Whether your goal is to lose weight, heal your body, increase your energy, lower your blood sugar, or just feel better… the Keto diet is the way to get there! The Keto Quick-Start Guide will show you how.
In fact, you can start living the Damn Good Keto life in just 5 simple steps.
At its core, Keto is not hard. Replace carbs with BETTER food and start noticing results within a few weeks (even just a few days!)
Whether the results you want regard your weight, your health, or both, this way of eating is about nourishing your body and loving what you get in return.
So get excited!
This is a really, really great thing! Just by making the decision to try Keto, you have already taken the first step towards a happier, healthier you. And that’s pretty damn awesome.
Let’s get started!
STEP 1 - DO YOUR RESEARCH
If you’ve reached the Quick-Start Keto Guide, then chances are, you’ve already completed the vast majority of this step. But it is a hugely important step, so it’s worth it to repeat it!
If you haven’t had the chance to read up on Keto, then start here with Keto 101: What is Keto and Keto Foods: What Do You Actually Eat? Familiarize yourself with the basics, and then come on back to this guide!
Next, learn a little about what to expect.
This does not mean that you need to spend hours of your life listening to podcasts and reading articles from different blogs… it just means reading a few articles about others’ experiences to get a sense of what’s to come.
The first few weeks of Keto can be a challenge, because depending on your current habits, it might be a major shift! And that’s not a reason to feel anxious or overwhelmed -- it’s just something to recognize and acknowledge.
If you go into Keto thinking it’s going to be daisies and sunshine, then something as simple as a headache could totally derail you. On the contrary, if you know headaches are a common side-effect of starting a low-carb diet (and that you can lessen or even completely relieve the nuisance with sodium), then you won’t feel caught off-guard. You’ll be prepared to push through!
And last, but CERTAINLY not least, if you have any questions at all about Keto and your individual health, talk to your doctor.
Most of my fellow Keto-bloggers and I are not medically-trained professionals. We are passionate individuals that have improved our quality of life through this way of eating and choose to share it with others.
So learn from us and from our personal experience, but don’t hesitate for a moment to get professional medical advice before starting Keto (or any diet).
STEP 2 - GATHER THE ESSENTIALS
You don’t need a lot to start Keto, but there are absolutely a few items that will make starting your Keto journey SO much easier!
Unfortunately, as the Ketogenic Diet gains popularity, there are a lot of companies out there trying to capitalize on the trend to make a quick buck. You’ll see ads for hundreds of items that you need to get you into Ketosis or jump-start your body into fat-burning mode!
...and truth-be-told, many of these are simply marketing ploys. But hey, that’s a good thing! That's less money you have to spend on crazy products and more to spend on delicious foods (and new clothes when all your old ones stop fitting!)
Check out the 5 Keto Essentials You Need To Get Started to see which products we strongly recommend purchasing before you start Keto.
These are the items that we use every single day (or damn near close to it). This article is 100% from our personal experience and our desire to share what we’ve learned with you.
If you want to explore a few more products, check out The Keto Diet "Nice To Have" List. These ingredients and gadgets are non-essential, but they brighten up our lives, so we wanted to share them with you!
The list includes products like our favorite Keto coffee creamer. Now, if you don’t drink much coffee, you may not care... but if you’re a die-hard coffee fan that’s used to putting at least 2 oz. of Hazelnut Coffeemate in your morning cup (*cough* that was me *cough*), then this product could be EVERYTHING to you.
It’s all about choosing the right Keto products for your lifestyle and happiness.
STEP 3 - START USING MYFITNESS PAL
Seriously. Start using it today.
Even if you don’t plan to start Keto right away, get in the habit of tracking your food now. It may seem like a huge hurdle or nuisance in the beginning (at least it did for me), but in a few short weeks, it becomes second nature.
It only takes seconds of your day to do it. In fact, once you're in the habit, it will feel weird not to track. It's so nice to know exactly what you're eating!
Make sure you check out (and bookmark) the Step-By-Step Guide to Using (and Loving) MyFitnessPal. This guide breaks down how to get started, the easiest ways to track your foods, and how to set your Keto goals right into the app.
You’ll be a MyFitnessPal pro in no time!
STEP 4 - SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
The Keto Diet is not hard... but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a challenge.
Not only is it a serious lifestyle shift, but you are also asking your body to undergo a major change at the cellular level. You are changing the way your body processes food and uses energy. That is awesome.
And it is also no small thing.
Every individual body reacts to this change a little differently, both physically and mentally. You may not know exactly how your body is going to feel when you start Keto, but you can absolutely work to prepare your mental state.
In fact, the very best thing you can do is take steps to eliminate temptations and set yourself up for success.
First, clean out the pantry and the kitchen. If you live alone or live with a partner that is also going Keto (or at least willing to cut back carbs), then do yourself a huge favor and just get rid of EVERYTHING non-Keto.
And by “get rid of,” I mean:
- Store non-perishables in a place you wouldn’t be tempted by them, like a basement or an attic.
- Give to friends or coworkers.
- Donate to your local food shelter.
If you live with family or friends that are not on-board with Keto (yet), then see if they would consider removing some of the bigger temptations. Ask if they would be okay if you quit buying bread or ice cream or carby junk food with the weekly groceries.
Even if the people you live with aren’t committing to the Keto lifestyle, they will still benefit from having junk removed from the house!
If you aren’t ready to share your decision to start Keto with the people that you live with, that’s okay too! Starting a diet is hard enough without defending your decision against nay-sayers.
So if you want to keep your decision on the down-low, try small adjustments. Set aside your own corner or shelf in the pantry and the fridge with your Keto-approved snacks and foods, and do your best to only focus on that section when it’s time to eat. Even the simple act of designating your “Keto space” in the kitchen can make a big mental difference.
CREATE A MOUTH-WATERING MEAL PLAN
Find recipes you’re EXCITED about!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my favorite part about Keto is how damn good the food is. Seriously. Just check out our Recipes page to see some of the awesome meals that have become staples in our household.
If you don’t cook often, then keep it simple by picking a few meal ideas to start, and plan to cook enough to have leftovers for additional meals.
Or, if the idea of cooking is completely overwhelming, find no-cook recipes that use ingredients like pre-cooked rotisserie chickens and bacon crumbles and low-carb wraps with deli meats and cheeses.
There is delicious food to fit every lifestyle/cooking-style, and the sooner you get excited about the food you’re going to be eating, the better!
PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST SUGAR CRAVINGS
Pro tip: I say this in our 5 Keto Essentials post, but when you start Keto, make yourself a dessert or treat of some kind.
I was not a sweet-tooth kind-of-girl before Keto.
Aside from Shark Week chocolate cravings (move along boys, this reference doesn’t concern you), I drastically preferred cheese and chips to ice cream and cookies.
But what I didn’t realize (and you may not either) is that every 4 grams of carbs gets converted into a teaspoon of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream.
Let me say that again. Every 4 grams of carbs gets converted into a teaspoon of glucose in your bloodstream.
1 teaspoon is the maximum amount of sugar that your body wants in your bloodstream at any given time, so when you eat a lot of carbs at once, your insulin spikes.
Then your insulin over-corrects, causing your blood sugar to drop, and suddenly, you find yourself starving and depleted of energy just hours after eating (sound familiar?)
So here I was, a non-dessert person, thinking I didn’t have a sugar problem… when really, that whole-wheat sandwich thin I was using for my avocado toast every morning was clocking in at 15 net carbs, spiking my blood sugar to nearly 4 times the ideal level before I’d even started my day.
It makes sense then (although it was a huge surprise to me at the time) that when I started Keto, I suddenly found myself with crazy sugar cravings!
This is where Keto-approved desserts come into play. I’ve included some of my favorites on Keto Dessert Recipes, and there are hundreds more online or in cookbooks to suit your particular style.
Just trust me: bake yourself some cookies or some granola bars or gather the ingredients needed to quickly make a smoothie/milkshake when necessary. It will make your life much happier.
SET GOALS AND GET AFTER THEM!
Studies have shown that you are over 40% more likely to complete a goal if you write it down. 40% more likely!
So take some time to set a few goals that really matter to you.
My advice: stick to goals that you can control.
Let's say your goal is to lose weight. You can’t control exactly how quickly you will lose weight... but you can control factors like how many calories you eat per day, how many net carbs you eat per day, how many steps you take per day, or how much water you drink per day.
Those goals are entirely within your control, and achieving them will help you reach your ultimate goal of losing weight.
Here are a few goals to get you started. You’re welcome to use these, or use them as inspiration to come up with your own!
- Track absolutely everything that I eat in MyFitnessPal for 4 weeks straight.
- Eat less than 1,500 calories 5 out of 7 days per week for 4 weeks.
- Eat less than 20 net carbs every day; eat less than 10 net carbs 2 days per week.
- Drink 64-96 oz of water every day.
- Take the dog on a 20-minute walk 3x per week.
- Tell myself (out loud) one thing that I love about myself, am grateful for, or am excited about that day before I leave for work.
If my goal is weight loss, 5 out of 6 of those goals will help me achieve weight loss, but the goals themselves are 100% within my control.
Framing your goals this way will help keep you from getting discouraged or feeling like you’re not making enough progress -- instead, you’ll be feeling like a bad ass that is making crazy-awesome healthy changes in their life!
STEP 5 - GO FOR IT
Think you’re ready to start Keto? THEN DO IT!
Pick a start-date in the next 2 weeks, and make the leap. List out everything you need to do before that start date (ex: download MyFitnessPal, find Keto recipes to try, order essentials online and go grocery shopping).
And then do it.
If you’re ready to start Keto, don’t bog yourself down by waiting and telling yourself you need to prepare or you need to do more research.
You don’t. You’re ready.
And the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be on your way to a happier and healthier life!
Take before pictures. Take your before weight and measurements. And don’t forget to send your body some love and positivity, because you are embarking on a journey of HAPPINESS and HEALTH (not self-deprivation and self-loathing).
SEEK SUPPORT, AVOID NEGATIVITY
I touched on this earlier, but once you make the decision to start Keto, be cautious about the people you choose to tell.
A lot of people have adverse reactions to what they perceive as fad diets, and it can be for many reasons. Maybe they are misinformed about the diet, or maybe they feel very insecure about themselves but haven’t found the willpower to make a change in their own lives, in which case your decision to make a positive change makes them feel defensive and even more insecure.
No matter the case, starting a new diet is a challenge. You don’t need to compound that challenge by invoking the negativity and doubt of those around you.
This doesn’t mean you need to hide your decision. It just means you should be selective in who you tell... at least at the beginning.
Choose the friends and family that you know will support you. Tell them you’re making a lifestyle change and you’re really excited to see how it improves your health, and chances are, they will be excited for you too. If you’re honest with yourself, you probably have a good sense of who you can share this decision with and who it would be better not to tell, at least for a little while.
And on the topic of support, make sure to join the Keto Community!
Whether your preferred forum is Facebook or Reddit or Instagram or something else entirely, there are so many fellow Keto-ers out there that will be BEYOND excited for you to start your journey!
You’ll find friends to share advice, tips, tricks, recipes, ups and downs, and so much more.
And in those moments that your non-Keto friends or family don’t understand what you’re going through, you’ll have a whole community to turn to for love and support and understanding.
COMMIT TO AT LEAST 60 DAYS OF KETO
Finally, as you get your plan in place to start Keto, make sure to set a goal for yourself to complete two full months of Keto eating.
If you know people on the Keto diet or join an online Keto community, you’ll probably see people having off-Keto meals or days.
And that’s fine, because this is a lifestyle, not a cult.
There may be occasions to go off-Keto, like a big vacation. You can bet that the next time my husband and I go on a cruise or to the beach, you’ll find us sipping pina coladas out of pineapples without a care in the world.
But it’s absolutely critical that you give yourself at least two months before you take an off-Keto meal or day. Why?
- Your body is undergoing a massive change at the cellular level. The more time you give your body to adjust, the better your body will adapt to burning fat as energy, and the greater health benefits you’ll reap.
- Every body is different and it can take two to six weeks for your body to truly star to utilize fat as a primary fuel source
- Once it does, you’ll notice better moods, a spike in energy, more restful sleep, and a complete drop in cravings.
- Give yourself time to reach this point, because it is AMAZING!
- Your body has to develop new enzymes to metabolize fat as energy.
- It already has some of these enzymes, but since you’ve been burning glucose as energy up to this point, it doesn’t have enough (because it hasn’t needed them up until now).
- Sticking to a strict Keto diet is the best way to show your body that it needs to ramp up production of these fat-burning enzymes.
- You are probably breaking an addiction to sugar. The longer you can give your body to detox, the greater your health benefits will be.
- The more Keto-adapted you become (your body has learned how to efficiently burn fat as energy, your body has all the enzymes it needs, etc), the easier it will be to get your body back into Ketosis when you take a meal or a day off.
Not to mention… you’ll notice a HUGE difference in the way you feel when you go off-Keto. And NOT in a good way.
Once your body is fat-adapted, you’ll find yourself actually craving being back in Ketosis after an off day or meal!
So give your body time to adjust to your new way of living. I promise, it is so worth it.
YOU GOT THIS!
One more time, I just want to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS for taking this step towards the Ketogenic Diet and lifestyle!
You are already on the path to a happier and healthier you (that sounds like a cliche, but I can’t emphasize how true it really is).
Remember: don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Pick your start date, make your list of what you need, make your plan to tackle that list, and then go for it!
START GATHERING THE ESSENTIALS
Visit The 5 Keto Essentials You Need To Get Started to see which products we recommend to make starting Keto much, much easier!
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