When was the last time you gave your weight some consideration?
If you’re like most people in the United States, there’s a good chance that you’re either overweight or obese. While you may feel fine right now, if left unchecked, your weight can quickly turn into a serious health risk.
Obesity has been linked to a huge list of health complications. Just by carrying a few extra pounds, you’re greatly increasing your risk of developing severe medical issues such as diabetes, cancer, and even premature death.
The thing is, self-love is important. There’s no reason you should hate yourself or your body just because you’re overweight.
But by letting yourself continue to maintain an unhealthy weight, you’re actually practicing the opposite of self-care. Self-care is caring about your mental and physical health. This involves taking care of your body and giving it the proper sleep and nutrients, it needs.
It can be a challenge to try to shed weight and maintain a healthy BMI (body mass index). Not just to help your self-esteem – which is very important, too – but to help prevent weight-related problems from arising.
With more people than ever before struggling with their weight and falling prey to yo-yo dieting, the need for a lasting solution to the obesity epidemic is critical.
That potential solution is something called the “ketogenic diet.”
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
Before you can consider starting the ketogenic diet, it’s important to know exactly what a keto diet actually is.
The keto diet is a specific type of diet that promotes a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-fat menu.
While macronutrients may vary from person to person, one key principle of the keto diet is that carbs are absolutely not allowed.
That’s not to say that the keto diet is zero carbs, though. Many people make a few keto mistakes when first trying out the keto diet. While some people may enjoy up to 50 grams of carbs per day, others do like to avoid all carbohydrates when they are on a ketogenic diet.
However, everyone’s body is different. How many carbs you should eat depends on your own body’s tolerance for them and your personal preference.
That said, if you decide to start a keto diet, it’s important to know what foods are allowed and what aren’t.
Popular foods in a keto diet include meat (steak, anyone?), butter, bacon, and full-fat dairy and cheeses.
Most vegetables are allowed, too, as long as they aren’t starchy. This means that leafy greens and cruciferous veggies can be enjoyed in abundance.
On the other hand, if you eat keto, there are a few foods you should avoid completely.
Grains and sugars are absolutely forbidden on a keto diet. Legumes (like beans and peas) are typically too high-carb for a keto diet, too.
So are most alcoholic beverages, as they tend to be very high in sugar and carbs. Even natural sugars, like honey, have no place in the keto diet.
High-carb vegetables (such as potatoes and winter squash) are also a no-go, as are most fruits. However, lower carb fruits (such as raspberries) are okay in moderation.
Most nuts are allowed, too, so feel free to grab a second handful of almonds or macadamia nuts.
While it may seem like the ketogenic diet is restrictive, it’s actually the complete opposite of that. You can eat anything you like, as long as it’s low carb.
And, with all of the choices of delicious foods that you can eat on keto, the ketogenic diet is anything but restrictive!
How Does the Ketogenic Diet Help You Lose Weight?
When you think of weight loss, do you think of deprivation and starvation?
If you do, you’re not alone. Diet, after all, is a four-letter word!
Fortunately, if you embark on a ketogenic diet, you don’t have to worry about going hungry. The keto diet has been shown to be very filling and squashes hunger and cravings in their tracks.
Many people report having a lower appetite on the keto diet, too, meaning they feel less like grazing between meals.
Not only do you feel like eating less, but you’ll also be burning more calories throughout the day on a ketogenic diet.
The keto diet has been shown to speed up metabolism. Not only does it require more energy to convert fat and protein into glucose, but it also helps your body torch calories by speeding up your resting energy expenditure.
That means you’ll burn more calories even when sitting still on the keto diet!
The ketogenic diet also makes it easier to build muscle, which causes your metabolism to speed up.
It increases fat oxidation, too. Just by eating keto foods, the fat will melt off your body.
One major cause of obesity is poor insulin sensitivity. When your insulin levels remain high, it tells your body to convert glucose into straight-up fat.
The ketogenic diet can help regulate your body’s insulin. In turn, your body doesn’t get the memo to turn your food into fat. Instead, your metabolism perks up and uses the energy for fuel.
Do you know another major cause of obesity? Inflammation.
And do you know what keto does to the body? If you guessed that it reduces inflammation, you’d be right!
The benefits of the keto diet truly are endless, aren’t they?
Getting Started with a Keto Diet Today
A keto diet can seem restrictive at first, but the fact is, it’s actually a very inclusive diet. You can eat all of the permitted foods on it with zero limitations.
Sure, it cuts out most junk foods, but who needs that rubbish in their diet anyway?
If you find yourself struggling with cravings, there’s no shame in trying to find healthy, keto-friendly substitutions for your favorite foods.
You can try to learn a few new recipes. There are many ways you can “keto-ize” your favorite foods by substituting low-carb ingredients.
Craving bread? You can easily swap out white flour for almond or coconut flour.
Want pasta? Make zoodles (spiralized zucchini noodles) with your favorite pesto or Bolognese sauce.
As you learn various hacks and tricks, the keto diet will get easier. Scout’s honor.
The trick to a successful keto diet is finding balance.
Eat only the foods that you like, and don’t force yourself to eat the ones you don’t care for. Not big on bacon? Skip it and reach for chicken instead.
Don’t want to chug down bulletproof coffee (coffee with a tablespoon of butter in it) in the morning? Then add a healthy splash of heavy cream to it.
The best diet is one you’ll actually stick to. If you’re choking down the food on the keto diet, you’ll just feel miserable and are more likely to give up.
However, if you stick it through?
You may find yourself happy with the results you’re getting from it. While a slim body is definitely a perk of the keto diet, it’s so much more than that.
The ketogenic diet has been proven to be safe in the long term, lowering blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
After all, at the end of your day, what matters most is your health.
If the keto diet helps you attain that, then it means you’ve actually achieved your ultimate goal: looking (and feeling!) good in your own body.
Isn’t that worth giving up a few carbs for?