Think the keto lifestyle is out of your reach? Don’t be discouraged by what you can’t eat! Instead, take a page from people who are have found keto success and learn how they’ve beaten their carb cravings in order to keto hack their way to their weight loss goals. Here we reveal the crucial steps you need in order to achieve your own target weight – and keep it off!
#1 Choose The Right Keto Diet For You
The keto diet has become one of the most popular health trends of the century, however, it is more than just a weight loss buzzword. It is a healthier way of life that forces us to be more aware of what we put into our bodies.
The keto diet is built on the concept of lowering your carbohydrate intake and increasing the amount of healthy fats you consume. The body uses carbohydrates, which are converted to glucose, as the main source of energy to fuel the brain and other important organs. By restricting your carbohydrate intake, the body is forced to seek an alternative source of energy. This is when fats come into play. When the body is deprived of carbs, glycogen stores start to deplete, which causes the body to shift into a metabolic state known as ketosis. During ketosis, the liver begins to convert stored and dietary fats into ketone bodies – the body’s new source of fuel. The goal of the diet is to keep your body in this metabolic state by following specific foods as detailed in the keto food pyramid in order to burn fat and ultimately lose weight.
Sounds easy enough right? Well, with the right keto hack, it can be.
Like most diets, the keto diet is not a one size fits all. Before diving headfirst into the keto diet, you need to consider which variation of the diet is better suited to your goals. There are several versions of the keto diet and choosing the right one for you is the first step to weight loss success.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet
On a standard ketogenic diet or SKD, the typical macronutrient ratio is 5 to 10% carbs, 15 to 20% protein, and 75% fats. This is the most popular and most recommended variation of the diet. In order to shift your body into a state of ketosis, you need to eat 150 grams of fat a day and limit your carb intake to no more than 50 grams per day. Your diet should also consist of a moderate amount of protein, which should be around 30 grams per meal or 90 grams per day. Many people combine the SKD with alternate-day fasting to rev up ketone production, however, studies have revealed that it may cause negative effects such as mood swings, fatigue, or the tendency to overeat on non-fast days.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet
The targeted ketogenic diet or TKD allows for a slightly higher carb intake per day. The TKD is more suited for individuals who are athletes or lead very active lifestyles. The typical macronutrient ratio on the TKD is 10 to 15% carbs, 20% protein, and 65 to 70% fat. The total amount of carbs allowed on this variation of the diet is between 70 to 80 grams of carbs per day, however, 20 to 30 grams of those carbs should be eaten up to an hour before and after workouts.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet or CKD entails following the same rules of the standard ketogenic diet for 5 to 6 days a week followed by 1 to 2 days of ‘refeeding’ or higher carb consumption. This variation of the diet is beneficial for athletes who want to build muscle mass and strength as well as individuals who follow a more advanced high-intensity workout program. The macronutrient ratio on keto days should be 5 to 10% carbs, 15 to 20% protein, and 75% fats. On refeed days the macronutrient ratio should be around 60 to 70% carbs, 15 to 20% protein, and 5 to 10% fat.
The High-Protein Ketogenic Diet
The high-protein ketogenic diet or HPKD is a modified version of the SKD and is slightly easier to follow, however, it is not always recommended for sustainable weight loss. The reason is that much like carbs, proteins are also converted into glucose, meaning that you may not reach a state of ketosis. On an HPKD, the macronutrient ratio should be 5 to 10% carbs, 30% proteins, and 60 to 65% fats.
#2 Set Healthy And Realistic Weight Loss Expectations On The Keto Diet
Other than selecting the right keto diet for your lifestyle, the most important weight loss hack is to manage your expectations and set realistic goals. Most of us are guilty of obsessing over numerous before and after pictures on the internet. Some pictures are almost hard to believe, but we still use them as our target weight. The truth is, these expectations could be detrimental to your overall well being. The most important thing to remember is that no two bodies are alike. The rate at which our bodies burn fat on a keto diet differs from individual to individual. It’s easy to get roped into the ‘rapid fat loss’ claims and slogans, but weight loss is dependant on a few factors:
- The current state of your health.
- The composition of your body.
- How much time it takes for your body to become fat adapted.
- Your eating habits.
Just because your body isn’t melting away the pounds as quickly as you may have wanted, it doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or that the diet isn’t working. Before jotting down lofty fat loss goals in your keto journal, start with a more sustainable approach to avoid any disappointment.
Here are a few helpful ways to implement this keto hack:
Focus On The Other Benefits Of The Diet
Yes, losing weight is the primary goal of the keto diet, but there is so much more to it than you may think. The keto diet may also beneficial for lowering the risk of heart disease, regulating blood sugar, maintaining muscle and improving mental clarity to name a few benefits. Think of the keto diet as a way to improve your health and lifestyle rather than just as a way to burn off fat.
Don’t Weigh Yourself Too Often
Stepping on the scale before every meal is not a healthy way to track progress. Studies reveal that frequently stepping on a scale could be an indication of unhealthy weight-control behaviors and could lead to binge eating, low self-esteem, and negative body image. Our weight naturally fluctuates every day by up to 5 or 6 pounds. If you have stepped on the scale and noticed that you are a pound or two heavier, do not panic. It could be because of the amount of sodium in the previous meal that is causing water retention or it could be because of how much water you drank that day. To avoid any disappointments, it best to keep track of your progress every 1 to 2 weeks. If you haven’t noticed any results in a month, look at readjusting your caloric intake in a sustainable way. If you are losing too much weight, try eating bigger portions or add an extra snack to your keto meal plan. Realistically, you should be aiming for losing about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
#3 Use Secret and Not-So-Secret Keto Resources
The keto diet is a lot easier to follow when you have the right resources. When you are armed with the right tools, it won’t feel like you are following a restrictive diet but rather enjoying a new way of life. There are thousands of resources and tools available online and on the shelves, some that seem to work and others that may not be the best for you. It’s all a matter of trial and error. But once you have found what works for you, your body will be firing on ketones in no time.
Here are a few ways to implement this keto hack:
The Keto Shopping List
Ever heard the saying ‘never shop when you are hungry’? On the keto diet, you should never shop without your keto shopping list. Navigating through each aisle looking for low-carb, high-fat foods without a list will take hours. Imagine having to read every label and trying to work out how many calories and carbs each item contains. One of the many reasons people fall off the keto wagon is that they are not prepared. Knowledge is power on a keto diet and knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid makes it that much easier to stick to. Keep a keto shopping list in your purse or on your phone so that next time you go shopping, you will know exactly what to buy.
These are a few essential items that should be on your keto list:
- Dairy – Full fat cheese, almond milk, ghee, and heavy cream.
- Oils – MCT oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
- Vegetables – Zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus.
- Fruits – Blackberries, raspberries, watermelon, apricot, and tomatoes.
- Flours – Almond flour, psyllium husk flour, and coconut flour.
- Sweeteners – Stevia, erythritol, and xylitol.
Another reason why many people drop off the keto diet is because of the keto flu. This is usually what happens when your body is going through carbohydrate withdrawal, however, it is only for a brief period and does subside quite quickly. You may experience mood swings, cramps, stomach discomfort, brain fog, and fatigue for 1-2 weeks after you begin the diet. Taking a good quality keto supplement will help stave off most of these symptoms. Another benefit of taking a keto supplement is that it helps to boost ketosis and rev up your ketone production, which leads to higher chances of weight loss.
Keto Hack Recipes
Just because you are following a diet doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your meals. The keto diet is not about eating the same boring meal day in and day out either. There is a low-carb version of almost every one of your favorite dishes. It’s just about finding the right ingredients. Thanks to a little bit of creativity and the many cooking enthusiasts around the globe, there are thousands of keto-approved recipes available online. Feel like a slice of birthday cake? There is a recipe for that. Perhaps you feel like a decadent dessert? There is a recipe for that too. Use these recipes as a way to get excited about your new lifestyle. With so many ideas available, it makes planning your meals in advance a lot easier. Preparation is the key to weight loss success.
The Buddy System
Another one of the many reasons why people fall off a diet is because they lack a good support system. In one study, participants were encouraged to invite three friends to participate in the same weight loss treatment. The trial found that participants who had partnered on the same program were more successful at losing weight than those participants who didn’t. If you have a few friends that also want to start living a more holistic lifestyle, then invite them to join you on your new keto journey if they aren’t already following the diet. Create a network where you can help each other stay on track, swap recipes, and celebrate your progress together.
#4 Budget On A Keto Diet
Many people associate healthy foods with higher prices, especially when it comes to dieting. While there is some truth in that, following a keto diet doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. You may be tempted to grab the cheap refined food that we have all gotten so accustomed to eating but don’t let the price affect your decision. There are ways to be thrifty on the keto diet that will save you more money in the long run.
Use these clever keto hack ideas to improve your health without the financial burden:
Make It Yourself
Many manufacturers see the weight loss industry as a money-making machine. All they have to do is pop a low-carb label on the packaging, raise the price, and believe it or not, they have us sold! It’s so easy to fall into that trap as a consumer. However, the keto diet isn’t about buying into all these fancy gimmicks or brand names. It’s about eating cleaner. Buying raw wholesome foods and preparing them yourself is much cheaper than buying instant products. You don’t need the miracle low-carb mayonnaise off the shelf, you can whip up a batch at home for a fraction of the cost. Investing some time in the kitchen and making simple keto staples like salad dressing, smoothies, and other condiments can save you a lot of money.
Spice It Up
Good quality spices are the ultimate hack for the keto diet. You would be surprised at how spices can make up for some of the foods you miss eating. Stock up your keto pantry with a variety of spices and add them to dishes to give them that extra oomph. If you are enjoying your new healthy meals, you are less likely to fall back into the habit of buying refined foods just for the flavor. Spices are a cheap and effective way to keep you on track towards reaching your weight loss goals.
Look for The Best Deals
Many local grocers and butchers have specials on various fresh produce and meat, you just have to know where to look. Invest some time into finding deals or keto coupons online before grabbing the first thing off the shelf. When it comes to keto supplements, look for top quality manufacturers that offer bulk packages. The price per bottle works out cheaper when you buy in bulk.
Being budget-conscious is never a bad thing, but don’t let it get in the way of your weight loss journey. Eating unhealthy foods could lead to some serious health conditions such as heart disease, type two diabetes, and obesity. By changing your lifestyle and opting for healthier foods, you will save more money in the long run on doctors bills and chronic medication.
Bonus Keto Hack: It Is Not A Race
Be patient with yourself. This is one of the most important weight loss hacks. There is no set timeline on how long it should take you to lose weight. It is not a race and there are no losers on the keto diet. You are already a winner for making the decision to improve your lifestyle and eat cleaner. Whether it takes a month to lose weight or three months, you will still reap the benefits of the diet. With a little perseverance, a few helpful resources, and a good support system, you can achieve your weight loss goals. Congratulate yourself on the progress you have made, don’t let that inner monologue distract you from enjoying your new lifestyle. Stay positive, cut the carbs, and let the ketones do the rest!