Tag Archives: Diet and Exercise

Beginner's Guide to Keto

A Detailed Guide: Keto Diet for Beginners

A lot of questions rise related to a ketogenic diet, especially a keto diet for beginners. If you are looking to find a diet that supports a healthy lifestyle, includes tons of meal options, and allows for long-term consistency with weight loss or maintenance goals, the keto diet can be a great choice. The keto diet (and its variations) is a highly popular way to achieve health goals appealing to athletes and non-athletes alike. However, keto can be a bit intimidating for new adopters. If you are considering adopting the keto diet, we’ll help you learn all you need to know about getting started and tips for how to thrive while changing your diet to meet keto standards.

This beginner-friendly guide is great for anyone looking to embark on a keto diet. You’ll learn what the diet entails, what foods are sanctioned, and what foods are not. Furthermore, you’ll discover how to thrive during the first week of keto, so you can make those first few days easier to manage and your adjustment to the diet less stressful.

What Is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic or keto diet consists of a very high-fat diet that is also very low in carbohydrates. This combination of low carbs and high fats helps many people shed excess body fat while staving off hunger which is a very common occurrence in other weight loss plans. A ketogenic diet is also great for helping individuals with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes improve their health.

When you eat a ketogenic diet, your body is forced to burn through the fats in your diet to create fuel to power your daily activities. This occurs in place of burning the carbs that are usually used for the process. When you adopt a keto diet, you are essentially telling your body to run on fats instead of sugars. When your body begins to burn fats instead of carbs, you enter a state known as ketosis.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is one of the most important concepts of a ketogenic diet. The metabolic state of ketosis occurs when the liver takes the fats from your diet and metabolizes them into tiny molecules of energy, also called ketones. Ketones are used by the brain and other bodily organs to perform the necessary functions of daily life.

Your body typically prefers to utilize blood sugar or glucose for energy. However, during ketosis, the body pulls the majority of the energy needs from the ketones because your carbohydrate levels are greatly reduced. To reach a state of ketosis, most people must eat 50 or fewer grams of carbohydrates a day. However, the carb intake needed for ketosis varies for each person; for some, the number may be as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.

To induce ketosis, the keto diet encourages the elimination of carbohydrate-dense foods, including:

  • Legumes
  • Grains (rice, pasta, cereals, white bread)
  • Candy
  • Fruit (small portions of berries are allowed)
  • Potatoes
  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and other beverages sweetened with sugar
  • Sugar-sweetened condiments, like barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and ketchup

When followed correctly, the ketogenic diet can be highly beneficial, but it is not an easy lifestyle change for many. To help, we’ve compiled the following information to assist beginners as they make the necessary steps to transform their eating habits from carb-filled to ketogenic.

Keto Diet Foods

Guidelines: Keto Diet for Beginners

Fats, Carbohydrates, and proteins are known as macronutrients, and each one has a unique effect on the process of ketosis.

This is because these three macronutrients are digested differently and have separate effects on blood glucose levels.

  • Carbs raise both glucose levels and insulin levels and are considered 100% non-ketogenic. Therefore, carbs must be drastically reduced or eliminated from the daily diet for the body to reach ketosis.
  • Proteins are both ketogenic and non-ketogenic in composition. Over 50% of protein derived from food is turned into glucose in the bloodstream and raises insulin levels.
  • Fats are 90% ketogenic and 10% non-ketogenic. This makes fats the optimal choice for a ketogenic diet because non-ketogenic nutrients can be converted from triglycerides and glucose if the brain needs them.

Once you understand the role of each of these macronutrients, you can begin to understand how ketogenic foods work under the basic guidelines of a ketogenic diet.

Below are five basic steps for implementing a keto diet plan that will help you simplify the process as a beginner.

1. Determine the Fitness Goals You Want to Reach

This step is vital no matter what type of diet you are beginning, but it is especially important for a keto diet because the nutrient requirements are fairly strict. The first step you want to take is to identify the personal reasons you believe keto is for you. Defining your why will help you focus on the lifestyle changes involved in moving towards keto. Your why will also help you decide how you will measure your progress to see if your dietary changes are paying off.

2. Calculate Daily Calorie Goals

Once you have determined your primary health goals, your next step is finding out how many calories you need each day to reach your goal of losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. There are several ways to easily calculate your daily caloric needs, including online calculators and fitness and wellness apps. You can also speak to your doctor or a nutritionist to set healthy caloric goals.

3. Calculate Your Macronutrients (Macros)

In addition to setting a target number of daily calories, you must also find your ideal macronutrient consumption amounts, also known as calculating your macros. This will tell you how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you need to consume to maintain ketosis each day. How many carbs you can have a day on keto will be determined by the type of keto diet you choose and what your body’s unique needs require from your diet. It is crucial to maintain your carbohydrate intake each day to reach ketosis.

Being strict with your macros helps you maintain ketosis and reach your goals.

For most people adopting a ketogenic diet, the breakdown of macros is as follows:

  • 70% of daily calories from fat
  • 25% of daily calories from protein sources, and
  • 5% of daily calories from carbohydrates

Your current level of fitness, metabolic health, and other individual factors will determine the exact percentage of macronutrients you should consume.

Ketogenic diet breakdown

4. Plan Your Menu

Once you know your goals, calculate your daily calories, and determine your daily macronutrients, the next step is planning your menu with low-carb recipes. Before you start piling on heavy foods like cheese and bacon, take into consideration the quality of the high-fat foods you will consume on keto.

You must think about your overall health and incorporate nutritious foods that will also help you meet your daily intake needs. A keto diet should be much more than a weight-loss plan—it should also contribute to your overall well-being. If you fail to eat nutrient-rich foods, your goals will be much harder to reach. Eating a nutrient-rich low-carb diet will also ensure you have energy, stabilize your mood, and lower hunger and food cravings—all things that will help you stick to a ketogenic diet.

5. Be Consistent With Your Goals

It is important to understand that planning your keto menu is the start, but sticking to eating according to your ideal calorie and macro levels is how you reach the finish line. You also must stick to your keto diet for more than a couple of weeks to see results. Consistency is key.

Willpower will help you with your goals, but you must dedicate yourself to developing healthy habits over time. Your success will rely heavily on you making healthy food and fitness decisions for your long-term wellness. You don’t have to stress yourself to maintain perfection, but you do want to focus on being consistent if you want to see progress. Sticking to your dietary goals consistently will pay off if you keep going.

One thing to note—don’t allow a day of not hitting goals to deter you from your long-term progress. Each day is a new opportunity to make healthier decisions!

Why Beginners Adopt a Keto Diet?

Weight Loss

This is the most common reason for someone to start a ketogenic diet. If your goal is to lose weight, maintaining a calorie deficit is key to your success. When you stick to your weight loss goals using keto, you will see weight changes. These may come as a lower number on your scale and/or a change in how your body is shaped (body composition).

Improved Performance

For athletes and others looking to naturally boost their energy levels, keto can be used to help increase efficiency and performance. If you want to see a positive change in your energy levels with keto, you must focus on timing your nutrient intake and getting enough nutrients. You can measure improved performance by assessing your fitness performance and/or testing for metabolic efficiency.

Improved Health

While improved health may seem like a given, it is a very valid and common reason for choosing a ketogenic diet. Due to the ketogenic diet’s restrictive nature, getting adequate amounts of nutrients can prove challenging. To see improved health on a ketogenic diet, you should focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods. Measuring progress for your improved health can be done through a health assessment (biometric testing).

Keto Foods

Are There Different Types of Keto Diet?

When you follow a keto diet, your body goes into the metabolic state of ketosis. This is where your energy gets pulled from the stored body fat to run effectively, usually within four days of beginning the diet. Before you begin making dietary changes, you must understand that there are several different versions of the diet that are differentiated by the proportion of protein, fat, and carbs allowed for daily intake.

The following are the four common types of keto diets you can follow:

  • The Standard Keto Diet (SKD) – The standard ketogenic diet requires low carb intake, moderate protein intake, and high fat intake. The typical macronutrient for a standard keto diet is 20% protein, 10% carbohydrates, and 70% fat.
  • Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD) – The cyclical ketogenic diet requires cycling days of high carbohydrate nutrient intake (known as “refeeds”) with typical ketogenic days.
  • Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) – The targeted ketogenic diet makes allowances for carbohydrates before or after intense exercise.
  • High-protein Keto Diet (HPKD) – The high-protein ketogenic diet is similar to the standard keto diet, but the protein intake is higher, usually a ratio of 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 60% fat.

The standard keto diet and the high-protein keto diets have received the most scientific attention, likely because they are the most commonly used methods. The targeted and cyclical diets are newer variations of keto, mostly used by bodybuilders and athletes.

intense exercise

What Should I Do During the First Week of Keto?

The first week of your keto diet can be challenging, especially if you are transitioning from a much less structured way of eating. The nature of the keto diet requires many people to make lifestyle changes that can feel a bit overwhelming early on. It is vital to remember that keto, like many other diets, requires an adjustment period. This is where your body will make a huge shift from using dietary sugars for energy to using fats for energy, leaving you feeling a bit under the weather.

The “Keto Flu” is a real possibility, but with the proper preparation, you can overcome it and thrive in your first week. If you do feel a bit under the weather, the flu-like symptoms may last several days. With your keto-approved menu and consistency, you can make your first week a positive experience.

In addition to eating your menu of keto-friendly foods, you should also use these keto diet tips for your first week.

  • Hydrate. Switching to a ketogenic diet will cause your body to lose the excess water stored from your former diet of high carbs and sugar. Drinking plenty of water or taking sugar-free electrolyte supplements can help your body adjust to changing water levels.
  • Focus on hitting your calorie and macronutrient requirements. Get enough protein and fat to reach ketosis, and you will feel better and less hungry.
  • Get adequate fiber. You want to maintain your gut health to avoid gastrointestinal issues, so consume your greens. Having a salad each day can help you feel full and keep you from becoming bloated or constipated.
  • Limit pre-packaged and processed foods to stay on target for your carbohydrate intake. Hidden carbs can throw off your macros and prevent you from reaching ketosis, so it is important to limit the amount of sugar you consume if you want to be successful in your first week.

Drink Water

You Can Kick Off Your Keto Diet and Find Success

The switch to a ketogenic diet should ultimately be seen as a lifestyle change that will lead to long-term health and wellness. Set your goals and make a plan to be consistent but give yourself grace as you transition into a new way of using food for fuel. The tips from this guide can help you go from a beginner with keto to a successful keto lifestyle in less time and with less difficulty. You, too, can reap the benefits of ketosis and healthy weight management.


  1. https://doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu13051654
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00027/full
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830
Healthy diet for Women

What Is a Healthy Diet for Women These Days?

It’s frustrating enough committing to a different lifestyle without having to wade through all the latest health fads and misguided quick-fix diet advice. Is it no-carb, low-carb, or all carbs this week? It may be best to leave these trends behind for good. To live healthfully, you need to understand two main concepts. The first is that healthy living is a long-term lifestyle, not a short-term fad. To achieve long-lasting results, you need to be prepared to be committed. A quick fix is simply that — quick. A lifestyle change is where you achieve lasting results that you can remain confident in. The second concept is understanding YOUR own body. Healthy eating for women is simply not the same as it is for men. Our bodies simply have different needs biologically. These unique needs will help to shape how you achieve your healthy living lifestyle.

Healthy Eating and Diet Tips for Women

The foundations of healthy living are quite simple. Many of us have grown up with the food pyramid, and even though its exact structure could now be up for debate, the main concepts remain. There are certain food groups that must be favored over others for a healthy diet. You often hear that moderation is key. While that may feel cliché, it simply is true. Healthy living does not mean that you need to always refuse yourself a treat. Yes, have that glass of wine sometimes. Yes, go out for taco Tuesday once in a while. While you shouldn’t feel as if you can’t enjoy life, understanding your basic necessities is the key to keeping everything balanced.

Eat More Vegetables

Eat More Vagetables

It likely comes as no surprise that veggies would be at the top of your healthy eating necessities list. And the more colorful varieties of veggies you can introduce to your day-to-day meals, the better! Now more than ever, veggies are ridiculously approachable. It is now increasingly difficult to not find cauliflower wings as an option in many restaurants. From cauliflower pizza crust to wings, fries, and sides, even noodles — veggies are easier to hide than ever, so if you aren’t a huge fan, there are still ways to sneak them in.

You can never go wrong swapping your carb-heavy option like pasta or pizza crust with a much healthier vegetable option, plus there are lots of other ways to get in those veggies. Something as simple as blending some spinach with your morning protein shake can give you a veggie boost you may not normally get into your diet. It is recommended that you get at least 2-2.5 cups of veggies a day. Just try to avoid added salt!

Add Healthy Proteins

Another basic component of healthy eating is protein. This important nutrient gives you energy to get through the day and helps you to feel full. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re starving yourself, and with the right dietary choices, you’ll never have to feel that way. When it comes to proteins, it may also be some simple switches that can really improve your healthier choices.

For example, to many people, bacon may be a difficult meat choice to let go of. By making a simple switch to turkey, chicken, or vegetarian bacon, you can still enjoy your breakfast meat while improving your sodium as well as calorie intake. Meats such as chicken and turkey are naturally lower in fat and can be used as amazing alternatives across the board for many recipes. Don’t forget about the many amazing plant-based meat alternatives too. It is recommended that you have 5-5.5 ounces of lean protein foods a day.

Healthy Proteins

Get A Healthy Balance of Fats, Carbs, and Dairy

A Healthy Balance of Fats, Carbs, and Dairy

If a diet is telling you that you CAN’T have something, it probably isn’t the healthiest when it comes to life-long results. All the elements of the pyramid matter; you simply have to balance them appropriately.

When possible, whole grains can make a great alternative to your traditional breads and pastas. It is recommended that you have 3 ounces of whole grains a day. Examples of this include whole wheat bread, wheat-based cereal, and whole-wheat pasta (don’t forget about veggie pasta, too!), brown rice, oats, etc. You’ll also want to get in at least three servings of low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy foods and drinks that are calcium-fortified are also great elements for any method of healthy living.

And what about fruit? Is it healthy? You may have heard conflicting advice, and the short answer is both yes and no. Fruit is an amazing source of vitamins and natural sugars, but we need to keep in mind that it is still sugar. It is recommended that you have at least 1.5-2 cups of fruit a day. This can include fresh fruit, as well as frozen, canned, or dried, but keep an eye out for any added sugar.

What Specific Nutrients Women Need

As previously mentioned, though there are certain tips for healthy living that travel across the board, healthy eating for women has its differences. As women, there are key nutritional areas that we have to pay more attention to.

These can include iron, folate, and calcium.

  • Iron: Depending on the stage of a woman’s life, the amount of iron needed can vary. For example, during your peak fertility years, the amount of iron your body requires is higher than that of women going through menopause. Excellent sources of iron are red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, spinach, kale, and so much more.
  • Folate (folic acid): This nutrient is especially important during your reproductive years. Excellent sources include oranges, leafy greens, and certain types of beans and peas. Other foods that are fortified with folic acid, like breakfast cereals and some rice and breads, are also good sources.
  • Calcium: The benefits of calcium have been pounded into our brains from an early age. Calcium helps with the health of bones and teeth. The best sources include low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, plant milk, tofu, and dark leafy greens.

What Foods Should Be Moderated

 While you should never feel like you must fully sacrifice anything, you do need to cut down certain things to succeed.

Overall, there are specific areas where moderation really needs to be taken seriously:

  • Alcohol: Long story short, no matter how you like your alcohol, it’s empty calories. Your body isn’t receiving any benefits from alcohol, and excessive amounts can influence negative food choices too. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a drink now and again, but keep in mind how easily it can set you back in your healthy dieting goals.
  • Trans fats: Be sure to pay attention to the nutritional label on the processed foods you put into your grocery cart. If you see trans fats, consider placing them back on the shelf. You may see this more often with desserts, frozen pizzas, and other quick snacks found in your freezer section.

Women of Every Age Need Physical Activity

Physical ActivityAnother important factor when it comes to your healthy lifestyle is your level of physical activity. You want to find a balance between your level of activity and what you put into your body. Often, people assume if they work out a lot, they can eat whatever they would like. This couldn’t be further from the truth. These two elements go hand in hand more than you’d think. Even if you are unable to do extensive physical exercise, making small changes can make a huge impact. This can include parking further from the entryway to a store, taking the stairs versus an elevator, or doing a round of squats during a commercial break on your favorite tv show. Every little step throughout the day adds up.

Bringing It All Together: The Best Diet for Women

So, what is the best diet for women?

Enjoy your veggies and find any way possible to sneak them into your meals. Make it a goal to always have something green on your plate. Consider what proteins will work best for you. Are you fueling your body? Enjoy your fruits, carbs, and healthy fats; just moderate them. If you sprinkled cheese on your salad at lunch, skip it on your broccoli for dinner. Make sure that you are paying attention to your specific needs, especially with your iron and calcium. When possible, squeeze in physical activity. These small steps will make a huge leap in your healthy living success.

Women’s Weight Loss and Other Health Services in Arizona

Women’s Weight Loss Services in ArizonaFor expert women’s health services in Arizona, contact us here at Arizona Gynecology Consultants. We specialize in the unique needs for women’s health and provide expert care. If you need help with weight loss or have another specific need, we are here for you. Our weight loss program is individualized for your needs.

Contact us today for more information about our weight loss services here in Arizona or to schedule an appointment with one of our nutrition and weight loss experts.



Change Your Fitness Focus For This Summer And See Better Results

Change Your Fitness Focus For This Summer And See Better Results

Many women think of the winter as the time to start preparing for swimsuit season in the coming summer, but should looking good in swimwear be the main goal of a new fitness routine? Instead of focusing on looking better in a swimsuit this year, try making a few significant changes that improve your overall health, not just the way you look. In time, making these positive changes will have an undeniably positive effect on your overall health and wellness.

Choosing Wellness Over Aesthetics

Everyone faces tremendous social pressure to look as good as possible. Modern marketing leans toward showcasing models with “aspirational” body types, the type that usually demand hyper-dedicated focus to nutrition and exercise. The average person cannot commit hours each day to looking as good as possible, so focusing health and exercise goals around aesthetics is ultimately self-defeating. However, a few small but important lifestyle changes can have tremendous results that lead to looking and feeling great.

Overcoming Social Pressures For Swimsuit Season

Advertisements constantly bombard the average American from all directions. It can be difficult for some people to recognize unrealistic beauty standards, and overcoming social pressure to look as good as possible can be significantly more challenging for some women than for others. Whenever you decide to make better decisions for yourself, you should aim to improve yourself, not just to earn the admiration of others.

While role models and fitness ambitions can be good motivational tools, they may also lead to self-esteem issues. Avoid trying to model your looks around those of celebrities or fitness models who likely have expensive dietary counselors and personal trainers to help them stay in picture-perfect shape. Instead, look for personal motivations that are meaningful to you, such as being able to keep up with your kids while you chase them around the beach this summer.

Avoiding Unhealthy Fat-Burning Gimmicks And Fad Diets

Avoiding Unhealthy Fat-Burning Gimmicks And Fad DietsThere have been countless fad diets to come and go throughout the years. There are also thousands of supplements on the market that proclaim to boost your metabolism and burn fat with minimal effort. Be wary of these fads and gimmicks. While some fast fat-burning methods may offer seemingly good results in a short window of time, these methods are rarely healthy and more often than not cause more problems than they solve.

Despite the dangers of some trendy diets, others have gained traction due to their objective health benefits and consistent results. For example, the ketogenic diet (also called the “meat and greens” diet or keto diet) essentially requires avoiding carbohydrates and sugars and eating a diet high in animal proteins and leafy vegetables. The keto diet places the body into ketosis*, or the state of burning fat stores for energy instead of deriving it from ingested carbohydrates. This is just one example of a popular diet that is actually worth investigating, and it is flexible enough to meet various dietary restrictions like food allergies or gluten sensitivity.

Balanced Nutrition Is Crucial For Weight Loss

Exercise is a crucial component of any weight loss plan, but nutrition is even more important. Proper nutrition helps the body function better overall. Many Americans do not get the recommended amounts of essential vitamins and minerals from their daily diet, and no amount of exercise can replace these deficits. Vitamin deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to muscle overextension or soft tissue injuries.

Cultivate Better Eating Habits

Start your summer fitness plan with a thorough review of your current daily diet. The vast majority of Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, so consider this a good starting point. For one month, try to add one full serving of vegetables to your daily food intake. The next month, add one more. Within a few months you may notice you have adopted an entirely new eating pattern, and you should start seeing positive results sooner than you might expect.

Drinking more water is also essential to a healthy body. Nutritionists recommend 8 glasses of water every day to maintain your health. With exercising, more may be necessary to stay hydrated. Also, drink water more often to keep from unintentional snacking. You might be actually be thirsty and think its hunger. A few sips an hour should do the trick.

Creating better eating habits does not just mean knowing which foods to add to your diet but also which foods you should avoid. Try to limit alcohol consumption as much as possible and refrain from eating too many fatty, fried, or processed foods. Always opt for lean protein whenever possible and choose fresh vegetables over frozen varieties.

Expand Your Exercise Routine

Starting an exercise routine is relatively easy and can even be fun, but sticking to that routine can be a challenge. If you are committed to improving your overall health and fitness this year but find yourself dreading the next trip to the gym, consider an alternative to your usual workout routine. Instead of running on a treadmill, look for a local park or hiking trail for a new challenge. Look for community sports leagues and try out for a team. Arrange nightly bike rides with your kids. These are just a few examples of great ways to stay in shape outside of the gym.

You can also make small changes to your everyday routine. If possible, consider biking to work instead of driving. Take frequent breaks at work to stretch or even do a few desk workouts during your downtime. Whenever possible, opt to take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. These small changes mean more burned calories, and creating a daily calorie deficit is the key to losing weight.

A Caution On Calorie Deficits

A calorie deficit means you burn more calories than you consume in a given day. While the average daily calorie intake for most adults is around 2000 calories, it is always best to consult with a doctor about a healthy calorie deficit range. Too much of a calorie deficit can have serious negative health issues like a compromised immune system and diminished internal organ functions.

Ultimately, bucking the trend of social pressure to look good in a bikini is difficult for many women to overcome, but developing personalized health goals that focus on wellness over outward appearance is ultimately the better choice for any fitness plan this year.