I started my journey on keto on the cliche date of January 1st, 2018. I’m not typically a New Year’s Resolution type of girl, but I was tired of feeling tired, tired of feeling hopelessly addicted to carbs and sugar, and tired of feeling out of control in many areas of my life. I knew it was time to take back the reigns on my health and diet. Two months into keto, I wrote a post entitled Keto Diet: What I’ve Experienced After Two Months. If you haven’t read that post yet, I encourage you to start there! It will answer any basic questions you have on keto such as what is keto, what do you eat on a ketogenic diet, what is keto flu and more. Today I want to give you an update on the good and bad, pros and cons, amazing and odd things I’ve experienced since running on ketones!
How much weight have you lost on keto in six months?
Let’s dive into the most pressing question first! How much weight have I lost so far by solely eating a ketogenic diet? Unfortunately I didn’t take a “before” picture back in January, but here is where I’m at currently. After 6 months of exercising several times a week, not cheating, staying in ketosis consistently, and watching my macros and calories every day–I have lost a grand total of 22.5 lbs. By anyone’s weight-loss standards this is not fast weight loss, or even all that impressive!
Some have questioned whether I’ve had cheat days, or “carbed up” on weekends. The answer is no. With the exception of Easter Sunday meal where I had two glasses of red wine and some sweet potatoes with my ham (which by the way knocked me out of ketosis), I have not strayed from ketosis. However, I have recently kept my daily net carbs on the higher end of the spectrum at around 30 grams of net carbs instead of under the recommended 20 net carbs–or the hardcore 20 TOTAL carbs. My extra carbs often come from veggies, raspberries, and dark chocolate. I try to keep my daily calories between 1200-1400 depending on whether or not I’ve worked out that day.
In the graph above you can see that my weight loss has been slllllloooooooow with many zig-zaggy ups and downs. It might be tempting to think that since only a few pounds were lost each month that it isn’t working or isn’t worth it. But remember that it’s the little consistent changes made daily that add up over time! I have some more body fat I’d like to get rid of, and I plan to continue on keto to see where it takes me.
Couldn’t you have lost the fat quicker if you did Whole 30, Weight Watchers, reigned in the carbs, implemented intermittent fasting, or (fill in the blank with a myriad of other suggestions that would work)?
Yes. I don’t believe in a “one eating fits all” approach to dieting and fortunately many paths will lead to health and fat loss. If fast weight loss is your goal, then taking a varied approach to what I have done may be key. However, at age 43 I know myself really well–and I know that I won’t maintain any level of “suffering” for very long! This time around, I wanted to make lifestyle changes I could stick with longterm.
What are you currently eating on keto?
I like to keep my recipes and meal planning very simple! Here are some of the things I’m currently eating:
MY TYPICAL KETO BREAKFAST OPTIONS:
- Baked egg
- Eggs, bacon, wilted spinach
- Keto pancakes
- Keto crepes with strawberries
- Quest bar
- Lox & cream cheese on fathead bagel with Everything But the Bagel seasoning.
MY TYPICAL KETO LUNCH OPTIONS:
- Chopped salad, avocado, bacon, cheese, egg, and low carb dressing (I always keep bagged salad on hand for easy veggie options
- Charcuterie tray (olives, hard cheeses, deli meats, sausages, avocado)
- Tuna salad with low carb mayo
- Chicken salad
MY TYPICAL KETO DINNER OPTIONS:
- Meat and low carb veggie! We do a lot of grilled chicken, grilled salmon, steak, taco salad, meatloaf, cream cheese chicken, etc.
- Keto Cream Cheese Mushroom Chicken is my favorite keto-friendly dinner dish. I could easily eat it every week without getting sick of it. I’ll do a post on it soon!
MY TYPICAL KETO SNACK OPTIONS:
- String cheese
- Sunflower seeds
- Almonds (My current fav is Blue Diamond Bold Habanero BBQ.)
- Seaweed Snacks (I love Trader Joe’s Wasabi and Roasted Teriyaki flavors.)
- Whisps Cheese Crisps
MY TYPICAL KETO DESSERT OPTIONS:
- 85% dark chocolate dipped in nut butter
- A few squares of 85% dark chocolate melted. Add a splash of heavy cream and stir to create a “frosting” consistency. Fold in some whipped cream and raspberries. Amazing!!
- Carbquick Chocolate Chip Scones
- Quest Cookies
- Raspberries or strawberries and cream
The Cons: Have you experienced any negative side effects while on keto?
Yes, I have. The biggest drawbacks I’ve experienced while on keto are increased sensitivity to alcohol and caffeine, trouble sleeping, and having to pee so frequently. I drink a lot more fluids now and therefore frequent the bathroom more often, including in the middle of the night which doesn’t help the sleeping situation. I’m sure I could manage this better with some planning! I do supplement with Magnesium before bed to try and help with sleep, and I’m not sure if it helps or not. Another con is muscle cramps! If I’m not careful to replenish my electrolytes after a hard workout then I will get muscle cramps at night. Most of these cons are avoidable and preventable, and if I’m experiencing these negative side-effects it’s a reminder that I’m not watching what I eat and drink carefully enough.
The Pros: Have you experienced any positive and unexpected side effects while on keto?
Yes, I have! A ketogenic diet is known to reduce inflammation in the body . After going keto, I’m hardly allergic to things that used to put me into a sneezing and wheezing frenzy–for instance, cats! If I was in a room where a cat had previously walked, I could tell you. My red itchy eyes, runny nose, and non-stop sneezing would make it rather clear that a cat had crossed my path! Now, we literally own a cat. I kiss him, snuggle him, bury my face in his fur without so much as a throat tickle. This is completely insane! I’ve been miserably allergic to cats my entire life and would never in a million years think it would be possible for us to live with one. In all fairness, I haven’t hugged or kissed another cat so it is possible that Sprockets is just a magic cat low in Fel D1 protein; the protein which causes allergies in humans. Sprocks did come to us rather magically! If you haven’t read the story it’s a good one. Click here to read it: Sprockets: The Kitten in the Engine. All of my allergies are better and I no longer need to take allergy medicine.
Another benefit I’ve noticed is clear skin. One would think that in your 40’s clear skin would be a given, but before keto I had to use salicylic acid gel on my face daily to control my breakouts. I no longer need to use any acne prevention.
Hands down the greatest benefit I’ve experienced from keto is being able to turn down sweets! I’m not controlled all day by sugar cravings and I don’t typically get an afternoon slump. I can be around sweets, baked goods, and ice cream and for the most part easily turn them down. I’m still tempted by some sweets, but it’s just not at all the way it used to be! I feel free from sugar and carb slavery which I never thought possible.
How long do you plan to stay on a keto diet?
Right now I have no plans to go off keto, but I’m definitely not committing to staying on keto for life. I love the way I feel on keto and am excited to see how things progress over the year! I’ll keep you posted! I said this in my first blog post on keto but it warrants repeating. Keto is NOT for everyone. If you research the longterm health effects of a ketogenic diet the benefits are less clear. There is a myriad of research to be found both for and against keto. Do your own research, talk with your physician, and listen to your own body before starting or continuing with any diet.
Here are some of my favorite keto items on Amazon: