First off, Keto was not the original plan. In fact, going on Keto for 30 days was completely spontaneous, as most things in my life are. But, miraculously, by doing this diet, I lost over 10 pounds in about a month, just by cutting out bread and sugar and eating cheese instead. In this post, I’ll share why I went on Keto, what happened when I went on Keto, the pros, as well as the cons, and my overall thoughts. I will also share what I ate on an average day, as well as link some yummy recipes, for those of y’all interested in this diet!
Why I went on Keto
If you didn’t know, I’ve been on a weight-loss journey for about 8 months now! For about 3 months, however, I plateaued, fluctuating between 178-182. My goal since the beginning has been 160, which is what I weighed at the start of college. For a while, I got used to this plateau and decided that maybe, I was just supposed to stay at this weight.
It wasn’t until one day, when I was finishing up Camp Gladiator and feeling exhausted when I thought to myself, “If I’m doing this much work during exercise, I deserve to reach my goal weight.” I started calorie counting, eating less bread, and was still exercising at least four days a week. After about a week of this, I found that I had not lost anything and had in fact gained a pound.
That’s when it hit me: I was maintaining. My body was comfortable, and therefore it remained stubborn. It wouldn’t let go of the extra weight without a fight.
One random day, I thought of Keto. My parents both went on Keto, and my roommate had gone on Keto once before, so I knew of it briefly. I did some intense research for two straight days, writing down everything I’d need to know before starting Keto, the warnings, the science, the exact macros. I went to Sprouts, stocked up on food, and began the very next day.
I was ready to see changes, to finally drop those 20 stubborn pounds. Whether the diet worked or not, at least I’d try.
What is Keto?
Keto is high fat, low carb, and moderate protein.
Keto macros are:
Basically, you can’t go over approximately 50g of carbs each day (which includes sugar, because sugar is a carb).
Carbohydrates are the body’s energy source, so when you take away the carbohydrates, your body burns the fat you eat plus the fat you have stored. Basically, once you go begin ketosis, your body is constantly burning fat to use as energy. But, in order to stay awake, you have to eat really, really high amounts of healthy fat.
Healthy fats include:
Cheese (okay it’s not that healthy but I love cheese so it’s fine)
So, while you can’t have bread, or milk (high in sugar), or candy, or even apples (high in carbs), you can have all of the cheesy eggs and bacon and salads you desire!
Keto is not a long-term diet, and doctors recommend staying on it for up to 6 months, although some people make it to a year and end up just fine. It is solely a quick way to lose weight and kick your metabolism into shape.
The cons of Keto
1) Keto flu
Yes, you heard that right. There is such a thing as a Keto flu. Basically, your body goes into a little bit of shock when suddenly, your carb intake has completely disappeared. Your body spends one day to one week sorting this out and learning how to use fat as energy. Basically, it’s sugar/bread withdrawal.
The symptoms include lightheadedness, nausea, thirst (Drink tons of electrolytes!), irritation, etc. For more on keto flu, check out this post by Wholesum Yum here.
2) Lots of cooking and meal planning
There is a lot of cooking involved in keto. You can’t just grab a quick bite, unless it’s a cheese stick. I do a lot of meal prepping and planning on keto. And while I spend a lot on groceries, I spend much less eating out!
3) Less endurance/energy
With an absence in carbs, you’re not getting as much energy as you’re used to, so you may feel more tired than usual. Also, during workouts, you may not have as much endurance or stamina, which happened to me, and you may tire easily. Just remind yourself of this when you feel like giving up on a workout--be gentle with yourself, and move at your own pace.
4) Difficult for social gatherings
Before any social gathering, which right now is just playing Dungeons and Dragons, I have to really prepare. I usually bake Keto cookies in preparation, and bake a Quest pizza or bring over leftover chicken. It’s a bit sad when everyone around me is eating “real” pizza. But, I just push through!
The pros of Keto
1) Incredibly fast weight loss
The first week, I was already losing weight. In total, I lost 10 (now 11) pounds during one month of Keto, which is insane to me. While it’s mostly water weight, it still dropped insanely fast. Keto is a great way to boost weight loss and dive in head-strong.
2) An excuse to eat whole and nutritious food
I don’t remember a time when I ate more salads in my life, and enjoyed eating them. As I’m writing this, I just finished up a delicious Antipasto salad with Salami (10g of carbs), which tastes just like an Italian sub, but on a salad!
While salads don’t sound as fun, I’ve come to really enjoy them at lunch! They fill me up and don’t make me heavy like sandwiches do. I eat tons of veggies each day, and a lot of eggs and whole foods. It’s wonderful.
3) You never (or at least rarely) feel deprived
Since this diet is high fat, you’re allowed to eat cheese, beef jerky, pork rinds, smoked salmon, and all sorts of Keto deserts! I’ve never felt deprived (unless at the grocery store walking through the bread section). But, then again, did you know Keto bread exists? Yes, it does!
There are loads of recipes (which I’ll link below)
4) Reduced blood sugar and other health benefits
Keto, and consuming low sugar in general, offers so many health benefits, such as reduced blood sugar, an increase is good cholesterol, and a strengthened immune system.
5) Decreased appetite
This doesn’t happen to everyone, but personally, I noticed a huge decrease in my appetite while on keto. I’ll eat chicken and veggies for dinner and only finish half of my plate before feeling full. And not in a bloated, stomach-cramping kind of full, but a filled and happy full. My meals have been cut in half. But, I still eat the same amount of calories, which is very important.
What I ate in a day
Coffee with a splash of heavy cream
Scrambled eggs with cheese and spinach cooked in olive oil with a side of avocado or sausage.
Salad with baby spinach, feta cheese, almonds, raspberries, and lite red wine vinaigrette.
Coconut chia seed pudding and a cheese stick or Slim Jim
(Pour one cup of coconut milk into a mason jar, then add two tablespoons, or more if desired, or chia seeds and stir. Add monk fruit sweetener or stevia. Then, store in the fridge overnight. It’s so good!)
Parmesan-crusted tilapia with stir-fried bell peppers
I also would drive up to In & Out much too often and order a Double-Double, Animal Style, lettuce-wrapped. SO GOOD!
I absolutely love Keto. I love cooking and planning meals, so taking time out of each day to craft something for myself was never an issue. I was able to eat cheese, meats, even keto bread that tasted divine. I found tons of yummy recipes that my roommates who weren’t on keto ate and enjoyed. Also, I lost 10 pounds in a month, which is absolutely crazy. I don’t plan on continuing it, mostly because I feel comfortable at my weight right now and I would prefer a bit more energy for running and Camp Gladiator, but it helped me tremendously in loosing stubborn weight.
I counted my macros and calories in the beginning, but then just got too busy. I have no idea how much fat or carbs I ate each day, but I still had no problem losing weight by just avoiding bread and sugar and snacking on cheese sticks.
If you’re interested in beginning Keto, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try for 30 days, or even a week if you’d like. I’d only suggest doing tons of research, shopping and meal-planning the week before, and preparing for the Keto flu by stocking up on electrolyte water. But remember—Keto, like all diets, are not for everyone, so be cautious, do your research, and stop the diet if you feel too uncomfortable or experience any pain. Weight loss isn’t worth a serious injury/issue.
My experience with Keto flu was pretty bad, but not terrible. I drank a ton of water and still felt slightly dehydrated for about three days. One night, I got bad nausea and stomach cramps and had to go to sleep early, but awoke feeling fine. I also experienced muscle spasms. But, after these symptoms went away, I was back to feeling great!
I have decided to extend my diet for another month, since I am just 10 pounds away from my weight loss goal and, well, why not? Be sure to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with my progress!
Also, one last thing that I was hesitant about including...
In the beginning, I didn’t receive the feedback and support I originally hoped for. For a few days, I contemplated Keto thoroughly and deeply considered stopping after three people came to me and told me to stop. I felt alone in my health journey for a brief moment, and a little embarrassed, too.
In this day and age, diets are seen as toxic, and in a lot of ways, they can be. This is why I didn’t start one, or even dramatically change my eating habits at all until 7 months into my weight loss journey. At first, I wasn’t even going to tell anyone I started a diet in fear that they’d judge me, but I suppose I just got too excited and couldn’t hold it in anymore. I was trying something new, and wanted the world to know!
I was told to love myself more, to stop being so hard on myself, to eat whatever foods I wanted because I deserve all the food I want. I was told, “I can’t imagine eating all that fat” and “I would never deprive myself of bread”. And while these people were all coming from places of love, I simply told each and every one of them, “I’m going to do this for 30 days for me, because this is my journey.”
I wanted to include this to remind you that it’s okay to want to lose weight in a healthy way. You can lose weight and still love yourself all the same. But of course, maybe that’s just my opinion. Not everyone is going to be onboard with your goals, and while sometimes they have a good reason, the best thing to do is trust your gut and do what you feel is best.
Best of luck to you if you decide to pursue this diet. If not, no worries at all. You are beautiful, no matter the size. And remember, this is your journey, just as this one was mine.
My favorite Keto recipes!
But honestly, just look up literally any recipe with the word "keto" and you'll find it, I assure you.
I hope you enjoyed this beast of a post, and feel inspired to start keto yourself! Also, let me know if there's anything else keto-related you'd love for me to discuss on here!
Probably dreaming of bread for the next month,