Losing weight has been on the bucket list of almost everyone on the planet at some point for different reasons. A lot of people aim to lose weight because they feel it will make them look better and feel confident. But being overweight is also an open invitation to a number of illnesses and health issues. Obesity is often the starting point of health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular issues, liver dysfunctionality, osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism. But losing weight is a time taking process, just like gaining weight is. Although if you are looking for a diet to lose weight fast, you have come to the right place.
The ketogenic or the keto diet is not like any other diet out there. Most weight loss programs focus upon strict diet control and a vigorous exercise regime. But you can follow the keto diet to lose weight fast without giving up on your favourite foods. It also gives you the option to add exercise to your weight loss program ONLY if you want to. Losing weight was never this easy. Read on to find out how!
Weight Loss v. Fat Loss
Before heading straight into the do’s and don’ts of the keto diet, you must first gain a basic understanding of the actual process of losing weight.
You must understand that weight loss is not the same as fat loss. Weight loss is actually a misnomer. The human body is a composition of bones, organs, muscles, fat and water in different proportions. All of these together make up the weight of the body. They are all essential and play their own role in the proper functioning of the body, even fat.
Body needs some amount of fat to keep it warm, provide the body with energy and aid in cell growth. Fat is essential to keep the internal boy organs safe from external injury. It helps the body absorb nutrients and produce certain hormones. It only becomes a matter of worry when the content of fat in the body exceeds the safe limit. This happens when the calories you consume are more than the calories you burn. The extra calories turn into fat and start getting deposited in your body.
While all extra fat is unhealthy, visceral fat is more dangerous that subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is the jiggly fat visible right under the skin. On the other hand, visceral fat accumulates around the internal organs such as the heart and liver, disrupting their functioning. The heart has to work harder in order to pump extra blood. Fat around the heart and the arteries could also lead to blockage and even heart attack.
So when you aim at losing weight, you actually aim at losing all the extra visceral and subcutaneous fat.
Eat Fat to Lose Fat: Science behind the Keto Diet to Lose Weight Fast
The human body needs energy and nutrients to carry out the various voluntary and involuntary functions on a daily basis. It derives this energy from the different kinds of macro nutrients found in the food we eat. These are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Millions of years back our ancestors were mainly hunters and food gatherers. Their diets were meat based and hence, rich in proteins and fats. Fats formed the basic source of energy back then. The introduction of whole-grains in our diet, rich in carbohydrates, has been a much recent development comparatively. Now, our diet pattern has shifted from a fat based diet to a carbohydrate based diet. Our bodies have also evolved to function accordingly. Under normal circumstances, the body burns carbs as a primary source of energy. Only when you are fasting or in a state of starvation does the body switches to fat burning for energy.
While devising a diet to lose weight fast, most dieticians advise their clients to maximize their carb intake and minimize their fat intake. But consuming too much carbs can be counterproductive. A meal high in carbohydrates can cause a sudden spike in your blood glucose level. This causes a release of the insulin hormone to balance the glucose level in the blood. If this becomes a pattern, it could lead to insulin resistance in the body eventually causing Type 2 diabetes.
A ketogenic diet is based on increasing fat intake and minimizing carb intake to the minimal. To get into a state of ketosis, you must bring down your carb intake considerably. You must reduce your carbohydrate intake to 20 gms or less per day for 3 consecutive days. At the same time, you must keep your fat intake high and protein intake moderate to have energy to work.
When under ketosis, the body switches to burning fat instead of carbs as the main source of energy. This makes you lose weight at a rapid pace. The initial 3 days is the time your body takes to adapt to this change. Once it does, it turns into a fat burning machine. Although the first 3 days are the hardest as the body is not used to burning fat as its primary energy source. The very first symptoms that show your body is preparing for ketosis are:
- Fruity smell in the breath
- Short-term fatigue
- Digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea
- Leg Cramps
- Increased Appetite
These symptoms generally appear on the first day itself. You might feel as if you are under the flu, which is why it is also termed as “keto-flu”. But once the three day transitioning period subsides and you enter the state of ketosis, these symptoms go away. You will start to feel a burst of energy. The feeling of fatigue and tiredness will disappear. Even your appetite will be much less in comparison to the pre-ketosis period which will help you lose weight fast.
To stay in the state of ketosis, it is crucial that you keep your fat intake high. Your carbohydrate intake can be anywhere between 20-50 gms per day. If you would exceed the 50 gms carb limit, chances are that you might be thrown out of ketosis. You would not want that to happen as it might again take time to get back into ketosis.
The ideal intake of the 3 macronutrients differs from person to person. It depends upon your age, sex, height, Basal Metabolic Index (BMI) and also whether you want to maintain, gain or lose weight. You can track your macros using the number of apps and macro counting calculators available online. Some of these are MyFitnessPal, FitBit, HealthfyMe, among many others.
As a beginner, you might find the need to track your meals strictly by logging in everything you eat. But over time you will be able to track your meals mentally and intuitively. Tracking your macros is important because to lose fat, your overall calorie intake must not exceed the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
Foods that Accelerate Weight Loss
Diet and nutrition experts like Dr. Daniel Pompa, will tell you that what you eat, how much you eat, and in what form you eat, is of utmost importance in a keto diet. As it is a fat based diet, what you eat must be high in fat. Fat is also the main ingredient that adds flavour to any dish. The keto diet allows you to keep fat intact in your diet, rather it relies on it. This is what makes it an ideal diet to lose weight fast.
But fats can be healthy fats and unhealthy fats. So be very conscious of the fat sources you choose. The following foods can help you effectively lose weight fast:
Eggs have been given a bad name for increasing cholesterol levels. On the contrary, they are actually high in proteins and fat and quite satiating. This makes eggs quite a good option for breakfast. Although you should ideally restrict your egg intake to 2 eggs in a day.
Nutritionally dense, salmon is rich in healthy fats, protein and has almost zero carbs. Loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, salmon cab be consumed grilled or steamed and is very satisfying.
Another very filling high in protein food is chicken breast. Have it grilled, sautéed or steamed, with a side of veggies for a healthy low carb meal.
Avocados and Bell Peppers
Avocados are full of healthy fats and form a great option for breakfast. You can add it on your toast or make it into a smoothie.
Bell peppers are a rich source of fiber. They help you meet your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirement. Bell peppers also add beautiful colours to your food, may it be red, yellow or green.
Green Leafy and Cruciferous Vegetables
Some people tend to develop digestive issues on a keto diet due to low carb intake. So it’s important that you meet your daily fiber requirements from other sources. Veggies such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, swiss chards are high in fiber, absolutely filling while also being keto-friendly.
Cottage Cheese and Yogurt
They are both high in calcium and have very less carbs. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein that can be consumed raw or cooked into meals. Plain greek yogurt can be a good choice for midday snacking.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts can be an excellent snack between meals. They contain healthy fats, protein and fiber and improve metabolic health apart from aiding in weight loss. But because they are still quite high in calories, you must try to not go overboard.
Seeds also are a great source of fiber, important antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They also have high content of healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds can be had as snacks. You can also sprinkle them on your salad or main meals as a garnish.
Foods That are Barred
Foods high in carbohydrates are strictly forbidden. Vegetables like potatoes and peas, rice, wheat, fruits with high sugar content like bananas, mangoes, watermelon are off limits.
When you are on a diet to lose weight fast, self control is of utmost importance. You must not indulge in weekend binges by having carby junk food. You must not give in to those midnight cravings of potato chips or nachos.
Make sure that you cook your food in olive oil, coconut oil or butter. Avoid consuming anything deep fried so that your body primarily burns the fat accumulated in your body.
If you feel the craving for something sweet, have small portions of citrus fruits, dark chocolate, a handful of berries, or peanut butter.
Also you must keep your water intake high, ideally to about 8-12 glasses a day. Have apple cider vinegar and green tea twice a day for better results.
Add Cardio and Strength Training to Keto for Faster Results
If you are on the keto diet to lose weight fast, maintaining a calorie deficit on a daily basis is sufficient to shed off extra fat. But adding cardio and strength training to your regime could take your fat loss process to a whole new level. While cardio exercises will help you burn fat, strength training will help you build muscle and gain strength overall.
Once the body gains muscle, you might find the number on the scale to be stuck. Don’t let that dishearten you as you still might be losing fat. Also, tweak your eating habits from time to time so that you do not hit a plateau.
The keto diet is the most promising diet to lose weight fast. It makes losing weight sound possible and not like a struggle or some dream that is too good to be true. Follow the keto diet patiently and start dropping the kilos almost immediately. That slim and fit body that you always dreamed about, it’s time to achieve it.
Note: People with diabetes are advised not to follow the keto diet without consulting a medical practitioner.