The Best Side Effects
To begin, I’ve tried a lot of different methods for not only losing weight but also maintaining. Today is my ninth day eating a ketogenic diet and this is by far the best dietary choice I’ve ever made! Since I started keto:
- I’ve been around sick people and – for the first time in a really long time – I haven’t gotten sick.
- I went an entire weekend without having to take nap.
- I can stay up past ten p.m. and still feel amazing in the morning.
- I wake up in the mornings feeling refreshed.
- I have no heartburn (and before I started, I was taking Zantac every day).
- I have regular bowel movements and my stomach doesn’t twist anymore.
- I save money because I make the majority of my meals at home, from scratch.
- I actually know what’s in the food I eat.
I feel better and, if I keep feeling better, I will never want to stop living a ketogenic life.
Nine Things You Need To Know Before You Start
Before I started living a keto friendly life, I read so many different blogs an articles because I wanted to know, for a fact, that I was making a healthy decision. I mean, it didn’t sound legitimate that – if I cut back on my carbohydrate intake and increased my fat and protein consumption – I’d actually lose weight.
However, while you’re surfing the web and checking out info, you most likely will run into recipes with foreign ingredients, worries about the keto flu, and many other concerning things. Then you might start questioning whether you can even do this. The answer is: Yes, you can. So, before you start freaking out about spending too much money and feeling lousy, check out these nine things you need to know:
Number One: The “Keto Flu” is very real, but also very preventable. On my first day, I literally had a meltdown in my car because all I could think about was a turtle sundae from Culver’s. My head was pounding, I was so tired, and – I swear – if anyone had so much as looked at me the wrong way, I would have attempted to attack them. So, yes, the “Keto Flu” is a very real thing.
Perhaps it’s a combination of your body going through sugar and/or carb withdrawals and dehydration, but you also have to remember that you are essentially “reprogramming” the way your body works – so your body is confused. It’s been burning certain fuels your entire life and suddenly you’re telling it to do something different.
So, to help curb the effects of the “Keto Flu”, drink a lot of water (I was pushing 96 ounces per day, using my Contigo water bottle), get the excess sleep your body is craving, and up your sodium intake (it’s okay, you need extra salt to retain water).
Number Two: There are some weird ingredients that you will eventually need. Unfortunately, this is true and the special ingredients aren’t always the most affordable – actually, normally they are just plain outrageously priced. That’s totally okay, though, because you don’t need them all right away. In fact, I haven’t needed any yet, but I keep purchasing them – one at a time – because I know that I might need them one day.
A few of these weird ingredients that I’ve run across, so far, include cream of tartar, almond flour, guar gum, and xanthan gum. Together, buying these four ingredients will add about $45.00 to your shopping trip. However, if you buy one at a time, you can survive at least four weeks without need any of these ingredients and you add maybe $10.00 to your grocery total.
In case you can’t live without bread, some of the keto-friendly “bread” recipes – like Cheddar Garlic Biscuits – don’t even require any “fancy” ingredients.
Number Three: Your ketone levels do matter, but don’t make them a primary focus. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t even buy a box of Ketostix until my fifth day of maintaining a keto-friendly diet. I should note that I did invest in a Keto-Mojo for blood ketone testing last Friday (ordered it online, so I bought the Ketostix for initial testing). This was mainly due to the reasoning that – in accordance with basically everything I’ve read – the test strips for a blood monitoring device range from $3 to $5, on average; but if you by a Keto-Mojo Founder’s Club package, you get test strips for $.99 a piece – for life.
Back to the point of number three: yes, your levels matter. During the first week, though, you will most likely feel your body shift out of “Keto Flu” mode and into ketosis. You’ll suddenly just feel better and will probably have a gross, metallic, sweet taste in your mouth. Do realize, though, that people progress into ketosis at different paces; so, the speed that your friends obtain the goal may be different than the time it takes for you to do the same. Trust the system and don’t get discouraged.
Number Four: You need fiber so, for the love of God, eat veggies. Depending what version of the keto diet you are personally embarking on, there may be different “carb limits”. However, right now I’m eating less than 30 grams of carbohydrates per day and I can confidently say that the majority of those carbs are from natural sources of fiber – aka vegetables.
If your wondering why eating a lot of vegetables – and fiber – is important, just think about what happens if you accidentally eat too much cheese and then evaluate how much cheese you might add to your diet if you increase fat and protein intake. You don’t want to be constipated, do you?
Number Five: At first your friends might not understand, but they’ll come around. We live in a society that has lived of the premise of fat being bad since the 1960s so when you’re friends suddenly see you layering on the cream cheese and butter, they might not completely understand. In fact, if they care about you, they’re likely to try to talk you out of it – especially if they don’t know someone who has tried to maintain a keto diet.
While this might be annoying or discouraging, let your results show them that it is working. If they’re concerned that you’re going mess up your health, check out my blog Keto & Cholesterol to scientifically argue with their reasoning. I have people in my life who don’t believe in – or understand – how the ketogenic lifestyle works, so you aren’t alone.
Number Six: Join a support group. It doesn’t have to be an in-person group. In fact, Facebook is loaded with groups of specific “types” of people – whether you be a veteran, woman, male, or powerlifter (or just about anything else). You might be thinking, “Oh, I can do this on my own!” You also might be right, but I can honestly tell you that, if you’re experiencing something that you might categorize as weird, someone else has experienced it too and the only way you’re going to find them – as well as their magical solution – is by searching for them. What better place to search than a keto specific group with thousands of members?
Number Seven: Know you’re likely to succeed. Did you know that the success rate for people sticking with a low-calorie diet is roughly 50%, versus the nearly 75% success rate of ketogenic eating? That means that, if you’ve tried different diets before and failed, you’re more likely not to do it again. I mean, three-out-of-four people succeed in maintaining a healthier life by committing themselves to the ketogenic lifestyle.
All you have to do is not be “the one”, cause we all know there’s always one.
Number Eight: Keto is a lifestyle, not a diet. While researching and planning on starting the keto “diet”, I saw this fact everywhere. Leading a ketogenic friendly life isn’t really a diet. Sure, when you start it, you might want to lose weight. Yet, while your on it and so many aspects of your health improve – from mental health to lower blood glucose levels – you’ll realize that you always want to feel energetic and better than before. Does that mean you’re committing to not eating bread for the rest of your life? Nah, not really. Take a break from keto, re-evaluate your macros (especially if you’re starting it for weight loss, those will change), eat some carbs – which will likely make you feel horrible – and then, bounce right back into your keto lifestyle.
Number Nine: Get creative! Here you stand, at the edge of a cliff that can change your life from what it is to what it could be. The only thing is that you have to maintain a low-carb, high fat, and high protein diet. So, take those requirements and change them into stuffed chicken breasts, tasty salads, and delicious desserts. Recommendations for new recipes are everywhere and most of them are free. If you want some ideas, check out the Keto Recipes I’m Dying To Try!