A few weeks ago I was advised by my (old) coach to go on a Keto diet for 4-6 weeks with fat loss being the main goal. It's been a goal of mine for a while to get below 20% body fat, and then start building muscle by cycling up the carbs + increasing the weights I lift. There are many ways to do this, but I liked the sound of keto for a few reasons:
1. If you've got any insulin resistance, significantly reducing your carb intake can help with this
2. Reducing fat - for some it's a really effective way to reduce your body fat percentage
3. To help with my gut health - apparently reducing starchy carbs/ carbs in general CAN STARVE & KILL any bugs living in your stomach
Initially I felt super intimidated by it, and it really didn't sound like something that would help me lose fat, I mean living on bacon, cheese, cream, eggs + meat, with minimal vegetables... wtf?! So before I talk about my experience on keto, lemme explain what the F keto is:
What is this keto she speaks of?
A keto diet aka ketogenic diet is the process of eliminating/ significantly reducing your intake of carbs and eating higher fats, forcing the body into a state of ketosis, whereby the body produces ketones (from fats broken down by the liver) and uses ketones as a source of fuel rather than glucose (derived from carbohydrates). Essentially body fat is used as an energy source!
What you might expect from going keto:
- In the first week or two a significant reduction in water retained (as there aren't enough carbs in the bod to hold onto this water, thus the body flushes them out - expect to pee.. A LOT), so things like bloating and puffiness go way down
- Lose a lot of kg's (or lb's depending on where you're tuning in from) i.e 5kg (11lb) in the first week
- Preservation of muscle mass
- Decreased appetite + cravings
What I experienced from going keto:
- A small amount of fat loss
- .. umm that's kinda it. I had a slight decrease in appetite, low energy, dry af mouth (sign of ketosis), and didn't feel like I reaped any of the benefits of high energy, mental clarity, fat loss etc.. but I'l explain why below.
My keto macros:
I had two different sets of macros whilst I was eating keto, and these don't work for everyone (they're very specific to me, my goals, my weight/ lifestyle/ height/ training etc).
On training days:
144 grams protein
110 grams fat
27 grams carbs
On rest days:
144 grams protein
134 grams fat
33 grams carbs
How I found #ketolife / why I don't think it worked as intended for me
There are so many reasons keto might not work for certain people, a few I've come across are:
- If you're a stressed human and have some stuff going on with your cortisol/ adrenals the body needs carbs to help regulate adrenals, if the body is focussing on stress, the last thing it's gonna be thinking about is losing fat, so taking carbs away that help regulate this can stress it out even more, preventing fat loss from occurring
- Some bodies don't process fats well, at the moment I have a few gut/ liver issues, so my ability to process fats is compromised - my body stored the fat instead of burning it for energy
What I ate
Hella basic food, that was super fast to prep (not eating carbs meant no time waiting for vegetables to roast - huge time saver). We rotated a lot of the same meals (yes 'we', my lovely boyfriend went keto with me because he's #goals). Here's a sample of what we had:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with cream cheese, parmesan, bacon + avocado
Snack 1: homemade protein balls (almond meal, protein powder, butter, 4 squares of lindt choc chopped, peanut butter)
Lunch: steak + broccolini, lamb, boc choy + broccoli (basically just meant and limited vege)
Snack 2: celery sticks with cream cheese + peanut butter, ham slices/ deli meats
Dinner: cauliflower rice lamb curry, lettuce leaf tacos with beef mince, steak + vege, keto pizzas, homemade chicken parma rolled with almond meal
Snack 3: Noshu donut
Would I do it again
Yes, but not any time soon. My boyfriend got shredded doing keto, I didn't see a lot of difference and love oats for breakfast too much, so I'm not in a huge rush. But it's great for certain people, at certain points in their lives. If I was wanting to do a cut (reduce body fat) and my body was in a position to be processing fats properly, then sure, but right now, my body is thriving on carbs - I'm losing more fat than when I did keto and I'm able to make heavier lifts at the gym = gainz. But I do love trying new things and seeing how my body responds.
Where I'm at now
I'm back on carbs! Post keto you shouldn't just 'go back to normal'/ what you were doing before, it's important to cycle carbs back in gradually. I'm still in the second phase of things post keto, so I'm on low carb (not as low as keto), but I'm still able to eat my oats in the morning (what I missed the most). I've now got three different days I rotate through depending on if I've trained or not. I have weight training day macros, cardio day macros, and one rest day which is a refeed day (higher cals, cheat meal included). I'm about to go into the third phase of my diet which I haven't got from my coach yet, but you know I'll keep ya posted! ;)
If you're wondering if keto is for you, I'd encourage you give it a go (with the right direction and Dr sign off of course), it's really interesting to learn more about your body, challenge yourself and mix it up with your current diet. Our bodies adapt SO fast to exercise + nutrition, which is why I change my diet + exercise routinely. I was eating carbs before doing keto, and I'm eating them again after keto, and I'm dropping the fat like crazy comparatively - jus' sayin'... if it took going keto to activate my body into burning more of the food I eat including carbs, then it was a good thing!