Do I believe in Cheat Days?? Pardon my French but I say Fuck yeah!! There are a lot of differences of opinions here, but I am and always have been a firm believer in "cheats" Even 20 years ago when I had just had my son and found myself with 80lbs to lose I had my cheat days! Keep in mind this was before there were all the wonderful internet resources that there are today... I dropped 80lbs in 5 mos the good old fashioned way, counting calories!! I ate 1200 calories a day of boring food... but every Friday from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep was my cheat day! I would start the day with a bag of cheetos and end it with my favorite candy bar and you know what? The next day without fail I would DROP WEIGHT! So yes! I've always believed in cheat days, however I have to confess something now.... cheat days on the Keto diet are different! I literally used to count down the days minutes and seconds until cheat day on any other plan I ever followed and when I first started the keto diet I did the same however as the weeks go by I'm less and less excited about cheat days... The truth is I find myself craving KETO food!! All my cravings for pizza and pasta and McDonald's are gone.. I never in a million years thought it was possible. I still do my cheat days every Saturday but I listen to my body, I don't force myself to eat junk food just because it's my cheat day, IG I want something I eat it but it's just not like before! I will say however that my love of donuts has not changed and every Saturday without fail I drive over to my favorite donut shop and pick up 3 custard filled chocolate donuts!! So yes, I do believe in cheat days.... Now depending on your individual goals you may start out just having a cheat meal a week or maybe 3 cheat meals a week or maybe go right into cheat days... it can vary depending on the person. Ok, now that I got all that off my chest there is one other thing I should warn you about.... The CARB hangover!! I swear to you after a big cheat day I wake up Sunday morning like I have been hit by a mac truck, headache, puffy & bubble guts ugh... the more you ate the day before the worse you feel... but it goes away and as long as you get right back to keto life on Sunday you'll be feeling back to normal by Monday morning and for most you'll be right back into ketosis! Ok gotta go... time to eat my donut!
CHECK BACK OFTEN AS I WILL UPDATE THIS POST WITH ALL THE FAQ's frequently....
Hidden carbs are the single most common reason that people do not succeed on the Keto Diet. What do I mean by hidden carbs? Well, things that you would not expect to have carbs but they actually do! Its the worst thing that can happen on the KETO diet. Nothing worse than being really good and proud of yourself that you have stuck to the "plan" 100% only to find out that you have actually been eating CARBS without knowing it. Now let me start by saying IT's GOING TO HAPPEN!! Happened to me, and I have heard some pretty funny stories about it happening to others as well... My husband for instance, he was so proud of the new lunch he had been having everyday. He had discovered this new Poke Bowl spot by his gym and every day after his workout he would grab his "Keto Friendly" lunch.(or so he thought). So one day he takes me with him, and I too get myself a Poke Bowl. I chose Greens as my base, picked 3 proteins (Salmon, Shrimp & Tuna), I topped it with Spicy Mayo & avocado, they then added 2 complimentary scoops of Crab salad(how kind of them). Sounds all good right? Well the next morning I used my Keto Stix to check my ketosis level and to my surprise I was NOT IN KETOSIS!!! WHAT?!?!? I had eaten absolutely perfect the day before, what could it have been? The POKE bowl?!? It was the only thing that was "new" that i had eaten so it had to be something in the bowl. I started to google each ingredient, and to my surprise I found out that the 2 complimentary scoops of Crab Salad were the culprit!! Why you ask? Well, the crab was imitation crab which is basically a chemical form of crab made up almost entirely of carbs and sugar!! Now don't get me wrong, A Poke Bowl is a great KETO friendly lunch as long as you SKIP the imitation crab and beware of any unknown sauces!! Spicy Mayo is your best bet, avoid any soy based sauces they tend to have sugar. While we are on the subject of sauces, beware of MOST sauces when you are eating out. Most sauces are sugar based even if you would think they are not! When you are on the KETO diet, your phone will be your best friend. If you are not sure if something has carbs just quickly google it. I cannot tell you how many times I have saved myself from the dreaded "HIDDEN CARBS" catastrophe by doing this! Read your menu, typically it will say the name of the sauce, for example. Hamachi Shooters (Yellow tail with Ponzu sauce and sesame oil) Sounds good right? Well, google Ponzu Sauce and you will see that it has tons of carbs and sugar. Just another example of how your phone can be your best friend. You don't have to sound like a weirdo asking the waitress all kinds of questions just use your phone. I have started a list below of things that have "Hidden Carbs" that I know of. I will continue to add to this list! Feel free to add some in the comments as well.
Keep in mind any snacks or recipes and meal ideas I post are Keto tested by me first. There are a lot of misleading labels out there and products that claim to be "Keto friendly' but they are not! Clever marketing tactics can kick you right out of ketosis! Some of my tried and tested favorites are listed below. I typically will have 2 snacks per day. One late afternoon and one at bedtime.
My Bedtime Snack!! They are so delicious. I warm them them up for like 10 seconds in microwave. As of right now you can only buy them online. Click here to purchase
Serving Size 2 cookies
Net Carbs: 3 grams
Sugar: 1 gram
Sugar Free Jello with Whipped Cream
I empty 2 of those snack cup sized Sugar Free Jellos (10 calories each) into a bowl and top it with Extra Creamy Whipped Dair topping (Whipped Cream) or Cool Whip. The Whole snack is only about 75 Calories and 2 Carbs! Not a lot of fat, but if you are craving something sweet this will do the trick. It works for me!
Let me start by saying that I did not introduce atkins bars into until about 3 weeks into my keto diet. I wanted to make sure that I was in a steady ketosis before introducing them. I had read a lot of reviews that for some people they kicked them out of ketosis. Im happy to report that I finally did try them and they did not kick me out of ketosis, in fact on a recent trip to Colombia, I relied on them heavily since it wasn't always easy to get my meals in while traveling and working in a foreign country. That being said, proceed with caution here, because some people may not tolerate them as well as others. The artificial sweetener used in them is called Malitol and I have read that it causes "bubble guts" for some, Luckily for me I had no adverse effects and was able to eat them and still remain in Ketosis. That being said, I do limit them to only maybe 2-3 bars a week since they do have abut 3 grams of sugar per bar and I really do watch my sugar intake. I have provided a link to some of my favorite flavors below. They really are delicious and taste just like regular Candy bars.
Dark Chocolate (90% Cocoa or Higher)
Dark Chocolate is a great way to "Fat Bomb" yourself if you are low on fat or if you just want a snack. Really watch the label though and limit your serving size. The best one of have found is Choc Zero. Its Completely Sugar Free and only 45 Calories per square. It has 4.5 grams of fat and only 1 net carb. I just got them, so I haven't had a chance to experiment, for now I just eat the plain chocolate squares, but I have some ideas for some yummy desserts I can make with them so bookmark this page and check back often, I will be posting more snack ideas.... I found them on Amazon (Amazon is my go-to for most keto friendly foods)
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
3 Squares of Choc Zero 92% Dark Chocolate (Available online only, link above)
1/2 Tbs Coconut Oil
5 small Strawberries Sliced
Microwave or Melt over stovetop, blend with spoon
Drizzle over sliced strawberries & ENJOY :)
Lily's Chocolate Bar
I finally found an Absolutely delicious Chocolate Candy Bar. I don't think I will ever eat a regular candy bar again! It is a large candy bar and Half of it equal 1 service. Only 150 Calories, 15 grams of fat, 4 net carbs and 1 gram of sugar! I really feel like I have died and gone to heaven. They aren't too cheap, but it is a large king sized bat at approx $5 a bar. Worth every penny. You know how it can feel when that sweet tooth kicks in!
Just to give you an idea of how you should be eating, I have listed below what a typical day on the KETO diet might look like. Keep in mind I eat around 1600 calories a day so depending on your own macros this could be more food or less food for you. This is a typical day for me:
2 Pieces of Bacon (Nitrate Free)
2 Whole Eggs Fried (I fry them in the leftover bacon grease for extra fat)
2 oz of Queso Fresco
160z Coffee 1 pkg of Organic Stevia, 1 tbsp Butter 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
4oz of Grilled Carne Asada chopped
2 cups Spinach
1oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Half an Avocado diced
2 Tbsp Ranch Dressing
1/4 Cup Almonds
5oz Grass Fed Beef Hamburger Patty (Pan Fried in leftover bacon grease)
2 Pieces of Applewood Smoked Bacon
1 oz Cheddar Cheese
Wrap in Iceberg Lettuce
1 serving of Pork Rinds (Great Substitue for chips, has zero carbs)
Night Time Snack
KETO KOOKIES!! This was hands down my best discovery on the KETO DIET. I didn't start having these until week 3, but I have tested them. I have them every night before bed and they DO NOT kick me out of ketosis. only 1 net carb per cookie and they are DELICIOUS. I eat 1pkg (2 cookies) every night. Snickerdoodle is my favorite. You can only get them online. Click here to purchase.
When I first started KETO i definitely had a hard time figuring out what I could and could not eat. Some things that you think are "low Carb" are really not and so many items have added sugars that you would never think. That is why it will become important to get used to reading labels. Not to worry though, overtime you will learn what to avoid and get better at reading labels. Check back often, I will be adding a post on reading labels and will hopefully be posting some v-logs where I can take you grocery shopping with me! in the meantime here is a list to get you started. In the beginning I think it is very important to keep things real basic to get you into Ketosis (fat burning mode) as quickly as possible. Then we can add in some FUN STUFF & treats. Don't worry though keeping it basic is still DELICIOUS. SO get ready to enjoy every meal while you are shedding FAT!
Just Remember a few simple things...
-DO NOT BE AFRAID TO EAT TOO MUCH FAT
-Add Fats to every meal (Example Half an Avocado or 2 tbsp Coconut Oil)
-Cook all meats and Veggies in butter or oil
-If you drink Coffee, Add Butter & Coconut Oil to it! (Blended Tastes Great)
Before you go to the grocery store, Highlight the items from this list that you like and try to figure out the meals that you would make with those items. Create a little meal plan for yourself to get you thru the first few days and buy just enough to make those meals. I posted what a typical first day could look like (FIRST DAY OF KETO) just to give you an idea.
This list is just a guideline, if it is not on the list it doesn't mean you can't have it, it just means that you have to read the label. Your food choices should be High in Fat (14 grams or higher per serving) and have low to ZERO Carbs less than 2 grams per serving and 0 Grams of sugar
MEATS/FISH (Avoid Lean Cuts)
DAIRY (Full Fat Versions no Lite or Low Fat)
FATS & OILS
**Prepare all veggies with butter & oil or Dip Raw Veggies in Ranch or cream cheese
Limit Nuts to One serving per day. They are high fat but they do have carbs as well and its easy to overeat them
Do not be afraid to SALT & Season your food!
Fruit (avoid fruit in beginning)
Fruit it very small quantities is ok, but in the first few weeks I would avoid it all together. The idea is to get you into ketosis as quickly as possible and fruit can sometimes prevent that. After a few weeks you can add small amounts of the following fruits:
KETO Approved Sweeteners
Sometimes hard to find, so I have linked the following items so that you can easy purchase on Amazon
Ok so, the name of this article is Everything you need to know to GET STARTED... not everything you need to know... there is so much information about this diet that it can be overwhelming and cause what I call analysis paralysis lol you'll analyze everything and do nothing! It's better to learn just enough to get started and then come back to learn more as you go... Just bookmark this site and check bak often for more info, recipes FAQ's etc.
So what is a "keto" diet? It is high fat, moderate protein and low carbs.. The diet will force your body to burn fats for energy rather than carbs. Although it is not necessary to count calories / macros. I find that in the beginning it's a good idea to atleast calculate your macros as a reference point. It will help you to understand how much fat and how little carbs you should actually be eating to hit your % goals!
You should always stay within 5% of the following macronutrients breakdown
5 % Carbs
There are tons of apps out there that will allow you to log your daily food intake. I used MyFitnessPal because it was easy to plug in all your food and quickly view the graph to see where you are at % wise. I personally only tracked things for the first 3 weeks after that you will just kind of know...
Again remember to just use this as a guideline, do not fixate on calories... calculate your calories to give you a general idea.
Easiest way to calculate your total daily calories for weightloss:
Your Current Weight * 10
You can add calories to this for an exercise you do. For example:
You weight 125lbs 125*10 = 1,250 Calories
45 Minutes on elliptical you burn 300 Calories
Total Calories you can consume and still lose weight = 1,550
** Again do not fixate on calories this is just a loos guideline, whats most important is hitting the % goals at the end of the day
Enter info into your My Fitness Pal app in Goals
Under Calorie and Micronutrient Goals
Enter the Total Calories (current weight *10)
**You can enter in the extra calories for exercising each day as you go
Enter your Macrobutreint goals 75% Fats/20% Protein/5% Carbs in the app
You will then log all of your food intake daily into the App. This way you will easily be able to check your %'s to make sure you are within range. If your Fat is Low but your protein is high then you know you should have a high fat low protein snack etc. It will get easier once you start. By Logging everything you eat it will also be easier to troubleshoot if your weightless stalls or in you are unable to get into the ketosis state.
Ok so you've calculated your macros & downloaded my fitness pal. Now for the fun part!! Go grocery shopping!!
Starter Grocery List (Click Here)
Remember this is just to get you started with simple things that will surely and quickly get you into ketosis.
In the beginning it's important to just stay pretty basic with your diet... it is important to get your body adapted as quickly as possible to this new way of eating. After about 2 weeks in and once you have already confirmed that you are in ketosis then you can start getting creative by adding some of my tried & tested keto snacks (link to keto snacks blog) For me personally when I started out i kept my meals pretty similar everyday. Since I already knew the macronutrient breakdown was good, I would just eat very similar meals each day to make it easier.
Use Ketostix to determine if you are in ketosis. It is a urine test strip. Start testing on day 3. You can purchase them for 9.95 from Amazon.com (direct link below) They are an excellent way to track how your are doing. Test first thing in the morning. If after 5 days you have not shown a color change on the stick there could be some hidden carbs in your diet. If you are having trouble getting into ketosis send me an email and I will help you to determine the issue.
Any color change at all means you are in KETOSIS, WOO HOO
Do not worry if its not dark, when you test dark it typically just means you are a bit dehydrated
If you are looking for additional guidance, let me help you! Custom Keto Plans available starting at just $25
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