I don’t usually discuss health/fitness topics on this blog, but I felt the need to since this is a lifestyle change I am in the process of making right now. I started the “ketogenic” or “keto” diet on April 24, just about 1 month ago.
Keto Diet, Defined:
To put it simply, this diet is a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet. The goal of this diet is to put your body into a state of ketosis, which means that it starts burning your fats for energy instead of the [normally] readily available glucose. By limiting the availability of glucose (sugars), the body creates the alternative fuel called ketones. The body runs almost entirely off fats, which also turn your excess fat into fuel as well as the fats you are eating in this diet.
What can/can’t you eat?
Of course, the next question is “what do you eat on this diet?” since like me, I associate the word “diet” with death, oops I mean “restriction.”
The answer is ratio varies within the following ranges: 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more), 15-30% of calories from protein, and. 5-10% of calories from carbs. To find a more personalized ratio, visit this keto calculator.
This means lots of non-starchy vegetables, bacon, eggs, avocados, butter, olive oil, salmon, fatty meats, and low glycemic index fruits like berries.
What you can’t eat includes: potatoes, corn, sugars, breads, anything high in carbs (and low in fiber).
The goal for each person is a little different, but generally the rule of thumb is to stay between 50-20g of NET carbs per day.
Net carbs = total carbs – fiber
How do I start?
I was inspired by my coworker, and my non-stretchy pants to start this diet. I did research for about a week, and then jumped in. I highly suggest meal planning to get you at least through the first week so you don’t accidentally grab that candy bar from the vending machine at work!
- Getting the daily NET carbs down to < 50g, preferably to 20g. – Most of the carbs should be fibrous leafy greens
- Keep protein intake moderate – Don’t rely on protein to fill the void!
- Increase the proportion of your diet that comes from fats – Eat that bacon, avocado, and salmon!
- Increase the amount of water you drink – Most sources suggest at least 64-100 fl oz per day
- Up your intake of salt, potassium and magnesium
A good way to think of it is limit the carbs, protein is a target amount, and fat is to satiety. So if you’re hungry, you probably need more fat in your life. (Weird, right?!)
I recommend using My Fitness Pal to track your macronutrients at the very least in the beginning to see where you can adjust. I’ve also been using it to track my weight, measurements, and calories.
It’s weird that as soon as you start eating way more fat and way less carbs, how full you get without nearly as many calories.
Information I’ve Found Helpful So Far
Experiences & Thoughts
First of all, I am doing this diet with my husband Brighton. I would say that neither one of us are very good at dieting in general, but this diet has been fairly easy to stick to, all things considered. I didn’t experience major withdrawal within the first few days, but I know Brighton did. I decided to do this diet because I wanted to lose weight, be healthier, and stop eating so much sugar. I also was experiencing major diet boredom (with the exception of our Blue Aprons), and if you ask Brighton, it was a major issue.(Source)
Since we loved having Blue Apron so much, we decided to find meal prep delivery kits that allowed us to choose low carb/paleo options— Home Chef (low-carb) & Sun Basket (paleo). I know that these are slightly different that strictly “keto” but we feel that as long as they don’t kick us out of ketosis, we should be good. Plus, it’s part of the reason I found it possible to continue. Less meal planning, less grocery shopping = more likely to succeed in my book!
In general, I have felt more satisfied with less food on this high fat diet. When I want sugar (because I have a major sweet tooth), we make bacon and by the time I’m done making/eating that, I don’t want anything else! It’s working well for me right now.
With that being said, I have had a couple “cheats” in the past few weeks, to maintain my sanity. I regretted having a super sugary cider at a concert, which instantly made me feel awful and my stomach was upset the rest of the time. I also cheated with having sushi rolls (because of the rice). I was able to get back into ketosis within about 24 hours with focus, so I felt okay with that cheat. Brighton and I both want this to be a long term lifestyle change so having little treats here and there will be allowed, as long as they are monitored very closely.
I don’t know if I would say that I feel like a whole new woman or anything with this change, but I feel like my mindset is overall more positive and I feel like I am finally making progress with this diet, which has NEVER happened before. I used to think that I couldn’t lose weight because of my insulin resistance. I would workout like crazy and see no progress. With this diet, I feel that this is truly helping me become healthier and maybe even reversing some of the damage sugar has done to my body.
For example, I recently visited the doctor and they said someone like me who has high cholesterol should not be doing this diet. High cholesterol runs in my family, and it’s been in the “high” range since I was a young and fit 18 year old. They tested my cholesterol at the appointment, called me with the results, and my jaw literally dropped. My numbers had dropped 55 points! Lower than I was at 18! The only change I’ve made is this diet.
I’ve lost just about 12 in 5 weeks! I’m happy and proud of the progress I’ve made so far.
Moving forward, I’d like to continue to follow the keto diet. Brighton and I have a lot of weight that we’d like to lose and keep off. Maybe when we hit our goal weight, we’ll switch to a more balanced macro-based diet, that’s low-carb of course. I’d like to track my progress and experiences through follow ups, and my blog readers need to keep me accountable!
Have I inspired you to give Keto a try yet?