On September 14, my boyfriend Jason and I started our month-long experiment of going keto. If you don’t know what keto is, it’s a low-carb, high fat diet that can help you lose weight by going into ketosis. Ketosis is when your body shifts its fuel consumption from glucose to fat. (If you want to read more on this, check out the resource links at the bottom. I’m no expert! As proof, I only just recently found out I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly for a while. Whoops. For future reference, it’s KEY-toe, not KEH-toe.)
We heard about it through various sources online and really got the motivational kick to do it when my mom mentioned she had lost 15lbs in 2.5 months by cutting out rice completely and upping her workouts. (She looked really good!) She wasn’t strictly on a keto diet, but we wanted to see what all the hubbub was about and thought that having rules in place could keep us on track.
On Day 0, we grocery shopped for keto-friendly foods and snacks, then indulged in some carby meals that we knew we wouldn’t be able to have for a month: french toast, pancakes, sushi, burgers, the works. This helped a lot psychologically because we were able to get that all out of our system before we set out on this new diet. It probably wasn’t the best idea in the long-run and probably delayed how long it’d take for us to reach ketosis, but sometimes you have to do things to help you mentally get through a challenging new habit. Similar to how some people have cheat days/meals to help with cravings.
My starting weight: 139.6 lbs
My starting BMI: 26.4 (healthy range is 18.5–24.9)
My keto log
Day 1: Excitement with general tiredness and light-headedness.
Day 2: Less tired because I had realized that I wasn’t replenishing my electrolytes enough on Day 1. Some low-cal Gatorade fixed that quickly.
Day 10: Feeling good and getting the hang of the diet, while continuing to do my usual 4 workouts per week. At this point, I am already down to 137.8 lbs (down 1.8 lbs!) since starting.
Days 11-13: These three days were a bit challenging because Jason and I went to New Orleans for vacation. We prepared for the trip by packing a cooler of our low-carb snacks and gatorades for the 8-hour drive. We ended up having a couple cheat meals here and there (We had to have beignets! Jason had never had them before!) but did our best to keep carbs down to a minimum. I don’t think we went overboard with carbs, but we were definitely over the 30g daily amount we had been maintaining before.
Day 14: First day after New Orleans, back to eating keto. It’ll of course take until Day 18 to be back in ketosis. This day and Day 15 were a bit rough on me psychologically. Going back to keto after having such yummy yummy carbs was difficult. But I did it! I unfortunately gained back the 1.8 lbs I had lost. So back to my starting weight at 139.6 lbs.
Day 16: Discovered Powerade Zero! 0 calories and 0 carbs. See ya later 12g carb Gatorade!
Day 19: Back into the swing of things and feeling good! I’m back to 137.8 lbs (down 1.8 lbs) again. So New Orleans effectively set me back one week in weight loss. Just shows you how dangerous cheat days can be when it takes 4 days to reach ketosis.
Day 21: I discovered that you could get a burger as a bowl at Alamo Drafthouse. So much happiness. (Side note: ate this while watching “The Martian.” Go see it if you haven’t already!)
Day 26: Jason surprised me by buying me a Fitbit Charge HR in blue! I wasn’t expecting it at all! He said he wanted to get it for me for Christmas but figured he could give it to me sooner so that I can use it right away. It’ll help me keep better track of my eating. I was counting carb grams but now I can also count calories, something I was never a fan of.
Day 28: I went to ACL Fest for the first time. (It was amazing!) I checked the website on Day 27 to see what food they would have and was a bit worried because lots of it was either fried or served on some sort of carb (tortilla, bread, etc.). Fortunately, I discovered that the Salt Lick had a pork rib boat that was just three ribs on one slice of bread. Problem solved! Avoided the bread and the sauce for a (relatively) low-carb option. Also, walking to the shuttle, walking around the festival, and not to mention all the dancing and jumping around definitely helped burn calories.
Day 30: I somehow managed to lose 0.6 lbs in one day! Now weighing in at 136.2 lbs (down 3.4 lbs total!). I would like to thank Seryn for putting on the great show on Day 29 that helped me dance off all that weight.
The results are in!
Before keto: 139.6 lbs
After keto: 135.8 lbs (down 3.8 lbs!)
BMI (Healthy range for BMI is 18.5–24.9)
Before keto: 26.4
After keto: 25.7 (down 0.7!)
Final thoughts on keto
Overall, I’m really glad we tried this. The first week was easily the toughest. I didn’t realize how much my body craved sugar until I cut it down significantly. I had the same withdrawal symptoms I get whenever I give up soda. (I’m hoping to go for an entire year this time and then give it up completely. I’m currently at 48 days without it!)
I will note that it’s not for everyone. Nutrition is such a touchy and relative subject because our bodies are unique; one diet, exercise, or lifestyle may not work as well for some as it does for others. However, the simple act of being more mindful of what you’re putting into your body is something I think everyone could benefit from.
One unexpected side effect with all this was how much money I ended up saving! Rather than eating out every day at lunch, I would pack these:
- 11am snack: 1/4 cup of Tex Mex trail mix
- Lunch: A spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette and one of these packs for salad toppings
- Lunch/afternoon snack: Celery with a mini pack of peanut butter
It makes it so much easier to say “no” to the carby snacks at the office when you bring your own.
Now that the month-long experiment is over, am I going to go back to my old eating habits?
I am way too happy with all the progress I’ve made to squander it. I realize that, with the holidays quickly approaching, there will be days when eating keto will be tougher than others. But I’ve got a partner that’s toughing it out with me and we both are looking better and better each day. We’re hoping to eat keto until we get to our goal weights and then switch over to paleo to maintain the weight. That’ll make for an interesting experiment. It’ll be hard to stay away from cheese! But I’ve managed to do a good job kicking carbs, so maybe I can kick dairy too. And hell, if I can do it, you can too.
Here are some keto resources in case you’re interested in trying it out:
- The Ketogenic Diet
- The Ketogenic Lifestyle
- ruled.me: A Guide to the Keto Diet
- ruled.me: Keto Recipes (I’m drooling already just looking at the pictures)
- An interesting post about keto vs. paleo (apologies for the google cache version: the original article is down for whatever reason)