How To Start A Ketogenic Diet Successfully

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By Katie Kohnle, VP of Operations at Aliat. 

Always consult your doctor before making any major dietary changes.

One year ago, a few of our staff members decided to start the Ketogenic Diet…

I personally began the Ketogenic Diet in June of 2017, alongside Bob, Aliat’s CEO, who started it to target his type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

My motivation was also a medical diagnosis. The previous year, I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). After a lot of research, I learned that while there is no cure for PCOS, diet can drastically decrease symptoms and make it practically ‘cured’. Before Keto, my cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure were all above normal range and my hormones were below. I am happy to report that after a year on Keto, I am down 50lbs, my PCOS symptoms have subsided 95%, my anxiety levels have decreased significantly, I have a ton more energy and I feel better daily. My biometric markers are also all within normal range!

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As for our CEO Bob, he is completely off his diabetes medications and has normal blood sugars since being on the Ketogenic Diet.

Whether you’re hoping to treat a medical issue or looking to lose some weight, Keto is a great solution.

If I could go back in time to one year ago, there are 10 things I wish someone would have told me before I started. I’ve picked up these tips and tricks through trial and error during my course of being on Keto. I hope you find these tips helpful too!

  1. Do your research before you get started!

Learn what a carbohydrate is and what foods are considered Keto. Research why you are striving to achieve Ketosis. A good range for nutritional Ketosis on the Keto Diet is 0.5-3.0 mmol. A great resource is dietdoctor.com.

These visual guides are also a great way to learn about Keto.

  1. Learn what macros you should be following on Keto.

Using a Keto Calculator is a great way to determine your macros. Once you get them, set them as your goal in a meal tracker app. My favorite app is My Fitness Pal.

Generally, eating 20 net grams of carbs and below per day is the goal. Your protein intake will depend on your activity level. Fat intake is used as a lever to fill calories and curb hunger. A general rule of thumb for Keto macros is 5% carbs, 25% protein, and 70% fat, but it is best to use a calculator to get accurate numbers based off your personal inputs. Tip: track your macros in grams so it is easy to compare with a food tracking app.

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  1. Track your macros!

Use an app like My Fitness Pal to track everything you eat, especially in the beginning. Learn where carbohydrates live. Get in the habit of logging all food daily and reviewing your progress in the evening.

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  1. Practice intermittent fasting.

Fasting for at least 16 hours is really successful when paired with the Keto Diet. It helps to regulate your metabolism by allowing your body to be in a fasted state each day. Learn more on intermittent fasting on dietdoctor.com/intermittent-fasting.

  1. Eat fat!

I know it goes against everything we have been told, but eating healthy fats is essential to being successful on Keto. In Ketosis, your body is fueled by fat. If you’re feeling hungry or tired while on Keto, eat some fat and it will give your body the boost it needs. Avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, grass-fed butter, cheeses, macadamia and brazil nuts, and grass-fed meats are wonderful sources for getting enough fat in the diet daily. A great way to break your fast on Keto is by adding some coconut oil or MCT oil to your morning/afternoon coffee, in addition to a splash of heavy cream. Here’s a great resource on how to eat more fat.

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  1. Know that the Keto flu is not that bad!

Some people do not even experience it. If you are experiencing symptoms, up your water intake and eat a little bit of extra salt. Switching to fat metabolism from carbohydrate metabolism causes an initial imbalance in your body’s ion concentrations, which causes the sick-like symptoms of the Keto flu. By eating some salt and drinking plenty of fluids, you can bring balance back to the ions and lessen the symptoms. After about a week, you will no longer be having these symptoms, and after about 3-4 weeks, your body will be fully Keto adapted.

  1. Track your Ketones!

Buy some urine test strips online or invest in a blood-Ketone monitor. Tracking your Ketones is a great way to know if you’re in Ketosis and if the food you have been eating truly is low carb.

Urine strips are not as accurate as blood monitors but are very inexpensive and a great indicator for if you are in Ketosis. Blood monitors are more accurate but also more expensive. This is the one we use in the Aliat office.

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  1. Do not replace sugar with fake sugar replacements, especially at the beginning.

The biggest thing with Keto is breaking your addiction to sugar and carbs. It takes about 2-3 weeks, but once you’re through it, food will taste different to you and you will stop having those sugar cravings that once ruled your life. If you never ‘detox’ from the sugar addiction, then you won’t reap the benefits of Keto. Replacing sugar with sugar replacements doesn’t allow for the cravings to subside, as you are just replacing one with another. It is good to avoid these at first, then only use them as a treat later on.

For example, before Keto I hated black coffee and always ordered the most sugar loaded latte possible. Once I was on Keto for a while, I learned that plain coffee with a splash of heavy cream was delicious, and truly began to enjoy the taste of coffee, something not possible before. You develop a better palette and learn to enjoy foods in a new way post-sugar. One of my favorite drinks is cold brew with heavy cream, pictured here!

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  1. Being Keto does not mean your diet has to be deprived.

Since being on Keto, I have a new appreciation for food as sugar truly masks the taste of everything. There are replacements and alternatives for everything, and since Keto encourages high fat, most of the foods you eat are going to be rich and full of flavor. Spend some time learning about good Keto replacements to your favorite foods. I normally hate cauliflower on its own, however cauliflower rice is an amazing substitute. It is really difficult to notice the difference. There are lots of great Keto recipes on dietdoctor.com/low-carb/recipes. Don’t be afraid to try out new recipes. You may find some hidden gems! Here’s a Keto-friendly cheesecake I recently made (everyone at the office loved it!).

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Being on a Ketogenic Diet doesn’t have to mean hours of preparing homemade meals from scratch. You can easily find some of my personal favorite Keto-friendly foods at the grocery store:

  • Halo Top – Chocolate is my favorite flavor
  • Enlightened ice cream bars – Red Velvet is delicious
  • Cauliflower rice and mashed ‘potatoes’ – Trader Joes frozen cauliflower rice is so easy
  • Lily’s Chocolate – specifically the coconut one
  • Kerrygold Butter
  • Almond flour bread
  • Real Good pizzas
  • Mission low carb tortillas

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  1. Take it slow.

Always be open to learn more about your new Keto Diet and adjust, especially when you hit plateaus. Forgive yourself when you have a cheat meal.

At Aliat, we believe in finding preventive wellness solutions to improve our health and our lives.

The Ketogenic Diet is a perfect example of how making a lifestyle change can truly change your life. When your body and mind are healthy, your cost of healthcare decreases and your quality of life increases. By getting to the root of health concerns through health risk assessments, biometric testing and preventive care, you can take action with the Ketogenic Diet. This diet is known to help with health problems such as seizures, epilepsy, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, cancer and more.

If you have any questions about the Ketogenic Diet or want to hear more about our personal experiences with it, you can email Katie Kohnle at katiek@myaliat.com.

Related – Keto Diet 101: Why Low Carb High Fat Diets Really Work