I Lost 7kg in a month following a keto diet…
A couple of years ago I designed my own ’28 Day Keto Challenge’ – the results were absolutely amazing! I lost 16lbs in just 28 days! I also got abs and reduced my body fat significantly.
Since that time, I’ve used the ketogenic diet on many occasions: to help me lose weight and improve my overall health!
Interestingly, the keto diet was originally intended for the treatment of children epilepsy, but since that time it has been adopted by many athletes and people wanting to improve their health.
This is because a very low-carb ketogenic diet is based on physiology, its mechanisms are backed-by- science, it’s not just the usual fad diet hyped up snake oil nonsense. In this blog I am going to cover a whole manner of practical tips, but you can also learn more about the biochemistry behind ketosis by reading this very informative article by Paul Jenkins MSc.
Why I love the keto diet…
Every time I’m about to go on holiday I’ll follow a ketogenic meal plan for 4-8 weeks to help me look better with my shirt off! It never fails to work.
I’ve also sold thousands of copies of my own 28 Day Keto Challenge. The biggest weight loss to date is 20kg in just 8 weeks! Instead of following the plan for 1 month this person did 2 months! The keto diet really does work for weight loss.
In this post I’d like to explain the keto diet, I’ll tell you how it works, the pros, cons, who it can benefit, the foods you need to eat, etc, etc…
Basically, my aim is to make this post the most comprehensive Keto guide on the web!
Here’s what I’m going to cover in the article…
- What is a Ketogenic Diet?
- How the Keto Diet Works
- Celebrities and Keto Diets
- Why Choose A Keto Diet?
- Disadvantages of a Ketogenic Dieting
- Keto Foods
- Keto Recipe Ideas
- How to make a Keto Diet Work For You
- The Challenges of Keto Dieting (carbs, temptation and how to overcome)
- Combining Exercise With A Keto Diet
- How to Asses Your Results On A Keto Diet
- 28 Day Keto Challenge
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is where a large majority of your diet is made up of foods that are rich in both fat and protein, with minimal carbohydrates. Generally speaking, when people follow a keto diet it’s…
- 60% fat
- 30% protein
- 10% carbohydrates
Although the above can be tweaked slightly. For example, I prefer to have more protein and less fat. I’ll typically go for…
- 50% fat
- 40% protein
- 10% carbohydrates
As long as 90% of your diet is made up of fat and protein you are following a ketogenic diet.
How the Keto Diet Works…
Despite what lots of people think the ketogenic diet does not miraculously burn fat! in order to lose weight and burn fat, you need to create a calorie deficit. This basically means you need to burn more calories than you are consuming.
The ketogenic diet works for lots of people because they are cutting out carbohydrates. Because you are cutting out a food group you are more likely to consume less overall calories – which leads to weight loss.
Also, as carbohydrates are very easy to overindulge on i.e. pizza, pasta, chocolate, sweets, etc – it means that by following a diet rich in fat and protein you are less likely to binge and overeat. It’s very difficult to binge on foods like steak, chicken, eggs, and salmon!
As the keto diet is rich in protein and fat it also supports muscle, which is key if you want to improve the shape of your body. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.
If you combine the keto diet with a weights routine you can burn lots of fat and dramatically improve the shape and appearance of your body within a relatively short period of time (4-8 weeks).
Celebrities and Keto Diets…
The Keto diet is hugely popular amongst celebrities, for example Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, Megan Fox, and LeBron James have all done the keto diet in order to lose weight, improve performance and achieve a leaner/healthier looking body.
If it’s good enough for attractive celebrities then surely it’s good enough for us?
The fact is that there are so many of us out there looking to improve our image. You have the ordinary person just looking to lose a bit of weight and fit into smaller clothes, but then you also have the 18-30 year old looking to become the next Hollywood actor, model or online superstar with a million followers!
The truth is that the keto diet really does work, and although it can be challenging, it’s a very effective way to improve the look of your body without the needing to pay for plastic surgery!
Why Choose A Keto Diet?
#1 Weight Loss
As we’ve already touched upon the ketogenic diet is great for losing weight, because you reduce your overall calorie intake by pretty much removing carbs!
Also, once your body burns up it’s already stored carbohydrates, it has no choice but to start using fat and protein for energy. Carbs are the body’s preferred energy source, if however, you remove them over time your body will use an alternative energy source i.e. fat and protein, which can be great for weight loss.
Apart from the weight, you can lose from following a ketogenic diet there are also many other health benefits…
#2 Lowers Inflammation
Lots of popular carbohydrate foods (pizza, pasta, bread, cakes, etc) can cause lots of damage to the body. This is because they cause inflammation….
Ever noticed that tired, bloated feeling you get after a pizza?
These types of foods can cause a leaky gut, where your stomach blows up like a football and you feel dreadful! These foods can also lead to joint pain, poor memory, depression, brain fog, to name but a few!
Inflammation can also lead to more serious health conditions such as arthritis, and there are studies that suggest it can lead to cancer and dementia. By cutting out lots of inflammatory foods you are lowering these potential health risks.
One thing I notice almost immediately when starting a ketogenic diet is that I am less bloated and my joints don’t ache as much!
#3 Improves Insulin Resistance
Whether you are trying to lose weight to improve your confidence, or whether it’s something more serious i.e you are on the brink of developing diabetes – the ketogenic diet can be a great tool to use to help you lose weight and improve overall health. The reduced carbs in the diet help eliminate large spike in blood sugar reducing the need for insulin.
Lots of people develop what’s called ‘Insulin Resistance’ – which basically means that the body isn’t very efficient at storing and using carbs for energy. This leads to weight gain and extra fat storage in areas such as the stomach, and thighs.
By following a keto food plan you can in many cases reverse this.
#4 Reduces Appetite
When eating a high carb diet, which is something most Westerners do, it causes large energy crashes throughout the day…
For example, have you ever eaten cereal in the morning, to find that 2 hours later you are absolutely starving again?
Typically what happens when we eat carbs is that they provide us with a quick boost, followed by an energy crash! When this happens the only way to get more energy is to eat more carbs! It ends up being a vicious cycle!
However, when following a keto diet your blood sugar levels are far more stable, you don’t necessarily have the energy highs but you also don’t have the crashes either. Once your body gets used to a keto meal plan you’ll have a constant supply of energy and eventually get used to living without carb foods.
Due to eating lots of protein and fat-based foods, you will also feel fuller for longer and typically eat less compared to being on a high carb diet.
Disadvantages of a Ketogenic Dieting
Every diet has a ‘pro’ and ‘con’ to it, and the keto diet is no different. It would be ethically wrong to claim that it’s perfect – it really isn’t, although it’s effective you may experience the following whilst doing keto…
One thing I notice whenever I switch from a high carb way of living (bread, pasta, etc) to a low carb diet is that I experience headaches. This is largely down to your body craving carbs – carbs make you feel good, by causing a release of serotonin (a feel-good hormone). When you cut out carbs or reduce them whist on a keto diet plan it’s normal to feel flat and experience withdrawal systems. I always seem to get a splitting headache, especially over the first few days of following keto.
#2 Food Cravings
One week you can eat anything you want, but then the next week… you decide to go on a ketogenic diet and all of a sudden there are a bunch of foods that you can’t eat! If you’re used to having lots of carb-based foods (which most of us are!) then you will have a shock to start with. You will likely crave sweet foods and dream about chocolate cake! lol! This tends to happen for the first week or so before you get more used to it.
#3 Bad Breath
Due to the fact that you are eating lots of meats and fish, you are likely to have worse breath. That said as long as you brush your teeth, drink plenty of water, and carry some chewing gum around with you – you should be fine! just don’t kiss anyone! lol!
#4 Lack Of Energy
During the first week of a ketogenic diet, it’s normal to feel ‘flat as a pancake’ – this basically means feeling very tired and lacking in motivation! It takes a couple of weeks I’d say to fully get into the swing of things.
Buying keto foods can add up! Meat and fish are expensive. When I’m not eating keto I’ll usually spend around £40 per week on food, however, when I’m following a keto diet I’ll typically spend £50 per week (an extra £10 on average!). Put another way that’s an extra £520 per year on food!
I’ve yet to meet many people who live, sleep and breathe keto as a lifestyle. There are people who do it, but they are few and far between. For most people, a keto diet is a great way to boost health, and lose weight over a short period of time.
It’s a fantastic way to get things moving. Once you’ve lost the weight and you are happy, you can then switch to a calorie-controlled diet, and introduce more carbs back into your diet (a topic for another day – stay tuned on my blog).
There are literally hundreds of foods that you can eat whilst on a ketogenic diet, here are 100 keto foods for you to choose from…
|beef, lamb, steak, bacon, burger, sausages,
chicken, turkey, ostrich, buffalo, venison, duck, meatballs
|salmon, mackerel, sea bass, haddock, trout, scallops,
crab, muscles, clam, swordfish, tuna, cockles, cavier,
anchovy, halibut, shrimps, prawns, sardine
|Diary & Eggs
| chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, feta, goats cheese,
whey protein, milk, greek yoghurt, cottage cheese
|Nuts & Seeds
| almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chesnuts, pine nuts,
sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, walnuts,
hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia
| kale, lettuce, rocket, spinach, watercress,
broccoli, peas, mangetout, cabbage, brussel sprouts,
cauliflower, celery, cucumber, garlic, leek, onions,
olive, peppers, mushroom, aspargus
|Oils & Fats
| avocado oil, almond oil, butter, olive oil,
coconut oil, duck fat, almond butter, cashew butter
|Fruit (although fruit is a carb choice you can still have 80g per day)
|blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries,
apple, kiwi, grapes, banana, melon, pineapple
|Herbs, Spices & Seasoning (a great way to add flavour to your food!)
|basil, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, curry powder,
paprika, pepper, salt, turmeric
Keto Recipe Ideas…
Eating keto can be blooming delicious! There are literally thousands of deliciously tasting recipes on the web but here are some of my favourites…
Honey Roasted Salmon
Wrap 200g of fresh salmon, with a drizzle of honey and slice of lemon on top in some tinfoil and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes on 180-200 degrees. Serve with a large handful of cooked asparagus. Season your meal with some salt, and pepper.
Cheesy Chicken with Bacon
Slice open 2 chicken breasts and place some mozzarella cheese balls inside. Close up your chicken breasts and then wrap a piece of bacon around each piece. Once prepped, wrap them in foil and cook in the oven on 160-180 degrees from 30–35 minutes. Serve with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes and a drizzle of salad dressing
5 A Day Omelette
Crack 4 large eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper and mix further. Throw in a little bit of spinach, chopped up pepper, onion, sweetcorn, and peas. Mix them up into your bowl.
Add 20g of butter into a frying pan and heat until the butter melts. Once melted tip your mix into the frying pan and cook on a medium heat. Once one side is cooked flip your omelette over and cook the other side until done. Then serve up and enjoy!
How to make a Keto Diet Work For You…
So now you know what a ketogenic diet looks like, how it works, and the foods that you need to eat…
How do you put all of this together and get started?
Well, there are numerous ways to structure a keto diet, for example, you could set yourself a calorie goal per day i.e. 2,000 calories on training days and 1,800 on rest days. You could track all of your foods and keep a strict journal using My Fitness Pal. That’s one popular way to do it.
Although calorie tracking is a fantastic way to start a keto diet, personally I prefer to just keep things simple… by just eating keto foods whilst managing portion sizes. That way I don’t spend hours scanning bar codes and reading the back of food packets! Time is precious lol!
I don’t track calories when following a keto diet. Instead, I use a keto meal plan template (which I designed for myself and LEP Clients). I look at the keto food list, and then plan out all of my meals for the week, selecting keto foods i.e.
- Breakfast – 3 scrambled eggs, cooked in 15g of butter, with green veg
- Lunch – Chicken salad
- Dinner – Steak, and broccoli
- Snacks – 80g fruit and 30-50g of nuts
It’s literally that simple. All you need to do is have a list of the ketogenic foods (see above) and plan out all of your meals for the week ahead. Once you’ve written down you weekly ketogenic food plan, then write up a shopping list for what you need and then head to your local supermarket. For more great lifestyle tips on how to follow a Keto lifestyle Go to this page
What About Quantities?
With meat and fish choices I tend to go for a palm sized portion (which equates to around 150-200g), I will cook the meat/fish in either 15g of butter or olive oil.
In terms of the veg, I’ll have a generous handful with lunch and dinner. With fruit, I weigh it out just to make sure I’m not eating too many carbs, and will have 80g of fruit, 4-5x per week on training days.
There are a few extra tips that I’d like to share with you to make your life easier and to help ensure that you get the best results possible from your keto diet plan:
Food Prep – whenever I follow a keto diet I always cook 2 days ahead. For example, I’ll cook 300g of chicken in one batch and then separate it out into 2 Tupperware boxes, so I have 2 lunches. I’ll also do this with my dinner (cooking double to save time).
Ok, it’s not great for variety but it does save time in the kitchen. I’ll also weigh out my nuts for the week ahead and store them in mini Tupperware boxes.
Basically… it’s about making your life as easy as possible. If you are fortunate to work from home, or are retired, or have a private chef (you lucky person!) then you may want to cook all of your meals from scratch each day.
Save Money – There’s no doubt about it going keto is expensive and it does hurt the wallet! That said you can save money through buying from your local butchers, or fishmongers. It’s also easy to order in bulk, and they will weigh out your meats to the gram. All you have to do is call them up and say that you want 3 bags of 150g of chicken, 2 bags of 200g steaks, etc, etc. You can then store in your fridge and freezer for the week.
Drink Plenty of Water – Alongside your keto meal plan, make sure you stay well hydrated. I’d recommend at least 2-3 liters per day, ideally 3-4 if you can.
Keeping yourself hydrated will help you stay fuller for longer, prevent snacking, improve your performance in the gym, and help hydrate your skin, so you have a healthy skin complexion.
Write a Shopping List – As mentioned above, don’t forget to plan ahead and get organised. Once you’ve planned out your meals for the week, then make sure to write up a shopping list. Planning ahead and getting organised stops you from running out of food mid-week, and falling of the plan.
The Challenges of Keto Dieting (carbs, temptation and how to overcome them)…
There’s absolutely no doubt about it… going from a high carb diet to a low carb diet like ‘keto’ can be very challenging.
It’s far from impossible but it will take at least a week to adjust to your new way of living. Along the way, you will also face constant challenges, temptations, and distractions that can throw you off plan.
In this section, I’d like to discuss the likely challenges that you will face, whilst at the same time providing some strategies to help you combat them…
There’s temptation all around! You go to the supermarket and there’s chocolate hanging off each aisle…you see the silky smooth looking Galaxy bar and imagine how good it tastes.
The more you are used to giving in to temptation the harder you’ll find it – i.e if you order takeouts regularly, and snack on chocolate and crips each week, then you will find it hard to adjust for a while.
But don’t worry, as time goes on, and you build new habits into your life they will start to wear off and your ability to deal with them will improve. It just takes time.
There will always be temptations, it’s not about making them stop, but instead learning of new ways to deal with them…
A couple of tips…
Commit to the keto plan for at least 4 weeks and don’t break your commitment. Write it down and post it on your fridge. Tell your friends and family about what you’re doing. It’s been proven that the more you tell other people about your goals, the more likely you are to follow through and achieve them.
Recognise that chocolate, takeouts, sweets, pizza, etc are always going to be there. You may not be allowed to have them for a while but you can have them in the future once you’re in a better place with your nutrition, health, and fitness, and have gotten some good results that make you feel happy.
Stop and Pause, when you get the urge to grab some feel-good comfort food, take yourself off autopilot and question yourself… “it may taste good for 30s but then I’ll regret it! is it worth it?”. Focus on your bigger goal and give yourself a pat on the back for every temptation that you resist. Over time you will gain pleasure from turning things down because you’ve developed a stronger character that has the ability to say NO to temptation.
#2 Peer Pressure
The likelihood is that most of your friends will be following a typical western diet, one high in carbs. This can make it hard when you go to the coffee shop with your pals and they eat cake, whilst you’re eating a chicken breast out of a Tupperware box!
Peer pressure is enormous and has the power to influence us, either positively or negatively.
My advice would be to accept it, don’t resist it, be strong and focus on why YOU are following a keto plan and how it’s going to benefit you.
Plan ahead and look at the types of food places that you visit with your friends and come up with healthy keto alternatives. For example, you could grab a chicken salad from a coffee shop, or take your prepped meal with you and have a black coffee instead.
There are ways around every situation. I’d recommend writing down all of the things that can potentially throw you off your keto diet and then come up with solutions and ways to deal with them.
#3 When Life Gets In The Way
There are going to be days when things get in the way i.e a bad days work, your child is poorly, a friend lets you down, you experience a breakup, financial stress, etc, etc, etc!
This is all part of life and usually, the more drastic the change or the more something affects you… the more likely you are to pack in your diet!
I don’t know about you but there have been many occasions in my life when I’ve been following a diet for 3 weeks, got some pretty good results… but then I get a bit of bad news or the scales don’t show any weight loss… so I go off the rails and blow it! To make myself feel better I devour a takeaway and a large bar of chocolate!
Then the next day after my meltdown episode lol!…I feel this enormous guilt and think I’m a FAILURE!
When life gets in the way (which it will) try and dust yourself off quickly. If you fall off track that’s ok, but nip it in the bud immediately. Learn from the experience and move on.
As well as focusing on the keto diet and exercise, you may also have to look at improving your mindset, by learning to cope better with emotions and feelings that may sabotage your results. If you need some advice on how to do this drop me a message and I will recommend some books that can help 🙂
Combining Exercise With A Keto Diet…
To get the maximum benefit from a ketogenic meal plan you’ll need to do some exercise too. Although the keto diet will help you lose weight, it won’t really do much to improve your body shape, you’ll end up looking the same as you do now just a skinnier version!
Most people losing weight also want to tone up those saggy, loose skin areas, for example… areas like the stomach, lower back, thighs and triceps (aka the bingo wings! lol!). The best way to do this is to combine your keto food plan with exercise.
There are two types of exercise that i’d recommend…
#1 Weight Training
Weight training is the best way to improve your body shape – that’s a fact. If done correctly you can drastically change your body shape, and turn yourself into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine!
Lots of people think that lifting weights will make them look BULKY…but this could not be further from the truth, especially if you are in a calorie deficit. The only time you’ll get bulky is if you eat too many calories and lift heavy weights for years – most people never get to this point, so don’t worry!
When following your ketogenic diet I’d recommend lifting weights 4-5x per week. Sessions should take between 30-60 minutes depending on your current level of fitness.
I’d recommend trying to build up your strength by doing exercises like squats, bent over rows, deadlifts, push-ups, plank, crunches, lunges, etc. By improving your strength in these exercises you’ll notice your body shape starts to change in no time (usually within 2-4 weeks – providing you do everything correctly!).
#2 Low Intensity Cardio
The other form of exercise that I’d recommend whilst going keto is Low-Intensity Cardio. This is basically things like walking, and moving more during the day.
It’s basically the opposite of HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) where instead of going all out and not being able to breathe…
It’s really just about moving more at lower intensities. For example, taking the stairs more at work, or even walking/cycling to work, doing more jobs around the house (gardening, washing up, painting, decorating, etc), being more active with kids i.e. take them to the park more and play football, etc.
Something that I’d highly recommend investing in alongside your keto meal plan would be a Fitbit, they’re a great device to use to track your overall steps for the day, as well as allowing you to monitor other important health markers, things like sleep, water intake, exercise, and food consumption. To read more about my thoughts on Fitbit’s check out this post I wrote – click here.
I’d recommend trying to walk 10,000 steps per day, that’s around 1 hour of walking for most people. That could either be done all in one go or spread out throughout the day. As long as you are constantly on the move it’s pretty easy to reach your 10,000 step goal.
If you combine weights 4-5x per week, with walking 10,000 steps per day and a ketogenic diet plan… then the weight is literally going to fall off you in no time! I’ve coached people who’ve lost 8lbs in a week doing this type of combination.
How to Asses Your Results On A Keto Diet
So how the heck do you know that your ketogenic nutritional plan is working?
Well, it’s pretty obvious because you’ll start seeing changes in the mirror and also notice that your clothes are much looser!
That said it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not always easy to assess how you’re doing by looking in the mirror alone, because change does take time, and it’s often very subtle… you don’t lose 3 stone in a week!
There are 4 Assessments that I’d recommend you do whilst following your keto plan…
A picture says a thousand words! In my opinion, pictures are probably the most accurate way of assessing progress. Before starting your ketogenic endeavor make-sure to take some before pictures. Take 4 pictures of your body, one facing forwards, two side shots (left side, right side) and then finally a picture of the back of you. After 4 weeks of following your plan, take some more pictures and assess your progress.
Weight can be a great tool to assess progress, however, the scales can fluctuate. For example, your weight may jump up all of a sudden even though you’ve been doing everything correctly.
This can be down to water retention, menstrual cycle, stress, carb storage, etc. I’d recommend weighing yourself every morning and logging your progress.
Over time your weight will come down, but don’t worry if there are some hiccups along the way. Trust in the process and continue. If your weight hasn’t shifted for more than a week then you’ll likely need to change something i.e. pull back on food, or increase output (more often than not…a bit of both!)
Get a tape measure and measure the circumference of your arms, legs, stomach, and calfs. Record your measurements at the start of your keto plan and then take your 2nd lot of measurements 4 weeks later. If you’ve done everything as you should you’ll see those inches have dropped off!
Alongside the physical results i.e. measurements, weights, pictures, etc also monitor your training performance. Are you getting fitter and feeling stronger?
Once you’ve gotten through the tough initial phase of the keto diet plan you should start to feel better as your body gets used to it. I’d recommend tracking your workouts i.e. record the weight you lift and how many reps you do per set.
The aim is to log your progress so that next time you train you can aim to beat it.
My Experience of Following A Keto Diet…
28 Day Keto Challenge…
So now you know much more about the keto diet is it something that you want to try?
Or has this post put you off?
For those of you who do want to give it ago…
Why not try my 28 Ketogenic Challenge?
If you like, you too can follow the exact method that I used to lose 16lbs in just 28 days.
Or Kirsty (below) lost 13lbs in just 28 days following the 28 Day Keto Challenge diet and exercise plan.
I’ve also used this super successful strategy on hundreds of LEP members – but don’t just take my word for it go check out the hundreds of testimonials on my site!
WHAT’S IN THE 28 DAY KETO CHALLENGE?
- A 28 Day Written Plan of action – A personal road map guaranteed to achieve success
- A Ketogenic Diet Plan – A meal plan to help you shed layers of fat
- 7 Day Workout Plan – which can be done at home or at the gym
Basically everything you need to know to shift some serious timber! whether you’re a man, or woman, old, young, fit, or unfit this plan will get to work on exterminating stubborn body fat!
Typically for an LEP Custom Meal Plan the investment is £150. For the 28 Day Keto Challenge, I’m making this plan available for just £10.99! That’s a crazy offer, and one I’m very unlikely to make again.
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