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You don’t have to punish yourself in order to meet your goals. You don’t have to starve yourself or exhaust every fiber of your being at the gym. Sure, plenty of people enjoy success living this way, and those that can sustain such a level of willpower are certainly special. But I’m going to assume that person isn’t you. Your willpower fades eventually. Your body eventually caves to the rigors of high intensity interval training. Eventually your ghrelin-induced hunger pains late at night are no longer tolerable, and you give in to a late night snack. Maybe you’re just not meant to reach your goals. While the track record of failure for the “hard knocks” approach to weight loss is irrefutable for the majority, not enough people are aware of the completely viable alternative known as the ketogenic diet.

So don’t be discouraged. The ketogenic diet has a proven track record of success in helping people escape the shackles of morbid obesity to the point where they aren’t held prisoner to a sedentary lifestyle. The success behind this diet is based on the science of the human metabolism, not someone’s theory about what our early ancestors ate or some misplaced fear of fats. You’re in good graces with your own biology when you stick to the ketogenic diet, but the diet is not without its challenges.

Staying in nutritional ketosis is the primary goal. The carbohydrate threshold necessary to achieve nutritional ketosis is 20-30 grams per day, or about 5% of your total macronutrients. This is about as challenging as the ketogenic diet gets, and once you master the art of limiting your carbohydrates to roughly 20-30 grams per day, everything else falls into place. Hunger goes down and fatty acids are constantly being converted into ketones to be utilized as energy. Your body becomes a fat burning machine, whether you’re sitting down at a desk all day or not. Does this sound like a winning proposition? I hope so. Now, as for managing your progress as well as your daily carb count, here are five incredibly useful tools that will help you reach your goals with the ketogenic diet.

5. A Picture of the “Bigger” You.

Don’t feel ashamed, take a picture of the very last moment you settled for being less than your ideal self. If you stick to the diet you will get results, so it won’t be long before you regret missing such an opportunity. “Before & After” pictures are an inspiration to those around you, and serve as the ultimate validation for everything you’ve accomplished up until the present moment. The picture can also serve as a tool of motivation to spur you forward knowing what you “can” be if you don’t take action or allow yourself to fall back to your old eating habits.

Here’s one example of a “Before & After” Picture: “The Fat Me” vs “The Less Fat Me”

4. A Health Journal.

Whether you are tracking your carbohydrate intake or documenting the feelings that you are experiencing during the initiation phase, journalizing your experience is almost always worth your time. Should you exceed your weight loss goals or find yourself unable to shatter a plateau, you can refer back to your journal entries and analyze the factors that caused these instances to occur, so you can either replicate success or make necessary adjustments to get back on track. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Some people use apps and record everything they eat, while people that are incredibly lazy (such as myself) use a marker, a piece of paper, and really poor vertical penmanship. Even if details aren’t your thing, having some documentation is better than having nothing.

Here’s a sample of how simple a “health journal” can be: My December Log, with Experimental Carb Refeeds.

3. A Detailed List of Low Carb Foods.

The best way to maintaining a balanced diet is to know your options and how much your portions count towards your daily carb limit. While you are free to memorize the nutritional content of every food you choose to indulge in, referring to a simple, organized chart is foolproof. I’ve provided some organized food lists for you, which you can download and view later and even print out to post on your refrigerator, or wherever you choose to prepare your mise en place for your next fancy low carb entrée. What makes these lists different from others are the measurements as well as the sorting by carb content for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy.

Here is where you can find the lists of Low Carb Foods: The Ketogenic Diet Menu

2. An Accurate Digital Bathroom Scale.

While “accurate digital bathroom scale” may be an oxymoron depending on who you ask, you don’t necessarily need to worry if the scale flatters you by design. Being off by a pound or two still makes for a useful progress tracker, however, sporadic output makes it impossible to accurately tell the weight difference from one day to the next. Be careful when purchasing scales and read online reviews beforehand. No matter how much money you save, a flaky scale will not benefit you, so don’t pinch pennies and make the correct purchase the first time.

The digital bathroom scale that I recommend: EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale

1. A Digital Food Scale.

A Digital Food Scale comes part and parcel with the list of Low Carb foods that are great for a ketogenic diet. Overall, this is the most useful tool you can acquire for your weight loss journey, that is, if you hope to maximize your daily number of nutritionally balanced meals that are rich with vitamins and fibers. These foods often come at the cost of soluble carbohydrates that raise blood glucose which can knock you out of nutritional ketosis, so weigh your food. Keeping an accurate tally on your carb consumption will be easily accomplished by using a quality Digital Kitchen Scale.

The digital kitchen scale that I recommend: Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale

The Keto Lifestyle

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Get Low Carb Recipes for Your Time of Day. There is an abundance of options for low carb eating. “Keto Sunrise” delivers delicious breakfast recipes that will make losing weight both exciting and incredibly easy!

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