What is Keto?
Keto (short for ketogenic way of eating) is based on eliminating sugar, sugary ingredients, and refined carbohydrates from your diet. Keto can be a long-term lifestyle change, and not just a quick fix diet. This means you can lose the weight you want to lose, achieve your weight loss goals, be the size you want to be, AND keep it off – for life.
Here at KetoMeFit.co.uk we are passionate about helping people to live a sustainable keto lifestyle, and achieve your weight loss goals. Because we are a UK keto site and blog, all our info is UK based too, helping you to understand what is keto, in layman’s terms.
Surprisingly, it is easy to maintain a keto way of eating in the UK, at home and eating out! Plus, when you know how (like we do) you can still enjoy the occasional treat or indulgence without undoing all your hard work! If we can achieve and maintain our ideal size and weight, while enjoying all our favourite keto foods and drinks, you can too.
Keto is a Non-Restrictive Way of Eating
OK, in all honesty, there are certain foods we will never go back to permanently. But that’s because we simply don’t want to, and you likely won’t either. Keto has helped us overcome food cravings and beat bad habits. Keto can help you with those too! That’s one of the best things about doing keto in the UK. Your whole outlook on food, plus your taste buds change so much, it really can be life changing.
“Bit of a dramatic talk for a simple diet?” Well, no, not really – it’s true! If you want to understand what keto means for you, then all of this goes hand in hand. Imagine, all your usual food cravings, gone for good! Your ideal weight, achieved for good! And all just by simply changing some of the food on your plate (only some, not all!).
Why Do We Love Keto?
So what is keto to us? Simple Changes – Real Results! It is making small changes and adapting the foods on your plate. It is turning your body into a fat burning machine! Now, we’re not adverse to a bit of exercise, but you’ll see we don’t talk about it too much either. Why? Because even if you have very limited mobility, keto can work to help you lose excess pounds and achieve a healthy weight, without the need to exercise at all. So, if the gym is not your thing, keto definitely is! It is all about the food on keto. Making the right choices, while enjoying what you eat.
“How can cutting out carbs and eating all this fat result in weight loss and a smaller clothes size?”
There are hundreds of YouTube video’s and websites that explain this – some can be contradictory, some very scientific, and most are American based too. For UK keto people, it can be a little confusing at times… But if you do want to understand what keto is and why keto works (we’re great believers that if you understand the “why”, the “how” becomes so much easier), so here are the basics.
So, What Is Keto & How Does Keto Work?
Your “normal” carbohydrate filled diet means your body uses carbs for energy, and to do this, it produces a hormone called insulin. “OK – So, what’s that got to do with weight loss and health?”
The Fat Storage Hormone
Insulin is produced every time you eat so that your body can break down the carbs you’ve consumed and use them for energy. You’re burning carbs as fuel. And that means, you’re storing fat… Insulin is also your fat-storage hormone. It tells your body to burn the carbs, and store everything else (turning it to body fat). And that storage ends up around your belly, thighs, bum, and everywhere else… This is called being in a state of “glycolysis” or “Fat Storage Mode”. So, when you cut out carbs from your diet, your insulin levels naturally decrease.
Fat Burning Machine
That’s when the magic happens! “So, if I don’t eat carbs for energy, what does my body run on?” The answer is, Ketones. Instead of releasing insulin, your body starts to make things called ketones. And to make ketones, your liver uses fat. Dietary fat AND body fat. And that’s what keto does – it forces you into ketosis.
That is why eating a keto high fat diet causes you to LOSE body fat and ACHIEVE your weight loss goals! This is called being in a state of “ketosis”. Your body stops using glucose (carbs) and starts to use fat as its main source of energy. That’s how people lose body fat, and keep it off for life on keto. We did it, and we never feel like we are missing out on any of our favourite foods either! We eat the foods we love, and we are maintaining our healthy goal weights.
This takes time and it varies from person to person so be patient! It does not happen overnight. Ketosis results in decreased blood sugar levels/insulin in the body – and this is what causes the fat loss. If you want to do it slow and steady, or fast and furious (maybe you have a deadline, like a wedding dress to fit into?), keto works well for both approaches. With a little bit of planning and patience, you can get to be where you want to be! And we will support you all the way at KetoMeFit.co.uk.
Simple Changes – Real Results
Let us say it again, if we can do it, anyone can! And when we were losing weight on keto, “we” at that point were a 44 year old female, perimenopausal with thyroid disease and a 47 year old male who didn’t exercise a lot. Keto was the solution for us both, and it’s the lifestyle keeping us at our healthy goal weights.
That’s the basics above, but if you need a little more convincing, or just a bit of a geek, like us 😉 here’s some more info about the ketogenic way of eating. We can also recommend a couple of really good books written by reputable doctors, and point you in the direction of some highly regarded doctors and medical professionals on TED Talks and YouTube (links are in the members section).
The keto lifestyle isn’t just for weight loss; it is designed for overall good physical and mental health & well-being too. Originally developed in the 1920’s to help control epileptic seizures in children, it also helps control blood glucose levels in adults with diabetes. Some positive benefits of keto can include:
- improved energy levels
- better more restful sleep
- improved mental clarity and focus (no more brain fog)
- better mood/emotional stability
- reversal of Type 2 Diabetes
- burning body fat
- maintaining muscle mass
- decreased hunger levels/stable appetite
- decreased cravings
Read our blog, 15 Benefits of Keto, for more information on the above.
Following a keto diet in the UK is not nearly as complicated as it might seem at first. The foods consumed on a keto diet keeps your insulin/blood sugars low, and we avoid things that will spike insulin. Easy enough, when you know what to avoid. Get your FREE copy of our Keto UK Shopping List
Ketosis is maintained by NOT eating foods that will raise your blood sugars/create big insulin spikes. That’s it, basically! If you are in ketosis, you will burn fat for energy (dietary fat AND body fat). If you go out of ketosis, it’s back to carbs for fuel and storing fat instead.
To start with, avoid:
- Sugar (the obvious one) and sugary foods like honey, syrup, fructose (there’s around 65 various names for sugar!)
- Other carbohydrates like bread, wraps, muffins, panini’s, seeded loafs, pasta, rice, grains, whole grains, potatoes & other starchy veg, wheat-based flours.
- Anything made with corn, especially high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners (very few sweeteners do not actually impact your blood sugars, but there are a few suitable for keto which don’t impact them – Our members can read more about the good ones in the members blog).
- Legumes, so that’s chickpeas, beans of all kinds (pinto, kidney etc), peanuts (no they are not actually nuts, they are legumes… BUT some people eat peanut butter and peanuts)
- Most fruits: Fruit = Fructose = Sugars. 1 apple could put you over your carb allowance for the entire day. It’s all about the carbs and sugars. Berries, for example, are a good low carb fruit, but limited amounts. These are all things we will teach you about, in layman’s terms, without the puritanical strict approach to a keto diet.
What are the types of keto?
There is really only 2 different approaches to keto, when you look at it – and it depends on what type of food you choose to include in your keto diet.
Clean Keto? Or Dirty Keto? Maybe Lazy Keto?
Clean, or strict keto, eliminates all the bad foods, no exceptions – No sugar, no refined, starchy carbohydrates, no processed meats, no sweeteners, no diet drinks. It is a very “clean” way of eating. Plus you will track all your food and drink intake – protein, fats, & carbs.
Dirty keto means you still track everything, but you do consume some of the foods and drinks that a clean keto diet does not allow (like processed meats, possibly milk, peanuts, diet drinks, and sweeteners). You will still limit carbs in the exact same way.
Are you lazy? No! What this means is you only track how many carbs you are eating, and you don’t bother tracking your protein or fats.
But do they all work? Yes! If you are in ketosis, you are burning fat for fuel. Each approach has its own pro’s and con’s, but it is up to the individual to find the method that suits their overall lifestyle the best. Keto is NOT the same as a low carb diet. If you find it too restrictive, then a low carb/high fat diet might suit you better and we can help you with that too.
What happens when I start keto?
When you go in to ketosis initially, a lot of stored water is lost. All that bloat and puffiness goes. Carbohydrates need water to do their job. No carbs, means no need for your body to retain water anymore.
This means you might pee a lot and more often. Sometimes you can feel like you are never off the loo. Maybe you might sweat a bit more too. Occasionally, you might get the runs (not nice) but you have just switched off your main source of energy and replaced it with fat. Your body needs to get used to that and there is an adjustment period. It does settle down. It’s a symptom of “keto flu” – a common occurrence in the first few weeks while your body adapts.
Water, water, everywhere
Losing water weight is a fast process, losing body fat takes longer. Most people see quite significant losses on the scales on keto in the first few weeks, then it slows down. That is normal. Weight loss is not a linear process – it does not just go straight down. Sometimes it goes back up, so do not be alarmed or put off by this. If it concerns you, then put your scales away and ignore them for a month. Weekly weigh in’s are probably one of the worst things you can do, they can demoralise and they don’t even give you an accurate picture of your fat loss journey.
Weight goes up… Weight goes down
If you are going to weigh yourself, expect to see fluctuations and do not be disheartened about it. Fat loss is a funny thing on keto, you might see visible changes, for instance, your clothes might feel looser, your waist band may not feel as tight, belt holes move.
Fun fact, fat breaks down to about 20% water, and 80% carbon dioxide so really, you are breathing out most of your body fat!
How long does it all take?
It can take 4 to 12 weeks on a keto diet for most people to see significant changes in their body shape and size. Some people can see up to a stone (14lbs) lost on the scales within the first 2 weeks, some people might see 2 or 3 lbs. Remember a lot of that is excess water and gut bacteria – FAT LOSS TAKES TIME.
Getting started on keto
Don’t feel overwhelmed, it can be simple to get started.
- Clean out your fridge and cupboards – it can be easy to slip back to old habits so get rid of the temptation foods – this will make it easier to resist any initial sugar cravings (cravings do pass and decrease the longer you are in ketosis).
- Get your free Keto UK Shopping List from here – and our Keto Guide & Quick Start Keto Meal Plan
- Drink more water – on keto is it important to do that. Stay hydrated, you will pee a lot and this is normal. It takes a few weeks for your body to re-adjust but it will settle down.
- Get you electrolytes sorted out – Read more about them in our blog, or see the FAQ page.
Other things you can do, but aren’t strictly necessary (we can help you with these)
- Test your ketone production – even if you think you’re sticking to keto and keeping your carbs / sugars cut out, sugars can hide in lots of shop bought foods and restaurant foods. There are a few ways to test for ketones, but rest assured, you will know if you’re in ketosis.
- Track your food with a notepad and pen, or a food diary app (We use MyFitnessPal, the free version, and although this is a calorie focused app, it does the job of tracking your macros as well and it’s simple to set up – Our members can get help on how to use MFP for keto). You should at least count your carbs (we recommend a max of 20g per day for fat loss).
- Read the labels on your food to establish how much you are eating. Weighing and measuring your food helps you to get this right when you first start. We can show how to read and understand your food and drink labels, which ingredients to watch out for, and how to track and add up your food intake for the day.
The Keto Basics
How many carbs? 20 grams to 50 grams of Net carbs, or less. for optimal nutritional ketosis and fat loss results.
Proteins & Fat allowances? You do need to get your own personal “macros” (calories, carbs, protein & fat amounts) based on your age, height, weight, current body fat %, and your activity level: There are numerous online calculators that do this for you. We can help you do this, via our members site (coming soon).
To make it really simple, you can get your Easy Quick Start Keto UK Meal Plan exclusively from us – Click HERE for more information & exclusive limited bonus offers.
So there you have it, keto in a nut shell… Keep reading our blogs to find out more and increase your own knowledge about living a ketogenic lifestyle, in a way that suits you. Simple Changes – Real Results. KetoMeFit.co.uk can show you the way to your pathway to health and weight loss, for life.