Hey, everyone! Today I want to get super real with those of you who want to start keto right now or in the near future. You don’t really need anything except groceries to get started, no, but why work harder when you can keto smarter? I started keto on a total whim. Having tried a lot of other diet plans and dealing with some stomach problems on all of them, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give keto a try. I mean, keto totally turns standard American diet “logic” on its head, right? Who would think you could lose weight by eating more fat than carbs? I decided that if I lost 0lbs but was able to solve my stomach issues, I would be fine with whatever changes I needed to make. And keto did just that for me.
Since I dove right in, though, (on a week day, in the middle of the day at that) I neglected to do some things to prepare that would have greatly helped me save money and headaches later. I wrote this list for those of you who need to hear these things, too, because nobody was telling me to do them back then.
Before you leave my website, make sure to check out my eBook, Basic Bitch Keto, which covers everything you need to know to get started on keto and keep the momentum even when it’s hard. It’s totally free, you just need to enter your email and I’ll send over a digital copy! Get your copy now
So, here goes!
5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting Keto
These are things you should do in the week prior to getting started. Keto is not just physical/diet work; there’s some emotional labor that goes into really assessing what you used to eat, how it made you feel (and not just how it tasted), and what you truly believe will work for you long-term. Keto works well for me and it does for many, many other people, too. Ultimately, if you are unhappy with keto, I think you should continue searching for what’s best for you. BUT, give it a fair shot! And you need these tips to do so.
1. Establish Your “WHY”
If you don’t know what your “why” is, it’s basically the reason you’re starting keto in the first place. Let’s get something really big out of the way: if your “why” isn’t big enough, or powerful enough, to keep you on track, you will fail. I know that might hurt to hear, but it’s the truth, and it’s a truth that I’ve lived my entire life. Your motivation every single day needs to be intrinsic (internal). On your hardest days, a pinterest quote just isn’t going to do it for you. The only person who can hold you accountable is yourself.
That being said, if you need help figuring out exactly what your why is, I GOT YOU, FAM. Here’s a link to my eBooks, page, where you’ll find FREE copies of my eBook for beginning keto AND a 9 Week Daily Planner that includes the structure I use to set goals. It’s the same thing I did when I started keto, and I’ve lost 40lbs and have been in maintenance for over two years now. Find my eBooks here.
2. Make a Game Plan For Your Pantry
If you live alone OR if your whole crew is adapting to keto, this will be much, much easier for you. If you fall into this category, you need to establish a game plan for all of your food. Don’t throw away perfectly good food, carbs or no carbs. Set aside time to sort through your pantry and refrigerator and toss items that have passed expiration or are stale/soiled. Whatever’s left, you either need to try to eat before you start keto, or give away to someone else who wants it. Office break rooms are perfect places to do some anonymous food giveaways, but you should only do that with unopened product. If you have a bunch of baking supplies that won’t work with keto, bake them up and deliver them to some friends! This works well during the holidays, but a “just because” batch of cookies is always a nice surprise, too. Either way, you need to find a way to get that food out of the house so it isn’t there to tempt you.
If you don’t live alone and the others in your home aren’t planning to take part in keto, you don’t need to worry about purging the place. HOWEVER. I do recommend that you designate some spots for your snacks so they aren’t mixed in with the carby ones. Even if you create a separate cabinet or drawer just for you, keeping yourself out of the way of all those carbs will help you to keep your mind off of them. Things will get easier the longer you commit to keto (after 3 months is probably the first time you will be less tempted, and after a year, you’ll probably lose most temptations). Until then, set yourself up to succeed.
I didn’t do this before I started, and it resulted in a large bag of grapefruits, many granola bars, and so, so much orange juice that expired because my wife wasn’t into those things and I didn’t get the opportunity to give any away. Wasted food is wasted money and a wasted opportunity for someone else to eat. Take this one seriously, please.
3. Identify Your Support System
I lost most of my weight with the help of one of my best friends, Sarah. It really helps, especially on the hard days, to have someone to vent to, who knows what you’re going through. No, you shouldn’t only talk about your diet details with this person. But it’s fun to share recipes with someone else and even split the cost of shipping for online orders so you can try new things without the same level of investment. If anyone in your family is trying keto with you, they’ll be a great support system. Just remember that we are all not the same. If your progress is slower than someone else’s, don’t get upset with them or yourselves. Progress isn’t linear and comparison is the thief of joy. Also, if they want to quit because this genuinely isn’t working for them, that’s ok, too! Everyone doesn’t have to do keto. Just keep doing what you do best.
If you can’t find an accountability buddy in person, check online! There are so many great accounts on Instagram and TikTok that show daily progress updates, recipes, workout plans, etc. Reddit has some great keto subreddits, too, and there are always people looking for accountability there. I highly recommend them because they helped me through my first 4 months of keto greatly.
r/Keto: General keto subreddit, lots of members
r/xxKeto: Specifically for women, less members, easy to make friends on IG through this one
r/KetoGains: Good for keto dieters focused on muscle gain
4. Set Goals
You should definitely have goals when you start anything new. For most people, trying keto is probably a by-product of some sort of weight loss goal. And while that may be important to you, I challenge you to think more outside of the box here. If your goal is to lose 30lb, I want you to focus on why that “number goal” exists. Are you hoping that amount of weight loss will help you feel more in-shape? Will it take some pressure off of your joints? Or will it allow you to be more active? Maybe you’re just trying to fit into some old jeans so you don’t have to buy new ones. Whatever the reason is, I don’t want you to focus on the number of pounds as your goal, as you can’t guarantee you’ll reach those “wants” at the end of the weight loss. Make sense?
I want you to set some non-scale goals. These are things that you want to experience/feel that have nothing to do with scalular loss. Here are some examples of non-scale victories (NSVs) I’ve experienced with keto:
- Reduced inflammation pretty much eliminates pain from carpal tunnel
- My work clothes fit me again!
- I have energy to train for distance running
- I don’t have weird acid reflux issues that I had when I ate a lot of carbs
- I’m a morning person now!
As you can see, none of these really have to do with a specific number of pounds or a number on the scale. Make a short list of goals like this (maybe 3-5 things) and hang it up somewhere you can see it. In 6 months (I know, that feels like a long time now, but I promise it isn’t) I want you to check in with your list and see how you’re doing. Are you any closer to reaching those goals?
5. Make a list of EASY carb swaps
Once you do keto for long enough, you’ll realize that there are so many great carb swaps that there is no reason at all to cheat. Seriously. While you’re not going to get your exact sugary candy/carby bread on keto, you will find other new favorites that make you just as happy as your old faves (hey, fat bombs!). As you start cooking keto foods for yourself, keep a list of easily substituted carbs so you can keep your fav flavors without the carbs.
Here’s a short list of my faves (feel free to add your own faves in the comments!):
Tortillas > Low carb tortillas
Rice > Cauliflower rice
Spaghetti > Palmini, Edamame pasta, Zuchhini noodles
Ramen > Miracle noodles
Chips > Pork rinds, Quest chips, homemade tortilla chips
Crackers > Flackers, Cauliflower crackers, Whisps, Parm Crisps, homemade cheese crisps
Potatoes > Cauliflower (mashed potato swap), Jicama (fries), Radishes (roasted potato swap), Celery root (fries)
Sugar: Erythritol, stevia, monkfruit
Baking supplies TOTALLY vary by recipe, and that’s a big enough topic for another post. Just know there are a lot of great substitute recipes, but there are some new techniques you’ll have to learn to use keto-friendly ingredients. It’s easy once you get the hang of it, though. Let me know if you’d like a post on this topic.
Wrapping it up
If you want to start keto soon, I hope you take these things into consideration. I promise, these things will help you get started, because they’ll make your goals easily identifiable, easier to manage, and eliminate some of the common obstacles of totally revamping your way of eating. Oh, and the BONUS, most important thing you need to know? Be kind to yourself. Your body is working really hard to be great for you. Give yourself credit and remember to rest.
I hope you enjoyed this list!
Until next time,