Monday, January 4, 2016

Keto Intro

Keto or Ketogenic is a diet that was designed for diabetics.  I have never been diagnosed with diabetes but I have a history of it in my family.  In fact, my grandfather passed away from a complications of diabetes. The disease has been a scary one for me ever since.  Last year I noticed that I was waking up sometimes multiple times to pee.  I knew this was a characteristic of diabetes and it worried me.  I also I had been wanting to lose weight. 

After leaving my stressed out job and starting a new one, I then had space in my life to lose weight and get healthier. My weight the last year of that job had put me in the position of being at my highest weight yet.  I didn't actually start the diet portion of my health initiative until about mid-year, July to be exact.  I started with the basics... get at least 8 hours of restful sleep, up my water intake and cut back on diet soda (the only soda I ever drank).  I mastered those the first part of the year and knew diet was next. 

Of course, I have done diet after diet year after year with minimal success.  I have done low calorie, fat free, low carb, shake supplements, and even prescriptions from my doctor.  Nothing worked or was sustainable.  So I started doing my research.  I knew that if I was going to start a diet, I needed something I could stick with.  Even if it meant not losing as fast... I needed a better way to live and sustain.  The most I had ever lost up until then on a diet was about 30 lb and that was with a prescription.  I didn't want to go that route because it wasn't sustainable and didn't teach me better eating habits.  I also didn't want to starve every day.  Those diets are miserable and make me really grouchy.  I wanted to eat whole foods that were good for my body and not feel deprived. 

I came across a YouTube channel, Keto Karma that was by a woman close to my age talking about all the success she was having on this diet called Keto.  She had weekly updates and was losing weight consistently week after week. After researching more about Keto, I learned it was a diet recommended for diabetics to do in order to gain control of their blood sugar without needing medical intervention.  While I had no idea if I needed the diet for this particular reason, I liked that it addressed something I was terrified of getting in life... diabetes. 

I learned that Keto was a High Fat, Low Carb diet.  Now I had done low carb diets in the past with a little improvement but always gave up because I would miss the bread too much and get hungry  This one struck me differently.  The high fat portion of the diet was aimed to keep you full.  The idea was that if you consume good fats, you stay full longer making the cravings less  The low carb then allows you to get into a state of ketosis whereby your body is trained to burn fat vs. sugar.  The science made a lot of sense to me.  Fat was filling.  Sugar wasn't good for me anyway.  So one week after Independence Day 2015, I started the keto diet.

My first priority was to get into keto as fast as possible.  To do so, I needed to get my macros figured out.  I went onto a site and used the calculator to determine my macros.  I learned that I needed 70% of my calories to come from fat, 20% to come from protein, and 10% from carbs.  I also learned how many calories I should be eating for my weight, exercise, lifestyle, etc.  I read that I should first just focus on the carbs... stay below 20 net carbs a day (net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols). 

I signed up for MyFitness Pal and downloaded the app on my phone.  MFP would track my food intake as well as my calories, fats, and carbs.   This was critical for me to get started because I had no idea how much fat or carbs were in foods. I also started reading the site for food ideas, found other youtube channels and blogs geared to the Keto diet that helped me figure out what I should be eating.  I also bought the Ketogenic Cookbook to give me some ideas.

Initially, I lost a lot of water weight.  I knew that I was retaining water bad as my ankles would swell by the end of the day but had no idea just how bad it was.  Keto flushed my system and I stopped retaining water within 2 weeks.  After another couple of weeks, I noticed my energy level was up... really up.  I have a bit of walk into work and in the mornings would always feel sluggish and dragging.  I was walking with a purpose now; faster.  These two side-effects alone kept me on the diet because other than the initial water weight that I loss... I wasn't losing anything.  I knew from my research it could take awhile to be keto adapted.  My body had to learn to burn fat not sugar so it had to be deprived for awhile.  I just kept up with the diet and after a month... the weight started dropping.  And it continued down a little each week. 

Initially, I did have some sugar cravings and wasn't sure what I could eat to give me the sweetness that I was missing.  I found out about Quest bars which were low carb and came in variety of flavors so I stocked up to get me through.  These bars were critical to my success as well.  I couldn't eat one every day but when the urge hit me, I had something to supplement.  They also helped me out when I was traveling or at a birthday party and others were eating cake. 

So what do I eat?  Here is a list of foods that I regularly eat at home that can help you get started.  I think I will incorporate some of my meals/recipes and what I ate on this blog as I go so people have a place to go for information as I have many family members who are hoping to join me.

Eggs cooked anyway
Kerrygold butter - real irish butter  or just real butter (no margarine)
Cream cheese
Deli meats
All kinds of cheese (no fake stuff)
High fat, low sugar dressings - usually the creamy stuff
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Nuts - pecans, almonds
Cashew Milk (unsweetened)
Almond Milk (unsweetened)
Heavy Whipping Cream
Jello - SF
Sugar free pudding
Unsweetened Nut butters
Onion (in small amounts)
Green Pepper
Coconut Oil
Almond Flour
Miracle Noodles (made from tofu)
Carbquick - Like bisquick but low carb
Quest Bars
Atkins Bars
Atkins Shakes
Protein Plus Shakes
Moon cheese
Slim Jims or Jerky
Pork Rinds
Low Carb Tortillas (occasionally)
Truvia and other sugar substitutes - I buy Erithrytol in bulk for baking

I hope you find this information helpful. I am not a doctor only a woman who has found what works for her and wants to share with others.

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