Happy Thursday fellow readers! I hope everyone is have a great day. Today I wanted to address the elephant in the room. What is this Keto I keep talking about and how do I start it? Both are great questions and there are so many different ways to approach it. So I want to share how I discovered it and how I would explain it as simply as possible.

I didn’t wake up one day and be like OK I’m doing Keto. It was actually a complete accident that I discovered Keto and even when I discovered it I had no clue what it really was and how to do it. I first read about Keto in Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore’s book The Complete Guide to Fasting. My doctor had recommended fasting and this book kept mentioning how this thing called Keto worked well with intermittent fasting. So me being the inquisitive person I am started googling Keto. Little did I know it was about to embark me on this journey that has changed my health and my life so drastically.

Disclaimer…googling Keto will open up a flood gate of information. Some of this information will be great, some good, some ok, some bad, and some will be just plain out ridiculous. So how do you know what to listen to? For me it was finding videos on you tube and finding someone that could explain to me what it really was. Then as I started into my journey I learned who I wanted to follow and what was working for me. Believe me when I say there were ton of bumps along the road to get where I am today and to have the confidence I do today. I have joined many groups and left many of the same ones I thought were for me. My number one rule if there is any negativity I am out! I have had enough of that in my life and I refuse to have anymore!

INSIDER TIP #1……you do NOT need to buy a product to be successful on Keto. Now there are products that can be helpful on your journey and you will find ones you like, but you don’t have to have them to be successful. Also, there is not a single product on the market that allows you to eat what you want and maintain a state of Ketosis.

So let’s start with the basic and give a simple definition of what the keto diet is. The Keto diet is a low carbohydrate high fat diet that allows the body to use fat for fuel instead of sugar. It is important to understand that in order to achieve your low carb high fat diet you need to know the macro nutrients that are in what you are consuming. This can be done by using a tracking app and their are several that are free. I recommend using carb manager or cranometer. Ideally in the beginning you want to achieve 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.

These are standard starting macros and as you progress on your path you will learn if you want to tweak those to better benefit you. Keto Clarity is a great book by Jimmy Moore that really helped me better understand that macros are not stuck in stone and you may need to adjust them to make them work for you. For example I discovered I do a little better with more like 80% fat and less carbs.I would even recommend that while you are researching Keto start tracking what your eating just so you can see where your starting ratios are at. You may choose to jump in with both feet like I did or ease yourself into the Keto macro world. I wanted to rip the bandaid off and to be honest I went through a week of hell for it (sugar withdrawal is real folks), but I knew if I didn’t do it that way I would never do it.

INSIDER TIP #2….Keto is not a weight loss diet! Keto is a diet that reduces inflammation and helps heal the body. A side effect of that for many is weight loss. Do not come in blazing saddles thinking you are going to drop 50 pounds in two months. Many people lose, but many also struggle to lose anything for months. You did not gain that weight in a month and your not going to lose it in a month either. I am 11 months into my journey and down 74 pounds. I have lost slowly and steadily but there has been months at a time where a single pound didn’t drop. Your body needs to heal itself. So don’t rush it and let the food heal you and in time results will come.

So now you know you need to research, you have some basic macros to start looking at, what’s next? Clean out your kitchen!!!!! If it is carb loaded, in a box, a frozen dinner, a sauce, junk food or anything with sugar in it get rid of it! If it is in your house your going to be tempted and in the first 7-10 days you will cave if you don’t have strong will power or an even stronger support system. Had my husband not been by my side pushing me I would have completely caved on day 5 which was the worst day for me. If it’s going to tempt you remove it. If it hasn’t been opened , donate it! If it has been opened toss it! Take time in your research (or read my sugar blog) about all the different hidden forms of sugars. You have to take the time become familiar with ingredients and if they are good or bad you can’t just assume because it looks good it is good. Labels are tricky (I also have a blog on this as well).

When you are researching your also going to hear a lot about net carbs and total carbs. To me this was the most confusing part and it took me weeks to figure out the art of net carbs. Then I started finding my groove and a light bulb went off. How is it I can eat this food and subtract out things from it and count it as a net carb? If it’s in the food and I ate it, it doesn’t just disappear. So net carbs went out the door for me and I became a total carb counter. I would recommend for anyone starting out just stick to total carbs it makes label deciphering easy and you will see better results in a quicker manner in my opinion. Now if you want to do net carbs you absolutely can. Net carbs is the principal of taking total carbs and you subtract out any dietary fiber and any sugar alcohols. This allows for a little more flex room in what you can and can’t eat. Total carbs doesn’t give as much flexibility but you end up eating a lot more Whole Foods that are better for you this way. Think of it on the concept of shopping the outer ring of the grocery store, meat, cheeses, and keto friendly veg and your good to go.

INSIDER TIP #3….butter (NOT margarine) is your friend! Many people struggle with the amount of fat you have to consume on Keto. This was not an issue for me as I have always loved fat. The problem for me was I was eating all the wrong ones. You need a good grass fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or even avocado oil. All of these are great choices, add to the taste of the food you are preparing, and will make you successful on your journey.

My last piece of advice for someone starting out is in addition to all the above….ASK QUESTIONS! I promise you someone will give you and answer, and if you don’t understand the answer ask again or find someone willing to try to explain it. There are great communities, live forums and boards that can take you under their wing and teach you the ropes. You can also reach out to me and I will help you in any way I possibly can. I will never turn someone with questions and wanting to learn away, and if I don’t have the answer chances are I know someone who does and can refer you to them.

Now there is a lot of information and science behind Keto and you can find all of that out there, but I wanted to just give you some basics and a few tips to start your journey. Remember a step forward is the best step you will ever take and I promise you there are some amazing benefits down the road waiting for you. Until next time…Keep Ketoing On!