My Journey With Keto

The Background

I don’t like to be in photographs. I love to take them. I love to edit them. I don’t love to be in them. I’m about 20 pounds away from wanting to be in them.  

Our family is complete. But with having a 5 and 3 year old, timing wise, I could be expecting our third. I’ve had people ask. (it still baffles me how grown-ups don’t have a filter for this).  But I’m not expecting. I won’t be. I just look like I’m 6 months pregnant because without hips or a butt I carry all my weight in my stomach area. Super fun.

I work full-time. I barely have time to make dinner for my family let alone take care of myself. I would love to belong to a gym or work out and I know it’s my own fault for not making it a priority. But with my husband’s crazy work schedule and never seeing my kids while I’m at work, I’m too guilty and too tired to. 

Does any of this sound familiar? I decided that I was tired of making excuses and needed to make myself a priority this year. The whole “You can’t pour from an empty cup” thing and all.  I want to live for a long time and even though I don’t know what tomorrow brings, I am in control of the one body I’ve been given and needed to do more to take care of it.

But here’s the thing! I do eat pretty healthy! We rarely go out to eat. I love to cook and cook from scratch. I already had cut out processed foods as much as possible. I love fruit and veggies. I don’t even have a sweet tooth! I don’t drink soda – I love LaCroix!  I did a Whole30 last year and really liked it, but it wasn’t sustainable. I just did it from to see if I had an aversion to dairy or gluten and I didn’t, so of course, those came back into my diet.  So what gives? Why was I still gaining weight and could never lose an ounce!

For one, I do have hypothyroidism. I will likely take medicine for the rest of my life. Though my levels are in check, it does affect my weight. This is not an excuse, just something I have to realize and deal with. I know weight will not just drop off my like it will others. But I had it before kids and knew I could get back to that size again.  I also had an IUD and while doctors might not agree, I do think this impacted my weight and inability to lose.  Once I had that removed this fall, I made it my mission to finally get back to where I once was before kids.

The Experiment

So should I do Whole30 again? Try something else?  Nothing ever worked in the past for long term.  After a lot of research, I decided to try the latest buzz word I had seen floating around. KETO.  KETO is not new in that older diets like Atkins follow the same premise.  Basically, when you eat sugar, your body uses that first for energy.  By cutting out sugar (and carbs that turn into sugar) you are forcing your body to find another source for energy.

Your body naturally produces ketones. If you aren’t giving your body carbs or that energy source, then your body produces more ketones to be used instead.  The body begins to burn fat instead, or fat from our diets.   This is an oversimplified explanation, and I would recommend reading more about it if you are interested in trying it and of course talk with your doctor.

After reading a lot, I decided to try it. So now what? I joined some FB groups to get recipes. I needed to use an online keto calculator to figure out my macros (how much fat, protein and carbs I need in a day) based on my weight and goals. I needed to cut down carbs, eliminate sugar, and up my protein and fat intake.

I chose to use My Fitness Pal to document my food each day. It’s easy to scan labels and they have most food in their app. There are other apps that exist too!

The Results

A crazy unflattering comparison of me from July (right side) to now!

It can be restrictive. I’m not going to sugar coat it.  You will have to give up bad habits. You will not get to keep eating your cake, soda, chips, etc. But there are alternatives. I eat plenty of food. It’s good tasting food.  I don’t eat a salad every day.  It was nowhere nearly as hard as Whole30 was. You are still cutting out sugar but having dairy included to eat helped me a lot. Cheese is an easy snack and I like it on my foods.  You do have to be intentional with meal planning and can’t wing it easily unless you want eggs and an avocado for every meal.  I do miss fruit the most. And I have dreams of mashed potatoes.

It can be more expensive.  At least it was for me, but that’s also because I chose to invest in almond flour, Zevia (soda alternative when I just need treat), monk fruit sweetener and other things you wouldn’t have to do. It is nice to know my money is going to real, whole foods instead of processed junk food though!  And if you shop the sales, especially for meat and produce, you’ll be great!

It requires cooking.   There are some grab and go things but there are many things that require prep. I still make meals that my whole family can eat. If I make tacos, I just put mine on a bed of lettuce instead of a shell. I make zoodles for myself and regular spaghetti for my kids and husband.  I prep my salads and such for lunches.  Going places is the hardest. I bring my own pepperoni sticks and string cheese to the movies. I’ll eat ahead at home instead of at a birthday party. But it’s possible.

It requires dedication.  I recently had a birthday and could have said, forget it – I’m getting my normal margarita and Mexican meal!  Well, I didn’t because it wasn’t worth it to me. So I found a local restaurant that I really like and still got amazing zucchini enchiladas and a delicious vanilla old fashioned! And because the net carbs were listed on their menu, I knew I was within my limit for the day. I wish we had more spots like this in town!   You also need to dedicate yourself to drinking water like a beast. 

I see big changes.  I have been at this for just over one month.  I have lost  7 inches and over 10 lbs.  I know others who have lost even more in this time frame, but it depends on your starting weight and habits before this.   Initially I lost a lot of water weight. I did try the keto urine strips and it helped me to see when I was having ketones in my urine but after the first week or so, those didn’t measure much anymore. 

My wedding ring slides around now which shows me that inflammation is down in my body. I remember my dreams again. This only ever happened while I was doing Whole30 last winter which tells me I am getting better sleep again. I have more energy. I don’t hit the 2pm slump like I used to. I’m not hungry.  I don’t eat as much fat as I’m supposed to according to my goals for the day, but I’m ok with that.  Because I’m not giving my body the quick sugar highs like I used to, my body is using fat for fuel and therefore I am not as hungry as I used to be.  So it’s easy to meet my caloric goals in a day.

Is Keto for you? I would definitely do the research and talk with your healthcare professional to see. I know a local news station just covered a story about other resources in the area available for Keto and similar programs too.  I would love to hear any favorite recipes or results if you do use it.  Regardless of what works for you, I hope you all take time for yourself this coming year and take back your health. It’s worth it.

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3 Responses to My Journey With Keto

  1. MC March 27, 2018 at 6:01 am #

    Yes! I am loving keto, too. The one big change ive had is sleep. I used to wake several times a night. Nolw I sleep through, even have a little trouble getting up. Who would have thought? You must tell me this restaurant that has net carbs on their menu. Ive been good at eating at home but man it sure would be nice to have a meal out sometime!

  2. Alexis Rivera March 29, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

    I just started Keto and I love it but its so hard its knly been about two weeks. I have a super junk food sweet tooth but after seeing pictures of my kids birthday i love like the mom who ate the whole cake and it was just time for a change. If you have any other app suggestions please let me know im doing this a little blindly I did a ton of research but I’m not great wih restriction so didn’t wantto do too much at once. Keep up thr good work🙂

  3. Katy June 16, 2018 at 6:49 am #

    I have just started Keto 3 weeks ago with my husband. We love it! We have a wedding anniversary next week and have trouble finding a restaurant to go to. We live in Green Bay. Are you able to tell me what restaurant you went to for your birthday? Thanks