25 January, 2019
Keto – Our First 2 Weeks
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I dove head first into keto without knowing much about it other than macros and that Mike has been obsessed with the idea of it. I knew enough about the concept that I could do it, but I wish I had read so much more. I am not a doctor. I didn’t go to a doctor before starting this diet. I advise that you do…they’ll tell you the basics and probably point you here. Yes, Reddit. This link has a lot of great information about the Keto diet and from what I’ve heard most doctors will tell you to read this specific FAQ before starting.
So far I’ve lost 12 lbs. Mike has lost 10. Sounds awesome, right? Those results didn’t come easily, though. I want to share with you guys my keto experience so far, things I read that were painfully accurate, and things I didn’t read that I wish I knew before I started this diet. And whew it has been an experience.
So let’s talk about my first two weeks (I even included a comparison photo at the end).
How I got into ketosis…and have stayed in ketosis
I was in ketosis within 24 hours of starting. Keeping your carbs under 20 grams is not easy. You’d be surprised how many foods have a lot of carbs…foods that you wouldn’t even suspect. My first day looked like this: 1/2 cup of 4% cottage cheese for breakfast, a turkey and cheese lettuce wrap for lunch, 1/3 cup of diced cheddar and a hard boiled egg for a snack, and shrimp scampi for dinner. Oh, and a metric f*ck ton of water. Like, well over 100 oz. This basically became my daily routine. I eat either 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or 1/2 cup scrambled eggs for breakfast. Lunch is always some kind of meat and cheese. Dinner is whatever I can creatively make and stay within my macros. If I need a snack, I eat a hard boiled egg, some cheese, or a palm full of almonds.
What I didn’t expect is to cut back on portions THAT much. It’s not about drinking a gallon of heavy whipping cream in your coffee and eating 5 avocados with a side of bacon. It’s actually meticulously planned out meals so if you’re down with meal planning then this is the diet for you. If not then I suggest you learn quickly because you have to measure everything out. I downloaded the Carb Manager app and it has been a life saver. You can use it to plan meals for that day and for future days which is awesome because I’ll plan a full week’s meals, go grocery shopping, and just stick to the plan. It was tough at first but got easier as time went by.
Drinking alcohol on keto
Something I do that is different from what you’ll read is drink. Yes, I know. The big taboo. You’ll read everywhere not to drink while in ketosis, but you know what? You can. Like, daily if you want. What can I say, I like to unwind. I wake up super early and work one job (which is essentially light cardio and lifting weights for 4-5 hours), leave that job and work from home for several more hours. By 3 pm I WANT A DRINK. In my opinion, the safest drink on keto is a vodka/soda water (La Croix, Pellegrino, drinks like that). And I limit myself to two drinks…three if I’m doing half shots. Mike drinks a bourbon on the rocks every now and then with no issue. But keep in mind that we drink a lot of water. I’ve heard horror stories about hangovers while in ketosis and I want no part of that.
Honestly, I don’t care for being drunk (at all), despite the name of my blog. Maybe I should have called it “The Tipsy Foodie” instead. But I’m almost 30 years old and I still want to enjoy my, eh, kind of youth before I hit phases of my life where I can’t drink for extended periods of time. Seriously, have fun! I feel like a lot of people become “keto nazi”s and there’s just no point in that. You have this one life and this one body so keeping it healthy and fit is important but so is enjoying your time here on this big green and blue orb. Try fun recipes and low carb keto friendly drinks (just remember keep your daily carbs under 20g and avoid sugar). Why not. If something kicks you out, you know that thing isn’t for you. Get yourself back into ketosis, and try something else. It’s a marathon not a race, my friends. Like I said and I’ll keep saying this, it’s different for everyone. A great example of that is…
The dreaded keto flu
Oh man, I got hit hard. Mike didn’t. When I said this diet affects people differently, this is what I’m talking about. We did everything exactly the same except he maybe drank slightly less water and I have a slightly more physical job. It started on day two for me. I was very dizzy and light-headed with a stiff neck (but had read that was pretty normal in the first few days). On day 3 I felt great. Day four was rough, by day 5 I had a headache so bad I almost called into work. I was doing everything right, or so I thought, and couldn’t understand why I felt so terrible. I had read about people having superhuman mental clarity and feeling more energetic and I felt the complete opposite. I caved and took some ibuprofen so I could get through my shift. My headache never went away. Everytime I moved I felt like I was going to fall over. If you’ve ever had a concussion, it felt just like that. I was trying to remember if I had somehow smashed my head into something because surely it couldn’t be the diet change. I didn’t think it was dehydration because of how much water I was drinking. The dizziness was making me nauseous. I barely made it through that shift.
It was 9:30 that morning, I had gotten off work and managed to drive myself to the nearest grocery store. I sat in my car for 30 minutes frantically Googling what could be wrong and how to fix it. I read (somewhere on Reddit, I believe) about these symptoms and an easy fix: Powerade Zero. None of the ingredients kick you out of ketosis and it replaces some of the electrolytes lost especially in the first week. Honestly I didn’t even care at that point, I was willing to try anything to feel better. I went in, bought 2 packs of Powerade Zero, and downed one before I could even get back to my car. No lie, within an hour my headache was nearly gone. I continued to drink my water throughout the day and got some of my energy back. Still lightheaded but feeling so much better. The next morning I drank one while at work then switched back to water. Felt TONS better.
What everyone says is true – you will literally pee all of your electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, everything away. You will pee all the time in the first week. And you will feel terrible if you don’t replenish the things your body is losing. Try avocados, mushrooms, salted broth, salt (literally just salt on everything), powerade zero, stuff like that. It helps tremendously.
Other things I learned
- You’ll be hungry af the first couple days. Stick with it, it’ll get better.
- I used those keto pee strip things. Good for the first couple days to get all excited when it’s bright pink but not necessary at all. Really. As long as you’re eating under 20 g carbs (should be around 5% of your calories), and the rest of your calories are around 25% protein/70% fats, you’ll be in ketosis.
- Work out. I’m a pretty strong, tank-ish girl. Always have been. But I’ve always eaten like trash. I drink a lot of beer, too. Now is my chance to match the lean look with the strength I know I have. I work out pretty much everyday between cardio, weights, and yoga. You will lose weight if you don’t work out but not as much and you’ll plateau. Plus, abs. I want to see them and I know you do too.
- Read. Read all the info you can before starting. But be skeptical because no one is an expert on what will work for you. I joined a keto group on fb and got grilled for using an organic creamy caesar dressing because it has sunflower oil in it. I use 2 tbs of it on some of my lettuce wraps and I am still in ketosis and I’ve lost weight. It’s an example of people taking the diet way too seriously…don’t be that person.
- I have never been into bready/pasta carbs a lot. I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t care for sweets too much either. The main things that hurt losing are mac and cheese, pizza, and beer. Those are pretty much the only carb heavy things I miss. I don’t have to curb cravings as much as I thought I would. With that said, I AM a heavy snacker, one of those people that rarely eat a full meal but snack all day. Pork rinds are my friend right now.
- Invest in a soft tape measure. When you see the numbers on the scale stop moving, use that. You’ll thank me later.
- Since everyone loves a good comparison photo….
I hope this post helps those of you who stumbled across my blog and are interested in Keto. I just wanted to write it all down and document my first two weeks. I look forward to sharing more recipes and progress updates. Good luck to all of you and please feel free to share your success, photos, tips, tricks, etc with me!