This post is a novel, and if you are only here for the recipes, you can scroll to the bottom! I tried to section this out and keep my thoughts from going all over the place. I am not sharing before and after photos today, as I am still on my journey. One day, I hope to be brave enough to put my before pictures out there. The real ones, not the ones where I am hiding under over-sized clothing. Here we go….
The What and The Why
For me, I have struggled with weight my entire life. I get stuck on a loop of some kind of diet, falling off the train, trying to get fit, finding balance, etc. For the most part, I lived by an 80/20 rule, or more like….be good all week and free for all on the weekend. I have done several rounds of Whole 30, meal replacement protein shakes, slim fast, low fat, Weight Watchers, MyFitnessPal, Body Beast, T25, several Julian Michael’s programs. You name the diet, I have probably tried some version of it. And you know what? I am sick of it all.
Keto is certainly not a sustainable diet. Not for me, anyways. But I have seen so many people lose a significant amount of weight on it. And I needed that. I needed to see some major change in a short amount of time to kick my ass into gear.
In conjunction with Keto, I joined in Thomas DeLauer’s Intermittent Fasting Challenge. (I highly recommend his videos if you are researching IF or Keto. He gets all science geek about everything and I love it.) Thomas says you shouldn’t do IF every day, you should do it every other day, or find a way for it to work for you. Now, there have been a few weeks where I have done it every day since it is just easier for me to not eat breakfast in the morning. But I have also done a few days where I don’t fast because I wanted to eat with Zoe, or I was just really hungry or feeling off. On days I fast, I typically fast for 16 hours and have an 8 hour eating window.
If you would have told me a few months ago that I was going to be all into Keto and IF, I would have told you that you were crazy! I was so against IF. How can you go so long without eating???? I get hangry!!!! I will get all shaky and pass out. I wake up at 4am and work out, how can I wait until noon to eat?? Now that I have done my research and do it right, I don’t really run in to any of those problems. Sometimes I even crave that feeling a few hours before I break my fast. My body is so aware of everything that is going on because I am not digesting anything. I can basically feel it burning fat.
The Results To Date
I am down 17 pounds since January 6th. That is a significant loss in a short amount of time. (For me anyways.) I know some of that is water weight, obviously. But I have had two people who haven’t seen me since Christmas comment on how much weight I have lost. And Chris said he can definitely tell too. A lot of my clothes are big and falling off of me. I went to buy some new pants the other day, and every pair I took back were too big!!! Huge non-scale victory for me!
Other benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, anti-aging benefits, improved digestion, uses stored body fat as fuel, help manage hunger, stabilizes mood. I have seen signs of all of these things.
What I Have Learned and My Thoughts
I am very much aware of how many carbs I was consuming before. Way too many. Keto has killed the sugar monster in me. I finally don’t have that itch at 3:00 pm to grab candy or eat mindless snacks. After drinking black coffee for over a month, I can’t stand anything sweet in my drink either. If I am having a second coffee in the day, after I break my fast, I may add a little heavy cream to it. But flavored creamer or syrups, nope. Can’t do then anymore. My new favorite drink at Starbucks is a Flat White, no milk, add half heavy cream half steamed water. Delicious!!! I don’t need the calorie ridden, sugar filled butterscotch latte. Even though it used to be my absolute favorite. I can enjoy my new flat white just as much.
I have found so many ways to make meals a lot healthier/low carb. We have enjoyed onion rings, cookies, burger sliders, zucchini fries. I don’t really feel like I am sacrificing a ton when I make a meat and cheese board on a Saturday, and it is all keto compliant. Or when I have my homemade roasted pecans/walnuts on my drive home in the evenings. (To die for!!!)
There is constant research in the health and fitness world, and sometimes what we used to think isn’t what is best. Our bodies are constantly evolving, but we also have to remember that we were hunters/gathers at one time. We were told growing up that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, IF sort of tells you that you can skip it completely and benefit from that. Not every diet is going to work for everyone, and we all have to figure out what will work best for us.
I am the kind of person that needs to go all in and do something drastic to make a change in my life. So, doing something like Keto and IF was best for me at this time. I have tried, unsuccessfully, the last year or two to be consistent with anything. When something takes too much effort, like tracking with Weight Watchers, I start getting lazy and not being honest about how much I am actually consuming. Oh, I don’t need to count the 20 goldfish I had when I was getting Zoe’s dinner ready, do I?. Keto and IF is easy for me. I know what I can eat and when I can eat it. There are rules and I can follow. I need rules.
The thing about a diet though, is just that. It is a diet. And eventually, you have to stop. I know there are people who have done Keto or IF for a long time and it works for them, but it is not something I ever meant to keep up. It was a jump start. I am terrified to start eating carbs again, but here is the honest truth about some of the side effects of Keto.
I am tired AF. Not having any carbs to fuel me, no matter how I tweak my macros, is not really working for me. When I get up in the morning, it is sooooooo hard to make myself get dressed and go workout. There have been several days where I just skip my work out or half-ass it because I am too tired. I feel like I am not gaining the benefit of energy you supposedly have with IF because I am not consuming carbs. But at the same time, Keto and IF go so well together.
Also, we are going to get personal and I am going to tell you that this has messed up my period so bad. I lost it for a month, and when I did have one, it wasn’t normal. So I caution anyone who may be trying to get pregnant or regulate their period to stay away from keto and IF. There is research on both that show that this could happen, so I am not sure if one or both are to blame for me.
My hair has changed. It looks more damaged and I notice a lot more fall out. My skin is dryer as well, and I am having to compensate with more moisturizer. I will say that a lot of people recommend collagen protein for this, and while I do have some and use it sometimes…it is hard for me to fit it in every day since most people do it in their coffee and I cant because I fast in the mornings and that can break your fast.\
I never felt like I had keto flu. There are ways to ease yourself into keto that this shouldn’t really be an issue. But some other side effects are bad breath, constipation, dehydration, sleep problems, drowsiness, dizziness, reduced strength and physical performance. I haven’t really had any issues with sleep, but I have experienced most of the other side effects at some point.
I am still working out how I want to come off keto, and what my long term plan will be.
I want to be able to live life. I want to be able to order a cheeseburger if I want one, or take Zoe out for ice cream and enjoy my life. The keto diet really doesn’t allow for those things. While I don’t place happiness on food like I used to, I do enjoy socializing with family and friends and lets be honest, that usually revolves around food. I am still working on my view on food, and I am trying to eliminate words like bad or naughty when it comes to food. There is no good food or bad food, it is all food. Everything is ok in moderation, and it should be more about you making better decisions for your optimum health and wellness. To fuel your body with nutrients to be able to take on your day and live your life. I think that is a hard concept for a lot of us to grasp.
I have considered macro counting, but I hate logging every single thing I eat. So I am still up in the air on this. I have started doing research into the 800 gram challenge after watching a Tedx Talk on it last week. Have you heard of it? Basically, you eat 800 grams (about 6 cups) of fruits and vegetables every day. It is more about adding that to your diet, and not eliminating any one food group. The idea is that you will fill up on the healthy foods and not have room for much else. You can take it a step further and set a protein goal for the day as well, and then eat anything else as you like. This seems more of a lifestyle change, and one that would be more easily obtainable.
I know this is why you are really here. Link will follow each picture.
So tell me, have you ever tried Keto or IF….or considered trying it out?