My Ketosis journey was a slow start. Anyone over 40 might be able to relate to the quirky things your body starts doing. Well, for me it was after 41!
I noticed major changes in my eyesight. For the first time in what seemed 8 years, my prescription for my eyes changed. I also noticed some difficulty seeing up close which was never an issue. Awe man!
Secondly, I noticed that the fat was not moving. That’s right. What once came right off skipping the bread and watching calories was doing nothing. Not to mention I work out 3-4 x a week and moderately hard. I box, run, weight train… it’s ridiculous that I would have fat hanging over my bra, a gut if I let it hang completely and a muffin top. It did not seem fair. I also was bloated a lot and had gastrointestinal upset often. You can fill in the blanks there. 🙂
I know what you all must be thinking. But you’re so fit! Sorta. Fit, but with no definition. Fit, but with a muffin top. Fit, but can’t run more than 3 miles without dying. It just never seemed fair. I am also getting married in 3 months and want to look my best in my dress and for pictures. Can’t argue with that right?
So I kept hearing a lot about low-carb diets. I always watched my carbs so I thought! Skipping the bun on my burgers and trying to eat more fruit and vegetables which I quickly learned what I was eating was exactly what was making my stomach hang over my pants.
I decided to start Intermittent Fasting or IF. I was reading a lot about this style of eating and how it has helped so many people reset their bodies. To break this down quickly, you are fasting for a period of time and keeping a smaller eating window. You fast everyday when you to go bed. For most people its only 10-11 hours that you are not eating. It’s after the 12 hour mark that your body starts utilizing fat for energy. You know when you are stomach sick for a few days and literally look like you lost 5 lbs? Because you likely did. Your body used its own fat for energy since you were not eating while being sick. I saw results pretty quick and was already losing some fat.
Your body also scans it for dead or harmful cells and absorbs them during this time. This is called autophagy. Because we are always eating, our body never gets to this important stage of to renew itself. I was never aware of how much I was eating and how frequent until I started this.
There is a ton of studies that suggest this could be a key component to helping those with inflammatory diseases, dementia and even cancer. Pretty exciting. What I learned the most from this is that I was eating all the time! Early in the morning, snacking all day and late at night. It was no wonder my stomach was always upside down. It never got a break. Literally.
Typically Intermittent Fasting( IF) is done up to 16 hours but many people do more or less. The key is to go longer than 12 hours so it is really flexible. I am a 14-15 hour girl so I stop eating at 7pm and then do not eat again until 9:30-10:00am. Sometimes it is longer at 16-17 hours if I am not hungry. On weekends, I will usually give myself a break one day or if I am going out to eat. IF and Keto go hand in hand nicely as it aids your body to use ketones for energy and gets you into ketosis quicker ( more on that in the next paragraph) , but many people have excellent benefits just doing IF and not even dieting during their eating window. The fasting window is enough alone to generate fat and weight loss.
Everyone has different results and what I found is that people do what works for them. During your fast, you are only drinking water, tea, coffee with teeny bit of cream if you need it or black and no calorie drinks such as flavored seltzer. And yes, no sugar. Eating anything or drinking anything over 10 calories will break your fast and raise insulin causing the body to utilize what it just consumed for energy other than utilizing fat.
I also decided to start a Ketogenic diet and get my body into ketosis! A what? I’ll briefly explain because this post can turn into a much longer one if I don’t. A Ketogenic diet is mostly fat, moderate protein and very little carbs. Its grain free, sugar-free other than what you get from food and makes your body fat adaptive and puts you into ketosis. That’s right! Your body is using its own fat and using ketones produced from your liver for energy. Genius! Sounds wild right? I know. My first meal of eggs, bacon and butter was anxiety ridden. It goes against everything you ever learned about dieting. But that is just it. It is not a diet, but a lifestyle. It’s no different from anything else. If I started eating KIND Bars ( which by the way is a sugar sh**t storm) and bagels again I no doubt would gain fat again.
My Keto pantry staples
I can only tell you what I have experienced. I have lost 8 pounds in 2 months and significant fat loss. I was not concerned with weight as much as fat loss and feeling better. The bloating is gone and my stomach is calm and quite. I am not hungry and can eat less. I also have increased my muscle and have definition I never had because the layer of fat is gone. My skin is glowing. Cravings for anything sweet or a grain are gone which was the most amazing thing about it . The diet is very satisfying. So what am I eating? Eggs, seeds, avocado, cheeses, bacon, fatty meats, nut butters, grass-fed butter, dark chocolate, berries, spinach, lettuce, celery, cucumbers to name a few. The food I choose is all organic or grass-fed which is an important component to Keto because when your body is in ketosis, it is more sensitive to toxins.
I have amazing clarity and my energy is through the roof. Almost to the point I feel like I do not need as much sleep! It came at a price however. When I started Keto I experienced some crazy side effects. I suggest always speaking to your physician before starting any diet. I had heart palpitations because of the change in eating and because of my electrolytes, potassium and magnesium were off. You will read this is very common so I was not worried. It is called Keto Flu and symptoms can vary. It was very uncomfortable. My period was also wacky. Using an electrolyte supplement and getting my diet right with the ( fat, protein, carb ratio) macronutrients solved the issues. I also had mad irritability for a good 8 weeks. Not fun or for those around me! I also had a few periods of extreme exhaustion as my body became fat adaptive. I would say in 2 1/2 weeks those symptoms slowly went away and I felt amazing other than the irritability that stuck around a bit longer.
Keton supplements can help get your body into ketosis faster and aid in utilizing your natural ketones after eating carbs
Just so you all know, I also saw my doctor and had blood work done 2 months into it and was deemed healthy. I will continue to monitor my health with her oversight. If you are going to give this lifestyle a try, I highly suggest doing a lot of research so you have less side effects when you start and giving it at least 6 weeks to see benefits emotionally and physically. Although many people will lose weight fast which is mostly water. An important factor of this lifestyle is also working out. Exercise and specifically weight training inhibits your body into staying into ketosis. It also ensures your body is not losing muscle which can happen if you are in ketosis and not working out.
Will I be in ketosis forever? Likely not. But what I have learned about the health benefits and how I feel has been fascinating! There are a ton of online communities on social media and websites to get recipes, support and learn more about the benefits. I choose not to post any links to anything specific as I am not endorsing any particular lifestyle or websites, but if you would like specific links I used as resources I am happy to email you by request. Just drop me a line.
What works for one might not work another and Keto and IF are not the answer for everything. Do your research, consult your physician and do what works for you.
All in all I think we all have to have a healthy relationship with our bodies. I think reaching to be the best version of you is always a good idea , whatever that means to you! I was never a dieter and I still feel this is a lifestyle change more than anything. I always embraced my body and all its imperfections, and that will never change.
If you have tried either of these lifestyles, let me know about your experience!