To get to the reason why we chose keto, I have to give you some background…
Kyle and I got engaged in May 2016 and naturally, shortly thereafter, I started dress shopping! After trying on about 40 dresses, I finally found THE ONE, was measured for my size and placed the order.
A few months later, my dress had arrived and it was time to go try it on. I went to the bridal salon and hopped into my dress, only to find out it was quite the struggle to get that baby zipped. That’s when I realized I had gained some weight since I had bought the dress months earlier, 10 pounds to be exact (a decent amount for a girl of only 5’2).
I came home, rather shocked by the experience. I had never struggled with my weight, but with Kyle moving in I had started to cook more… and eat more. I also started a new job where I went out to lunch regularly. That’s when we decided it was time I join a gym.
I started going to the gym with Kyle about 5 times a week doing weights and cardio. After 2 months of seeing no movement on the scale, Kyle suggested we try keto.
I had never heard of keto before, but at that point I was willing to try anything.
What is a Ketogenic (Keto) Diet?
In a nut shell, keto is a low carb, high fat diet. By reducing your carbohydrate intake, your body shifts from using glucose as its main source of energy to using ketones.
Glucose is created when carbohydrates and sugars are broken down in the liver. When you reduce your carb and sugar intake, your body needs to find an alternate source for fuel.
This is where ketones come in, the liver begins to produce ketones from fat, which can be used to fuel the body. When your body is producing ketones for its energy source, your body is in ketosis. This is where the high fat portion of the diet comes in, your body needs fat to produce ketones, its new form of energy. In addition to the fat you get from your diet, your body can also use fat stores to produce these ketones.
Where to Start?
Start by figuring out your macros. These are different for everyone, but if you google “keto macro calculator” you can find a ton of resources out there to help you calculate your macros based on your height, weight and activity level. It’s important to remember that everyone’s macros are different, so rather than asking someone else what their macros are, take the time to calculate your own to make sure you are getting enough of what you need based on your goals.
We found it helpful to track what we eat, which we do using My Fitness Pal. You can adjust your macros to the targets suggested by the keto macro calculator. The only drawback is you have to manually calculate your net carbs, which I’ll explain later in this post.
There are some great resources available which we referenced when we first started:
First is Keto Connect. They have a great beginners guide with videos that breaks down everything you need to know. They are also a great resource for recipes.
Another resource I found helpful is Leanne Vogel of Healthful Pursuit. I often listen to her podcast and reference her site for helpful articles and recipes.
Lastly would be Shawn Mynar. I found her podcast called The Keto for Women Show to be extremely informative and would highly recommend it.
What about the Keto Flu?
Some say that until your body makes the transition to use ketones for energy, you experience flulike symptoms. Which makes sense! If your body isn’t running on ketones yet, but you aren’t getting enough carbs and sugar to make glucose, your body is doesn’t know what to do. You might feel a bit tired and sluggish, but stick with it. Once your body makes the transition, you will feel back to yourself. Don’t worry, it’s nothing like the real flu, which according to Kyle, is the worst thing that can ever happen to someone.
How to Calculate Net Carbs.
You can find more information on calculating net carbs here (also a great resource for how to set up macros using My Fitness Pal). In a nutshell, you can subtract fiber and sugar alcohol from carbohydrates to get to your net carbs.
What tips do you have for someone just starting out?
Track your Macros.
Track everything you eat. EVERYTHING. We had no idea how many carbs were in anything when we first started Keto so tracking was key. We use My Fitness Pal, which helped us get a better idea of not only carb count, but also serving size. If you aren’t sure about what you can eat in a day, try tracking everything you plan to eat ahead of time to see if it will fit within your macros.
Watch out for Hidden Sugar.
Things that you think are low in carb, might not be! For example, I assumed tomato sauce would be low carb… WRONG! I had never paid attention to carb count until we started keto, so it was definitely a learning curve. Make sure to always check the label, even if that person you follow on Instagram or Facebook claims something is low carb, check the label.
Stay away from low carb alternatives to high carb treats.
For the first 6 months I was very strict with keto. No low carb substitutes for high carb treats. After our wedding, I became a little lax about this rule. I started eating halo top, simply lite chocolate, keto bagels, etc. This was the downfall for me. I don’t know what it was, but it caused a shift for me, I started eating ice cream every night after dinner. But why? I never ate ice cream before keto, why do I feel like I need it now?! Just because its low carb, does not mean it’s no carb. So, unless you are tracking and now that you can fit these carbs into your macros, just stay away.
What works for me, may not work for you.
And that includes this diet! The same thing doesn’t work for everyone. Take the time to do your research and find what works best for you. If you are a lover of all things fruit, keto might not be the best fit, and that’s ok! Everyone is different, even within the keto realm, there are people doing different things, and that doesn’t mean you have to do it to. For example, egg fasts. I could never eat eggs for a week. But if you love eggs and it makes you feel good, then go for it! Just make sure you do what feels good to you, don’t feel pressure to do something because you see other people doing it.
DISCLAIMER: We are not medical professionals or dietitians. Always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional before starting a diet or exercise program.