Last September, I decided to give the Ketogentic style of eating a try. If you’d like to read about why I finally decided to give it a try after being super skeptical about it, check out this post.
After 3 months of following keto, hitting the gym at least 5 days a week and incorporating Intermittent Fasting (IF), I dropped almost 30 pounds and saw muscles that I had never seen since starting my fitness journey.
The photo on the left was Day 1 of joining the gym in September,
Photo on the right was late November.
Photo on the left was August 2017, Photo on the right was May 2018. It’s crazy how I didn’t feel like I had gained so much back at the time, but looking back,
I don’t know how I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t.
I learned a lot while doing keto. Starting out as a carb/sugar junkie was rough….I’m not going to lie. Thankfully as I mentioned in the above referenced post, I hit Pinterest for Keto-friendly recipes that would help me with my bread and sweets cravings – Need inspiration? Check out my Keto board over there – I think it’s really important to plan things out before jumping into this lifestyle change because there are NO CHEAT DAYS while following keto.
There is science involved with keto. When you’re body is in a state of ketosis, it’s completely changing the way it fuels itself.
Keto Flu is real. Don’t roll your eyes about it when reading about keto on-line. When you drop your carb intake, your body naturally begins to dump excess water that it normally holds on to. This will result in a big number drop on the scale because you’ll no longer on to excess water, however this fluid dump will also leave you low on electrolytes and leave you feeling like you have the flu. NOT. FUN.
Ways to combat this is to up your salt intake…but not with regular table salt, you’ll want quality salt like Celtic or Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.
Electrolytes like Nuun can also be added to water, but be careful which ones you buy. Some of them are high in carbs and will kick you out of ketosis (or slow down the process of getting into ketosis). I am a fan of these electrolytes…
They come in these handy little packets that you can easily stick in your bag or pocket, but if you prefer, they also come in a tub. I picked them up at Vitamin Shoppe but I’ve also seen them at Whole Foods and Amazon also has them. They come in different flavors and Amazon sells a sample pack so you can try the flavors and see what you like best.
Another great way to combat Keto Flu is to sip on bone broth throughout the day. It is full of minerals that your body needs and if you’re doing Intermittent Fasting, you can sip on it and not break fast! My favorite brand is Kettle & Fire which I have found at Vitamin Shoppe as well as Whole Foods.
My workouts also suffered a bit when I first started keto and I had to change my mindset about things. I couldn’t move the same kind of weight I was able to move while fueling my body with carbs and that was a punch to the ego. Dropping down in weight after hitting new PR’s is a painful thing, but I sucked up my pride, adjusted what I was doing and my body rewarded me by burning fat like it was nothing and allowing my muscle to finally show through!
While eating low carb/high fat I also no longer suffered from the 3pm slump. You know that feeling when you need a coffee IV, sugary treat or a nap? Yeah….I didn’t experience that anymore and THAT was an amazing feeling.
Despite all of this, I stopped following strict keto toward the end of December. Between the holidays and some travel, I just wanted to try to find balance that allowed me to not have to stress over food and freak out about wanting to have a few beers with friends. I simply kept my carbs low and my fat higher, but not to an extreme that allowed the body to switch over to producing ketones on a regular basis.
Of course adding carbs back into the mix triggers your body to hold onto fluid again, so my weight increased by 3-5 pounds but i’m totally okay with that.
This experiment taught me a lot of things about my body. The most important one being that despite how much I love carbs & sugar, my body does not. They leave me feeling tired, lost in a brain fog and fluffy feeling. None of those are good feelings.
I also learned that I really like Intermittent Fasting and incorporating lower carb days into my routine. This style of fueling my body leaves me lots of energy and helps me to find the balance that I feel is so important in life. I’ve been using an app called Zero to track my fasting and I highly recommend it.
So will I go back to strict keto? Probably! I definitely saw the benefits of it and felt great while following it…however I also love real pizza, beer and donuts from time to time.
I’ve made a promise to myself that I will find balance this year. I won’t keep my nutrition & workouts so strict that I go off the rails as soon as I have something that doesn’t fit plan. Life is short and I want to enjoy it, but I also don’t want to lose all of the hard work I’ve put in over the last 7+ years. That’s where balance comes into play and it looks different for everyone. I’m not 100% sure what my balance is yet, but I feel like I’m a lot closer to finding it.
Keep an eye out for more low carb recipes and keto information! I promise there is more to come soon!