Be sure to read my What is Keto post.
Forget everything you’ve ever been told about nutrition and weight loss. There is no deprivation on the ketogenic diet, and foods like butter, bacon, and heavy cream are your tools for success. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel here, I encourage you to Google keto friendly food lists. There are many. Keto can bend to any palete or diet restriction – you’ll find many who do it dairy free, vegan, etc. The flexibility keto offers is amazing.
The daily intake standard for weight loss is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Stay under 20 grams net carbs (carbohydrates – fiber = net carbs) to lose weight. Although this is the “standard”, you’ll want to use the Keto Calculator to determine your personal macros.
At this point in my journey I rid our kitchen of everything that wasn’t keto friendly. (If it was unopened I took it to the local food pantry – win/win.) With my newfound knowledge of the basics I found a week’s worth of simple recipes on Pinterest and went to the grocery store. I also grabbed some simple snacks like nuts, pork rinds, and peanut butter. Keep it simple in the beginning or it will overwhelm you. Remember, you’re doing a 180 on your system – both a mentally and physically. Keep. It. Simple. I recommend watching the “7 Lessons for Keto Newbies” video by the Ketovangelist.
In the beginning, when you’ve hit a plateau, or if you just want to keep track of your macros 24/7 (that would be me!), I highly recommend downloading the MyFitnessPal app (or you can use their website). You can set general macros (fat, protein, carbs) with the free version or you can spring for the paid version and set very specific goals/standards for yourself. Like many, I use the free version and do just fine by it.
On that note: I’m in the “I don’t track calories” camp. Keto has a way of keeping your calories in check without having to fuss over it. Some keto-ers would disagree with this, but I’m just going to say, to count them or not is up to you.
If you’re the type of person that benefits from a support community, you’ll find there is no shortage of keto communities out there. Each one is different, some are niche groups (like dairy free keto). Find one that suits your approach to keto. Personally, I enjoy the diversity and positive attitude found on the Facebook group Adapting to Keto.
A word of warning in the beginning… you will most likely feel like crap. It will effect you physically (called “keto flu”) or mentally (carb deprived KetoTams was a beast with a nasty headache 24/7). Personally, I powered through knowing it wouldn’t last long. Of course there are natural ways to battle “keto flu”, the headaches, and grouchiness. Simply Google keto + symptoms and find your path to sanity. It might be drinking more water, adding electrolytes, or taking a magnesium supplement. The benefit to having a rough start is a better understanding of how your body works.
Exercise, especially weight training on keto, will require a change in macros. There are many, many resources out there to help you adjust your macros for success (like one of my favorites, Jason Wittrock). Popular in the bodybuilding community, you’ll find a wealth of information there on balancing exercise/weight training and a ketogenic diet.
Last, but not least stay off the scale. Once a month weigh in and take a variety of measurements (I do neck, upper arm, bust, waist, hip, and upper thigh). You will notice changes to your body that a scale will not tell you (known as non-scale victories or NSV).
Diving into a ketogenic diet can be overwhelming due to the massive amount of information available – most of it varying from source to source. The good new is you can have successful weight loss with even the most basic information. Everyone starts somewhere and if you continue learning as you develop a relationship with keto, you’ll have a good handle on it in no time.
*I am not a doctor or expert, the above is what I have learned on my keto journey through research and trial and error. Consult with your physician before making changes to your diet.