KETO 102: How To Get Started

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Now that we all know the principals of keto, let’s talk about how to start YOUR keto journey! If you missed the first post in my keto newbie series, you can read it here! Keto can seem very overwhelming when you’re just starting out. I was so confused before I started and felt like I was learning a whole new language. Trust me when I say, it’s really not that complicated!

C O M M I T M E N T 

Make the decision to commit to this new lifestyle! Choose to believe that you’re not giving up certain foods but C H O O S I N G not to eat them. Remember, keto is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. Don’t dwell on the lack of cookies and pie in your life. Focus on the newfound health and happiness you’re about to experience!

E D U C A T E  Y O U R S E L F 

Did you order The Keto Diet  like I suggested in Keto 101? If not, go do that now! Invest $20 in yourself. This book will give you a deep understanding of nutritional ketosis, how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, and everything in between. (PS, I’m not a spokesperson for Leanne Vogel, I just REALLY love this book!)

If you love podcasts, awesome sauce! If you’ve never listened to one, you’re need to! They’re a nice break from music + they are educational! I’ve learned some really helpful information just by listening to these keto experts! My favorite keto podcasts are:

  • The Keto For Women Show
  • The Keto Diet Podcast
  • Livin’ La Vida Low Carb
  • 2 Keto Dudes
  • Ketovangelist
  • Keto Talk with Jimmy Moore & The Doc

T E S T  W E E K E N D 

Okay, assuming you’ve read KETO 101 and done a little research on your own, you’re ready to start eating keto! When my husband and I decided we were going to commit to keto, we spent one weekend “practicing”. Since keto was on the complete opposite end of the diet spectrum for me, I felt like I needed a period of time to adjust to get used to new ways of shopping, cooking, and eating.

That weekend, we ate keto-ish meals, shopped for keto friendly foods, and got our My Fitness Pal apps ready! Let me remind you that we were already committed mentally but because we wanted to be successful, we eased ourselves into it physically. I really feel like this was a big factor for us in our initial success and why I suggest it to all of my readers.

By doing a test weekend, we were able to get an idea for what foods we’d be eating on a regular basis and prepare for the upcoming week. That’s not to say you HAVE to start on a weekend, that is just how it worked for us. Don’t delay your keto journey just to wait until Saturday to start. Your test “weekend” could be Monday & Tuesday! You might also choose to skip this step altogether and dive right in, that’s okay too! Do what works for YOU!


You need to download and familiarize yourself with a food tracking app. Some people take the “lazy keto” approach which means they do not track their macros (fats, proteins, carbs) but I don’t advise that. If you’re someone who has issues with portion sizes, binge eating, emotional eating, overeating, etc., you need to track your food.

When you set your goals for the first time, you have the option to set your Nutrition Goals. This will allow you to customize your macros to your specific daily limits. This is adjustable also, so if you need to adjust your macros, you can.

You will need to track EVERYTHING! Everything you eat needs to be logged in your app. Keto only works if you’re in it 100%. You can’t sneak a Snicker’s bar and expect to get into or stay in ketosis. Tracking everything that goes in your mouth will help you stay accountable. You can also track your weight and watch your progression! That’s my favorite part!

These are some apps I’ve reviewed and like to use:

The KetoDiet App

Keto Diet Tracker App

M E A L  P R E P P I N G  &  S H O P P I N G

Planning ahead is critical to keto success. Knowing exactly what you’re going to eat, before you eat it, will help you learn this lifestyle in no time! I like to plan 2 or 3 day’s meals at a time. I used to plan a whole week, sometimes two weeks, at a time and I found myself wasting produce. I have other posts about how to save money eating keto, so let’s just focus on what to buy when you shop! 

How I Feed My Family on $100 Per Week

How I Shop at Costco

Planning your meals ahead of time will significantly reduce the chances of running through a drive through after work or soccer practice. If you spend the majority of your day away from home, prepare your lunches and snacks the night before (or the Sunday before) so you’re not tempted to hit up a snack machine.

For my tips on staying keto in the drive thru, read How To Eat Out Keto: Fast Food

These are not comprehensive lists but give you a good idea of where to start! When you shop for pantry items, focus on unprocessed, organic, all natural foods. Grass-fed meats and butter, organic produce, and nitrate free deli meats are always the best options but they might not always be in the budget. That’s okay! Eat as clean as you can afford! You can achieve ketosis both ways.

Another thing to be cognizant of when shopping is food labels. Many “healthy” foods will be sugar laden or carbohydrate heavy. For example, 10g of carbs might not sound like much but when you’re only allotted 20g in an entire day, that’s 50% of your intake! Sauces, condiments, dressings, protein bars and flavored foods will all be items to check diligently.

Also, don’t go overboard with keto-friendly sweet snacks. Lilly’s chocolate bars, peanut butter (always get natural low sugar), sugar free Jello, low carb ice cream, and sugar free candies can all be nice treats occasionally. When you’re trying to break old habits and adopt a new healthy lifestyle, having too many approved sweets in your house could make your binging habits reemerge.

Not to mention, many of the “sugar free” candies and treats have malitol in them. Malitol is an artificial sweetener that replicates the taste of sugar almost to a T. However, it is known to give people horrific stomach aches. (Need a good laugh? Google “sugar free gummy bear reviews”.)

So, when it comes time to shop just remember:

  • It’s best to shop the perimeter of the store (produce, deli, meat, dairy)
  • Check labels for added sugars, malitol, and carb content
  • Cheese and bacon are your friends!
  • Always buy organic and grass-fed when possible!

P E R S E V E R E 

Changing your lifestyle can be scary. Trust me, I was you not that long ago. The first time you don’t feel well, the first time you mess up, the first time you fall victim to temptation, it’ll feel easy to just quit because “the damage is already done”. But, DON’T!

When you’re detoxing from sugar during your first phase of keto, your body is going to demand you feed it sugar. Don’t give in! Remember your goals, where you started, where you want to be in a month, six months, a year, etc.

If you are starting your keto journey solo, find someone to help hold you accountable. If you can find someone (friend, relative, spouse, child, etc) who wants to start keto too, do it together. The more people you have in your corner supporting you, the more likely you will succeed!

And if you encounter naysayers, skeptics, or uninformed antagonists, just ignore them! Many people are unfamiliar with the ketogenic diet and have no concept of high fat, low carb eating. Because it’s been so ingrained in us to eat low fat, low calorie, there will be plenty of people who try to dissuade you from your keto journey. But I repeat, IGNORE them! You know what’s best for you! Stick to that!

I’m always happy to help my readers in any way I can! If you need advice, have questions, or need encouragement, shoot me a message! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll point you in the direction of someone who does.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram (@keto_in_pearls) and Facebook (Keto In Pearls) for more motivation and keto living tips!  As always…



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