The 10 Steps To Start Clean Eating + Losing Weight – My step-by-step quick start guide on the 10 steps to START losing weight by clean eating keto whole30, intermittent fasting, and exercising.

I successfully lost 40 pounds in 3.5 months. It has been amazing! I have a whole post on everything I’ve done to lose weight, but one of my most asked questions is, “But Natalie, how do I just START?”

To make it oh so easy for you, I’ve made a quick start guide of the 10 Steps to Start Clean Eating + Losing Weight.

1. Educate Yourself On Clean Keto + Whole30

  • INFO ON CLEAN KETO WHOLE30: I do a combination of clean eating keto + whole30. I have found that this is the diet that works the best for me. I have an entire post on the foods I eat, and foods I avoid. I also have an entire post on everything I’ve done to lose weight. So much information in those 2 posts.
  • INFO ON WHOLE30: If you’re new to Whole30, this book will teach you everything you need to know about having a healthy relationship with food, why you want to avoid processed foods + ingredients, and how to determine if you have any digestion issues with types of foods (dairy, gluten, sugar, etc.) If you’ve never done a whole30 before, you may want to do one first followed by reintroduction to determine what foods are best for your body and digestion.
  • INFO ON KETO: If you’re new to Keto, this book taught me a ton about how keto works to help you lose weight. (I don’t love the recipes that much, but it’s a great educational resource!)

2. Pick A Start Date

  • HOW TO CHOOSE A START DATE: Look at your calendar, and choose a start date that will set you up for maximum success. Best is usually a Monday, when you don’t have a packed social calendar. I wouldn’t start the week before Thanksgiving, or a week before you’re going on vacation.
  • WHEN I STARTED: I personally started September 3, 2019. The day after Labor Day weekend. Loved resetting and getting on track after summer when it was back to school time and we were back in a routine.
  • BREASTFEEDING: I started after my youngest turned 1 year old, almost weaned, and fully on solids. You can still do this diet if you are breastfeeding, but for me, I didn’t want to add on any extra stress or worry over my milk supply. My body really holds on to weight when breastfeeding, which is fine because my supply is always high! Having a high supply for my babies is the most important during that time.
  • GETTING YOUR FAMILY ON BOARD: Hopefully your family will want to do this with you. It will save you a ton of time, prevent you from cooking different meals, and you’ll all be on the same health journey. If for some reason your spouse or kids really puts up a fight, I would make them the same meals, but with very easy modifications. For instance, if I were making my meatballs, I would make the meatballs per the recipe so they are clean keto whole30, serve them with a clean marinara sauce like Rao’s, make zucchini noodles for me and boil pasta for everyone else. The best compliment I get is that people would never guess my recipes were “healthy”. They’re just good recipes that happen to be healthy!
  • BEFORE PHOTO: If you don’t have a lot of photos of yourself, take one of you using multiple angles. It’s really fun to look back and see the transformation! I also took photos of the scale once a week. This helped me remember my weights, and also encouraged me week after week after the number kept going down. Nothing is a better motivator than results!

3. Plan Out ALL Your Meals for the Week

  • MEAL PLANNING: This is going to be the biggest determining factor of your success! You need to plan out every single breakfast, lunch, snack + dinner for every day of the week. Good news, I have a TON of free clean keto Whole30 recipes for you! You don’t want to wing it on the day of, you’ll be too tempted to stray and eat something convenient that isn’t clean keto whole30. Yes, you will be cooking more. Yes, it is more effot than getting takeout. Choose to find joy and satisfaction in cooking and preparing healthy and nourishing meals for you and your family!
  • I’VE GOT MEAL PLANS FOR YOU!: Overwhelmed by meal planning? I’ve done it for you! I’ve been sharing weekly meal plans since September 2019, and there are a ton to choose from! Each weekly meal plan post has a printable menu and links to all the recipes. Click here to view all my meal plans!
  • COUNTING MACROS: If you’re new to keto, you’ll want to track your macros for the first 1 or 2 or 3 weeks. I have an entire post on the macro goals I have, and how to track your macros. Once you really get the hang of the carb and fat and protein counts of the foods you eat, you can start ballpark guessing. I tracked really closely for the first 2 weeks. After that, it started to feel too much like homework. Now I can tell you the carb counts of pretty much anything, and I know the foods to eat to hit my macro goals. Easy peasy!

4. Purge Your Kitchen of All Processed Foods + Ingredients

  • PURGING YOUR KITCHEN: To give you a fresh start, purge your home of all processed foods and ingredients. Get rid of all your chips, condiments filled with sugar, breads, ice cream from the freezer, candy, etc. This will really help you avoid temptation the first few weeks when you feel hungry and want a snack. Plus, you won’t be eating that food anymore, so might as well get it out of your kitchen!
  • WHAT TO DO WITH PURGED FOODS: I am someone who hates waste! Any unopened, shelf stable foods can be donated! With opened food, you could maybe try putting up a post on Craigslist or Nextdoor to see if anyone is interested in your purged foods? Or, you can just trash it. I personally would rather throw away processed food than eat processed foods. Do what feels right to you.
  • A NOTE ON KIDS FOODS: I don’t have my kids eat clean keto 100% of the time. I have some foods in my kitchen that are just for them: frozen Trader Joe’s organic white rice, avocado oil chips, whole grain bread for their sandwiches, organic applesauce pouches, etc. I am fine and no longer tempted by their foods. But while you’re purging, you may as well swap your kids to the healthiest version of their favorite foods. Example: My kids love potato chips. I get them organic chips that are cooked in 100% avocado oil, which is a much healthier oil.

5. Grocery Shop and Stock Your Kitchen

  • GROCERY SHOP: Go through every recipe you’re going to make, and make a grocery list of every ingredient you will need for the serving size you will be making.
  • STOCKING YOUR KITCHEN: To save money and avoid getting overwhelmed, slowly stock your kitchen with the clean keto whole30 ingredients as you need them for the recipes you’re making. For example, almond flour is a great flour substitute. But don’t feel you need to buy it on day 1. Only buy it when you have a recipe that calls for it. You only need to stock up on the ingredients you need for that weeks worth of meals.
  • TIME SAVING TIPS: If you’re really strapped for time, try out instacart or order your groceries from Amazon or Thrive Market!
  • MONEY SAVING TIPS: Buying so many new ingredients will feel expensive at first. If you can, take advantage of bulk bins and buy only the amount you need! Or Costco has tons of whole30 keto ingredients in bulk to help you save money. I have an entire post on How To Save Money Eating Organic with a ton more tips too!

6. Meal Prep if Necessary

  • MEAL PREP MEALS: If you’re someone who is extremely busy, or will be eating your meals outside the home, meal prepping might be the best answer for you. You may want to take a few hours on Sunday to cook all your meals, put them in meal prep containers, and have them ready to go. I have a whole post on whole30 + keto meal prep meals and info on my favorite meal prep containers.
  • STOCKING YOUR FREEZER WITH MEALS: One of my favorite hacks is to double a recipe that I know is freezer friendly, and freeze half of it to eat at a later date. It doesn’t take much longer since I’m already cooking the meal, and then I have emergency meals waiting for me in the freezer on those crazy days.

7. Have “Emergency” Snacks on Hand

  • EMERGENCY SNACKS: You’re going to want to have some snacks for “emergencies” nearby at all times, especially in the beginning. Have them in your house, in your car, in your purse, at your desk at work. The first few weeks is going to be an adjustment. You’re going to get “hangry”. You’re probably going to get headaches as you withdrawal from sugar and your body is switching over to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. These snacks will save you. I have a whole post on whole30 keto snack ideas to give you inspiration.
  • SHIFT TO NO SNACKS: Once your body adjusts, try switching over to no snacking. I’m a big believer in just eating at meal time. If you’re constantly snacking, you’re not giving your body time to digest. We are a no snacking household 99% of the time. It works great for us! I find the less you’re snacking, the less you’re hungry. Your body adjusts to eating at set times. My kids do not snack at all. But when it’s time for breakfast, lunch or dinner they’re actually hungry and eat all the healthy food I give them.

8. Add in Exercise

  • EXERCISE: Once you’re feeling in the zone with clean eating, meal planning and cooking, and when clean eating is feeling more natural and less like an effort, start adding in exercise.
  • WHEN TO START EXERCISING: There is no right or wrong answer on when to start. Listen to your body, and start when it feels right. The sooner the better. I personally started adding in jogging 2 weeks into my clean keto whole30 start in September 2019. You can even start on day 1 if it doesn’t feel too overwhelming to you! Bottom line: don’t feel like you need to do it all at once. If you try too many changes it may overwhelm you and make you less likely to succeed.
  • WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE TO DO: Choose an exercise that gets you excited, and is realistic for you to do. Even if it’s just walking. Try and do it for 30 minutes every day. It’s not always fun during your workout, but it’s only 30 minutes and you will feel amazing after it is done! I promise. I’ve never once finished a workout and thought, “Well, that was a waste of time.”
  • EXERCISE I DO: I’m home with 2 toddlers. I don’t like the idea of leaving them alone at gym daycare. So I got a used jogging stroller off Nextdoor, buckled them in, and went jogging around my neighborhood. I started a couch to 5k app that slowly ramped up my jogging from 1 minute at a time to 35 minutes at a time. 8 weeks later and I could run 2 miles without stopping! It’s amazing! I have a whole post on my Exercise Routine where I share my favorite jogging gear, accessories and the jogging app I used.

9. Add in Intermittent Fasting

  • WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?: Intermittent fasting is only eating during a certain time frame, then fasting for a longer time frame to give your body a break from digesting food to perform other body functions to optimum level. There are a ton of forms of intermittent fasting. You can learn more about it here.
  • INTERMITTENT FASTING I DO: I do timed intermittent fasting. I try and eat all my food in an 8 hour window, and fast for 16 hours. But I usually end up eating in more of a 6 hour window, and fasting for 18 hours. Just because that’s how my eating times work out with the kids. We’re usually home and having lunch around 12, and that’s when I eat my first meal. And we usually eat dinner around 6, that’s when I have my last meal. Do what works best for you!
  • CALORIES DURING FASTING WINDOW?: The biggest question I get asked is whether I have any calories during my fasting window. No, I don’t. During my fasting window I only have water or tea. You could also have black coffee, but I wait to have my coffee in the afternoon. I know a lot of people who do bone broth or bulletproof coffee during their fasting window. If that works better for you, do it! I personally wait to have all of my calories until my eating window.

10. Reward Incentives + Accountability

  • REWARDS: To keep myself motivated and on the right track, I set up rewards for myself. They’re never food based rewards. Always rewards that are for my health. For example: if I jog for 7 days in a row, I can get a pedicure on the weekend. If I lose 20 pounds, I can get a massage. Other great rewards I’ve done: new running shoes, cute workout outfit, new jeans or clothes when you’re ready to drop a size, new makeup, get a blowout, etc.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: One small thing that has helped a ton to keep me accountable is sharing every single thing I eat on my Instagram Stories and every month here on the blog. It’s a great way to keep me on track, be mindful and actually see what I’m eating each day, and also a fun way that I have inspired others in clean eating. Even if you have a few followers, you still have eyes on you getting inspired by you! You can even tag me @tasteslovely and I’d love to root you on! Or if Instagram isn’t your thing, try texting it to a friend or spouse who will help keep you accountable.
  • TOXIC FREE HOME: Once you’ve gotten your food and kitchen ingredients processed, chemical + toxic free, you may want to keep it going and get your whole home toxic free! Your health will be even better off. I have a whole post on how I went toxic free and my favorite toxic free swaps for every category you can think of!
  • KEEPING AT IT: I am not going to lie to you, in the beginning it is going to feel hard. And there will be a point probably every day where it’s going to feel hard. All the shopping and cooking and counting macros and exercise and fasting. It’s a big lifestyle change. BUT! The payoff is sooooo worth it. Don’t think of all the things you’re missing out on, instead get excited about all the health benefits you’re gaining! Celebrate every pound you lose! And your clearer skin! And your improved sleep! And your increased energy! And your better mood! There are so many benefits that are going to bring you way more joy than a big of chips ever could. Yes, it’s hard. BUT YOU CAN DO THIS!