What is the Ketogenic Diet
What is the Ketogenic Diet? According to Wikipedia – The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fuelling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.
Notice the big empty box with the question mark? I didn’t post a picture of myself because I hate taking pictures and part of the reason is because I have really neglected my health and nutrition these past 15+ years and my body is a result of those poor choices. But all of that is changing, one day at a time, one moment and one choice at a time. And the more I feel in control of my life concerning nutrition and exercise, the more I will feel confident and the more I will want to share that confidence with the world.
The great thing about getting healthy is that you get immediate results. I struggled to walk the 2 miles a day to drop off and pick up my kids from school the first week we started walking but after that initial struggle I started to notice that I had more energy throughout the day and I felt like doing more. That was more than enough motivation for me to continue with my cardio and ironically enough, the more you do it, the more you want to do it.
Why did I decide to follow the Ketogenic Diet?
I have been following along with the LCHF/Ketogenic/Atkins/Paleo community on social media for the last year. I actually wanted to know more about it when I started Weight Watchers (again, thank God I failed at it!) but since I was still breast feeding my baby at the time, starting the Ketogenic Diet was out of the question.
Why, is it harmful to the baby? (I figured someone might ask so I will just go ahead and answer it now.) There are many reasons but I will list just a few of the top answers.
- You put your body into a state of shock when you switch from carb burning to fat burning and you could compromise your milk supply
- Your body will burn fat in ketosis but it’s unclear if ketones are present in breastmilk and it’s unclear if it’s harmful to the baby
- Your body stores toxins and harmful substances in the fat so burning the fat means releasing those into our bodies and it’s unclear if it crosses into the breastmilk
- Ketosis has some side effects initially like weakness, heart palpitations, diarrhea, headaches, etc and trying to take care of a baby and deal with those side effects is not advised
- You NEVER feel hungry when you are following the Ketogenic/LCHF/Atkins/Paleo/Primal Diet plans and breastfeeding mothers need to feel hungry to make sure they get adequate nutrition to their nurslings
I decided the benefit wasn’t worth the risk to my milk supply and my body would not be able to sustain that much stress as I was still recovering from severe pre-eclampsia and severe high blood pressure (180/100 when I was admitted to the hospital). My son was born 6 weeks prematurely so protecting my milk supply for him was my #1 priority so I decided to go a different route and do Weight Watchers with their app. The app was great and it allowed for adequate caloric intake, especially if you are breastfeeding because they will ask you if you are before calculating your BMR (basic metabolic rate – how many calories you need a day just to live, breath and move).
Weight Watchers did not work for me because I was hungry ALL – THE – TIME. I did end up losing about 25 lbs but I put those pounds right back on and then some after I quit. Calorie restriction does not work for me and eating carbs and sugars makes me want to eat more carbs and sugars as is the case for most people. I have been on the Keto Diet for one week and I have not experienced the feeling of hunger once! No lie, and I do NOT crave sweets, candy, sugar or carbs. I do occasionally miss my brown rice because I still love kimchi but it will literally be months before I can go back to eating rice again.
Dr. Eric Westman at Duke University sealed the deal for me
I spent an entire year researching, following people who were actively following the diet and learning about the eating habits and how exercise is vital for optimal health as well as following food bloggers who posted incredible recipes on social media. Seriously, check out my boards on Pinterest, especially the one called My Family’s LCHF Diet Menu Recipes. I’ve recently been adding recipes pins to that board but I have a few more that are LCHF (low carb, high fat) and a Paleo/Low Carb Desserts board too. Just click on the red links to see the pins and recipes or follow me on Pinterest to see more!
I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that I wanted to follow this plan to change my lifestyle. I spent time really learning and carefully deciding as well as seeking information from credible resources and Dr. Eric Westman at Duke University sealed the deal for me. He also has an arsenal of research and information about the results of people being on this diet to include lab results of their cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. He isn’t making lofty claims, he has the proof to back his shit up!
I watched him on YouTube and dug up all I could about him on Google and his information is credible and sound. He treats diabetics and ironically he was ultra skeptical of this diet plan when he first heard about it but he was smart enough to reach out to Dr. Atkins back when he was still alive. Dr. Westman became so interested that he asked Dr. Atkins if he could shadow him in his clinic and talk to some of his patients to see for himself. He’s been an advocate for the diet ever since! Watch him on Youtube and see for yourself.
You can also order his books on Amazon here:
Do before and after pictures to remind yourself along the way
Yes, I did the most painful thing possible, I had my wonderful husband take pictures of me in my underwear so I could have before photos. I will not be sharing those for some time but I do look at them and I am quickly reminded of why I am changing my lifestyle. I feel genuine pain and I cringe when I look at those pictures and that pain fuels my desire to do something about it. I refuse to ignore it, accept it or decorate it! My only option is to change it, one day at a time, one choice at a time, until many single choices add up to desired results.
I spend a lot of time, I mean, probably way too much, but A LOT of time viewing before and after photos of people who have lost significant amounts of weight. It does not make me feel bad because it motivates me to achieve the same goals that they did. I did the same thing when I first started learning to coupon and when I first started learning to blog. I sought out people online who were doing the things I wanted to do and I felt connected and motivated because I was not alone in my struggle.
I am not super social and I am an extreme introvert so I prefer to be by myself and I don’t do well with group meetings, etc. If you are the opposite and you like being with people and you feel motivated within a group then there are plenty of ways to connect with people. Social media is fabulous because it serves both introverts like me who want to connect at a distance and it serves extroverts who want to meet up and connect in person.
There are literally tons of weight loss, Keto, LCHF, get healthy, etc groups on Facebook so join a few and connect with people. Check out your local newspaper for fitness events like 5K runs because most people who are getting healthy and losing weight are also getting fit and those groups usually hang out together and wear t-shirts promoting their group/organization.
Week 1 results of my Ketogenic Diet
I started my Ketogenic Diet on Sunday 9/27/15 and I have lost a total of 5.6 pounds. Most people won’t be blown away by that number because most people lose between 5 – 10 lbs the first week on the plan. But I have to tell you that I started cutting carbs long before I started the Keto Diet. So the weight I am losing is not the typical 10 – 20 lbs of water weight. I already shed those pounds weeks before starting the Keto Diet.
Cut back on carbs slowly before starting the Keto Diet
I knew that I was going to restrict my carb intake to almost nothing on this plan so I took 3 weeks to wean myself off carbs to make my transition easier. Again, all of the reading and research I did helped me prepare to make this switch easier for me. I started out by eating healthier back when I decided to start exercising and I used the app My Fitness Pal and Map My Walk to make it easy for me. The apps do all of the work for you and you don’t need to write anything down. I hate literally having to write anything at all so I use apps that make my life easy all the time. I also use one for reminding me to take my medication and vitamin so I don’t have to remember or freak out and try and remember if I already took it for the day.
I cut out all processed foods, junk food and refined sugary foods when I started exercising 6 weeks ago. I did that cold turkey and it wasn’t incredibly difficult since I replaced those bad carbs with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I was restricting my calories to lose weight (again, My Fitness Pal does all the calculating for you, so use it!) but I was not following/counting my macros. Macros is short for macronutrients which are the calculations of calories in proteins, fats and carbs. In order to follow the Keto Diet, you must count macros. All calories are NOT created equal either!
I am allowed:
- 5% carbs (no more than 20 grams per day)
- 20% protein (no more than 145 grams a day)
- 75% healthy fats (no more than 120 grams per day)
It’s a bit tricky because I am also restricting my calories so I must consume these macros in 1400 – 1800 kcals a day. I get to eat more if I exercise and I eat less if I skip a day or rest. It’s not hard to follow this plan, but you must be fully informed so I recommend reading and learning all you can before starting. This isn’t a short-term, fad diet that will give you instant results and then you go back to life as usual. This is a lifestyle change and the benefits of it for your health are more than worth it.
After I cut out junk food, I started drinking more water because cutting carbs makes you ultra thirsty. Carbs makes your body retain water to help digest them so once you cut carbs you will lose water weight, almost instantly. The first few days I probably drank more than 100 ounces of water and peed a million times the first 24 hours. I also had to ignore my body when it started screaming for carbs. Oh yes, your body will betray you and will tell you to eat carbs and you will want to but you have to fight it off unless you want to be a slave to your body forever. That battle only lasted a couple of days for me because drinking more water and flushing out water made me feel less hungry.
Drinking more water made me stop craving diet soda so after a day or two, I didn’t drink diet sodas anymore. I still drink one every now and again, but at one time I was drinking upwards of 3 – 6 cans a day! My preferred beverage of the day is ice cold water, the colder, the better. I have a 32 oz bottle I carry around everywhere I go and I load it full of ice and add water and drink it all day long. All three of my kids drink more ice water now too – monkey see, monkey do.
Eat at home and stay away from fast food
I say this all the time, no matter if it’s couponing, dieting, whatever you are doing, keep in mind that making changes in your life to your lifestyle or habits is like training for a marathon, it’s going to take time and practice, practice, practice. I started making these changes slowly over time to prepare myself to take on more, I didn’t try to change everything overnight, all at once. Slow and steady always wins out when making permanent changes in your life.
I highly recommend you make it a habit to cook and prepare healthy meals at home and stay away from fast food before starting any diet plan. I had a very long and very serious love affair with fast food establishments but being on a tight budget to meet financial goals helped curb the habit as well as a strong desire to get healthy. We literally do not eat out at all and when we do, Hubby Bunny and I both complain and bitch about how expensive it is and how unhealthy they prepare the foods.
I work from home so I have plenty of time to plan, prepare and experiment with this eating plan. I do realize that many of you work outside the home and need things that are easy and convenient and the apps, the books and the bloggers and online community have tons of resources and ideas to share with you. There really is no good excuse for not taking good care of yourself and I am being a bit “selfish” now and doing just that.
That’s the whole reason why I kind of fell off the face of the earth for a whole minute. I was taking the time to do what I needed to do for myself and I don’t regret it or feel bad for it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get things done in our lives and I decided that I was going to let some things go, like blogging for the time being, posting videos and promoting my brand, so I could get healthy and happy again.
What’s your top priority in life?
It all boils down to priority. What’s important to you? You should be at the top of your own list and if you aren’t, push yourself to the top and make sure you are healthy. You can’t buy more health or more time in life so take control and be the captain of your own ship! All it takes is one decision to get healthy and the other decisions will follow. Whether you follow the Ketogenic Diet or not, make the choice to be healthy and take good care of yourself.
My Online Resources for the Keto Diet – Click on the red links to open a new browser window and follow/save the links
- My Youtube Channel – Watch Week 1 of the Ketogenic Diet
- Atkins.com – Register and sign up for the FREE starter kit – it includes a carb counter guide and quick start guide and you can download a bogo coupon for the Atkins products. (I am not a fan of “diet” brand foods because they are expensive and I am not entirely sure what’s in them. I think it’s far better to make your own snacks and meals in bulk and store/freeze them and your wallet will be the fatter for it!) Be sure and change the option to have it mailed to you otherwise it will give you a download link only. I always like to have a hard copy in hand and I carry it with me when grocery shopping.
- Ketobetic Aline on Youtube – She is the sweetest lady and her enthusiasm and positivity is infectious! I watch her just to perk up sometimes! She shares her awesome sugar free, low carb recipes and I am going to try her recipe My Awesome Ketogenic Fudgesicle Ice Cream Bars this week! She’s a diabetic doing the ketogenic diet with some serious gusto!
- IHealthtube.com on Youtube – eye opening truths about medicine, health and debunking myths that we all need to know. Be sure and check out the video Bad Bugs, what an eye opener indeed!
- Low Carbing Among Friends on Facebook – DJ Foodie is my favorite and if you get a chance, read his story on his blog about his journey to good health and losing weight. He inspired me and sparked my interest in the LCHF Diet after learning he lost 140 lbs on this plan! Plus his recipes make my mouth water! He just released his downloadable cookbook Taking Out the Carbage, which I plan to purchase the hardcopy after it releases in December 2015.
- Pinterest – there is a wealth of recipes and information to help you with this plan if you take the time to seek it out (links to my boards and profile are in this post)
- Instagram Luis Villasenor – DarthLuiggi has been in ketosis for 14 years! The guy is shredded and ripped and he has a wealth of information about ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet on his website Ketogains.com. He’s the experience expert with ketosis because he’s done it for so long! Seek him out for the science and technical information about ketosis and ketogenic plans, especially if you plan to build muscle and endurance with this eating plan.
- Craig on ruled.me – He has a wealth of easy to understand resources for starting out with this eating plan including a post about Eating Keto on a Budget. It’s almost like he takes you by the hand and leads you where you need to go to get off to a great start!
- LCHF for Beginners by Diet Doctor – another comprehensive and easy to follow plan laid out to help you get started. It is my belief that you can never have too much information when implementing new changes in your life.
- TDEE Calculator – TDEE stands for total daily energy expenditure, how many calories does your body require to function (breath, think, fart, sleep, etc)
- Total Body Training with Only a Pair of Dumbbells – muscle burns fat and building muscle also protects women from bone loss and injury later in life. I believe it’s never too late to start so make the decision to take time to do this for yourself! Check out the entire website to find what works for you if dumbbells aren’t your thing!
- High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT – Don’t make the same mistake that I did by trying to start this at the same time you start your new Ketogenic Diet! You will over do it and your body will suffer. I also spent 6 weeks doing 2 mile walks 6 days a week to work up to adding more exercise to my lifestyle. HIIT has to wait until I get fully keto adapted which can take between 3 – 6 weeks so it’s just 2 mile walks and stretching for me for until then.
I have so many resources because I’ve been following the community for over a year. I have more resources but the idea is to help you get started and let you dig up the information that works best for you. This is just a starting point to point you in the right direction. I know this post was ultra long but I had a lot to say since I haven’t said much in the past few weeks!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
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