Observations and Successes I Have Had With a Ketogenic Diet
My Goal is to Hopefully Get Off of The Diet Roller Coaster for Good
I Decided It Was Finally Time to Do Something!
I'm about to hit a major milestone this year by turning 60 years old. I woke up one day realizing that my weight had hit an all-time high that I hadn't seen since I was 26 and pregnant - with twins! I decided it was time to really do something this time. I had fooled around in the past with crazy, nonsensical diets like drinking instant breakfast twice a day and eating just one meal in the evening. This kind of thing worked for me when I was much younger, but it was not even making a dent in my weight at this age, and with a slower metabolism!
After talking with a good friend who had experienced a lot of weight loss success on a Keto Diet, I decided to give it a whirl. Her reasoning for turning to a Keto diet was more complicated than mine. She had major gut issues and seriously needed a change in diet to address them. She was genuinely sick for a while there. Fortunately, I didn't have anything like that... I was simply overweight, which is a real problem in itself.
I had gotten to the point where my doctor was starting to talk about things like pre-diabetes (something I wanted to try to avoid if I could by any means possible). I've already been on high cholesterol and high blood pressure medications for years and figured a big reason for that was my ever expanding waistline. I did not want to add insulin or diabetic medications to the mix. If I do experience getting off of the medications I'm on due to this change in diet and weight loss, it would be amazing! That hasn't happened yet, but it may! I'm still at an early stage of my Keto journey.
I started a Keto diet just two months ago, and so far, I have lost 14 1/2 pounds! This is something I was NOT able to do with any other type of diet I had tried recently and believe me, I tried a lot of them!! I chalked up my past non-success with weight loss to age and slower metabolism. I had started to accept that I would probably be overweight for the remainder of my life. Being on a Keto diet has actually given me hope again that I really can achieve significant weight loss, and that if I continue to cut out sugar and cut way back on carbs as a way of life, I may even be able to keep the weight off!
Another fantastic benefit I've experienced from being on a Keto diet? Reduction in acid reflux! That has been a godsend! I have had pretty severe problems with acid reflux for YEARS and had tried almost every medication under the sun to control it. I would still wake up some nights feeling like I was going to throw up and with acid burning my entire throat. It was not pleasant and definitely not something I wanted to have continue! It's almost unbelievable that a change in diet like this can have that much effect. I am now wondering if a lot of my acid reflux issues were due to eating way too many carbs and sugars. I would fill my plate with a protein on one side, and a big side of rice, potatoes or other carb-laden foods, and maybe a small serving of vegetables. I realize now what a HUGE mistake I was making!
A Diet Where You Rarely Feel Deprived and Stay Full Longer
I Needed To Find a Diet I Could Stick With Long Term
I knew that with the amount of weight I want to lose, I would have to find a diet that I really could stick with, one that lets you have some of the things you crave even if you need to make them differently, and one where you feel full longer and don't constantly have hunger pangs. The Keto Diet seems to fit everything I was looking for.
Recently, I tried a recipe for vanilla shortbread cookies that both my husband and I are enjoying. When you bake things on the Keto diet, you use ingredients like almond flour or fine dried coconut instead of regular flour, and replace sugar with sweeteners like erythritol and monk fruit sweetener. I find that we're not that crazy about baked goods made with coconut in place of flour, so I try to stick with recipes that use almond flour. I did make peanut butter cookies with coconut and they were drier than other baked goods, and my husband didn't care for the coconut taste. Baking this way requires that I keep staples in our pantry that I never used to have, and that's okay with me since I hope to stick with this diet until I successfully lose as much weight as I want to lose.
With the Keto diet, you're eating high amounts of fat, enough protein, green vegetables and you're keeping the amount of carbs you eat to a minimum. This puts your body into a state called ketosis. It forces your body to burn fat instead of using carbs and sugar for energy and it keeps your body from storing excess carbs and sugar and eventually turning them into more fat. You're basically turning your body into an efficient fat burning machine, and what's not to love about that?
When you go into a state of ketosis, your liver starts to take fat cells and break them down into ketones and fatty acids, and they are then used as energy. You control calories in a Keto diet to an extent, but you're not constantly counting calories if that makes sense. And the biggest reason it seems to work? You don't feel constantly hungry. This diet is more effective at controlling hunger than other diets.
Typical Meals on a Keto Diet
I stick to basic things like eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and some veggies for breakfast. I can make two sunny-side up eggs and have meat on the side or make a delicious omelet with ham and cheese, sausage crumbles and cheese, or ham combined with veggies like green peppers and chopped onions for a Denver type omelet. I have also found a recipe for breakfast muffins that are stuffed with sausage and cheese, made with a dough made from mozzarella cheese, cream cheese and almond flour. This type of dough is sometimes called "fathead dough". I turn to these muffins on days when I don't feel like having eggs.
Lunch will normally be a protein like a hamburger patty with cheese and side salad, bratwurst, or sometimes leftovers from a meal that I made the night before. The thing I have found is that the Internet has a wealth of Keto-friendly recipes and I find myself looking for recipes in the evening and planning meals for about the next three days or so.
Planning ahead also helps me to write out good grocery lists, so we're sure to get everything we need for several dinnertime meals. Fortunately, a grocery store is only a block away from us. For people who go grocery shopping less frequently and the store is farther away, you could plan out meals for a week at a time and do it that way.
Cooking is often done using high quality, healthy fats like those found in avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and butter. We also eat fish twice a week featuring healthy fats, like salmon, and we like catfish when we want to have a milder, white fish.
In the photo below, I make one slice at a time of Keto bread, made with almond flour, baking powder, melted butter, an egg and a dash of salt. Microwave it for 90 seconds in a 4 inch square glass container and you have one slice of Keto bread! Then, you can use your piece of bread just like any other kind of sliced bread to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or sandwiches with chicken salad or other meats.
Getting Creative With Cooking - A Keto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Reasons That a Keto Diet Seems to Work
I've found that this diet works for me because it keeps hunger pangs at bay, and it also prevents spikes in blood glucose levels. I used to eat carb-laden meals and I'd want to sleep shortly afterwards when I would come "down" from the blood sugar spike. By keeping my blood sugar levels more steady, I find that those hunger spikes that used to be caused by a sudden carbohydrate rush are avoided. I'm hoping that once I lose the weight that my tendency towards pre-diabetes will be lessened as well. Time will tell!
My goal with this diet is to stay satiated by eating protein and fat which are delicious and satisfying for a longer period of time each day. I hope this helps to motivate me to stay with this diet until I reach my weight goal. Keeping away from carbohydrates and refined sugars and man-made chemical ingredients has made me feel better, and I am hoping for improved long-term health from doing this as well.
I find that when we grocery shop, we stick with the back of the store where the meats are, eggs and cheeses, the vegetable section and a few aisles that have gluten free and special diet ingredients like almond flour and sweeteners that are okay to use on a Keto diet. We pretty much avoid the middle of the grocery store (you know the aisles, the ones with processed cereals, processed and high carbohydrate side dishes, and snack convenience type foods.
If I do need a snack, things like cheese sticks, a piece of bacon, a handful of almonds or one keto friendly cookie is enough to see me through until the next meal.
The one thing I do that is probably not really technically Keto is I eat occasional piece of fruit. I stick with a banana, a handful of grapes, or a sliced apple. I know that these things have carbs and that may be why I haven't lost the weight super fast, but that's okay with me, too. I'd rather have it come off slowly and steadily instead of quickly. I also had surgery recently and was told that my potassium level was perfect (important for your heart) - they had checked that before doing anesthesia. I think that by occasionally consuming bananas, I helped with that. You can have berries on Keto, but I am not a big "berry" person, so I would have just been cutting out fruits completely. You can have blackberries, strawberries and raspberries in modest amounts on Keto though. I just don't usually eat berries - I'm weird that way, I know it!
Green vegetables like salad are fine, along with broccoli, kale (yuck - sorry, not sorry), avocados, asparagus, some peppers, cauliflower and small amounts of things like onion. We often have California mixed vegetables as a side for dinner, and that consists of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (the carrots are such a small amount that I don't think it throws me out of ketosis).
I Do Not Follow A Strict Keto Diet But I Do What Works For Me
I don't think I totally stick with a super strict Keto Diet, but what I have been doing seems to be working for me. I found that if I modify the diet to foods that I will eat and enjoy, I make it more appealing so I'll stick with it longer. Basically, I do what works.
The goal is to keep carbs down to around 20 grams per day (five percent). Fats are around 60 percent and protein is around 35 percent. Some people like to follow this diet very strictly and will write down everything they eat or keep track of it using smartphone apps like LoseIt or MyFitnessPal, but I haven't really been doing that. My idea of dieting is to not have to constantly obsess over numbers, but that's probably just me. I want something I can just do daily and stick to easily.
I'll come back from time to time to update my progress.
Update: As of May 5th, 2019, I have lost 23 pounds eating this way! The only exercise I do is daily walking, ranging from one to three miles a day. I may also go back to riding an exercise bike, once I'm fully recuperated from the surgery I had.
If you choose to try a Keto Diet, best of luck to you and I wish you success!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 KathyH