Tips for Starting Keto and Bonus Update

It’s about the time of year when people start re-evaluating their New Year’s Resolutions. We start to ask ourselves questions like, “Do I really need to give up smoking, I’ve already been doing it for 20 years, the damage is done, right?” “Is it realistic to put  50% of my income toward debt so I can be out of debt by the end of the year?” and “Can I really make it to the gym that early and workout for that long? And in the end, is losing a pound per week worth it?”

For most people, New Year’s resolutions means you start something on January 1st or maybe the 2nd, and you stick with it for the entire year. According to the United State’s government, three of the top thirteen resolutions made in the United States are directly related to eating healthier, losing weight, or getting fit. And According to the New York Times, “Losing weight and getting fit” and “eating a healthier diet” are two of the top ten most broken New Years resolutions.

So, if you made a resolution to get healthier, lose weight, eat better, go to the gym more, etc, you are not alone.

You are also not alone if you feel like giving up! Only twenty percent of people that begin a new diet plan are keeping that plan at the three month mark!

A lot of people have already been telling me that keeping their New Year’s resolution in difficult. I thought I’d explain some of these best reasons to at least try Keto for 30 days.

  • Fat keeps you full. If you aren’t eating fat, you’re eating either carbs or protien. Protein will keep you full better than carbs, but not as much as fat. Also, too much protein will be converted into carbohydrates in your body, so if you eat excess protein, it’s almost as bad as eating carbs.
  • On the other hand, Carbs make you hungry. It’s not just that fat will keep you full, it’s that carbs add to your hunger. Check out our trusty sugar addiction chart below. Keep in mind that all carbohydrates are just strands of sugar that once they enter your body, are broken down into simple strands of sugar, not much different than a dum-dum sucker of slice of pecan pie. The more carbs you eat, the more you’ll want to eat. So, if you are on a low-fat, high carb diet like the American Heart Association recommends, you’re going to be hungry all the time.
  • Image
  • “Low Fat” foods replace fat with sugar to add flavor. Do I need to say more?
  • Insulin spikes leads to food storage. When you eat carbohydrates and your body has enough energy for the time being, your body will store the carbohydrates as fat. Boy doesn’t that make a banana split sound awful?
  • Weight loss is quick. Studies have shown that women that lost weight quickly, were more likely to stick to their diets than women who did not.

So now you might be a little more interested in keto verses the American standard diet of a low fat, high carb diet. Here are some steps to get you started out.

  1. Read as much about Keto as you can. I could reiterate a lot of information that has already been written, but it’s just not necessary.  Here are a couple of links to some very helpful resources: Keto in a Nutshell and r/keto’s FAQ page. 
  2. Calculate your “Macros”. This is just a fancy word for the numbers you want to get as close to possible each day. For most people, you will want to have about 5% or less of your diet coming from carbs, 30ish% coming from protien, and 65ish% coming from fat. This calculator is amazing. It takes into consideration your age, height, weight, gender, body fat percentage, activity level, and how much you want to lose. 🙂
  3. Keep track of what you eat. Find a way to keep track of what you are eating. All day. Everyday. Count everything, because everything counts! My Fitness Pal has an online site that can help with this, as well as an App. The best part is, it’s free.
  4. Connect with people doing keto. Thankfully for introverts, you can do this on your laptop. http://www.reddit.com/r/keto is an excellent site for support and help for those that are excited about doing keto. You will not be a stranger there.
  5. Remember to drink lots of water. A gallon of water a day is not too much on this diet.
  6. The Keto Flu will come. The first week, as your body adjusts to not using carbs and begins to use ketones, you will probably start to feel crappy. It’s normal and expected. It lasts 1-3 days at most

Most importantly, don’t give up. This diet will make you feel more energized. You will likely sleep better at night. Eating healthy has more benefits than just looking good.

As Promised: a Bonus Update:

4 months into Keto and I’ve gone from wearing tight Xtra-Large clothing to comfortably wearing mediums!!!

My body fat percentage has gone down 12%

Image

For comparison:

Image

No wonder I feel better about myself!

A long overdue update

Ok, before this post starts, I probably should apologize for the lack of postings lately. It is not because I have fallen off the keto wagon, but because the holidays are extremely busy. My husband and I have to travel a lot for the holidays. Additionally, I had to pick up more than a few extra shifts at work to help my co-workers get some time off.

I also feel really guilty that I haven’t finished my “one week of keto” posts yet, but that will get done this weekend.

An update on how I’ve been doing. I’m down to 145 pounds now. That’s 28 pounds down!

Image

This is me at about 100 days of Keto. I’d dropped about 26 pounds at this point. I’m also rocking my new Doctor Who gear my hubby got be for Christmas. I never imagined being able to fit into a size Medium. Especially while I was in the 140 range. I think that I’m putting on a lot more muscle.

Image

For Comparison…
(The pictures are all taken within a week or so of the date it’s listed at)

Right now, I am holding strong at 145. I kept my diet over Thanksgiving and Christmas! My family has been really supportive of this lifestyle change and have even inquired about it themselves. My sister and mom began the keto journey this last week. Every time there was a family gathering, my family made sure there was food I could eat there!

So, in case you were curious, I am still ketoing on. It’s just been difficult to take the time to write down what’s been going on.

What’s different?

I posted yesterday on my facebook about how my I’d reached my 60 day mark and some accomplishments I’d made with that. I also talked about how I’m not sure what was different about the last 60 days rather than any other 60 day period in my life. I’m not sure why I’ve stuck with the diet so strictly. Don’t even get me started on thinking about what the difference is with the exercise. I’ve never been a fan of it, so the fact that in the last 60 days I’ve jogged/walked/ran about 100 miles is beyond me.

I do know some things that are different about myself now though. And I’d like to share some of them with you.

I don’t drink soda anymore. Well I can’t say I never do, but I can say that currently there is none in my house and I don’t feel the need to go pick some up before work. I occasionally have a diet soda when I’m craving one. Even at that, it’s probably once a week or even less. I used to drink about 36 – 72 ounces (maybe more?) of diet soda per day. I just think water is so much more satisfying now.

My energy levels are the same throughout the day and they do not rely on food. So far today, I’ve gotten up, did some arm and ab exercises, got a shower, got dressed made a meal and I still haven’t eaten yet. I’ve been up for 4 and a half hours without food and I’m perfectly fine. I could probably go the whole day without eating. The fact is, my body is using ketones (from fat) for energy instead of whatever glucose I eat. Since I’ve got a steady supply of fat, there is no need to eat every 3-4 hours. I also never feel hunger like I used to since my body isn’t constantly craving sugar. (See the sugar addiction chart below… and remember anything that is a carbohydrate other than fiber turns straight into sugar within 15-30 minutes in our bodies!)

Image

My body weight isn’t changing much, but my shape is. I did drop some weight this morning, but my weight isn’t my concern anymore. It’s the shape of my body. When I see myself naked, less parts jiggle. My tummy is getting flatter, my thighs are getting firmer, and my overall shape is getting smaller.

We’ve all heard those quotes, “It takes X number of days to make or break a habit.” I’ve heard everything from 21 days to 30 days to 90 days or even more. In some ways, over the last 60 days, I’ve developed some habits and kicked some others. Some of them have come more natural than others. It’s hard to say if these habits came at day 12, 21, 34, or 58, but they seem to be here to stay. And I’m ok with that!

Day 60: progress discussion + potential hormone issues

Today is day 60! So far, in the last 60 days, I’ve lost 17 pounds! I’m down to 30% body fat from 40%, which correlates to 24 pounds of fat. That means I’ve actually put on some muscle.

I’m still feeling great. I’ve had very few symptoms of seasonal depression. My energy levels are consistant throughout the day. I have just as much energy at 6:00 am as I do 2:00 pm and even right before bed at 11:30. This was not the case two months ago. I’d constantly be drifting between medium energy and low energy and I rarely had high energy. Now I feel like I have pretty high energy levels throughout the day.

There has been a “downside” to keto the last few days. It’s actually more related to fat loss that my diet in particular. Readers beware, the rest of this blog post has a lot to do with feminine issues, but the information may be good for men to know as well.

It seems as though my fat loss has triggered my period to start early, despite being on the pill. For women that have taken the pill, you know just how strange this sounds. The pill is supposed to keep your hormones in a more balanced way and prevent any eggs from ovulating. However, the pill isn’t the only way that we have hormones in our body.

Until yesterday, I didn’t know that fat produces estrogen. Which makes a lot of sense with a healthy woman having the ability to have twice as much fat as a healthy man, and yet they can both be considered healthy. Since I have almost cut my body fat in a third (70 pounds down to 46) within the last two months, it would only make sense that my body freak the heck out about not having the estrogen it is used to.

I got most of this information from this article, which further went on to say that this is also common with women eating a low-carb diet due to most extra sources of estrogen being cut out of the diet.

Anyway, I am keeping calm and Ketoing on!

Plateauing again: Losing inches, not pounds

A few weeks ago, I dropped to 154. I was so excited that I’d be seeing the 140’s soon. I haven’t seen the 140’s in over 5 years!

This week, I gained 3 pounds. Beyond frustrated, I checked the scale for my body fat percentage. I had gone from 32% a few weeks ago at 157 to 31% at 157. Which means that I lost 2.5 pounds of fat. Which reminds me of this video about what fat looks like. The first minute is a promotional for his business, but after that, there is a really good illustration of what fat looks like in the body.

So where did that other 3 pounds come from? It looks like some came from the muscle I am building and some came from water weight.

Satisfyingly enough, I’ve lost another belt notch in the last two weeks. I’ve also dropped an inch on my waist in the last week.

Lesson of the week: Progress isn’t always seen on the scale.

It’s Not Just Water Weight

As I have said before, I have been perpetually doing low-carb diets for most of the last ten years. One thing I’ve always been frustrated with is the acceptance of my lifestyle choices by others. This probably stems from my incessant need to feel approved by others, and since I’ve worked through a lot of those issues, I believe I will be able to stick to this diet long after I’ve reached my goal weight. That being said, it’s still a pain to constantly be faced with adversity when you know what you are doing is right.

One of the things people have often said to me when I’ve told them how much weight I’ve lost on a low-carbohydrate diet is, “Oh, you’re just losing water weight, that isn’t real weight loss.” There are few things more discouraging that you could tell a person who is trying to make themself healthier.

Today I got my scale in that reads body fat percentage as well as muscle mass and water weight, and I was in for a shock! Now, I did’t have an exact starting percentage, but through some calculators based on my original height, weight and waist size, I was somewhere between 39 and 41% fat. YUCK! This meant that right at 70 pounds of my original body weight was fat.

Today, six weeks and two days later, I am down to 32% of body fat. This means, today, only 50 pounds of my body is fat!

By these calculations, I have lost 20 pounds of fat.

That isn’t water weight, people. It is likely that I have gained muscle and water weight because according to the scale, I’ve only lost 16 pounds. I’ve gained 4 pounds of something!

If you are doing Keto, I urge you to stop just checking your weight in pounds or kilograms, and start tracking what percent of fat you’ve lost as well.

And for all the Keto Haters, there is no denying the facts. I’m burning through fat, using it as energy instead of glucose. I’ve turned my body into a fat burning (probably muscle building) machine.

Keep Calm and Keto On!

Playing the Waiting Game

I haven’t posted in nearly a week, and there is a very good reason for that.

I’m angry.

My scale has been stuck between 160.5 and 159.0 for 2 weeks now and I’ve been doing everything right. And even while it has been stuck, I continued to do everything right. And what is worse, my fears started to become my reality. The question that has lingered in the back of my head for years, “What if I can’t lose weight?” began to feel like it might be true.

It sounds ridiculous, but since I’ve already had that thought in my head, and I have been doing everything right, I started to think it was a possibility. I mean, I run at least two miles every day, I eat under 1200 calories and 20 carbs per day. Scientifically, it seems that there is no reason I shouldn’t have dropped at least two to three pounds in two weeks!

And that is when a second question started forming in my head. If it’s true that I can’t lose weight, then why am I even trying?

And I started to verbalize these thoughts with my husband. My husband loves me so much that he actually listens to me when I talk or ramble or complain. He remembered all of the things I was saying 6 weeks ago when I started Keto and he began to repeat them to me.

Image

He started talking about all the extra energy I have. He reminded me of how much better I feel about myself and how the long term goal was not weight loss, but a healthier body. He also pointed out with as much activity that I do, I may be putting on some muscle, which obviously weighs more than fat.

And this week, he decided to commit to the Keto life, too. (He’s cooking steaks and sauteed cauliflower for dinner, right now!)

Also, I was talking with my friend and co-worker, Jeremy who is also living a low-carb lifestyle, and he was explaining that in some people, when they are on a low carb diet, their fat cells will shrink, but will retain water.

So, I’ve decided to wait.

I’m waiting for my fat cells to decided to let go of the water they are holding. I’m also waiting for my new scale to get in from Amazon, which will not only tell me my weight, but my body fat percentage.

And while I wait, I’ll keep resisting carbs and keep on running. It’s not about how much I weigh by any certain date, it’s about living healthy every day.