1 Week Keto: My Weight Loss Journey to Better Health
Dieting. Ugh. Growing up this seemed like the worst thing in the world that adult women had to do. My mom despised it and went off and on diets all the time. And why is it so often women that struggle more with their metabolisms? My dad would eat ice cream, Smarties and drink Pepsi every day, while my mom would go on binges of strictly nuts and fruit.
As a kid, I hated working out (but played sports, so I was very in shape). Competitive activities take my mind off the mundane factor of exercise. Through college I didn’t have to think about what I ate or drank at all. My only rule back then was rarely going over one soda a day.
But, Then You Get Older
Obviously with age, things change. With pregnancy, they change even more. I gained weight with each pregnancy, but then had trouble dropping all of it after. My kids are all very close together (18-20 months apart), so I’d be pregnant again before I was completely slimmed down. I still didn’t have many rules, except: eat more vegetables.
And, on top of that, kids wear you out. By the end of the day, your decision making is pretty shot and you feel like you deserve the world. Okay, not the world, but a glass of wine and chocolate or a large pretzel at the very least.
Step 1: Getting into the Gym Habit
Three years ago (while pregnant with Kam), I started doing yoga. It was to help with my joints, but I found it was challenging for my muscles and improved my balance. After he was born, I started working out 6-7 times a week. I did loose weight, but not all of it.
I got my instructor training to teach at the gym in order to make sure I stayed consistently there and active. But then, I got pregnant with Klay (planned, but my weight loss was shot). So, I kept working out all the way up until just days before he was induced. I pushed myself to keep going hard after he was born (and I was healed). As usual, I lost some of the baby weight, but still nowhere near what I wanted to be. I cut soda completely.
Step 2: Cutting the Soda Habit
I knew soda was bad, but it was so delicious to me. I finally decided I could forgo soda for things like wine or even sugar free drinks. It was hard. I didn’t lose a lot of weight. But, overall, I’m really glad it’s no longer a habit.
Step 3: Fixing the Food Habit
So, here we are. It’s been over a year of not being pregnant, not drinking soda and going to the gym at least 3x a week.
I’m in shape, but not the size or weight I want to be. I love vegetables and cooking, but I also love carbs, all forms of sugar and fast food. They say, it’s about an 80/20 ratio between eating and working out in regards to your weight. I finally made the decision I’ve been dreading—I needed to count something (calories?) and get a lot more strict.
I know people who have done the lemon water cleanse, the watermelon diet, Weightwatchers and Atkins. My roommate from college was the first person I knew who successfully did the Keto diet. It seemed impossible to cut starches and carbs, but the more I looked at the food options, the more I realized it wasn’t that far from what I was already doing. Most of all, I wanted something that could be a long term solution. I do not want to lose the weight, just to gain it back in a few years.
What is Keto?
Keto is just focusing on increasing fats and cutting nearly all carbs (less than 50g a day). Based on that 2,000 calorie “average” diet they base the nutritional facts on for product information, this is about 15% of the daily intake expectation. That means a diet would normally consist of around 300g of net carbs a day after the fiber is removed.
Carbs are what the body turns into sugar. When your body is running on sugar, it isn’t burning fat efficiently. Dropping below 50g net carbs each day results in the body burning fat.
Net Carbs vs Total Carbs for the Keto Diet
It isn’t just the total carbs you are counting, by the way. With Keto, you only count NET carbs. So, you take out any grams of fiber or sugar alcohol from the total number to get the net carb number. Chia seeds are 13g of total carbs, but also 10g of fiber in a 3Tbsp serving. That makes the net carbs only 3g per serving, or 1g per Tbsp. This is because of how your body will process and store the carbs you eat.
I wasn’t going to stick strictly to Keto. My original plan was to cut all processed sugars, grains and starches. I thought I’d eat mostly meats and veggies, but that I could eat fruit too. What I found, was that even an apple or large slice of watermelon made up almost all of my carb count for the day. While I’m focused on shedding excess fat, it seems best to count all of those carbs. This means the only fruits I really eat are berries (especially raspberries) and sometimes cherries as a special treat because these are lower in sugar and higher in fiber.
Not all Fats are Equal
Keto can be really unhealthy or very healthy. Remember, there is a big difference between unsaturated fats and saturated fats. Using too much margarine, for example, can lead to higher cholesterol levels. While avocados, fish and eggs are all high in healthy fats that will lower your cholesterol levels. So, while you are working to boost fat, try to find the best sources for the vast majority of it!
The Keto Flu
The first three days were the hardest. I felt tired and sluggish. I wasn’t hungry (because I had plenty to eat), but I burned with a craving for any major carb source. It didn’t help that ALL of my most favorite foods were carbs. They call these first few days the “Keto Flu” for most people. Your body is transitioning from burning sugar to fat.
The Benefits of Keto
Around day 5, I started feeling good. I have more energy. I don’t crave carbs nearly as much. One of the strangest changes has been my already good sense of smell is even more heightened. Grocery shopping, I wasn’t tempted at all by all of the bakery goods, but I suddenly had a desperate craving for Toaster Strudels while in the frozen foods section (I haven’t bought those in years).
My Keto Goals for Weight Loss
I have two goals in my weight loss numbers. I believe the first goal will be relatively easy because the initial weight often comes off the fastest. I want to lose 40lbs as my first goal and as quickly (but healthily) as possible. I want to lose another 20lbs as a secondary goal that I’m willing to take longer to achieve.
I will keep working out, but I’m upping my weightlifting, so some of my weight loss may be slowed by muscle gain, but it won’t change my goals.
I’m going to shoot for drinking a gallon of water a day.
When I reach my goal, I plan to increase my daily net carb limit to 100g and see how that goes. I want to focus on healthy foods, but knowing I can have a homemade roll or piece of chocolate without dramatically cutting into my day would be really nice. We’ll see how it goes.
Week 1: Down 12lbs