Keto for Women: Health Benefits & How To Start the Keto Diet
Becoming fat adapted can offer amazing benefits such as reduced inflammation, mental clarity, increased energy and weight loss, but Keto for women will be a little different because your hormones and metabolism work totally different than a man’s.
Let’s dive deeper into the Keto Diet benefits for women, how to start a Keto Diet and how to best fuel your body to make a permanent lifestyle change.
Keto for Women
The traditional American diet causes your body to be dependent on high- carb and sugary foods, which causes inflammation, rapid weight gain, not to mention these foods are what feeds chronic diseases.
The main problem is when you consume high-carbohydrate and high-sugar meals it causes a fluctuation in blood sugar which ultimately depletes your energy, causes irritability and impacts your brains ability to think clearly.(*)
And if you haven’t noticed sugary and starchy carbohydrates have an addictive nature that cause you to have irresistible cravings for these foods that are potentially causing chronic illnesses.
Adopting a Ketogenic Lifestyle will transition your body from relying on glycogen (carbs) for fuel and train your body to burn fat (ketones) for fuel. (*)
GIRL FRIEND, you can end the cravings, have more energy and end this marry go round struggle to lose weight.
Keto Diet Benefits For Women
More Mental Clarity- Have you noticed issues remembering things, focusing or just feeling “brain fog” like your brain isn’t working today no matter how much coffee you drink? On Keto your brain uses healthy fats to make new brain tissue. Ketones are a clean fuel source for your brain cells(*), which will reduce inflammation in your brain improving cognitive function and may also improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Better Mood and Less Irritability- You’re not crazy, ok maybe a little BUT you have a good excuse. Blood sugar imbalances cause quick changes in your mood and cause irritability. The Keto diet will help stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels. This way your brain has a stable source of energy and will leave you in a better mood.
Lasting Energy- As a wife, mom or whatever you do you need energy to keep up. There is a misconception that your body needs a high carbohydrate diet to fuel your body, when in fact, your body runs more efficiently when using fat as it’s main fuel source. Ketones help your body produce far more energy than glucose (carbs).(*)
Stop Sugar and Carb Cravings- This is how it goes: you eat sugar your blood sugar sky rockets, dopamine is released to your brain(*), insulin is produced to help your body lower blood sugar levels. This sends a false signal to your brain that your starving and need food. The key to stop these cravings is to use the Ketogenic diet to turn your body into a fat burner instead of a sugar burner!
Better Weight Loss Results- On Keto you are burning stored fat for energy…bye bye body fat!
Anti-Aging- A recent study found that Ketones produce more metabolic energy and less free radicals than glucose (carbs).(*)
Now that you know the amazing benefits a Ketogenic lifestyle will have on your, energy, brain function and overall well being, you probably want to have a clear guide to getting started on the Keto diet.
How to Start The Keto Diet For Women
PHASE 1 START WITH THE BASICS (for at least 2 weeks)
When trying to adapt to a new lifestyle the amount of information is overwhelming, so don’t overcomplicate it.
Learn what a Healthy Keto Diet actually is
Just focus on:
Eliminating Sugar- Now-a-days sugar is hidden in literally everything, so be diligent about checking all ingredients lists on nutritional labels. Also look out for Sucralose, maltodextrin and dextrose, which are artificial sweeteners like Splenda. EW.
Eliminating processed foods- Basically anything packaged is processed, so to determine what things to avoid, look at the nutrition label, if there are a bunch of ingredients you can’t pronounce avoid it!
Eliminating starchy carbs & grains- pasta, rice, potatoes, quinoa, oats etc.
Don’t always trust that foods are healthy options just because they say “Keto friendly” or “Natural” on the packaging. ALWAYS read the ingredients list, if there are a bunch of mystery ingredients you have never heard of chances are its processed and has a bunch of filler junk that out ways any health benefits they claim to offer.
Resources that will help:
Download a Printable Keto Approved Food List, so you can easily piece together meals and learn what foods you should be incorporating into your diet and what to avoid.
14 Easy Keto Meals That Don’t Require a Recipe for easy meal ideas
13 Keto Friendly Restaurants and What to Order, so you can make better choices when you go out to dinner
2. Stock Your Pantry With Keto Friendly Foods
When following a Keto Diet you don’t have to give up dessert or your favorite recipes, you just have to use Keto friendly Ingredients
Instead of sugar —> use monk fruit or Stevia
Instead of White flour —> use almond or coconut flour
Instead of bread crumbs —> use pork panko
Resources that will help:
Keto Pantry Essentials including; condiments, sauces, syrups, chocolate, monk fruit sweetener, almond flour, coconut flour and so much more to stock your pantry with some of my favorite Keto Approved Brands.
21+ Keto friendly snacks you can buy, If you know you are a snacker, be prepared, grab Keto friendly snacks to keep on hand
Keto Friendly Recipes that the whole family will love and won’t even know they are Keto unless you tell them.
3. Start Lifting Weights
Strength training for a minimum of 3 days a week for 30 minutes a session will boost your metabolism, lead to improved reproductive function and will result in faster weight loss.
Keep in mind that lifting weights is the fastest way to burn fat, in fact, will burn more fat than cardio, so stop spending all your time slaving on the elliptical and pick up some heavy weights.
Resources that will help:
*Stick with Phase 1 for at least 2-3 Weeks before moving on to Phase 2!
PHASE 2 LEARN HOW TO FUEL YOUR BODY (for at least 2-4 weeks)
After the first two weeks you should better understand what foods you should eat more of and what foods you should avoid.
Now it is important to be sure you are eating the right balance of carbs, protein, and fat to get into ketosis, maintain ketosis and turn your body into a fat burning machine!
1. Be Sure You’re Eating the Right Ratios
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the components of food that make up your dietary calories, macronutrients. (AKA Macros)
Tracking your macros means adjusting your daily meal plan to fit within your customized grams of protein, grams of net carbs and grams of fat limitations each day. This will be different for every woman because MACROS are determined based on you weight, height, body fat %, etc.
This doesn’t mean you will have to eat strict meals forever, but to successfully make a permanent lifestyle change and for the best results I suggest tracking your macros for at least 4-8 weeks, so your body becomes fat adapted and you can really become more aware of what a well balanced day of eating looks like.
Keto Macros are typically 70% Fat, 5% Net Carbs, 25% Protein
Net Carbs are calculated by TOTAL CARBS - DIETARY FIBER = NET CARBS
Don’t be too hard on your self to hit your exact MACROS every day. This shouldn’t be something you obsess over or develop a bad relationship with a Keto lifestyle.
Counting Macros is an eye opening, learning experience to help you become aware of proper portion sizes and what a balanced diet feels like.
If you go over on your carbs one day it isn’t the end of the world!
Resources that will help:
• 5 Easy Ways To Increase Fat Intake On Keto - Learn how to add healthy fats to your diet without eating excessive amounts of meat and cheese
2. Find Out if You’re in Ketosis
You may come across people encouraging you to test ketones regularly, but when you feel pressured to test your ketone levels all day every day that just adds this unnecessary stress to “dieting,” Keto should be a lifestyle, not an over complicated diet.
You can usually determine if you are in Ketosis based on how you feel, plus you don’t have to be in Ketosis all day every day to reap the benefits of a Keto lifestyle.
After several weeks of Keto if you are still struggling with Keto Flu symptoms; headaches, fatigue, cravings and brain fog testing Ketones can really help you uncover something you’re eating that you don’t realize is throwing you off.
You don’t have to go out and buy a pricey blood monitor kit, using these urine test strips will do just fine.
How to monitor Ketones:
Before you eat or drink anything test your ketones.
After each meal test them again.
If all of your Ketone test strips have indicated there are ketones present, but then after lunch the test comes back negative for ketones you have narrowed down the culprit and can revisit the ingredients list of everything you had for lunch to determine what is preventing you from getting and staying in ketosis.
Resources that will help:
3. Consider Adding Keto Supplements
The Keto Diet alone offers incredible health benefits for women, and when combined with the right Keto supplements you can completely transform your lifestyle, control your appetite, have more energy and fuel your body in the best way possible.
Nutrients should always come primarily from food, but there are some essential things our we need that our bodies can’t actually produce on its own and must be supplemented.
Even other non-essential supplements may help fill any nutritional gaps that you aren’t getting enough of from your diet alone.
Plus the support of supplements can help naturally enhance results and your quality of life, so they are worth looking into.
Some of the Suggested Keto Friendly Supplements are :
Fish Oil or Krill Oil
Pre- Workout/ performance enhancements
One of the most important things when adding supplements is finding high quality brands that don’t use fillers and artificial sweeteners like Sucralose or Maltodextrin
Check out the recourses below for a full list of the best Keto supplements, their benefits and determine if it’s something that may help you along your your journey to a healthier YOU.
Resources that will help:
• Best Keto Supplements For Women’s Weight Loss, Energy And Anxiety- Brands that I have tried, love and use daily
*Stick with Phase 2 for at least 2-3 weeks before moving onto Phase 3!
PHASE 3 WHAT TYPE OF KETO IS BEST FOR YOU LONG TERM?
Now that you are fat adapted it’s time to figure out the best Keto lifestyle for you. Strict Keto isn’t always the best long term solution.
If you are feeling energetic, mental clarity and still getting great results you should absolutely stick with it.
However, if you ever get to the point where your energy decreases or you hit a plateau you may want to consider trying out other Keto options:
Ok I made that term up, but counting MACROS long term isn’t for everyone. If you don’t enjoy counting MACROS, you feel like it doesn’t fit your lifestyle or you feel like you’re starting to develop a negative relationship with food you should back off of macro counting.
You can still eat Keto and use what you have learned about portions to eat more intuitively. You can always go back to tracking macros every once in a while just to be sure you are still on track.
Play Around with Ratios
The text book Keto Diet is about 20-30g of carbs ( 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs), but if you feel like that isn’t working for you try gradually increasing net carbs to up to 50g Net Carbs and see if your body is still able to maintain ketosis.
If you are working out 4+ days a week and still feel hungry all the time you may want to consider increasing your protein. Try 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Every woman’s body is different and it’s important to find what works best for you.
Cyclical Keto/Carb Cycling
Following a low carb diet for long periods of time may cause your thyroid hormones to drop causing you to become less sensitive to insulin and potentially cause a stall in your Keto success.
Carb cycling will optimize your body’s metabolic needs. The goal is to become metabolically flexible, meaning you can incorporate higher carb days into your diet to benefit hormone levels, workout performance and weight loss, but be able to easily get back into ketosis to maintain reduced inflammation long term.
Plus I’m not going to lie it’s really nice to be able to incorporate big bowls of pineapple, huge salads and baked sweet potatoes back into your diet.
To carb cycle you will simply alternate periods of strict Keto and higher carb days. I suggest doing strict Keto (same macros used in phase 2) for 6 days and on every 7th day have a high carb day ( basically flip flopping your carb and fat ratios for the day)
On high carb days it’s still important to avoid grains, sugar, pasta and other processed carbs. Instead, eat more nutrient dense sources of carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, legumes, fruit, beets, and larger amounts of leafy greens.
If you are considering Carb cycling this will Help: Easy Guide To The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet For Women's Weight Loss & Hormones
Intermittent fasting can improve metabolic flexibility and Autophagy, which is a natural regeneration process that occurs in the body, reducing the likelihood of contracting some diseases as well as prolonging lifespan.
If you have never fasted before I’d start with just a 12 hour fast, so stop eating at 7 pm and don’t have your first meal until 7 am the next morning. If the 12 hour fast feels good work your way up to a 16 hour fast.
Though Keto for Women may take a bit more strategy to figure out the best Keto lifestyle to balance hormone levels and still reap the amazing anti-inflammatory, improved cognitive function and weight loss benefits of ketosis, it can be a life changing decision.
Follow these 3 Phases to make a permanent lifestyle change and you will be off to a great start. If there is any thing else you have questions about don’t hesitate to reach out to me.