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Keto: How To and Is It For Me?

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You’ve probably heard of the Keto Diet… It’s currently a popular trend in the nutrition industry, and is backed by some legitimate science. It was originally discovered and implemented for seizure patients who were non-responsive to medication, and is now being used widely as an effective way to lose body fat and lean out. 

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The human body’s preferred energy source is glucose, which is what our bodies make when we ingest carbohydrates. Extra glucose is stored as glycogen, which can be stored for up to two days. When you ingest more carbs, you make more glucose, and you store more glycogen, which means you are almost solely running off of carbs, leaving all of the fat you ingest to stay nice and comfy within your body.

When eating keto, the goal is to consume very little carbohydrates and a good amount of protein, fat, and green vegetables. Doing this will result in your body changing it’s main fuel source to fat, using the fat you eat and the fat that you have stored. When your body starts using fat as it’s fuel source, you produce ketones, hence the name of the diet. This is also referred to as being in a “ketogenic state”. Being in a ketogenic state simply means that your body is breaking down fat, produces ketones.

Here are some of the benefits of the ketogenic diet that can be seen in the average person (there are even more when it comes to medical issues, i.e. cancer, epilepsy, etc):

-Weight loss

-Decrease in or disappearance of sugar cravings

-Increased energy

-Skin improvements

-Decrease in blood pressure

-Blood sugar regulation

Is it dangerous?

One of the most common misconception of the keto diet is that it is dangerous to the liver, kidneys, etc. because it confused with ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when your body has an extremely high level of ketones from the body not being able to process glucose and insulin properly. This results in the blood becoming acidic and this state is dangerous to your organs. This is NOT caused by the keto diet, and is mostly caused by poor blood sugar management in people with diabetes and various other disorders.

Nutrition needs vary from person to person. What works for some people may not work for others. We fully understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all guide to health with fitness or with food. We do think that the ketogenic diet is very helpful to a good amount of people, that it is safe, and that is extremely effective. This does NOT mean that we do not think high carb, high protein, low fat diets don’t work, that a vegan diet isn’t good for you, etc. The ketogenic diet is one of many good options as a way of eating. 

Getting Started

Watch the video above or read below. The video will have more detailed information if you get confused just using the list below…

  1. Complete a body composition test – preferably on a machine that is extremely reliable. The more accurate your data here, there better. We have an Inbody here which is 99% accurate and the same company NASA uses. If you’d like to schedule a body composition test, email us HERE.
  2. Visit this website to figure out your macros: https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/. Be honest! This will tell you exactly how much protein, fat and carbohydrates you should be having in a day.
  3. Download MyFitnessPal and input the macros that the keto calculator spit out from the step above.
  4. Order anything to enhance your keto experience. Options include
    1. Keto test strips
    2. Ingredients for Bulletproof Coffee if you drink coffee
    3. Exogenous Ketones
    4. BCAAs
      1. Can likely be purchased in house at your gym but provided a link to a great BCAA above
      2. beneficial for energy during workouts and prevents muscle catabolism
    5. Multivitamins, tupperware containers, etc.
  5. Print out an accepted foods list
  6. Look up Keto recipes (if you’re into cooking….we just eat the basics every day.)
  7. Create a meal plan for yourself or have us do it for you and then go grocery shopping!
  8. Prep food! Plan one day a week that you will commit to food prep weekly and give yourself 1.5-2 hours to prep. This will greatly benefit you throughout the week so you don’t feel like you’re scrambling to find something to eat. Hungry people make bad decisions.
  9. Start, stick to it for 4-6 weeks as a test and don’t cheat!

Throughout the next 6 weeks, your goal is to be eating 20g or less of net (net carbs are however many carbs are in something minus the fiber, so if something has 10 carbs and 7 grams of fiber, it has 3 net carbs) carbs per day. This sounds crazy, but I PROMISE it’s not as bad as it sounds. This is CRUCIAL in getting into ketosis. Read nutrition labels. Don’t dismiss the few grams of sugar in that salad dressing. If you want to get the most out of this, you need to pay attention to what you are putting in your body.

The first few days will be very important because we want you to get into ketosis quickly so that you can get over any annoying cravings, the keto flu (see below), and start feeling better! In the first few days you should be doing workouts that include high intensity training or weightlifting in attempt to go through all stored glycogen. Intermittent fasting is also a good idea for the first few days (and throughout the program if you like it), again to burn through that excess glycogen. This means fasting throughout the night while sleeping, and waiting until around 12-2pm to eat your first meal. After that, eat all of the protein, fat, and veggies you’d like (not ALL of it, but a good amount.. lol).

After the first week or so of following this, you should be in ketosis, but many are able to get into ketosis into a day or two. Here are some signs that you’ve reached ketosis:

  • Short term fatigue
  • Short term decrease in performance at the gym
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Increased energy
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Weight loss

What to Eat

For the most part, stick to meat, vegetables, nuts and berries. Some dairy may incorporated, but it is easy to go overboard so make sure you aren’t snacking on cheese 24/7.

Beware of sneaky foods such as corn (a grain, not a vegetable), peanuts (a legume, not a nut), jerkys (often time have added sugar), and some seasonings. These all contain more carbohydrates than we would think.

Other things to make sure you keep an eye on are things like keto breads, etc. These are okay IN MODERATION, but we know how easy it is to make a batch of keto rolls and eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Please take a look at the following foods list taken from busymomsketo.com. If something is not on the list, please ask us before consuming it.

What to Expect and Helpful Hints

6 weeks is a pretty short time in the grand scheme of things, but we’re pretty confident that if you stick to this program, you’ll be feeling amazing 6 weeks from your start date. Eating a low-carb diet is a huge change for most people, so don’t get down on yourself if you struggle a bit in the first couple of weeks. After the initial transition into “keto”, you will start feeling way better, you’ll rarely crave carbs, your energy levels will go up, your mental clarity will improve, plus a ton of other amazing benefits.

Here are a few things to make note of to help make your journey through keto much easier:

  • You could lose about 2-7 lbs in the first week of eating keto. This is because each gram of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in our body are tied to 3g of water. When we eliminate most carbohydrates from our diet, our bodies will be using all of the access glycogen, therefor we will be flushing out all of that water that is attached. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DRINK A LOT OF WATER WHILE ON THIS PROGRAM! This leads to our next point…
  • You might experience some symptoms of the “keto flu”, which will last for a few days to a week or so after you start this process. Symptoms include fatigue, digestive changes (i.e. constipation, diarrhea), headaches, trouble sleeping, lightheadedness. Don’t let these things scare you! They are only temporary while your body converts to using fat as fuel. To combat the keto flu, drink plenty of water (electrolytes are also a bonus, but skip the sugary drinks) and up your salt intake. My favorite helper? Pickle juice. If you’re not into that, Nuun tablets are a great electrolyte supplement. Bone broth is also said to have amazing health benefits, including combatting the keto flu.
  • After the first 2 weeks, weight loss may slow down. 0.5-2lbs per week is a great range, but that depends on starting weight, age, activity level, etc. I would recommend gauging things by measurements or pictures. Taking a “before” picture can greatly help you stay motivated and not stress so much about a number on the scale.
  • In the first few weeks, you shouldn’t have to track macros much (aside from making sure you don’t eat too many carbs) because if you’re eating protein, fats and veggies for each meals, you should be doing fine. Your appetite will also become suppresses, making it easier to not mindlessly eat. If you notice yourself stalling, it might be time to start tracking your food closely and making sure you’re eating the right keto macros. You should be checking in with us weekly, and we can help guide you throughout the process and if it comes to that.  

Example Meal Plans

Breakfast Snack Lunch Snack Dinner
-3 eggs scrambled in 2 tbs of grassfed butter, seasoned with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning from TJs

-½ yellow bell pepper

-½ cup of mixed berries

-1 RXBAR Vanilla Almond Butter packet -5oz of ground beef seasoned with homemade taco seasoning

-1 avocado

-10 spears of asparagus

-1 Serving Driven Nutrition Whey Protein

-½ cup of macadamia nuts

-5oz baked salmon with rosemary dill sauce

-Side salad with any veggies, oil and vinegar  

Another example, from Medium’s article on ketosis, details a day in food for Dom D’Agostino, of KetoNutrition.com, who is a leading doctor on research related to ketosis. Listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcast with him.

“Morning meal: Coffee, usually with ghee or MCT powder in it. About 2–3 times a week, this is all he will eat. This is his intermittent fast. He does this on his busiest days and the days when he needs to be his best. On other days, he’ll also eat eggs, sardines, oysters, and/or veggies.

Evening Meal: Salad almost every night with a variety of veggies in it and extra virgin olive oil on top. Protein is usually fish. He often eats cauliflower mashed potatoes and avocados with sea salt as well.

Late-night Keto snack: Dom enjoys a late-night Keto snack, usually Keto ice cream*. He uses 1/2 sour cream and 1/2 coconut cream as the base and then changes the flavors every night. Last night he did chocolate powder, blueberries, and a pinch of stevia.

*Note: Dom had a huge smile on his face as he talked about his Keto Ice Cream ;-).”

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