This is a topic I have wanted to write about for a while, but waited because I wanted to get as much experience and information as possible. From the title, you probably already know I’m sharing my honest opinion and experience about the Ketogenic diet. The Keto diet is an extremely low carb and high fat diet. Depending on your age, gender, and body type – you are allowed a certain number of carbs per day. As a 22-year old, 5’1″ female, I found that I am able to stay in ketosis if I limit myself to 30 net carbs a day. (Net carbs is the carbohydrate amount minus dietary fiber.)
So how does it work? When you eat an extremely low carb diet, your body enters the state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that uses your bodies stored fat as a preferred source of energy. Carbohydrates are our bodies first choice for energy use, but since you are consuming an extremely low carb amount, your body then moves on to fat for energy. Keto was actually first developed as a treatment for epilepsy. Many reported benefits include: fat loss, increased energy, mental clarity, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol, reduced blood sugar, and decreased appetite.
Now that all of the science talk is out of the way, lets get on to my experience!
I have been actively doing keto for around 10 weeks. While this is not a substantial amount of time, I have become “fat adapted.” Before beginning keto, I consulted with my doctor. Which I ALWAYS suggest doing before changing your daily habits – especially when it comes to changing the way your body operates. While he agreed that many people get great results from the keto diet, it is not entirely safe for long term use. He suggested not being in ketosis for longer than 3 months at a time. A little background knowledge about my health that may be helpful is that I am a young female with Graves’ disease. Graves’ is an autoimmune disease that affects your thyroid gland and the amount of hormones and antibodies it produces. While Graves’ is associated with hyperthyroidism, I have been yo-yo-ing between hyper and hypothyroidism for the past 3 years. I am on thyroid medication to balance my levels and see a endocrinologist every 3-5 months.
I think the easiest way to organize my opinions and experience is through a Q&A format. I developed a handful of questions I think you would ask or topics you may be curious about. Lets get into it!
Did you lose weight?
Yes. Over the past 10 weeks, I have lost around 20 lb. I lost about 12 lb. in the first 3 weeks and continued to lose in the remaining weeks.
Did you have increased energy levels?
Kind of. The first month or so was hard. I felt very tired and had trouble focusing. With my thyroid issues, this isn’t a new thing for me, so I just powered through it. Although, it has gotten better since the first month.
Have you exercised while on keto?
No. I have not exercised at all. Unfortunately, I do not have enough energy to exercise. Sometimes, walking up a hill can feel like running a mile. BUT, low intensity activities like walking are not any more difficult than they were before keto.
Did you have the “Keto-flu?”
Yes. for around the first 4 days I had extreme cravings, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and low energy. Although, after the first few days, my body became adapted to the change and the symptoms went away.
Have you “cheated” in the past 10 weeks?
Yes. I have come out of ketosis a few times in the past 10 weeks. (You can test your ketone levels with these.) The key to “cheating” is not overindulging. Have a little of what you want and move on. I did not break ketosis in the first month.
Do you recommend keto?
I recommend keto if you are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to maintain weight or live a healthier lifestyle, I would recommend the 80/20 lifestyle or maybe Whole30. I plan to continue keto for at least another 2 months. But, after that I will only do keto as needed. I do not find that I have experienced any extraordinary benefits that would make me continue keto for longer than needed.
When I was beginning keto, I could only find success and failure stories, nothing in-between. I feel as if I have had an in-between experience with keto. So, I hope that my opinions are helpful to you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!
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