Ketogenic diets are all the rage these days. Many people think that an all meat diet where you can eat as much as you want sounds appealing. They miss out on the nuances of the diet and don’t quite understand how it works.
It’s still important that you watch what you’re putting in your diet to maintain ketosis. It doesn’t stop there, however, as a full lifestyle change is necessary to drastically promote weight loss. Here are 13 ketogenic diet tips for weight loss success.
1. Weigh Your Food
Accuracy is important when trying to reach your weight loss goals. Investing a good food scale can really help you monitor your carbohydrate intake with precision. While many may think they can measure by just “eyeballing” servings–the slightest error can have you think you’re consuming an 8 oz. portion though it may really be a 12 oz portion. These errors add up!
Avoid the guesswork and use a scale to calculate your food intake. Look for scales that allow you to measure in grams and ounces. There are even scales that connect to apps and websites for even more intuitive food tracking to help you reach your goals.
2. Drink Water
Staying hydrated is one of the most important rules of any diet, not just a ketogenic diet. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our daily routine that we forget how much water we’re taking in throughout the day.
While on a ketogenic diet, begin your day by consuming at least 8 to 16 ounces of water. This will allow your body to rehydrate immediately and begin its natural cycles. Throughout the day, you should aim to drink about half of your body weight in ounces.
A 150-pound individual should try to drink at least 75 ounces of water during the day. That may seem like a lot but it’s less than 10 cups. When you look at it like that, it doesn’t seem so challenging. Drink your water, stay hydrated, and the weight will melt away.
A common misconception on a ketogenic diet is that diet alone is enough to lose weight. This definitely depends on the individual but what’s for certain is that exercise can greatly enhance weight loss.
Regular, high interval, high-intensity training, known as HIIT, has proven to lower blood glucose levels. These short exercises–an entire workout can be completed in 25 minutes including warmup and cooldown–are ideal for ketogenic dieters.
Remember to stick to the routine and listen to your body. Overdoing it can lead to elevated stress hormones being released into the body which can produce negative effects towards weight loss.
4. Mind the Protein
A common mishap with ketogenic dieting is consuming too much protein. While protein is an important aspect of a ketogenic lifestyle, consuming excessive amounts leads to the body’s conversion of those amino acids into glucose. This process known as gluconeogenesis can really set your weight loss back.
While every person is different when it comes to the amount of protein needed, there are some indications that you can look for. If you become aware of falling out of ketosis, even though you feel you are strictly following your diet, it might be time to consider the amount of protein you are consuming.
Take into consideration the level of intensity of your workouts. Resistance workouts require more protein to aid muscle gain, while aerobic exercise will respond well to less protein for greater weight loss.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress has the power to dampen your weight loss progress by kicking you out of ketosis. Stress can impact your hormone levels causing your blood sugar levels to rise. Often times this can lead to carb cravings as well.
While you may not be able to control all the aspects of your life that may lead to stress, you can find ways to mitigate the stress. Practicing stress relieving exercises and practice like mindfulness, can effectively help you release tension and avoid the pitfalls that stress can play on our bodies.
6. Choose the Best Carbs
Some will say, “A carb is a carb,” but each carb you consume and where it comes from is actually incredibly important. Nutrient-rich carbohydrates can be found in non-starchy vegetables and fruits like lemons, limes, berries, and granny smith apples.
Find a balance in the types of carbohydrates you consume. On your lower carb days, avoid starchy carbs like sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and beets–limiting their consumption to once or twice a week.
By cycling these carbs, you’re more likely to maintain the balance and keep your body in ketosis more consistently.
7. Diet Soda Is Not Your Friend
Many make the mistake of switching from soda with sugar to the alternative sugar diet sodas. The assumption is that because they don’t have sugar, they must be perfect for a ketogenic diet. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Diet soda’s use a variety of different sugar substitutes. Some of the sugar substitutes actually tell your body that an overload of sugar is coming in. This can lead to the body’s metabolism shutting down, blood glucose levels to rise, and weight to build.
Instead of the soda’s with harmful sugar alcohols and substitutes, a great alternative is sparkling water. Sometimes we just need the bubbles in our drinks. That sharp bite and fizzy flavor can be replicated with a sparkling water without the harmful effects that diet sodas provide.
8. Measure Your Ketones
There’s no point in going through a ketogenic diet if you don’t know when you’re actually in ketosis. Keeping the body in ketosis is the key to weight loss on this diet. They tell the body to burn stored fat as energy.
Ketones are little acids that float around the body and when you’re in ketosis it means that they have been properly balanced. They send signals that you shouldn’t be burning muscle or fat coming in that your body needs but the stored fat should be used instead. This allows the weight to melt off while in ketosis.
There are three main ways to measure ketones in the body. A glucose meter will test your blood for ketone level. This is a great and accurate way to measure ketones but can be expensive to purchase the device. Breath monitors are cheap, easy to use, but aren’t the most reliable. Ketone strips are a terrific option for everyday use because they’re cheap, accurate, and can be used anywhere.
9. Stay Regular
If you’re getting the right ratios of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, the body should be working optimally and you’ll be regular. The chances of this happening for all ketogenic dieters is very slim. Life throws us curve balls and some days we just might not get the exact amounts needed for our body.
Constipation is a big enemy on the ketogenic diet. This can lead to discomfort, bloating, and may lead to frustration with the diet. It’s important that you stay regular even if you’re blocked up.
Some foods that may help include coffee, extra water, and fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and coconut water. Some may even take it a step further and add fiber supplements to their diets.
10. Find Convenient Snacks
One of the major complaints about the ketogenic diet is that it is very time-consuming. You have to prepare everything. Who wants to spend their days chopping vegetables, cooking up meats, and making a mess in the kitchen just for a snack.
Foods on the go are a perfect way to keep the diet fresh and to keep you motivated. In your local supermarket, there are a variety of options available to you. These foods provide you with a blast of protein, fat, and are low in carbohydrates.
Convenient ketogenic snack foods may include hardboiled eggs, pre-cooked bacon, dried meats like jerky and squid, seaweed, and pre-chopped vegetables with dip. These foods are easy to find so you can snack on the go.
11. Get to Sleep
A diet can never be complete without taking care of all elements of your daily life. An often overlooked aspect of a ketogenic diet is sleep. If you’re taking care of your body by watching the food you put into your body, then it’s equally important that the body has a chance to rest and do what it does.
Stress produces a lot of negative effects on the body during a ketogenic diet. Maintaining proper stress hormone levels can be done easily through sleep. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night are essential to keeping these stress levels down.
Making sure that you don’t wake up through the night is also important. A dark room with a temperature range of 67 to 69 degrees is ideal for minimizing distractions during your sleep cycles.
Here are some tips on how to create a perfect sleep environment.
12. Watch the Salts
Higher carbohydrate diets tend to result in high sodium intake. Consuming more carbs leads to higher insulin levels–impacting our kidneys function. Lower carbohydrate diets allow us to lower those insulin levels and boost our kidney’s ability to excrete more sodium meaning we actually require more of it when in ketosis.
When following a ketogenic diet, it’s best to aim for 3-5 grams of additional sodium but choose them wisely. Himalayan pink salt is a natural salt and using 1 tsp is equal to 2 grams of sodium. Try adding healthy additions of sodium to your diet by adding ¼ tsp of pink salt to a glass of water, drinking organic broths, and snacking on healthy sodium vegetables like kelp or nori, cucumbers, and pumpkin seeds.
13. Intermittent Fasting
You’re already altering a lot of your lifestyle by switching to a ketogenic diet. It’s a very involved diet that requires time and effort to prepare foods and exercise. Even still, you might run into issues with the dreaded plateau.
The keto plateau is a metaphorical wall that you run into after the initial burst of weight loss. You’ll feel tired, sluggish, and the weight won’t be dropping off as quickly as before. This is where intermittent fasting can come into play.
A game changer for many dieters, intermittent fasting can break down the keto plateau wall. Intermittent fasting is where you eat all of your calories during a specific window of time during the day. The most popular intermittent fast is the simple fast. This is a 12-hour window where you consume all of your calories.
A simple fast consists of two phases–a building phase and a cleansing phase. The building phase is the time that passes between your first meal and your last during the day. Let’s say you ate breakfast at 7 a.m. and finished dinner by 7 p.m., this is your 12-hour building phase. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next day, your body is in the cleansing phase–burning fat and losing weight. This is amplified when the body is in ketosis.
The Bottom Line
The keys to a ketogenic diet are to take care of the body in all aspects of your life. Those that are successful change their lifestyles because they want to see positive results. They work hard and put in the time and effort to make the changes they desire. Following the tips above will have you losing weight in no time.
Which of these keto diet tips have you applied, and what results did you get?
- A Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan and Menu ( + A Beginner’s Guide )
- What Are Macros and How to Calculate Them?
- How to Get into Ketosis (and Stay There)