Starting the ketogenic diet was the beginning of me trying to understand what really makes a diet work. Previous to doing the ketogenic diet, I had never specifically followed a true diet plan, and I had never thought about ratios of food. This was the beginning of me doing my research into what a proper diet should look like. Hopping onto the ketogenic diet is also when I started using My Fitness Pal since it heavily requires tracking of carb and fat consumption. Having to learn how to track my diet, also lead to me needing to know How to Read Nutrition Labels. I believe that this is something the general public needs to learn, and especially so if you are in the fitness world.
Ketogenic Diet Plan I Followed
Ketogenic Ratio: Modified Keto 1:1
Keto Timing: Standard Keto
Calorie Intake: 1,600 Total Calories
Right out of the gate my excitement carried me, and I didn’t have any initial problems. However, after a week or so my body struggled to keep up with the change. I did not get the keto flu like many people do, but I could tell that my body was lacking in energy from not consuming carbs, which are the bodies go to energy source. Getting out of the bed in the morning took some serious effort while I was adjusting to a ketone based energy system. Once my body adjusted, I had no problems. Honestly, I felt really good! How keto made me feel, is hard to describe, other than I felt like I was burning clean energy.
I don’t know how many of you have tried to not eat carbs. For me this was maddeningly hard. I love carbs, and rice is one of my favorite foods to eat. Not to mention Oregon, has a local bread company that has gone national called Dave’s Killer Bread. It is hands down the best store bought sandwich bread. Not eating carbs took a little bit to get used to. However, after I got used to it, it was never really a problem except for when I was around people that were eating carbs. I specifically remember going out with friends one night and staring at their fries at the table.So if you have a weak impulse control, this may become a problem for you.
Social Life and Going Out
Going out was one of the things that I found to be more troublesome. Being keto of course means not consuming carbs. The only problem with that is all alcohol contains some form of sugar in it, which means carbs. Unwilling to break my diet, I found myself going out a lot less, and when I did go out I ended up drinking water while my friends would drink. My friends basically got their own personal DD when I did go out with them.
Since, contrary to popular belief, being keto does not mean unlimited bacon and hamburgers. I found that going out to get food for me, was roughly the same as going out on the town with friends. There are plenty of places that have an option or two that you can customize when ordering to make it a good meal. My partner had zero problems doing this, when she was following the ketogenic diet for a few years. However, I myself, don’t like burdening others and being that guy who orders something, and then has like 30 changes to the dish itself. If you’re like my girlfriend, and you have no issues substituting, paying up charges, and not eating certain items on your plate than your experience on eating out on keto might be different.
What Eating Was Like
Depending on how you view your food, this diet can get a little boring. For those of us that eat food because being hungry is dumb, than you may not have an issue. If you are a person that is into eating food for the wonderful sensory experience than keto may get a little boring. The variety of food is not all to great since you are eliminating 1 of 3 nutrient sources. This can lead to some creativity in the kitchen though. Blessing or curse is all up to you.
Not sure if I can count it as a plus or a delta for the diet, but after reaching full ketosis, I lost my hunger pangs. There was a numerous amount of times that a normal eating time would fly by and I wouldn’t even know. After a handful of times of this happening I began having to force myself to eat meals at normal eating hours. This is something that is experienced by many people that are on the ketogenic diet. Some people hate it, others don’t. Again depends on how you receive it personally.
One positive effect that I can attest to was that I never got that drowsy feeling that I had gotten previously ion my life after consuming food. This was nice, because it allowed me to be more effective at work right after lunch than normal. Imagine that though, removing carbs slowed down/stopped my insulin spikes after a meal. Please bear in mind that if you also work a desk job that eating a whole lot of carbs at lunch is ill advised if you are trying to maintain or lose weight. Low energy expenditure and high glucose intake will increase stored glucose.
The biggest drawback is that it is an extremely restrictive diet. The more restrictive the diet is the greater the difficulty. Everyone loves a little flexibility in their eating. When doing keto, a cheat day means a lot more than it does on other diets. On other diets, typical rule of thumb is that one bad day of eating is equal to three good days of eating. Par for the course of life. Takes a lifetime to build, and seconds to destroy.
Post cheat meal you definitely won’t be in ketosis any more. It is possible to get into a ketonic state within a 12-24 hour window with diet alone, but full ketosis is not achieved for roughly three months. Which means, that the body has not completely switched to using ketones as a fuel source until then. All this leads to I never really got a cheat meal when I was on the ketogenic diet. Being so restrictive having a cheat day sounded so good, but I was committed to not breaking diet.
Did I Lose Weight?
The most positive side effect to this diet, and I assume the reason that most everyone wants to try it, is I lost a ton of weight. I lost pretty much all my fat, and along with that I lost some muscle as well. At the time, I didn’t know what a proper amount of calories for cutting was. This lead to me overdoing my calorie deficit. However, I went from 198 pounds down to 160 pounds. For the first time in god knows how long I actually lost my love handles as well. Typically, this is what people are looking to do on the ketogenic diet, but there are still plenty of people looking to make this as a lifestyle change and are not expressly looking for weight loss. Count it as an added bonus.
Not Digesting Nutrients Properly
This is not something that many people want to read about, but in good faith I want to put everything on the table regarding my experience with the ketogenic diet. Something I experienced on the ketogenic diet was a green discoloration of stool. This is a sign that the body is not absorbing all of the fat nutrients you are eating. It takes longer for the body to breakdown and absorb fats in comparison to carbs and proteins. Consuming the high amount of fats for keto, can overload the GI track, which requires bile acid. Sadly, the body produces bile acid slowly. Leading us to the body not being able to break down all if the fat in your new diet.
Luckily, you can supplement out of this with some bile acid factor from your local supplement store. This helps bolster the bile acid and allows you to break the fats down better.
Overall, I’d rate the keto diet 6.5/10. It just isn’t a beginners diet, and is more for medical treatment than general use. If you want to know more about What Is the Ketogenic Diet and Is It for You? No matter what diet you are on, it’s such a good skill to know How to Read Nutrition Labels. I hope a review of my experience was helpful in making a decision on whether or not this diet is for you! Till next time