If you’re starting a keto diet coming from eating a lot of carbs and sugar, cutting it all out cold turkey may be a shock. It can cause (temporary) keto flu symptoms and cravings, and while these can be manageable, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Here are a few ways to ease into it that can be helpful:
The most important key to getting into ketosis is restricting carbohydrates, but there is more to it. Your other macros, which is short for macronutrients, play a role as well. In a nutshell, here is how to understand macros for the keto diet:
Portions are related to keto diet tip #6 above. Even though calories and portions are not the primary focus of a ketogenic lifestyle, they still matter. It’s still possible not to lose weight, or even gain weight, on keto if you consume too much – this would be the case with any diet. The key to remember is that fat is a lever. Fortunately, ketosis inherently reduces hunger and cravings, so you tend to eat less anyway. Many people find that eating low carb foods keeps their portions under control naturally, but if that doesn’t happen for you, you may need to pay attention to them.
A common question I get is whether you should eat when you are not hungry. Ketosis acts as a natural appetite suppressant, so you may find that you don’t get hungry as often, or not as ravenously so. There is no need to eat when you are not hungry! Simply focus on hitting your protein goal when you do get hungry and eat, but otherwise let your body signal when to eat.
Maybe you’ve heard of the keto flu, or maybe you’ve just experienced side effects of starting keto. It’s one of the most common questions about the keto diet for beginners. As your body shifts its primary fuel source from glucose and carbohydrates to ketones and fat, it can take your body some time to adjust to this metabolic change. Ketosis also flushes out a lot of water stored in the body, which can cause your electrolyte levels to dip.
Drinking water is great for anyone, but especially if you are in ketosis. Eating carbs causes us to store more water in our bodies, while a keto diet flushes out more water, so it’s even more crucial to drink enough. Aim for 16 cups per day.
Keto recipes are not 100% required to stick to a keto lifestyle, but they sure make it easier and more enjoyable! Once you have the basics down, introducing your old comfort food favorites in keto form, like keto bread or keto casseroles, can help you stick to it long term. Here at Wholesome Yum, my focus is to provide you with plenty of easy keto recipes for beginners! Browse the full keto recipe index here. If you like a physical book you can keep in your kitchen, the Easy Keto Cookbook has hundreds of 5-star reviews. (It also includes a more in-depth guide to starting the keto lifestyle and a list of the best keto swaps for high-carb comfort foods.)
Cutting out sugar isn’t easy, but it’s worth it! Weight loss is the motivator for many people looking for keto diet tips, but the improved energy, focus, mood, and other “NSV’s” (non-scale victories) turn out to be a pleasant surprise for many people. And getting rid of those sugar cravings feels SO. GOOD. But, it doesn’t mean saying goodbye to sweets altogether! You can make plenty of keto friendly dessert recipes instead. The key to all of these is keto friendly sweeteners. Here are the ones I recommend:
Starting out on a new way of eating isn’t easy, and you don’t have to do it alone! Join our private Facebook support group here! There are hundreds of thousands of us in the group waiting to help you. We have people at all stages of the journey, so whether you need a place for keto for beginners, or you’re a more seasoned keto-er looking for others who get it, we’d love to have you in our community.
One of the best keto tips and tricks I always tell people is that meal planning is a game changer. Grabbing a bag of chips, a candy bar, or a box of pasta may be easy on a high-carb diet, but sticking to a low carb lifestyle requires more planning. And that’s okay! It’s totally doable and does not have to take hours out of your day. You can make your own plan, whether that’s planning for the week ahead like I do or simply looking at the day ahead in the morning. If you use a tracking app, some people find it helpful to enter what you’ll eat ahead of time so to help you plan better. Or, you can just use my keto diet menu for beginners so I can do it for you. Planning what you’ll eat each day – at least approximately – will save you both time and money. But, it can also be difficult and time consuming to come up with that plan, making sure it fits your macros, offers enough variety, and tastes good. That’s why I create easy keto meal plan for beginners every week. They balance meal prep, super simple recipes (that even non-keto family members will eat!), and occasional leftovers to save time and money. I have options for a single person or a family of four, so that it can fit your life. Sign up for a free week of keto meal plans here!