So I’ve decided to try the Ketogenic diet. It’s a bit of a dramatic lifestyle change, but I wanted to do it for a number of different reasons. The first is getting rid of that stubborn bit of fat that seems to be clinging on to my hips and thighs. Despite exercising daily (mixing HIIT, cardio and weights) it doesn’t seem to want to budge. Secondly, I want to stop feeling so freaking hungry all the time! People often joke about the number of snacks I take with me everywhere (hey, it’s hard being Coeliac!) and I find myself constantly thinking about my next bite of food. My unhealthy relationship with food needs to come to an end. My third and final reason, I often experience that dreaded afternoon ‘slump’ or lethargy especially after I eat, so I’m hoping the Ketogenic diet will make me feel more energized and therefore able to concentrate better – here’s hoping!
Before starting the diet, I did a bit research (listening to podcasts and reading articles) just out of sheer curiosity. My friend recently started the diet and experienced pretty positive results after just 3 weeks (weight loss, feeling fulfilled after a meal, able to concentrate better etc) so I decided to bite the bullet give it a go myself. We’ll get to that part soon!
If you’re looking for an easy, maintenance-free diet, then the Ketogenic diet probably isn’t for you. It’s tough. The principles of the Ketogenic diet are to aim to eat around 20g – 50g of carbs a day (depending on your goals and body type). The more you investigate different food types, you begin to realise that there’s hidden carbs just about everywhere. Fruit, veggies, drinks – it’s much like living gluten-free with your constant, meticulous label-checking and recipe-modifying. It’s a real commitment for sure!
The Ketogenic diet (or Keto for short) is a strict, low-carb diet which makes your body run off fat rather than carbs. By limiting the number of carbs you consume and maintaining/increasing your intake of fats, your body is forced to use fat for fuel instead. Since your brain can’t run on fat itself, the liver breaks down fat into Ketones which are then released into the bloodstream for energy. This then reduces your insulin levels and increases your rate of fat burning, including those lovely bits of stored fat around your body. The diet has not only been proven effective for weight loss. People often comment on how they feel fulfilled after meals, no longer feel the need to snack and feel more awake, alert and energised. Sounds good, right?
DISCLAIMER: Obviously, I’m not a doctor (I mean, Dr. Kendrick sounds cute though!) If you want to change your diet dramatically, always speak to your GP or healthcare professional first. The Keto diet isn’t suitable for everyone – for example it is NOT recommended for those with Type 1 Diabetes or pregnant women. Make sure you’re suitable for the diet before making any changes.
The weekend before I was due to start the diet, I decided I would go on a bit of a carb-binge. I bought chips (crisps in my British accent), chocolate, chocolate muffins and since Sunday was Father’s Day here in Australia, my boyfriend’s parents came to visit and supplied me with an array of gluten-free goodies including a loaf of freshly baked bread and a loaf of raisin toast, along with 2 packets of cookies (argh!) I decided it would be best to slice and freeze the loaves of bread (to resist temptation) and the cookies had a long expiry date so they’d survive in the back of the cupboard *cries inside*. I couldn’t eat all of the crap I bought, so most of it was left in the cupboard much to my dismay (and my own fault entirely). So it would be an extra test for me to resist snacking on these delicious items whilst on the diet.
Throughout the week I used the MyFitnessPal app to track my nutrition and macros. This is a great way to keep track of how many carbs you’re consuming, however it never seems to be 100% accurate so I’d use this as a guide only (EDIT: the app is only good if you’re able to scan the barcode on the items you eat, it’s hard/pretty inaccurate if you cook a meal with multiple ingredients or eat out!)
Here’s a quick breakdown of my first week. I ain’t going to lie, it was pretty hard!
DAY 1 – Monday (in the office):
Breakfast: Gluten-free egg crepe with scrambled eggs, halloumi and kale (Pando Cafe, Brisbane)
Lunch: Baby cos lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, bocconcini, cured ham, pesto.
Dinner: Sirloin steak with a side of broccollini, peas and kale sauteed in butter with a cream cheese sauce.
Snacks: Roasted unsalted almonds, stuffed dates, celery sticks and shop bought guacamole dip.
Exercise: HIIT Session after work (very tired/lethargic after this!)
TOTAL Carbohydrates 25g (rough guide)
Notes: I sorely missed my sugary chai latte in the morning, though supplemented with a tea and natural Natvia sweetener. By late afternoon I really started to suffer and the urge to snack was at its strongest. I usually have a snack after dinner but I fought through and had a herbal tea and went to bed feeling reasonably satisfied. I also later found out that dates are FULL of sugary carbs, *cries*.
Day 2 – Tuesday (working from home):
Breakfast: Slender Blend Chocolate protein shake with strawberries.
Lunch: Spanish style scrambled eggs with chorizo, bacon, tomato, with guacamole on the side.
Dinner: Eggplant parmigiana (eggplant, tinned chopped tomatoes, bocconcini, basil, black olives).
Snacks: Roasted unsalted almonds, bulletproof hot chocolate, celery sticks with guacamole, another date!
Exercise: 50 mins cardio gym session in the morning. Struggled to complete full 50 mins, felt very exhausted.
TOTAL Carbohydrates 30g (rough guide)
Notes: Throughout the day at home, I felt the urge to snack a lot more than at work where I am completely restricted – I found it especially hard to resist snacking on the bags of chips and gluten-free biscuits in the cupboards! However, the meals I did eat were filling and didn’t leave me feeling lethargic afterwards (although I generally felt pretty tired throughout the day), though I still felt the need to listen to my chocolate cravings and treated myself to a bulletproof hot chocolate in the evening. Damn those dates!
Day 3 – Wednesday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, homemade guacamole, cured meats, baby gem lettuce.
Lunch: Leftover eggplant parmigiana.
Dinner: Bacon wrapped meatloaf with broccollini, kale, peas and cream sauce.
Snacks: Roasted unsalted almonds, celery sticks with beetroot dip, few slices of cheese.
TOTAL Carbohydrates 29g (rough guide)
NOTES: Another day working from home, but without the feeling of dread. I had leftover dinner ready for my lunch and was mentally prepared to reduce my snacks. Dinner was pretty high in fat and protein, after all it was pretty much just a slab of meat slathered in more meat and cream (I’m not sure how accurate the MyFitnessPal app was here as everything was homemade, but it seems pretty high!) I felt pretty hungry throughout the day, which is why I opted to cook breakfast rather than having a shake, though it feels strange eating so many eggs all the time (you’ve heard the rumours about too many eggs!)
Day 4 – Thursday:
Breakfast: Homemade Keto banana bread muffin with 1/2 cup strawberries and half YoPro protein strawberry yoghurt.
Lunch: Pre-prepared konjac fettuccine with pesto, cream, kale, olives, cheese and bacon.
Dinner: the rest of the fettuccine as couldn’t be bothered to shop!
Snacks: YoPro protein yoghurt, tea, few slices of cheese, low cal hot chocolate with water and coconut milk.
TOTAL Carbohydrates 26g (rough guide)
NOTES: On Thursday I was back in the office so made sure I had lunch and snacks at the ready. I quickly rustled up a dish with some konjac fettuccine and bought a YoPro protein yoghurt to snack on in the afternoon. Throughout the day I found that the food I was eating was satisfying and I didn’t experience that afternoon slump like I usually do. Wahoo it’s finally working!
Day 5 – Friday:
Breakfast: Homemade banana bread muffin with 1/2 cup strawberries.
Lunch: Sauteed kale and mushrooms with 2 scrambled eggs and feta.
Dinner: Protein Bread Co. pizza base topped with olive oil, pesto, capers, pizza cheese, bacon and fresh rocket.
Snacks: Few slices of cheddar cheese, celery sticks with beetroot dip, green tea.
TOTAL Carbohydrates 23g (rough guide)
NOTES: Yay I’d made it to Friday! I finally started to feel the benefits of the diet – feeling more full and satisfied after meals, a reduced need to snack and less time spent thinking about food, and missing that afternoon slump that I usually suffer from. I only snacked on a few slices of cheese and celery sticks which was amazing! I was also excited to try my new pizza bases from Protein Bread Co. to replace my usual Friday pizza treat. Positive vibes all round!
On Friday, I tested my ketones by peeing on some Ketone strips (Keto-Diastix) that I got for around $7.00 from Chemist Warehouse (my fave place). On Friday I was super deep purple, meaning I was fully into Ketosis and was very pleased with myself. I found the weekend pretty hard going, especially since this is usually my more relaxed dietary time of the week (I don’t go crazy but I don’t normally restrict myself so much).
Overall, week 1 was tough but ended with a positive result. After a whole week I lost 1kg in weight and an inch off my thighs, hips and belly respectively. Let’s see how the next week goes!
Have you started the Keto diet recently or are you a Keto veteran? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy eating 🙂