Many of our friends online and IRL have asked about the lifestyle my husband and I have made in the past 5 months. The opinions are entirely my own and based on my own experience. If this is something that you would like to adopt in your life, contact you doctor and/or consult a nutritionist, as well as research research research before you begin.
It all began in January with the “Terrible Twos”. No I’m not referring to the age of a toddler, but rather the number on the scale. I know, I know, it’s not all about the number on the scale, but this is what started the ball rolling. On January 1st I got on the scale with the determination that everyone has to “be healthier in the new year” and had a reality check. I had never been 200 pounds, EVER. I can’t say I was surprised, but I was devastated nonetheless. I felt every bit of those 203 pounds. I was tired, irritable, and plagued by joint pain that made it almost impossible to walk for long periods of time. I swore that I would eat better, exercise more, and “do better”. I ate low fat/high carb foods, but didn’t see the inside of a gym, or do much outside of just the basics of day to day living. In February, the scale hadn’t moved.
I figured it was all about my lack of gym time. So I resolved to go to the gym 5 days a week. I did it too, however the strain on my joints left me hurting, and back in the doctor’s office. I was quite bluntly told that I needed to lose weight and strengthen my joints, by my orthopedist. I told him that I had been trying, but that it wasn’t working. He told me that I should seek out a certified nutritionist to help me find out what work would for me. I made an appointment for later that week as soon as I left the office.
The appointment was not what I expected. He was a “cross fit” type sitting across from me in his workout gear. After some discussion we started to talk about the Keto Lifestyle. In a nutshell it meant that I would stop feeding my body sugar and carbs and teach my body to burn fat instead. (If you want an easier and more thorough description, check out this.) While it sounded fabulous, I was curious how feasible it would be and honestly how expensive it would be. Then I thought back to all the money I had spent, and all the empty promises I had sold to others about a pill or a drink that would make them skinnier without doing much. I was ashamed of myself and decided that I would try.
For one month I would consumer no more than 30 carbs a day. Period. I would be low sugar, no bread, no grains, only whole foods, real foods. In my version of keto, I don’t eat any artificial sweeteners or processed foods, if I do, it’s RARELY. WTF? Yep, that’s my life. And you know what I love it! After the first month I went up to 50 carbs a day and that’s where I sit most of the time.
Sounds wonderful? Well it is…now. The first week SUCKED! I got what is commonly called, the keto flu. My body was screaming at me for carbs and sugar. I felt terrible, like I had the actual flu without the vomiting. But it passed and I’ve never felt better. I will say that within the first 5 days all of my joint pain DISAPPEARED. The nutritionist told me that it was due to going gluten-free. After 3 months, I am down 34 pounds, and B is down over 40. We feel better than we have, even in our 20’s, B is 40 and I will be in a few months.
What does it look like? Here ya go. I don’t look like the same person, nor do I feel like that girl in 2015.
Now for the questions I hear frequently
1. What do you eat ? Lots of veggies and fruits (no fruits that first month, they have quite a few carbs), meat, butter, cheese, almond flour, stevia (plant based). Bulletproof coffee (recipe coming up later).
2. Do you ever cheat? Sometimes, but usually I feel like total crap if I do. So I’ve learned that it’s not worth it. I save what little sugar I do eat and some carbs each day to have a half a glass of wine each night.
3. What is the hardest thing about keto? Honestly, it is convenience. This lifestyle doesn’t mesh well with our high carb, low fat, sugar/bread based society. I can’t just grab something easy, and eating out is a challenge. I cook almost every night (which I did anyway, but that’s not the norm). We have a few restaurants that we like that offers options for us. But it is frustrating.
4. What does your workout look like? I lived in the gym for about 2 months. 5 days a week, mostly lifting weights and some cardio. However in the last month, all of my workout time is working in the yard, mowing, and working in the garden about 5 days a week. I’ll go back into the gym when the garden work winds down in September.
5. How can you give up bread, cookies, cake, etc.? You just do it. At least for the first month. Then you’ll cheat, you just will. You’ll get a terrible headache and feel like you want to vomit. Then you won’t do it again. Seriously.
6. How do you keep up with recipes and what to cook? Pinterest! Honestly, I have found so many awesome recipes and ideas from there. Last night’s dinner was entirely a pinterest recipe and it was amazing. I also enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, so it helps.
7.So what is the step by step so that I can do what you do? Sorry, there isn’t a step by step. There are many versions of keto. Some people eat more carbs regularly, some less. Some don’t have any dairy (including NO CHEESE, can you imagine?), or allow more sugar. You just have to find out what works for you. Honestly, do your research, ask me more questions, talk to your doctor, talk to a licensed certified nutritionist.
8. So how long as you on this “diet”? It’s not a diet. It honestly is a lifestyle. We had to rework out thinking, our body chemistry, everything. Food is not really our therapy, or our feelings anymore. Honestly, I don’t need food as comfort anymore, my moods are more stable, I spend more time outside, I weed my garden and flowerbeds as therapy, but you have to find something else other than food to deal with your feelings. You can’t worship food anymore. It’s fuel. Plain and simple. That doesn’t mean that it has to taste bad. It doesn’t in fact, it’s phenomenal. You don’t have to starve yourself either. I eat 3 meals a day and rarely snack. Some days I have to force myself to eat because you just feel so full and satisfied with the chemistry behind the 1500-1750 calories a day you consume.
And I would be totally lying if I didn’t say that nothing cures a bad day like a juicy bacon cheeseburger, without the bun!