It happens... people make mistakes all the time. But, you don't have to be one of those people that end up making one of these no-no keto mistakes, right?
Of course not. You can totally avoid these things.
All it takes is a little knowledge about what kind of mistakes you can make when you start a keto diet and then, of course, how to avoid them.
Most times people will jump headfirst into a new idea without completely researching it, but I want to help you avoid all of that silliness.
I'm going to explain what the keto diet is, how to eat a keto diet, and explain the four main keto mistakes that people end up making if they're not careful.
This way, you'll be super prepared for anything that comes your way on your keto journey.
What Is A Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is basically a low-carb diet similar to the Adkins diet.
Only the main difference is that on a keto diet you are increasing your fats while you're decreasing your carbs. So, you're still eating food and you're not starving yourself.
You do not want to be starving. That's what makes the keto diet so different.
When you start the diet your entire aim is to eat a diet that is a high fat, moderate protein, and really low carb.
But, what does that mean exactly?
Basically, you want to consume 75% of your diet from fats, 20% of your diet from protein, and the last 5% should come from carbs.
Why Should You Eat A Keto Diet?
When you're starting a keto diet you're helping your body to level out insulin levels, provide consistent energy, help you shed excess fat, and boost your metabolism.
Your body does this by converting itself from being a sugar burner (carbs form into glucose = sugar) into a fat burner (fat turns to ketones which = energy).
Your body can run really efficiently on ketones and it can actually help you to become really healthy and even potentially reverse the signs of aging.
You'll be able to see a difference in how you feel anywhere from three days to a week after limiting your carb intake.
What Can You Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?
So, you know the keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet... but what can you actually eat?
Well, there are lots of things really.
Let's go over a few things... remember, these are not extensive lists but just simple lists.
Meats you can eat:
- Ground Beef
- Chicken breast
- Chicken thighs
- and chicken wings
- Whole chicken
- and other meats
Veggies you can eat:
- Red lettuce
- Green lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
Fruits you can eat:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
- Macadamia nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Need a bit more than Keto? Try the best elimination diet around – The Carnivore Diet – and learn exactly what foods your body doesn't like. Check out Carnivore Aurelius's Guide to Carnivore for more information.
Keto Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners
When I first tried going keto it was right before Halloween – talk about bad timing.
I eventually broke down and ate a piece of candy, and, well, that led to many more pieces of candy.
Eventually, I gave up, and then about a month later (yep, near Thanksgiving) I tried it again.
This time I was hungry all the time and really grumpy, so I broke down and just ate what the fam was having for Thanksgiving rather than the keto version of the foods.
I felt like crap for the rest of our vacation and ended up kicking myself in the butt.
If I had planned right, I wouldn't have had to worry about it at all.
Want to start a keto diet? Check out How to Start a Ketogenic Diet 🙂
Plan & Prepare for the Worst
Ok, that probably sounds really horrible, but it's kind of true. If you're prone to having cravings for certain things you might want to prepare by having snacks on hand.
Things like cheese sticks, parm crisps, cucumbers & dip, keto bread, or even fat bombs.
You want things that are going to help take the edge off if you get cranky pants over food.
So, what are these keto mistakes then?
#1 Not Eating Enough Fat
People are afraid of fat from all the years of fat-shaming. It's just what it is, and the only way to get around it is by rediscovering how amazing fat is.
But, be careful. There are good fats and there are bad fats.
Good fats include things like animal fats, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.
Bad fats are things like Crisco, corn oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, canola oil, and other highly processed oils.
Stock your house with some good oils and find different ways to introduce them to your diet so it feels good to you.
A great way to do this is on a salad by making your own dressing.
Or drizzle a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar over chopped cucumbers for a little treat. It's delicious.
Drizzle some Perfect Keto MCT Oil over a salad for an extra kick and a ketone boost too!
#2 Not Drinking Enough Water
When you start a ketogenic diet your water retention level goes way down and you start shedding excess water.
So, you need to be diligent in replacing the water you're not retaining anymore.
If you don't you can cause yourself to go into a state of dehydration and then you'll get headaches, get cranky, and feel really crappy.
You don't want that and I don't want that for you.
Dehydration isn't something to play around with so it's best to err on the side of caution here.
You can go and grab a jug or stainless steel bottle from Walmart pretty cheap to make sure you're drinking your water.
I have a 64-ounce bottle that I keep with me at all times.
I fill it up in the morning and sometimes I'll fill it back up in the afternoon. Just depends on how hot I am or if I sweat a lot.
Learn the top Keto foods to focus on.
#3 You Aren't Eating Enough Salt
Since your water retention starts dropping when you cut out carbs so does your salt retention. If you don't have enough salt it can cause all sorts of nasty side effects.
Things like cramps, nausea, vomiting, dizzy spells, brain fog, and if you don't seek help when you realize somethings wrong it can lead to shock or even coma.
Now, those last few are quite a bit extreme, but since your body isn't holding water as it used to it's a possibility.
You don't need to eat gobs of salt, just a little extra sprinkle here and there will do.
One way that I add more salt to my diet is by putting a pinch in my water bottle. The size of the pinch is dependent upon the size of the bottle.
I don't want you to drink heavily salted water, but add just enough salt so that it is being replenished in your body.
Check out the top snacks you can buy at Walmart.
#4 You Aren't Eating Enough Calories
There are sooo many calculators out there that will help you figure out how much you need to be eating for your body type.
Some of them will tell you a crazy amount of calories to eat... like minuscule. An amount that is below what your body even needs to function on a daily basis.
Don't be fooled. When we eat a ketogenic diet we need to eat a little more than on a usual diet.
If you restrict your calories too much and you're a woman you can cause hormonal issues to start happening.
Here's a great article by Leanne Vogel where she talks about how the ketogenic diet is different for women.
Leanne believes that as women we should be careful about eating a keto diet because our hormones can be shifted either positively or negatively by the foods we eat, how we eat, and how much we eat.
Her points on keto are fascinating and ultimately what lead me to try the keto diet.
Your hormones aren't the only thing to watch out for if you're not eating enough though. Your body is already adjusting to turning fat into ketones for fuel.
So, during your transition time, it's best to make sure your body has enough fuel to convert to ketones.
You'll end up feeling super depleted, tired, sluggish, and like you can't think straight if you don't eat enough.
Yes, once you're adapted you can start playing with the fat lever to find what settings you need to be at for weight loss.
But, in the beginning, you need to let your body actually adapt before you try making it lose weight.
#5 You're Eating Processed Meats & Cheese
This can cause you to hold weight because you're not really cleaning out your diet. You're just swapping high glycemic foods for processed low carb options.
If you want to get the best results you should definitely aim to eat non-processed meats with good fat choices and veggies.
That's not to say that you can't have processed meats and cheese, but I am saying don't eat them for every meal. It's not sustainable and you'll end up binging on carbs if you try to do it.
Bonus Mistake #6 You're Avoiding Low Starchy Veggies
Phew. I had to come in and add this step because I've noticed a trend lately...
People are becoming "meat & cheese keto" and avoiding veggies. This. Is. Bad!
Look, the keto diet is a low carb diet where you try to stay under 50g of carbs and most times under 20 grams. But... this doesn't mean you avoid your low starch veggies!
We need these for vitamins, minerals, and fiber. By nature, keto is a low fiber diet, but if you eat your greens you'll get more fiber than if you just eat meat and cheese.
Example: If you eat EIGHT CUPS (or approx 453g of lettuce if you use a scale) of Romaine of Lettuce you'll only have eaten roughly 10g of Net Carbs. For. The. Entire. Day.
Don't be afraid to eat your veggies. Planning does amazing things to keep you from feeling overwhelmed when it comes to eating for this keto lifestyle.
You can do this! You're amazing!
The benefits of a keto diet and lifestyle are amazing. You lose your cravings for crap foods, you get to experience steady energy all day, you start to sleep better, and so much more.
Once you've made it through the initial stages of adaption you can start experimenting with what makes you feel the best.
Top Tips For Avoiding These Top Keto Mistakes
In a nutshell, there are things you can do to avoid making these mistakes.
Are they necessary? Well, not all of them, but they're beneficial.
- Drink tons of water. You need water to help combat the fact that you'll be losing a lot more water now rather than retaining it. Did you know that you retain about 2-3 ounces of water for every gram of carb your body stores? Yeah... so, when you stop eating carbs and your body stops storing carbs you'll lose that excess water weight and you'll need to replenish that or you'll get dehydrated. Fix: Buy a big water bottle (like my fav bottle) to keep on track.
- Add salt to your water and food. Don't add a buttload of salt to your water. Only add about 1/4th to 1/2 teaspoon to a 32-ounce jar of water. It won't disrupt the flavor of the water. Since you're not retaining water anymore that means you're also not retaining salt. So... you need to replenish that crap or you'll feel like crap. I use this brand here and love it.
- Think about taking a Ketone Supplement. If you didn't know, ketone supplements can help get you into ketosis and feeling great faster than doing it alone.
- I would suggest taking an electrolyte and magnesium supplements. These aren't 100% necessary, but they will make your life soooo much better. Trust me. You'll want these in your life. Because I remember getting really bad headaches in the beginning and these are the only things that really helped me. I tried the extra water and salt, but once I took these supplements I felt better until the keto flu passed. I have used Perfect Keto Electrolytes and love Natural Calm's magnesium supplement.
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