If you have been following me on Instagram you would of heard by now that right before New Years I started on the Keto Diet. For those who do not know the Keto Diet is a low carb, no sugar (some natural sugars in berries is okay), moderate protein, and high in saturated fat (either from animal protein, avocados, coconuts, olive oil, butter, etc.) diet. I have been told that it doesn't always work for everyone but in my personal experience it has been one of the best diets I have ever been on.
Now having been on the diet for over two months I am happy to say that I have dropped from 127lbs at Christmas to now 116lbs! I haven't been this small since I was a preteen! I was never an overweight person but through eating Keto I have extremely low inflammation, I don't experience bloating the same way, I can eat a lot of delicious tasty foods and I find that I am not always hungry.
Does it work for everyone?
Other member of my family who have also been on the Keto Diet have also experience many of the same benefits as I have but they have all experienced more rapid weight loss then I. In my experience result seem to vary between males and females and also depend on the percentage of fat you have on your body to begin with. In my family for example the males experienced faster weight lose where the women seemed to lose the pounds at a slower rate. With that being said it could also have to do with the amount of physical activity one person does vs the other, whether they are intermediate fasting or eat during eating windows (which is knows to help you lose weight faster), and if they have any other health issues. Personally for me these last couple pounds have felt like they have taken longer for me to lose (NOT that I'm complaining!) even with regular exercise.
What can I eat?
The point of the diet is to eat a combination of fats and protein so that your body actually uses the stored fat in your body as fuel. To give you an idea of what you can and can't eat here is a short list to guide you:
beef, chicken, fish, pork, seafood, eggs, cheese, vegetables, almonds, macadamia nuts, avocados, butter, olive oil, cream (milk is higher in sugar so use cream in your coffee), coconut oil
CAN EAT, but in smaller amounts
fruit (berries are great cause they have fiber) , potatoes, sweet potatoes, other root vegetables
Sugar, bread, pasta, lentils, beans, other legumes (bye bye chickpeas), rice, quinoa, corn, chips, pizza, vegetable oils, canola oil, grains like barley, tofu (it sucks anyway) and soy.
Can I drink?
In term of alcohol wine is your best bet, the dryer the wine the better because ideally you want to avoid any residual sugar. There is really no restriction here, but generally reducing the amount of alcohol you consume will help with weight loss overall.
Do I have to exercise like crazy to see results?
One of the benefits of this diet is that you don’t really have to exercise heavily to lose the weight. My mom who has rheumatoid arthritis lost over 30 pounds on Keto (over the course of 6 months) and has experienced more energy now then she has ever had. She also isn't bothered as much by her condition as she used to be and the only exercise she does is walking. Personally I like to work out and I love to run and get my endorphins pumping but I suggest if you are doing a rigorous exercise program right now, dial it back a bit as your body adjusts. Doing something active everyday is still recommended just don't kill yourself over it.
What else can I do to help kick me into Ketosis?
After being on the Keto diet for awhile and finding what works for you (or if you are not seeing the results/feel like it doesn’t work for you) there are some additioal strategies you could also experiment with like “eating windows” or eating within a certain number of hours per day.
Start with a 12 hour window, meaning if the first thing you eat is at 8 am, the last thing you eat has to be at 8pm. Then, once this is easy, reduce to 9 hours. Then, if you feel you can do it, reduce to a 7 hour window. There is a lot of positive research being done on eating windows and their positive affect on weight loss, reduction in inflammation, and a bunch of other more science-y health benefits.
My brother who has been on a Keto Diet as long as I have uses eating windows, usually eating within a 6 hour window and has lost 30lbs in two months. CRAZY! At first he was ravenous and ate a whole block of Parmesan cheese, but once he transitioned and realized what other delicious things he can eat like steak and broccoli covered in butter etc., he is able to go long stretches without eating and boosts about not even feeling hungry.
What can I expect when transitioning into a Keto Diet?
When many people start the Keto Diet they drastic reduce their intake of carbs (ideally you want to stay below 100 grams per day) which has caused some people to experience headaches and feel tired for the first few days. They call it the Keto-flu. The key to avoiding this is to eat a lot of healthy fat like avocados, olive oil, nuts, beef with a good amount of fat like a ribeye or striploin steak. Personally I never experienced the Keto flu and I believe it is because I start my day with a half avocado and some eggs making sure I get some good fats right off the bat.
The good thing about this plan is that you can enjoy rich, fatty foods and all the vegetables you want, covered in olive oil, butter, cheese, etc. The bad thing is that if you eat this way and still eat with your original carb intake or eat things like bread and pasta…you will put on weight. As you know, fat doesn’t make you fat, its when you have a lot of fat with a high carbohydrate intake that will make you pack on the pounds.
What is the best way to transition onto a Keto Diet?
Start off by going Keto for 3 straight days. This would involve avoiding everything in the CAN’T EAT section and eating almost entirely from the CAN EAT section ( I will add a link below to a blog full of reader-contributed Keto recipes).
After the first 3 days, go back to a standard balanced diet for 2 days, but still avoid the things in the CAN’T EAT section. Instead have fruit like berries, potatoes and/or other root vegetables for your carb intake, which will be slightly higher than the 3 Keto days.
Next, return to the Keto diet for 3 days and then the balanced diet for 2 more.
Then go 4 Keto days, 1 regular day, 4 Keto days, 1 regular day
Then 5 Keto, 1 regular, 5 Keto, 1 regular
Then 6 Keto, 1 regular. Once you get to this stage, your regular day can be your cheat day/eat whatever the f*ck you want day haha! I guarantee by this time, you won’t even want to eat sugar, bread, and pasta (ok maybe pasta).
Where can I get Keto recipes and learn more?
If you are looking for a great way to start learning more about the Keto diet here is a link to a website/blog by a guy name Mark Sisson: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ He is a big advocate of a Ketogenic type diet and can help you make it more of a lifestyle vs. a diet.
Anyways I know that was long but I really hope you have as much success as I have had on this diet. If you have any questions please feel free to add them in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them! Happy Eating!