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Weight-loss has always been a thorn in my side. I've talked about in a few posts before. We've done our research and did a lot of trial and error. We have done the shake meal replacements, tried Nutrisystem (had to stop because of the artificial flavorings), and even started The Ketogenic Lifestyle, also known as Keto Diet.
When we first started, there were things I wish someone would have told us what we would need to know before starting the Keto Diet. So that is why I'm writing this post, so you know before you start.
We really liked The Keto diet. We were able to eat a lot of the foods we already enjoy (except breads…. that's a whole other topic, I'll talk about that in a minute).
Though it's often called the “bacon diet” it's very far from that. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about eating a ton of bacon. Yes, it's true, you can still eat delicious bacon while living the keto life, however, it's not just any bacon you pick up at the store & it's not 24/7 either. Just like everything in life, you have to eat in moderation when it comes to Keto.
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves lowering carbohydrate intake by drastically replacing it with healthy fats. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Which is when the body does not have enough glucose for energy so it burns stored fats instead and results in the build-up of acids called ketones within the body.
If you're Type 1 diabetic, DO NOT go on the keto diet! You can go into ketoacidosis which can be deadly. Ketoacidosis occurs when the body produces dangerously high levels of ketones, and it is often a complication of type 1 diabetes.
What are healthy fats?
Healthy or natural fats are often found in foods such as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna which are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” or healthy fats that help keep your heart healthy. Other foods that contain healthy fats are:
- Avocados (not my favorite at all, yuck)
- Cheese (not american processed crap cheese, like legit cheeses mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, etc)
- Dark chocolate (the darker, the better)
- Whole eggs (yolk & all folks)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc)
- Coconut (oil and unsweetened shreds)
- MCT (Mono-chain Triglycerides) often found in Coconut or palm kernel
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Do you see bacon on that list? No? Hmmm wonder why? Because it doesn't contain overall healthy fat. Sure, meats in general are great sources of protein, but keto is more than just fats and definitely more than just eating a pound of bacon daily. Which some people forget going into the lifestyle.
Yes, lifestyle. It's not a “diet” but literally a lifestyle. You are changing the way you're body is consuming fats, proteins and carbs. Typical ratio for fat to protein to carb is 60-75% fat to 15-30% protein to 15-10% carbs. To figure out the correct ratio for you and your needs, check out the Keto Calculator over at ruled.me. It's my favorite calculator for figuring out the correct macros I need to get to my next goal. You'll want to use it at least once a month, some use it twice a month, or even weekly.
Things I've learned After Starting the Keto Diet:
There is NO one size fits all
- Despite what anyone tells you, how others keto, is not how you're going to Keto. TRUST ME! I personally can't have too much fat due to kidney & gall bladder issues so, I had to adjust my fat & carb intake a little bit. This is why it's super important to consult a doctor before starting any diet change. Just because your best friend forever can Keto the heck of out this diet the traditional way, doesn't mean you can.
Bulletproof Coffee is an acquired taste
- Bulletproof coffee is your favorite coffee brand (I love Folgers or Starbucks) with MCT oil, Ghee, or clarified butter along with heavy cream. You can also add in a sugar alternative such as Monkfruit sweetener if you'd like. (Any sweeteners that are “in the raw” are not Keto approved and could cause digestive issues). I love it, my husband on the other hand can't force himself to gulp it down, no matter how we've tried to prepare it. When making your coffee, you definitely want to have quality coffee machine also. I've had a few in the past, that were just eh. My favorite machine is definitely the Ninja Coffee Bar System.
All foods within reason
- Remember how I said Keto is known as the “bacon diet”? Yeah, people think that “YAY BACON!” and will literally have 3-4 slices of bacon with every single meal. NO, DO NOT DO THAT! It's not good for you, no matter what anyone says. Too much of a delicious thing can be a horrible thing, in this case, bacon. Too much bacon is a horrible idea.
You'll either lose weight super fast and stall, or you'll lose slowly and never stall, or you won't lose any.
- Just like #1, there is no one size fits all for how much weight you'll lose, how quickly, or if you'll even lose weight. Some folks start the Keto Diet to “jumpstart” their metabolism. Others start because they need to regulate aspects of their diet that they've struggled with in the past. Others start it because it's the latest fad and can't understand why it's not working for them. (9 times out of 10 it's because they are part of the “Yay bacon” group.
I hated not having bread or bread products.
- I didn't realize how much I relied on breads, rice, pasta. Sure, there are substitutes, however, they don't replace the “real” things. So we've altered some of our favorite recipes to incorporate keto friendly grains. We've been able to substitute pasta with spaghetti squash and rice out with cauliflower.
- Oh and pizza… we love pizza so much, so we definitely jumped on a keto pizza dough called “Fathead pizza dough” which can be found over at Keto Connect. We've tried a few different recipes but this is definitely our favorite.
Not all recipes are created equal
- We've had to do a lot of trial and error with recipes. Edit them, add something or remove in order to get the right consistency or flavor we wanted or liked. Don't be scared to do that either. One of my favorite cookbooks is my “Bacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Cookbook“.
Don't starve yourself
- Even if you think you're not hungry, you need to eat something. You still need to get at a MINIMUM 1200 calories a day. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. To get a better idea how many calories you need to eat in order to lose/gain. Use this BMR (Basel Metobolic Rate) calculator.
- My favorite snack was super easy to make. I sliced some Parmesan cheese in thin slices, put them on a cookie sheet and baked for about 10 mins at 350. They were delicious cheese chips/crackers that I would pair with slices of pepperoni.
It's not something you do for 2-3-4 months
- Despite being a “diet” it's literally a lifestyle change. Sure you can do it for a few months if you want to get down to the “desired” weight. However, I can promise you, that you will gain weight back if you don't continue to follow a ketogenic lifestyle.
Your going to become a label reading “whore”
- I became so obsessed with reading the labels, all the way down to the very last ingredient on every single item we were looking at that claimed they were Keto friendly. *Spoiler – about 75% of foods saying that they are Keto friendly, are not unfortunately.
Your taste buds will change
- Textures of some foods you will swap out for tend to have a different taste, texture, or even flavor. Eventually, your taste bud palette will chance and you'll become accustomed to those differences.