6 Tips Women Need to Know Before Starting the Keto Diet
I am a big supporter of the keto diet because it cuts out all of the ‘filler” foods (aka carbs) and puts the focus on whole, natural foods. There are many different versions of the keto diet, and the term “keto” is a very loosely used word. The type of keto diet I recommend is more of a keto/paleo/Whole30 type of diet which is anti-inflammatory and rich in vegetables and nutrient dense foods.
The keto type of eating is meant to prevent you from overeating, make you burn your own fat for fuel even when at rest, and to give you all of the nutrients you need – you can eat 2,000 calories in junk and still be hungry and feel lousy because your body is undernourished in essential nutrients.
Below lists what you should know before starting this type of diet:
1. Expect the “keto-flu”
This is basically a carb and sugar detox for your body because carbs and sugar are absolutely addictive and your body will go through withdrawals. Unfortunately, this means you may feel lethargic, foggy, and run-down for a few days. But don’t worry! These symptoms won’t last long and you will be feeling better than even in no time.
2. You need to increase your salt intake
When you are in ketosis (burning fat for fuel) your body will rapidly be shedding electrolytes, most notably sodium, from your kidneys. Unless you have a medical condition by which you are forbidden to eat salt, add sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt to your meals, and opt for bouillon balls and/or bone broth as other ways to get salt into your body.
3. You need to increase your fluid intake
Water follows sodium, so as your kidneys are shedding off more sodium you are going to lose more water as well. Carbohydrates also hold onto water, so eating less carbs means less water stored in your body, and that you need to increase your water intake. Shoot for 2-3 liters of fluid per day at least.
4. Women need a day or two of high carbs
Or at least a big boost in your carb intake. Certain hormones can go down in women, notably leptin, which can throw off the reproductive system. Leptin is also the hormone that tells your brain you are full, so if you have low levels of leptin its going to be harder to lose weight. Eating carbs boosts leptin more than any other macronutrient, which is why you want to be sure to boost these levels back up at least a couple times a week.
It’s beneficial to have these high carb days on days when you will be exercising. This will help to ensure that the carbs are being directed to your muscle and not your fat cells.
5. You don’t want to be zero carb
Eating zero carbs means you aren’t eating any vegetables, which is definitely a no-no. Plus as discussed above, women need some carbs for normal functioning. Carbs are also great for boosting hormones that make you sleepy and calm, which is why carbs at night time are perfect.
6. Choose healthy fats and proteins
Always choose anti-inflammatory, heart healthy natural fats and proteins. Buzz words you should be on the lookout for include grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised. Read a list of my top keto foods here.
Use the above tips to help make the keto diet a lasting lifestyle and not just a “diet.” Fill you plate with mostly vegetables, then add in the protein and fat.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.
Follow us on Instagram!