The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein(0.8 grams protein per pound lean body mass) and a low carbohydrate (under 20 net grams) diet that forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates which then puts the body into a stage called “Ketosis“. Ketosis is a process that the body naturally initiates in order for us to survive when our carbohydrates intake is low. During the ketosis state, when our body doesn’t consume enough carbohydrates from foods for our cells to burn energy, its begins to burn fats instead, our body then produces what is known as “Ketones“. When fats are broken down, ketones are produced and accumulate in our bodies.
The whole goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force the body into a metabolic state in order to change the body’s energy processing with the foods that the individual has taken in, don’t try and cheat your body because it will know by the types of foods that you have consumed. We don’t get into this state by starving ourselves from calories, but from reducing the amount of carbohydrates that we consume. Our bodies become adaptive to this situation and will begin to burn “fats” as the main energy source when you overload it with fats and drastically lower carbohydrates.
Related: The Top 5 Low-Carb High Fat Cookbook
What to expect when starting the Ketogenic Diet?
When first starting the ketogenic diet it is alright to be a little nervous, heck your cutting out carbs, they`re everywhere and they taste amazing! In the first couple of days your body will slowly start to adapt to the transition of Ketosis, generally it takes about 24-28 hours for the body to fully enter the ketosis state.
Importance of Electrolytes (Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium)
Remember to always take in enough electrolytes as this will not only help your body function properly, but it will also keep the “keto flu“ away, just because you`ve been on the ketogenic diet for months or even years doesn`t mean you should forget about the importance of having electroltyes in your diet.
Dietary role of Sodium: Sodium is a natural mineral that allows our bodies to regulate water retention. It facilitates the required electrial signals for your nervous system and brain cells to properly function. Whether your body has high or low levels of sodium, an imbalance can be fatal.
Dietary role of Magnesium: Magnesium is also a critical co-factor in cellular energy production, our bodies need magnesium in order for the body to know when to switch on and off enzyme and hormone production. Along with its important role for muscle function and nerve transmissions.
Dietary role of Potassium: Potassium is a vital mineral required for the body to function normally. It plays a important role in both you metabolism maintenance and helps your body regulate its acid balance. Potassium is also a key factor for cells in your body to function properly and facilitate normal muscle and organ growth, along with ensuring the electrical communication required for your heart to function properly.
You will feel a little bit fatigued and tired in the first couple of days as your body is getting used to the fact that carbohydrates are not there main energy source at this moment, you may experience headaches, bone deep fatigue, irritability, dizziness and more depending on your body type. Don’t panic! These are normally signs that occur in the first couple of days and they will pass, not matter how bad you feel don’t worry your won’t die although it may feel like it, just hang in their!
With this being said you may notice slight decreases in strength but trust me this is normal. Your body will start to adapt to the process and your strength will come back! Some people suggest consuming some sort of caffeine substance before the gym but I would recommend staying away from this as your body will then become dependent of this, just let your body adapt to this whole process of “keto”.
After about a week or so on the ketogenic diet you should start noticing weight lose results as long as you have been following the ketogenic diet plan and not going over on you carbohydrates thus ensuring that you are constantly in the Ketosis state. A key factor to remember when trying to lose weight is that you still need to be on a caloric deficit in order to lose weight, the ketogenic diet makes it easier as you feel more full eating high fat foods. Everyone’s body reacts differently so some people may lose a lot of weight and others just a few pounds, you may have weeks where you don’t lose anything and other weeks you lose a lot more than expected, this doesn’t mean you should give up!
Keys to success on the Ketogenic Diet!
Take each day at a time, don’t over thinks things and cause unnecessary stress as this is supposed to be a fun and learning experience! Make sure you are in the ketosis stage and give your body the time it needs to adapt.
No matter how hard it may be don’t cheat! By cheating your only really cheating yourself, you started this diet in order to lose weight and if you want the ketogenic diet plan to work you need to be 100% committed. A good way to not get off track on the keto diet plan is to ensure that you have food prepared in advance and never get to a crazy level of hungry, once you reach a certain level of hunger their’s no stopping you from devouring everything in sight including carbs.
Continue the journey to becoming a stronger and healthier version of yourself, take each day at a time and just keep telling yourself that yesterday’s version of you is already an improvement today!