You’ve seen the headlines.
You’ve seen the before and after pics.
You’ve seen all the delicious foods and recipes, from people who have shed over 300 pounds eating cheeseburgers and guac.
Now you want in on the action, right?
It’s no secret that the keto diet has gone viral, but if you’re not sure what to do or how to start the keto diet, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to break down three different approaches to the keto diet, and how you can get started.
We’ll also cover some of the FAQs people have about doing keto wrong, and how you can make simple adjustments to make this a much more enjoyable and productive experience.
We know once you go keto - and see the results for yourself - you won’t go back!
The first step is to decide what level you are:
Note: This is important to do as everyone is coming into the keto game at different levels. There is no right or wrong level to start on; it’s all down to your experience and understanding of keto diet or nutrition.
- Keto Level 1: Brand new, no carb-limiting experience, unsure of nutrition or the keto diet
- Keto Level 2: Some experience of low-carb diets, new to keto
- Keto Level 3: Have been in or near ketosis, but looking to sustain results
Once you know what level of keto you are, simply jump to the segments in this article with tricks that are tailored for you.
In the end, we’ll be covering the questions most beginners have about the keto lifestyle and walking you through some simple troubleshooting to make sure you get the fat loss results you want.
Starting a Keto Diet: Mindset Training
Now that you are seriously considering starting a keto diet, it’s time to face the facts; life does exist without bread.
As crazy and daunting as that sounds now, in a few weeks or months time, it will be a familiar concept to you. Our bodies were never meant to thrive on grain.
They love healthy fats and proteins. This is precisely what the ketogenic diet has to offer.
As a nation, we’ve moved away from fatty foods, and favored a fat-free lifestyle, believing that fatty foods are making us, well, fat.
We hate to break it to you, but fat is getting all the blame for what carb-rich foods are doing to our bodies.
Fats offer much more nutrient dense and delicious calories, and when in ketosis, are the best fuel for our bodies.
The core of the ketogenic diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates).
These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood. Once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are stored as body fat and result in weight gain.
However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb dieting, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood.
Carbs are like running a car on lead-based gasoline; sure, cars could run on this mixture, but it was never any good for the car or our environment.
Nowadays, scientists agree that renewable, and sustainable, clean energy sources like electricity, are ideal for cars to run on and produce much fewer toxins and waste.
Think of your body less as a temple and more like a Tesla, and you’ll see why the ketogenic diet is the food of the future.
Not to mention, many incredible, out of the box thinkers like Tim Ferriss from the 4 Hour Workweek and Dom D'agostino are all raving about ketosis.
You have every reason to join us on the journey to ketosis. So, let’s take a look at your level in more detail:
Level 1: Fat Loss Goals
If you’re a level 1 keto-er, welcome!
While it might seem daunting to start, you’re actually in the best place to begin as you have everything to gain.
If you’re not on a ketogenic diet, there is a good chance you’re eating processed foods, grains, carbs, and sugars.
When you go into keto, you stand to see the most fat loss of all because carb-rich foods make you hold onto fats and water like crazy.
What’s even more critical, however, are the health benefits you stand to see.
When you first start keto, you will see incredible changes in your body that cannot occur on other diet plans.
Switching from glucose, what you’re currently eating, to using fat for fuel, is like changing the whole engine of your metabolism.
You’re going to make such a foundational change that it’s going to feel like a whole new you.
The ketogenic diet can reduce inflammation, the risk of type 2 diabetes, improve your brain health and lower your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Basically, do everything except walk your dog and do the dishes.
And, as you might have moderate body fat to lose, you’re going to see these results come to you shockingly fast versus someone with very little body fat to lose.
Your body will undergo a transformation that will take your breath away. So please, stay with us and see what we have to offer you.
Level 2: Lifestyle Goals
For level 2 keto-ers, you are coming to us usually from one of two places.
Perhaps you tried the other low-carb diets in the past and lost some weight. Then you probably gained it back.
If you are ready to give it another shot, we have great news.
The keto diet is not a low-carb diet - it is a low-carb high-fat diet, and we cannot stress enough how different this is.
Unlike the low-carb diets, keto will make you feel satiated, energetic, and happy because of delicious fats.
You see, low-carb diets fail to replace the fuel source that carbs take away. This might seem simple, but all the good things in life are.
This leads us to our next point.
You might come from a place where you have tried keto, have fallen off, and are ready to get back on the horse and give it another go.
And we are so thrilled you are here. No one masters keto on day 1 and stays on forever. It’s about how many times you can get back up.
For you, coming to terms with the lifestyle change is going to be crucial.
This is not about learning what foods you can’t eat, but about discovering what your body can do when you give it the superfoods, (we will teach you) and learning what triggers your weakness.
Are you a fast food junkie?
Do you get late night binges?
Do you stay strict until the family gathers around the dining table for the holidays?
Whatever your binge trigger is, we can help you find it.
After all, knowledge is power, my friend, and learning how to make good choices; you can live by long-term are what will make this a success.
Level 3: Pursuit of Excellence
Level 3 keto-ers, salute! We hope you will join us in becoming the pillars of our united keto community, and help our level 1 and 2 friends get into ketosis.
You have years of experience and are going to lead by example.
For you, we have some neat biohacking techniques you can use to get into ketosis and get more out of your workouts and fitness regime.
We will teach you more about the science and knowledge of keto because folks, knowledge is power.
As an experienced keto person, one of the problems you might be facing are stalls; maybe it was easy in the beginning, the fat just fell off, and you had abundant energy, but now, things have slowed down, and you’re not sure why.
Maybe you’ve tried switching things up and are still not getting results. Not only can this be incredibly frustrating, but sometimes, a fresh perspective is all you need to get rocking again.
Even the most experienced people make mistakes, and that’s not to say you did anything wrong, but none of us are perfect.
What makes the ketogenic community so cool is it's a place we can come together and see what is working for other people.
That one weird trick someone else does might be the key to unlocking the final stage of your transformation.
Plus, once you understand what keto is at the highest level, you can work with others around you and instill change in our community.
Be a voice of change.
Lead a Konscious life.
If you’re ready to dive in, let’s go.
How to Start a Keto Diet - All Level Macros
Welcome to Macros 101.
This is where you’re going to learn the ketogenic macronutrients your body needs, and how to calculate your food goals.
In the ketogenic diet, what you eat is crucial to success.
Some call this the all or none diet, but we prefer to say go big or go home.
A macronutrient is a fancy word that tells you what it is you are eating.
In the traditional American diet, carbs consume the dinner plate, but in keto, you’re going to be eating lots of fat and protein, and yummy green vegetables.
This is the holy trifecta and is complemented with a few choice keto supplements to promote wellness and vitality.
On keto, it comes down to understanding your macros. The traditional ratio of macros is 75% fats, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Hardline.
With those ratios in mind, you can use a keto macro calculator to figure out how many grams of each you need each day, and from there you can check out the different keto recipes and plan accordingly.
One of the best things about a keto diet is that many people in the community love figuring things out.
There’s a lot of self-experimentation and sharing of data and ideas.
Some people do better on a slightly higher fat ketogenic diet while others can eat marginally more carbohydrates - and it can be rewarding to try a few methods out.
Intermittent fasting is also an area that many people on a ketogenic diet experiment.
How to calculate your keto macronutrients:
- First, you need to know your stats; this includes your height, weight, and body fat percentage (which you can find using calipers or a body fat test)
- Next, you need to set your goals; if you want to lose fat or maintain weight, or even gain weight, this is the time to plug it in
- Finally, you need to take a note of your results from the keto calculator; these will guide you in making positive dietary choices each day
Tip: Fat loss can be staggering at the start of the keto diet, so be sure to update your macros for every 10 pounds of weight gain or loss.
You should aim to eat your calories, and also be honest about your energy expenditure.
These are two rookie mistakes: not eating enough and not using all the energy you say you will.
Phase 1: Preparing for Ketosis
The first stage is not to clear out your kitchen of carbs, although that can help, but instead, to look at things from the bigger picture.
Eradicating carbs isn’t enough.
If you get rid of them from your kitchen, but not from your mind, temptation and the feeling of deprivation is going to follow you around like the grim reaper.
Instead, what we want to accomplish here is a shift in how you think about carbs - as a problematic grain, not a source of comfort.
For many people, food is love. Our moms fed us as kids, traditions are built at the dining room table, and when we’re stressed, fast-food offers a shoulder to lean on.
All of these things are contributing to a much larger problem than food.
We have linked food to our emotions and stopped seeing food as fuel.
Once you can make this switch, losing fat and feeling your best is a similar transition that is very simple to do.
Here are some ways you can kick-start the process:
- Read Tool of Titans by Dom D'Agostino & Tim Ferriss of Keto Nutrition
- Read Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore
- Listen to Tim Ferriss’ podcasts on keto
- Get the keto grocery list and stock your fridge
- Get exogenous ketones to induce ketosis
- Stockpile keto recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
It’s at this time some people choose to do a send off to carbs, with one big indulgent cheat meal but that isn't always helpful.
On the surface, it sounds great - just gorge and start fresh, but it can further emphasize a bad relationship with food.
When you binge-eat like this, you send the reward signals to your brain that carbs are good.
If and when keto flu kicks in, you’re going to think keto is terrible (when it’s not). So hang tight.
Carb-addiction is a real thing, and scientists have discovered that the body will go to great lengths to make you eat them again.
Carb-addiction is likened to cocaine, both concerning its potency and its symptoms.
And just as scary, the link between binge-eating is only present when you reduce sugar during short periods of time.
What this means is your body has a period after consuming sugar where it craves its next hit.
If you do not give into this hit, then it will try and make your life miserable.
But, as many addicts can attest to, a clean and carb-free life can await you, and we will show you a simple, easy (and delicious) way to quit carbs for good.
Phase 2: Going into Ketosis
In step two, it's all about going into ketosis. This is the part most people are scared of, but the truth is ketosis isn’t scary.
It’s how our bodies want to thrive.
Our ancestors were believed to be in ketosis most of the time, and as such, being in ketosis feels fantastic.
You’ll have so much energy and vitality you’ll wonder how you haven’t always eaten this way.
So while many people focus on what they can’t eat, let’s look at what you can eat.
During the induction phase, you should not be counting calories or using a calorie deficit.
Your body is switching from one fuel source to another and adding in fat loss or gain goals is a lot for you and your body to process.
Instead, you should aim to eat lots of healthy fats and moderate protein (like avocado, salmon, eggs, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and red meats or leafy green vegetables).
Check out our blog for lots of shopping tips and meal plans.
You should eat to satisfy your hunger.
Don’t be alarmed if your hunger is higher than usual when you first start; it can take a few weeks for your body to get into ketosis.
And most people drop fat during this time despite eating more calories. Your ultimate goal during the first week is to lessen your cabs to 20 or 30 net grams per day.
Once you start to drop your carbs, your body will rely on the fats that you need for ketosis, so be mindful of adding them in otherwise, all you are doing is a low-carb diet.
There’s nothing wrong with that, per say, but most people feel groggy and unhappy on a low-carb diet.
The healthy fats are what make you shed fat and feel great, so eat up and be confident about your food choices.
Phase 3: Staying in Ketosis
The third stage may seem like it’s foolproof, but staying in ketosis requires you to remain diligent to your diet.
That can be incredibly difficult for many people.
To prevent a carb-relapse, we recommend taking an exogenous ketone supplement to stay hydrated and focused.
When we lapse on hydration and focus, our bodies do two things.
First, they mix up our signals and tell us we are hungry, and second, we become impulsive - now we want to reach for a quick fix to make our brain happy.
By staying hydrated and focused, your brain is working in its best light to help you make positive choices.
It might sound cliche, but by being proactive, you really can avoid disaster.
After all, if you make one mistake, all you do is open the floodgates for temptation and excuses.
“Oh, I will just have one more - what’s the harm?”
Well, carbs can cause a lot of bodily harm, and the more you cheat, the harder it is to get back on track, and the more challenging to manage the symptoms of carb withdrawal become - so why not stay on the Konscious Keto plan?
At Konscious Keto, we believe that living by a nutritious ketogenic diet becomes a delicious and rewarding experience in its own right.
Below is a simple worksheet you can use to skip to those all-important answers about the keto diet.
You can also hit us up on social media @KonsciousKeto as well.
What Can I Eat in Ketosis?
The ketogenic diet is such a huge success because you can eat all these “naughty” or “bad” foods, but in reality, you should strive to be eating nutrient dense, healthy fats.
You should strive to get lots of healthy fats, like:
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil or butter
- Egg yolks
- Raw nuts, especially the fattier varieties like almonds or macadamia nuts
Proteins should come from organic farmers, when possible, and not be grain-fed or contain an antibiotic or other nasty additives.
These can be transferred from the meat to your plate.
Healthy keto proteins include:
- Fatty cuts of beef, poultry, and fish
- Lamb or goat
- Less processed pork
- Organ meats
- Whole eggs
Green, leafy vegetables are the cornerstone of a quality keto diet. These contain important and often lacking nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and more to help you thrive.
Veggies to eat on the keto diet are:
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
For more information on the foods you need to eat, and what to avoid, check out our grocery list at What Can You Eat on The Keto Diet Plan?
What is Keto Flu?
If you’ve head of the keto flu and are nervous, don’t be. This is a perfectly reasonable reaction to lowering your carb limit.
If you are a keto level 1, it’s ok to step down your carb intake over a few days or weeks, to acclimatize to the change in diet.
Merely eating fewer carbs each day is an easy way to start the benefits of being in ketosis.
For level 2 or 3 keto-ers, you might want to drop off sooner than later - much like a Band-Aid, sometimes you have to jump in.
Check out this handy tutorial guide on how to get over a bout of keto flu.
Why Am I Not in Ketosis?
The first question to consider is how long you have been eating a ketogenic diet?
It can often take days or weeks to get into ketosis, and every person is different.
If you are genuinely eating less than 30 net grams of carbs per day, it’s safe to assume you are in ketosis.
You can use ketone meters or urine strips to test for ketones - an indicator you are in keto.
If you check and are not in keto, it’s time to do a quick diet review.
Here are some helpful pointers:
Carbs are everywhere: just because a label says no carbs does not mean it is true, it just means less than 1 gram of carbs is present.
This seems fine on the offset - what harm can one single carb do - but add in serving sizes, and frequency of consumption, and you could be eating more carbs than you realize.
It’s a simple case of carbs-in-carbs-out.
Tracking your meals is a simple way to identify where you might be leaking in carbs.
Dehydration is a major problem: if you’re not in ketosis, but consuming fewer carbs, you might be dehydrated.
Your body needs a ton of water to metabolize fats, and without a constant supply of fresh, delicious water and electrolytes (the salts in sweat), you will not be able to stay in ketosis comfortably.
In keto, you need to consume more water than you could imagine, and be on top of your salts.
A supplement like Keto Activate can restore balance.
If you want a more thorough guide, check out this article on How to Cure Keto Flu. It will help you understand what’s going on.
How Can I Exercise?
One of the benefits of the keto diet is you do not have to exercise to lose fat. That may sound too good to be true; many people sustain fat loss for months (over accumulating in hundreds of pounds of fat loss).
However, this is more true for people with a lot of fat to lose. As you lose fat and become a smaller person, your body requires less energy to survive.
Therefore, if you are a level 2 or 3 ketoer, it is strongly advised you take up regular exercise.
For level 1, we recommend low-impact cardio, such as walking or yoga 2-3 times per week (per your health).
For level 2, you can step up and do moderate, low-impact cardio such as cycling 3-4 times a week.
And for level 3, you can step up into the gym and do strength training and cardio workout, although we do recommend taking a BHB supplement to prevent dehydration and to provide sustainable energy during your exercise.
This helpful guide on How to Exercise on the Keto Diet will help you get started with a regimen that suits your level of fitness.
Should I Take Keto Supplements?
Another common question for people starting the keto diet is “should I take keto supplements and what’s available?”
While we’re not doctors, and nothing should be construed as medical advice, keto supplements can be a natural and often essential way to supplement your state of ketosis.
Some supplements, like Keto Activate, contains the BHB salts not found in foods (your body metabolizes these) and can be taken to alleviate keto flu.
Other keto supplements include:
- MCT oil for Fat Efficiency
- Fish Oil for Heart and Brain Health
- Exogenous Ketones for Ketosis Anytime
- L-glutamine for Cell Health and Exercise Recovery
- Spirulina for Lower Cholesterol
- Bone Broth for Overall Health
If you would like info on how to drop into ketosis quickly and easily, this Guide to Exogenous Ketones is perfect for all levels.
Getting into Ketosis Faster
Everyone wants to know, is there a cheat sheet to ketosis? And the answer is yes, there is - you can expedite the process using BHBs, as noted above.
The cool thing about BHBs is they are the same ketones your body naturally produces in keto.
As your body is not fat-adapted, it can take a while for these ketone bodies to be produced and to get to their tissues and cells for activation.
By supplementing with exogenous ketones, you are handing your body the cheatsheet and a direct shortcut to ketosis. Your body will bring the active ketone bodies to your organs, and it will be much faster to sustain ketosis.
This method is so compelling, many people like Tim Ferriss do not do nutritional ketosis (they don't need to lose weight), to get the brain-boosting benefits of a fat-adapted life.
These progressive thinkers realized that they could do a form of supplemental ketosis to hack their bodies into running like a fat burning machine without actually quitting carbs.
This might sound miraculous, but remember, ketosis is merely a fat burning state.
It isn’t another world, and many people can maintain ketosis.
We’ve found that BHBs make this more possible for most people.
Thriving on a Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is much more than a diet; it’s a whole lifestyle.
We want you to feel welcome and comfortable every step of the journey and are committed to creating premium products with Konscious ingredients.
There is no right or wrong way to do keto - despite what evangelical ketoers may tell you - but there is a mindset. If you can get into a place where carbs are no longer a “treat” or a source of comfort.
If you can step away from cheating, and if you can envision a life where you become your best self; your body, mind and soul, all functioning on the 6th gear, then the keto diet might be the gateway to a new you.
Everyone on keto started much like you did, in the beginning, and took the same choices you can now take to achieve ketosis.
We’ll see you on the other side!