The keto diet is the popular name for what is known as the ketogenic diet. In short, the goal of a keto diet is to get the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis in which the body uses ketones in your blood as a source of fuel rather than glucose. This particular diet has become popular among those looking for assistance with weight loss because ketosis encourages the body to burn fat instead of other sources of fuel in the body, ideally leading to weight loss. However, not everyone is successful in their quest to lose weight with the keto diet. Often, this is the result of a poor strategy or approach to the diet. So, what tips can you follow to enjoy success on the keto diet?
1. Minimize Carbs
One of the primary focal points of the keto diet is the minimization of carbs in your daily diet. As mentioned above, the body uses glucose stored within the liver and muscles as its primary source of fuel. Now, the goal of a successful keto diet is to put the body into a metabolic state of ketosis wherein it switches to ketones as a source of fuel, rather than glucose. By minimizing carb intake on the keto diet, you can reduce glycogen stores (the form glucose is stored in the muscles and liver as) and allow the body to release fatty acid stores to burn as fuel. This is what helps the body began to cut down on fat and reduce overall weight.
2. Increase Coconut Oil
Another way to boost the success of your keto diet is to increase the amount of coconut oil you intake on a daily and weekly basis. Coconut oil has shown to help push the body into a state of ketosis because it consists of fats known as medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. These fats are different than other types in the body because MCTs are rapidly absorbed and taken directly to your liver. When this happens, they are immediately used for energy or converted into ketones. Keep in mind, however, that coconut oil should be introduced slowly into your keto diet. This helps to minimize the digestive side effects of coconut oil, such as stomach cramping and diarrhea.
3. Boost Physical Activity
No diet is successful in its own right just by focusing on foods. Sure, you might lose weight by eating better foods or less food in general, but that doesn’t mean your body is getting healthier at the same time. If you really want your keto diet to succeed, you’ll need to boost your physical activity levels as well. Specifically, increased exercise while on the keto diet can help your body produce more ketones to use for fuel for muscles. Physical activity has been shown to help push the body toward ketosis.
Typically, when you exercise, you deplete your body of glycogen. Normally this would be reversed by eating carbs, but if you’ve already lowered your carb intake, your liver is going to react by producing more ketones, which are in turn used as a source of fuel for muscles.
4. Ingest More Healthy Fats
Fat gets a bad reputation in the dieting world. However, it is important to remember that there are healthy fats out there that your body craves. If you want to reach ketosis, increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet is extremely helpful. The average keto diet relies on healthy fats for 60 to 80 percent of daily calorie intake. Common sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, and tallow. Other sources to consider include avocados, certain cheeses, dark chocolate, whole eggs, fatty fish, and nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts.
5. Stick to Keto-Appropriate Foods
One of the biggest hurdles for those on the keto diet isn’t necessarily sticking to a food plan; it’s sticking to the right food plan. Remember that each individual has their own daily carb limit while on keto that is suitable for their body, but in general, you should be looking to eat foods very low in carbs. What does this look like? Well, try focusing on the following foods as staples in your diet:
- Meats, like fish, beef, lamb, and poultry
- Low-carb vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower
- High-fat dairy, including hard cheeses, butter, and high-fat cream
- Avocados, raspberries, and blackberries
6. Build a Healthy Food Environment
Successful keto diets involve equal parts planning and action. Ensuring that you eat the right foods and exercise is important, but that involves some planning if you really want to stick to the diet. As such, it is a good idea to build a healthy food environment for yourself. Make sure that you have the right foods around your home, apartment, dorm room, or office at work. You’re going to get hungry, and it’s important to have the right foods at hand.
Two more factors to consider are planning your meals in advance and avoiding convenience. Spend your weekend preparing meals for the week, so it doesn’t seem as daunting to stick to your diet when you get home from work tired or have to take the kids to soccer practice. These can be easy deterrents to success in your diet, but they don’t have to be total roadblocks. Additionally, avoid bringing convenience foods into the home. Keep those unhealthy snacks out of the pantry and fridge.
7. Collaborate with Other Keto Dieters
Finally, keep in mind the fact that you don’t have to do this alone. Starting out on the keto diet can feel daunting and even be confusing. If you know others who have succeeded with the keto diet, collaborate with them on what they did that helped and what they found to be difficult. You’ll most likely learn some helpful tips and tricks that make it easier for you to start and stick to your keto diet.