Years ago I remember watching a made for TV movie called, First Do No Harm. It stars Meryl Streep as a mum to a little boy with epilepsy. Conventional treatment doesn’t seem to help him and she turns to a Ketogenic Diet to help elevate his symptoms. Yes, it was probably raining and I’m thinking there’s was nothing on either of the other two TV channels available in New Zealand in the 90s. But this was the first time I had ever heard of a Ketogenic Diet.
Throughout my ‘yoyo dieting journey’ the name popped up a few times but I never gave it much time. Until a month ago. I spent way more time than I should have reading all sorts of keto experiences online, journal articles, blogs, ebooks and I thought I would give it a go. It looked logistically straight forward. In a very, very simplified nutshell:
- A keto diet is a very low carb diet.
- When you eat something high in carbs your body produces glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy, so it’s your main form of energy.
- Since glucose is being used as your main form of energy, your fats are not needed, and are therefore stored.
- If you starve your body of carbs, you enter a state of ketosis.
- Ketosis is a natural process in which your body burns ketones to avoid draining the protein stores in your muscles and instead uses energy from your fat stores.
OK, so what do I do to get my body in to ketosis?
It’s simple: eat lower than 20g of carbs each day. Ok, so maybe there’s more to it than that but if you want a simple starting point, that is it.
What’s on the menu?
Here’s a typical days worth of food for me
- Breakfast: 2 x eggie muffin things with eggs, cream, cheese and bacon. Long black with double cream and stevia.
- Lunch: 3 cups of spinach, some parmesan cheese and a tin of chicken. Olive oil, salt and pepper as dressing.
- Dinner: “Inside Out Burgers” – burger patties with bacon, onion, cheese, mustard and low carb ranch dressing wrapped in iceberg lettuce.
After years of choosing the ‘low fat version’ of everything, I really struggle to get my head around eating things like butter, cream, olive oil, coconut oil. My head screams, “what the heck are you doing?” as I drizzle my double cream in to my morning coffee.
Key things that have helped me stick to the plan:
- Ketostix. Pee on these bad boys and if they turn anything from blush to full on purple, you are in ketosis. They are not 100% accurate but for me – they definitely help.
- Weighing myself. I weigh myself weekly. Anyone on any kind of weightloss plan will know that the scales can lie. You can lose centimetres yet add grams. But for me, the numbers came down – FAST – and I was motivated to keep on going.
- Focussing on what I CAN eat. If you look at weightloss as basic maths: calories out > calories in. You can’t lose weight without some kind of deficit. For most of us that means limiting our food intake in some way. I focus all of my ‘food thoughts’ on the yummy things I CAN eat. Forget the stuff I can’t, I pour over delicious, low carb recipes and get excited about trying new foods. The world is my (low carb) oyster!
Results after the first month:
So, I’m not any kid of healthcare professional and I’m not following this way of eating as any kind of scientific experiment so my results are not necessarily quantitative. But one month in to a ketogenic way of eating, here is what I have found:
- My weight has decreased by 5.5kg.
- My clothes are becoming loose.
- Six people have commented that they have noticed I have lost weight.
- I have more energy than I have had since before I became a mum. This may be unrelated – the kid is sleeping well, which must be helping.
- My quality of sleep is better. I can fall asleep quicker and I don’t wake as much during the night. Excluding child-related wake ups.
- I eat less. Like volume. My meals are smaller and less frequent.
- My breath stinks. “Keto breath” is a thing. I’m still working on how to deal with this (currently sipping peppermint tea as I write!)
- Burger fuel do burgers wrapped in lettuce. I haven’t been brave enough to ask anywhere else yet.
- People are very opinionated on what they think you should be eating. Best to keep your new way of eating to yourself.
My favourite websites for finding out more about a ketogenic diet:
There are so many! But the best I’ve found are:
Well, there you go. If you’re still reading, yes, this is different to my usual ‘mummy/mommy blogging’. But hey – this is my blog and I’ll harp on about keto if I want to! Just be thankful I haven’t started crossfit 😉