The Keto Diet - A Beginners Guide
When it comes to diets, it's difficult to keep up with what’s good for you and what isn’t. What will be hard to maintain and what is going to keep you motivated? In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with fad diets and extreme weight loss regimes and, all most of us actually want is to lose a bit of weight and be stronger and healthier, right?
It is understandably frustrating when newbies in the health and fitness world are left perplexed by the overwhelming barrage of in-depth, scientific information or even sometimes, intimidating and aggressive messaging telling them exactly how to lose weight and get into shape. Some may even find themselves in a cold sweat, laying in the middle of the room in the fetal position just thinking about it, let alone actually attempting to diet.
It really doesn’t need to be like that. Here at PROMiXX, sure, we are the experts and sure, we can offer advice and guidance to the most elite of athletes, the gym bunnies and the uber-fit, but, we also believe that a healthy lifestyle is attainable for all and we are here to offer tips and, even emotional support, to the beginners too.
What is the Keto Diet?
Let’s get scientific just for a moment. The reason for the diet’s name ‘keto’ is because the trick is to put your body into a state of ketosis. That all sounds very hardcore and technical but all it means is that you will deprive your body of the carbohydrates it burns for energy, encouraging it to burn fat instead of the sugar from the bloat-inducing carbs.
The recharged version of a very old and well-researched diet is changing the lives of millions of people the world over and can be adapted to work for you whatever your weight, your goal or your fitness level. OK, that’s enough science for now.
One of the hardest things about dieting is being taunted and tortured by that pesky little demon we call hunger. Keto is all about eating as much ‘good’ food as you want, it’s about satiating your hunger when you need to and about eating food that fills you up, stopping you from frequent uncontrolled snacking. You are essentially training yourself from turning Netflix and ‘chill’ into Netflix and ‘smash a tub of cookie dough and a mountain of nachos in your face’?… We’ve all been there. If this is where you falter then, the keto diet may be the one for you.
Modern scientific research proves that the keto diet works for weight loss and that it can also help to improve many health concerns.
The Basics of Keto - Let’s Break it Down
Our bodies run on two energy sources, one is sugar, and the other is fat. When we eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, potato and pasta, our bodies use the sugar from those carbohydrates to burn for energy. On the keto diet, the key is to limit carbs so much that your body realises it needs to switch to burning fat instead. This means that you will be burning fat, all the time, whether you are exercising or not. Sounds easy right? Well, although it is relatively straightforward and, as diets go, it’s entirely manageable, it does still require discipline, focus and an understanding as well as knowing what to expect.
On the keto diet, your body needs to use the fat from real foods like meat, fish eggs, vegetables, butter and olive oil to fuel, not only the body but the brain too. When you are in a state of ketosis, the liver converts fat into energy molecules called ‘ketones’. Ketones are like brain food.
It’s not just our brains that benefit from those awesome little ketones. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it is a bucket of energy; you will feel energised and motivated!
What to Eat and What Not to Eat on Keto
As this is a beginners guide, let’s be realistic here. There’s no use having a comprehensive list of forbidden foods and attempting to become a nutrition expert overnight. For now, stick to the general rules. Starchy carbs are a ‘no no’, avoid bread, pasta, rice and potato. It is also best to stay away from fruit, to begin with, because, although some fruits are not too bad on this diet, a lot do contain natural sugar, so it’s best to avoid them all together in the first instance and make up for it with lots of veggies.
When it comes to choosing the right vegetables, if they grow above ground then, generally speaking, they’re fine. You can eat broccoli and cauliflower, kale, spinach and Brussel sprouts but for the time being, avoid root vegetables like carrots, swede, parsnip and beetroot.
You can also eat most meat, as long as it’s not processed and full of nasty additives. You can enjoy nice, fatty meats like ribeye steak, chicken thighs and lamb chops but avoid processed meats like low-quality sausages or deli meat.
The Simple Rules:
Rule 1 - Starchy ‘carbo’ are a ‘no no’
Rule 2 - If they grow above ground, chow them down
Rule 3 - You can always eat, any real meat’
Ketosis - What to Expect
The Keto Diet is working to reach that super-state of ketosis. To do this, it has to first run out of sugar and glucose. Even when you stop eating or you massively limit your intake of carbs, your body still has some stored, so it will use that up first which can take a few weeks. The body will learn, in time, that it’s not getting any more so it will resort to burning fat for energy. That’s when the weight loss will begin. For some, this will start happening right away, but for others, it will take a few weeks before they start to notice those pounds falling off.
A keto diet doesn’t just have to be a quick-fix or a kickstart. Many people adapt their lifestyle and maintain this diet in the long term. By being in a constant state of ketosis, you won’t feel hungry too often; you will continually burn fat and may feel an improvement in your overall health and emotional wellbeing.
The Ketogenic Diet and Cravings
One of the great things about using the keto diet, specifically for weight loss is that by eating food that’s high in fat and eating as much as you want at mealtimes, your hunger is satisfied and those niggling urges to graze throughout the day all but disappear. This only further promotes weight loss.
How to Successfully Start the Keto Diet
A basic rule for getting started and for a novice is to take it easy, take it slow and be realistic. If you attempt to cut out all carbs, eat nothing but chicken and broccoli twice a day and fast for 16 hours then you will feel suitably sorry for yourself, tell yourself that it isn't worth it, you'll give up and feel awful after a carb-fest. Go easy on yourself. Try just cutting out bread, pasta, rice and potato. Have bacon and egg for breakfast, then meat and veggies for lunch and dinner and sustain yourself with water, coffee, nuts and dark chocolate for the occasional snack. As time rolls on, you will adapt, and you’ll be able to be more strict with your calorie and macronutrient intake and could even incorporate some intermittent fasting into your regime.
Where can I learn more about the Ketogenic Diet?
Keto diet pro, and success story AllyMcWowie will be a great source of information to those just starting out and looking to shed the pounds.
For a more in-depth and expert look at just what incredible goals you can achieve, then check this out from WBFF Pro, Dan Ventura:
Where can I find keto-friendly recipes and diet plans?
Ally is a self-confessed food addict and she has managed to defeat her cravings on the keto diet but still enjoys her food. Check out her meal-planning video:
So, will you be giving the Keto Diet a go? Check out this Keto Calculator to help you along the way. Let us know how you get on.
Good Luck from Team PROMiXX!
- Katie Cullen