When my husband came home and told me about wanting to start Keto I thought he was crazy. Surely there were better ways to get healthy! I had no idea how much it would change my life. Keto might not have been directly responsible for some of these changes but it was definitely the starting point and deserves a lot of credit. Being successful with Keto gave me the confidence to try other life changes I had previously thought impossible. Eating this way made me feel better in general but it also made me realize that I was strong enough to follow through with other positive changes. I stopped biting my nails, I started running and following creative pursuits. I decided to spend some time making myself happy because I was just as important as the rest of my family. If I can do this then you can too!
Is Keto Hard?
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Is Keto Hard? The Honest Truth
In the beginning, yes, It was hard. Any large change to your lifestyle is difficult! The first two weeks are the hardest. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Starting keto meant learning an entirely new way of eating. We had to give up many of the staple meals our family had been making for years which made figuring out our weekly menus challenging. What’s for dinner became a Russian roulette game of new recipes, new vegetables and new methods of cooking.
So yes. For the first few weeks, Keto was hard. But, as we learned the rules and became accustomed to reading labels and calculating carb counts it started to get easier. After a while eating Keto became the new normal, we didn’t have to think about it too much because we knew the foods we could and couldn’t eat. We found new favorites to replace the older versions of our recipes. Adapting to a Keto lifestyle seems to move in stages!
The First 2 Weeks
You have no idea what you’re doing. It’s likely that you have spent some time researching Keto and found a lot of information. Probably too much information. In fact, it’s likely that you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out about this whole idea. You don’t know what to eat, you don’t know how to cook it and some of the people you talk too seem really intense about the subject of Keto.
On top of this, your body is going through one heck of an adjustment. You probably miss all your old sweet treats and you might even feel poorly because your body has no idea how to function without its daily sugar high.
It’s okay. All of this will pass and you will get through it.
Tips for the First 2 Weeks
- Relax and Breathe – Everything will be okay. Try not to overwhelm yourself with so much information. Researching all the specifics of Keto life can be done later on. For the first few weeks, it’s best to keep it simple. Spend your time learning to read labels and calculate Net Carbs. Keep your daily carb levels below 20g.
- Be Kind to Yourself – You are going through a big change. Your body needs time to adapt and so does your mind. If you make a mistake – forgive yourself and move on. No one is 100% perfect right off the bat and you are learning to eat better for the rest of your life. Try your very best but don’t beat yourself up if you find out about some hidden carbs you accidentally ate! Forgive yourself and move on.
- Take Care of Yourself – Make sure you are getting your electrolytes (add salt or use powders) and drinking plenty of water. Eat green leafy vegetables and start cooking with healthy fats and oils. You might consider scaling back your exercise during this period until your body learns to use fat for fuel instead of sugars. You might feel sleepy, run down or flu-like as your body adapts so take care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep and following the advice above. If you find yourself having a really hard time then you might consider going Keto slowly. Gradually increase your healthy fats while reducing the carbohydrates in your diet. It’s okay to take things slowly if this is less stressful for you!
Is Keto Hard? Well! You Made it! Now What?
The Experimental Stage
The first few weeks might have been hard but you made it through! Hopefully, your feeling better, you might have started ramping up your exercise again and feel slightly more confident thanks to the knowledge you’ve already picked up. I like to call this the experimental stage of Keto. By this point, you have started getting things under control. Your eating less then 20g of carbs (or working towards it!) and you have a better idea about which foods are good and which foods are bad. Now it’s time to go a bit deeper. You might even be considering what type of Keto will work best for you.
But, if your adjustment period was particularly hard or you spent a lot of time watching the scale you might be feeling a bit discouraged too. That’s okay! iI’s pretty normal at this point to start second-guessing your decision. Lots of people lose a bunch of weight in those first two weeks and then start to get discouraged when the tread doesn’t continue. The initial weight you lost was most likely water weight and while your body has probably started to use ketones by now your still not fully fat adapted (that can take up to two months). You need to let your body continue to heal and adjust.
Tips for the Experimental Stage
- Be Patient! – That initial water weight loss was a head rush I know! It’s amazing to wake up one morning and find you’ve lost several pounds. It’s also equally discouraging when some of it seems to come back or you stop loosing. This is especially difficult for people who follow Keto groups and see others posting about how much they have lost. Keto is not a magical weight loss pill, your journey is not going to be completed overnight and that’s alright. Be patient with your body and stay the course, your new healthy habits will make a difference but it will also take time!
- Try New Things! – The true secret to sticking with Keto (at least in my opinion) is finding ways to not feel restricted at all! The wonderful thing about Keto is that there are alternatives to almost everything you used to love. Will they be exactly the same? Of course not BUT! There are options. Use this time to try any recipe you find interesting. Explore the different sweeteners available (I found I hate stevia but love swerve. Others are the opposite). Half of the recipes you try will be duds and that’s okay because you will also find some that you absolutely love!
- Continue Learning – But, take everything with a grain of salt. People tend to form strong opinions about what they think is ‘right’ and ‘not right’. It’s important to remember that Keto is not a one size fits all diet, everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another! It’s possible you might have to experiment a little bit to find your perfect Keto game plan. Spend some time researching things now that you’re not feeling so overwhelmed (or if you are, take it slowly!) and figure out what works best for you. You’re in this for the long haul and odds are your plan will change several times so don’t stress!
- Stop Comparing yourself to others! – Yeah maybe Sue from some random facebook group lost 10 pounds this week and you’ve barely lost one, or maybe you didn’t lose at all. It’s okay. Not everyone is going to lose the same weight at the same time – everything from starting weight to hormones to the time of day you weigh yourself is a factor. Don’t compare your journey to another’s because all of our paths wind in different ways!
Is Keto Hard? Not When your Fat Adapted!
Alright! You have spent some time learning the basics, then you probably got a bit deeper and really figured out your Keto game plan. It’s likely you have (and still are) building a pretty good stockpile of Keto recipes and Keto pantry staples. Hopefully, by now the carb cravings have subsided – and you have a lot of amazing Keto desserts to choose from when they don’t! And your starting to see some more consistent progress towards your goals. Your feeling good, you’re confident enough to look at a menu and figure out what is keto friendly at a restaurant and some of your friends probably think you’re crazy for giving up bread and candy.
Fat adaption is the ultimate goal in Keto – and it can take a while to get here. For some people, this can take as long as 2-3 months. When your fat adapted you generally notice that you’re no longer hungry all the time, this is because your body is now relying on your fat stores for energy. Congratulations! Somewhere along the way Keto ceased to be ‘hard’ and just became a way of eating.
Tips for the Fat Adapted Stage
- Don’t Get Discouraged – Your fat adapted now and your eating properly so what’s the deal with this stall or slight gain? Unfortunately, weight loss is not the perfect downward fall we all want it to be. Especially for women. Your weight can and does fluctuate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. If it’s that time of the month or you have been stressed out and not sleeping well then all of that can be reflected in your body. Odds are it will even itself out soon enough so keep eating well and remember to be patient.
- Weight loss slows down – If you lost a whole lot fairly quickly and now things seem to be moving slower don’t worry! That’s pretty normal. The more you have to lose the faster it tends to come off. It’s possible you might have to become stricter as you get closer to your goal weight, those last few pounds can be particularly stubborn.
- Be Flexible – As our bodies change so does our needs. It’s okay to recalculate your keto macros or to change your gameplan and even introduce fasting if you need too! Keto works differently for everyone and because our bodies love to keep us on our toes sometimes it works differently at different stages too!
Goal Weight and Beyond
Keto is a journey and it’s often not a short one! There is a reason that many people consider this a way of life rather than a diet. Eventually, you will reach your Keto goals and it’s important to start thinking about what to do when you get there! Our article Weight Maintenance after Keto might help you out at this point!