The ketogenic diet, also referred to as the keto diet, is a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet.
It has been proven to be one of the most effective diets for weight loss in recent years. It has been targeted by many doctors as unhealthy though – but it doesn’t to be!
The Keto diet is not just about weight loss though – losing weight on Keto is the side effect of improving your health by cutting out carbs.
In this article we will share 5 tips that will help you lose weight on keto while still enjoying it AND improving your health.
Before you scroll to the article, below I’ve tried to answer any questions you may have.
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Is the Keto Diet Unhealthy?
There are plenty of people who want to say the Keto diet is unhealthy.
However, that is not true. It’s actually one of the healthiest diets you can follow to lose weight and keep it off – if you approach it in the right way.
So let’s see how we can be healthy AND lose weight AND keep it off – the perfect trifecta!
Tip 1: Start Keto In A Simple Way
Starting keto in a simple way is key.
You don’t have to change your whole lifestyle right away.
In fact, it’s better not too because that can lead to cravings and eventually quitting.
The more drastically we change our diets, the less likely we are to stick with it.
Small, incremental changes are sustainable.
If you decide to throw out all carbs in your pantry and swear off every eating pasta again, your chances of success on Keto are pretty low.
I know the temptation is there – we want Monday to be a fresh start and go ALL IN on Keto.
but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Starting Keto in a simple way will look different for everyone.
Evidence shows doing small changes is what works though.
Some ways you can start small and build on it are below – see which one jumps out to you as doable, give it a go for a week and then add to it until you’re eating fully keto and being healthy!
- Avoid carb counting or calories in the beginning
- Eat Keto for one meal a day in the beginning
- Try replacing your carb heavy side dishes with Keto side dishes
- Slowly add more and more Keto foods into the recipes you already cook
- Remove sugary drinks – not just soft drinks but have a look at any juice or alcohol you’re having too!
- Add in more healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil , full fat dairy and nuts
- Reduce processed foods like snack bars, breads and anything with a long ingredients list
Once you start playing with small changes in your diet and enjoying them, you can start to add more.
This is before you even get to carb counting, calories or obsessing over whether too much broccoli will kick you out of ketosis!
Tip 2: Eat more than meat and cheese
Aussie Keto Queen was borne when keto was pretty new, and there weren’t many recipes out there.
Most keto recipe websites were based in America, and the majority of Keto recipes were very heavy with meat, cheese and cream.
While we CAN get into ketosis by eating these low carb, high calorie foods, it ignores our overall health.
You see, even if the macros of these foods are Keto, the micronutrients are not the best for our overall health on Keto.
We can start to broaden our concept of healthy foods by:
- Considering fibre! Fibre is important for our gut health and overall wellbeing. Ensuring you are eating some Keto friendly foods that include fibre will improve your health. High fibre keto foods include broccoli, avocado, chia seeds, leafy greens and cauliflower
- Eating more greens. Plants are full of micronutrients our bodies need for their immune systems to function well. Consuming more plant based foods means reducing the inflammation in your body which can help with weight loss too. High plant keto friendly foods include spinach, kale & mushrooms
- Look at nutrient density. Every meal we eat is an opportunity to get as many nutrients as possible. High nutrient foods include salmon, sardines and steak.
- Eat variety. Studies have shown having a varied diet can improve our health and mental wellbeing. We introduce more gut bacteria, reduce food intolerances and avoid getting sick of the same meals over and over again. While Keto can feel restrictive in the beginning, experimenting with new protein and vegetable sources can really shake things up. Have you had a venison and chard pie, for example? I bet not!
- Avoid inflammatory foods. Inflammation is at the centre of so many diseases, and many of us have an inflammatory reaction to certain foods. Some common examples of inflammatory foods include sugar, dairy and legumes. As Keto recipes can often include dairy in large quantities it is important to be mindful of our overall health when eating them regularly.
Tip 3: Don’t Focus on High Fat
Many people are amazed at the amount of fat they can eat when starting Keto.
We have been told for decades that fat makes us fat, so to leave the fat on our steak or add cream to our coffee feels decadent and a bit wrong.
It’s true, you can eat more fat on Keto than what you are used to.
Fat is used on Keto to keep you full – once you have eaten enough protein to protect your muscle mass and generate new tissue, the rest of your calories will come from fat.
Keep it in line though – eating TOO MUCH fat is not going to lead to weight loss.
Calories do still matter, and if we eat a bowl of cream with strawberries, it might be low carb but could easily be 1000 calories more than our bodies needed that day.
Some tips for keeping your fat in check on Keto:
- Be aware of how high calorie fatty foods are. 1 tbsp of oil is around 120 calories, so it adds up
- Only eat fat until you are full, and often this means eating slowly to recognise feeling full.
- You can still eat fatty foods, but ensure you are eating enough protein to protect your muscle mass. Start with Protein as the goal.
- You don’t have to add huge amounts of fat to every meal. Again, start with your protein, add your vegetables and then use fat to fill you up. My meals are usually protein like chicken or steak, a big side of veggies or salad, drizzled with olive oil.
- Use quality fats to cook with and understand their different strengths. Frying with vegetable oil is very unhealthy for us, but frying in butter is ok and delicious. Olive oil is best for drizzling on salads.
Tip 4: Trial And Error
It can take a bit of time to settle into a Keto diet that helps you lose weight and is healthy.
You might be tempted to jump into an intense egg fast or do an extended fast, but this turns Keto into just another crash diet.
We know how crash diets turn out, we end up miserable, starving hungry and putting the weight back on.
So it is important to build up your healthy habits slowly and gradually work out what works for YOU.
After all, you want this to last beyond the first few weeks where everything feels amazing and easy!
Here are some tips for finding what works for you on Keto through trial and error:
- be prepared for up weeks and down weeks. Letting go of the scales and need to weigh yourself can be very liberating.
- If it feels like Keto isn’t working, try swapping something out for a couple of weeks and see how you go.
- Play around with different macros for different days. For example, really active days allows us to eat more – but not so much we stall our weight loss on Keto
- As you lose weight, you will need to eat less unless you are exercising a lot
- Approach your new recipes with trial and error as well! Keto cooking is temperamental, especially if you’re trying baked goods. When you find a Keto recipe you love, save it and make it your own. Mix it up and adjust for your flavours.
Tip 5: Health isn’t about our weight
Studies have shown that our health isn’t always connected to our weight.
Our weight loss goals are usually fuelled by other factors – like wanting to look good, be happy, have more energy or be a certain size.
It’s ok to have these goals, but to think we will only achieve these things when we lose weight on Keto can lead to unhealthy mental patterns.
We can end up being so disappointed with a 200 gram weight gain that we binge eat or drink and feel worse than ever.
Accepting that we can be healthy, happy, look great and have more energy – all while not at our ideal weight – can be truly liberating.
Some tips for finding health outside of our weight include;
- letting go of the scales! I talk about this a lot in my Keto For Life program. It’s ok to have a goal of looking good or feeling confident or having more energy, but a number on the scales isn’t going to achieve this for us
- Change our goals to things within our control. Our weight isn’t really – we can influence it with our actions, but our actions are what we can control. So set your goal as ‘eat Keto this week”, “walk for 20km over the week” etc. These are the actions we can actually control and therefore achieve
- Check in with your doctor at the start of Keto and run some blood work. Check in regularly to get a measure and boost of your overall health, showing you ARE improving your body from the inside out!
- Keep a journal of how you are feeling – mood, sleep, energy levels, mental clarity. These are all things that improve on keto. So just like weighing yourself to check on progress, check your progress on these key areas instead to give yourself the boost that Keto IS working for you.
In summary, my top 5 tips for losing weight on Keto AND being healthy are;
- Start simple
- Eat more than meat and cheese
- Don’t focus on high fat
- Trial and error
- Health isn’t about our weight
Being healthy on Keto is a marathon, not a sprint. But it doesn’t have to be arduous like a marathon, you can have fun with it through trial and error, variety and having healthy goals.
Enjoy the process of your body healing from the inside out and you will gain motivation and willpower to keep going long term!
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Not sure how to start Keto?
Here’s some resources to help you!