This year, you decided to focus on your health. You committed to starting a low-carb, keto diet to boost your energy levels, increase your mental clarity, and feel better physically. You made the switch, but how to stick to a diet is something you’ve yet to figure out.
To stick to a diet, you have to make practical lifestyle changes. Eating perfectly 100% of the time is not practical. Experiencing life while making space for social situations, work outings, unforeseen events, and treating yourself (in a positive way) — that’s a sustainable way to live.
The keto diet is not meant to be a diet fad. It’s meant to be a complete metabolic and lifestyle shift, where your body burns fat — not glucose — for energy. To stay in ketosis, you need to make a low-carb, high-fat diet a long-term transition.
Below, you’ll learn seven tips about how to stick to a keto diet. From cleaning out your kitchen to planning for social occasions, you’ll find feasible ways to make the ketogenic diet work for you.
If you’re wondering how to stick to a diet, particularly the keto diet, you’ll find practical advice below. You’ll learn how to reduce temptation by cleaning out your fridge, ask your friends, colleagues, and family for support, stay motivated, and make keto work for you in the long-term.
#1: Clean Out Your Fridge and Cupboards
When you’re first starting the keto diet, make a point to clean out your fridge and cupboards. A complete kitchen purge reduces temptation by eliminating foods outside your meal plan. Toss all expired or high-carb products in the trash, and donate all non-perishable, unopened goods to charity.
If you’re the only one in your household committing to keto, this may pose a few hurdles. If at all possible, try to get your family on board. If cutting out certain items such as bread, tortillas, or desserts doesn’t sit well with your family, find low-carb substitutes for these items.
If tossing out junk food is a losing battle in your home, keep those items hidden in the cupboards or freezer (not out on the countertops). Studies show that leaving unhealthy foods in highly visible places increases the likelihood of consumption[*].
#2: Ask Your Family and Friends for Support
In recent years, the negative connotation associated with the word “diet” has increased tremendously. Therefore, you may receive negative feedback from friends and family when you announce you’re dieting — even when done for the right reasons.
First, understand that any hesitation coming from friends and family comes from a place of love. As such, respond with the same sentiment. Explain to your friends that you are doing this to form healthy eating habits, feel better, and live a long and happy life.
Finally, phrases such as “I’m trying to reach a goal, and I’m asking for your support” might be better received, as it invites loved ones to join you on your journey.
#3: Write Down Your Why
A “why” is not a goal — a why is your reason for starting in the first place. Why are you switching to a ketogenic, healthy diet?
Do you want to lower your blood sugar, thereby decreasing your risk of (or reversing) diabetes? Do you want to lose weight so you can play with your kids again? Did a parent or grandparent have Alzheimer’s, and you want to decrease your risk by changing your diet?
Your why should be your primary motivator for switching to a healthy lifestyle. Write it down, and place it in a visible place, like your nightstand or on the fridge.
#4: Plan Your Meals in Advance
On the keto diet, planning your meals well in advance is a fantastic way to stay on track. Each week, pull out your calendar, taking note of how many meals you need for the week, including snacks. When arriving at this number, consider office happy hours, social engagements, or unique circumstances that will impact your routine.
Once you know how many meals you need, assign low-carb, healthy recipes for every single day of the week. From there, create your shopping list, hit the grocery store, then set aside 1-2 hours each week to meal prep.
You don’t have to cook meals in their entirety — chopping vegetables, marinating protein, or cooking parts of meals can help set you up for success.
For more ideas on planning in advance, check out these handy resources:
#5: Keep Low-Carb Healthy Snacks on Hand
Forming new habits doesn’t happen overnight. Prepare for unforeseen events (like happy hour at the office) or hunger pains (like a conference call that runs late) by keeping low-carb snacks on hand.
Here are some good snack options to stash in your desk, purse, or gym bag:
#6: Plan in Advance for Social Situations
When starting a low-carb eating plan, navigating social situations can be tough. Try to plan for these events well in advance, looking up restaurant menus online before your reservation and knowing which low-carb drinks to order at happy hour.
If you’re planning for the holidays or going to a friend’s home as a guest, always offer to bring a dish. By having a few keto options available, you’re less likely to reach for the dinner rolls.
Finally, revisit diet tips two and five on this list. Tell your friends or coworkers that you are trying to make a positive lifestyle change — ask them not to offer you foods that don’t fit within your diet. You can also keep low-carb snacks on hand as a last resort.
#7: Don’t Think of Keto as a Short-Term Fix
If you’re searching for the next weight-loss fad, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Keto is meant to be a lifestyle, one that you can sustain for the long-term.
Find ways to make keto work for you, your family, and your lifestyle. If you have a sweet tooth, keep keto desserts on hand, so you aren’t tempted with a pint of ice cream. (Pro tip: make a batch to stash in the freezer).
If you work in a field where you travel frequently, or often dine out, find out which low-carb restaurant dishes you can order. Or, if your household is utter chaos in the morning, make breakfast the night before so you don’t hit the Starbucks drive-thru.
Following the keto diet plan does not mean following it perfectly, 100% of the time. It means finding ways to make this lifestyle work for you.
The keto diet is a lifestyle, not a short-term eating fad. The goal of the keto diet is to switch to a fat-burning state, where you burn ketones for energy.
To make keto work for your lifestyle, you’ll need to ensure it fits within your schedule, household, and career goals. Rid your kitchen of high-carb foods, ask your friends to support you in your goals, plan for meals and social situations, and start with a strong purpose.
Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed by social obligations or a hectic schedule, these tactics will help get you back on track.
Now that you know how to stick to a diet, it’s time to start planning for keto. Review this essential guide for keto meal prep to start selecting your meals, building shopping lists, and cooking your low-carb meals.