.
That includes wine and most booze.
I know. This could hurt.
Once that’s done, you’ll have eliminated some of the temptation.
But white knuckling through isn’t necessary, either. In fact, you might not need to experience anything awful, at all! Check out this link that can give some tips on mitigating the hell that is keto influenza.
A meditation practice (jungle vine my link) could be of benefit, as could a family member or friend checking in to hold you accountable.
You’ll need to stay hydrated, and if you feel restless at night, a solid nighttime routine like yoga along with a safe, effective sleep aid like Kava tea, low dose melatonin, or magnesium can help.
Scale back your workouts, too. If you’re going hardcore, you’ll make it that much tougher on yourself.
Tip Number Three: Keep It Simple
Until you get the hang of recipes and testing out which foods keep you in ketosis (thanks, pee sticks!) be sure to just stick to the basics.
The diet industry would like to complicate things like the Keto diet, and convince you it’s rocket science.
Your cells are going to do what needs to be done without you spending a fortune on all the bells and whistles of this or that “plan”.
The fun part is all the FAT you can eat.
Yep, fat is your friend.
Here’s a list of the foods to stick to (for now, at least.)
If you find yourself quickly getting bored with your options, continue to stick to your main ingredient choices but research a few recipes that can spice things up.
Also, don’t obsess about counting your macros to keep your carb intake to a certain amount. As long as you stick to the list of approved foods, that fine-tuning can come later. You’ll also eventually be figuring out the few supplements that can help you maximize the benefits of low-carb lifestyles without running in to deficiencies.
Tip Number Four: Prepare for Social Situations Where Nummy Food is Present
Let’s say you RSVP to that amazing wedding your friend has been crowing about for 3 years, and during the dinner…CAKE HAPPENS.
Everyone is cramming the thousands-of-dollars-to-decorate confection into their mouths and taking selfies of the lilac adorned cupcakes and it hurrrrrts to say no…
I’m not saying avoid a happy occasion because food will be there, but prepare ahead! Eventually you’ll be able to allow in occasional non-keto treats, and it’ll be no big deal.
Until then, while you’re in the process of rewiring your brain, bring along a bag of high fat Brazil or Macadamia nuts and load up on the protein and veggies being offered.
And remember why you’re doing this, if you’re doing it for the love of your health and the love of your self. If you’re truly miserable and feeling left out of joyful occasions, it’s time to rethink your goals.
Tip Number Five: Please Don’t Weigh Yourself
The need to quantify and validate our progress with something that has to do with our bodies is an unnecessary and insidious thing.
As women, we get weird about measurements. The reality, though, is your weight and other measurements are going to fluctuate no matter what you do.
Added to that, your body will be going through multiple adjustments when you’re overhauling a lifestyle factor as important and impactful as your nutrition.
After a month or so, you can start seeing what clothes feel or look a bit different.
But I want to stress this again (and I know unpacking decades of subconscious programming around body image won’t happen here, but): beautiful cells that help you live a healthy, glowing life are what matter. The looking good is a nice side effect.
There you have it! This isn’t a scary change to make, and if you’ve decided it could help you, give it a go. Just be prepared for some slight weirdness and discomfort in the beginning.
Sheroes! Please let me know what’s worked for you when starting a diet, and share this pin with anyone you know thinking of keto but confused or scared about how to do it!