UPDATE: I just wanted to add an update to the start of this post due to no longer being on the Keto Diet. Primarily this was because my husband’s health was getting worse but we’ve both decided to go back to a plant-based diet. I’m a firm believer in not removing content if I don’t need to so even though I’m no longer following it, and I’m vegan, the post will remain as an information aid.
Ok, yes, I know! I was only doing Weight Watchers the other month and now I’m here talking about yet another “diet”. But before you dismiss this post as a “eugh, it’s not going to last like the others” let me tell you that I’ve now been using this way of eating as a way to lose weight for over 6 weeks…I just wanted to see results before telling you about starting the Keto Diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
You’ve probably already heard the words “keto diet” recently as this “new diet” is starting to hit the headlines across newspapers, blogs and YouTube a like – not always in a positive light. Let me tell you about my understanding of it, although I’m no professional; in my opinion many professionals do more harm than good anyway.
The Keto, or Ketogenic, Diet has been around for many years. In fact since the 1920’s where it was used to treat children with epilepsy, especially those where no medication or other treatments were working. Since then it has gained in popularity for the many benefits it is giving it’s eaters.
The basis of the diet is low carb, high fat and moderate protein. The average person consumes anywhere around 200g-350g of carbs in their diet – 1.5kg of cooked pasta for a comparison. On Keto you cut your carbs right down to, ideally, between 20g-50g carbs which are mostly consumed through green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale and cauliflower (yes, I know it’s not green).
What this does is deplete your glucose based energy stores, found in your muscles and liver as glycogen, and after a few days your body will start running on the fat you eat, or have stored.
The Benefits Of A Keto Diet?
Primarily, this way of eating helps to burn body fat…and lots of it. In addition to that there have been many other benefits documented such as improvements in blood sugar levels, mood, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Again, I’m not a professional health expert so I’m not saying “Keto cures cancer”. What I’m saying is I’ve seen testimonials and I’ve read research to say that there is a chance that a ketogenic diet could help.
Personally, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my own personal PCOS symptoms as well as it helping to ease joint pains – which could be due to the weight loss.
Is The Keto Diet Hard?
Yes, and no. I have decided to keep my carb intake below 20g per day which is what is recommended when you first start keto to ensure you actually get into ketosis and produce ketones (they’re what turn fat into energy). The first few weeks most people encourage you to just eat lots of fat; by that I don’t mean sit there sucking on a stick of butter and drinking coconut oil. Eating things like avocado, bacon (yes, the fatty streaky yummy stuff), coconut oil, olive oil and cheese.
The point in plenty of fat to start with is it tells your body that fat is a good source of energy and that it can count on it being in plentiful supply. Once it has learnt this it becomes “fat adapted” and you can reduce your fat intake so your body starts burning your stored body fat, if you’re wanting to lose weight.
The hardest part of the Keto Diet is learning to live without the things that made you fat in the first place. The “bad carbs”. Rice, pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits, ice-cream and the other things that are full of sugar. This isn’t to say these carbs are bad but we eat too many of them (thanks to the government’s ideals on health) and when coupled with fats they do dangerous things to our bodies.
That said, once you’re fat adapted you tend not to crave these foods any more.
Is The Keto Diet A Fad Diet?
That depends on the person doing the diet really. Any diet can be a fad diet, basically a fad diet is something short lived. If you go on a low fat diet for 2 months to lose weight then that is a fad diet to you. Many people who give Keto a go tend to stick to it because they’ve noticed more than just the weight loss benefits. As I said earlier, it’s been around longer than these true fad diets *coughs* Juice Plus *coughs*.
The Negatives Of A Keto Diet
While this way of eating boasts many benefits, it does have some negatives.
This is the most well known one. This is a process the body goes through during the adapting stage and normally lasts between 3 days and a week. The symptoms include: headaches, brain fog, dizziness, frequent urination, muscle cramps and upset stomach – basically you feel ill. You can however minimise your symptoms, even prevent it, by ensuring you keep hydrated and by replacing the lost electrolytes sodium, potassium and magnesium.
Keto flu happens because your body is flushing out the water that is also stored alongside the glycogen in your liver and muscles. With that it also flushes vital electrolytes so you need to keep replenishing them. Drinking plenty of water and adding sodium, potassium and magnesium to your water (at least once a day, before bed is best) will help reduce these symptoms. I personally bought an electrolyte mix and didn’t suffer Keto-flu. I also started using Himalayan Pink salt on all my food, as well as occasionally adding it to my drinking water and bath.
Bad Breath & Body Odour
Yes, there is a chance you may stink for a while. Again, this is the body flushing itself – think of it like hitting the reset button. Regular showers and keeping something to freshen your breath is a must.
Eating Out Is A Pain
Going elsewhere to eat isn’t always that easy because everything is served with chips. Simply choose the salad and remove anything that might knock you out of ketosis.
If you decide to share with your friends and family that you are now doing Keto be prepared for them all to turn into health experts. You’ll post your dinner, a beautifully cooked steak with veg and a creamy sauce and suddenly you’re “doing yourself harm” whereas the week before you started they said nothing about the large McDonald’s meal, Mcflurry, milkshake and apple pie you had, followed by popcorn, nachos, ice-cream and sweets at the cinema.
My Personal Results
At the time of writing this I have lost a total of 15lbs (week 5 result) and 12″ from across my body. My PCOS symptoms have started to get better, my joints don’t hurt so much and my clothes are falling off me – I so need a belt. I’m also hardly ever hungry which has helped with the grazing and self-sabotage A LOT! I also haven’t suffered from IBS since starting – no bloating, no pain etc.
I decided to start a weekly vlog on YouTube to keep me motivated so you can follow my personal progress over there.
I plan to write more often about Keto, as I’m hoping this is my way of eating from now on. If you have any questions then please pop them in the comments. I’ll reply to them there and it also helps when it comes to writing additional posts – I can cover the questions in more detail there.