“I’m thinking of losing weight, so I’m going to go on the keto diet.” — almost everyone reading this at some point in the last 5 years
When most people discuss losing weight, they talk about how they have to go on the keto diet. I often hear readers mentioning how they’re going to go keto to finally shed the pounds that they’ve been struggling to lose for years.
Is this logic true though? Do you have to go on the keto diet to lose weight? Do you need to give up carbs to see any progress? Let’s take a closer look at the keto diet and losing weight…
You’ll hear people talking about how they’re going on a diet to lose weight. It’s common to “go on” a diet. The diet that most people turn to these days is the keto diet. This requires you to cut out certain food and beverages from your diet.
So I figured that we could take a closer look at this way of eating since many feel that this diet will solve all of their problems.
We’re going to look at what the keto diet is all about, the pros and cons of the keto diet, and what you need to know about starting the keto diet.
What’s the keto diet all about?
What exactly is the keto diet? What does this way of eating entail?
Here’s a common summary/assumption of the keto diet: You give up carbs. You use fats and protein as your fuel. You eat lots of fats (bacon mmm).
Let’s look at what the experts had to say about what the keto diet is all about.
According to this article on Healthline about the keto diet:
“The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low carb diets.
It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.”
I turned to the leading keto/intermittent fasting expert, Thomas Delauer on what keto is all about:
“By using fat for fuel, you are able to burn that stubborn stored fat while keeping your hard-earned muscle.
When you fast, reduce the carbs in your diet, are pregnant or exercise for a long period of time, your body will turn to ketones for energy.
It takes about 3-4 days of consuming very few carbs, 50 g or less per day, to kickstart ketosis. This is roughly the number of carbs found in 2 bananas.”
Check out this intro video on how to do the keto diet from Thomas Delauer…
Before we move forward we must stress the importance of removing carbs. For you to get on the keto diet, you have to remove carbs from your diet.
Going on the keto diet will involve the following sacrifices:
- No chips at a party.
- No pizza and wing nights with the buddies.
- Certainly no donuts with your coffee.
You’re going to rely on protein and fats for your calories. Most people struggle with giving up carbs and the transition to the keto diet isn’t an easy one for them.
For you to do well on the keto diet, you have to accept that you’re going to make a major change to how you eat. If you’re not ready to make a major change, you can slowly ease into it.
Why do people lose weight on the keto diet?
How’s it that anyone who goes on the keto diet claims to lose weight? Is there something magical about the keto diet?
The word is that you get into the ketosis state. Since I kept on hearing about ketosis so I had to look into it.
What’s this all about? What’s ketosis?
According to Medical News Today:
“Ketosis is a metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead. This results in a buildup of acids called ketones within the body.”
According to Harvard Health:
“The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.”
There’s science behind the keto diet and we can’t deny that the results are there from evangelists of this way of eating.
Some say that the main reason that you lose weight is that you’re giving up an entire macronutrient. You’re saying goodbye to carbs. That’s a lot of calories that you’re going to be cutting from your diet.
I do a form of lazy keto for many of my meals. I personally enjoy eating keto-style meals because I like fats and protein. I can get by on eating food like fatty fish, avocados, and bacon for every single meal. I can easily feel full satisfied after eating salmon with avocados and some bacon.
Does the keto diet work for losing weight?
You can’t deny the results of the keto diet. You can scroll through the various keto hashtags on Instagram and see what the results are like. You can also find yummy recipes to test out.
Whenever I want to lean down and get into my best shape, I turn to my lazy keto meals because I know that they’ll fill me up without feeling deprived.
Can you do intermittent fasting along with the keto diet?
Some people swear by the combination of keto with some form of intermittent fasting for optimal results.
According to the aforementioned article on Heahtline:
“Practicing intermittent fasting could also help you enter ketosis faster. There are many different forms of intermittent fasting, but the most common method involves limiting food intake to around 8 hours per day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.”
There are many health experts who have mentioned that it’s best to break your fast with fats or protein. Many folks have combined intermittent fasting with keto to get into their best shape ever.
My only suggestion is that you start with one (keto or intermittent fasting). It would be difficult to jump right into intermittent fasting and the keto diet. I would personally choose one first. It’s usually easier to start a form of fasting first. Then you can test out the keto diet by slowly eliminating carbs from your eating window.
Here’s one thing to think about before trying any diet…
Before you jump on the keto diet, here’s what you should think about.
Can you actually eat like this for a long time?
Whenever I make a lifestyle change, I try to really decide if I can actually do this for the long term. If you’re a professional athlete, there’s nothing wrong with finding the optimal diet even if it requires commitment and sacrifice. If you’re a regular person with a busy schedule, you have to be realistic about huge lifestyle changes.
A few more considerations about the keto diet before you jump in…
I wanted to finish off with quick pros and cons list about the keto diet to help you with your decision.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
- The meals are easy to prepare.
- Keto diet meals are very yummy.
- You can get into ketosis which many people swear by.
- You simplify your life.
- You feel better when you’re not always stuffing your face with carbs.
What are the setbacks of the keto diet?
- You can’t eat carbs.
- You could get hungry.
- It may not always be realistic
- You’re going to feel restricted.
- No pizza.
What are the best ways to try the keto diet?
I asked around for anecdotal advice to see how friends managed to eat keto.
Here are some tips that I was able to pick up if you want to succeed with keto:
- Ease into the keto diet. It could be a shock to the system if you completely remove carbs.
- Have your meals prepared in advance. You may want to look up recipes in advance so that you’re not stuck scratching your head about what to eat.
- Find meals that you enjoy eating. You want a few go-to yummy meals.
- Find treats or something that you have to look forward to. Find ways to indulge without breaking the keto diet principles.
- Decide if you’re going to be 100% compliant. Think about if this is something that you’ll be doing all of the time or not.
How can you try out the keto diet right now?
You can go all in or you can slowly change your eating habits. This is your choice. I firmly believe in small changes made over time so that you don’t feel like you’re entire life is being moved around.
BJ Fogg covers this concept in “Tiny Habits” when he addresses the idea of small habit changes:
“While small might not be sexy, it is successful and sustainable. When it comes to most life changes that people want to make, big bold moves actually don’t work as well as small stealthy ones. Applying go big or go home to everything you do is a recipe for self-criticism and disappointment.”
Fogg goes on to say:
“Designing simple behaviors is not a skill everyone has. If they do break things down into steps, those steps are often too big or complicated. The result is that people become overwhelmed and find themselves without a way to correct their course when they get caught in bursts and busts of motivation because their ebbing Motivation Wave leaves them high and dry.”
If you want to give the keto diet a try, then start by removing carbs and looking for eating options so that you can get away with only eating protein and fats. Then give the keto diet a fair test to see if this is how you can eat for the rest of your life.
Check out this video on how to do the keto diet correctly…
If you want to try the keto diet, good luck. I think it’s one of the better ways of eating out there. I just can’t restrict carbs for the rest of my life. There may come a point in my life where I find myself not eating carbs for an extended period of time. I just can’t give up on them forever.
Hey Martin it’s Keith great article brother I think the main issues I face are that I love to do the keto diet but I can’t lose any more weight and I want to gain muscle so is that possible on a keto diet? And while fasting intermittently seems like a tough challenge
Thanks for the comment Keith! You would definitely have to increase the calories if you’re looking to gain weight. You would have to find a way to get more food in. What are your specific goals?