I have launched this new weight loss program because I am so excited about the ketogenic diet and all of its truly amazing health benefits. I also did it because I feel so strongly about sharing this potentially life-saving information with as many people as I can. But first, let me tell you why I am so passionate about the ketogenic diet- and why I believe it is so important:
While this new ketogenic diet program I just launched is focused on weight loss, I also use the ketogenic diet to help my clients fight cancer. (As a cancer-survivor, I am very passionate about this subject.) There is very promising research showing how the ketogenic diet can be used therapeutically to suppress cancer growth and halt its progression. While on the ketogenic diet, the majority of your caloric intake comes from fats which the body turns into an energy source called “ketone bodies”. Cancer cannot use ketone bodies for fuel. In fact, cancer can only use sugar/carbs (or “glucose” as it is known once carbs/sugar have been metabolized by the body) for fuel. So because ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet it cuts off the cancer’s fuel supply, essentially “starving” it.
This diet can also help address many other health issues as well including diabetes, weight loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, PCOS, just to name a few. How can one diet do all this? Here’s how: Because this diet is so healthy and so low in carbs, it promotes an anti-inflammatory environment in the body. This is extremely important since the root cause of nearly all dis-ease is inflammation.
So now that you know why the ketogenic diet is so amazing, let me share my own ketogenic diet journey with you. Each week I’ll be sharing my personal insights, daily successes (and challenges!), keto-friendly meals and snack ideas, as well as pro tips for getting the most out the ketogenic diet!
As a nutrition therapist, I feel I should look a “certain way”- healthy, trim, fit, and vibrant. Even though I am very healthy, I have put on a few pounds over the last couple of years due to a very busy schedule (finishing school, working, raising my 12-year-old daughter, starting my business, etc.) During that time, I relied on carbs a little too much to get me through the hectic days and then drank a little wine at night to relax. But I am tired of feeling uncomfortable in my clothes. I am also tired of this extra weight affecting what I do, or don’t, do (i.e. putting a bikini on, wearing a sun dress, or walking around naked in front of my husband). So I decided to embark on the ketogenic diet journey once again and take care of business!
Today is day 21 for me on the ketogenic diet and, truth be told, this is my second attempt at it. I stopped the diet a few months back due to a vacation to Hawaii (it was my first time there) because I couldn't resist the fresh, lovely pineapples and mangos growing everywhere. But they were too high in carbs for me to stay in ketosis!
Now that I am happily back on the diet I feel so much more prepared and determined this time around. In fact, I am embracing it instead of fearing it and thinking, “I can’t eat bread or drink wine or eat an apple. Ugh!” But I can eat triple cream Brie! Now that makes me happy! This time around I am focusing on the insanely awesome health benefits instead of letting any negative thoughts derail my progress.
So how is the diet going, you may ask? I am pleased to report that so far, so good! I have lost 6 pounds (I know that some of that is water weight but the rest is fat!). During the first week I was carefully tracking macronutrients with the MyFitnessPal phone app but I have been so busy that I have slacked off a bit with my tracking (but not with the actual diet itself, of course!) My weight loss numbers would probably be a bit better if I was more consistent on tracking my food. To lose weight you need to factor in a calorie deficit so counting is crucial. However, I can feel when I have “overdone it” without even seeing my numbers. (Thankfully, you get a feel for it pretty quickly!)
Here are some the highlights of my experience with the ketogenic diet so far:
1. Appetite Suppression + Curbed Cravings
One of the greatest “side-effects” of the ketogenic diet is appetite suppression; it really curbs cravings for carbs, sugar, and alcohol. It is the only diet I have found in all of my research and experience that is truly satiating that still allows you to lose weight. It does take a few weeks for the cravings to subside but eating a low-carb, high-fat diet really helps with satiety! Since starting the ketogenic diet I have had maybe two ounces of red wine but I’ve really had no desire for it. (That is very shocking because I used to like having a glass of wine with dinner!)
2. Increased Energy Levels + Stable Blood Sugar
Since starting the ketogenic diet my energy levels have been fantastic! In fact, I have even been able to work out at the gym in a fasted state some mornings! I can eat dinner at, say 7:00 PM and then not eat again until about 11:00 AM when I get home from the gym. (And no, I didn’t pass out in the work out class or even feel lightheaded! I did, however, take it a bit easier than I normally do, just to be safe. Now you may be wondering how this is possible (or even healthy). Here’s how it works: While on the ketogenic diet your blood sugar levels are much easier to maintain (i.e. little to no blood sugar crashes) because your body is running on ketones (fats) which become readily available. That is such a great benefit of the ketogenic diet because it means you can avoid eating for long hours without feeling like you want to chew your arm off or kill someone, (so to speak)! I will get more into intermittent fasting in a future post. Keep in mind that you really shouldn’t attempt it until you are fairly “keto-adapted”, which can take a month or so to achieve.
3. More Than “Just a Diet”?
When I started the diet I thought it would be temporary health protocol for me. But now as I progress into it further I feel like it is going to be something I continue for the foreseeable future. I cannot imagine going back to the way I use to eat; it just doesn't appeal to me anymore. When I think about how much sugar is in carbs, even the “healthy ones”, I get turned off. This is very surprising to me; I didn't expect to feel this way. I really thought I was going to miss the carbs. I do miss eating a nice crisp apple at times but at some point I may be able to add a little bit back in to my diet. I am also working really hard to develop a keto-friendly cracker and cookie recipe that is both tasty and satisfying. I’ll keep you posted...
4. Bonus “Side-Effects”
Another interesting thing that I have noticed already is that the “brain fog” sometimes associated with eating gluten and sugar has already lifted (and that is huge!). I’ve also noticed that a dry scaly patch of skin on my forehead that had been there for a long time has now disappeared. I feel light and comfortable after eating and I no longer have that “tight” feeling in my clothes. I no longer experience bloating and I never feel “uncomfortably full” after a keto-friendly meal. I’ve also found that I need less sleep and I wake up earlier feeling like I actually want to get out of bed. (Before starting the ketogenic diet, I never wanted to get out of bed early in the morning!)
5. Some Days are Easier than Others
Even though it all sounds pretty good, it is a bit tough in the beginning. You can feel a bit unwell, grouchy, and even annoyed knowing you can’t have certain foods. For example, yesterday I started out feeling just fine but as the day went on I wasn’t feeling so good. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I had a little bone broth and some kombucha tea and rested a bit. Eventually, the feeling passed and I felt fine again. Maybe it was a temporary “healing crisis” or just my body adjusting to the diet. Whatever it was, I knew that kombucha tea and bone broth were just what I needed to help me through it as they are both so helpful with any digestive issues, indigestion, bloating, fullness, etc. Bottom line, if you plan ahead, give yourself the rest and nutrition you need it really makes things bearable. One of the best ways to plan ahead is to make keto-friendly" grab-n-go snacks like these almond butter chia squares.
5. Keto-friendly Foods Can be Fun!
I have found some foods that really satisfy me while learning how to make my diet interesting and still have some “treats” (always keto-friendly ones, of course!). The "Fat Bombs" I have been making and the bone broth have been lifesavers! The bone broth is so comforting and satisfying. I load it up with lots of sea salt and greens, hot sauce, fresh lime juice and sometimes leftover meat and sesame oil. It is so easy and quick especially when you are pressed for time and need something quick that will sustain you. I am working on recipes for keto-friendly crackers and breads because I’m always on the lookout for keto-friendly foods that crunch! After all, celery may have some crunch to it but it’s certainly not a cracker! For now, I am loving this keto-friendly tahini bread recipe to satisfy my bread urges.
You can always check out my Facebook page for more of my updates and keto-friendly tips. You’ll also get to see some of the lovely keto-friendly meals I have been preparing for my family!
I’ll keep you posted as I go each week. When YOU are ready to lose weight and feel awesome, come and join me on this ketogenic diet weight loss journey!
Yours in Good Health,
Beth Winter, MNT