I wanted to start summer feeling (and looking) my best, so I decided to go back on keto for the second time. Since I’ve been on it for three weeks now, I wanted to share how I stay on track.
Starting keto isn’t the hard part. I’m usually excited and generally looking forward to the way I feel on it. Staying with it is the hard part. It’s not even about willpower as much as it is convenience. Running around with my kids, attending events and meetings, and keeping myself fueled for my busy schedule is the real challenge.
I know I’ve mentioned cheat days in the past, but I prefer to think of them as treat-yourself days. These days are important because sticking with the plan 100% of the time can feel limiting and on certain occasions, impossible. I make sure to plan my treat days for special celebrations, like Penelope’s birthday party or the 4th of July. That way I can feel free to indulge without feeling guilty.
I make sure to test my blood every morning using this easy test. It’s the only real way to accurately check my blood sugar and see if I’m in ketosis, and it gives me an idea of what items will throw off my diet the least and the worst. After most treat days, it takes me a full day or two to get back into ketosis. After the 4th of July, it took me three days. It’s a good reminder to find my limits of indulgence and to monitor my sugar intake.
I always have my morning avocado smoothie with almond milk, MCT oil, E3Live, and protein, but when I leave the house, I make sure to have a keto-friendly snack handy with me, just in case. My favorite are pecans or walnuts—the fat and protein keep me full in between meals and curbs cravings. But I’ve noticed that once I get into keto, after a week and a half, the snack cravings diminish, and I notice I do not even want to take my cheat days. Setting a goal with keto or a time frame has helped me now toward the last 10 days of it to not want to take any more cheat days.
Another great snack is an avocado sliced up with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s packed with the right fats to make me feel full, and the creamy texture and salty taste is really satisfying. Olives are also a good keto hack snack, especially kalamatas. They add flavor to things that can be kind of bland, like salmon or tuna.
Earlier this month, I had Chef Sara come over and cook for us. I was telling her that I’m on keto so she made keto-friendly cauliflower pizza crust and cheesecake—both were delicious. They aren’t dairy-free, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Keto can also be hard when you’re hanging out with a bunch of people not on keto. When I’m around friends who are indulging or having dessert, I make tea to keep my hands and my mouth busy. So many cravings are just your body asking you to hydrate or get some minerals, so this actually works a lot of the time (surprisingly). Another thing I’ll drink to cut cravings is apple cider vinegar in water—about one or two tablespoons in a 16-ounce glass.
Lastly, eating late is not an ideal keto practice. I try to be done eating four hours before I go to sleep, and then I wait to have my avocado smoothie as close to noon as my first meal of the day. Intermittent fasting is the best way to see results from your keto efforts, especially if you’re committing to the diet for the month. With these hacks, it’s been way easier this round to stick with it. It’s been two and a half years since I was last on keto, but I think I’m going to start doing it every season now that I have the hang of it.