Ketogenic Diet: How To Begin

In order to begin a ketogenic diet you must immediately drop your carbs as low as possible. There is no benefit to easing into this diet. The faster your body begins using ketones for its primary fuel source, the better you will feel. As long as you provide glucose in the form of carbohydrate, your body will not make the adaptation. For the first couple of weeks it’s advisable to eliminate milk and fruit entirely. Potatoes, grains, beans, and lentil as well.

It’s best to get into ketosis as fast as you can because that sluggish, foggy feeling is not in fact ketosis. It’s your brain switching back and forth from using glucose and ketones. In the early stages all it will take is an apple for your brain to decide that glucose is still available in a steady supply. In a couple of weeks you can have that apple because your brain will be using ketones as its main energy source, but for now you need to wait.

Something I do for the first week eat a very high percentage of fats to send the message to my brain that this is a plentiful energy source. Whip cream in coffee, and butter with everything. I don’t gain fat during this adjustment week, but I don’t lose either. In the second week I’ll get a little more moderate with my fat intake.

As the diet progresses and if very low body fat is desired, you can continue to lower the fat on a week by week basis to achieve that shredded look. Once there, you can even up the fats and stay shredded. I’m referring to getting very lean. You can quite easily maintain around eight percent all year by doing nothing drastic, by eating as you’d like as long as you adhere to the guidelines.

The first couple of weeks are the tough part. You think you’re hungry, but you aren’t. You habitually want those snacks which are carb based. It isn’t often you think of eggs or meat as snack food, but now they are things like almonds and peanut butter.

After the first two weeks it’s ok to add in a weekly cheat meal with carbs. Your body will react very well to these and the fat loss will accelerate afterwards. Some suggest a full day or  the weekend as their carb consumption
period, but I prefer to limit it to one meal and still keep it sensible. I’ve heard of people who do all you can eat sushi or go crazy with pizza, but if fat loss is your goal than a regular meal that contains carbs is all that’s needed.

It’s purpose is to give your muscles a refill of glycogen as well as your liver, which is responsible for converting inactive thyroid hormone T4, to active T3. The number following the T is how many atoms of iodine per molecule are attached to it. Suffice to say that you need a weekly cheat meal to keep your metabolism humming along nicely.

Happy Lifting!

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8 comments for “Ketogenic Diet: How To Begin

  1. Peter
    October 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

    So it makes sense to have a cheat meal more than not to have one? I mean, does a cheat meal make ketosis work better?

  2. Kim
    September 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Are sugar substitutes out?

    • Lifestyle and Strength
      September 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Stevia in moderation is ok, but even splenda etc prompts an insulin response, which means fat storage time, or at the very least fat utilization will stop. If you can taste sweet, your body reacts to it as sweet regardless of caloric content.

  3. morgan `
    September 17, 2012 at 1:38 am

    perfect sense ! thank you !

    • Lifestyle and Strength
      September 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      You are most welcome. I’ll be writing more on the ketogenic diet, so please keep me posted as to your progress!

  4. morgan `
    September 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    matt, if i’m understanding this correctly then if i went very low carb and followed these guide lines then in two weeks my body should be in a state of ketosis ?

    • Lifestyle and Strength
      September 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      You’ll actually be in ketosis within three or four days. We go into mild ketosis most every night, but we need to train our body not to produce glucose from our muscles or protein we consume via gluconeogenesis. Our body will stop doing this and be running on ketones after 72-96 hours. The reason I suggest waiting two weeks is because if we consume carbs before this point, our body will think glucose is in ready supply again and start converting protein for glucose. After two weeks our body will be humming along on ketones that even if some carbs are consumed as a cheat meal, we’ll just store it or use it for metabolic purposes, but not for fuel. These is my personal guidelines, not necessarily what other diets suggest. I find this works both short, and long term. Does this make sense?

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