In the last 15 years, I’ve guided thousands of people through starting a new diet, and in the last decade, I’ve helped thousands more start a Keto Diet. Here is what I’ve learned from all of those keto beginners.
So, is starting a ketogenic diet hard? Starting a Keto Diet is hard, but it is easier than starting any other kind of diet. That’s because when you start a Keto Diet, you are making a transformation from burning carbs to burning fat as fuel. With that transformation, the way you experience hunger will change for the better in ways that will shock you.
Now let’s talk about why starting a Keto Diet is hard, and how you can make it easier.
Why is Starting Keto Easier Than Starting Other Diets?
In most diets, you are just restricting calories in one form or the other. In practice what this means is that you’re going to be giving up things you love to eat, without replacing them with anything that you are also going to love to eat.
That’s really hard.
When starting a Keto Diet, you are going to be giving up things you love, but you’re going to be replacing those foods with other foods you love.
Let’s begin by focusing on the good stuff.
When starting a Keto Diet, you are training your body to burn fat for fuel instead of burning carbs. The first step in that training process is to increase the fat that you eat while reducing the carbs you eat.
So what great keto foods will you be eating?
- Pork Roast
- Pork Chops
- Chicken Thighs w/ Skin
- Sour Cream
- Chocolate Avocado Mousse
- Peanut Butter Fat Bombs
- Parmesan & Bacon Chicken Thighs
- …and more
How’s that for diet food?!?!
Now the downside. You are going to be giving up most of your carbs, and some of these are going to be some of your favorites. Sadly, they are also the things that are making you fat.
- High Carb Beer
- …and more
So yes, starting a Keto Diet is going to be hard, but not as hard as starting other diets.
Honestly, after your first few weeks, the cravings for these things are going to change in ways that you can’t even imagine right now.
How Does Your Hunger Change on A Keto Diet?
What you, and everyone else who is currently eating a Standard American Diet (SAD), currently recognize as hunger is actually starvation panic brought on by the constant insulin rollercoaster happening in your body as you quickly burn through the carbs that are currently your body’s main source of fuel.
As you make the transition into a fat-burning machine, those insulin highs and lows will begin to level out. With that, the pit in your stomach and hangry episodes that send family and coworkers into hiding will just fade away.
Now hunger feels like a getting a little tired, or for some as a slight headache at the top back of your head. If you go too long without eating, you might feel a little light-headed but never hangry!
Now when your body runs out of the dietary fat that’s in your bloodstream (the great fat you ate for breakfast in the form of bacon and eggs), it will no longer send panic signals to your brain to eat more RIGHT NOW! Instead, your body will find fuel in all of the energy that it has stored in the past from the extra carbs in your SAD Diet…all that fat you’ve been caring around for a needy day when carbs aren’t readily available.
In a Keto Diet, every day is a needy day when your body will turn to your stored fat to get you through the day. You will burn your body fat without feeling hungry all the time!
As an added bonus, your body burns fat calories as a slow stead burn…like a candle. This is in contrast to the way that it burns carbs, hot and fast…like gasoline dowsed leaves.
I don’t think I have to tell you which is a more pleasant way to fuel your body.
How Can You Make Starting A Keto Diet Easier?
My passion is easy keto, and to that end, I’ve made a list of simple Rules of Keto for the first three weeks that I’ll link below. But first, let’s just get the basics.
Your only goal during the first three weeks of starting a keto diet is to make the transition from using carbs as fuel to using fat as fuel. This is called achieving ketosis.
You are not going to stress over calories, weight loss, or even quality of food. Once again, your only focus is on getting into ketosis.
If that means that you need to eat the same thing every single time you are hungry then do that. You don’t need to stress about making tons of new recipes. It’s only for three weeks…you can do this.
Maybe you meal prep on Sunday and make Pulled Pork and Baked Chicken Thighs. Add to that some guacamole, sour cream, mayo (all sources of good fat) then you’ll be able to get through the first three weeks easily.
For the rest of my Rules of Keto, read this article that I wrote to help people through the first three weeks of Keto.
If you want to make it even easier, then you could choose to use my No Cook Keto Meal Plan which walks you through the first three weeks without being required to cook anything.
So Is Starting A Keto Diet Easy?
No, it is not; but no big change in your life is easy. It is worth it, though.
This one is going to be one of the easier MAJOR changes you’ll ever make.
Yes, the first three weeks will take some will power, but after that, your relationship with food will be changed and maintaining this way of eating gets lots easier.
Even better, once your body has fully made the transition to being highly skilled at burning fat as fuel, then making the transition back and forth from carbs and fat becomes easier and easier.
Sure, to lose weight effortlessly, you are going to want to eat keto nearly all of the time. However, after a few months of eating keto, a weekend vacation or craft beer festival isn’t going to destroy your progress.
Instead, a carb adventure is going to kick you right out of ketosis, but as you cut your carbs in the following days and up your dietary fat you’ll quickly be back in ketosis and burning that extra fat you’ve been toting around for years.
Even better, each time your body makes that transition from ketosis to carb fueled and back, your body gets better at it and the transition gets easier. What took three hard weeks the first time, soon will be taking just a few challenging days and eventually an effortless 12 to 18 hours.
A diet can’t get easier than that.