I want to start off by saying that I do NOT have a medical degree. I’m NOT a nutritionist nor am I a dietitian. Shoot, I’m still not sure of all the science behind this keto thing. I am, however, a regular mom who makes a crap load of mistakes that just so happened to lose some weight following the keto way of eating. Take what I have to say with a grain of salt (make sure it’s the pink himalayan kind!). Now, with that being said, don’t get scared! This all seems like a lot of information. Take it slow, message me if you have questions, and TRY KETO!!! Just trust me, ok. I’m a mom. I know.
Here we go. Are you still with me?
Follow the Ketovangelist blog and Facebook groups
I cannot stress this enough! The Ketovangelist group is FILLED with knowledgeable coaches and admins that will give you the most pure information about the ketogenic way of life. Their goal is for you to have optimum gut health, so be prepared to be shocked at all of the food items that are not good for you!
Use the search function within their Facebook group to get the specific information you’re looking for. Are you hypoglycemic? There’s information in there about that. Have crohn’s disease? There are people out there that do, too. And they’re talking about it! Get yourself excited by looking at before and after pictures. Look at meal plans to get an idea of what you could be eating. Learn learn learn as much as you can. Knowledge is power, people!
Boy oh boy, this one is also important. If you don’t know something or if you have been wondering about something, ASK! Ask me. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out. Ask on the Ketovangelist Facebook group. They’ll know! Whatever it is, just ask. The keto way of life is so bass ackwards from everything you’ve ever been taught about health and wellness. You’re going to have questions! Things are going to be confusing. You have a huge support group available to you that wants nothing more than for you to be super successful for the rest of your life!
Track your foods
You are going to be so surprised at how quickly 20g of carbs adds up. You’re going to be even more surprised at how many carbs are actually in your foods. For this reason alone, you need to track. I use MyFitnessPal (find me – Mommytriesketo) and still attempt to track my foods, though I have become a little lazy in this area. There are lots of different keto tracking apps out there that you can use. No matter what it is, even if it’s a pencil, paper, and Google… TRACK!
*Tracking tip* Track what you’re about to eat first, then eat. Sometimes, you’ll think something is within your carb limit and then WAMMMO, you’ve just consumed 30 carbs and there’s nothing you can do about it!
Keep it simple
You’ll start to realize pretty quickly that just starting keto can feel overwhelming. You’ll read about taking supplements and buying fancy flours and meal prepping 50 lbs of bacon beforehand. Trust me when I say, simple is better. Your first keto goal is to get your carbs under 20g a day. Under 20. To do this, you’ll avoid bread/grains, beans, ALL sugar and fruit. Yes, you’ll avoid fruit! Eat whole foods like eggs, bacon, tuna, chicken, broccoli, avocados, cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, coffee and tea, etc. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the miniscule amount of carbs, then you can start thinking about your protein/fat intake and all the other “stuff” that comes with the keto way of life.
Take before and afters
Please please please, whatever you do, take before pictures and measurements. Of EVERYTHING. Measure your neck, arms, waist, thighs, hips, calves… everything! Take pictures in light-colored, form-fitting clothing. Sleeveless, even. And close-ups of your face. Trust me on this!! If you do not do this, you will be kicking yourself in the months to come. For most, keto does amazing things to the body. Even if you’re not losing weight, you may be losing inches. Or your body may reshape to more optimally perform. Or, your skin may clear up! Tons of different variations can happen. Because these changes can happen over time, you may not even notice them. But when you put a side by side up, it becomes pretty apparent!
We are food addicts, whether you believe it or not. It’ll be a struggle in order to maintain the keto way of eating 100% of the time. You’re going to be challenged with a plate full of donuts at the Friday morning staff meeting. You’re going to drive by Taco Bell and desperately want a number 3. Believe me, you will! But don’t do it. Trust me, I know. I’m a cheater. When you cheat, like I have, it will set you back both mentally and physically. When I eat something from my “past life”, all of the memories and emotions and cravings come right back, like they never left. And I spend DAYS fighting them off. Days. When my kids eat something with a high amount of carbs, they spend DAYS craving sugar and carbs. Their runny noses come back. Their stomachaches come back. We literally have to start over. It’s horrible!
Along with the troubles above, cheating could/will kick your body out of ketosis. This means, your body won’t adjust to burning fat for fuel. One cheat meal or snack could set you back days. Not. Worth. It.
If you feel the need to cheat, just remember why you’re doing this. Your health is so much more important than that temptation.
As a side note – It will get easier. The longer you avoid the foods that got you here, the more those foods won’t appeal to you. I promise!! (And I don’t promise much) There will be a day that walking by the donut box isn’t painful. Pretty soon, your kids won’t remember what McDonald’s serves. It will happen. It just takes time. And it takes hard mental work.
Once you get the hang of the keto thang, you’ll want to start reading labels. It is disturbing how much the food industry is poisoning us. Take rotisserie chicken, for example. When I first started eating keto, we lived off the Costco chicken. It’s cheap and oh so delicious!! Once I settled in to keto and started reading labels, I just so happen to read the label of my chicken. Modified food starch, sugar, carrageenan and soy lecithin; all of which are NOT keto. I was so bummed! While these ingredients are minimal, they still do things to the body that are undesirable. Long story short, the ingredients matter more than the carb count. This also means that you will not want to buy many pre-packaged items anymore because you will be hard pressed to find a product that is not full of crap. Sadly, it’s where keto gets slightly difficult.
Find a keto friend
Once you start keto, you’re going to want to talk about it! You’re going to want someone you can bounce recipes off of or, shoot, someone that understands that you haven’t pooped in three days! Do this way of eating with someone, whether they’re a work buddy, your spouse or a family member. It’s going to make it so much easier for the both of you. And if you don’t have that “someone”, let me be that person for you. I haven’t pooped in three days either so I can feel your pain.
Do it for more than just weight loss
I’ve mentioned gut health once or twice throughout my blog. I should mention it so much more! The ketogenic diet was initially created to treat epilepsy. Since then, people follow it to reverse Type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, Alzheimer’s disease, slow down aging, etc. It is also being used as a way to treat cancer. So so so many reasons other than weight loss! This is why you’ll hear me talk about how keto is a way of life and not just a diet. I’m in it for the long haul because losing weight is just an added benefit. I want to live until my children’s children’s children’s children get married. And I’m going to look damn good in my dress at their wedding.
Treat every day as a new day
The most important advice I can give you is this. Tomorrow is a new day. No matter what happens today, no matter what you eat or don’t eat, you can start over tomorrow. You are so strong and can do anything you set your mind to. You’re not perfect. We’re not perfect! But we’re very capable of changing our lives. I believe that. And I hope you do, too!