Let’s say that you have decided to give the Ketogenic Diet a try and you have done your research on How to Get Started.
Changing your diet from a carbohydrate-based diet to a predominantly fat-based diet is a big shift for the body. Depending on your eating history, it’s good for you to be prepared for changes and symptoms that you will experience along the way.
To transition your body to be fat-adapted, it is good to give yourself a minimum of 4 weeks. During this time you will follow, ideally, a strict ketogenic approach, where most of your calories will come from fat (70%-80%), moderate amount from protein (25%-15%), and a minimum from carbs (5%).
During your first month of a Ketogenic Diet, there are different stages. I divided it in weeks, based on what I have experienced myself and with my customers. But, please consider that each person’s experience is different based on their characteristics, past diet, and exercise level.
So, what to expect when starting a Ketogenic Diet?
During this week usually, you are excited about the change but usually is also the hardest one. Carbohydrate’s withdrawal symptoms are real. You might experience flu-like symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- General tiredness
- Mental fogginess
- Bodily pains
During this week, make sure to have plenty of resting time, drink lots of water, and supplement with electrolytes, especially magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
If you are used to exercising regularly, some light exercise might help to accelerate the adaptation process. Try not to push yourself too hard because you might find yourself without much energy. But don’t worry, it will return!
The body starts to get used to using fat as fuel and the grey cloud is lifting bit by bit. You are also getting more confident in the kitchen with new dishes, ingredients, and food substitutes.
At this stage, it’s great to start looking for recipes that inspire you and that substitute your favorite foods from the past. Things like Keto bread, crackers, and sweets are great resources to have always ready to accompany, end your meals or snack.
Also, you might start to lose the first kilos/pounds. The first stage of weight loss its mainly accumulated liquid in the body that is released when burning the carbs/glucose storages. Important: drink lots of water and use electrolyte supplements!
This is a good time to start exercising a bit more regularly. Find the right intensity for you so that you end your workouts feeling good. Still not the time to push too hard. Exercise can help significantly to get you fat-adapted at this stage.
This is usually when you start to feel the best and when the routine of the diet kicks in. You get used to the food and your new daily meals start to feel like your normal lifestyle.
Usually at this point sleep starts to improve and also mental clarity. You might feel more alert and with more energy in general. Also, your appetite and cravings start to lower and you might find yourself not hungry in general.
You might still experience some bodily pains at this point, but don’t worry, it will pass! Keep on supplementing and drinking plenty of water. Also, listen to your body and rest as much as you need to.
Same as the previous week, keep on exercising regularly, at least 3 times during the week. Energy and strength levels might have started to improve during your workouts, but if it hasn’t yet, do not worry. Exercising is the hardest time for the body to use fat as fuel and it might need an extra 1 or 2 weeks to get adapted to its new fuel source.
During this week you should be already using fat for fuel and gotten fat adapted (it might take 1 to 2 extra weeks depending on the case).
Once the transition has happened you should be feeling all the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet. Weight loss should be progressing at a rhythm of 500 gr to 2 kilos per week if you have some extra weight to lose.
Your mental clarity should have improved, as well as your energy levels. You also might be experiencing better night sleeps and needing a bit less sleep than before. And waking up in the mornings should be easier.
Keep notice of the changes and remember what you have gone through. Also make sure you have enough recipes, ideas, and a good plan so that you are always one step ahead of your eating and also possible cravings.
Sticking to a Ketogenic Diet is a huge accomplishment that comes with big rewards. Ideally, during this month you also have worked on your mindset and have a clear and strong reason WHY you want to eat this way. If you are faced with temptations, cravings, or emotional eating moments, remember your BIG reason(s).
I hope you find this useful, and if you need a personal plan and advice to transition into a Ketogenic Diet and a Healthier Lifestyle, contact me. I’d be honored to guide you towards a longer, happier, and healthier life!
Wishing you all the best!