The word “ diet” is literally defined as “the kinds of food that a person habitually eats”. The Greek meaning is “way of life”. So whether yours is good, bad or somewhere in between, you follow a diet. Where that may have led you doesn’t matter to me, but I hope it matters to you.
Quick(ish) story: I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was 22, and then diagnosed with pre-diabetes when I was 25, and then diagnosed with Adult Onset Type II diabetes. (eye roll) Anyway, I gained 55 lbs in a 5 month period. I knew something was wrong. That’s when I knew things were out of control. The weird thing was, I gained that weight and nothing about my lifestyle had changed. Not one thing. So, why was I gaining all this weight, and so quickly?! A whole pants size bigger, every other week for 5 months. It was crazy and humiliating.
I was placed on medication that made me sick almost every day. My doc told me that I would be on this medicine forever. I hated that idea and I was determined to prove her wrong. My prescription was good for a year, when I would go back and see her and get another yearly prescription. I did that for two years. During that time, I learned every single thing that I could about nutrition. Can I beat this? HOW can I beat this? And will I at least lose some weight? I had to become my own advocate because my only other option was to take meds for the rest of my life, however short that might be cut.
I saw a nutrition specialist for over a year, and read everything I could about how to curb this life threatening, and life straining disease. It took me one month to replace everything in my house with the right foods. It took me 2 months to see and feel a difference, and 6 months to know that I would and could commit to living a healthier lifestyle for the rest of my life. My mistake: I kept taking the medication and getting a prescription without actually having to go to see my doctor. She hadn’t seen my progress. Another 18 months went by, and I decided to make an appointment to actually see my doctor to address the current need for medication. When she saw me, she was mind blown. She said 90% of people will not make the change in order to get off of the medication. I lost the 55 lbs, I made the change. She wrote up a request for the lab work to be done to reassess the diabetes diagnosis. I had a clean bill of health. I beat it. It came back after some time, but I beat it again.
So, all that being said, I started trying different diets to see what works best for me, for my family, and what I could realistically commit to. The Keto Diet was it. It is not just a diet; it is a lifestyle.
So why go KETO?
Lemme tell ya. When you eat a ketogenic diet, your body becomes efficient at burning FAT for fuel. Fat contains more than double the calories of most carbs, so you need to eat far less food by weight every day. Your body more readily burns the fat it has stored (the fat you’re trying to get rid of), resulting in more weight loss. When your body uses fat for fuel, it provides consistent energy levels, and it does not spike your glucose. And that, my friends, is life changing!!!
In addition to those benefits, eating a keto diet in the long term has been PROVEN to do the following:
- Result in more weight loss (specifically body fat)
- Reduce blood sugar and insulin (commonly reversing prediabetes and type II diabetes)
- Reduce triglyceride levels
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Improves brain function
Are you with me?! Best. Results. Ever.
Ketosis is this:
a low carb, high fat diet where your body goes into a metabolic state and breaks down fat into what is called “ketones” for fuel as its primary source of energy. In this state called Ketosis, your body readily burns fat for energy, and fat reserves are constantly released and consumed. It’s a normal state- your body will do this naturally, anytime you are low on carbs for a few days. By practicing this for more than a few days, your body will become keto-adapted. The glucose stored in your fat and muscles will decrease, you will carry less water weight, your muscles will gain endurance, and your overall energy levels will be higher than before. Yesss!!!
If you have diabetes, this low carb diet can do wonders for you. For type II, it can begin to reverse the condition. For type I, it can greatly improve blood sugar control.
Just like the Food Pyramid, the Keto diet is built on ratios. It is important to get the right macronutrients so your body has the energy it needs, and you’re not missing any essential fats or proteins in your diet. Macronutrients are what foods are made of.
This is how you Keto:
The high carb-low fat diet has been the standard in most people’s lives, and keto is a complete turn around. Focusing on yourself and your progress, the higher energy, your weight loss, and overall positive outlook will be your best bet for success. A great place for initial support is www.reddit.com/r/keto , where you will find hundreds of other keto-ers from around the world posting their experiences and progress, and supporting each other throughout their journeys.
When you first start the keto diet, it is important to know if and when you are in ketosis because it will let you know that you’re doing things right, or wrong, and whether you need to make any changes. There are keto urine test strips available in packs of 100 on amazon and at most pharmacies for less than $10 to help know when you are in a state of ketosis. Long term, it’s not necessary to continuously check on your ketone levels. Within a few weeks, you’ll know if you are eating right, and it becomes very easy to stay in ketosis.
It can be overwhelming to commit to a new dietary lifestyle
So I have included a one week meal plan. It is important to not exclude yourself from things like treats and pizza, so the ways to do that are to do your research by finding simple keto recipes online that are within the keto diet requirements. There are amazing recipes that can satisfy the carb and sweet tooth desires, which is often the thing that discourages people from feeling like they can commit to this lifestyle. The results you will see and feel within the first 30 days are so empowering, that I am confident that this change is going to be more than worth it. It will be life changing.
On the next page, you will find a one week meal plan. It will be up to you to experiment with keto desserts and other recipes to get outside this meal plan. I tried to keep it simple and realistic.
Here are a few steps to making the “going keto” process easier:
- Clean out your pantry (or steer clear of these items) of the following: starches and grains, sugary foods and drinks, legumes, and processed fats/oils
- Go shopping. Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with keto friendly foods like meats, veggies, and snacks
- Meal plan: customizing your meal plan or implementing substitutions to your meal so that not everyone has to eat a keto diet.
- Exercise. Cardiovascular: walking/running for 30 minutes twice a week or more. Strength conditioning: do these 3 exercises 10 times each, which will target each of the major muscle groups. Squats, sit ups, and push ups (modified is fine).
If there are things on this meal plan that you cannot eat or don’t like, feel free to make the substitutions, keeping in mind that fat is fine, carbs are not. So making sure to read nutrition labels is going to play an important part in your success. A serving of carbs is 15g. less than 50 grams of carbs in a day is the technical measurement that defines a keto diet.
For yourself, take before pictures, and after pictures. Make sure that you keep a journal that you spend a few minutes writing in every day, making notes about noticeable changes in the way you feel physically. This will help you to actually see your progress.
I am so excited for anyone that is willing to give this lifestyle a try, even if just for a week.
The meal plans are out there, the recipes and substitutions are out there, a healthier life is just an easy commitment away.