For those of you following along at home, I did so after my GP warned me that my blood sugars were out of control, I was anemic and I have 15-20 lbs of curves that aren’t doing my health any favours. After careful research, I decided to investigate Ketogenics, or (oversimplified), the science of switching your body’s fuel source from glucose (sugar) to ketones (fat).
Keto Flu is Real, Yo
In the middle of week one of my Ketogenic adventure my body threw a temper tantrum. I had been denying it its carbohydrates and it Jonsed hard for them. Because I never do anything half way…it’s always go hard or go home, here hold my beer and watch this…I didn’t ease myself into low carb. Nay. I murdered the carbs from day one. It was a carb crime scene. Carbs were dead to me. Let us speak of them no more.
The result was a complete rebellion by my system. By cutting my daily carbohydrate intake from say…200 – 300 grams a day (or more!) to 20 grams total, my body burned through its remaining stores quickly and on day three I hit a wall. I woke up and had my Keto breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, 3 strips bacon and coffee with heavy cream. By the time I got on my commuter train I was feeling a little off. A little shaky. Dry in the mouth. Sweaty. Half an hour later, when I got off at the station, my heart was racing, I was dizzy, cold and clammy. I barely made it up the elevator into the office where I grabbed the first thing I could find, orange juice, and drank ¼ cup or so, narrowly avoiding fully blacking out. Totally put me over my 20 grams of carbs for the day but thankfully no one had to resuscitate me.
Keto Flu is caused by an imbalance in your electrolytes which I had completely ignored. Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium, are flushed out of your system with Keto and thus need to be replenished for a multitude of reasons that can be found here. Once I got my electrolytes under control, and learned how to hydrate properly, it all became easier.
Yay Initial Weight Loss! Boo Re-Gain! Yay Weight Loss!
Here is the fun part. I lost 6 lbs in 6 days. Yes, I did. I had high hopes I would be competing in Ms. Bikini Canada by May.
Not so much.
“Weight loss is not linear” is a common phrase in the Keto Community and there is no truer truth spoken. Especially for women. Especially for middle-aged women. We have a lot of things working against us. Over the course of a month I lost 6, gained 2, lost 1, gained 3, lost 4…you get the picture. By the time I hit the 1 month weigh in, I was down a solid 5 lbs. 5 lbs of water or 5 lbs of fat…it’s still 5 lbs that my heart doesn’t have to carry. And while I was seeing people post that they lost 30 lbs in a month, 5 lbs is nothing to shake a stick at.
The scale is a dirty, dirty liar sometimes and weight loss is not the only indicator that things are moving in the right direction. I made sure to take before and after pics (no, I’m not sharing, I was in my undies) as well as measurements. I lost 1” off my hips and 2” off my waist. I’ll take those results too.
Keto Energy, Loss of Hunger, Cravings and Exercise
- 2 weeks along, when I was well into ketosis, I suddenly felt tapped into an alternate energy source. I called it Keto Mania or Keto Drunk. I was (and still am) almost buzzing with energy for 90% of the time. I feel amazing. Clear headed. Happy. Calm. Satisfied. If nothing else happens in my 6-month experiment, the level of wellness that I feel is worth the effort. So worth it.
- Once my body became “fat-adapted” and began to use my fat stores as opposed to burning sugar, I pretty much lost my hunger. Seriously. I will have a “bullet proof coffee” ** at 6:00 am and not feel true hunger until 2:00 – 3:00 in the afternoon. Even longer. There is no hangry. No desperate need to feed. Fasting has become an organic and natural option for me. When I do eat (sometimes only 1 meal a day), I make sure to stay below 20 grams of net carbs, hit my 93 grams of protein and only add healthy fats to feel satiated. I am not eating butter by the stick, like some people think. My fats are olive oil, coconut oil, real butter, MCT oil and that which I get from fatty meats and some cheeses. And my new addiction…whipping cream.
- I have been asked how I am dealing with carb/ sweet cravings. The answer is…I have none. I can walk into a French Pastry shop and not even be phased (and I have). I feel no compulsion to snack and no need for sweets. The one or two times I have “treated” myself, I have had 1 square of 90% Dark Chocolate, grated over ½ cup whipped cream. For salty/ crunchy I have indulged in Moon Cheese or Cello Whisps. Or nuts.
- To mix it up a bit, I signed up for a 30-day Hot Yoga challenge in the midst of this all. I have had little issue with stamina or electrolyte fall out. So far, so good.
And so, I enter Month Two. I still have much to learn and discover in Ketoland. I have an appointment for blood work at the end of May; will be interesting to see where I land.
Catch you all in a month!
** With my Bullet Proof Coffee, I add 1/4 cup of whipping cream and 1 scoop of collagen peptides. [ Calories: 384 kcal, Net carbs: 1.6 grams, Fat: 41.2 grams ]
Note: I am not a doctor nor a scientist. If you are curious about Ketogenics, I encourage you to do your own research to determine if this way of eating and lifestyle are right for you.