How to follow a ketogenic diet in 10 easy steps

-SANJANA SUBRAMANIAN

HOW TO FOLLOW A KETOGENIC DIET IN 10 EASY STEPS

Unless you’ve done it scores of times, following any kind of a diet plan is not easy. Especially not keto! When you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re cutting down your carb intake drastically. While this is good for you when it comes to weight loss, it’s pretty difficult to actually do, considering most of our dependency on carbs.

But hey, nothing’s impossible if you’re willing to give it your all. And so, if you happen to have your heart set on this diet and are ready to jump right in with a firm mind, we’re happy to help. Here’s how you can follow a ketogenic diet in just 10 easy steps.

Step 1 – Do your homework

Before you begin, it’s important to know everything that there is to about a ketogenic diet. What exactly does it entail? Do you think your body will be able to deal with this kind of a transition? So:

  • Read up extensively on keto diets
  • Familiarize yourself with keto vs non-keto food items
  • If you have any food allergies, keep those in mind and tweak your diet accordingly
  • Understand the importance of incorporating protein into your low-carb diet
  • Consult with your trusted doctor or nutritionist before you even decide to begin

Step 2 – Reduce your carb intake

This is one of the most important things to do. Since the ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet, prepare to say goodbye to high-carb food including pasta and bread.

  • Bring home low-carb veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, spinach, etc.
  • Look for low-carb alternatives (for instance, cauliflower crust pizzas)
  • Toss out all the high-carb food items lying in your kitchen

Step 3 – Increase your fat intake
It’s important to eat ‘healthy’ fats when you’re on this diet. Now that you’re cutting down on carbs, your body will rely on fats to generate energy. So, eat up, but in moderation.

  • High-fat dairy is good. You can eat hard cheese, butter, etc.
  • Find space in your refrigerator for avocados and berries

Step 4 – Say yes to protein
Do not undermine the importance of nutritious proteins in your ketogenic diet. They help support muscle growth and cell function, but are to be had in moderation.

  • You can stock up on fish and eggs
  • Cottage cheese is good
  • Fill up those snack jars with nuts and seeds instead of calorie-laden crisps! Think almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, etc.

Step 5 – Track your calories

It’s easy to think that you’re eating less than you did before. But, you may actually be eating lesser portions that are equally impactful in terms of their ingredients and might possibly lead to you gaining weight. So, it’s important to keep track of what and how much you’re eating.

  • Download a calorie tracking app that you find simple to use in order to track the calories you’re consuming with every meal
  • Invest in a food scale. This helps you accurately measure the amount of food you’re eating, instead of making a random guess, which often leads to you eating more than you intended to

Step 6 – Find a keto buddy
If you could do with a bit of support, look to someone who can understand just what you and your body are going through. What we’re trying to say is, find someone else who’s also following a keto diet.

  • Talk to them openly and discuss any concerns you may have
  • Want to share an accomplishment? Share it with them
  • Listen to their success stories or their struggles and let those motivate you to power on

Step 7- Prepare for the keto flu
When you start following a ketogenic diet, your body is going through a whole bunch of changes. And so, chances are that you’re not going to be feeling particularly up to it. You might come down with the keto flu, which denotes the side effects of your body getting into ketosis. Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Craving for sugar
  • Sore muscles
  • Poor sleep
  • Stomach pain
  • Inability to focus
  • Confusion
  • Cramps
    More often than not, a lot of these symptoms can be alleviated by keeping your body hydrated at all times. So, make sure to drink plenty of water and if things don’t get any better, consult with a doctor for mineral supplements, if required.

Step 8 – Drink lots of water
This may not sound super important, but take it from us – it actually is. When you’re on a ketogenic diet, staying hydrated through the day is absolutely essential, because the body tends to start releasing water when you switch to a low-carb diet. Besides, if you’re dehydrated, keto flu symptoms will feel more acute and troublesome.

  • Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go and keep sipping
  • Aim at finishing a bottle of water when you wake up in the morning, since your body is at its peak level of dehydration after a full night’s sleep

Step 9 – Keep your mind & body at ease

Remember, stress is bad news for the body. If you’re stressed out, you may not be able to focus on following your diet and it can even have adverse effects on your health.

  • Practice meditation every morning
  • Consider signing up for yoga classes
  • Create a playlist that soothes you and listen to it when you’re feeling particularly stressed out

Step 10 – Sleep well

Think this is not in your hands? Well, it could be! If you don’t sleep well, especially while following such a diet, the stress levels in your body will escalate and that, we all know, is not good! So:

  • Get in a good 7-8 hours of sleep each day
  • Keep your room cool, to facilitate sound sleep
  • Consider using a sleep mask to block outside the light of any kind
  • If you’re a light sleeper, you could keep earplugs handy and put them in to better enjoy a good night’s sleep

Keep track of how your body responds to this diet and make changes accordingly. Keep your doctor or nutritionist in the loop at all times. And if you follow these 10 steps well, we think you’ll be good to go!

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