Hey everybody! So I wanted to tackle this topic because I feel as though there is a lot of misinformation regarding lazy keto in addition to helping people move forward towards this way of doing keto since some people just do not like the tediousness of tracking daily. First let’s start with the obvious; what is lazy keto? Lazy keto or intuitive keto is when you do not track macros or calories when living a ketogenic lifestyle. Some intuitive/lazy ketoers will sometimes count net carb macros but not count their protein or fat macros and completely ignore calorie counts. Their thinking is that so long as they are under 20g or their allotment of carbohydrates, they will stay in a state of ketosis and that is all they want. For those looking to maintain weight or keep in a state of ketosis for benefits outside of weight loss (ie. energy, managing diabetes, etc.) this is a great way to do so without all the additional work that keto diets for weight loss would require.
The Not So Quick Start:
Starting with lazy keto is not necessarily lazy. It does require some work. My main recommendation is to have been on the ketogenic lifestyle for about 6 months before moving to lazy keto. The reason I say this is because by this point, you have the basics of how the diet works as well as what you cannot or can have very well memorized. You also are used to having certain foods or dishes pretty consistently and know what the macro values of these may already be. Now, most people start out keto tracking which is fantastic! You already know what your baseline limit is for carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You also are probably familiar with the net carb values of most foods which makes lazy keto easier; you can quickly calculate if you are over your carbohydrates for the day in your head. It’s what I do! After years of having dieted, I got to know my foods pretty well and know the basic values of most of these things without even needing to check. Having tracked at one point will be your ally in moving to a non-tracking lifestyle.
For those who have not tracked before, well, it might be a good time to start. Yes, I’m asking you to do some work prior to moving to lazy ketogenic living. Be familiar with many of the net carb values for foods, especially ones that do not come with a label such as fresh vegetables. It can be frustrating at first to start tracking because it does take time. I find it is easier when you do batch cooking or meal prep for the week as it’s basically calculated on one day for the week. Know the basic net carbs for recipes you make constantly; you may be surprised at what carbs are hiding in those delicious recipes you think are keto friendly. It happens to the best of us! Once you have understood what your body needs and have tracked for about a month, it’s time to cut the cord on tracking!
I’ve Been Tracking, Now What:
Congrats on surviving tracking! It’s horrible for those of us who don’t want to feel like we are constantly on a diet. Next, try not tracking. Calculate basic net carbs in your head daily. Find the right combinations of foods that work for you on a daily basis that you can easily manage and that you know don’t knock you out of ketosis. Continue to read labels; just because we don’t track everything or may not track at all does not mean that ingredients go out the window. If you know certain sugar substitutes knock you out of ketosis or cause you to get cravings, stay away from them! You know how this works. It’s no different than a tracking lifestyle, just a little less time consuming. I do suggest doing the odd tracking day now and again. I’m sure you’re wondering why I’d subject you to that again. Well, let’s just say that sometimes, when we get extremely lazy, some of our net carbs are a bit iffy especially with portion sizes. The odd tracking day just to check that we are staying on “lazy keto track” ensures that we are keeping up with our carbohydrate counts and staying in ketosis.
Keto is hard enough as it is but for those of us who follow the so called “lazy” approach to it, hacks are always welcome. I’m a huge believer in having readily accessible snacks that can constitute as whole meals when paired together. I’m talking hard boiled eggs, pepperoni, cheese sticks, jerky, almonds, pre prepped keto muffins or breads (with almond/coconut flours of course), tuna can snack packs, lettuce roll ups, etc. It doesn’t need to be hard. Things like jerky and nuts keep well and can help you in a pinch! Keep them in your work bag or desk for emergencies. Also prepping one day of meals can make managing carbs super simple without tracking by making casseroles, soups, salads or other batch meals. It allows for flexibility and only one day of hard work as opposed to many.
Fast food can even be a lifesaver; know what types of items you can have at most fast food places and the world is your oyster! I tend to stick to breakfast places since eggs, bacon and sausage are cheap but will go to places like Five Guys or McDonalds to grab unless burgers or your average salad. It happens! We are people on the go who just don’t have time to make our things and that’s okay! We are still in ketosis as much as the person who tracks and cooks for themselves. 😉
One Meal a Day (OMAD):
Last but not least, the easiest way to lazy keto or intuitive keto is to manage one meal a day (also known as OMAD). This means that you fast all day until you hit your one meal. This can be any time of day but I believe it’s best to choose when you have the most time to cook and eat as I like to enjoy my food rather than rush. Plus, eating as many calories as you do in one meal can put a little strain for those not used to it (hello bathroom breaks). The cool part of one meal a day is you only have to worry about making one meal. How much simpler could that be?! Lastly, it has all the benefits of intermittent fasting and quite frankly, who wouldn’t want those? Load up your crockpot with a filling dish and let it go for the day to come home to a pre-cooked meal with no effort. I’d say that’s worth it.
Hope this helps you manage lazy keto from a non tracking perspective as well as makes keto easier to manage! Keep calm and keto on!