Did The Keto Diet Work For Me?
Does it ever seem like losing weight and/or getting healthy is impossible?
I believe many people do feel helpless and go to extreme measures to overcome that feeling.
Me? I have always had a problem with high cholesterol. Now, I am not a believer in the fallacy of total cholesterol being a precursor for heart disease and I will write a post about that soon.
However, I do believe trigycerides and HDL are two components that you should pay attention too.
Of course, mine for the last 30 years has been high and low respectively.
I have always taken pride on keeping in shape and eating pretty well and yet…still high scores.
Doctors have been trying to get me to take statin drugs for a while now, but I refuse and will always refuse. Again, that is for another blog post.
After reading testimonials from individuals who lowered their triglycerides dramatically with The Ketogenic Diet, I decided to give it a try. What follows is the results of my experiment after 2 months.
Let’s get started.
What Is The Ketogenc Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is an eating plan that is growing in popularity at an amazing rate. But what exactly is it?
I will spare you the technical jargon and give you the short version.
People who follow this plan consume a diet of high fat, moderate protein, and very few carbohydrates.
Most people normally eat a diet that if full of carbohydrates which the body converts into glucose for energy. This is the bodies preferred energy source so if you have glucose present, it will always be used first.
But what if there is no glucose from carbohydrates?
Ketosis is the process of the body using fat, rather than carbohydrates as the fuel source.
The liver changes fatty acids in the body into ketones for a backup energy source.
Therefore, when you bombard the body with fats, the body changes and becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat.
This process is the body’s way of surviving when there is a food shortage.
Therefore, The Keto diet starves the body of carbohydrates and burns fat in a healthy way!
The average nutrient intake should look something like this:
- Carbohydrate Calories: 5-10%
- Protein Calories: 20-25%
- Fat Calories 70-80% (can be more!)
Your daily carb intake should be approximately 20-50 grams.
Now, lets take a look at how I was doing before starting on my 2-month journey.
Before I Started
I have always been a health nut, but like most people have weaknesses and demons I fight everyday when it comes to eating.
I am an emotional eater, which means that when depression slips in, I begin craving unhealthy food and lots of it.
In addition, as stated above, I have had less than stellar cholesterol numbers as well as high sugar most of my adult life.
I get a physical with blood work once a year and this year, the numbers were worse than usual.
As previously noted, I only concern myself with triglycerides, HDL, (“Good” Cholesterol) and glucose.
The results of the blood test on January 28, 2018 were as follows:
- Triglycerides 285
- HDL 36
- Glucose 119
I was not happy.
My daily diet at that time consisted of a lot of fruit. I made a giant smoothie everyday for breakfast and would eat fruit with every meal (I love fruit).
My carb intake, although I rarely ate bread, was very high. I cannot lie, I love potatoes. (Is there any bad way to cook potatoes)?
French fries and tater tots are my weakness. Although I try to avoid sweets, my wife is constantly baking things for my son and friends which makes it tough on me. And again, when the depression sets in, I will gobble 4 or 5 cookies (minumum) at a time.
So although I was pretty strict with my eating most days, emotions would occassionally destroy my resolve.
After seeing those poor numbers from my blood test, I was angry. My family history showed that everyone in my immediate family (4 brothers and a mother) all had high cholesterol numbers. One brother had adult onset diabetes.
So I could use family history as an excuse. But I hate excuses.
I also felt fat for the first time in my life. My weight has balloned to 235. Now, I am 6’4” so I carry it well, but I hated the way my stomach felt. It was uncomfortable.
My wife thought I was ridiculous for thinking I was fat, but I WAS carrying a lot of extra fat on my midsection and back.
So it was time to try something new.
Enter The Keto Diet…
What I Did
I began the process the way everyone should begin: with plenty of research. You can find information on pretty much anything on the internet (some of it is even true!) and The Keto Diet was no exception.
The science behind it makes sense and man, were there plenty of testimonials about the healthful results many people were getting.
I discussed this with my wife as she is the only one in our family who can cook worth a darn and she was fine with helping me along the way.
Armed with the knowledge that she would prepare Keto friendly meals and snacks, much better I was ready to jump in with both feet.
What would the next 60 days hold?
Well, it wasn’t easy at the start!
Day 1, the adrenaline was flowing and it seemed like a breeze. You can eat pretty well on Keto, just without the carbs. I was feeling pretty confident.
Day 2 was still pretty good. I was eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, a salad for lunch and meat and vegetables for dinner. Snacks were almonds.
But day 3 brought a strange crankiness to my personality. I felt angry at the world and was snapping at everyone. I couldn’t explain what I was mad at, but Lord, I was angry.
Day 4 brought me The Keto Flu. Now, I have never done a drug, but maybe this is what withdrawal feels like. I was withdrawing from carbs however.
I laid on the couch and felt like a truck had hit me. My son came in and asked me to play basketball and I just shook my head no. I was literally too tired to talk.
My energy level was zero and my motivation was in the negatives. I was beginning to doubt whether I could remain on this diet much longer. I also began craving some of my favorite foods such as popcorn and of course, potatoes.
However, the next day, my energy level had improved and I felt okay. I still craved certain foods but managed to fight it off by constantly munching almonds, which I loved.
After about another week, I noticed that the chronic headaches that I suffered had disappeared. It was strange; one day I just realized that I hadn’t had a headache in over a week. These had been going on since my early 20’s and I had never made it a week without at least one headache. It was exciting and I felt it had to do with the diet change, probably eliminating wheat.
My diet for the next two months was pretty consistent. I would fast from 8-9 pm till noon the next day. I would have a large glass of warm green tea every morning about 8 am. (This tea proved invaluable in helping quell my appetite and is encouraged on The Keto Diet.)
I never counted calories or worried about my nutrient percentages at all. I just found recipes for my wife to cook and avoided carbs. I only ate meat at the evening meal.
Oh, and I took a couple of swigs of olive oil each day straight from the bottle. Think that sounds gross? I also ate a large spoon of Coconut Oil each day (Not the greatest snack, kinda like eating butter!).
I ate almonds all day every day, at least one avocado each day and frequent Keto peanut butter shakes that my wife perfected for dessert. Besides my daily glass of tea, I drank only water.
My exercise remained the same. Weight lifting 3 days a week, yoga 1-2 days a week and a nightly walk of 2-4 miles several nights a week.
At the end of the two months, I felt pretty darn good. My energy level was always high and I my mental clarity was much improved (Impressive, considering I am now in my mid 50’s!). And I still didn’t have headaches.
Other than that, I didn’t notice many differences. I still had back pain and shoulder pain on my right side. I still had to get up twice during the night to urinate (Old man problems!).
I occassionally craved French Fries and sweets. I still went through mild depression every now and then, but managed to control the emotional eating.
I missed my smoothies and oatmeal the most. I tried many new recipes (several of them I would never try again!)
So what about the numbers?
Starting at a weight of 235, I finished the 2-month experiment at 222 for a total weight loss of 13 pounds. Pretty darn good!
However, about 7 pounds of that was in the first two weeks so it really slowed down after that.
My trigylerides dropped to 132 and my HDL jumped to 49. My sugar dropped to 97 from 119. All in all, the numbers were fairly impressive.
The Keto Diet may not be for everyone. Those brought up believing (as I did) that saturated fat caused heart disease and eggs were terrible for you will have problems following the eating pattern.
Others may be addicted to simple carbs and be unable to give them up.
However, I can say with authority that for weight loss and heart disease risk factor benefits, The Ketogenic Diet works very well. I cannot speak for other perceived benefits such as gout relief and more.
I recommend giving this plan a try if you need to lose weight or drop your lipid profile numbers. You can find a plethora of information and recipes online. There are also a host of Facebook groups where you can find like-minded people who will also offer support.
You should never be enticed to pay for anything relating to The Keto Diet. All the info you need is FREE online. Don’t fall for scams.
If you have a great deal of weight to lose, you might try adding a fat burning supplement into your daily regiment.
And as always, it is important to exercise not only to speed up the weight loss but to improve overall health. It also makes you look much better. (We are all vain!)
Drop me an email with any questions or leave a comment below.
I wish you luck!!