If you’ve been wondering what this ketogenic diet fad is all about, then this post is for you! After much reading and research, I did a 30 day experiment with this style of eating. Check out my previous post for the details of my experiment. Today I’m sharing more about my experience, my results and what I learned!
One of the things people warn you about with this type of diet is the keto flu that some people may experience while the body is adapting to ketosis. For many people this can be intense enough to put them off the whole endeavour. My symptoms were fairly mild, possibly since I was already in the habit of eating fairly low carb. There are plenty of tips online for minimizing symptoms by staying hydrated and paying attention to your electrolyte intake.
Many sources recommend scaling back on workouts while starting this diet, due to tiredness, low energy and possible dizziness. I did experience a few lower energy days, but generally stuck with my normal routine. Typically I try to get in three strength workouts a week and a mix of yoga or cardio on the other days, with at least one rest day per week. My aim was to maintain my fitness level and I did! I could see potential for issues with energy and performance if you were trying to make big fitness gains, especially during the first couple weeks of the diet.
Limiting Fruit & Veggies
The major challenge for me with this diet was limiting my intake of vegetables and fruit. To meet the super low carb requirements you really have to pay attention! Normally, I try to eat as many different veggies as possible, but with keto I was limiting myself to green veggies and counting every bite. This was a little concerning in terms of nutrient intake as well as fiber. I definitely paid special attention to using all of my carb allowance on green veggies and also took a multivitamin. Note that I went with quite a strict form of the diet since it was a short experiment and I wanted to see results without actually tracking my ketone levels. In future, I would look more closely at increasing veggie intake while maintaining ketosis by measuring my ketone levels.
Social Eating & Drinking
I’m not going to lie, it can be tough to eat out and stick to this regime. Since it was a fairly short experiment I only ran into a couple appies & drinks occasions, which were pretty manageable. You can fit alcohol into a keto lifestyle, as long as you stay within your carb allowance – so basically nothing sugary. Dry red wine can work, or something like a vodka soda. I found that my alcohol tolerance was seriously reduced!
So what were my results!?
Week One: On day one I was still hungry after dinner, on day two my mood suffered and I felt a bit nauseous after breakfast. Luckily by day three I was feeling pretty great – no hunger issues, really good mood, improved ability to focus, enough energy for my workouts and getting very restful sleep. I felt better mentally than I had in weeks! This could totally have been the placebo effect of course…after all my research and reading, my expectations for results were pretty high.
Weeks Two – Four: During the second week, I did experience some lower energy days, headaches and dizziness when standing up quickly (after a forward fold in yoga class!). By week three this had passed. My hunger was seriously reduced which was pretty amazing. You know that feeling when you’re hungry and it feels like an emergency – get food immediately or risk grumpiness and low energy! With keto I didn’t need snacks, and my mood and energy levels were great!
My calorie intake ended up going down naturally. It turns out fat is really satisfying and I was just not as hungry. I didn’t specifically track my fitness level changes, but feel that I did maintain my strength and conditioning for the most part. I definitely lost some body fat and slimmed down a bit without even trying. My weight went down around 8 lbs total.
Overall, I had some very intriguing results eating a ketogenic diet. Although I can’t see myself eating a strict version of the keto diet all the time, I do think it would be worth doing every so often. I’m back to my usual low carb, high fat diet for now, but I will definitely continue to follow the research on the benefits of ketosis and plan for another experiment in the next couple months!
Have you tried a Ketogenic Diet? How was your experience?