Over the past 6 weeks, I have taken on the challenge to do the ketogenic diet. After seeing multiple Instagram posts, blogs, and ads for this diet, as well as having friends say they were trying it, I accepted the challenge. In this article, my progress, results, and tips on this diet will be addressed. But first, what is the ketogenic (KETO) diet?
The Keto diet consists of limiting your sugar and carbohydrate intake. The ideal keto diet includes 0 sugar and 0 carbohydrates, yet on the diet to eat some foods you can have up to 15 net carbs a day. While the diet seems restricting, you are allowed to eat the majority of your favorite foods, as long as they are high in fat. For example, bacon, cheddar cheese, eggs, vegetables, nut butters, cream cheese, and even butter. The ratio for the macro-nutrients you eat can be expressed in the chart below:
This chart expresses the fat, carb, and protein ratio used to calculate your meals so that they meet these requirements to reach ketosis to burn fat. When your body is in ketosis, it burns fat as a fuel source instead of the previous way of burns carbs and glucose for energy. To reach the desired weight loss goals in the keto diet, one has to reach ketosis first, which typically starts after 3-5 days of eating with these macro calculations.
During the first week of the keto diet, I experienced the "keto" flu, which is when your body is transitioning from burning glucose for energy to fat stores. Headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue are very common, and I experienced all of these plus nausea. The reason your body experiences these symptoms is due to lack of nutrients that your body is not getting enough of now, such as magnesium and iron. Your body also becomes depleted of electrolytes. A good way to counteract these symptoms is to take these vitamin supplements and to drink enough water. I use the Perfect Keto electrolyte supplement to help counteract these effects and after the first week, I never had these symptoms again.
Despite the negatives of the first week addressed above, the first 2 weeks of the keto challenge ignited a new energy within my body, allowing me to feel sustained and energetic despite having no caffeine! This is a huge benefit as I constantly need a daily dose of caffeine in the morning.
Another positive benefit was that I was feeling fuller for longer periods of time and I never felt restricted on the diet. I stopped craving and wanting sugar all together, and my body yearned for healthier options like proteins and vegetables. I also felt more positive, happier, and healthier while on this diet. The results from going on this diet were in fact more mental than physical. The mental aspects however, far outweighed the physical components. I felt the best I had ever felt in my life with an increased amount for self-disciple. I was eating clean, running 5-8 miles a day, and still had energy to work, take online classes, and spend time with friends and family. I was able to maintain my current weight and experience a deficit of 5 pounds, and keep it off. For 6 weeks to only lose 5 pounds does not sound the best, but I was not eating in a caloric deficit, rather enjoying the keto process. Even when not trying to lose weight, you will lose weight on keto.
One important tip while on the keto diet is that you need to MEAL PREP. Meal prep is not an option as you have to calculate your food and ensure you are eating the correct ratio of nutrients to reach ketosis. I personally enjoyed meal prepping, as I was able to start cooking and discover my new passion in the kitchen. I also tried meal kits, (I ordered mine from Green Chef as they have a keto meal kit program, but any meal service would work fine) which proved to be helpful when managing this diet, your life, and time in general.
Cooking keto meals is honestly quite easy and multiple recipes and cookbooks are out there, as well as blog and facebook groups to help assist you in the process. For example, if you need meal inspiration, you can check out a multitude of online sources that post sugar-free low carb meals 24/7. My favorite source to look at was the Perfect Keto website itself because of the helpful information it shared, as well as an online facebook group called "keep it keto."
The difference in the keto diet versus other diets is that keto becomes a lifestyle and is fun and inviting, whereas other diets seem to be cut and dry with a start and end date, which also are calorie deficient and restrict you.On the keto diet, you can also drink 2 glasses of wine, or engage in social drinking as long as you chose smart alcoholic beverages and mixers, which I found interesting as most diets eliminate alcohol. Without a list of limitations, this diet becomes easy to follow after the first week.
This keto overview is to shed light on my progress, which granted me benefits I did not intend to gain from a diet/lifestyle program. Of all the diets I have tried so far, keto is by far my favorite and I plan on doing a round two of this 6 week program just for fun as I loved how I felt.
*If you would like to see my full 6 week progress and updates, feel free to check out my instagram highlight titled "keto" to see meal ideas, my body results, and my day-to-day updates. Part two will be coming soon! Instagram: @gaberye*
Thanks for reading :)