A few months ago my husband called me up with some information I was skeptical about at first. Like many people, he had been wanting to lose some weight for a very long time. We had tried prescription medication (Phentermine) from the Dr, portion control, attempting to just eat healthier, Slim Fast and other programs in the past and nothing worked. If we did lose weight it would come right back.
Keto changed everything.
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By following the Keto diet my husband has lost a total of 62Ibs and I have lost 36Ibs. I am not going to lie, when he first told me about this diet I thought he was crazy, it flies in the face of everything I had been taught by food companies and nutrition studies my entire life. You want me to eat more fat and I will lose weight? What? It’s crazy I know! But when you look at it from a scientific standpoint then it actually makes a lot of sense. When we eat sugars our bodies utilize that for energy first and store the leftovers along with any fats we eat as, well, fat. Eating based on a Keto diet where you remove the sugars, your body adapts, it begins to use fat as its fuel instead. When you are burning fat, you are not storing fat and weight loss occurs.
Adopting the Keto Life
Giving up carbs was tough. I loved bread and chocolate and my morning Cappuccinos had to go, but in retrospect, this diet is a lot easier to follow than many of the others we have tried. Once we got past the induction phase and our bodies adapted the cravings for sweets went away and we found alternatives for any cravings that persisted. We learned how to adjust recipes, calculate ‘net carbs’ and just how awful eating so much sugar really made us feel.
We have adopted Keto as a lifestyle change rather than a ‘diet’. Since starting this way of eating we have noticed numerous health benefits. Aside from the weight loss my husband no longer needs to take antacids every day, his bad cholesterol has gone down and he no longer comes home tired and worn out after a day of work. Both of us have an easier time getting up in the morning, have fewer aches and pains and generally just have more mental clarity and motivation to get things done.
If the weight loss had not been enough to keep us on track then all these other benefits would have. I simply cannot imagine going back to the way I felt before. I don’t care how much I liked cake – it’s just not worth it.
What is Keto Exactly?
Keto is a way of eating that reduces net carb (carbs minus fiber) intake to around 20g a day. Reducing carbs to such a low amount forces your body to enter Ketosis, a state where it produces ketones from fat which it then uses for energy rather than relying on glucose and storing the fat.
What do you eat on Keto?
Keto is considered a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. The general rule of thumb is to avoid sugars, bread, grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Most fruits are very high in sugar and are not recommended on a keto diet, however, a few berries are okay in moderation. When choosing vegetables you should look for things such as cauliflower, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables. Most of our Keto meals consist of a protein (Steak, Eggs, Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Fish) and a Vegetable. We also use a lot of cheese…because..cheese!
For beverages, its water (sometimes with 0 carb flavor packs – we love Propel) or Coffee/Teas sweetened with Splenda or Stevia (watch the carbs on these, some brands have more than others). For creamers, we use heavy whipping cream.
There are a great many resources you can use to find the right substitutes, recipes and food choices that work for you. It might take some experimenting – some people bodies react differently to sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, and dairy.
You have told me the Pros, are there any Cons to Keto?
Of course, there are! There are pros and cons to every diet. One of the major cons to Keto, and the one which sidetracks most people before they ever get started is the dreaded Keto Flu. Keto Flu tends to strike within the first two weeks of switching to low carb. It is your bodies reaction to losing the sugar it has relied on for so long and being forced to relearn how to get energy. Learning to use fat for energy instead of Carbs is a huge undertaking for your body and it can take a bit of time to get over it. The symptoms people get from this change vary but are pretty similar to the flu and can include :
- Muscle soreness
- Brain fog
Fear not, however, these symptoms only last a short time and some people never get any at all! If you do get the Keto Flu there are some pretty easy ways reduce its effects and if you soldier through it you won’t regret it later on. Reducing the symptoms of Keto Flu is pretty simple. I found drinking a cup of warm chicken broth pretty much took all my symptoms away. Other suggestions include:
- Eating leafy greens to make sure you are getting enough potassium and magnesium
- Eating more healthy fats (coconut oil is a good choice) to help your body adapt
In conclusion – while Keto might not be for everyone it is a way of eating that has greatly benefited my families life. My husband and I feel better, our kids are eating more vegetables than they ever have before (My 5-year-old actually asks for Brussel sprouts) and we can rest easy knowing that we are showing our children a good example of healthy eating as they grow.