Disclaimer:: This post is a compilation of personal knowledge gained through my own research and relationships. You should always consult your doctor before making any significant diet decisions and you should absolutely do your own research and fact-checking before deciding what is right (and healthiest!) for you.
I have to be honest with you. I’m 31 years old and for most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight. From the age of 3-13, I danced 6 days a week, countless hours a day. Then through middle school and high school, I played sports. But once I went to college, and I had to actually be intentional about my eating and exercise, my struggle began.
Over the years, I’ve tried so many different diets, eating plans, and exercise regimens. And every time, I either gave up, sabotaged myself or life happened, and I gained the weight back. Add to that two pregnancies, and baby weight that seems to be twice as difficult to lose and I weigh more now that I ever have.
I started exercising after having my second son, but I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to what I was eating. I wasn’t eating HORRIBLY, but I was definitely snacking more than I should’ve and eating things I knew wouldn’t exactly promote weight loss. And even though I was exercising very consistently, I wasn’t seeing any weight come off.
Needless to say, I was super frustrated. I felt like I was working so hard at exercise but it wasn’t doing a thing. Then a friend of mine told me about this new diet (and when I say “diet,” I mean lifestyle eating plan not flash diet type thing.) called Keto. (Also called the Ketogenic Diet.)
Keto is basically a low carb, high-fat diet. I know in a world that’s used to low-fat, and “light” versions of food being considered more healthy, thinking “high fat” can be somewhat of a paradigm shift.
But what you need to know is that when you eat carbs, your body produces glucose and insulin. Glucose is what your body will go to first to convert into energy. And insulin is what processes the glucose and carries it around your bloodstream. Since your body uses the glucose first, if you’re eating a lot of carbs, the fat you eat isn’t always used up and instead is stored in your body as you guessed it: fat.
But by lowering your intake of carbs, your body will be sent into what’s called, “ketosis.” Basically, ketosis is a state of survival your body goes into when food intake is low. During ketosis, your body produces “ketones,” which are created when your liver breaks down fat in your body.
Now before you blow this off thinking I’m suggesting you starve yourself, Keto is all about starving your body of carbohydrates, not food altogether. When you put good fat into your body and take away carbohydrates, your body will begin to burn ketones to produce energy. And when your body has the optimal ketone levels, (AKA Ketosis,) you’ll lose weight and have increased energy, both physically and mentally.
Now let me tell you, I am a CARB LOVER. I love me a good glazed donut, bowl of pasta and BREAD BREAD BREAD. So this is not something that’s super easy for me to do. But when I finally accepted that my weight has more to do with what I put in my mouth than how much I exercise, I knew I needed to crack down and give up the bread. (BUT, as the title suggests, the upside is that you can eat CHEESE!)
Going Keto wasn’t easy, but once I saw the impact it had on my weight and my overall health, I was so motivated to continue. I lost 11 pounds in the first two weeks of going Keto, and I never felt better! Now, I haven’t been perfect with my eating, and as soon as I start eating carbs, I can tell I get bloated and gain weight back. Vacation and the holidays make it a little difficult to stick to Keto, but when January hits, I plan on getting back on track.
I’ve heard it said, to keep a good balance between diet and “real life,” you should do an 80/20 regimen. Stick with your diet 80% of the time, and allow yourself 20% grace. (Which for me, translates to one “cheat” meal a week so that I can still enjoy a night out at Cheesecake Factory with some girlfriends, or a date night with my husband complete with chips and salsa or a dessert at the end.)
Overall, Keto has been the answer to a lot of my struggles, but I know it may not be for everyone. I was a little critical of how much fat you eat at first, but honestly, once I tried it, I was fuller longer, didn’t have that mid-day energy crash, and could feel my clothes fitting better. I even embraced bulletproof coffee! (Coffee with butter in it…don’t knock it till you try it!)
For more information on Keto check out these websites:
- A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet
- The Ketogenic Diet 101
- The Complete Keto Diet Guide
I also really love the cookbook, The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook. But there’s a ton of great cookbooks out there.
If you’ve ever done the Keto diet or if you’ve done anything similar, I’d love to hear from you!