This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, nutritional, or diet advice. Always seek the advice of a physician before starting a new diet.
No matter your reason for wanting to try a keto diet – whether it be to lose weight, to feel better, or to follow through on your New Years resolution – the best way to get started is just to GET STARTED.
I see a lot of articles on keto dieting that get you immediately bogged down in the specifics of the diet, which can lead to analysis paralysis. It’s a real thing. If you want to make any progress, you should avoid it at all costs.
What I mean is that you will spend so much time preparing to go on a diet that you won’t actually just get started. All those weeks of learning about the diet, finding alternatives to cook with, signing up for a website to help track your calories… it’s all just time wasters.
The best way to start a keto diet (or any diet for that matter), is to just do it. Be resolute about your decision and stop eating carbs, right now. If you need a day to mentally prepare, then start tomorrow at 9am.
Getting Started With Keto: How to Just Do It
This article will go over the basics that you need to know to succeed. We’ll give you the four easy steps we used to get going on a keto diet.
It won’t be a long and involved article, because the point is to make this as easy as possible for you.
Once you’ve read the steps, and pledged to launch into the diet TODAY, you can go back and read all the other information you might be wondering about this diet.
- What is a Low Carb Diet and Why Is it Useful?
- What You Can Eat on a Low Carb Diet
- 10 Common Low Carb Diet Mistakes
- 23 Low Carb Diet Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Ketogenic (Keto) Diet?
On this website, we focus on a low-carb diet, which specifically limits the intake of carbohydrates in the pursuit of weight loss and improved health. A ketogenic diet is a form of low-carb diet that has stricter guidelines.
As a basic primer, a keto diet is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. It limits your intake of carbs to around 20 grams a day. The 20 grams of carbs come from low-glycemic foods, like vegetables and some fruits.
The word ketogenic refers to ketosis, which is a process where the body begins to burn stored fat for energy instead of dietary carbs. Since in this diet you are no longer eating those energy dense carbs, your body has no choice but to switch to fat burning instead.
Ketosis is typically triggered when you eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day, though for most people it’s more like 20 grams of carbs per day that will allow you to enter ketosis.
Benefits of a Keto or Low-Carb Diet
The reason so many people like this diet is because of the myriad benefits. Once you start cutting carbs from your diet, gradually you’ll start to feel better, sleep better, function better, and lose weight.
Of course, this isn’t going to be true for everyone. But if you’re struggling to lose weight, or you’ve tried other diets that just didn’t work, the keto diet might be the answer for you.
4 Steps to Keto Success
- Learn what foods you need to cut out of your diet
- Stop eating those high-carb foods
- Track what you’re eating to make sure
- Find recipes you like to keep you on track
Does that sound too simplistic? I agree. It definitely sounds too easy to be true. But it isn’t. It really is this easy to get started. That’s why I want you to pledge to do it today. Right now, in fact.
1. Learn what foods you can eat
The major piece of information most people are missing about this diet is exactly what foods you can’t eat. You probably already know that breads, pastas, cereals, rice and potatoes are off limits. Those are the easy ones.
But there are also a lot of fruits and vegetables that have a high amount of sugar that are also off limits. There are many beverages that you should eliminate or reduce. And there are a lot of low-carb alternatives you can use to replace the foods you can no longer eat. We’ll get into that later.
So the first step is to understand exactly what foods you can’t eat and how many carbs are in the ones you can eat. For that, we have a FREE printable low-carb food list that you can tack up on your refrigerator to remind you of what you can eat.
Get your copy below.
2. Stop eating high-carb foods
This is the best thing I can tell you about starting a low-carb diet. The diet starts the second you stop eating high carb foods. You can decide to do that right now. You don’t have to wait until you know everything about this diet to do it.
The second you stop eating high-carb foods, your body starts adapting to it’s new situation. As the glucose from those foods dissipates, the body switches over to fat burning mode. This process can take a couple week, but in the meantime, you’ll start losing weight.
This is why the most important step is to just stop eating high-carb foods.
Within the first month, most people will see a weight reduction of 10-30 pounds.
You might need to do a food pantry overhaul, especially if you’ve stocked foods that you can no longer eat and they will tempt you. I put all my regular flour, sugar, and pasta away in a different part of my pantry and replaced them with low-carb alternatives like Erythritol and Xylitol, Almond Flour and Coconut Flour.
▶ Here’s a shortcut for you. This is my list of recommended products for a low-carb / keto diet, including what to bake with.
3. Track what you’re eating to make sure
If you’re very serious about weight loss and want to strictly follow the keto diet so you can lose the most weight, you might want to track what you’re eating to make sure you go into ketosis.
Not everyone needs to be in a state of ketosis to lose weight. In many cases, just cutting carbs is enough to trigger weight loss because it naturally reduces calories.
However, there are some of us who do need to be quite strict about it to see continued weight loss. In those cases, it makes sense to track what you’re eating to make sure you can reach and stay in ketosis.
For this, you’ll want to know about macronutrients, particularly fat, protein and carbs.
A standard ketogenic diet is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
There are many macronutrient calculators that will do the math for you, based on your current body weight and intake. I personally like the Calculo keto calculator because it also helps you determine the ideal number of calories you should eat to lose weight.
Once you’ve figured out how much of your diet should be fat, protein and carbs, you can then track the food you eat to make sure you don’t exceed or go too far under those targets.
I use SparkPeople.com to track my food. It’s easy to use and figure out. Lots of people swear by myfitnesspal.com. There are dozens of others. Choose whichever one works best for you. But don’t let that hold you back. It’s not imperative to know how much you’re eating.
4. Find recipes you like to keep you on track
Welcome to Delightfully Low Carb! This site has hundreds of low-carb and keto recipes for you to enjoy. Look around. Find something you like.
You won’t be able to cook some of the foods you did before – like pasta, lasagna, pizza. So you’ll need to come up with alternatives that you like and will help you stick to the plan.
As you get used to cutting out the carbs, you can experiment more with recipes and find what you like.
At the start, I always suggest sticking with a protein and a low-carb side dish. That would be chicken and roasted cauliflower, or pork chops with pan-seared brussels sprouts. You can’t go wrong with these easy combos.
Need more recipes? Try our Delightfully Low Carb Cookbook. It’s packed with over 30 recipes to get you started on this diet. These are easy to make recipes that once make you feel deprived of the foods you love.
For me, there is no other diet that works as well as a ketogenic diet for weight loss. It has completely changed my life and allowed me to get back to a healthy weight where I actually feel really good, for a change. I encourage you to give it a try, especially if you’ve tried everything already.
Starting a low-carb or keto diet can be so simple. It’s really all about putting down the high-carb foods and deciding not to eat them any more. Why not just do it, right now.
Laura is an avid home cook and recipe creator. She shares her favorite low-carb recipes here that are both easy to make and full of flavor, so you don’t even miss the carbs.