If you’re just beginning a ketogenic diet, you’ve made the decision to change your current lifestyle and move into the keto lifestyle.
This lifestyle includes dropping fat from your body and improving your health.
To do this, you’re going to be changing your body from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner.
How do you do this?
It’s going to require you to change how you eat. You’re going to need to significantly cut carbs in your diet and increase your fat and protein consumption.
Typically, most keto diets have a ratio of 75% fats, 20% proteins, and 5% carbs.
Fats, proteins, and carbs are the 3 main things you need to constantly look at. These are called macros.
When you’re on a ketogenic diet, macros are the important aspect of the diet. You need to understand macros inside and out. If you can do this then you’ll be very successful with your diet.
To fully understand your macros you need to break them down into individual parts and then understand how to calculate them.
Fats, proteins, and carbs are separate, but when combined properly with a keto diet, your body is going to enter ketosis and become a fat-burning machine.
Ketogenic diets require you to take more grams of fat than any other macronutrient you’ll be consuming.
A good motto to think about when you’re on this diet is, “Eat fat to lose fat.”
I know it sounds weird but it’s been proven that it works.
When you’re on top of all the fats, your body is going to really start using that as it’s main source of energy.
The reason fats are going to be so useful with the ketogenic diet is that it gives you such a satiated feeling. You’ll feel full for a longer duration.
You won’t be constantly hungry like you might be when you’re on other types of diets. High-fat diets are going to keep you full while you lose the weight you want.
Eating the right fats is crucial. You do not want to start eating all of the processed fats. Anything processed is only going to hurt you when you’re on this new journey.
Here are some examples of fats that are healthy for you: oils, butter, fat from avocados, heavy cream, and nuts.
Consuming these types of fats are going to help put your body in ketosis and push your body towards burning more of that unwanted fat.
Protein is going to be important for the preserving of lean muscle and repairing the muscle that gets broken down while you’re on this diet.
You will only be preserving and/or trying to gain muscle. You do not want to lose any of your lean muscle mass.
Losing muscle mass may not necessarily be a good thing. You may be losing weight on the scale but you’re losing muscle which means losing strength.
Consuming the right amount of protein is going to prevent this from happening. You’ll be maintaining the muscle you have while at the same time dropping fat.
You want to keep as much muscle as you can. Remember, the goal of the ketogenic diet is to reach ketosis. Being in ketosis is going to shed fat and not muscle from your body.
Consuming too little protein will cause you to lose muscle, but consuming too much protein will work against you too.
If you consume too much protein, your body is going to have an excess amount of it. This means that the extra protein isn’t going towards muscle recovery so it needs to get stored somewhere. It’s going to get stored as fat somewhere on your body.
You’re on this diet so that you can get rid of fat. Anything you do that adds fat to your body is just ruining all the progress you’ve made up to this point.
Carbs may need to be the biggest focus for a lot of people because most people don’t realize the number of carbs they may typically consume in a day.
One thing about carbs that may surprise you is that it is a macronutrient that isn’t necessary for our survival. Yes, they are able to provide us with energy in most cases, but they also pack on the fat. You can get everything you need from a proper diet without having any of the carbs.
For purposes of the ketogenic diet, something that you should focus on when you’re beginning the diet is net carbs. Don’t focus on total carbs.
When you’re at the grocery store and you grab an item off the shelf, look at the Nutrition Facts. On this label, you’ll notice there is a section that is titled, “Total Carbohydrates.” Under this, you’ll see the subtitles, “Sugars” and “Fiber.”
Now, you’re going to have to do a little simple math at this point. To get the net carbs that we are going to look at, you take the total carbohydrates and subtract the fiber. Doing this will give you the net carbs.
Why Net Carbs?
We are looking at net carbs because of how fibers act when they enter our body.
Our bodies do not really absorb fiber so they just pass through our bodies. Basically, they are in on end, out the other.
So, even though fiber is considered a carb, it has minimal impact on adding any kind of fat to your body. This is why we can subtract the amount of fiber from the total number of carbohydrates.
If you need it broken down a little more for you, think about it like this: You earn your paycheck at the end of the month, you get to see how much you actually made. This can be considered as total carbohydrates. However, the total amount you actually receive is different because of taxes that are taken out, this can be considered as the fiber. The total amount of money you actually receive after the taxes are taken out can be considered as your net carbs.
Calculating Your Macros
Calculating your macros is something that a lot of people seem to struggle with when they are first beginning a ketogenic diet.
This is probably because everyone is going to have slightly different macros they need to achieve based on their goals.
This site helps calculate your macros based on a number of different factors such as age, height, weight, and activity level.
The thing about your calculated macros is that they can change according to what you’re doing on any given day. Once you calculate your macros, they don’t have to stay there. They aren’t set in stone.
You’re able to have a bit of fluidity with them.
Staying on Track
Something that will guarantee to make you successful with the ketogenic diet, but might seem a bit tedious at times is tracking your macros throughout the day.
You need to keep track of what you put in your body so that you can see how well you’re keeping up with your macros.
I’ll tell you right now, fats are probably going to be the hardest to keep up with. Usually, people see the number of fats they need to consume and get a little frightened. This is perfectly understandable, but at the same time, you need to trust everything that is being laid out in front of you.
Trust the process of the ketogenic diet.
The sooner you can trust what you’re being told about this diet, the easier it will become and the sooner you’ll be able to reach ketosis.
Your macros can be a bit tricky at first. The more you try to understand them, the more clear they will appear.
I truly believe that once you master your macros, you’ll start to see the body you’ve always wanted to have start taking shape.
If you’re still somewhat in the dark or don’t fully understand what macros are, check out our keto weight loss program. Here, you’ll find a community that will help you with any question you might have on this journey.