Do you feel like you're struggling on the keto diet and not making any headway? Here are some actionable tips on how to make your keto experience successful and enjoyable!
You start the keto diet and feel great till your co-workers bring in donuts for breakfast.
You wake up on the third day of your keto diet, ravenous, and you eat a whole pizza all by yourself.
You’ve been on the keto diet for a month and have lost zero to one pound.
You are SO sick and tired of eggs and don’t know what to eat anymore, so you just have a donut.
You start or restart the keto diet every week.
If this is you (and this used to be me!), I feel your pain.
The keto diet can be hard and confusing with so many varied results that it can seem too hard to stick to. Because I’ve been there, I know just how hard it can be and I am here to help you!
I have put together a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years on how to be successful on the keto diet.
1. The keto diet is not a low calorie or low-fat diet. Load up on healthy fats!
Eating a lot of healthy fats helps you feel full and you will not feel the need to snack as much. Fats have been demonized and we have been taught to fear fat. Just walking down your grocery aisle, you are bombarded with low-fat versions of almost everything from mayonnaise to yogurt to milk.
For instance, I discovered that eating one avocado after my last meal stopped me from snacking the rest of the day and I felt full till I went to bed.
So load up on healthy fats and if you feel you haven’t had enough fat at the end of the day, eat an avocado or a fat bomb.
2. Restock your pantry and fridge, remove the temptation!
If you’re like most households, your pantry is full of tempting food items, most of them canned and processed. To set yourself up for success on the keto diet, you will have to restock your pantry and fridge with healthier, low carb options.
The keto diet encourages consuming real foods and not processed foods so you will also have to fall in love with cooking your meals yourself.
Also when shopping, do not leisurely stroll down the candy aisle. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store filled with vegetables, dairy, and protein.
And do not go shopping hungry, that’s the quickest way to fill your cart with high carb, sugary foods!
3. Prep your meal ahead
Most of us are busy and don’t want to (or don’t have the time) cook food from scratch every day. It’s more difficult if you have non-keto folks in your household and already have high-carb foods cooked and stored in the fridge.
It really helps to meal prep in advance to keep you on track and to help you not give in to the temptation of eating whatever high carb meal is available. You can prepare meals and freeze or prepare and pack in meal prep containers for a few days out.
4. Don’t cook totally separate meals from the rest of the household
If you have a non-keto household, cook meals that you can share with them. It can be exhausting to always cook totally separate dishes so think of how you can eat the same meals while substituting what you can.
For instance, being Nigerian, my family members love to eat fufu with soup. I cook the soup for the household but eat mine with low carb fufu instead. Or I make Nigerian beef stew and they eat theirs with rice, while I eat mine with cauliflower rice or shirataki noodles.
You just have to get creative and look for ways to reduce how much cooking you have to do.
5. Cook highly nutritious and delicious dishes you will actually enjoy
I don’t know anyone who likes food that tastes bland or wants to eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Variety really is the spice of life.
There are so many delicious recipes you can make on a keto diet. You are not limited to eating the same thing. It’s also so much easier to stick to a diet if you actually enjoy what you’re eating.
Here at Low Carb Africa, I am a strong believer in flavors. My recipes are so mouthwatering, finger-licking delicious, that my non-keto household happily indulges in them.
So spice up your meals the way you want to and enjoy your dining experience. You have a wide variety of foods and recipes to pick from so it does not have to be boring!
6. Keep healthy keto snacks within reach
Nothing will derail you faster than being hungry and not having keto snacks nearby. It is so tempting to drive to the nearest fast-food restaurant or reach for the nearest unhealthy snack when you are hungry.
It always helps to have keto snacks on hand to satisfy your cravings. Sometimes you just need to have a dessert or you have a serious hankering for something really sweet. A high-fat keto dessert or fat bomb and a glass of water will usually take care of that craving.
I also like to subscribe to a service like Keto Krate that sends me different keto snacks every month. I like that all snacks are 5 net carbs or less, and I have a wide variety to choose from, so I don't get bored.
7. Track your carb intake and watch out for hidden sugars
It might be tempting to just eyeball your meals and try to guess or mentally add up all the carbs you eat in a day. But if you actually track your carbs, you will be surprised to find out that you eat way more carbs than you think you do.
This is most likely the number one reason you are not losing weight on the keto diet; you are eating way too many hidden carbs.
Hidden carbs are those carbs that are well, hidden. They are not obvious like the carbs in fruits or rice or unprocessed foods.
Hidden carbs are found in some seasonings, flavorings, and spices. If you eat store-bought mustard, mayonnaise, or peanut butter, they might contain some carbs which all add up.
Other sources of hidden carbs are canned fish, flavored extracts or concentrates, and low carb foods that contain honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or similar.
To be safe, use an app like carb manager to track your daily carb intake so you can be sure you are not going above 20-25 net carbs a day.
8. Dairy might make you stall on your weight loss
A lot of keto recipes rely on heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, or butter for healthy fats. But some people completely stall when they consume dairy on the keto diet. I am one of them and I know this happens to quite a few people I coach.
If you are not losing any weight at all on the keto diet, try giving up dairy for a month. If you do lose weight after that, then you know dairy was the culprit. You might have to leave it out of your diet until you reach your goal weight.
Alternatively, you can eat it very sparingly, for instance, once every two weeks, to reduce the effect it has on your weight loss.
9. Keep hydrated
Sometimes thirst is masked as hunger. When you feel like eating something, you might really just be thirsty.
Try drinking a cup of water and waiting a few minutes to see if you’re really hungry. That might really be all you need.
Green tea has been proven to help with digestion and weight loss so it is highly encouraged on a keto diet. It might take a while to get used to drinking it plain but it really grows on you.
10. How’s your mindset?
Do you really want to do this and do you believe you can do it? You might be surprised to know that your mindset plays a huge role in the keto diet.
If you don’t believe you can do it, you might not succeed. Affirmations aren’t just psychological mumbo jumbo. Studies have actually shown that self-affirmations help to rewire the brain.
Just telling yourself "I can do this" every day will make a world of difference. Just try it and see.
Also, you might have some bad habits you need to break. We are, after all, creatures of habit.
If you leisurely stroll into the kitchen every night looking for something to snack on, you might not really be hungry. You might just be feeding a habit.
11. If you fall off, get back up again
Let’s face it. We’re all humans and sometimes you’ll eat something you’re not supposed to. It might even be a party or a holiday meal and you’ve decided to just let go and enjoy whatever meal is served. That’s totally okay!
Life is all about cherishing the moments and if you made a decision to eat a high carb meal, it’s your decision. But do NOT make the cheat meal a cheat day, week, or month. And do NOT give up.
Eating several high-carb meals will not only make you feel crummy but it will knock you out of ketosis and you’ll have to go through the process all over again.
Just get back on the wagon on the next meal and keep moving forward. Do not waste time feeling guilty or beating yourself up about it. Always forward, never backward.
I wish you the very best on your low-carb journey!