Someone posted a question on reddit today; why did you choose to start keto? (as opposed to paleo, generic low carb, etc). This was my answer:
Well, to start i had done the south beach diet before, which is similar to keto and Atkins, and had seen some good, but temporary results. But i hadn’t heard of keto before, and as staying in phase one of south beach for longer than a month can be hazardous to your health, i had no idea that there was an “ultra low carb” diet that was sustainable over a long period of time.
I learned about keto from a reddit post someone had shared on Facebook. It was a success/progress post of a girl (which unfortunately i can’t seem to find now…) about my age, who weighed about what I weighed when i started keto, and after a year she had reached my goal weight. She had taken progress pics along the way and someone had put it together into an animated gif for her. The post made me realize that my goal is attainable, and if i start right now, by next year i could be at my goal, and the longer i put it off, the longer it will take.
So, i read into this keto diet she spoke about. She referenced /r/keto, so i read the FAQ and keto in a nutshell, and (this is the biggest draw for me) scientifically, it made sense. This wasn’t some random fad like “some scientists that have not been sourced say that eating bananas will increase your metabolism, so let’s all eat bananas all day everyday and you’ll lose over 9000 lbs in a month!!” This was something researched, measurable, and real.
In the end it had very little to do with being able to eat bacon and cheese all i want, to be honest I’d rather have chocolate 🙂 but, i think it will be worth the sacrifice.
If you’re not already familiar with keto and /r/keto, I’ll fill you in:
A ketogenic diet is a LCHF diet, LCHF standing for Low Carb, High Fat (with moderate protein). When calculating your daily carbohydrate intake, you actually calculate your net carbs which essentially means you subtract the fibre from the total carb count of whatever you’re eating. You do not include fibre because your body can not digest fibre. Some people also subtract sugar alcohols such as xylitol, maltitol, etc (these are commonly found in foods advertised as sugar free/no sugar added), however this can vary person to person in terms of whether it affects ketosis.
Ketosis is the state your body goes into when you are on the diet; your body switches to using fat as your primary energy source instead of a combination of carbs, proteins, and fat. Your body will then produce a byproduct called ketones which are passed in your urine. You can buy a product called “ketostix” which will measure the concentration of ketones in your urine to tell you if you’re in ketosis or not. However, there are many obvious symptoms of ketosis, so many people believe ketostix to be a waste of money, personally I have never bought them, and haven’t seen them in any stores nearby.
Once your body goes into ketosis, most people experience a rapid weight loss for the first week or two, usually anywhere between 3 and 10 pounds per week. This is actually most likely water weight as your body will stop retaining water once you go into ketosis. After the initial “honeymoon period” the weight loss slows down, but most people will see results that are much higher than your typical calorie moderation diet. My personal experience has been an average of 2 to 3 lbs per week.
By inputting your weight, height, age, BMI, etc into a keto calculator, you can find the exact macros (daily carb/protein/fat intake) that are likely to put you into ketosis. The macros I’m currently working with are:
- 20g Carbohydrates (7% of my caloric intake)
- 85g Protein (28% of my caloric intake)
- 86g Fat (65% of my caloric intake)
My main source of knowledge and one of my main sources for support is the keto subreddit, or /r/keto. I particularly find the success stories inspiring and motivating, because I know that one day I will be a success story too.
My fiance is not joining me on this journey, but he is very supportive, and never critical. He tells me every day how great I’m doing, he accommodates my strict diet and never complains. I am truly thankful to have such a wonderful partner by my side 🙂
My friends are supportive as well. One of my best friends, Jess, is on her own diet “along side” mine, although it is not keto, it’s a diet that works for her. We keep each other motivated and check in from time to time 🙂
I started keto on September 16th, 2013. I decided that day, that every day I put it off was more weight I would have on me at my wedding on May 3rd, 2014 (you can find my wedding blog here). I am more motivated and determined to lose weight and be healthy than I have ever been before in my life.
I started a MyFitnessPal account, and have tracked my food and exercise every day now for 45 days, and so far i have lost 15.6lbs. I had a bit of a bumpy start to the diet, for the first 2 to 3 weeks I was a bit of a keto newbie, and thought maybe a cheat day once a week would be okay… unfortunately for this diet, it’s not. It takes a few days for the body to go into ketosis, but a second for it to be kicked out, and as soon as you go out of ketosis, your body begins to retain water again. You can gain 5 or more pounds in a single day if you cheat… keto is definitely an all or nothing diet. On the positive, it is very easy to tell when you inadvertently go out of ketosis, and adjust your diet accordingly. Anyways, the first 2 or 3 weeks did not go too smoothly, but since realizing I can’t cheat on keto, I have lost 2 to 3 lbs consistently per week.
Some of you may be asking, why the hell would you want to do this to yourself? And my answer is… there are many many benefits:
- Increased weight loss speed
- Measurable results (aside from pounds and inches, you know it’s working if ketostix turn purple or if you notice the other obvious symptoms)
- Scientifically sound and researched (it’s true, there are hundreds of studies out there that have found ketosis to be beneficial to your overall health and to be a sound method of weight loss)
- Overall general health benefits (most people on keto find their doctors taking them off their cholesterol and diabetes medicines over time, among many others)
- Increased energy (1g of fat contains more than twice the calories than 1g of carbs or 1g of protein, calories = energy. Think about it!)
- Decreased appetite (many people on keto find they only need to eat 1 meal a day, and the diet itself supports “intermittent fasting”, i.e. eating for 1 hour a day and fasting for 23, or similar schedules)
- You can eat all the bacon and cheese you want. Need I say more?
So, that’s my beginning story… I began this diet with 81.8lbs to lose, and as of today I have 66.2lbs left to go, and 6 months before my wedding. I don’t think I’ll reach my goal weight before the wedding, but I will try my hardest, and I will be more than happy if I can reach 50lbs by then. I’m not sure I’m confident enough to put my weight on here just yet… although I’m sure you can probably figure out a rough guesstimate from the amount I have to lose. If I haven’t posted my starting weight by the time I get down 50lbs I’ll post it then 🙂
Anyways… as ironic as it is after spouting that long speech about keto and how amazing it is, today is November 1st, and I have decided to take the next 3 days off of keto… I don’t do cheat days anymore, but this is a special occasion (I didn’t even take Thanksgiving off!). It is my 27th birthday on Monday, and my birthday party is tomorrow. In addition to my birthday, it has been a particularly difficult couple of days; today is the first day in 8 years that I have been unemployed. I was officially laid off as of yesterday, 6 months before my wedding (and weddings are expensive!). Dieting and weight loss can sometimes be a stressful process, regardless of what diet you’re on, and it will be nice to have this one weekend to relax and enjoy a piece of cake, and not have to think about how many grams of carbs are in it, how much of it is fibre, what else I had to eat that day, etc… I know I will jump right back on the wagon come Tuesday, it’s not even a question. I’m sure there will be some damage to repair, but I do not plan to take any more time off of keto until the wedding, not even at Christmas.
If anyone has any questions about keto and how it works, or about my personal story and progress, I’d be happy to answer in the comments 🙂
Weight Loss So Far: 15.6lbs
Weight Loss to Go: 66.2lbs