Guide to Starting Keto
Welcome to Everything Keto's Guide to Starting your Keto journey. We have multiple years of experience navigating the Ketogenic lifestyle. Our passion is to help support you in your weight loss and health improvements. We have compiled years of information in this guide to help you get started.
If you are suffering from a Metabolic Disease or are on medication, we recommend that you consult your Health Care provider before making significant changes to your diet or medication.
Everyone's journey will be unique to them.
How do I start?
Ask yourself some questions.
Why? Are you just wanting to lose weight, or do you have a health challenge that can be helped by changing your behaviour?
When? When do you want to start?
What? What type of Keto do you want to do? What is my end goal?
Who? Am I doing this with someone else? Who will I go to if I struggle or have questions?
How? How do I start! How do I eat out? How do I still live my life, but healthier? How do I achieve my goals?
Where? Where do I go to get help?
Your Why & When - Set your Goals!
You have made the decision to start the ketogenic Lifestyle. Decide what your why is..... for weight loss or do you have a health challenge that you are trying to overcome. Pick a start date.
Throughout your journey, you will want to track your progress. You will want to know your weight and measurements before you start! On your start date, you will want to weigh yourself and take measurements, make notes on your physical, mental and energy health. The following Measurement tracker will help assist you.
Definitions Related to the Ketogenic Lifestyle
Knowledge is power! Understanding these terms can help you gain the knowledge on the Ketogenic lifestyle.
- Bulletproof Coffee: delicious creamy coffee blended with butter or coconut oil.
- Carb (or Carbohydrate): are a type of macronutrient found in certain foods and drinks. Sugars, starches and fiber are carbohydrates.
- Clean Keto: Clean keto focuses on whole, nutrient-dense foods and puts more emphasis on food quality than the traditional keto diet.
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet: Usually 20-25g or net carbs, plus high carb days.
- Dirty Keto: A term used to define keto dieters that eat foods that contain non-keto ingredients (such as wheat, gluten, sugar) as long as they fit in their daily carb allowance.
- Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium
- Fat Bomb: A keto treat that is very high in fat, curbs cravings and helps you reach your macros. Usually made from ingredients such as butter, coconut oil, cocoa powder, nuts, seeds, low carb fruit and sweeteners'.
- Glycemic Index (GI): The Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
- Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
- Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells' weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.
- Keto Flu: One of the most common side effects for those transitioning to the Ketogenic Lifestyle. A feeling of unwell, low energy.
- Ketones: Ketone bodies are the by product of the breakdown of fatty acids for energy that occurs when the carbohydrate intake is low.
- Ketosis: A metabolic process that happens when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes ketones, which it can use for fuel.
- Lazy Keto: You follow the low carb lifestyle but do not track macros.
- MCT: Medium Chain Triglycerides - a type of fat with a unique structure that is quickly metabolized by your body where it is transported directly to the liver to produce ketones.
- Macros: Macronutrients: Carbohydrates (carbs), Protein, Fat.
- Non Scale Victory: Non-scale victories, also known as NSVs, are health improvements that result from small life changes. They may go unnoticed if you're only focused on the scale as a measure of your success.
- Net Carbs: Total Carbs - Fibre - Sugar Alcohols = Net Carbs
- OMAD: One Meal A Day
- Sugar Alcohol: Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that have been chemically transformed into alcohols. Sugar alcohols are less sweet and less caloric than table sugar. Because they are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than sugar, sugar alcohols don't raise blood glucose levels as high and don't require as much insulin to metabolize.
Now that you are familiar with some Keto terms, there is a little bit more you need to know. We recommend downloading an App to help you track your food and macros. Here are a few suggestions that you can look at by searching in your App store. There are many more to choose from.
What should my Macros Be?
By choosing your App to track your macros, you will be able to fill in the information they request, and your macros are calculated for you. Please note that if you have some health challenges, you may not want to modify your macros (ease into it).
How do I understand the Nutritional Facts/ Ingredients
Above is an example of the Nutritional facts found on every food product in Canada.
When you are looking at the labels on the products that you are interested in. Check the following…
- Serving size
- Total Carbs
- Fiber Content
- Sugar Alcohol
- If there is added sugar?
- Ingredients (what are the ingredients in the product)
This will give you the information necessary to make an informed decision.
What you also need to know is that on the nutritional facts, the numbers can be "rounded" per Canadian regulations.
How do I calculate my Net Carbs?
The typical Calculation is.....
Total Carbs - Fiber- Sugar Alcohols = Total Net Carbs
What is a Sugar Alcohol?
To define sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that have been chemically transformed into alcohols. Because sugar alcohols are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than sugar, sugar alcohols don't raise blood glucose levels as high and don't require as much insulin to metabolize.
Not all sugar alcohols are good! Some can cause abdominal discomfort. Some will kick you out of Ketosis. Understanding the (GI) Glycemic Index of what you are eating is important. We have provided a quick reference sheet for you. All foods, including Sugar Alcohols have GI Rating.
If at any point in your health journey you are eating a lot of foods that contain sugar alcohols and you cannot seem to achieve your weight loss goals, trying using this calculation:
Total Carbs - Fiber - ½ Sugar Alcohols = Total Net Carbs
Understanding Sugar Alcohols
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a sugar alcohol raises blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index ranges from 0-100. The lower the GI of a food, the slower your blood sugar level rises after you consume it.
(0 GI = No rapid spike in glucose)
Hydration and Electrolytes Are Essential!
Hydration is an important part of your journey. Water, bone broth, apple cider vinegar and products like this will help your body hydrate its cell and essentially make them more efficient. While you are losing weight, lots of the weight loss in the beginning is water weight held within your tissues potentially causing inflammation.
The trick is to hydrate and not over hydrate. The gauge should be the color of your urine. If your urine is dark, drink more. If your urine is clear, drink less.
Electrolytes are very important. Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium are essential on the Ketogenic diet.
Hydration and Electrolytes will help lessen the Keto Flu and help prevent leg cramps which can be common when on the Keto diet.
What happens if I cheat?
You are working hard to change your life! But life happens and you need to be prepared to deal with the cravings and the bumps in the road. You can still go out to restaurants or parties and keep your goals. You just need to be prepared.
Prepare for cravings! Have a few sweet treats and crunchy snacks on hand just in case you have a craving. Knowing you have these treats on hand, try to distract yourself before giving in to that craving. Have a glass of water. Play with the dog or go for a walk. If after distracting yourself, you still have a craving then have a little treat. If your craving goes away before eating the treat, that strategy worked!
If you eat something that you shouldn't base on your goals set out for yourself, get right back on track for the next meal. Note that your body might crave carbs for the next little while.
Eating a high-carb meal can and will potentially kick you out of ketosis. It
may take you a few days/weeks to get back into burning fat as fuel.
How do I eat out and still stay on track?
Eating out can be daunting but you can still stay on track. You can bring your own salad dressing with you. Ask for no croutons. Lettuce wrapped. Skip the rice/potatoes and double up on the vegetables. Work with your server to make the choices best for you. Make sure you inform them of your needs, and they will always do their best to accommodate you. Skip the dessert.
If you are out at a friend's place or going to a barbeque, take your own bun with you. Take control of your own food choices. Share your journey and food choices with your friends, they will always try to help you achieve your goals.
What resources are available to me if I need help?
There are a ton of resources out there to help you when you struggle. Do you have a support system? Support Groups (in person or online), Health Coach, Friend?
There are a lot of online resources that can help you with your keto journey as well. You can also visit any of our Everything Keto Locations in person to take advantage of our knowledgeable staff.
Sometimes you need an outside source to get you through the rough patches and to help you celebrate the wins as well.What to do First?
Clean out your cupboards of all products that no longer fit in your lifestyle
Plan 2 Weeks of meals
Make a grocery list of your new approved foods
Prepare premade meals if desired
Here is a great resource to determine What the Best Foods Would be to Add to your Keto Grocery List.
How do I know if you are in Nutritional Ketosis?
There are several signs to indicate that you are in ketosis. You may only experience some of these.
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
- Increased ketones in blood, breath and urine
- Appetite is suppressed
- Increased focus and energy
- Possible short-term fatigue
- Slight decrease in performance
- Possible digestive issues
How do I test if I am in Ketosis?
There are 3 ways to test if you are in Nutritional Ketosis. Urine, Blood and Breath.
- Urine strip test indicates excess ketones in your urine
- Blood strip tests indicate what ketones are circulating in your bloodstream.
- Breath tests indicate ketone by-products coming out in your breath.
When you are first starting out, the urine strips will assist you in finding out when ketones are present in your urine.
Once you have been following the Ketogenic lifestyle for a while, the blood and breath tests are more accurate.
Have a plan for when you achieve your goal(s). It could be that you have multiple goals Celebrate and reward yourself after every goal you have achieved. Check something off your bucket list, and purchase those jeans you've always wanted; whatever it is you deserve to be celebrated!