Keto Diet Plan for Beginners- A Comprehensive Guide

Starting off on a Keto diet plan for beginners might seem daunting, as there are plenty of ways to go about doing it.

Click on any health and fitness blog out of the thousands available on the Internet and you will find a different way of doing Keto for the first time on each one. 

This article aims to cut through all the others and give you all you need to know as you start your Keto journey as an absolute beginner. Get ready to feel and look amazing when you follow Keto, starting out with our guide.

  This article will cover

  • What is a Keto diet?
  • The benefits of a Keto diet
  • Different types of Keto diet out there
  • How to follow a Keto diet correctly
  • What type of food groups to eat on Keto
  • A basic 7-day food plan when starting out on Keto
  • Importance of exercise on a Keto diet
  • The best exercises to do while on Keto for beginners
  • A short guide comparing Keto to Paleo and Atkins diets

What Is A Keto Diet?

Let’s first learn Keto basics.  Keto is a diet that is low in carbs. Many of you may have done Atkins diet in the past, and this is similar. Your goal is to get the bulk of your calories from proteins and fats.

Carbs that digest easy-simple carbs-are cut from the diet, such as bread, baked goods, sodas and sugar.

The diet works by putting your body into a state of ketosis. By eating less than 50 grams of carbs a day, your body’s sugars run low in about 3 days. Then you begin making use of protein and fats for fuel, causing you to lose weight. This is the state of ketosis at work!

Most of you will start the keto diet as a means of losing weight, which is fine. There are other great reasons to follow keto, though. For instance, people with epilepsy can manage their condition a bit better on the Ketogenic diet.

Also, it may aid those with acne and heart disease, but more research is still needed. Be sure to always speak with your doctor before starting any diet, especially for those with Type 1 Diabetes.

Related: Is The Keto Diet Good For Diabetics? – Positives & Negatives Explained

A keto diet can help you lose weight pretty quickly so long as you follow it safely. It helps you lose weight faster than other diet programs.

Although there is no formal research, it is suggested that a high fat and high protein diet keeps dieters feeling satisfied longer and thus eating less.

The keto diet has plenty of benefits associated with it, too. Aside from the weight loss, there are lots of other great things that can happen when you adopt a keto diet.

The Benefits Of A Keto Diet

Learning how to start the keto diet is easy and you will love the benefits you get from this great lifestyle change.  Let’s take a look at some of the great things you get to enjoy as a result!

  • Reduction of inflammation - For starters, a reduction of inflammation is something keto dieters have experienced. This is thanks to the lowered free radical production that happens when ketones are used for fuel instead of glucose. By having less inflammation, you have a body that functions like a well-oiled machine, and your body has an easier time healing itself. Blood sugar and insulin reach stable levels under a keto diet. An imbalance of blood sugar is one of the biggest instigators of inflammation, and keto aids in fixing that.
  • Burning fat - The fat burning aspect of keto is another one users just love. You are burning fat for energy use, and those with a surplus of body fat will be able to burn it up at a very quick rate. After all, it is common knowledge that being overweight or obese is not good for your overall health. Plus, having too much body fat can result in an imbalance of hormones and an abundance of body toxin
  • Increased energy levels - An increase in energy is another super benefit of keto use. Your energy levels go up for a variety of reasons:  Your blood sugar is stabilized, your inflammation is lower, and you are using ketones instead of glucose for energy. As a result, energy output is greatly increased! The mitochondria of your cells is where all the energy comes from. So, having reduced inflammation and more efficient energy production plus MORE of these “energy production centers” known as mitochondria gets you more “juice” to power through the challenges of life.
  • Healthier skin - Clear skin is another super benefit that keto users have enjoyed. This is good news for those of you with acne or eczema. These are often derived from having ongoing inflammation. Acne, for instance, comes from inflammation of sebaceous glands found in the skin. Eczema, on the other hand, is a generalized inflammation of skin cells. Healing your skin condition will take many careful steps, such as monitoring your stress levels, ensuring you are not exposed to harmful chemicals or products that irritate your skin, and addressing your gut bacteria, among others. But following a ketogenic diet can reduce that inflammation and get you on the path to recovery.

The Different Types Of Keto Diets Out There

In your search for Keto recipes for beginners you have likely come upon a plethora of different ones that contain ingredients you didn’t think you would be allowed to have.

This is because there are different keto diets that allow different foods to be eaten on them.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common keto diet types and how they work.

There are FOUR main keto diet types you should know about as you begin.

  • Standard Keto diet
  • Targeted Keto diet
  • Cyclical Keto diet
  • High Protein Keto diet

The Standard Keto diet is the most common form of keto and it is likely what you will be doing as a beginner to this lifestyle.

It is marked by the following traits:

  • Getting enough protein, about .8 g per pound of your lean body mass
  • Eating about 20 to 50 g of net carbs a day
  • Having a high fat intake-this would be about ¾ of your total caloric consumption

The High Protein keto diet is a lot like the standard keto diet, but you do eat more protein here.

This is good for those of you seeking to build up muscle. Your daily intake would look like this:

  • 60% of your daily calories are from fat sources
  • 35% are sourced from protein
  • 5% are sourced from carbs

This is hugely popular with those who like to lift weights, participate in bodybuilding activities, or seek to consume more protein.

The next version of keto is the Cyclical Keto Diet. This has dieters eating low carb and keto-friendly foods for several days, and then taking one day to follow a high carb diet.

You will alternate between two cycles on this diet. You will follow a few days of the Standard Keto Diet and then load up on carbs for about 24 to 48 hours at a time. During the carb-load cycle, about 70% of your cals will be sourced from carbohydrates.  A full cycle might look like this:

5 days of standard Keto:

  • 75% of calories sourced from fat
  • 20% of calories sourced from protein
  • 5% of calories sourced from carbs

2 Days of Carb Loading:

  • 70% of calories from carbs
  • 20% of calories from protein sources
  • 10% of calories from fat sources

This is great for athletes seeking to build lean mass but increase their fat loss.

Lastly, the Targeted keto diet is the most advanced one of all. This has you eating carbs around your workouts. It’s a good way to get peak performance when working out by getting glycogen to your muscles.

You would eat about 20g of net carbs about 1 hour before you work out. This would be your whole carb intake for the day.

You eat easily digested and high-glycemic carbs that are absorbed easily such as white rice and potatoes.  This version of Keto is for those who require a high level of athletic performance.

Many of us will be fine beginning on the Standard Keto Diet. 

How to Follow A Keto Diet Correctly

You are going to need willpower and resolve as you start this Keto Diet Plan for Beginners. This will not be easy, but the benefits are going to be wonderful.

Therefore, the first step is going to be getting your mind in the right place. You have to WANT IT. You can’t be doing this because of pressure from friends or family.

You have to make sure this is really something you will be committed to. Do it for own satisfaction and health.

The second step is going to be eating the right foods. Your goal here will be to replace those heavy-carb foods with foods that will get and keep you in a state of ketosis.

Doing this will get you to eat less calories than you were used to before, and thus losing weight.

Foods you can enjoy on this diet include meats, seeds and nuts, dairy high in fat, and low carb veggies. You will also love low glycemic berries like raspberries and blackberries.  Healthy fats like coconut oil will also be part of this diet.

Next, you must eat the right amounts of food. This brings into play the question How many calories should I eat on keto?

This is the most important one of them all. After all, it is calorie consumption that dictates weight loss. The calories put in have to be less than the calories you are expending for weight loss. This is true regardless of how many carbs or fats you are eating. 

However, calories should NOT be restricted. This leads to rapid weight loss, but this style of eating is NOT sustainable and will likely lead to regained weight. 

To figure out how much you need to be eating, use this Keto Calculator and go from there.  This will aid you in answering questions that arise like How much fat on keto? or How much sugar on keto?

Related: How Many Carbs Can You Have On Keto? – This Is A Game Changer!

What Types Of Food To Eat On Keto?

When following the Standard Keto diet, a few questions come up from newbies and one of them is always “What do you eat on Keto?” The answer is a lot-and there are heaps of great foods you will be enjoying as you start your keto journey.

We already touched on these briefly, but let’s go over them again in greater detail.

You will be eating plenty of meats. These include poultry, eggs, fish, lamb and beef. 

You will also eat avocados and raspberries plus blackberries. Any berry that is low-glycemic is OK.

You will be able to use sweeteners like monkfruit, stevia and erythritol.

Fats like high-fat dressing, coconut oil and olive oil will be used, too. You will also enjoy macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and other nuts.

Low carb veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach will also be enjoyed.

Foods you will stay away from include grains like corn, rice, cereal and wheat; starches like yams and potatoes, sugar, and fruit.

A Basic 7-Day Food Plan When Starting A Keto Diet

This basic meal plan is keto made easy! Here is a sample of what you could enjoy as part of a 7-day meal plan.  Keto is popular, so there are thousands of great recipes to try out.

Day 1:

Breakfast: Omelette with 3 eggs plus spinach, sausage and cheese

Lunch: Spinach Salad with onion, bacon, tomato, and vinaigrette

Dinner: Meatloaf with chopped onion and mushroom instead of breadcrumbs

Day 2:

Breakfast: Avocado Baked Eggs

Lunch: Tuna Salad Lettuce “Sandwiches” with avocado

Dinner: Tacos with Romaine Lettuce Shells

Day 3:

Breakfast: Fried egg sunny side up plus turkey sausage and ham slices

Lunch: Avocado mixed veggie salad (Uses an egg, avocado, tomatoes, a cuke, grated cabbage, and onion)

Dinner: Grilled chicken and veggies

Day 4:

Breakfast: Omelet with mushrooms, spinach and butter

Lunch: Chicken Liver Salad

Dinner: Baked Spinach Lasagna

Day 5:

Breakfast: Veggie Stuffed Omelet

Lunch: Baked Salmon and Veggies

Dinner: Ribeye and Veggies

Day 6:

Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 slices of bacon, ½ avocado

Lunch: Tuna Salad made with cucumber, avocado and mayo

Dinner: Bun less Burgers

Day 7:

Breakfast: Greek yogurt topped with chia and walnuts

Lunch: Chicken Salad wraps (made the same as our Tuna salad)

Dinner: Cauliflower Casserole

Recipes for keto-friendly versions of these are available online. You will need to tweak them, so they suit your individual caloric and taste needs. Bon Appetit!

Related: Top 15 Healthy Fats You Absolutely Must Have On Keto Diet

The Importance Of Exercise On A Keto Diet

Exercise is something EVERYBODY needs, at a level that is appropriate to our abilities and strengths. Exercise is how we burn calories and aids us in weight loss. 

Exercising while on keto is critical to helping you get to your weight-loss goals.

The kicker? You have to choose an activity that works for you and does not lead you to feeling poorly, or even overly ravenous when finished. (You would not want to overdo it on your calorie limit!)

Starting out with low-impact activities like walking or riding a stationary bike at a moderate pace are good ways to see how you feel as you start your new diet and exercise routine.

Then, you can work up to more intense activities as your body adapts.

Indeed, exercising while you are doing keto is very important. It is going feel a little different at first, however read on to find out how.

If this is your first-time doing keto, you might experience flu-like symptoms known as the “keto flu”. This is normal. You also might feel like you are in a haze as your body adjusts to this new diet.

Related: What Is Keto Flu And How To Create a Keto Flu Remedy? – You’ll be Surprised

After all, our brains are used to getting energy from glucose, sourced from carbs, and as the switch is made to ketones, a mental lag may be felt.

During this time, you should stick to workouts that are indoors (no riding your bike on the side of the road or road running) and do not require a great deal of mental focus.

To fuel your workouts, be sure you are eating the correct calories as determined by your calculations, and do not restrict yourself. It is common for keto dieters to under-eat, and even though your stomach may not feel hungry, your body needs energy to thrive. So, follow your meal plan to a tee and listen to your body.  Eating the correct amount of fats, for instance, is critical-it helps keep you feeling full and aids you in over-eating back all the calories you burned off working out.

The Best Exercises To Do While On Keto For Beginners

It’s important to stick with exercise that will be intense but not so intense your body begins to use glycogen as an energy source-because, after all, you are not eating many carbs.

The FOUR main types of exercises you should be doing on Keto as a beginner include:

  • Stability Exercise
  • Flexibility Exercises
  • Anaerobic Exercise
  • Aerobic Exercise

Let’s begin with Stability exercises. These are things like squat reaches, curtsy lunches, pistol squats, and more. These are great at improving your balance, building muscles, and helping you control your movements. They are like a strength-training/yoga hybrid, and the best part is that these can be done nearly anywhere.

Anaerobic exercise are those workouts that use short energy bursts, such as weightlifting. This can be done, but only in very short sessions. This type of exercise causes your body to make use of carbs, so even the fats you eat will not be enough. You can do this, but only for very short sessions.

Flexibility exercises are things like yoga and stretching. These are great because they provide a real challenge but also aid you in increasing your muscle’s range of motion. They will also help you strengthen your joints.

Aerobic exercise is also called cardio. This is any exercise lasting longer than three minutes. To burn fat, do steady-state low intensity cardio. This is great for the keto follower and will help you melt that fat!

 If you are a HIIT fan (high intensity interval training) you may wish to find a new program. During a high intensity exercise, the body will use glycogen as energy regardless of other macros you have consumed, like fat. Remember, glycogen comes from carbs. If you haven’t eaten any lately, your performance will suffer. Opt instead for some moderate-intensity exercise. It will still feel good and will amp up your fat-burning ability.

Related: Learn About Keto Diet And Exercise: A Complete Plan for Everyone

A Short Guide Comparing Keto to Paleo and Atkins Diets

When it comes to Paleo and Keto, there are a few fundamental differences to understand. Paleo eliminates grains, legumes and anything containing phytic acid. The Paleo diet has followers eating whole foods that support good digestive health.

Dairy is avoided, save for ghee or grass-fed butter. The aim of Paleo is to promote good gut health, a balance in blood sugar, and of course lose weight through eating quality natural foods and proper caloric intake.

Comparing Keto to Atkins also shows us that the two diets are completely different. The Atkins diet is done in phases. Phase 1 has you eating about 20-25 g of net carbs from veggies, cheese and seeds. You do this until the second phase, or about 15 lbs away from target weight.

At this stage, you amp your carbs up to 50 g, and eat other foods that keto may not have allowed such as blueberries and nuts, plus low carb veggies.

Then for the third phase, about 10 lb. before target weight, you increase the carbs about 80 g and attempt to find a “balance”-how many carbs can you eat before weight loss stops?

Once you figure this out, you follow that amount so that you can stick with it for life-the last phase of the Atkins diet is “Lifetime Maintenance”. You can have up to 100g of carbs a day.

In Closing

A Keto Diet Plan for Beginners is not difficult to find, but thanks to the sheer number that are available, it can get very confusing. In sum, a standard Keto diet will contain plenty of healthy fats, proteins and a few carbs based on your individual needs.

Exercise is okay and critical provided it is not too intense. Following the diet closely, listening to your body and working out will lead you to the success you crave!

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