I first heard about the ketogenic lifestyle from a friend a few years ago. It was confusing. I didn’t get it, and I was nursing during that time so didn’t want to sacrifice eating whatever I wanted.
Fast forward to when our littlest was almost one and I couldn’t shake the post-pregnancy weight. That’s when I got serious about keto. Ryan and I have been following the keto lifestyle for almost a year. If you are looking for a way to shed some LBs, it’s worth looking into. Here are some shortcuts to getting started:
What Keto Is (and Isn’t). The Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low carbohydrate, moderate protein diet that has grown in popularity over the years. The recipes focus on anti-inflammatory foods, with the goal of filling up on (mostly healthy) fats to sustain hunger throughout the day and turn your body into a fat burning machine. Keto is not Atkins or South Beach Diet. You aren’t following an all-you-can eat meat and cheese diet. With strict Keto lifestyle, you are eating within general “macros” (more on that below) to identify the target fat, protein, carb and calorie intake to achieve weight loss goals.
How to get Started. The first step is finding out your macros: Your daily protein, fat and carb goals, and calorie deficit, to burn fat and lose weight. There are a lot of tools out there to help identify macros to follow. I used the Ankerl calculator. It’s a super easy tool that allows you to plug in your height and weight, and with some basic info the tool can identify the range of macros to shoot for.
In the beginning, it’s helpful to use Myfitness pal or another food diary tool to track calories and the triad of macros. You want to avoid eating too much protein because your body will turn that into glucose, effectively kicking you out of ketosis. Eating too much fat can just make you gain weight, so it’s best to stay within your macros and eat healthier and leaner fats (avocado is a great healthy fat) to get full. The key is to balance your macros and not overdo any one of the triad.
If you’re REALLY committed, you can purchase Ketone sticks from Amazon or another retailer (like these, which we’ve used) to help you identify whether you are in ketosis. It can be helpful in the beginning to see how many days it takes to kick into fat-burning mode.
Grocery Lists. It’s helpful to stick to a list of healthy foods to purchase. Staples in our list include:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken
- Carne Asada or other beef
- Turkey sausage
- Deli turkey meat
- Salted butter
- Heavy Cream
- Hard cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Green leaf lettuce
- Poblano peppers
- Bell Peppers
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond Flour – this fine almond flour by Bob’s Red Mill is really good for baking.
- Coconut Flour – Bob’s Red Mill is my typical pick.
- Quest bars – these are one of our favorite on the go treats. After taste testing most flavors, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is our favorite.
- Xylitol – I use this one for baking. I have heard good things about Swerve sweetener, but have not tried it myself. Erythritol works well, too.
Favorite Recipes and Meal Planning Ideas. Here are some our favorites (including some from scratch).
- Breakfast: Hardboiled egg + turkey sausage or bacon + coffee with 1 T heavy cream
- Lunch: Cobb salad without croutons, salmon salad, taco salad without the shell (limited black beans), low carb turkey wrap with lettuce
- Dinner: Grilled chicken or salmon, blasted broccoli, side salad
- Snacks: Quest bar, pecans, string cheese
I’ll update more soon!
One thing you’ll notice when finding your macros is that your calorie goals are really low. Before we had our oldest, we did Weight Watchers. I lost the weight I wanted, but I was ALWAYS hungry on the point system and with the 1700 calories a day I was eating. With keto, I eat around 1250-1350 calories a day and I’m not hungry. I also no longer crave sweets.
You’ll also find that it’s important to drink a TON of water. If you think you’re drinking plenty, you should drink twice as much on keto. It’s REALLY important to keep hydrated and to keep a healthy intake of sodium (I find myself eating a little more on this diet to maintain electrolytes).
I’m not a doctor, so it’s always best to make sure you’re screened and cleared for the diet.
Overall, Ryan and I love this lifestyle. We eat cleaner, and less late night carb snacking. We’ve cheated a few days since January 7th when we began, but this has been a really easy and successful way to get back to my pre-first baby weight.