My Keto Journey


If you follow me over on Twitter, you will have seen a fair amount of tweets over the last two months about keto. I just hit my two month mark on my keto journey and thought it was time to write a blog post about what I've experienced so far! If you are like I was, you are really curious about the diet, but also a little skeptical, so hopefully giving you some insight on my journey will help you decide whether or not you'd like to give keto a try!


The Basics

So the keto diet is based on a diet of very low carbs, high fat, and moderate protein. The idea is to kick your body into ketosis, a state where it burns fat for energy versus burning carbs. As someone who used to be addicted to things like pasta and bread, I was really hesitant to cut these things out of my life. I also realized quickly that sugar=carbs, so anything that had any kind of sugar was mostly off limits. Key foods on the keto diet include red meat, butter, olive oil, heavy whipping cream, avocado, etc.

You'll find a lot of mixed reviews on the internet when you look up the keto diet. I say take everything with a grain of salt. Just like all diets, it's level of effectiveness varies person to person. It does seem like for the majority of people, the diet stops being as effective after 3-4 months, and I do plan to transition off of it when I hit my goal weight. There aren't really any long-term studies on the diet yet since it is so new, but obviously if you eat nothing but bacon on this diet you will probably have some major heart and cholesterol problems down the road. 

My Experience

When I calculated my personal macros I found that I needed to stay under 16 grams of net carbs per day  (they say the average to get into ketosis is 20-30). Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. One look at the nutrition on my coffee creamer that first morning was an eye opener...it had almost my entire day's worth of carbs in one serving! I ended up making a lot of food swaps: sugar to stevia, flavored coffee creamer to half and half, lean meats like chicken and ground turkey for fuller fat ground beef and steak. I also found that I had to limit my intake of vegetables (since veggies DO have some carbs!), and pretty much stayed away from fruit entirely. 

I did experience some small keto flu symptoms. The keto flu happens when your body transitions from burning carbs into ketosis, and you may experience symptoms like headaches, feeling extra tired, irratibility, brain fog, etc. known as the keto flu. This only lasted a few days for me, since I quickly learned to combat it with added electrolytes. I also had trouble sleeping at first, but the electrolytes helped with that a ton, as did saving a carb or two for a bedtime snack.

This diet actually becomes super intuitive very quickly. Like I mentioned before, sugar=carbs so if it has sugar it's probably out. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda aren't recommended, and you should swap them for natural alternatives like stevia. Anything processed was also out for the most part. Obviously things like bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. were on the no list. You also shouldn't have beans or any veggie grown underground. I have mostly been eating dairy, nuts, meat, and veggies. There are some packaged keto products on the market that I've thrown into my diet as well, but you should limit those as they do still have some artificial ingredients. This is a diet that actually lets you have alcohol as long as you allocate for those carbs, but for some individuals alcohol makes them hold onto weight. As with any diet, drinking plenty of water is also important.

Once I was fully in ketosis, I noticed a huge spike in my energy. Normally I hit a slump mid afternoon and like to go to bed early, but I've had so much energy on this diet that the slump is gone and I'm staying up later. After the initial few days of sleep problems, I've also found myself sleeping really well at night!

One major, maybe TMI complaint I do have about this diet is that it really screwed with my period. I've been having basically 2 periods a month since I started, even though I'm on birth control, which really sucks. It looks like some women have issues with their cycle, but not everyone. 

I haven't felt deprived once during keto, which I love! My problem with other diets has always been that I have felt like I was missing out on good foods, but not this time. I eat flavorful cuts of meat, make amazing sauces, and can put butter on things without feeling guilty! You can even put butter in your coffee, although I haven't been brave enough to try that myself yet!

This is probably the easiest and most satisfying diet I've been on so far. Yes, it requires a lot of tracking, but as my results below will show, it's absolutely worth that effort.

My Results

I've been on keto for just over 8 weeks, and I have lost 13 pounds. I won't go into starting and current weight, because this will obviously be different for everyone and what people weigh can often be a trigger, but this was a considerable amount of weight for me. To put things in perspective, last year it took me an entire year to lose 10 pounds. I'd tried everything, from calorie counting/restricting, to intense exercise, to eating clean, but nothing was really making the scale move. Keto was almost a last ditch effort for me, and I'm so happy I gave it a try because it really was the kick start my body needed to drop that remaining extra weight. Plus the added benefits like sleeping well and having a ton of energy have been great!

While I'm not quite comfortable enough for full body shots yet, here's a little face-off comparison. While the first image was taken about a month and a half before I started keto, I was the exact same weight as when I began.


  
At my keto starting weight!

At my current keto weight! And I still get wine!

What I've Learned

More than anything, this journey has taught me to eat healthy! So much unhealthy, processed food is loaded with carbs, so it's been nice cutting all that junk out of my diet. When I do transition out of keto, I absolutely intend to keep up the healthy eating and avoid processed food. I recently tested out a small piece of cookie (yes I counted those carbs for the day!) and actually found that I've lost my taste for sugar, which I consider a win! 

I think one of the keys to being successful on keto is really being prepared. I track my macros in a free app called Carb Manager, and it's really helpful in figuring out what food I can have in a day. Knowing what I plan to eat has really helped me stay on track. If I know there is going to be food somewhere I can't eat, I can pack something that I know is keto friendly. Catching yourself with nothing you can eat will inevitably result in cheating! I'm very proud to say I haven't cheated once on this diet. There are also keto friendly snacks that you can have during this diet which have really been lifesavers for me. I've always been a huge snacker! I plan to do a post soon about my favorite keto snacks. 

Electrolyte supplements will absolutely help ward off the keto flu. I noticed the symptoms going away almost immediately after I began adding supplements. I use the Ultima Replenisher supplement in the Cherry Pomegranate flavor. I'll mix mine up to drink every night with dinner, and I'll put it in a wine glass if I'm feeling fancy!

If it hasn't been obvious already, I am so happy with my keto experience. Have you tried keto, or considered trying it out? Let me know if you have any questions!


3 comments

  1. Congrats, I have been curious about keto.

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  2. You look fantastic! I thought about keto but, like you, I'm addicted to carbs. I've started intermittent fasting and it has seriously opened my eyes to how much I was snacking at night. Now I don't eat between 930A and 930P. The scale hasn't moved (stupid thing must be broken LOL) but I've also been doing exercises every day to tone certain trouble areas of my body and I've noticed physical differences. Also, I'm not so freakishly exhausted anymore!

    Yay for Keto and I can't wait to see how far you take it :) I'm so excited for you! And yay for the wine ;)

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