Are you starting a keto diet and are wondering if you should count your calories? It really depends on if you are overweight or not. This article is going to be aimed towards people that are overweight and want lose weight.
Keto is really becoming popular not only for losing weight and keeping it off, but also for people who are at their weight and want to reap all the benefits that come with a ketogenic lifestyle.
If you are overweight and are just starting a keto diet I would not start with calorie counting.
Why not? Because in the beginning of the keto diet is not the time to restrict or starve yourself from food.
When we think of traditional diets, we think of food restriction right?
That’s the beauty of keto, you are allowed to eat as much as you want in the beginning. I did.
Why not to count calories in the beginning?
Keto in it’s beginning stages is stressful as is. You are going to start giving up on most of the foods that you’ve been eating all your life.
Breads, potatoes, pasta, rice, milk, yogurt (bread and rice were difficult for me) etc.
Our parents did not know better and bought into the old food pyramid as the way to eat. Where grains and carbs should be the main food group, and fats are the enemy. And that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, we will get into that a little later.
The first time I was shopping for keto I was freaked out when walking through the supermarket. I have walked 3/4 of the entire supermarket with almost nothing in my shopping cart. It was until I reached the produce and meat isle that I began to fill my cart.
Just by ridding your diet from carbohydrates and highly processed foods is going to make you feel better by getting rid of some hormonal and processing dysfunctions within the body.
When starting a high fat low carb diet your body is going to deal with withdrawal. So do not limit your intake on the foods you can eat.
You are also most likely going to deal with the keto “flu”. This is where your body is going to start making preparations in order to use fat as energy instead of glucose (sugar). You might want to eat a little more salt in this stage to get your electrolytes up.
After you have gone through all the process mentioned above, eating a high fat diet will make you feel allot more satiated and your appetite will start to regulate itself. Cravings will decrease and you will likely stop overeating.
Although I was eating way more int the beginning I was still losing weight. But how? Eating next to no carbs will stop the body from producing the fat storing hormone insulin.
After about a month of hanging in there, my appetite started to balance itself out and I did not feel the need to keep eating as much, resulting in even more weight loss.
Are fat calories different from carb calories?
Yes and in a BIG way.
If you are on a ketogenic diet, your body utilize fat as energy. This can be the fats coming from your diet or your body.
I f you use MCT oil on a keto diet it will function as an energy-boosting supplement that will raise ketone levels and make you burn more fat.
When you consume sugar, carbs and processed foods, the opposite will happened. Your body will produce high amounts of insulin and start storing fats instead of burning them.
When you combine fats and carbs the body is going to favor carbs as an energy source over fats. This is the problem when combining them. The fats will not be used as energy and get stored alongside the glucose that has not been used by the body, increasing your weight rapidly.
One key thing to understand if you are starting a keto diet. Ketosis is acquired by eating almost no carbs, not eating high amounts of fat.
Confused? Don’t be. The absence of carbs will make your body go into ketosis. If you eat zero carbs and zero fats you will go into ketosis. If you eat high fat and high carbs it will not go. So do not think by stuffing your body with fats it will go into ketosis. The absence of carbs lowers insulin which in turn will make the body switch it’s energy source: fat.
So when do the calories count?
You are on the keto diet for a while now and lost a lot of weight, but have stalled after a few months. What now?
It can be that you are over eating and need to lower you calorie intake. You can still gain weight on the keto diet by eating more than you are burning.
I never count calories. I just watch what I eat and weigh myself every week to stay on top of my calorie needs.
Sometimes I tend to over eat, especially snacking on those delicious keto snacks like deviled eggs and cheese sticks. It’s not that I felt the need to eat but just maybe out of boredom.
After a nice weekend of eating to many snacks I will see an increase in my weight on the scale.
How do I know how many calories I need a day?
This is different for everyone.
Did you reach your goal and want to stay there? Do you still want to lose some pounds? Gaining weight is easy, just eat more.
If you want to lose some more weight but have hit a plateau, here are some options to consider.
Let’s start with the obvious one:
Contraire to popular belief you do NOT have to exercise on a keto diet to lose weight, but is recommended for overall health benefits.
My wife and her friend have been on keto for 2 years and have both lost a great deal of weight with never exercising at all.
But when they both hit a plateau, they started exercising to lose the last couple of pounds. By burning more calories and eating the same (watch out, because exercising will increase appetite), you will burn more fat.
Fasting can be done a number of ways. You can fast for 16, 18, 24 or even 72 hours. This will help with weight loss by restricting the eating time frame and giving your body the rest it needs to digest and feeding from fats of your body.
I could never fast when I was eating carbs, the cravings and lack of energy (blood sugar dropping) were to great for me to stick with fasting.
The last year or so I have not eaten breakfast, I simply am not hungry anymore in the morning.
Knowing how much your calories your body needs is trial and error. Here is what I did:
Weigh yourself on an empty stomach on the beginning of the week (easier to remember).
Write down what you ate in that week, when, how much etc. Look at the calories for each item or look them up online (meat and chicken).
Write down your activity level, let’s say you walked for an hour 3 days that week. There are apps to figure out how many calories you have burned.
Weigh yourself the next week. If you have stayed the same and still want to lose weight, try to lower your intake or increase you activity level. (run instead of walking, or add a day of walking)
I do not like to do this process but I did until I now know exactly how much and what I can eat to lose weight or keeping my weight.
Some hidden weight gain factors.
When starting a keto diet you are going to lose weight guaranteed if done correctly.
As you progress you will stall at some point. This can be a number of things like overeating on fats and even hidden carbs.
There are some products out there although say keto do have carbs in them, for example the cauliflower crust pizza. When made in a factory they intend to sneak in sugars and give them other names like maltodextrin (higher GI than sugar).
When do find a good natural one, look at the carbs per serving size and determine how many servings there are.
For example: 1 slice is a serving which has 14 grams of carbs. The pizza has 6 slices total inside the box. That is 6 X 13 grams = 78 grams of carbs. If you have eaten even half that pizza you would already be over 20 grams of carbs and will have exceeded your daily carbs intake.
We do live in a stressful world which we (society) has created. Need to be on time at work, dropping the kids of at school, 1 hour lunch break to pick the kids back from school, drop them off again, try to eat while driving back to work, traffic, appointments etc.
These can all cause mayor stress and can hamper you by losing weight. If the body senses you have too much stress it will release the cortisol hormone which gives you a boost of energy.
Cortisol is needed in a fight or flight situation to boost energy. It is also used by the body when working out also to get more energy.
But with high level of stress cortisol can start to hold on to fats instead of releasing them making you moody, sleepless, fatigue and other negative side effects.
I used to think that meditation was a weird thing. By meditating I have less stress and am I sleeping way better and also feeling overall more relaxed.
Counting calories is not easy in the beginning due to the fact that you still do not know your daily/weekly caloric intake combined with your activity level.
I wish it was easy and straight forward for everyone. Our bodies are unique and deal with stress, happiness, fear, exercise and food intake all differently .
But when you do get to know your body, it will become much easier in the long run to help yourself stay healthy.
If you have any questions or comments on this topic, please leave me a message in the comment section and I will do my best to reply A.S.A.P.
Thank you for visiting.