I’m wrapping up month five of eating a ketogenic diet. I get a ton of questions about my diet. There are a lot of misconceptions about keto and diets in general. People get very heated about food. This post is to share why Chris and I choose to try a keto diet, some misconceptions, and how it’s worked for us so far. When looking into any diet, you have to choose one you can maintain. All diets can work, you just have to stick to it.
Let’s first clarify what “diet” means. I find so much of the way we use the word has come to mean the restriction of foods (suffering) or a short term way of eating to lose weight fast. While diet can mean these things, it is also defined as: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. Many times we forget this general definition of the word diet. Remember this when you are looking into a new diet plan, we have to stop thinking of diets as restriction and short term, rather more of a lifestyle.
A diet that tends to promote the metabolic formation of ketone bodies by causing the body to use fat (rather than carbohydrate) as its principal energy source.
plural noun: ketone bodies
any of three related compounds (acetone, acetoacetic acid, beta-hydroxybutyric acid) produced during the metabolism of fats.
combination of a ketogenic diet and exercise
Chis at 5 months of a keto diet and BJJ
WHY A KETO DIET?
Many of you already know that I gained a significant amount of weight the last few years due to lifestyle changes, age (yay 30’s), stress, grief, and depression. At my heaviest I was around 150 pounds. I’m 5’4” and should be around 120 to 130 pounds. The rate at which I gained the weight was concerning to both myself and my doctors.
When I finally decided enough was enough, I started and completed 16 Weeks of Bikini Body Guide, read my thoughts and results HERE.
After completing the workout guides, I knew that my eating habits had to change. While I was working out I started to eat cleaner, no more junk food, and avoided processed foods in general, but my body was incredibly bloated and inflamed. Something drastic had to be done.
Chris and I both did a ton of research and decided to try a Ketogenic diet. For me it was hard to wrap my mind around it. I would be eating about 70 to 75 percent fat to make up my diet. Very little carbs, 21 grams to be exact (after subtracting fiber). All this went against what I was taught about losing weight and being healthy. How can I eat that much fat and be healthy?
BBG and clean eating
WATCH THESE TWO FILMS
There’s a ton of articles to argue for or against a keto diet. Before starting any diet read both sides. Here are two films that swayed me the most and helped me wrap my mind around the idea of good fats.
At the end of the day keto seemed to be the easiest option for Chris and me. We have an active and unpredictable lifestyle. A ketogenic diet while hard at first, is easy to do without a ton of meal planning because there are always options when out of the house or traveling.
THE FIRST MONTH
Chris and I documented the first few weeks of our keto journey on our channel Serein and Chris. Here are the videos to watch:
There are so many misconceptions about a ketogenic diet. Here are the main ones I get a lot of and for whatever reason people can’t seem to get past.
KETO IS NOT PALEO!
While a paleo diet restricts carbohydrates, it is not switching your body to run on fat. You are still running on carbohydrates. Many of the foods allowed on Paleo are not allowed on a ketogenic diet.
KETO MEANS I CONSUME MORE ANIMAL PRODUCTS
If you choose a keto diet, you do not have to consume more animal by products. If you do consume animal products it’s most likely because you already eat them. You can be plant based and be keto. Your options for fat would focus more on avocado, macadamia nuts, fatty oils like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc.
KETO IS EXPENSIVE
“I can’t afford to eat healthy” While buying whole foods can be expensive especially when shopping sustainably and organically, we actually have cut our food bill from over $2,000 a month to around $400-$600 a month.
This is because we make most of our foods at home now. It’s more satisfying and also easier. There are only so many ingredients we have to work with so we are buying less variety and there’s less wasted food. We shop in bulk for our main supplies and are able to save.
At the end of the day, if eating healthier keeps the doctor away, we feel it saves money in the long run from healthcare costs. Luckily, being on a ketogenic diet has actually saved us money.
A few tips when shopping for foods:
Buy what’s in season (it’s always cheaper)
Shop in bulk and freeze what you can
Well, yes, but with change anything is hard. After the first 2 weeks you should become use to the concept of what to eat and what not to eat. There are tons of free apps to help you count your carbohydrates and make sure you are eating enough fats and limiting your carbs.
With any new diet plan make sure to give it time. We committed to 30 days. The first week you’ll be miserable, week 2 you’ll start to figure things out and explore recipes. By week 3 and 4 it’ll start to feel like an actual change.
After the first month we agreed that it was working for us and we enjoyed the new diet, so we decided to continue through 2 more months to fully become keto adapt.
ALLOW YOUR BODY TO ADAPT BEFORE TREATING/ CHEATING
While your body will show dramatic change through the first month, don’t stop there. Your body needs time to become adapt to the new diet. After around 2 to 3 months your system will get that you now run on fat. This is where we started to look at incooporating more carbohydrates into our daily lives.
I allowed myself to go from 21 grams of carbohydrates to 30 grams. We also treated ourselves to one treat meal every few weeks. For us it could be a donut or a shared pasta dish and side of bread. This is usually consumed after an intense day of cardio or before to burn off the extra carbs we are ingesting.
WHY TREAT VS. CHEAT
I spoke with a nutritionist a while back on Behind The Beauty (my podcast) about cheat meals and she didn’t like the term. She felt that cheat meals became cheat days, which really meant binge days. I agreed with this, since I’d find myself binging. Many times I find if I had one cheat, it was easier to cheat the whole day because I justified it by saying I already messed my day up might as well go for it and start fresh tomorrow, or even push it to Monday.
By thinking of carbs as a treat, I don’t find that I go too crazy when I choose to allow myself more carbohydrates or sugar than my normal diet.
To be honest most of the time I find the desserts I make at home are more satisfying and crave those. On occasion I’ll have a craving for something like french fries or pasta, when I do, I think am I really having this craving or bored? Most of the time it’ll pass and I’ll make something that satisfies whatever my cravings are.
However there are times when I just want to eat pasta, especially around my period. So I allow myself to. It’s okay. We’ll go out and split a pasta dish, some bread, and maybe even some dessert. Life is short, it’s okay.
My day to day diet is keto, but when I want something not in my normal diet I have it. I try to limit how often I go off of my diet because my body now runs on fat and throwing too many carbs at it can mess up my system.
BENEFITS OF A KETO DIET
There are many claims of a ketogenic diet, but here are mine:
- Less headaches (honestly I rarely get them anymore)
- More energy throughout the day (no more midday slumps)
- Less hunger (running on fat, I rarely feel hangry or hungry like I did when I ran on carbs)
- Better immune system (I use to get sick all the time or have to fight off colds)
- Faster recovery from lack of sleep and exercise.
- Weight loss and weight management
- Less inflammation in my body (noticeably especially with my skin)
- No bloating
NEGATIVES OF A KETO DIET
While my benefits outweigh the negatives, I wanted to share some things to expect.
- Can be hard to go out with friends
- No alcohol (I didn’t drink much to begin with, but now I don’t at all).
- People don’t really understand the diet, so they rarely prep food for someone on keto
- You have to drink a ton of water. This is important, but even more so on a keto diet
IS KETO RIGHT FOR YOU?
At the end of the day, you have to choose a diet that works for your lifestyle. Counting calories and every little gram of everything is not something I want to do.
Managing my carbohydrate intake minus fiber is relatively easy. At this point I just kind of know how much I’m eating. I also use KETO TEST STRIPS to track and see how far I can push my carb intake. I also enjoy how filling my foods are because they are full of fat, so it’s easy for me to sustain this diet plan.
While keto has become somewhat of a trend in the health community, it’s not why Chris and I choose it. We’d known about it for years and weigh our options. It wasn’t until I mentally was ready to make a change for my health did we decide to focus on our diets.
I’d like to leave you with this, diet is important for our health. Too much of anything can be bad, especially sugar. Your body can run on carbohydrates or fat. Most run on carbohydrates and that’s perfectly fine, but if you have an excess of carbohydrates it turns to sugar and then fat in your body. It can easier to overeat on a carb based diet. Whatever you choose, make sure you follow it because like I mentioned in the beginning, all diets work, you just have to commit to it.
Exercise is also important. I’m currently following The Body By Madalin Giorgetta Gym Guide and will update you with my progress.
Check out my sister-in-law's post of her Keto Journey HERE.