If you've tried a diet or two in your life, like us here at Konscious Keto, you may recognize a pattern. Losing the weight is almost the easy part; keeping the pounds off long-term — now, that's a real challenge.
We don't mean to discourage you, but think about it: the weight-loss industry generates billions in sales each year thanks to our repeat patronage, all seeking the one exact diet to banish unwanted pounds for good—yet we seem to find shortcomings with sustainability in each diet, over time.
Dieters regaining size is in no way exclusive: people following any number of diets can regain weight once lost, but if there is a population that remains successful in keeping off the excess weight for the long haul; there's hope that we too can maintain our weight-loss victories with a little consideration and planning.
To that end, simplicity and keeping goals realistic are both keys to long-term success. The following are five useful diet hacks to promote your sustainable weight loss on a ketogenic diet:
Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
The litany of dramatic before-and-after pics ubiquitous to the keto weight-loss community makes it difficult to not compare your progress to that of others—especially if your weight loss seems a bit slower than those you observe in real life and online.
While reducing the intake of carbohydrates and sugars, and increasing the consumption of healthy fats, is synonymous with rapid fat loss: everyone's rate of weight loss will vary—based on a countless number of factors.
We know: the impossibly-perfect 'afters' of your Instagram favs are inspiring, and sometimes cause some competitive angst, but your best measure of how well you're doing with your weight-loss efforts on a ketogenic diet is to monitor your own changes and improvements.
Rather than playing the comparison game with others, contrast the health of your past self to your current state of health to measure success.
It's incredibly easy to wish for this ones' waistline and that ones' calves, but we're all built differently, and that type of unrealistic goal-setting can prove a recipe for self-sabotage.
Instead, take lots of pictures at the start of your journey, no matter how badly you're inclined to avoid the camera.
The ability to document your body's changes along the way can be the priceless, tangible motivation you need at times, when you don't see the numbers plummeting on the scale at the rate you'd prefer.
Remember, this is a one-person race, and you are your only competition. Stay focused on your goals and remain dialed in on your weekly progress, to stay on pace to achieve your long-term wellness goals.
Model the Tortoise Not the Hare
Keto is a lifestyle and far from a fleeting fad. Although many following a ketogenic diet do experience rapid fat loss, slow and steady wins the race—especially for those with a lot of weight to lose.
Instead of focusing on lightning-fast weight loss, expect to release one to two pounds per week, as a realistic and sustainable rate of reduction that's more likely to last long-term.
Mind Your Macros But Don't Become Manic
We may feel inclined to step on the scale in the morning after an evening of indulgent eating or to check on how close we are to hitting our next micro-goal daily, but monitoring weight-loss progress too often, can prove frustrating and confusing.
Our bodies naturally fluctuate in weight throughout a given day or week, impacted primarily by salt, calories and muscle intake, and we may see numbers that differ wildly in short span, depending on what time of the day we weigh ourselves.
Curiosity may get the best of you at times and land you on the scale often, but weighing yourself every week or two will likely provide a more accurate idea of changes occurring, and curb any inclination to obsess over daily weight fluctuations.
While some may opt to track every morsel of food they munch, others on a ketogenic diet can also find significant fat-loss success by eating intuitively, without strict data tracking.
Fortunately, a little trial and error will reveal the approach to weight loss on the ketogenic diet that is best for you.
Allow yourself time to determine whether you're most comfortable with fastidious tracking or prefer freestyle feeding; neither is right or wrong, so do whatever works best for your needs.
Keep Keto Simple
There is so much competing information in the weight-loss community, even within sub-factions of the keto community, that it can start to complicate what could otherwise be a simple and easy-going eating style.
Testing ketone levels, the debate over the supremacy of total carbs versus net carbs as the standard for achieving metabolic ketosis, the elimination of all sugar-laden and carb-filled ingredients —the ketogenic diet is comprised of many moving parts.
Try not to overcomplicate your approach to the low-carb, high-fat diet—simplicity is synonymous with sustainability, so don’t overthink it!
Delving into more analytical practices like tracking ketone levels and even minding net carbs to the letter, can prove helpful for those seeking to achieve a significant amount of weight loss. Deeper-level exercises are not required to produce a fat loss on a ketogenic diet; sticking to the basics of the dietary protocol can yield excellent results.
Stick to simple food guidelines that you can implement and sustain with ease to increase the likelihood of your continuance with the diet, over time.
Feel free to use the following food list as a preliminary guide to get started on keto:
Foods to Avoid
- Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal
- Sugar – cane, honey, agave
- Fruit – bananas, grapes, mango, oranges
- Tubers – potato, sweet potatoes, yams
Eat These Foods
- Meats – fish, beef, lamb
- Low-carb vegetables – spinach, kale, cauliflower, and other low-glycemic veggies
- High-fat dairy – heavy cream, hard cheeses, grass-fed butter, cream cheese
- Nuts and seeds – macadamia or almonds, pumpkin seeds
- Avocado and berries – blueberries, blackberries, and other low-glycemic berries, as well as fatty fruit like avocado
- Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other keto-friendly sweeteners
- Healthy fats – MCT oil, palm oil, grapeseed and olive oils
Although the realm of foods that work well to keep glucose levels low on a ketogenic diet is vast, the simple food list above is likely enough to get you started losing weight on keto.
However, if you are super-serious about embarking on the journey of sugar-free living and need more detail on how to begin, click here for more tips to get you started.
The bottom line regarding making a dietary style work long-term is this: we'll only follow a plan as a lifestyle if it's simple.
Use some of the food options noted above to create a solid meal plan and then leverage meal prep to ensure you're ready with keto-friendly food choices when it's time to nosh.
Make It Easier for Your Body to Adapt to Keto
As you research getting started on a ketogenic diet, you'll likely come across information about the flu-like symptoms some experience during the transition to the ultra-low-carb lifestyle, also known to many as the 'keto flu.'
From fatigue to body aches and headaches, the keto flu can prove problematic as you quest to achieve nutritional ketosis.
However, the good news is that there are some simple dietary elements we can leverage to minimize the unpleasant metabolic state—so we can get right to some of the good stuff, like increased mental focus and accelerated weight loss!
Also, adding an abundance of water, bone broth, quality sea salts, and electrolytes to your regimen while following a ketogenic diet will ensure optimal performance and vitality.
Remember, depleting our glycogen levels on keto leads to an increased release of all the elements mentioned above, and we are wise to replenish them more frequently while keeping carbs ultra-low.
In addition to staying hydrated, some other essential keto hacks will make transitioning to ketosis a breeze, here are a few of our favorites:
Add MCTs to Your Diet
Medium chain triglycerides or MCTs are known to decrease keto flu symptoms, increase ketone levels and expedite the process of getting into metabolic ketosis.
So do yourself a favor and add a tablespoon or two of MCT oil to your keto coffee or nutrient-dense smoothie.
Start slowly with MCTs, initially using lower doses, and gradually work your way up to larger amounts to reap the many benefits of this bioavailable energy source. Keep in mind: building up your dosage of MCT will also help to avoid the stomach discomfort reported by those who dive in and ingest a bit too much of a good thing at once.
Caffeine is Your Friend
Whether loyal to the roasted coffee bean's brew, enthusiastically swilling the caffeinated beverage daily, or a casual consumer; we can all benefit from the high ketone production caused by sipping on our nation's favorite drink.
Also, consider supplementing with MCTs by adding some into your caffeinated beverages throughout the day to boost energy and suppress the appetite—a desirable strategy for anyone seeking to lose weight while following a ketogenic diet.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Abstaining from food for extended periods is known to increase ketone production to support the body's energy needs while allowing it to repair and regenerate healthy cells in the body.
Periods of fasting encourage the body to feast on preexisting fat as an energy source, creating an increased thermogenic effect to support accelerated body fat loss, with little to no increased exercise.
While exercise isn’t needed for weight loss on keto, as we mentioned above, it’s worth noting that all forms of exercise help to boost ketone bodies, and we’re all interested in achieving that end, if following a keto diet. So, decide on your preferred activity and get moving!
Also, it's worth noting that low-impact forms of exercise like yoga and pilates are excellent on a ketogenic diet because they don't trigger the body's need for increased glucose production to support high endurance exercise, like soccer or powerlifting.
Even high-intensity exercise serves a purpose in helping us enter ketosis—although it will require unique dietary considerations. The glycogen depletion caused during extended periods of intense activity increases exogenous ketone production, which helps facilitate and expedite ketosis.
Either way, whether you choose to increase low-impact or high-intensity exercise, engaging in increased levels of physical activity can prove helpful to those following a ketogenic diet.
It's likely obvious by now that we're big fans of simplicity to improve sustainability. In addition to keeping our approach to keto simple, utilizing the power of compounding elements can further boost the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Utilize a unique cocktail of increased physical activity with added MCTs, intermittent fasting and caffeine, as secret weapons in your arsenal to maximize your health benefits on keto. Don’t be afraid to stack the dietary deck in your favor.
Use Sustainable Strategies
There's a reason why many of us have tried so many of the diets on the market in our lives: a lot of diets are effective short-term but fail to make the grade long-term.
Regardless of how much we enjoy any diet, if we're unable to find a practical way to integrate that diet into our lifestyle, we'll succumb to the seduction of whatever's accessible and easy, even if it's contrary to our set goals.
To ensure a long-term relationship, a marriage if you will, between ourselves and the innumerable health benefits of a ketogenic diet, we must undergo a mental and lifestyle reset.
Here are some tips to help successfully structure your lifestyle and environment in ways that make keto practical, to sustain for the long haul:
Follow Simple Diet Rules
A ketogenic protocol is straightforward before we get overwhelmed by the 101 ways to remake bread or desserts detailed on Pinterest!
At its core, a ketogenic diet is focused on reducing carbs low enough to trigger the metabolic state of ketosis, as well as its associated health benefits, and that simple method is enough to keep it keto.
Consider Skipping a Meal
Intermittent fasting is known to offer some health benefits, including curbing the appetite and pesky sugar cravings, along with encouraging the body to produce increased levels of ketones to provide a boost of energy and even enhance mental sharpness.
Fasting can act as a powerful tool on a ketogenic diet, but it's important to do it properly, especially if you're a woman, to extract the benefits of the practice while maintaining hormonal health.
Click here to read a detailed article with more on the keys to fasting if female, to help you up your fasting game practice like a pro.
Track Your Macros
Yes, intuitive eating is a common approach taken by many followers of a ketogenic diet; especially with those who are well fat-adapted and efficiently running on fat and ketones for fuel.
But tracking your overall caloric intake and the composition of those foods as it relates to their fat, carb, fiber and protein content will help to determine exactly what you're eating and whether it will create the caloric deficit and hormonal balance needed to promote consistent body fat loss.
Change Your Food Environment
As we've mentioned, our mindset and environment are crucial components of our success or demise as we work to lose weight on a ketogenic diet.
To avoid temptation, evict the sugary foods filled with trans fats from your pantry and ditch the processed and packaged foods in place of whole food, low-glycemic, options.
Also, make no mistake; we are in no way asking you to compromise on satisfaction when we advise changing your food environment. There are many delectable, sugar-free, recipes to enjoy on keto to keep your taste buds teeming with flavor, without spiking blood sugar levels!
Check out some of our go-to staples to help you kickstart your keto journey, via our free eBook meal plan download, here.
Prepare for the Real World
Look, we may be fully committed to the keto lifestyle, but the world around us may need some time to get on board completely.
Meaning, us deciding to embark on a ketogenic lifestyle does nothing to stop the office donut days, holiday parties, and other events that so often center around the consumption of high-glycemic food and drinks.
Simply stated, we have to prepare to navigate our environment and its many dietary landmines to stay on track in the real world—a little mindful planning is critical.
As a primer, check out this quick read that shares perfect snacks to eat on keto that won't kick you out of ketosis! Prep for the roadblocks and temptations that will naturally appear in life; and be sure to stay armed with loads of tasty and portable keto snacks to help you stay on track— even on-the-go.
Whether it's the boost of feel-good endorphins, energy-producing ketones, or the refreshing effect offered to the body and mind: exercise is highly beneficial to those on a ketogenic diet.
In addition to torching calories and fat, engaging in steady-state exercise and strength or resistance training are shown to have fantastic health benefits to those running on fat for fuel.
Create an Environment that Fosters Success
We begin a new eating style with the best of intentions and work to set the best conditions to prepare ourselves for success, but making a dietary lifestyle change and maintaining it long-term is likened to a marriage; it's ongoing, daily work.
With this in mind, create a calming nook in the home dedicated to mealtime, and do your best to stock your fridge and pantry with foods aligned with your established wellness goals—planning plays such a significant part in winning the battle against the bulge.
Our lives are dynamic, and it’s important to understand how to make keto practical no matter the setting to make it a sustainable lifestyle. Let’s take a look at a few things we can do at home, traveling or in restaurants, to make weight loss more comfortable to achieve keto:
Adjusting Your Food Environment at Home
Ditch the Carbs and Sugary Foods
This may seem obvious but can prove to be a trap if not addressed. Even willpower may prove no adversary in the face of a monster craving coupled with a pantry filled with high-carb snacks.
Don't allow the possibility for mistakes like these, by keeping at least your home environment in control. Stock your fridge and pantry with delicious, keto-friendly, food options so you can ensure that your primary environment is conducive to success.
Stash Keto-Friendly Snacks in Reach
Keep snack-size packs of low-glycemic nuts or stalks of string cheese in a kit you toss in your purse or gym bag to make sure you're ready for a feeding session on-the-go.
Plan Your Indulgences
We would never say that keto eliminates your love of sweets, thank goodness, no. Desserts are a part of the coveted flavor spectrum of foods we love, and it's here to stay, even on keto—just with some slight modifications.
Adjusting Your Food Environment While Traveling
Planning and packing keto-friendly snacks for trips are a vital step in keeping it keto when traveling. Beef jerky, shelf-stable fat bombs, and single-serve varieties of nut butter are all fantastic options for any comprehensive low-carb travel snack tote.
Do as the Locals Do, in Moderation
If you enjoy journeying to distant lands, you'll likely desire an immersive experience, one that includes tasting the local foods as prepared and appreciated by the native people.
Don't deprive yourself of the local foods. Instead, consider eating a modified version of a ketogenic diet while traveling to allow for eating foods that land higher on the glycemic index.
Dominate as Keto Queen at Any Restaurant, Party, or Event
Take Half of Your Entrée to Go
This proactive measure will curb your intake by tailoring the amount of food on your plate to prevent overeating—although many on keto report a suppressed appetite once in ketosis and may not need to consider this measure.
Share the Goodness of keto
Become the dessert diva of the party and bring some keto-friendly sweets to fêtes so there are sugar-free options to enjoy that won't disrupt ketosis!
Indulge in Moderation
There are times in life where there is no substitute, and the only way to engage in the culinary experience is to eat something way too high-glycemic to maintain a ketotic state.
Listen, enjoying a wide range of food is part of the traveling experience, and there's no need to cap your enjoyment completely. Just eat higher-glycemic foods in moderation and adjust your overall intake to stay on track with your health goals.
How to Implement These Keto Hacks for Sustainable Results
Here's a recap of everything we've covered to bring it all together and help you put our tips into action!
Set Realistic Weight-Loss Goals
Aim to lose between one to two pounds per week; document results and progress every week or two; and adjust your caloric intake and macro composition as needed to meet your health goals.
Simple is Best on Keto
We're fortunate to have many elaborate and decadent recipes to enjoy on keto, but who's going to make those elaborate dishes every day?
Focus on eating basic, organic, whole foods, like fatty fish and grass-fed beef, as opposed to always venturing to experiment with ‘ketofied’ processed or packaged foods.
Save the keto sweets for occasional treats and fill the bulk of your daily diet with fresh, whole, foods as a general rule.
Make Keto-Adaptation Easier
Dense nutrition is so crucial when transitioning to a ketogenic diet, to avoid the keto flu—a collective of misery-inducing side effects sometimes experienced when we deplete our glycogen stores to trigger nutritional ketosis.
Stay hydrated and make sure to supplement with an adequate amount of electrolytes, sea salt, and exogenous ketones, like Keto Activate or our premium meal replacement, Keto Shake, to ensure your levels are sustained despite the increased release of fluid and nutrients.
Implement Sustainable Weight-Loss Strategies
Make increased activity an integral part of your daily routine. Introduce supplements that help promote and sustain increased ketone production like Keto Activate, or add MCT powder to your keto coffee for an added boost of energy.
This will help you burn even more calories and maximize your production levels during the day.
The most important point here is to compose a weight-loss plan with staying power to keep you securely seated at your goal weight.
Create a Food Environment Primed for Success
Meal prep, the creative placement of snacks that are accessible for clean fuel in a pinch, or stocking the pantry with keto-friendly treats makes it easier to meet the endless demands of life, while curbing the carbs.
Line your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator shelves with fresh, organic, low-glycemic foods, and you place yourself ahead of the game by removing a lot of the guesswork around what to eat: remember, simplicity equals sustainability.
A ketogenic diet is a fantastic approach to achieve rapid and sustainable weight loss, and the use of the five hacks we've shared will help to super-charge your efforts on keto—maximizing your results without making things too complicated.
Stick to the straightforward tips noted above to set yourself up for success while living sugar-free. You'll soon see how easy it can be to enjoy all the many health benefits of nutritional ketosis, without the hassle—especially attainable and sustainable weight loss.