Before I start, it’s worth mentioning that so called “lazy keto “ doesn’t require any preparations. You can just start eating low carb food not worrying about fat adapting, macros, calories, any of it. And in some cases it works. However my experience is, if you want to enjoy full benefits of ketosis ( balancing your hormones, better sleep, improved mental clarity, boosted energy) it’s worth the hassle to do it properly.
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Here are my Golden Five tips for success:
1. Buy a scale
You may have one already, but the scale I recommend is the body composition scale. At the beginning you will be losing a lot of water before you start loosing body fat. It’s because when carbohydrates in your diet are limited, your body is using glycogen stores from your muscles and your liver as an energy source and 1 gram of glycogen binds about 3 grams of water.
Another scale that is crucial at this stage is a kitchen scale. Your macros will be precisely calculated and you need to make sure that you are using exact amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates in your meals.
Electrolytes are basically macro nutrients that regulate your body functions. When you lose glycogen, you lose water, if you lose water, you lose macro nutrients. That’s why it is absolutely essential to replenish electrolytes daily (at least at the fat adapting stage).
Again… my experience is that electrolytes you buy in a form of multi electrolytes (one capsule) don’t provide sufficient amount of macro nutrients and I personally always recommend to buy them separately:
Forget what they told you about avoiding salt. Now you need it more than ever. Not just because of body water loss, but also because a well balanced keto diet avoids processed food and processed food contains tons of NaCl. But not just any salt. Typical table salt is stripped of all minerals. Always use good quality Himalayan Salt.
During keto adaptation it’s recommended to consume sodium (salt) in the following quantities:
6 – 8 grams if you not very active person
8 – 10 grams if you are moderately active
10 – 15grams if you are very active
You might think… how on earth will I eat that much salt? Here is my tip: if you like salty taste, put half of your daily portion of salt in your mouth (5 g = 1 tsp) flush it down with plenty of water straight away and use remaining part with your food. Or… if it’s too extreme, buy empty gelatine capsules and fill it in with recommended amount of salt.
No matter how you do it…just make sure you don’t skip this step.
A lot of keto products contain quite a lot of potassium, but still, during keto adaptation, supplementing is important. Usually it’s 1000-3000 mg. Lack of this macronutrient causes, for example, painful muscle cramps. So if you experience it – you know you are lacking potassium. How to supplement it? I usually buy tablets of potassium citrate.
Again, a well balanced keto diet is quite rich in this macronutrient and we will really have to replenish it only during keto adaptation. Lack of magnesium can cause heart palpitations among others so it’s very important to supplement it. Suggested amount of Mg on keto adaptation is 300 -500 mg. I supplement it if a form of magnesium citrate tablets. You can also have a relaxing bath in Epsom Salt or apply magnesium oil on your skin, as magnesium is famous for its transdermal absorption. It’s worth mentioning that magnesium is a safe supplement and very unlikely to be overdosed.
Unlike magnesium, calcium is not safe to supplement and I do not recommend it. Especially since a keto diet provides a lot of it. Problem with calcium is not consumption. It’s absorption. What I mean is, your body will not absorb calcium properly unless it has sufficient amount of Vit D3. So please add Vit D3 to your shopping list. And if you don’t live in a country where sun shines all year round…take a lot of it (even it up to 1000 mg per 10 kg your body weight). Trust me… majority of people have D3 deficiency. And to make sure that calcium goes straight to your bones always choose Vit D3K2 and take is with your meal as it belongs to fat soluble vitamins.
3. Invest in a blood glucose and ketons monitor
It would be ideal to know where you start if it comes to blood glucose and follow the progress.
Ketons will appear in your blood sometime during adaptation.
And this proportion of glucose to keton bodies (GKI Index) determines wether you are in ketosis or not.
4. Plan your calories intake, macros, and make your meal plan accordingly for the week ahead.
I will be honest with you. This is when things usually go pear shaped. Planning your meals with perfect macros and calories is a very important but not an easy task.
You can do it yourself by using one of the apps like Carb Manager or ask a nutritionist who specialises in keto diet to help you .
To calculate your own recommended calories intake you can use for example the Harris-Benedict equation.
My experience is, that having a weekly meal plan makes everything sooo much easier. You don’t have to figure out every day what to eat. Just have a plan and follow it.
5. Empty your fridge and go shopping
It’s very difficult to stay motivated when your fridge is full of sugary drinks, processed food and chocolate. Give yourself half a chance and make sure you don’t have any of it in your fridge or a cupboard.
I know… it’s a lot to take in. But if you really mean business and really want to improve your health and lose weight, I suggest you do it properly. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your time and money.