Ketogenic Survival Guide for Beginners



2 Keto Dudes
Subscribe and listen to the podcast with Richard Morris and Carl Franklin. ‘Nuff said!

You can find all of the episodes wherever you download your favourite podcasts. Or simply checkout:

If you haven’t listened to the podcast in full before going Keto, take the time to at least listen to the first episode titled “Getting Started”.

As Keto Freaks we love our acronyms. LCHF, NSV, ACV, HWC, OMAD, CICO, BPC …WTF?! For a quick guide, refer to the Acronym Wiki: WIKI: Acronyms

Keep it simple
There is so much information on the web about Low Carb eating be it LCHF, Ketogenic, Paleo, Primal…watch out for overload of more than the carb kind!

You’re on the Ketogenic Forums reading this thread, so it looks like Keto is your method of choice. Nice! To begin with aim to achieve a daily macros composition as follows:

  • No more than 20g net carbohydrates (for those in the US and Canada subtract Dietary Fiber from Total Carbohydrates on the nutrition panel)
  • Approximately 1-1.5g of protein per kg of lean body mass
  • And the rest? Fat. Yep, that’s right, F.A.T. It’s time to get reacquainted and embrace all the fatty goodness on offer. Butter and cream and bacon, oh my!

The general rule of thumb many Ketonians use is a ratio of 5:25:70 when starting out. 5% Carbs, 25% Protein and 70% Fat.

How do you do this? Easy – have a look at a thread about this very thing: The Entire Ketogenic Diet in One Sentence

But what about calories, I hear you say? Ahhh calories, that old chestnut. Calories in vs. Calories out, right? WRONG! Calories are not created equal, but don’t just take my word for it, great stuff on this very topic can be found in the section titled “Show me the Science”. A good place to start is here: Breaking the CICO myth

Some Keto Heads have daily caloric goals, others not so much. You’ll find what works for you pretty quickly.

Now, for the Engineers and Virgos out there I can tell that your head is about to explode at this concept. Whaaaaaaat?! Before you curl up in a ball, rocking back and forth in the nearest dark corner, this calculator will give you some guidance:

If you can’t have carbs then what can you eat?
This is a question you might be asking yourself. It’s definitely a question that others will ask you and the answer you’ll be pleased to know is plenty!

There are so many great recipes on the internet that you’ll find on Pinterest, Blogs and Forums, not to mention the variety of ketogenic cookbooks available in both traditional and electronic format. Once you get used to keto cooking you may even choose to modify some of your old faves. When you do, don’t forget to post them here for others to enjoy:

Keto flu
Not everyone gets the Keto Flu, a cute name for carbohydrate withdrawal, and for those who do experiences and intensity differs.

Typical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, fatigue and lack of mental clarity. Usually they present in the first day or so and don’t last with intensity much past the first week, but there are a number of things you can do to ease your body’s transition from using sugar as the primary source of fuel to fat, such as:

  • Drink water, more water, and then even more water
  • Watch out for low levels of sodium, magnesium and potassium – incorporate foods rich in these minerals like chicken and beef broth. Dust off those salt shakers and shake, shake, shake!
  • Eat fat, more fat and then even more fat – if you’re hungry and you’ve reached your carbohydrate and/or protein macros for the day – eat fat
  • Take a nap or even go for a gentle walk

Take a multi vitamin daily. Listen to the 2 Keto Dudes podcast episode titled “Supplements”. Read this thread: Essential vitamins and minerals question? and work out what’s right for you.

Forget about it. Seriously. Just focus on getting through the first two weeks.

This is something you can consider incorporating into your routine in the future. When you’re ready, use the search function on the Ketogenic Forums and look up “Fasting” and “Zorn Fast”.

Preparation Tips
Before starting the Keto way of eating here’s a few tips to help get you going:

  • Consult your medical practitioner

  • Remove all non-keto food from your kitchen. If that’s something you can’t do (you may have family member’s or housemates that will not be boarding the keto train with you), then make sure these items are moved out of sight

  • Shop and prep your first week’s meals in advance. This helps keep temptation at bay and assists if you’re feeling the effects of carb withdrawal or simply being too tired or cranky or busy to cook

  • Ensure you have plenty of keto snacks on hand, eg. cold cuts, cheese, nuts, broth, etc. Be careful with your macros - carbs are sneaky little things and make their way into many foods either naturally (hello fruit!) or during processing (cured meats). Pay attention to nutrition labels, search the internet, download food apps for tracking…whatever helps you identify carbohydrate content before it goes into your mouth!

  • Draw on the Keto community in the Ketogenic Forums for guidance, ideas and support. Don’t forget to use the search function in the top right-hand corner as there’s a good chance that your questions have been addressed in some way. This will also help you tailor your questions/comments so you get beneficial responses

  • Keep calm and keto on!

My first week, am I doing it right?
If you were to recommend one link to information
Haven't even started and I'm going loco!
Calories or not? Which to believe?
Is 3 weeks the magic number?
Advice for a newbie please!
Newbie- so overwhelmed
Lost in Ketogenic Diet
Newbie: Someone explain fasting?
Young Keto Eater Needing Advice!
Feeling like a panic attack is about to hit
(Richard Morris) #2

great post - imma make it into a wiki and pin it into KetoChat

Help with newbie Keto diet
(Richard Morris) pinned #3

(thefeatherdustersllc) #4


(Scott Shillady) #5

Awesome Job Kate, I read it over 3 time trying to think about what i could help out and add to the wiki and couldn’t come with anything besides possibly, Remember BACON is your Friend


This is great!!

(brian) #7

Great post!

(Patricia ) #8

@KetoKate, thanks for this! I’m learning and preparing. I will start on January 3rd. This is really helpful!

(Georgia Dodd) #9


(Phill Coxon) #10

About to jump back into keto. Having plenty of keto meals and snacks prepared is definitely key

(Allan Misner) #11

One request, can we call it “Carb Withdrawals” rather than “Keto Flu?” It isn’t the keto that’s causing the issue. It’s leaving the sugar burning behind.

(carl) #12

@KetoKate that is a GREAT first read! Next week’s show, @richard and I are going to revisit the topic of starting over. New year. New beginnings. New strategies. It’s going to be great. Thank you, again, for such a great post!


Moved to new New to Keto category.

(jketoscribe) #14

You should add that episode to the beginners episode mentioned above.

(Bradley Moggach) #15

So this is where I’m currently very confused. I’m about a weak into a ketogenic diet, so still very new. I’ve read several threads regarding the topic, but still not sure I’m clear. I’ve diligently tracked my eating and macros, but I think my calories are too high. Without checking MFP, I am guessing they are close to 3500+ calories per day. My question is should I be cutting them to closer to 2500 calories to promote weight loss?


Once you’re solidly in ketosis, your appetite decreases and you end up eating less. Keep eating when you’re hungry and focus on keeping those carbs low. :bacon:


I can understand your confusion as there’s no golden rule regarding caloric intake. As @Theresa notes, your appetite will decrease as you progress which usually equates to less calories consumed. The way I approached it initially was that I used the calculator to determine my macros and to give me guidance on the number of calories I should be looking to consume. What did this look like in reality?

  1. First and foremost, restrict carbs to less than 20g per day.

  2. Then next item on the priority list was to hit my protein target for the day, but be careful not to go over.

  3. Thirdly was to reach my good fats target for the day.

  4. If I was still hungry after that then I would fill up (ie. to satiety, comfortable as opposed to full) on more fats - no more carbs and no more protein.

  5. Then, and only then, would I look at my calories.

By following this approach I very quickly found my groove and noticed that I really wasn’t consuming a great number of calories, particularly by week 2 (and definitely by week 3) and the weight loss has settled into a pretty consistent rate on the scale each week since.

For what it’s worth my advice is to trust the process, follow your macros, eat to satiety and not worry too much about your calories for the next week or two. In the unlikely event that you find that your appetite hasn’t decreased by that time and you’re still eating the same amount as when you first started then we can call on the collective brains trust for some tips and tricks to look at adjusting your macros.

It’s a challenge to throw out all our past CICO learnings and it takes a little while to adjust to the Keto way of approaching, measuring and consuming food, however I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your appetite will diminish along with your waistline and any real concern regarding your calories.

I have days where I’ll eat 1500 calories and others where I’ll only eat 500 calories. I have yet to consciously intermittently fast, though find that I regularly “skip” meals without thought or concern. It’s neither deliberate nor planned; rather I have become accustomed to simply eating when I’m hungry. Hang in there and it won’t be long before you find yourself in a similar position - it’s quite liberating when food no longer dictates your life! :blush:

(Kevin Anderson) #18

I was wondering should I be strictly counting calories when beginning keto or just worry about dropping carbs and hitting a good protein amount? My girlfriend and I are beginnign Keto and planning meals can be tricky to hit calories/proteins/fats/carbs.



Hi Kevin, yep, just focus on reducing your carbs to start with. Most people find that after a week or two their appetite is significantly reduced and therefore the calories wind up taking care of themselves.

Just remember, low carb (<20g), moderate protein (1-1.5g per kg of lean body mass), high (ie. everything else) fat and you’ll be fine. It takes a little while to adjust your mindset if you’ve been raised on a standard western diet and “calories in vs. calories out” attitude.

It’s great that you’re doing this with your partner so that you can support each other. Be patient and stick with it - this WOE is so worth it. You’ll be feeling great in no time! :blush:

(Merete C) #20

This forum is great and this post is perfect.
I have just convinced 15 of my co-workers to go low carb HIGH/Healthy fat for three weeks in our cafeteria. This easy to use guide helped.
We are on day three and so far everybody has enjoyed it. The food is just so good.
I have found that talking about hunger control is a very good “measurement” tool for newbies. For half of them it has happened from the very first day that they have no need for snacking! So they can already feel the difference.
Thank you. (My very first reply!)