So you’re interested in the Keto Diet? Working out and not seeing results? Not wanting to spend money for weight-loss meds and doctor visits? Well, I hope I can shed some light on how this diet works and how it can work for you! I’m definitely not a dietitian, fitness coach, or health nut, but I’ve done my research on the Ketogenic Diet: what it is exactly, how it works, and whether or not it can work for me. It has definitely worked for me and I’m so happy I’ve joined the Keto Diet family!
For the majority of my life, my form of exercise was dancing. You would rarely find me at a gym (unless there were Zumba classes) because it just wasn’t fun for me and I didn’t ever see results. One day (specifically once I turned 21 + 9), I looked at myself and thought “what happened?!” My face was breaking out like I was still in high school, I had gained 30 pounds, my right knee was randomly in pain, and I just looked tired. I had NEVER been overweight or had any health issues, but my clothes were tighter and I was in a constant state of uncomfortable. I might have been the only one that noticed these changes over time, but I knew I had to do something about it.
I had seen a former classmate of mine post things about the diet, as well as some recipes that looked delectable, and it peaked my interest. I had also noticed one of my friends (I’m lookin’ at you, Abby!) had lost a lot of weight, and looked AMAZING. I reached out to her because I had a sneaky suspicion that she had been on the same diet about which I had been reading. Abby and several other friends of mine were able to give me some incredible advice and tips, and then on a random Tuesday, I bought a book on the diet at Barnes & Noble, and I haven’t turned back since!
For reference of where I started, here’s a photo of my boyfriend Chris and I at two different weddings (we’re pretty predicable in our poses… ha!). We started the Keto Diet shortly after the top photo was taken, and you can see how different we look in the bottom photo, which was taken just a month later – It’s just crazy! Not only have I lost weight and several inches, I haven’t had a zit or a headache in months, my “brain fog” is gone, my concentration has improved, I’m not as sluggish in the morning, and my overall energy and mood have improved. I’m thrilled with my results, and I know you can be thrilled, too!
The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from body producing small fuel molecules called “ketones.” This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar/glucose is in short supply. Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs, and are produced from fat in the liver. When the body produces ketones, it’s said to be in a state of ketosis. Typically, one can go into ketosis when less than 100 carbs are consumed in one day. (I started out with less than 25 carbs a day and that’s how I was able to drop weight so quickly).
On a Ketogenic Diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, as well as less hunger and a steady, better supply of energy, keeping you alert and focused.
– We eat carbs (because they really are freaking delicious, but bad for you)!
– Our bodies get energy from these carbs, and all of our fat is stored in our bodies.
– When we deprive our body of carbs, the fat is burned for energy. And voila! You start dropping weight the healthy way!
One of the hardest, yet most important things about starting this kind of diet is prepping your pantry and getting rid of any temptations. And if you’re anything like me, you also like to enjoy restaurants every once in a while, and the temptations are everywhere. It’s really all about doing your research ahead of time, and knowing how many carbs are in certain items. Honestly, there is more that you can eat than you can’t – It’s mostly about adjustments and substitutions: Swapping buns for lettuce wraps, spiralized zucchini for than noodles, pork rinds for chips, etc. I turned to Pinterest to look through lists of what you can/can’t eat, and to discover all sorts of amazing recipes! Food items like ranch, butter, cheese, avocado, bacon… those are all good, thank goodness. Honestly, Pinterest is the best resource for recipes & a list of yay/nay foods. Everything in moderation, really! And self-control is KEY! Once you start to see results, it’s easier to hold yourself accountable. Trust me!
I really started the diet with no plan – I just accumulated a bunch of recipes that are keto-friendly, and I use the MyFitnessPal app religiously to a) keep me on track of staying under a certain amount of carbs each day and to b) help me learn how many carbs are in the foods that I used to eat all of the time.
I also changed my mentality toward the diet. I don’t diet. Diet is a bad word. I try not to think of it as a diet per se, but a step in the right direction for better health and looser clothing 😉 Chris has been an amazing supporter throughout this journey, not only because we’re both doing the diet, but we can hold one another accountable. He often says “Don’t say I can’t have xx food, but rather I’m choosing not to and I won’t regret NOT having it later.” Find a spouse, co-worker, family member, or friend to join you in the diet process. If they can’t, then urge them to cheer you on along your journey.
Water will become your best friend, especially within the first couple of weeks. It’s so important to stay hydrated to help with cravings, and to counteract a metallic taste in your mouth that you’ll most likely encounter within 24-72 hours of starting the diet. This is normal! Feeling woozy or just off? Read about Keto Flu that can happen when beginning the diet: Keto Flu 411 (I personally did not encounter this, but I know some who have. It’s essentially your body going through withdrawls from carbs.)
Fiber intake is important with this diet because, well… adjusting to the diet can stop you up. Fiber gummies are a great go-to, just don’t overdo them. Let’s just say it’ll turn out like the “beans, beans, a wonderful fruit” song…
All of my favorite meals at restaurants and fast food places are further down on this page
– Unsweet Tea – Very un-Southern like, but it’s better than no tea at all
– Diet Cherry Coke – Drink VERY sparingly. This is mainly to get a little bit of a soft drink fix
– Gatorade Zero (I found this once at Walmart, and haven’t seen it again… but hopefully it comes back because it was SO good)
– Black coffee, or coffee with sugar-free creamer
– Minute Maid Just 15 Calories Lemonade
– Red wine!
– Vodka and water, with Mio flavor drops
– Margaritas with sugar-free sweet and sour mix
– Sugar-free Black Cherry Jello (you CANNOT tell it’s sugar-free) & a big dollop of Extra Creamy Cool Whip.
– Jimmy Dean Scrambles in Sausage, Meat Lovers, and Three Cheese
– Atkins Shakes: Vanilla (Regular and Protein-Packed) , Chocolate, and Strawberry
– Prosciutto and pepperoni sticks– Pork rinds
– Cheese of any kind!
– Roasted Salted Blue Diamond Almonds
– Joseph’s Pita Bread (SUCH a wonderful alternative to bread – Can find at Walmart and online)
Cholula – zero carbs!
Peanut Butter – look for one with lowest carbs
Rao’s Homemade Sauce – Marinara, Roasted Garlic, Four Cheese, Vodka Sauce (all less than 4 carbs for 1/2 cup)
My favorite recipes will be in my next blogs!
6 oz. sirloin, green beans, salad with ranch – Avoid the bread (I knowwwww) and the croutons on the salad
– 6 oz. sirloin (Guiltless Grill menu) with seasoned & topped with garlic butter, grilled avocado slices, garlic roasted tomatoes, cilantro. Served with fresco salad.
– Bone-in wings covered in queso, shredded cheese, chives, bacon bits, served with ranch
4 Chick-fil A Nuggets, Chick-fil-A sauce, diet lemonade, and probably 3 waffle fries (live a little)! I’ll usually eat this for lunch or dinner if the other meals were lighter that day.
In N Out
Single or Double Cheeseburger, Protein Style (lettuce-wrapped)
Burrito bowl, no rice or beans, your choice of meat, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, mild salsa (a little!), veggies, and guacamole
– Chili cheese coney with no bun
– Sausage breakfast burrito with no tortilla
– Cheeseburger with mayo, no bun
El Pollo Loco
Double chicken avocado salad with creamy cilantro dressing
– Taco Supremes, just remove the tortilla or shell
– Power Bowls
– Quarter Pounder with cheese, no bun
– Sausage McMuffin, cheese on the side (so it doesn’t melt to the bread)
Pizza – From anywhere, really
Just eat the toppings with a fork…or your hands (you animal, you!) Just no crust!
Eggs with Cholula, sausage, bacon – Breakfast food for the win!
Sugar-Free Cinnamon Dolce Latte, replace milk with half heavy cream, half water
Thin Ice snowcones with no sugar added Vanilla Ice Cream. Flavors here: Bahama Buck’s – Thin Ice
When many people think of the Keto Diet, they think of the Atkins Diet. In all honesty, I don’t really know the difference, but what I do know is that the Keto Diet gets a better rap because of the negative press originally behind the Atkins Diet, and the claims that it caused high cholesterol and higher risk of heart disease. There’s a very interesting article that actually debunks what the American Heart Association has made the general public believe about the heart. LA Times: Don’t Believe the American Heart Association
As consumers, we are made to believe that fat is bad, and that we only need to look for things that say Lite and Low Fat. We truly need to be doing the opposite, and revert back to a basis in which our food is from nature – Meat, veggies, etc. Essentially, our food pyramid needs to be turned upside down.
If you have Netflix, there is a documentary called The Magic Pill, & it’s legitimately fascinating. If anyone is a naysayer about the diet, I tell them to watch it because the research and the science speaks for itself! It’s only an hour and a half long – You can do it!
Keto for Life: Look Better, Feel Better, and Watch the Weight Fall off with 160+ Delicious High-Fat Recipes
I love all of the recipes in this one from chicken fried steaks and shrimp caprese salads, to margaritas and pina coladas!
The Everything Guide to the Ketogenic Diet by Lindsay Boyers
This is a great guide for beginners. It breaks down the diet into easy to follow explanations.
The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet, with More Than 125 Delectable Recipes and 5 Meal Plans to Shed Weight, Heal Your Body, and Regain Confidence
Basically the ultimate Keto Diet, with drilled-down specifics about the diet, and creating a lifelong diet change. LOTS of details and specifics for those looking to make a life change rather than a quick way to lose weight.
Now that I’ve gone on and on about the Keto Diet, just make sure that you ultimately do what’s right for you, your lifestyle, and your body. I would recommend talking with your doctor before starting this diet if you have pre-existing conditions or health concerns like diabetes, kidney troubles, or issues with your gall bladder. I also don’t know how vegetarians or vegans would do this particular diet… but I’m all ears if you’d like to tell me!!
To date, I’ve lost 19 pounds (and counting) in four months. I honestly could have lost more if I had continued the way I was when I first started the diet, buuuuut… yeah. I’ll admit that I’ve had cheat days and eaten things that kick my body out of ketosis. I’m only human, and food is just so dang good. It’s about balance and everything in moderation. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves completely from something that we love – hello, macaroni and cheese!
The diet isn’t all just about losing the weight; it’s about having the confidence to walk around with your head up, feeling as beautiful as you are, inside and out.
You gotta do what’s right for you – you know YOU more than anyone!
And a post from me wouldn’t be proper without a pun:
I wanted to lose weight so I went to the paint store.
I heard I could get thinner there.
(But don’t really do that… just do the Keto Diet). 🙂
**This diet works for me, but it might not work for everyone. This entire post is strictly based on my experience, which will vary for everyone! Please ask questions, and share some of your ideas, experiences, and feedback in the comments!**
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