Alright, so here is the deal. I jumped on the Keto train and I lost a significant and noticeable amount of weight. People noticed and have been asking me about it. So I thought I would put my thoughts on paper (in the form of this blog post) so that I can share all my thoughts about the Keto Diet/lifestyle. Please note, I’m nowhere close to being an expert on diet, nutrition, or anything along those lines. This blog post is solely meant to summarize my experience doing Keto.
What is Keto?
Before I get into the weeds, let me tell you what Keto is. The Keto diet is high fat, low carb, no sugar diet, and moderate protein.
Eating this way puts your body into a state of ketosis. During ketosis your body produces ketones and then that becomes the source of energy for your body (instead of carbs and sugar). This is when weight loss happens.
The idea is that your body runs better when you are running on fats instead of sugar/carbs. This is a completely over simplified explanation. However if you want to read more about Keto and the science behind it, here is a good resource. Also, there is a new-ish movie on Netflix that I highly recommend that helps explain Keto and it’s benefits. It’s called The Magic Pill. Check that out if you are interested.
Before Keto – Why I chose the Keto Diet
There are LOTS of benefits that the Keto Diet claims to provide. For example it is used for weight loss, decreasing inflammation (this can help eczema, arthritis, improve pain, etc), improving sleep, improving heart health (crazy – right?!), reducing risk of seizures, and some even say it even helps fight some types of cancer! This list can go on for days.
But here is why I chose Keto:
- Stalled weight loss – I gained way too much weight during pregnancy (note to my future self… just because you are eating for two doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want!) and I was having trouble taking it off. I had tried to count calories the previous year and only lost about 5 lbs in a year. I was also breast feeding this year and so if I dropped my calories too much my supply would drop as well. I also started Orange Theory (a 60 min high intensity workout class) 2x a week. This did make me feel 100X better, but I didn’t see any weight loss. Anyway, my point is I needed to try something different to jump start my weight loss goals. I also think it’s important to note that I waited until we were done breast feeding before starting Keto.
- Benefits when trying to conceive – I was trying to conceive (TTC). My husband and I have been TTC for about a year and a half now. For whatever reason it’s not happening for us. However, the Keto diet is supposed to be good for those who are TTC. Keto is supposed to help with egg quality and the Keto diet reduces inflammation with is also good when TTC.
During Keto – What I ate
Every day started with eggs. Lunch was typically salad with some type of protein on it (my favorite was adding a little bacon, avocado and chicken). Dinner was typically protein and approved veggies (steak and broccoli). Snacks included nuts (in moderation), salami and cream cheese, dark chocolate.
During this time I ate A LOT of eggs. I mean a lot! I also ate a lot of avocados and cheese.
The awesome thing about Keto is that you don’t have to go hungry. If you are hungry you eat. You just have to make sure you eat approved foods.
For me the hard part was not giving up carbs- the hard part was giving up sugar. I love to bake and I love sweets! The key for me was to have other foods around the house that I enjoy and could substitute for those sweets. For me this was the dark chocolate and the salami and cream cheese (yum!).
Something else about Keto is that you can have some artificial sweeteners. I however chose not to introduce these into my diet. So it was hard to get that sweet fix I very much craved!!
Throughout the day I would eat less then 20 carbs (one apple has 20 net carbs. So you have to pay really close attention to what you are eating). Something else that some people don’t realize when doing Keto is that fiber doesn’t count towards your carb intake. So the chocolate I liked wasn’t exactly Keto approved chocolate. It had 14 carbs in one serving (4 piece) but 5 grams of fiber. Since the fiber carbs don’t really count there were 9 carbs in 4 pieces. I would only eat once piece. So it really was like 2 carbs per piece. There are better chocolate options out there, but this one I enjoyed and it kept me sane. And it was way better then eating a cupcake. This is also where the Keto pee strips (see more info below) came in handy. I could see that this chocolate wasn’t keeping me out of Ketosis so I didn’t feel so guilty about eating.
I’m not going to lie eating off this list of foods wasn’t easy. At first it was a fun challenge and once I started seeing weight loss it was rewarding. However, after a few months I started to get angry and resent the fact that I couldn’t eat anything. Some people say that Keto is a lifestyle and they do this long term. I know that this is not something I could personally do. I love food too much!
Must have items for starting Keto:
You don’t need a ton to get started but here are a few things I recommend.
- A fridge full of Keto approved foods. I HIGHLY recommend meal planning. This is the only way I could have done it. If you want some ideas, here is my Keto Pinterest board.
- Keto pee sticks – When I first started I didn’t use them. However, I was much more effective when I was using them. It helped me understand what foods were taking me out of ketosis and which weren’t.
How did I feel on Keto?
At first I felt like CRAP. There is something called Keto flu and it’s a real thing. It’s basically when your detoxing your body of carbs and sugar and that’s all you crave. Once I go over that hump I was fine. That was about week 2 or 3. It was always hardest when I was around other who were eating carbs and sugar – Easter was not cool!
What did the rest of my family do while I was on this diet?
Overall my husband is very supportive of any health goals. He did not do the diet with me, but he and my son ate the foods I made. I do all the shopping and cooking around the house so it wasn’t a big deal. That being said I didn’t limit my son and husband’s carbs. So if they wanted chips with their guacamole, then they had them. I had salads for lunch every day and so my son would have something with carbs – sandwich, breaded chicken fingers or whatever.
My husband thought he was on a diet too, but the truth is Keto is an all or nothing diet. You are either in ketosis or you aren’t. He was not eliminating his carbs so he was not in Ketosis or losing weight.
That being said, I was able to make some fun meals while on the diet. My favorite was the carb free lasagna. When I gave it to my husband he asked me why we were eating carbs. He didn’t believe me there were no carbs in this dish. Here is the recipe if you are interested.
What did weight loss look like for me?
I’m a visual numbers/data person. So let me just show you. I know it’s not conventional to share your weight publicly, but I’m proud of what I did and who cares?! Judge me if you want.
As you can see after I stopped breast feeding my weight loss just stopped. Even adding in an exercise routine (Orange Theory 2x a week) didn’t really help (well it helped me feel better but didn’t help me loose any weight). Then I started Keto in late December and lost 15 lbs by the time I quit early April. I now weigh less then I did in college and I feel so much stronger thanks to the workout routine.
Life After Keto – Why did I quit
I hit my weight loss goals – yay!! I was trying to get down to 140 which was my pre-baby weight. Instead I got down to 135 which was what I weighed in college. I’m happy here. 🙂
I could stop there, but the truth is, it was hard! Food is an emotional thing and I needed more food back in my life. I was dealing with other stressful things in my life (note the infertility) and I just wanted to take all things causing me stress out of my life and this was something causing me stress.
One of my reasons for starting Keto was to help with infertility. So this didn’t really help with that. But from what I read it takes at least 3 months for diet to effect egg quality. So maybe I didn’t do it long enough – who knows.
Weight Gain and What I’ve Learned
I had a number of people tell me I was going to gain all the weight back after stopping Keto. I’ve been done now for 2.5 months (I know that isn’t long!) and haven’t seen any gain. I had an immediate gain when I started adding carbs and gluten back in my life. I think this was water weight/bloat. My body was getting used to those things again. But now I’m back to my lowest weight when I was on Keto.
I’m still trying to take things I’ve learned during Keto and apply them to daily life. I still have eggs for breakfast every morning (instead of Cheerios). I now eat a lot more meat/protein and I’m not afraid of fat. Being a product of the 90s I feel like I was afraid of fat. The truth is fat isn’t bad for you unless you are eating fat and lots of carbs and sugar. I’m also still limiting carbs/sugar but I’m not in the state of Ketosis. I’m still still doing my Orange Theory 2x a week (I love this me time!).
Would I do it again
Yep – If I need another weightloss bump in my life I would totally do it again. Right now there is no need, but part of the reason I’m writing this post is so that I remember it all down the road.
What did I miss?
Did I miss something you have a question about? Leave your question below. As you can see by the length of this post I could talk about this all day long. So please send me all your questions!
If you had a different experience or an experience you want to share while on Keto please also tell me below in the comments. Or just tell me below that someone actually read the post. 😉