Welcome to Keto Koaching Week 1, by now you should have watched the videos and read all the information in the Keto Koaching start page. You are ready to begin! Click on each section below and read each section. Good Luck!!

Take Some Measurements

Before we get started here, you need to get some basic measurements and store them as biometric entries in Cronometer.  If you are not using Cronometer then write them down somewhere: in a diary, on a piece of paper, in a spreadsheet or other online tracker.  Obviously you want to measure your weight.  You should ideally weigh yourself every day but the constant daily variations sometimes freak people out so, it that’s you, then try once a week, or even once a month.

Then you can break out the tape measure and take a few other measurements.  Record measurement for as many of these as you please: Waist, Hips, Thigh, Calf, Wrist, Forearm and Upper Arm.  You shouldn’t take subsequent measurements more frequently than once a month.  I found them most useful at the odd times when I was a bit frustrated due to a stall in the weight loss for a while.  That was a good time to break out the tape measure and appreciate the changes in some of these measurements.

Now, Ditch The Carbs

Actually, the very first thing you need to do is ditch the sugar and processed carbohydrate products.  This is all a lot for most people to get their heads around so you should start with the worst poisons first.  If you do nothing else, other than get rid of these items from your life you will be well on your way to being infinitely more healthy.  So go through your cupboards and start throwing (or giving) away all the sugar, anything with sugar in it, bread, rolls, flour and all your breakfast cereals.  Before you start looking for products with sugar in them, you should take a look at the 56 Different Names For Sugar.

Now you need to start looking at all the other carb containing foods and vegetables.  Potatoes, pasta, and rice are the main ones that come to mind, but things like carrots are also very high in carbohydrates and are not encouraged.  If you do want to have vegetables like carrots, you should be aware of the carb count and only have a very few of them to keep the total carb count of the meal down.  What you are really aiming for are the leafy greens like Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower.  Check out the lists that specify the carb content of all the major foods.  Values of particular products in your area may vary slightly but these lists give you a great idea of how many carbs are contained in all the different foods.  Print these lists out and stick them on your refrigerator or inside your pantry or cupboard door.

After a while you will know the counts of all the common foods you eat but there will always be the odd new thing you need to quickly look up.  An easy way to get going is to only eat foods on that list that are highlighted in Green.  We will work on introducing some yellow and possibly even a small amount of some of the red items once you are up and running and attaining your goals.

Formulate Your Diet

In order for you to be successful, your diet needs to be properly formulated.   As a general rule, what you are aiming to achieve is: 5-10% Carbohydrate, 15-20% Protein and 70% Fat.  In reality everyone is different and it also depends on what you are trying to achieve and what Low Carbohydrate Diet you are following.  Although we recognise all forms of Low Carb Diet, we definitely favour the Low Carb, High Fat, Moderate Protein Ketogenic Diet, otherwise known as LCHF or the Banting Diet promoted by Prof Tim Noakes. In order to achieve Nutritional Ketosis, we have found that the average person needs to restrict their carbohydrate intake to 50g/day.

If you are more insulin resistant or you are sick with something like Type 2 Diabetes, it will be necessary to keep the carbohydrate intake down even lower, probably at least under 25g.  Make sure as many of your carbs come from loads of leafy green vegetables, a great source of all the other minerals and nutrients you need. This is just a starting point and you will need to find your own sweet spot over the course of the next few weeks.  You should also keep in mind that your target for any particular meal should be from 10g – 15g carbs.  Even though you may be shooting for 50g of carbs in a day, if you have them all in one go it will invoke an insulin spike and you will ends up being kicked out of Ketosis.  You will learn about all that stuff later.

Now, for a moderate amount of protein you should be looking to aim for 1.3 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, or 0.6 – 0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight.  Make sure you don’t eat too much protein.  A lot of the current research is showing that we don’t need a huge amount of protein (even if we are working out really hard) and any excess protein can be converted to glucose in the liver via a process called Gluconeogenesis which raises your blood glucose level and spikes insulin which defeats the object of restricting your carbs in the first place.  Remember this is grams of protein, not grams of food.  So, for instance an ounce of sirloin steak is 28 grams of meat, but only 7.6g of protein.

The rest of your daily calories should be made up from fat, preferably saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat like avocados and macadamia nuts.  Get your fats up by eating a handful of Macadamia nuts or half an avo, or a chunk of cheddar cheese or a whack of butter in your coffee with some coconut oil (check out the Keto FatBomb Koffee in Pam’s Pantry).  As long as you can eat pork, you should always have bacon in your fridge!  Use your Cronometer tracker to work out how much you need to be eating.  Remember, each 1g of fat is 9 calories as opposed to 4 calories from each gram of carbohydrate or protein so a little fat goes a long way and satisfies your hunger very easily.

If you want a little more guidance on what sort of numbers you should be aiming for then you need to go through a couple more steps.  Personally this helped me a lot and I would highly recommend it.  The theory of this Low Carb Diet is that once you stop eating carbs your apistat is able to heal and your appetite will correctly control your hunger such that you stabilize at your optimum weight.  Personally, mine took about 6 months to heal properly and before that I needed a little help to understand how much I should have been eating.

First, you are going to need your estimated body fat ratio.  There are a number of ways to get this.  The most accurate is a DEXA scan or a hydrostatic immersion test.  These are expensive and time consuming and, unless you are an elite athlete concerned with minute detail, totally unnecessary.  You can get a set of body fat calipers very cheaply and plug all your measurements into their calculator.  If you are going to do this, make sure you spend $5 – $8 more on a sturdy set of calipers.  I went with the cheapest version and found they were so flimsy, and bent so much, that a consistent reading was almost impossible.  In the end, they were useless to me and a waste of money.  Since we only really need an estimate, taking a few measurements with a tape measure and plugging them into an online calculator will work just fine. I found this one to be the most useful: Body Fat Calculator.

Just use this online Body Fat Calculator on the first tab.  All the rest of the stuff on the site is of no use at all.  Men just need to plug in their weight and waist measurement.  Ladies need a couple of extra measurements but it is very simple.  Don’t get fixated about this number.  It is just an estimate to get give you a starting point for correctly formulating your diet and a reference for any relative measurements you take further down the road.  Once you have a number for your body fat ratio you need to plug it into the online Keto Calculator.  Start out by putting in all your basic stats and then as you scroll down you can enter your estimated activity level and then scroll down a bit more and you will need to enter the number you calculated for your body fat ratio.

Scroll down further and enter your daily target for carbohydrate target.  Let’s start with 50g unless you have Type 2 Diabetes or you want to shoot for less than 50g from the get go.  In this case enter 25g.  Now if you scroll down further you’ll see two last sections “How much Protein Should I Eat” and “How much Fat Should I Eat”.

In the Protein section you’ll see 2 values based on the activity level you set earlier.  One is the minimum amount of protein you need to eat at that activity level so as not to lose any muscle mass.  This is the number you should be looking to be near to if you are focused on losing weight.  The other is the maximum protein you should be eating if you want no deficit and you are looking to maintain you current weight.  Make sure you do not get kicked out of ketosis by going over this value and producing extra glucose through Gluconeogenesis.   In the middle is a field where you can choose your own value somewhere between full deficit and zero deficit.

Based on value you choose for your protein consumption, the amount of fat you need is calculated for you.  Take these numbers for Carbs, Protein and Fat and enter them into your targets in Cronometer and now you know what you are shooting for each day.

Manage Your Salt Intake

As you start to restrict your carbohydrate intake, your body starts to deplete it’s glycogen stores in the muscles and liver and the water that is stored with it is excreted as well. I was really excited when I lost 5 lbs in the first 5 days after I started this diet.  I have since learned that a lot of that was, in fact, water but some of it was fat that had started to burn off and losing 5 lbs is still exciting.

Your body will also start excreting a lot more sodium.  As a result of this you need to include more salt in your diet.  You should typically be aiming at 3 – 5 grams of salt in your diet every day.  In general, the old advice that everyone has to eat less salt is bogus and I will address that at some point in a blog or an FAQ.  For now, all you need to know is that you HAVE to have more salt if you are on a Low Carb Diet.

Any high blood pressure issues you may suffer from will also, most likely, clear up very quickly so you should not concern yourself with this.   Just know that your health will improve drastically in a very short time.  The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek is one of the best books around.  If you have further concerns you should get that book and read the sections on sodium requirements.  Stephen Phinney suggests that we should all be eating 1 – 2 cups of bone broth each day.  Pam has an excellent recipe for Homemade Bone Broth in Pam’s Pantry.

If you start to find yourself feeling light headed, it is almost guaranteed that you are not getting enough salt in your diet.  Even if you have to stir some into a glass and chug it down, make sure you get it in.  If the dizziness does not clear up in a couple of days, your magnesium may also be a bit low.   You can get a great generic course of Magnesium really cheaply.  Make sure you complete the 30 day course and repeat it if necessary.  If you still have dizzy spells then you should consult your doctor.  Just make sure your doctor is ‘Low Carb Friendly’, otherwise you are never going to get good advice from them.  Rather find a new doctor who understands the value in this lifestyle.  I wish I had known about the sodium thing when I started.  I went through the first 4 weeks feeling dizzy every time I stood up and just chalked it up as part of the adaptation phase.  Only to find out I could have avoided it totally.  When I did start adding more salt to my diet, it cleared up immediately.

If you are experiencing night cramps at all, then it’s a symptom of the same deficiency.  Just increase your salt intake first and then try a course or two of magnesium and you’ll find it clears up quickly.

There are certain forums in this space that are touting this Pink Himalayan Salt to be the next miracle cure.  I’ve seen claims that it contains 84 different trace elements, followed by a list of numerous ailments that using this salt cures as a result of containing these trace elements.  I have also seen a paper that claims to have subjected this Pink Himalayan Salt to a series of lab tests and, while it did indeed contain everything it was purported to have contained, the levels were of such miniscule concentrations that they would have absolutely no effect on one’s health whatsoever.  On top of that it was also found to contain certain other toxic elements like Uranium in similar concentrations.  So if you believe the good elements are in a strong enough concentration to be of benefit then you should be equally concerned about the toxic ones.  At the end of the day I have not been able to establish the quality of the reputation of the laboratory making claims on either side of the argument.  Personally, I think it has a unique flavour and I really like it so until I get bona fide scientific proof of either argument, I am going with my tastebuds.

Adaptation and the ‘Keto-Flu’

So now that you If you have drastically reduced your carbohydrate intake, your body starts to use up its glycogen stores in the muscles and liver.  As these become totally depleted (normally after about 3 – 5 days) your body has to find an alternative for fuel.  That is when it has to convert over from oxidizing glucose to oxidizing fat and producing ketones.  This is not something it has been used to doing so there is an adaptation period you will need to go through.  During this time you will notice a distinct lack of energy which can last for 7 – 14 days.  This dragging is often the fundamental reason people don’t succeed on a Ketogenic Diet.  You may also experience a little light headedness too but, as discussed in the previous lesson, this is easy to address by increasing the amount of salt in your diet and possibly some magnesium supplementation.

Some people also experience what is known as ‘Ketone-Breath’.  One of the three types  of ketone bodies that are created in your system is acetone.  Any excess acetone is excreted through the lungs causing this odor.  Breath mints or other remedies do not seem to be very effective since the smell emanates from your lungs, not your mouth.  For most people who suffer from this, it does seem to pass within a few weeks.  Another line of thought on this is that if you consume too much protein, the excess protein not required by your muscles is converted to glucose and acetone is a byproduct of this process.  This causes an excessive amount of acetone in the system which needs to be excreted.  Maybe this could explain why only some people suffer with this, i.e. those who are not eating a properly formulated diet.  In fact, starving yourself and eating too little protein results in your body breaking down ,or cannibalizing, its own muscle tissue to get the glucose it needs and that too will result in so-called ‘Ketone-Breath’.  So, make sure you follow the advice and eat a properly formulated diet with the correct amount of protein and maybe you won’t experience this at all.  I have since discovered that, without actually knowing it, we did eat the right amount of protein in the beginning and that may be why neither of us had even the slightest hint on ‘Ketone-Breath’.

There is more and more research coming out showing that ketones are a superior source of energy for the body and the brain and there are numerous other health benefits associated with elevated levels of ketones.  As mentioned in a previous lesson, Pruvit has introduced a source of Exogenous Ketones.  What they can do is provide an external source of ketones so that your body has something to burn while it is undergoing adaptation.

I did not have it available to me when I first went through adaptation but I have been using it since and it certainly helps when I have had a bad day or a night on the town and I have been kicked out of nutritional ketosis.  While I feel a mild bump as I re-adapt, the effects are minimal.  Although research on this is still ongoing, there are thousands of anecdotal testimonies to the effect that it is very effective.  Even though I am usually in ketosis, I continue to take Keto//OS every morning and find it helps a lot to get going in the morning.  It can also help to make it easier to push that first meal of the day out later and later as you start to introduce the concept of intermittent fasting which you will learn about in later lessons.  People who are unable, for whatever reason, to adhere to a strict ketogenic diet may use Exogenous Ketones to enjoy some of the benefits of elevated ketone bodies in their system without truly being in Nutritional Ketosis.