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Kickstart Your Keto Journey: 5 Simple Tips for Beginners

The keto diet, short for ketogenic, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that's gained immense popularity in recent years. The diet has been proven to help with weight loss, improve mental clarity, increase energy levels, and even manage some chronic health conditions. 

If you're considering starting a keto diet, it's essential to be well-prepared to ensure success. In this article, we'll share some expert tips to help you confidently embark on your keto journey.

Understand the Basics of Keto

Before diving into the keto diet, it's crucial to understand the fundamental principles behind it. Basically, the keto diet aims to induce a metabolic state called ketosis in your body, in which fat is burned for energy rather than carbohydrates. 

To achieve this, you'll need to significantly reduce your carb intake and increase your consumption of healthy fats. Typically, a keto diet consists of:

  • 70-80% calories from fats
  • 20-25% calories from proteins
  • 5-10% calories from carbohydrates

To start, aim to consume no more than 20-30 grams of net carbs per day (total carbs minus fibre). As you become more accustomed to the diet, you can experiment with slightly higher carb limits to find your personal sweet spot.

Plan Your Meals and Stock Your Kitchen

Having a meal plan and a well-stocked kitchen is essential for keto success. This not only ensures that you'll always have keto-friendly options available and helps prevent boredom and temptation.

Begin by researching keto recipes and creating a meal plan for the week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Be sure to incorporate a variety of ingredients and flavours to keep things interesting.

Next, make a shopping list based on your meal plan and stock up on keto essentials, such as:

  • Healthy fats: avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, ghee
  • Proteins: eggs, fish, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, tofu
  • Low-carb vegetables: leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cucumber
  • Dairy: cheese, heavy cream, full-fat yoghurt, cream cheese
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Low-carb sweeteners: stevia, erythritol, monk fruit
  • Keto supplements: magnesium, potassium, sodium, vitamin D, omega-3s

Manage Your Electrolytes and Stay Hydrated

One of the most common side effects of transitioning to a keto diet is the "keto flu," which can cause symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and irritability. This is often due to a loss of electrolytes and dehydration as your body adjusts to burning fat instead of carbs.

To help prevent or alleviate keto flu symptoms, be sure to:

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Aim for at least 2-3 litres per day to stay properly hydrated.
  • Consume Enough Sodium: Add a pinch of high-quality salt to your meals, or sip a cup of warm bone broth.
  • Supplement with Magnesium and Potassium: Look for keto supplements that contain these essential minerals, or incorporate magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds and potassium-rich foods like bananas and salmon.

Monitor Your Progress and Make Adjustments

Tracking your progress is crucial for keto success. This not only helps you stay motivated but also allows you to identify any potential roadblocks and make necessary adjustments.

Consider using a food diary or tracking app to log your daily food intake, as well as tracking your weight, measurements, and how you feel overall. You can also use ketone test strips or a blood ketone meter to measure your ketone levels and confirm that you're in ketosis.

As you monitor your progress, you may need to adjust your diet or lifestyle to ensure you continue seeing results. These adjustments may include:

  • Tweaking Your Macronutrient Ratios: If you're not seeing the results you want or are struggling to maintain ketosis, you may need to adjust your protein, fat, or carbohydrate intake. For example, you might need to lower your carb intake further or increase your fat consumption to achieve the desired ketone levels.
  • Adjusting Your Calorie Intake: If you're trying to lose weight on keto but have hit a plateau, you may need to reassess your calorie intake. To continue losing weight, you may need to reduce your overall calorie intake or increase your physical activity to create a greater calorie deficit.
  • Incorporating Intermittent Fasting: Combining the keto diet with intermittent fasting can help enhance ketone production and accelerate weight loss. To find what works best for you, you can experiment with different fasting protocols, such as 16:8 (16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window) or one meal a day (OMAD).
  • Exercising Regularly: Exercise has numerous health benefits and can help support weight loss and overall well-being while on keto. Aim for a mix of cardiovascular and resistance training for the best results.
  • Managing Stress and Getting Enough Sleep: High-stress levels and inadequate sleep can both negatively impact your keto progress. Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga, and prioritise sleeping 7-9 hours per night to support your overall health and weight loss goals.

Remember that everyone's body is different, and you may need to experiment with various strategies to find what works best for you. Stay patient and consistent, and don't be afraid to make changes as necessary to optimise your keto journey.

Conclusion

The keto diet is famous for its weight loss and health benefits. To succeed, understand the basics, plan meals, manage electrolytes, stay hydrated, monitor progress, and adjust as needed. Stay patient and consistent for the best results.

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