Check out the video for this article here.
Back in October I made a post and a YouTube video part-way through a 90 day experiment with a keto diet, and promised to share my results (if you do not know what a ketogenic diet is, make sure to check out the vid). This post is a bit overdue (have to love the busyness of the Holidays), but finally the time has come to share the results and my personal thoughts on eating a keto diet.
As mentioned in the previous video, I spent the majority of the diet eating around 1800 calories, which is a 20% deficit for me (-20% from the calories it takes to keep my weight the same). I chose not to go lower than 20% because I like to be able to maintain (and possibly even increase) strength in the gym, rather than losing it and potentially encouraging muscle loss. I usually lose around 1lb a week on a “normal” carb-based diet with ~1800 calories a day.
Workouts focused on compound lifting (squats, deadlifts, rows, bench press) and I used an upper / lower split routine that I wrote for myself, tailored to my goals, 3 times a week.
Including the 3 days prior to the 90 days (where I was slowly lowering carbs to mentally prepare for <20 grams of carbs a day), I lost 20lbs and 3 inches from my waist.
- Increased strength and volume on lifts.
- I am usually congested all the time, in every season, ever since I was a kid. My symptoms have drastically reduced to the point of being almost nonexistent.
- An entire day can pass before I feel hungry.
- Mentally, I feel much more balanced on a keto diet and less prone to frustration.
- My endurance in jump-roping greatly improved despite neglecting to do cardio for some time.
- My cravings for carbs have dropped significantly and I can go weeks without thoughts of cheating instead of fiending for carbs throughout the day.
Unexpected Side Effects
- In the beginning, it’s ideal to go easy on the fat, and…”never trust a fart,” as a redditor so bluntly put it, lol!
- Periods can be pretty intense and irregular when first adjusting. I dealt with cramps and periods that were longer than usual. This is apparently common in the beginning and usually gets better with time.
Overall Impression of a Keto Diet
Being 100% honest, I was very surprised by this diet. In the months prior, I had tried to lose fat ‘normally’ but kept succumbing to bingeing. I found it difficult to maintain the desire to last even one day in a calorie deficit. It seemed as if I was always hungry, and then ashamed for struggling so much with controlling my appetite.
This was a non-issue on keto.
There were many times where I actually had to remind myself to eat, or I wouldn’t be meeting the targeted calorie intake for the day. And man, do I enjoy the food. Vegetables had been making less and less of an appearance on my plate, but eating a keto diet reminded me of the many glorious ways veggies can be eaten (seared in fats is so good).
I found it very curious that I seemed to lose fat so much more quickly with 1800 calories on a ketogenic diet, versus when I use 1800 calories on a carb-based diet. I’m wondering if I am perhaps some level of insulin resistant, and that explains why I had noticeably more fat loss. In the end, I find a keto diet to be superior to a carb-based diet in many ways for me.
Keto Diet Tips
- The #1 thing people tend to mess up on is electrolytes. Track them and make sure you are truly getting enough, or you will probably end up feeling like crap, and write keto off as a terrible diet (like I did the first time I tried it years ago).
- Do the diet strict for 6-12 weeks to become fully adapted and return strength levels. Once adapted, it doesn’t matter as much if you cheat now and then as you can more easily enter back into ketosis with your metabolism primed for it.
- You don’t have to forego eating out just because you are eating a keto diet. I ended up ordering steak salads loaded with creamy dressings and guacamole. There is also the option of having burgers bunless and many places have other low-carb meal options.
- Join some type of keto diet group. I highly recommend joining the KetoGains facebook group, Ketogains Reddit, and the xxketo Reddit (keto for women specifically). These communities will help with recipes, questions that arise, and they are an amazing source of support and motivation. Seeing the various transformations is incredibly inspiring, and it’s flattering to have your own progress applauded by fellow ketoers.
- My go-to recipe sites are ruled.me, caveman keto, and ketodietapp.com.
**I am not affiliated with any of the above linked sites – they were truly useful in helping me with the diet.**
So, if you haven’t figure it out by now, I have decided that I will be following a ketogenic diet indefinitely. Still have a bit of fat to lose, but I am confident that keto will get me there. Stay tuned for future posts and recipes with a keto twist.
And for those of you with no interest in removing carbs from the diet, don’t worry, I will still have posts for you too.
Happy New Year all!