See below picture? That’s me after 11 months of trying Keto and I am happy to share my keto diet experience with you.
So you probably have heard about the ketogenic diet by now as it has gained a lot of popularity in the recent past. “Keto” is short for Ketogenic. The idea behind this diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that happens when your body switches to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs or sugar. Studies have proven that ketosis can be beneficial for everything from weight loss to people fighting disease.
When I first started with the keto diet almost 7 years ago, which cut out carbs and added in tons of healthy fats, veg, and some fruits. Bye bye grains, legumes, dairy, citrus, bananas, and anything else carby! I also began giving my body rest periods where I would fast every day for about 14 hrs. Generally, this happens after my evening meal and I do not eat again until 14 hrs later. Some days I might even fast for a whole day only drinking bone broth, water, and green tea, I basically listen to my body when this needs to happen.
The first 3 days I was peeing every 15 minutes like a 4 year old, and had to drink a lot of water not to become dehydrated. Some people experience headache during this time, but I was ready. I was drinking a lot of water, had salt if I started to feel tired (mostly in the form of homemade chicken broth), and I supplemented with Pottasium and Magnesium from spinach, avocado, ½ cup of quinoa, ect.
After the first 3 days I have already noticed an increase of energy that lasted the entire day. I didn’t feel like I wished I could take a nap during the afternoon, and despite how busy I was, I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I noticed my body started to appear slimmer, because my body was no longer retaining water. I have also noticed I didn’t feel any stiffness in the mornings, and my flexibility had started to increase noticeably. The only problem was the lack of strength I felt during my workouts. After doing a single push up I felt like I had already done 20 reps. It’s the weirdest feeling to feel exhausted like that after doing a beginner-style workout, when you know you’re in really good shape.
I did not have cravings for carbs or anything sweet and I wasn’t experiencing hunger the way I normally do. Not that I normally starve or something, but in Keto I was just not hungry for hours on end. I had to remind myself to eat.
During the 2nd week my frustration with strength and endurance continues, however I am slowly seeing an improvement. I exercise daily so I notice even the slightest change in my performance. After 10 days, my stamina was back to where it was when my body was using glucose as the main energy source. That’s when I knew my body had finally adapted and it felt amazing. I was utilizing all the fat I was eating to generate energy for my brain and muscle activity.
After the first few weeks, besides having more clarity and having a constant flow of energy, from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed (which I expected), I was taken by surprise when I got my period and didn’t have any cramps! Normally I suffer 2 days every month from really bad to sometimes debilitating cramps that I can’t deal with. This time however, without taking pain killers, I had no cramps! Even though I did notice my energy was lower, I didn’t feel as exhausted as I normally do during this time of month.
Keto is a very strict diet and seemed quite hard at first, but once I understood what I could eat and concentrated on those foods, I was good to go!
As a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, I used to experiment lot of low carb keto friendly recipes during my career. It immensely helped me to adapt to the keto lifestyle once I started keto diet. Most people fail in Keto diet because they get bored with eating the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even I struggled too at the beginning. Who wants to eat eggs, avocados, and bacon day after day?
You might want to check out my “430 Low Carb Keto Friendly Recipes” cookbook. I have added so much of variety and flavor into it to keep you stick to the Keto diet.
During the six months, I tried different quantities of carbs. Less than 20 grams/day is what worked best for me. All the recipes in my cookbook have less than 10 grams of carbs per serving which made me easy to plan my meals.
I lost weight very fast in the first few months; I believe a total of 30 pounds. If you start to lose weight too fast or too much you just need to add in more good fats to your diet like avocado, EVOO, Coconut Oil, raw nuts and seeds etc.
Below are foods you CAN eat and should AVOID on Keto diet
I tested my urine for ketones daily with strips I bought at the drugstore for a few dollars, totally worth it. I learned what foods kept me in ketosis and what foods knocked me out. You can also test your blood for ketones, I did not do this. Some people can experience headaches and low energy when they start the keto diet due to their bodies detoxing, I did not experience this. Actually, my energy went through the roof within 3 days of starting.
Here are some of the KEY learnings and experiences I got following the Keto diet
Improvement in sleep is one BIG plus in my keto diet. It helped to solve my sleeping disorders. I was able to go into deep sleep and wake up feeling fresh, full of energy, and ready for a new day.
A keto diet is known as being responsible for sleep problems such as insomnia. It only happens during the adjustment period. As long as your body becomes fat adapted, your sleep quality will get better.
My dreams got improved. I can notice the transition between being awake and falling asleep. I’m laid in bed, thinking consciously, when thoughts and memories start to appear in my mind. You will get this feeling, only when having fewer than 20g carbs per day.
You might experience nightmares rather than sweet dreams in a keto diet. Everything which increases consciousness and concentration will help, like meditation.
I’m more of a calm, optimist, happy, and kind person. I feel neither angry nor nervous.
Mood gets weakened because of the change of glucose. When levels of glucose drop you will feel sad, angry, and crave sugary foods. Nothing like these happens in a keto diet because you consume fewer carbs and your glucose remains stable.
- Focus and mental clarity
- Keto diet shut that noise in my head
- I’ve gained more focus on each activity
- Task transition is easier
- I can study, read, and learn efficiently
If you need to study, read, and learn, do this on ketosis. It is known for being a better and cleaner fuel than glucose. When you go very low-carb, your brain uses ketone bodies as an energy source, resulting in focus, concentration, and learning improvement.
I’ve realized a huge improvement in short-term memory. It gets better because you have more focus, clear mind, and concentration.
I feel happy going to lecturers or travel without worrying about the food. Eating becomes a pleasure, not despair. Besides, satiation makes you more productive because you can work, and study, with the benefit of focus.
I now drink two to three litres of water per day. Honestly, I don’t like to drink water and feel thirsty all the time, but in fact, it does not bother me.
Sometimes I feel so euphoric that is hard to relax or sleep. It seems that I drunk a lot of coffee and it’s uncomfortable.
On the first days of keto diet, you’ll usually feel euphoric. It’s different. You laugh, feel a great sense of well-being, and everything seems perfect. It does not happen very often when you’re on a low-carb for months or years. In general, the mood keeps higher than before.
I started to walk 5 kilometres per day every day three months after a keto diet. Five months later I went to the gym. I never felt so much energy and disposition before.
Keto diet makes you plenty of fuel to burn. You’re more willing and can spend the night wide awake — without coffee! It’s good to perceive that you have enough energy to run out the day. It reduces slowly throughout the day.
The pimples I used to have on my face have gone. My skin is now cleaner and softer than before.
Keto diet doesn’t do any wonders for you. In fact, what happens is that since now you are not eating all the junk food you were eating before, no damage will happen to your skin.
I’m always supplementing my electrolytes, especially in the summer when I sweat more.
Electrolytes are something that you have no idea what it is till you go LCHF. Reducing carbs makes your body claims for magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
Ketosis reduces your liquid retention and when the water leaves, electrolytes go away with it. If you don’t supplement the minerals you have lost, you have symptoms of keto flu, muscle cramps, anxiety, headache, confusion, and palpitations. Remember to supplement your electrolytes.
No more cravings for carbs
I was craving for carbs frequently. It used to happen because my insulin was always high and glucose was low. But now my glucose and insulin remain stable. I don’t need to eat too much carbs to fix hypoglycemics.
Hypoglycemia happens to even non-diabetic people. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin you release. The more insulin you release, the more resistant you become. It seems like a domino effect. This condition makes you crave for carbs — usually industrialized ones and rich in wheat and sugar.
With keto diet I am feeling healthier because of less carbs. Diabetes and high blood pressure need high carb consumption to develop. If you reduce your carb consumption, you won’t need to bother with that kind of disease.
Eating 150 or more grams of carbs per day leads you to insulin resistance and some chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. 200 or 300 grams of carb is a lot of carbs. Our body was not developed to support so much of that.
You may want to check out the 100+ keto friendly diabetic recipes in my cookbook collection if you have diabetes.
People will call you crazy
My friends often used to ask the question “why so low?” Most of the people don’t understand why it’s so important to me eating 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. Well, I hope they can understand now.
Many people still believe that a healthy diet means less meat and more grains. In a keto diet, you usually don’t eat grains and increase your meat consumption. There’s still a belief that ketosis means ketoacidosis and more protein damage your kidney. Bullshit. Perhaps people start to bother you about your new lifestyle and diet. Be prepared.
I’ve followed a bit restricted keto diet. Initially I didn’t have many options for food so I started discover new tastes. Thanks to my 400+ quick, easy low carb recipes, life is so much easier. I even included 30 one-pot low carb recipes and 30 slow-cooker recipes into the recipe collection.
You try to find out new food when you don’t eat old ones. Today I like a lot of food that I did not eat in the past. Also, you got a new taste.
I remember in 2012 when I used to drink cups and cups of coffee. I could drink one cup of coffee and go to sleep. Coffee didn’t seem to have any effect on me. After my keto diet, I could feel the effects of coffee on me.
Keto diet cleanses your body from all that trash you’ve been eating. You notice the changes when using a good source of fuel. In a junk diet, your body is so polluted that it can’t even work well.
A keto diet has its drawbacks. Sometimes you feel so euphoric that is hard to relax or sleep. That is unpleasant. You’re often thirsty and supplementing electrolytes, which is annoying. I usually carry a bottle of magnesium, potassium, and sodium diluted in water. But this is not the worst. Bad breath is very inconvenient. Keto diet makes you produce ketones, which is very volatile and easily enter into the respiratory system. Your breath is always exhaling ketones, mainly when you’re fasting. For me, that is the most unpleasant consequence of the keto diet.
This is a very strict diet and you should check with your health professional before beginning just to make sure you are good to go. I had a very positive experience with the keto diet, and I am sure YOU will have too. I wish you a happy Keto journey!