We're working, living, and coping in an unprecedented way, and there isn't a "roadmap" that explains how to deal with the situation. All we can really do is try our best in this situation.
And for those of us who were on the ketogenic diet before this pandemic started, "doing our best" means sticking with our diet.
Sure, there are challenges. But it's absolutely possible to stay keto and continue losing weight or maintaining weight while in quarantine.
For those living the low-carb life, here are 5 simple-but-effective tips for staying keto while practicing social distancing.
1. Stock Your Kitchen With Keto-Friendly FoodsSimply put, you'll have a much easier time sticking to your diet right now if you keep giving yourself the option to make the right food choices.
This is true in the best of times, but even more pertinent right now.
The best thing you can do for your health is stock up on the essentials, have them on hand, and replenish them once they start to get low. This way there's always healthy food and you're always prepared.
Here's a list of keto-friendly foods to stock up on:
- Keto-friendly snack foods: cheese crisps, snack bars, jerky, meat sticks, low-carb chocolate, nut butter
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, cashews, etc.
- Keto baking essentials (almond flour, coconut flour, erythritol, stevia, vanilla extract)
- Healthy cooking oils (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil)
- Coffee and tea
- Dairy (full-fat): butter, heavy cream, cheese, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese
- Meat: bacon, sausage, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, seafood)
- Fresh vegetables: spinach, kale, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower
- Fruit: avocados, berries, olives
- Low-carb condiments: mayonnaise, mustard, sugar-free ketchup, hot sauce, salad dressing
- Plenty of protein sources: frozen chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc.
- Frozen berries
- Freezer bags (this way you can store extras and reheat them for meals when you don't feel like cooking)
Remember, being prepared is half the challenge. We recommend printing out our keto grocery shopping list and putting it on your fridge for easy reference.
And check out our recipe section to see if anything catches your eye before you head to the store!
2. Stock up on SupplementsTaking supplements ensures there are no holes in your nutrition plan, and can also promote your efforts to maintain ketosis. (And boost immunity, too.)
Remember, though, that supplements are meant to add to the good things you're already doing with your diet. They aren't a "magic pill" and shouldn't be thought of as something that can make up for a lackluster or inconsistent diet.
Focus on dialing in your diet first, then consider adding products into your regimen to enhance your meal plan.
That said, here are 5 supplements that can boost your efforts to lose weight and get healthier on a keto diet:
- Keto Meal Replacement Shakes: Although this product is a food, not a supplement, they’re worthy of being the first on the list. Keto meal replacement shakes come in handy when you don't feel like cooking, are packed with more than a dozen essential vitamins and minerals, and contain MCT oil (see #5 below).
- BHB Exogenous Ketones: Exogenous ketones help your body start producing ketones faster when you deviate from your diet . They also give you energy and can improve performance during workouts if you're just switching to the low-carb diet and adjusting to exercising without glycogen in your muscles.
- Electrolytes: As the weather gets warmer, it's important to remember to replenish your electrolytes (minerals like sodium and potassium) after you exercise. It's especially important to keep up with these when you first go keto, as dehydration is a common side-effect at the initial stage .
- Collagen: Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your entire body. It helps your skin stay hydrated and youthful, boosts your immune system, and assists with the repair of your vital organs . It's a fantastic protein source after a workout when your body needs proteins to break down into amino acids to rebuild muscle tissue.
- MCT Oil: Taking MCT oil, or medium-chain triglycerides, increases your body's natural ketone levels . You can add the pure form to your morning coffee for an extra energy boost, or supplement with them to get into ketosis faster after a cheat meal. MCTs are an effective way to help you achieve or maintain a state of ketosis.
3. Incorporate Intermittent FastingPerhaps you've heard of the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) before, but aren't quite sure what it is or whether it's right for you. Here’s a quick refresher:
- IF means eating within a timed window each day, then fasting for an extended period of time—the most common method is 8 hours on, 16 hours off. (For example, you might eat in a window from noon to 8pm then fast through the night until noon the next day.)
- IF helps you get into ketosis faster, as it speeds up how fast your body uses its stored glycogen .
- Eating within a window has been shown to be a very effective tool for supporting weight loss and metabolic health .
LEARN MORE: Your Quickstart Guide to Intermittent Fasting
4. Workout DailyNow is also a great time to dial in your workout routine.
You might not have access to a gym, but there are hundreds of online resources you can use to exercise from home.
Bodyweight resistance exercises, yoga, and cardio options like running are all available to you even when social distancing. Even a 30-minute walk has been shown to have positive health benefits .
Besides helping you lose weight, daily exercise can :
- Improve blood pressure
- Improve blood markers like cholesterol
- Reduce your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (this is key at times like this!)
5. Forgive Yourself If You Slip UpAs a society, we're trolling through uncharted territory right now. No one could have predicted even a few months ago that we'd all be on lockdown for our own health and safety.
Keeping that perspective in mind is important, and so is forgiving yourself if you don't stick to your routine during these uncertain times.
With the lack of structure many of us are coping with right now, it would be all too easy to slip from our routines and then spiral indefinitely.
If, for whatever reason, you're not feeling up to a workout or you slip from your diet, don't sweat it. The truth is that you're always one choice away from making the right decision. Get back on the wagon tomorrow and try building some momentum around the habits you're trying to build.
Doing so will give your body and mind the best chance of staying healthy. Whether your goal is to lose weight or simply to keep your body functioning at its best, show yourself some compassion and try to learn from your mistakes.
And remember: you're not alone!