How to Start the Keto Diet - Best Tips for Beginners
I have had success on Keto so far and actually enjoy being on the diet! I did a ton of research beforehand, so I decided to share all the helpful info I learned and write a How to Start Keto Diet Guide that actually gives helpful tips for those starting out on Keto.
NOTE: It’s important to always talk to your doctor before starting Keto or any other diet.
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Educate Yourself Before You Start the Keto Diet
The best thing you can do is read and educate yourself on everything keto. It may seem overwhelming, but it will help you understand the diet and how it works. It will also help you with making food choices and tracking your macros. These are the books I purchased and highly recommend:
Keto Answers: Simplifying Everything You Need to Know About the World’s Most Confusing Diet
This is my #1 recommendation. If you were only going to do one thing before starting Keto, it should be reading this book. Keto Answers literally tells you everything you need to know about the diet, and it’s all science backed. Some of it gets a little science heavy, but you can kinda skim over those parts if it’s too much.
It explains why it works, why the info we’ve been told on dieting all our life is dated, and gives you all the info you need to get started. They especially emphasize on the importance of eating good, whole foods, not gross, greasy fats that work because they “fit your macros.” Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend reading Keto Answers.
The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
This is another great book that breaks down how to start the Keto Diet in a little simpler terms. It also includes a two week meal plan. I personally didn’t follow it, but I did use some of the recipes! I would recommend getting this book in paperback instead of on an electronic device since it does have a lot of photos and recipes that you will want to look back on.
This is a super interesting documentary that talks about a low fat diet isn’t actually healthier. It’s not specifically about Keto over say, but it will help anyone get over the mindset that fat is bad. I highly recommend watching it! It’s free on Amazon Video.
Learn to Read Food Labels
When you learn to read food labels, you will be SHOCKED at what is actually in some foods. This is so important for Keto. You want to mainly look at Fat, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Sugar, and Protein.
Look for foods that have a high fat content, moderate protein, and little to no carbs.
Calculate Your Keto Macros
You will hear this everywhere, “calculate your macros.” What this means is the amount of fat, protein, and carbs you should aim to eat everyday. The simplest way to do this is using an online calculator. I went through and tried multiple ones and like this one best.
Just enter all your information, how many net carbs you want to eat daily (between 20 – 30 is suggested), what kind of weight deficit you want, and it will calculate it all for you. It also gives a weight loss forecast chart… but take it with a grain of salt and don’t be discouraged. Mine originally said it would take me almost 3 months to lose 8 pounds, and I’ve already done that in the first two weeks!
Start Tracking Your Macros
Now that you know what your Macros are, you need to start keeping track of them. I use MyfitnessPal (get it on Apple App Store and Google Play) and have for years. It makes tracking food super easy. You can scan most barcodes and it automatically fills the info in for you!
MyfitnessPal also allows you to customize your macro goals, which as you just learned, is a must on Keto! Below are screenshots from the app showing the food logging and macros tracking:
I also love that you can “share” meals and foods via text message. Makes it easy to share meal info back and forth with a partner.
Use the Buddy System - Start Keto with a Friend or Support Group
Speaking of a partner, I highly recommend starting keto WITH someone. My boyfriend and I have started it together, and it makes it a lot easier to have someone keeping you accountable. We also live together so we cook and plan meals together.
Starting Keto with a buddy also gives you someone to share wins with! I’m down over 8 pounds in the first two weeks and it’s been so much more fun to share wins with someone that is doing it with you.
If you don’t have a partner or friend that is interested in going Keto, try joining a support group on Facebook! These are just a few of many that I found from a simple search:
Clean Out Your Fridge + Pantry - Get Rid of Non Keto Foods
Eliminate temptations before they happen. Go through your pantry and get rid of all high carb foods. Or, if you’re like me and hate the idea of throwing away perfectly good food, move it to a completely different shelf. I totally reorganized our pantry and fridge when starting keto and made sure to move any non Keto-friendly foods to the bottom cabinet.
Another great option is to donate to a local food bank! Here is a list of some foods to avoid:
- Grains + Starches
- Sugary foods
- Fruit (has lots of sugar)
- Beans + Legumes
Stock up on Keto-Friendly Foods + Snacks
EssentialKeto.com also has a lot of great keto-friendly recipes, check it out! I’ve found that having cheese, nuts, and meats on hand are best. We are definitely going to the grocery store more often, but it’s paying off!
Invest in Helpful Keto Supplements When Starting Out
I am not a doctor, but based on my research and personal experience, these are the supplements that I took (and still take) to help transition to the Keto diet. Again, talk to your doctor and educate yourself beforehand:
Perfect Keto BHB Capsules
Exogenous Ketones are supplemental ketones that can help fuel your body like ketones that you produce naturally do. They are an extra fuel source which can be especially helpful when you’re transitioning to the Ketogenic lifestyle.
According to Keto Answers, the benefits of taking Exogenous Ketones include: More energy, better exercise performance, improved mental focus and mood, reduced stress and inflammation, and more!
The most popular way to consume them is through MCT Oil. I put a tablespoon of Bulletproof Brain Octane MCT Oil in my coffee every morning. It has a ton of fat which is good for helping reach your macro goals. They are also available in softgel supplements if you prefer. I will probably use the softgels for traveling while on Keto to make things easier.
Omega-3s are healthy fats that play a really important role in protecting the cells in our body, making it super important to get enough of these in your diet! The Keto Answer’s book recommends Krill Oil.
They say “Perfect Keto Krill Oil is an excellent supplement for supporting brain function, boosting mood, supporting heart health, supporting mitochondrial function, and improving overall health.” I personally have been taking Nordic Naturals Fish Oil, but may try the Krill once I finish the bottle I have.
Low protein can be a problem on the Keto diet, so taking protein powder is a great way to combat that. There ares several types of protein powders out there, including plant based ones for anyone who is vegetarian. I like Isopure unflavored whey protein, but many prefer flavored. Just be sure to read the label and make sure there aren’t any added sugars or carbs. Perfect Keto also makes their own brand of protein powders.
Collagen is another form of protein, it can help improve the health of bones, joints, skin, hair, and nails! I currently use Ancient Nutrition, but again, Perfect Keto has a really good one too.
The Keto Answers book goes into way greater detail on why these are important and how they help! They also recommend other supplements, so I would definitely check that section out and see what sounds right for you.
Other Tools to Help You Start Keto
When starting keto, these are a couple of products that are also helpful:
Ketone Testing Strips
Ketone testing strips help you test if you’re actually in Ketosis or not. There are several different ways to test. Blood tests are supposed to be the most accurate, but they can be expensive and you have to prick your finger. I personally use the urine test strips because it’s easy, cheaper, and I am not keen on needles. You can also test your ketone levels with a breath analyzer, but I don’t know much about that method and it’s accuracy.
If you want to track your weight, then obviously a scale is needed. You don’t need to do this, but some people (myself included) like to keep track. I recently got a body fat tracking scale that measures your weight, BMI, body fat percentage, metabolic age, and more! I’m not sure how accurate the body fat percentage and BMI calculations are, but it helps me keep track and syncs with a cool app on my phone
Helpful Kitchen Tools for Starting Keto
These kitchen tools are in no way required to start the Ketogenic Diet, but I have found them to be really helpful. A lot of Keto recipes call for at least one of these tools:
Measuring Cups + Spoons
If you don’t already have measuring cups and spoons, you absolutely need to get some for Keto. Portion control and measuring serving size is important for tracking macros correctly.
Blender or Food Processor
A lot of Keto recipes involve using a food processor or blender. I have a small Ninja Blender and it’s worked great for me! I have yet to get a food processor, but will probably invest in one soon as more and more recipes I find call for one.
This is a basic kitchen tool you’ll need for baking or roasting anything in the oven. Chances are you already have at least one!
A food scale is helpful when starting Keto because it lets you measure out your portions precisely. I didn’t think I’d need one but ended up getting one anyways (it was less than $15) and actually use it all the time!
This is completely unnecessary for Keto, but as someone who eats a lot of steak (a VERY Keto-friendly meal), a cast iron makes a huge difference. If you’re a steak lover, I’d really recommend investing in a Cast-Iron pan.
Other Helpful Keto Articles to Read
As I mentioned in my first point, it’s super important to educate yourself! If you really want to know how to start the Keto diet, don’t just read this article, read as many as you can! Here are some of the articles I found most helpful when learning about the Keto diet:
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I hope this guide on how to start the Keto Diet was helpful! I linked all the products I mentioned in this list on Amazon. If you have any questions or want to connect, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram!
PS – Also check out What to Expect in First Two Weeks of Keto Diet!