Stages of Keto:

-The first stage of a ketogenic way of eating demands the increase of fats and the reduction of carbohydrates in the diet. If you do not increase fats, your body will not switch to burning them and you may as well be following a low- calorie diet. We all know that these do not produce a sustainable weight loss. Fat is essential to meet the body’s energy requirements, eliminate cravings and produce a feeling of satiety (fullness), especially in the early stages, as it is the fat which allows the body to switch fuels from carbs to fat. People tend to increase the “easy” fats, i.e. salami, nuts, cheese, cream etc.  These can cause the build up of endo-toxins, which are released by the naturally occurring bacteria in the gut – this can cause a problem with the detoxification process in the bile pathway, which in turn allows the re-absorption of toxins rather that eliminating them. This can lead to stage two.

Stage two is lack of appetite. Many think this is how nutritional ketosis is supposed to work but under-eating can be as harmful as overeating. If you balance the fats you eat by including olive, avocado and walnut oil as well as chia, flaxseeds and fats from meat or fish to your diet to balance your omega 3-6 ratio the problems described above will be alleviated. There is constant debate online as to the amounts of fat to be consumed, some demand a calorie deficit for weight loss and others consider fat to be the key to unlocking fat stores and therefore expect you to eat it to excess. This is difficult to do if you have no appetite and let’s be honest it seems counter-intuitive.

We would always recommend eating between your BMR and TDEE. In this way you will avoid the health problems associated with under-eating like hair loss, fatigue and insomnia. Eating less than your BMR consistently has led you to have to keep cutting calories to keep losing weight, it has led you here, and if you are here it’s because you have come to understand that low calorie diets are unsustainable. Your body is not a machine- if you are hungry you must eat. Fat is the only macro-nutrient that does not allow an insulin response so when you are hungry, eat fat but better still, divide your fat macro so that you are sharing it between your meals. Two tablespoons of fat in the morning, two at lunch and two at dinner is almost 120g of fat, add in any from cheese, meat, eggs etc and you really shouldn’t need to binge on clotted cream or drink it from the pot. Particularly, don’t add fake sweeteners to these fats as I guarantee that this will lead to eating them in excess. Perhaps in the early stages as described above but I strongly advise against making a habit of this.

If you are not hungry, this is why fasting and keto go hand in hand.

Stage three is fasting. Lack of appetite leads to picking at food and snacking throughout the day, it also finds you justifying non keto food as you have been “good”.  This is a slippery slope. Your fasting must be structured and last between 14 – 22 hours (see our page on fasting). This means no calorie intake at all during the fasting period. If you decide to fast, you must keep up with your fluid and electrolyte intake – this is important!

Stage four is the transition from being slightly unsure of what you are doing, to being an evangelical, tub-thumping, successful, results orientated keto warrior (this, we hope you realise is slightly tongue in cheek…). You may become the food bore at social events, or you may preach to your work colleagues. Sometimes you might feel the need to educate everyone about this amazing way of eating that has made you fitter, healthier, lighter blah, blah and particularly blah… Try not to be the food bore.

You look and feel great, people are commenting on how much you’ve changed, your clothes fit you better and you look amazing… BEWARE!

Stage five is complacency. Because of all the benefits you see and feel, it must be OK to have the odd Chinese meal or packet of crisps, fish and chips, biscuits or desert when at a social occasion etc…

DON’T GO DOWN THIS ROAD! As we have said many times, keto is not a diet, rather a way of life. Many of our contributors have experienced this – It makes you feel bad with a capital B both physically and mentally, and everyone in our experience has regretted it. Stick with what works for you and you will be happier, fitter and healthier…