The “Key to” Keto Success
What is keto?
If you follow my free FB page, you’ll know that the month of February was dedicated to all things KETO. But what is it? “Keto” is short for “ketogenic”, which refers to the metabolic state when your body is breaking down fat and using ketones for energy (aka “ketosis”). The keto diet is high in fat and extremely low in carbs, which forces your body into a fat-burning mode.
Why would anyone go keto?
Good question, let’s back up for a little metabolism 101. You can think of your metabolism like a campfire. If carbs burn hot and dirty like kindling, fats burn slowly and consistently like logs. Carbs are great for quick energy, but you don’t want to be stuck in a carb-burning mode. In a carb-burning mode you have to eat all day long (and become a slave to your snack stash) to keep your energy levels up (just as you have to keep feeding the fire with twigs). Ideally, you want your body to be able to switch into a fat-burning mode when needed. Then you can easily go long stretches of time without needing food (because you can dip into your stored energy, aka body fat). Just as intermittent fasting helps your body transition into a fat-burning mode, the keto diet also promotes metabolic flexibility,
Should I go keto?
People typically try the keto diet when they want to kick-start their weight-loss or optimize their athletic performance. However, because it is an extremely restrictive diet, it is best done for a short time period (no more than a few weeks) or cyclically (on and off). It is not advised for individuals who have a history of disordered eating, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have a hard time digesting fat.
A keto diet (when done well) can be life-changing! However, the key phrase here is “done well”. There is a lot of over-simplified and misleading information out there, so I suggest you do your research (or join my free Facebook group) before loading up on bacon!
How should I go keto?
A keto diet is high in fats (around 70% of your daily calories), moderate in protein (around 25%), and very low in carbs (around 5%). If you are stuck in a carb-burning mode, it might take your body a bit of time to adjust to all the fat you will be eating. Think of it like training for a marathon, you have to start slow and work up to higher amounts of fat.
Another key to keto success is to focus on eating “clean keto”. This means getting most of your energy from HEALTHY, whole food fats like nuts and seeds, coconut, fish oils and animal fats, avocados, olives and their oil, and quality, full-fat dairy (if you can tolerate it). Even though most of your calories will come from fat, most of your plate should be taken up with non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and cucumbers. Try adding electrolytes like my Dynamic Electrolytes, Redmond’s Sea Salt (use code: CYNTHIA for 15% off), or LMNT to your water to counterbalance those you will lose in ketosis (and avoid the nasty symptoms of the “keto flu”).
How should I NOT go keto?
In contrast, you want to avoid eating “dirty keto”. You should avoid those processed, toxic seed oils like the plague (learn why here). Bacon fried in butter may be “keto”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you! Instead, focus your attention on loading up on nutrient-dense veggies and quality fats and oils.
The final tip is to commit! As I said, you might need to transition to eating more fat before going completely keto. However, you will not be in ketosis if you are only eating keto “sometimes”. Your body has to burn through its carbs stores before it is forced into fat-burning ketosis. To get the full benefit of keto, you can’t cheat with a carb-heavy meal here and there!
Keto can be life-changing, but the KEY TO SUCCESS is to do it well! Join my free Facebook group to learn more and engage with others in the community!
Here are some of my favorite keto related resources:
Have you found success with keto? If so, please let us know in the comments below. We love sharing success stories!