My Love Hate Relationship With the Keto Diet
Honestly, this whole diet was about one thing and one thing only –belly fat! A few years ago I had gone through several cycles of Cool Sculpting. Cool Sculpting promises to “freeze away” about 20% of existing fat cells in common areas of accumulation (like the abdomen). Although I can endorse that I did see a moderate amount of tightening around my mid section, I am 100% confident that was the only improvement that I noticed. There are also a few other reasons I WOULD NOT do it again: first, the weeks of numbness that come after getting each section treated — so uncomfortable; second, the cost – each section can cost between $350-$600. Considering that multiple sections and sessions are needed, the total cost can add up fast! — I digress.
This is where the Keto Diet comes in. With so much hype surrounding the diet I had to try it for myself. After my experience with Cool Sculpting, I had to see if there was a cheaper, easier, and more effective way to lose the belly fat. It turns out Keto is the answer, BUT its not all good news here. So here it is – the good, the bad, and … the before and after pictures.
In a nutshell, the Ketogenic diet is one that involves an intake of moderate proteins, high fat, and low carbs. When I say low carb and high fat, I am not kidding – you have to eat less than 25g of carbs a day and 80% of your calories each day have to come from fat (only 20% from protein). The idea is to use fat for energy instead of carbs which is what makes this diet work.
Carbs are everywhere (5g per spoon of ketchup, 23g in a banana, 13g in a glass of milk) and frankly, it is madness once you start looking at it. I have a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, so counting carbs is not new to me but, as the kids say, “WOOOOOOW”.
The Ketogenic Diet has many benefits from a day-to-day lifestyle perspective. For one, you are NEVER hungry on this diet. Not once did I go to sleep hungry on Keto, which was a notable difference considering every night I dream of raiding my cereal cabinet. Something about the amount of fat and protein just keeps you satiated.
In my everyday life, I experience fatigue right around the time I have to go pick up my kids from school at 3pm. I start yawning, dreaming about coffee or a nap. For the entire duration of this diet I felt more energetic throughout the day. It is crazy when you do something literally *every single day* (like get tired in car line) and then one day you just don’t feel as tired. I had Keto to thank for that.
I was on my top of my game! Part of not being tired means getting stuff done and, boy, did I hustle. I worked, and worked, and worked without batting an eyelash or complaining.
Keto Coffee, or Bulletproof Coffee, is actually REALLY good!
Lastly I lost 5 lbs in 4 weeks which may not sound like much, but when your weight has been stable for YEARS, it feels like a real breakthrough. I had begun to wonder if it was even possible – those last five pounds. And now that I have an idea of the process, I think I could lose even more weight if I tried to do this again.
So… all of this sounds pretty great right?!?!
After 4 weeks, I felt deprived. I am part of Chicks And Salsa after all – chips and salsa are literally my favorite food and I did not eat even ONE CHIP for a month! I missed bananas, cereal, and pizza! At first, binge eating my favorite cheeses and tons of avocado felt great. But then it got boring – fast! It was easier for me to just have a list of go-to foods and rely on those (I will list some below for reference). Also, eating enough fat to really rock this diet is SO HARD – there are literally recipes for ‘fat bombs’ to help you get
there that are loaded with butter and cheese — and honestly, this felt a little odd.
My husband did accuse me of being cranky every now and then. I felt like there had to be another way when the month was over. Food is just one of those things that bring people so much joy, without it I enjoyed less.
This is a tough call and to tell you the truth I would probably do it again. Maybe there is a way to do it for 3 weeks, take a week off, do it for 3 weeks, take a week off – that would be ideal. But it is an extreme diet that requires a lot of management, planning, organization, and attention. I felt deprived so I quit, but within 48 hours of going back to my normal diet I was back to yawing in carline and feeling bloated. Carbs do slow you down and knowing what that magic carbohydrate number is for you is important for a long term true lifestyle change. I can’t imagine doing this indefinitely but with the results that you get, I would definitely do it leading up to a major life event or vacation.
Here are a few things I lived off of for the month:
Breakfast: Eggs, Avocado, Turkey Sausage, Turkey Bacon
Lunch: Low Carb BLT (Low Carb Tortilla, Mayo, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey Bacon), Salads with Ranch Dressing and Hard Boiled Eggs, Grilled Chicken Strips dipped in Ranch, Cheese Chips and Guacamole.
Snacks: Dannon Light and Fit Yogurt with 2 oz. Pecans, 14 Blueberries with Whip Cream, Almonds, Cheese Chips from Trader Joes, Cheese Slices from the deli, Edamame, Muscle Milk, Asparagus spears, Water (lots of water!)
I hope you found this post to be helpful if you are considering the Keto Diet. There are so many good AND bad things about it. Like anything else in life, I think it comes back to moderation and mindfulness. Exercise, drink lots of water, be kind to your body, and eat as clean as possible. But if belly fat is what is getting you down – try the Keto diet and see how you do!
NOTE: At the time of this post I have been off of Keto for 2 weeks and have only re-gained one of the five pounds that I lost – I have transitioned mostly to an intermittent fasting model. Let me know in the comments below if you want to hear my take on that!