Lettuce wraps with spicy chicken strips, homemade salsa, avocado and sour cream.

Starting the Keto Diet: Tips for Success!

So you’ve seen the weight loss transformations. You’ve read the testimonials about improved overall health and quality of life. You’ve seen pictures of the food. You can’t believe this is real, but so many people can’t be wrong. You want to try it for yourself. You are ready to try keto! You want to start the ketogenic diet but you’re not quite sure where to start. I’ll share what I did and offer some tips to set you up for success once you think you want to go keto. Still not sure what keto is and isn’t? I break down the keto diet here. I address 15 of the toughest questions about keto that I’ve received, questions about fruit and keto, alcohol and keto, eating fat to lose fat and so on.

Going Keto: First Make the Decision

Desire may or may not lead to decision. You see, the only way to move from inaction to action is to start with a decision. There’s a life hack called the 5 second rule that explains how your own brain tries to sabotage you when you know should do something that you don’t feel like doing. You have 5 seconds to simply decide before you start overthinking and rationalising your way out of it. So have you decided? Good. Next step is the plan to support your decision. You’ve gotta have a plan or your best intentions will remain just that, a mere hope, a dream. Not good enough. We’re after change, so we have to “DO”.

Mug bread (low carb made with almond flour) with ham and cheese
Mug bread (low carb made with almond flour) with ham and cheese

Going Keto: Craft the Plan

  1. Understand what you’re in for. Are you clear as to what you can and cannot eat on keto? You have to know what you are going to be eating. Carbs are the enemy on keto. Are you clear as to what carbs are? Educate yourself. Keep reading this post for a handy chart where I show you what you can and should not eat while keto.
  2. Set your start date. Mondays seem to work for most people looking to start a new habit. I actually started keto on a Thursday. I had made up my mind and didn’t see the point in waiting. I had had a life time of carbs and look where I had ended up. One more slice of cake or bread, and another cup of rice for what exactly? Nah. I was ready.
  3. Share your decision with your family. If you live alone, skip this step. But if you share your living space with anyone, you need to tell them. Their support will go a long way to keeping you honest. Fantastic if they want to join. That makes it easier. My son decided to join me, hubby was non-committal but was cool with my decision. Our daughter was back at college. But note: even if they bluntly tell you that you are on your own, that’s no reason not to follow through with a decision that you have take for you! You are absolutely worth it. It may be harder, but it is still doable and your reasons are still valid. But tell them. Telling them helps cement accountability in your own mind too.
  4. Get rid of carbs from your house. Give away all your bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, snacks, crackers, cookies, fruit, etc. “But I still have family members eating those things” you counter. Fair enough. It helps if you establish clearly demarcated storage areas for the things you will not be eating, the more out of your sight, the better. I remember putting the bread that Hubby was still eating to the back of the table in an opaque container because it pissed me off every time I saw it and knew I wasn’t going to have it. Snacks were relegated to an opaque snack box that was kept shut at all times. Now it matters not to me! I have new habits and visible success.
  5. Write down your meal plan for the week. You can’t wing this and win. This is not a low-carb world (yet). Big Food and their accomplices (restaurants and convenience stores) do not cater to those of us who want a high fat, low-carb meal! You’ll have bread and muffins and rice and potatoes thrust upon you. You’ll get breaded fried chicken and sugary sauces and starchy veggies and you.will.fail. You know what is allowed on keto, you know what you normally eat. Either leave out the non-keto approved foods from your meals, or swap them with a keto approved food. I do both. There’s a wealth of info online too. Google “7-day keto meal plan” and choose from the myriad options that’ll come up and form your own. If you can find a meal-planning coach who understands the keto or low-carb way of eating, it could be well worth the investment to pay for a custom-made guide. If this is something you’re interested in, contact me here.
  6. Be prepared to meal prep. I hear the groan. Fortunately for me, I don’t mind cooking so I cook and freeze. I also spoke with lunch providers at work and arranged to have my meals with just meat and veggies. You can do that. Arrange it up front so that you are not tempted at lunch time to take “just a spoon of rice.” You can also hack it if you don’t like to cook. I’ll share some tips below.
  7. Make a supermarket list. You’ll have to go shopping. By now you know what meals you’ll be buying ready made (if your lunch provider at work will support you with carb free food) and what meals you’ll be preparing for yourself. So make a list and ensure you have those ingredients on hand.
  8. Have plenty of what you will be eating on hand. I decided from the start that I must never ever be hungry. Hunger would be my surest route to failure. So I made sure that I had eggs, cheese, tuna, lots of veggies and nuts on hand. I think for the first week or so I ensured that I kept a supermarket rotisserie chicken all cut up, on hand in the refrigerator IN ADDITION to whatever meat was cooked for dinner in the evenings. That’s critical. You know how you eat “clean” during the day and then the witching hour arrives and by the time you go to bed you’re filled with remorse because you caved and had a sandwich or a bag of chips or crackers and jam. You KNOW I’m right. So you have to plan for your vulnerabilities.
Jamaican Keto Food! Roasted chicken ackee and corned pork. cauliflower mash, salad and ripe avocado
Jamaican Keto Food! Roasted chicken ackee and corned pork. cauliflower mash, salad and ripe avocado

Keto 101: What can I eat, what must I not eat?

Allowable food list for keto dieters
What You Can Eat on Keto
Stewed pork with greens and cauliflower "fried rice".
Stewed pork with greens and cauliflower “fried rice”.

My family still wants rice but I’m keto. Help!

Cook the rice for them. Don’t put it on your plate. Make sure you have enough veggies and meat for yourself so you don’t feel deprived.

Peanut Butter Low Carb Cookies made with homemade peanut butter
Peanut Butter Low Carb Cookies made with homemade peanut butter

I hate to cook, but I want to go keto. Help!

Many supermarkets have good deli sections now. Buy pre-made salads for up to 2-3 days. Don’t buy salads that have potatoes or pasta in them. Buy a rotisserie chicken or two. Cut them up and freeze in single serve portions in zip lock bags or containers. Buy tuna. Buy cheese. Boiled eggs can remain in your fridge for days. Now you can have protein rich salads at your fingertips without much effort. On the occasions that you do cook, cook extra, divide in single serve portions and freeze.

Fat Head Dough Rolls with Homemade Guacamole
Fat Head Dough Rolls (low-carb bread made with mozzarella cheese & almond flour) with Homemade Guacamole

I have to attend so many business related dinners and lunches. Can I still do keto?

Sure you can! If you can choose the restaurant, a steak house or grill is your best bet. Survey the menu before hand and choose grilled options and salads with dressings on the side.  Avoid sauces and coated and breaded foods.

Are there any restrictions on times to eat or quantities or snacking on keto?

No. When I started off I simply left carbs out of my diet. Remember my aim was NEVER to get hungry. I ate until I was full. I drank lots of water. I just didn’t eat carbs. There are some who advise you to still count calories and be guided by your “macros.” No problem. I have lost weight without doing that. Perhaps my weight loss would have been faster had I applied a little more discipline. But I had to come up with an approach that worked for me. Deprivation of any sort would have been my fastest route to failure.

Keep your (good) fat intake high. Refined vegetable oils are a no-no! No to margarine! Butter, coconut oil, olive oil on your food helps keep you full and wards off cravings. This low-fat regime that we’ve been brought up on has not worked for so many. I have challenged my traditional learning, and my traditional practices with new learning and practices and I could not be happier! The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I’m smaller and I’m healthier in every way, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Before and During: Keto changed my life
Before and During: Keto changed my life

My first 30 days on Keto

I found it easy to treat my move to keto by treating it like an experiment. I told myself that I’d try it for a month and then evaluate at the end of the month. That approach appealed to the scientist in me and made it easier for me to remain fully compliant over the period. After all, I didn’t want to sabotage the outcome by compromising the methodology. It was easy to plan for a finite period of time.

I was also aware of the keto flu. Many people just starting keto feel ill, nauseous, head-achy, weak, tired in the first couple of days. All natural, as your body rids itself of it’s addiction to sugar and switches to a fat burning metabolic pathway. I knew, therefore I was prepared. I prioritized my own well being during this period and slept when I felt like it, kept to myself when I had to and pressed through. And as expected, once that “flu” had passed, I woke up literally born again. My energy was through the roof! I felt like a million bucks!

Egg and Ham and Cheese Sandwich made with Low Carb Almond flour mug bread
Egg and Ham and Cheese Sandwich made with Low Carb Almond flour mug bread

 

Recipes to help you transition to Keto

There’s no feeling in the world like knowing that you’re in control. That feeling of well-being when you’re handling your business spills over into every other area.

Subscribe to my blog and get 8 easy recipes that I used to help me transition successfully to a keto way of eating. I show you how to replace bread, rice, potatoes and a few of my favourite desserts! You’ll never feel deprived 🙂

weight loss transformation with the keto diet
Weight Loss on the Keto Diet

Disclaimer:

I am not a medical doctor nor am I a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. The information on this website is written and produced for informational purposes only. This website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. 

Jamaican keto food: spicy chicken strips with avocado wrapped in lettuce leaves
Jamaican keto food: spicy chicken strips with avocado wrapped in lettuce leaves
Mug bread and ham: keto food Jamaica style
Tips for success on the keto diet with Jamaican Food
Weight loss before and after on the keto diet
Weight loss before and after on the keto diet

6 thoughts on “Starting the Keto Diet: Tips for Success!”

  1. This detailed information is going to help so many people! I am also thrilled you felt like a million bucks after the keto flu disappeared! I have been keto/paleo for 17 years and love it! Would never eat any other way!

    1. Oh wow! 17 years…and they say keto is a fad, that it’s unsustainable. Congratulations and thank you so much for this great feedback.

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