KETO. The first thought that comes to mind – How will I be able to feel satisfied and avoid cravings if I love carbs? This is where the most common misconception comes in. The KETO diet is not about cutting out carbs completely or starving yourself. It is rather a drastic reduction in carb intake and a drastic increase in fat intake. If you do the KETO diet right, there is no need to go hungry as it is not a calorie (portion) restrictive diet.
Here are some useful tips to help you understand and actually enjoy the KETO diet:
- Educate yourself: Understand which foods are carb dense and which foods are not. This will allow you to eat bigger portions while staying under your carb limit. To put it into perspective; 100 g of broccoli contains 6.4 g of carbs while a 100g brown basmati rice contains almost 74 grams of carbs. This means if you pick your foods right, you can have much more on your plate with a lower carb intake.
- Fat is king: You will have to really push your limits to consume enough fat on the KETO diet. Focus on getting in good amounts of fats and oils like olive oil, MCT oil, and coconut oil. Try and aim for 160g – 180g per day.
- Learn to read nutritional labels: See how many grams of carbs a serving contains of the specific product and then decide if the serving size is worth the amount of carbs. Always try to aim for the principle “more for less”. More food for less carbs – this is key to not going hungry.
- Meal prep: The traditional way of meal prep is to prepare meals that can be easily warmed up for consecutive days. The only issue with this is that you get tired of eating chicken breasts and cauliflower for 3 meals a day, 3 days straight. To combat this, rather prep ingredients so that you can quickly and conveniently mix it up and combine different foods to create variety in your diet.
- Track your macros when you start: Use a macronutrient tracker in the beginning to help you keep track of what you consume and to help you make adjustments. This will help you understand serving sizes better and serves as a quick reference source for ingredients that do not contain nutritional labels like vegetables. An effective and updated app is MyFitnessPal by Under Armour – It is free to use. If you prefer old school, you can use a logbook to capture your meals.
- Invest in a kitchen scale: This will save you the frustration of calculations, google searches, and conversions. This will also make tracking your macros in your app or logbook much easier.
- Expect a tough day: You will experience at least one day of fatigue, feeling jittery and strong cravings. Do not worry, this is normal. When you reach this point, you will know that your body has officially entered ketosis. It is a sign that all your commitment is paying off – bulk up on oil and salts on this day to help you push through. This will usually only last for one day if you increase your fat intake upon experiencing these symptoms.
- Do not cheat: Do not allow yourself to exceed your 50g of carbs per day. If you consume too many carbs on a “cheat day”, your body will exit ketosis and you will have to go through the process again.
- Exercise is key: You already know this. Move more, stay active, and enhance the feel-good benefit of KETO and enhance your results even more.
- Create your own staple list: Having key ingredients in your house that you can grab when hunger strikes are crucial. Although meal prepping is very helpful, we do tend to not always do it.
- USN ZeroCarb IsoPro Protein
- Green beans
- Eggs (boiled/ fried)
- Double cream plain yoghurt
- Stir fry veg
- Fatty fish (canned tuna or salmon)
Even though this might seem like a lot of information, you will come to realize how helpful each topic is to create a sustained lifestyle change. KETO needs a change of mindset and should not be seen as a quick fix or fad diet. If done correctly, KETO can effectively help you lose weight, body fat, and maintain or even build lean muscle mass.