Lots of people have heard of the keto diet and many might be considering trying it. If you are one of those people, here is a basic guide to get you going.

Rule 1. Keep it simple.

If you search on line you will find a lot of different variations of the keto diet out there. Some will have fasting windows or very precise food combinations or complicated macro ratios based on the time of the day you are eating or whether it is before or after training; some may even seem to be a bit contradictory. This is not because there is confusion about how the diet works but has a lot to do with promoters trying to come up with new content almost on a daily basis. So don’t get bogged down in a lot of confusing detail and keep it real simple. The only thing you need to try and get right to get your keto journey under way is one simple macro ratio. You need to be aiming to get your fats up to 70% to 80% of your daily calories, your protein between 20% and 30% and your carbs between 5% and 10% but never exceeding 50 grams per day. That’s pretty much it. If you use any food apps like my fitness pal then this could not be easier to do.

Rule 2. Practice imperfectly.

If the odd time your protein, carbs or fats fall above or below your target, relax, it wont matter. No success in changing the way you eat happens over a 24 hour period or even over just a few days. Change happens over the weeks, months and years; not over a surprise celebratory meal or being caught out when you are trapped somewhere where you can’t get access to the food you are looking for. Life happens and you need to roll with it rather than knocking yourself down every time you hit a bump in the road. Bumps are normal. Perfection is not. The easiest approach to take is to go as long as you can on plan, then if a meal pops up that does not fit with the plan, enjoy it, and then go straight back to plan again for as along as you can again.

Rule 3. Ignore the keto police.

It seems the minute you tell even 1 person what you are doing you will find at least 3 other people ready to tell you, you are doing it wrong. If you are keeping to the basics and your weight is coming off and you are feeling better then just keep going. If you are not progressing for a while then it might be worth listening to a few other views, but don’t try and take on every opinion, hack and tip you come across. That only leads to frustration. Pick one thing that seems to make sense to you, build it into your plan and see how it goes. If it helps, keep it, if not, discard it. If you do find the diet getting boring and easy then look at spicing it up a bit. If on the other hand you are getting overwhelmed by the complexities of what you are trying, then dial it back. Success is to be found in the sweet spot between these two extremes.

Rule 4. Stick to single ingredient foods

Where possible (remember we practice imperfectly) try and eat one ingredient foods. Foods like eggs, mushrooms, meat, fish, avocados, butter, lettuce and broccoli do not come with a list of ingredients. They grow on the land or in the ground and they go from there to your plate. Where possible avoid foods that come in a box or that come with lists of ingredients. If you looking for recipes and food options to try then there are countless websites out there that will give you all the choices you will ever need. Here are a couple for you to look at. The Diet Doctor,  and Kiss My Keto.

Rule 5. Avoid expensive supplements

If you go online or walk into any health food shop you will see loads of keto supplements. You don’t need them so don’t waste your money. They exist only because more and more people are discovering that eating more fat and a lot less carbs is better for you and companies are just cashing in on this trend. Remember rule 4. Stick to one ingredient foods. This applies to supplementation too. For example, because of the rapid water loss when you go on a keto diet, (and the low levels of insulin in your blood) your sodium levels will drop. The only supplement you need for this is salt, preferable sea salt or Himalayan sea salt, (because it comes loaded with minerals). Potassium levels can also drop, include avocados to deal with this. If you don’t eat much fish you might take a omega 3 fish oil and if you live in the northern hemisphere then take some vitamin D3 at least in the winter months (cod livers (not the oil) are loaded with D3). If you do like to eat fish then both your omega 3’s and you D3 can be got from eating oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.

Rule 6. Get some exercise

Exercise is recommended for everyone; most of us spend far to much time sitting down both at work and in the rest of our lives so get up and get moving. If you are going on a keto diet the exercise will help burn off all those carbs stored in your body. This will help move you from a sugar burner to a fat burner faster than if you are just sitting around.

That’s it. Keto does not have to be complicated, if fact it is really quite simple to follow. The trick is not to get bogged down trying to do all the different things that people are telling you may help. Keep it simple and follow the basics and you will get there. It is a biological inevitability.