You have heard of this “new diet” many celebrities (Adriana Lima, Vanessa Hudgens, Halle Berry, the Kardashian sisters, Megan Fox, …) are raving about. The ketogenic diet is basically a low-carb, high-fat diet where your body runs on ketones instead of sugars.
Keto diet has numerous health benefits, apart from losing weight, but more about it here.
When starting your transition from high-carb to high-fat, the first thing you have to do is, restrict your carbohydrate intake. Depending on how much weight you want to lose, what is your activity level, and how fast you want to reach your goal, you should limit your carbs to 20-50 g a day. Personally, I never bothered with calculating net carbs but simply restricted my total carbs to 20-25g a day, and it worked fine for me. However, we are all different. You might need to stay under 20 g to see continuous progress, or you might be able to intake even 40g a day without consequences.
To learn what should your daily macronutrient intake be, you can use macros calculator. Macros calculator will show you how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs you are allowed to eat every day. Except for limiting your carbohydrate intake, you want to carefully choose where your carbs are coming from. You should focus on vegetables, nuts, dairy products and a few fruit options like avocados and berries (in moderation).
Next thing to keep in mind is your protein intake. Too much protein can lead you to a lower level of ketosis. This can result in the weight loss plateau. Worst case scenario – you will be kicked out of ketosis. Again – calculate your macros and stick to those numbers.
After we have covered carbs and protein, let’s talk about fat. The amount of fat I had to intake daily was inconceivable to me. I was used to low-fat foods and diets for so long and almost 100 grams of fat a day seemed just wrong. Later on, I’ve realized that you do really need to eat that fat because that’s your fuel. That is the source of your energy and you will feel tired, lethargic, weak, even dizzy if you don’t eat enough fat. After all, you will see it yourself that your body can run on fat much longer and you won’t feel hungry!
Important note – NOT EVERY FAT IS GOOD FAT. You want to eat healthy fats like avocados, organic butter and ghee, extra virgin olive and coconut oil, lard, and nuts and seeds. Be careful with nuts and seeds, some of them are very high on carbs. I personally cook with lard/coconut oil/butter and I use olive oil for drizzling.
Let’s talk about some other very important rules that will help you reach ketosis (fast).
You want to limit your number of meals per day to the maximum of 3, meaning – NO SNACKS! Everything you eat spikes your insulin and stops the fasting period. This is the time when you actually lose weight! As mentioned before, 3 meals should be your maximum. However, you will definitely see better and faster results if you stick to 2 or even 1 meal a day (popularly called OMAD).
From my own experience, I can say that 2 meals a day work just fine. I am satisfied with my weight loss pace, I am not hungry. To be completely honest – I am not a slave to rules. If there is a special event, I will not sit in the corner and be a bystander while everyone is having fun. I am simply not that person. Therefore, what I recommend everyone struggling with weight loss (keto or not) is to start intermittent fasting.
There are different ways to do this. You should definitely choose what suits you best based on your daily routine and your character and stick to it. I realized that I am usually never hungry before noon. I only have a coffee in the morning, sometimes with a little bit of almond milk. Since I finish work around 5 pm, I tend to eat between 5 and 6 pm. I eat the same food (keto-friendly), the same number of calories, and during fasting hours I drink a lot of water, some coffee, some tea from time to time and that’s it.
Fasting or not, you should definitely drink a lot of liquids. Water, bone broth, tea, and even coffee will help you a lot when you are fasting (especially at the beginning), but even if you are not, you need to keep your body hydrated.
One last thing to add – exercising is important (keto or any other diet, or not). No matter what is your daily routine, you have to find 30 minutes a day for a quick workout. You don’t have to hit the gym every day. But you definitely can find 30 minutes during a day for a (power) walk! This will speed up your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar levels and do good for your weight loss.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of the ketogenic diet, I definitely recommend this movie: