Diabetes

What is Keto?

I realize I should have done a post with kind of an explanation about the keto diet. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about it. I didn’t know a lot about it before I started doing research and making a meal plan. The best website to start out with is Diet Doctor. My doctor recommended it.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or expert and I’m fairly new to this diet, so I suggest you talk to your doctor before starting it and do your own research. This post is just to give some information to people who may not know much about it (like I didn’t know much!).

What is the Keto Diet?

Before I started, I assumed it was basically like Atkins. High protein, super low carb. I was way wrong! The reason the Keto diet works better than just low carb is because you eat higher fat and that keeps you from being hungry or feeling run down.

Keto is high fat, low carb. But we’re not talking fat like Cheetos and pizza and cake. The fat needs to be “good fats”.

“On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused. (source)”

Low carb, high fat/protein: This will soon put your body in ketosis, which means you will burn fat for energy instead of relying on glucose.

What Are “Good Fats”?

Olive Oil

Avocado Oil

Avocados

Nuts and Nut Butter (in moderation)

Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds

Butter/Ghee

Coconut Oil

Cheese (some of it)

Cream

Carbs on Keto

The easiest way to figure out if you are on track on the diet is to track all of your food (even things like olive oil and butter) in an app like MyFitnessPal and check the macros and nutrients. The “Net” Carbs are your total carbs for the day minus your fiber intake. For example, one day I had 35 carbs but I had 13 grams of fiber so I was at 22 net carbs for the day.

How many net carbs should you eat on keto? I’ve seen different numbers on different websites. The doctor I spoke to about my own keto diet suggested I try and hit 20 net carbs for the day. I’ve done that about half a dozen times so far but I am usually closer to about 25 net carbs. On days I work out, I am often around 30 net carbs. I’m not sure yet how that will effect my weight loss goals.

The tough part of the carb part is that there are carbs in EVERYTHING. Even vegetables. So you have to find the lowest ones possible. Things like spinach, kale, zucchini, asparagus and broccoli. The middle of the road veggies are cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, green beans. Then there’s a bunch of vegetables that are just not allowed–sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc.

Fruit is limited, which is hard. Like raspberries and blackberries are low. Blueberries are a little bit higher. All other fruits are basically off the table. 🙁

Is Keto Healthy?

Is any “diet” healthy? My doctor recommended this diet. I don’t know yet that it will be a lifestyle change. I definitely feel BETTER on this diet than I have in a few years. I feel less bloated, I feel less run down. I don’t have the sugar crashes or food cravings. Eating a lot of sugar and carbs is NOT healthy. So whatever diet you choose, those things should definitely be limited anyways.

“Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets.

Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndromeinsulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on acnecancerpolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. (source)”

I think this is a diet that should be discussed with a doctor first. I think if you are prone to things like kidney stones or gallbladder issues, a high fat diet might cause issues. But I’m not a doctor so definitely talk to YOUR doctor. I will say it’s super important to drink a LOT of water on this diet.

FAQ

Can I drink alcohol? Yes, obviously in moderation. And there are only certain things that are allowed. Whiskey, vodka, red wine. Those are low in carbs or have no carbs. But of course this shouldn’t be an every night kind of a thing because alcohol will slow down your weight loss no matter how low in carbs they are.

Can I have chocolate? The super dark chocolate. 72% dark has 4 net carbs in it, 86% dark has 3 net carbs.

How do I know if I’m in Ketosis? They have monitors (I’m not going to go that hardcore). Some other signs: decreased appetite, bad breath, dry mouth, short-term fatigue, increased focus and energy, digestive issues.

Do I need to buy a lot of supplements? Not really. They sell a bunch of stuff but is it necessary? Probably not. I suggest fish oil just in general. Magnesium if you find you are constipated from the keto diet. A lot of keto websites push collagen and while I’ve been taking a collagen vitamin for a while now, I have yet to see any real difference so I have no idea why it’s necessary. MCT oil is one that I would recommend. It goes in your coffee and is a good way to get some fat in your diet with breakfast.

Where can I find keto friendly food? It’s hard at first. Looking at labels is really important. There are brands out there that are keto friendly. And check out Primal Kitchen. They have keto/paleo stuff.

Final Thoughts

Every body is different. I know so many people that have tried different diets out there and did well on certain things and they didn’t work for me. My body did not work well on a vegetarian diet. That’s MY body. But I know several people that are super healthy vegan/vegetarians. Not every diet works for every person. That’s why this is such a personal thing.

When I lost 110 pounds I counted my calories and ate everything in moderation. That worked well for me. It wasn’t restrictive. But I was also obese, I was in my 20’s, I was single and didn’t have a family, my time was my own and I could focus 100% on my goals. This time around, it’s been a lot harder to lose 30 pounds. You’d think it would be easier to lose 30 pounds compared to 110. But my body is different after having a baby. My hormones are different. My life is different. I’m almost 40. I had to try something different to see if that worked.

Talk to your doctor, try it out and make your own decision and see if it works for you. Sometimes change is good!

Keto Background

I wanted to give a little background about what made me decide to give this a try.

Read this post for the explanation about the weight gain. After trying a different medication that made me really really sick (and the doctor told me to stop it immediately), I went back on the prozac at the lowest dose possible. I haven’t gained any weight on the low dose, which is good. But I still had that pesky 10 pounds I gained last year. Oye.

Anyways. I talked to my doctor about a few things. I just have not felt like myself since I had Logan. The weight was hard to lose. I wasn’t a lucky girl who shrank back to my pre-pregnancy body with breastfeeding (NOPE I gained weight breastfeeding). I thought once I quit breastfeeding I’d lose the babyweight, but it was a hard, hard slog. I got close. I got down to 9 pounds left when I gained it all back on the prozac. So I felt particularly angry about that!

I talked to my doctor about how hard it’s been. I actually asked her about a diet drug. I know, I know. I was feeling pretty desperate. But a friend of mine had lost about 40 pounds on Contrave and I asked my doctor about it. She was willing to prescribe it for me, even though it wouldn’t be covered by insurance. I’d have to pay out of pocket (very expensive too) and I actually considered it. And then after further discussion, I decided against it.

Basically, Contrave is a combination medication of Wellbutrin (an antidepressant that I’ve had success on in the past) and some kind of opioid blocker that helps people get off drugs? At least that’s my understanding of it. It basically blocks the part of your brain that makes you crave/obsess about food and overeat. My friend said it made her have no appetite and food just didn’t seem appealing. Except when I talked to my doctor about it, the dosage of Wellbutrin in the Contrave was INSANE. I forget what it is now but it was the max dosage that you can take and way back in the day I took the max dosage of Wellbutrin and had seizures on it.

Needless to say, I decided Contrave was not for me.

It was a moment of weakness, anyways, to consider it, but I’m glad I got more information and I’m glad I made the decision for myself.

When I talked to my doctor about it and told her I wouldn’t take it, she suggested I consider the Keto diet. She said that there were a lot of people in her office doing it for the new year and being successful and happy on it. She had another doctor who was an expert in it call me and tell me more about it. She gave me some tips and ordered some blood work.

Well, last week I did two things. 1) I weighed myself for the first time since before Christmas and 2) I got my fasting glucose tested.

My official starting weight: 177.2

(Pre-prozac I was 166, my pre-pregnancy weight was 157, my goal weight is 150)

I would like to lose 20 pounds. 27 would be AMAZING. Talking to Michael, I tried to figure out what would be a realistic goal for the first month of the Keto diet. Somewhere between 4-6 pounds for the month of February? I really don’t know. I’ve never done such a severe low carb diet before. Even when I did the low-ish carb thing before, I still had a lot of carbs. I didn’t give up my coffee creamer or my fruit or my yogurt….so we’ll see.

As for the fasting blood test. I was honestly pretty surprised at how high it was:

I’m not pre-diabetic but i’m getting there. Could it be because I had the flu and didn’t work out for almost two weeks before the test? Maybe? I have no idea. I’ve made a lot of changes to my diet in the past few months (for the better) but still my fasting sugar levels are high. Too high.

So here’s to hopefully a successful go at Keto!