The ketogenic or keto diet is not a new diet. Just a bit of googling will tell you it became popular in the 1920’s as a therapy for epilepsy. Recently, a lot of doctors have been advising parents to put their children afflicted with ADHD, autism, and other neurologic disorders on the keto diet to better manage their condition. Apparently, this high-fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet results in ketosis, a natural metabolic state where the body uses ketones that burn fat for energy, instead of glucose (from the carbs that we eat).
I’ve tried many diets in the past (the one I documented the most on this blog was the GM diet) and although they made me lose weight, it didn’t take long for me to gain them back. That’s why I was initially skeptical about the keto diet. But because I gained 20 unwanted pounds in under six months this year, I sort of got desperate. I wanted to go back to a weight I’m comfortable with and confident of. I don’t have hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases, and if my last blood test results would be the deciding factor, I figured I was in good condition to try the diet. And so I did.
To prepare myself, I did a low-carb diet first for almost two weeks. I also read up articles online about keto diet. DietDoctor.com became and still is my primary resource online when it comes to understanding the diet better. I also joined several FB groups catering to keto dieters and eventually stuck with Low Carb Intermittent Fasting International which was founded by Pinoys and is generally composed of Pinoy members from all over the world. Then, I finally started on the keto diet right after that, specifically on August 22, 2018.
Being on the keto diet requires effort and discipline on my part. After studying what I needed to eat, I looked for sellers of keto supplies that are hard to find in most supermarkets (e.g. coconut flour, almond flour, xanthan gum, etc.). I found Jedders Greendahan on FB and it was from them that I got those items which are mostly for baking keto-friendly breads and pastries. As for the rest of my keto supplies, I get it via Shopee.ph and from the wet market and grocery stores.
Here are some keto supplies I’ve bought:
At home in Bacoor, I normally prepare the same meals I feed to the hubby minus the rice. I just add more fats to mine in the form of butter, cheeses, eggs, milk, plain yogurt, cream, fatty fish, bacon, other animal fats, nuts, avocados, etc. At my PILs’ place, my MIL cooks the usual viands and I eat them except for those ingredients that are not keto-friendly. I just keep some keto supplies in the pantry so I have something more to eat.
Adjusting to the Keto Diet
The shift from high-carb to low-carb was kinda easy for me, actually. I just had to remove rice, bread, pasta, potato, and other sugar-based food in my meals because I had to observe a limit of 50g of net carbs (amount of carbohydrates less fiber per serving of food) to get into ketosis. Hindi pa nga strict keto yan kasi pag ganun, 20g net carbs lang ang kino-consume. To achieve nutritional ketosis, keto dieters are instructed to follow these macronutrients (macros) breakdown: 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
To give you an idea of this new way of eating (WOE), below are some photos of my keto meals:
Not in these photos are hard-boiled eggs, because eggs are life in the keto diet! They are high in fat, have enough protein, and are low in carbohydrates. Plus, they have other important nutrients that our body needs.
Keto Side Effects
Like most keto dieters, I have also undergone what they call as “keto flu.” It’s defined as follows:
The keto flu is a collection of symptoms associated with the body adapting to a ketogenic diet. Nausea, constipation, headaches, acetone breath, fatigue, and sugar cravings are common in some people who are adapting to a high-fat, low-carb diet.
While I didn’t experience nausea, constipation, and headache, I felt lethargic and had minor muscle cramps in the leg area and sugar cravings for a few days during my first week. I even had that acetone breath (some articles call it bad breath but I assure you it’s different from halitosis!) that’s why I started brushing my teeth more frequently and using sugar-free candies para hindi naman dyahe sa kausap ko…na madalas ay asawa ko, hahaha. But these were nothing compared to the real flu. Also, drinking eletrolyte-rich drinks helped my body coped with the side effects of keto.
Oh, and one month into the keto diet, I developed keto rash on my left arm which made me worried sick! Mine looked more like bungang araw (heat rash) and it was red and itchy.
After reading up articles online, I found out the exact cause is still unknown, but some doctors say it could be due to the restricted carbs or high level of fats in the diet. I remedied my keto rash by adding more carbs to my diet temporarily and it worked wonders! I also lowered my fat intake and I believe it also helped a lot in healing the rash and making it disappear completely.
Contrary to the assumption of many that the keto diet would just leave us hungry more often than before because of the lack of carbs, my hunger became lesser than usual after starting on the diet. It’s even non-existent sometimes. If before, I get hungry thrice or even five times a day, now I just eat to nourish myself without my hunger hormones going into overdrive. Like, seriously. That’s because one of the effects of the diet to the body is appetite suppression. Somehow, it can regulate the hormones in our body such as the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin.
Aside from aiding in weight loss and regulating hormones, the keto diet is said to have many amazing health benefits: reduces acne and promotes clear skin, improves and protects brain functioning, reverses type 2 diabetes, and helps reduce cancer risks.
In the weight department, I am proud to report that I have already lost 18.5 lbs. while on keto. From 147.2 lbs when I started, I’m now down to 128.7 lbs. My goal weight is 130 lbs. (already achieved!) and if I get lucky, I might go for my dalaga days’ weight of 115 lbs. Sabi nga sa FB group namin, fighting!!!
Here’s my weight monitoring timeline starting from my highest recorded weight (HRW) this year up to the present:
August 2, 2018
157.6 lbs. (HRW a.k.a my wake up call!)
August 9, 2018
154.2 lbs. (started low carb diet + intermittent fasting)
August 22, 2018
147.2 lbs. (started keto diet + intermittent fasting)
September 22, 2018
139.9 lbs. (one month on the keto diet + intermittent fasting)
October 22, 2018
135 lbs. (two months on the keto diet + intermittent fasting with cheat days)
November 22, 2018
128.7 lbs. (three months on the keto diet + intermittent fasting with cheat days)
Total Weight Lost Since August 2, 2018: 28.9 lbs.
Hindi pa kasama dyan ang aking mga non-scale victories (NSVs) like I can now wear those smaller clothes I have in the closet that I intentionally kept as I waited for this moment to arrive, hahaha. Smaller face, arms, and hips, and that overall feeling that I’m doing something good to my body. People around me have started to notice the positive changes, too.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Have you heard about intermittent fasting or IF? I’m sure you have. I’m actually doing keto along with the 16:8 pattern of IF and I think it helps a lot in making me lose weight faster and in doing wonders to my reproductive system (i.e. regulating my menstrual period).
IF also has its share of good benefits: aids in weight loss, regulates hormones, boosts our brain health, and lowers our risk for neurodegenerative diseases, among others.
Keto Thoughts and Pieces of Advice
It’s too early to say that I will no longer go back to my old eating habits after having experienced the joys of the keto diet. I still dream about my fave fried rice, meatball spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwich, and red velvet cake. I still get cravings for sugar. (Fortunately, there are keto-approved sweeteners that we could use in our desserts!) I’m glad that keto gives me what I want (i.e. dropping the pounds) and somehow, I can sense that it helps make me healthy and satisfied, food and appearance wise.
I always tell myself that cheat days are bound to happen, so I better make them count. Since Day 1, I’ve only indulged on forbidden food during special occasions or when I get to go out with friends (which is once in a blue moon!). I normally gain a pound the next day but lose it as I continue keto-ing. They say this particular diet is forgiving and I’m starting to believe that!
Putting yourself on any kind of diet is tough. It requires effort, consistency, and lots of discipline. Having a strong support system is also a must. I’m very glad to have found keto accountability partners in my superfriend Nice and my blogger friend Mai. They are generous with their knowledge and time, teaching me lots of keto-related stuff. Mai, in particular, was the one who inspired me to go full keto. As for my superf Nice, she always shares her new keto food finds with me. Thank you talaga, girls!
And one more thing, I believe that whatever diet we are trying out, we can always tweak it to suit our needs. Always do what works for you and never compromise your health while on it. As for me, I decided to do both keto and IF. Actually, I’m now gradually lowering my fat intake because I feel that my body cannot tolerate too much fats (hello, keto rash!). Plus, high fat food items can be expensive and have the potential to hurt my budget in the long run.
Restricting my carb intake, by noting the net carbs of each food I eat and not by counting calories, on the other hand, is economical because food with refined carbohydrates usually cost a lot of money. Think of rice, pasta, bread, and most desserts (e.g. ice cream, cakes, milk chocolates, high-carb fresh fruits, etc.), nagsipag-mahalan na rin mga presyo nila dahil sa inflation, diba? 😛
Kung meron mang tumatak sa’kin sa pag-aaral ko about ketogenic diet, it’s that refined carbohydrates are the real enemy. It has been the primary cause of obesity for decades now. (We can agree to disagree on this.) Carbohydrates in their purest form are good, it’s just that most carbohydrate sources today are highly processed and therefore, depleted of nutrients. I realized that if I wanted to keep my normal weight and lower my risk of contracting those dreaded diseases like stroke, diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer, I really have to watch what I eat. Of course, there are other factors that affect our health negatively such as stress, exposure to electromagnetic radiation and chemicals, and so on and so forth. But still, how we nourish our body every single day of our life matters a lot. I am also fully aware that I’m not getting any younger and so I really have to work on my health and wellness and it all starts with having a healthy weight by eating only what’s good for my body.
In my weight loss journey, I came across two books that have changed my understanding of how the body works to burn fats and eventually, lose weight while maintaining a healthy body. First was “The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss” by Dr. Jason Fung which explains in detail what causes obesity and the many studies that support the author’s beliefs and claims. Second was “The New Body Type Guide” by Dr. Eric Berg that lectures about the four body types (adrenal, thyroid, ovary, and liver) and how to deal with each body type to achieve weight loss and improve health. Reading these two great books has empowered me more than any diet and nutrition books I’ve read in the past. It was liberating and empowering at the same time, actually, knowing that all those conventional wisdom I’ve acquired in my 35 years on this earth are mostly false and not based on solid facts.
Oh, and finally, if you are interested in the keto diet, I highly suggest you do your research first. The internet is filled with tons of information on the topic. There are also those so-called experts that are against keto and promoting a different WOE so it’s up to you which one you will believe. Practice prudence in discerning the truths from the lies.
Here’s wishing everyone good health today and every day! 🙂
May you choose happiness always,