What to consider before going on the keto diet

The most important thing to remember when starting a new eating habit, whether it’s short- or long-term, is that everyone’s bodies are different. What works for me may not work for everyone, which is why extensive research should be done beforehand.

The Keto diet lowers one’s intake of carbohydrates and replaces the carb intake with fats. By doing this, the body is forced to burn fats, instead of carbohydrates, for energy by releasing ketones into the bloodstream. This process is known as ketosis –– where the name of the diet stems from.

From personal experience, low-carb diets are incredibly effective when it comes to weight loss. Restricting carbs, especially highly processed carbs like bread and pasta, significantly affects metabolism.

I am currently on a low-carb diet similar to Keto, although I allow myself an allotment of starchy carbs like potatoes and rice to help me recover more rapidly from my current workout plan.

I was a distance runner and swimmer for years, and because of my athletic past, carbohydrates are very important to me. Carbs are the main fuel our body uses as energy throughout the day, and they have an incredible importance in the natural balance of macronutrients the body needs to function.

With this in mind, the problem with Keto is that it is a temporary diet. Unlike other popularized diets, like Paleo and the Mediterranean diet, the Keto diet fundamentally cannot be used long-term because the body cannot function properly in a constant state of ketosis.

I am not saying Keto is bad or just a fallacy created by celebrities who think they are nutritionists. What I am saying is that if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right, and the first step in making any major lifestyle change is research and reading.

I knew my body felt sluggish and weighed down by heavily processed breads and pastas, so it was an easy fix for me to cut those notoriously inflammatory foods out of my diet. I then replaced them with an uptake in lean protein with every meal and as many colorful vegetables as I could get my hands on in the cafeteria.

Based off the extensive reading I did before, I started this phase of my personal fitness plan. Keto should be done in a very similar way. Instead of going on a fat binge with bacon and oils, be sure to eat good, nutritional proteins and get the Keto-recommended 70 percent fat in your diet. Try to aim for the healthier, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, eggs and cheese. Top it off with heaps of low-carb, colorful veggies like tomatoes, kale, spinach or peppers.

If you want to try Keto for a short period of time, remember exercise is still crucial. My daily workout consists of a marginally intense swimming workout five days a week, weightlifting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then low-impact yoga asanas on the weekend.

I change my workouts every four weeks, but the basis in this subtle cut I am undergoing is to incorporate some form of cardio and strength training to help me build muscle tone. I have always been a fan of free weights like barbells and dumbbells, but everyone is different. If deadlifts and bench pressing isn’t your thing, there are a multitude of options at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Recreation Center, such as group fitness and cardio machines.

I’ve realized you won’t see extensive mass gains with a Keto diet due to the fact that the body is being restricted of its preferred method of fuel. But, if you hit the gym with judiciousness in mind, you can maintain mass as the ketosis aids in cutting down fat.

The Keto diet is incredibly effective for rapid weight loss and, when done correctly, it can be a great short-term stint to get in shape for a wedding or spring break. However, I advise you to do research to know what you’re getting into and perhaps even consult with your doctor or another professional before beginning the diet.

Make sure to be careful and know your body. Everyone’s body composition is different, and what works for some may not work for everyone. If, after a week or so, your body doesn’t feel right, try to talk to someone and adjust the amount of carbs allotted to your specific ketogenic diet.

culture@dailynebraskan.com