Here it is! You guys asked it for it, so I’m finally putting it out there. The lazy girl’s guide to Ketogenic eating. We’ve been doing the Keto thing since May 14th, and Dan and I have lost 90lbs between the two of us. Numbers are not the be-all end-all of Keto though, this is also due to an increase in physical exercise, an increase in sleep quality, and changing our relationship with food. // Check out Part 2 here //
We both feel amazing: have increased energy levels, sleep really well, spend less on food, are not constantly craving food, and are honestly enjoying a better quality of life.
*DISCLAIMER: Keto may not be right for you. Before embarking on any major lifestyle changes, consult with your physican or health care provider. Also, do your own research!
What is the ketogenic diet?
When Dan and I started on this, we started with a lot of research. We found this site to be the most thorough, and provided us with real numbers, recipes, and info.
“A keto or ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet, which turns the body into a fat-burning machine. ”
“A low-carb diet is low in carbohydrates, primarily found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. Instead, you eat real foods including protein, natural fats and vegetables.”
Basically, you cut almost all the carbs out of your diet, and focus on eating high fat foods (the good fats), and supplement with green fibres.
How many carbs do you eat on Keto?
In an ideal world you eat 20g of carbs a day. Whether you get there through total carbs, or net carbs is up to you. If you’ve ever looked at the label of the food you’re eating, you’ve likely only paid attention to calories, fat or sodium, but with Keto your new magic number is the carbohydrates.
Carbs are comprised of fibre, sugar & “other.” You’ll usually see those first two listed, and then there’s a bunch of other stuff that goes into the total Carb number, but it’s often not listed so I just call it “other.”
What’s the difference between Total Carbs vs. Net Carbs
So, the big difference here comes down to how much work you want to do. I am a busy woman with no time to subtract fibres from carbs, let alone keep a running tab, so we do the total carbs method.
If you’re doing total carbs, you should still only be eating 20g of sugar/other but once you count the fibre it pushes the number close to 30/40g. I find this confusing, which is why we stick to 20g total, and give ourself 5-10g of wiggle room on some days to account for the fibre.
I’m not counting the fibre in vegetables, just the fibre written on the label of packaged items. If you want to be a stickler you can take time to figure it all out, but like I said – this is the lazy girl’s guide to Keto.
How to start eating Keto
How to start? where to start? when to start? Just do it. Dan and I literally emptied the house of everything that had carbs (we donated it to the community kitchen where we volunteer), and then started with a smart shop.
The first grocery trips on keto took some time. We struggled to find items we could buy that gave us enough of a portion, weren’t a temptation, and were keto friendly. Almost everything in the produce aisle was good to go, the meat & poultry + fish counters were a free for all, same with the cheese and dairy isles except for milk.
Going through the packaged food is time consuming and very discouraging, but hey! you’re changing up your lifestyle and relationship with food — it takes time and effort.
Take your measurements
You want to be able to track progress, and the best way to do that is with a measuring tape. The scale will just give your weight. If you’re also working out more, you’ll gain muscle, which will throw off the scale. Measurements account for toning.
Take some before photos as well. You’ll cringe taking them in the nude or in your undies, but they’re the best way to see progress as you go.
Only weight yourself once a week
You can weigh yourself every day if you want, but it becomes obsessive and unhealthy. We weigh ourselves officially once a week (on sunday morning after a bowel movement). That’s “the number” until next Sunday.
Expect to pee A LOT (and drink a lot of water)
The ketogenic fat burning process begins with your body burning its own fat reserves. This means that as they’re utilized, your body will drain the fat cells of water while it uses the fat for energy aka you’re going to pee all the time. Because you’re dropping a lot of “water weight” you’ll also risk dehydrating yourself. Buy a water bottle and keep it full at all times. Dry mouth (& foul breath) are a side-effect, so having water with help with a lot of that. Plus, you’ll just naturally be really thirsty.
I do not feel deprived on Keto
This is the question I am asked most. No, I do not feel deprived eating Keto, especially while I do it the lazy way.
The joys of keto mean that I can eat literally whenever I’m hungry, as long as I eat the right thing. This means enabling smarter food choices, stocking the right things at home, and being prepared to put a little extra effort in when I’m out and about.
Because I have those 20g of carbs each day, I can still eat chocolate, or have some peanut butter, or ice cream etc. I just make my choice more deliberate instead of choosing foods mindlessly throughout the day to satisfy an emotional need.
The Keto Flu is real
If you’ve been reading up on Keto, you’ll have heard of the Keto flu. Basically, as your body detoxes from the exceptionally addictive substances known as carbs, your body enters withdrawal.
Your energy levels will plumit, your sleep will be all kinds of messed up, you’ll crave particular foods like fries, jujubes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and buttery bread. You may also feel really nauseous and light-headed. It sucks, and it will be worse depending on how addicted to carbs you are.
I say the words “addiction” and “detox” here knowing full well that it really is that. Dan and I were “jonesing for a fix” for like 4 days before our cravings subsided and we didn’t want to kill each other for some pizza.
I was in an awful mood for 3 days, and then fell asleep in the studio one afternoon, and woke-up feeling amazing.
How to get over the keto flu
I got over the keto flu by drinking a lot of water. I added a pinch of salt to every bottle to help with all the electrolytes I was losing, and I kept telling myself it was for a healthier tomorrow, and I ate a lot of cheese.
I also drank Coke Zero for the first few weeks because I still craved something sweet. I know you’re supposed to go cold turkey from sweet things altogether, but this is what I did to survive.
I no longer need the sweet, so having sugar-free pop is a nice treat when I want it.
Part 2 is on Thursday! So stay tunned.