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14 days after starting keto, I am 10lbs down, and they keep falling off. In terms of the actual weight loss, that part was easy. What isn’t easy is the commitment, discipline, and learning what to eat.
What is ketosis
What in the heck is making this diet so effective? What you do is limit your body of carbs, which forces it to use fat as energy instead. People today eat very rich carbohydrate diets. Carbs occur naturally in most foods and are found in abundance in processed foods.
The science (skip ahead if you don’t care about science talk)
Keto is a low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet. In the initial days of eating this way, we cause a metabolic shift in how our body creates energy. When we deprive the body of carbohydrates (less than 50g/day), insulin secretion begins to reduce, and we put our bodies in a catabolic state. A catabolic state means that you are breaking down or losing mass (both fat and muscle). This breakdown of large molecules to smaller ones produces ketones from fat and changes our body’s metabolic process of energy creation. As we deprive the body of carbs and sugar, the body converts to ketogenesis to make energy. The ketones that are produced as our body breaks down fat replace glucose as a primary source of energy. While you are in a sustained ketogenic state, the stimulus for insulin secretion is also low, which in turn reduces the stimulus for fat and glucose storage. Nutritional ketosis is considered safe because the ketones remain in small concentrations and do not alter the blood pH. This is different from ketoacidosis, where the concentration of ketones alters the blood pH to an acidotic state. Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition and needs to be monitored.
How to get started
Most of getting started is mentally preparing yourself. You can’t go into this halfway if you want to see results. I recommend getting rid of all the temptations that may incite a relapse. Bread, cereal, juice, sweets, chips… all of it. The nice thing about keto is there are plenty of ways to get your sweet fix, and you can also have bread using alternative flour sources.
I have been using the app KetoDiet to track all of my food. It does offer a free version, but I wanted all the bells and whistles, so I opted to purchase it for 3 months. I enter EVERYTHING! It is a bit time consuming at first while you are getting used to it. Entering your food is very important, so you can make sure you are doing low carb high fat (LCHF). You’ll be really surprised what has hidden carbs in it! This app will break down your daily intakes based on your gender, weight, and goals.
You will want to purchase a scale to ensure accuracy. I got this scale on Amazon for $9.97. It works perfectly, is small, light, and easy to use.
Keto test strips are beneficial for 2 reasons. It will tell you if you are in ketosis and, more importantly, it will tell you if you are becoming acidotic.
There is no time like the present, so don’t talk about it, be about it! As a health professional, I never dieted, and I never recommended dieting. This is because most diets are unhealthy, unrealistic, and cause yoyo weight gain/loss. Well, I am doing it because I needed to jump-start my metabolism again. At 30 years old and 2 babies later, I was really struggling to lose the baby weight from my second son. Well, it is working! I am committing to 3 months of keto and will see where I am after that and if I can go back to my normal healthy lifestyle.
Tips and tricks
The first few days, I found that by the time dinner rolled around, I was almost maxed out on my macros and couldn’t eat the dinner I made. Most of the recipes for keto dinners are stout. They are high calorie, high fat, and have a good amount of protein too. Also, I really like a glass of wine at night to decompress after the day. What I did to fix this is I enter in my dinner and wine in the morning so that I know how much more I can have throughout the day.
It is a strong misconception that on keto, you eat cold cuts and cheese all day. In reality, those are so high in protein that you likely wouldn’t be able to achieve full ketosis. I’d recommend spending some time on Pinterest, finding good foods that spike your interest. I found a magazine at my local grocery store that has a 4-week meal plan, recipes, and shopping list for each week. That really takes out the guesswork and makes it easy.
If you are a snacker like me, you want to make sure you have some low cal, fibrous snacks available. Carrots, blackberries, and raspberries are my go-to snack. There are also lots of items available at the grocery store explicitly made for keto. Whole foods has amazing snacks that fix my sweet tooth, and my snack urges.
The keto flu can show up 2-7 days after entering ketosis and makes you feel like dog doo. Symptoms include headache, foggy brain, fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and constipation. We don’t exactly know why people experience the keto flu. It could be an array of different reasons such as detox, carb withdrawal, changes in the gut microbiome, or simply cleaning up their diet. Some people will experience it, and others won’t. My guess is that the people who experience the flu are individuals who live off of simple carbs as opposed to complex carbs. Simple carbs are found in fruit, milk, and milk products. They are also found in processed and refined sugars such as candy, table sugars, and soft drinks (1). There isn’t a lot of science about the keto flu, but in my opinion, you should clean up your diet before starting keto to avoid feeling sick.
I took the idea of a flush day from another meal plan from idealfit.com. Trainer Lindsey has her meal plan start and end with 2 flush days. These flush days use water as a natural diuretic to help kick start the weightless process and shed your body of water weight. She recommends drinking at least 128oz of water for 2 days.
Why you shouldn’t do keto
If you are breastfeeding, please see my post Breastfeeding on Keto before getting started.
If you have diabetes (type 1 or 2), please consult your doctor before starting. There may need to be adjustments made to your medications.
If you have known kidney issues, please consult a doctor first.
If you have known heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, please consult a doctor first.