What is the Keto Diet Anyway?
When I tell people I’m on the Keto diet two things happen. First they stare at me as if I just made up some crazy word and then the second thing they do is ask, “What the heck is Keto?” I try to explain it as best as I can since I’m not a doctor, I’m just an informed person 🙂 And now I’m going to attempt to explain it to you too.
Keto is short for Ketosis and Ketosis is the the natural state for the body, when it’s completely fueled by fat. Yep, I said Fueled by FAT. Ketosis normally occurs during fasting, or when you go on a strict low-carb diet which is what the Keto diet is. Now I will say this, there are different types of low carb diets and I believe that Keto is probably one of the strictest ones out there. The one I follow isn’t 100% Keto, it’s more like Low Carb High Fat (LCHF). I will explain the difference in a bit but first let me tell you a little more about getting into Ketosis.
Our bodies are amazing! They can run on two types of fuels; glucose or ketones. When we eat an excessive amount of carbs our body produces insulin to break down all the carbs. Then the insulin converts into glucose in our blood stream as it helps break down the food. Once the body uses the fuel it needs, it stores the rest of the unused food in our bodies as fat and we gain weight.
When you lower your carb intake the body is forced to use an alternate form of fuel. Since you aren’t consuming carbs that need glucose to break them down the liver steps up and produces ketones from fat. Did you hear that? Ketones are produced in the liver, FROM FAT! In turn, the body uses these ketones as fuel making you go into ketosis.
So basically once you go into ketosis your body is now almost entirely fueled by fat. And that folks, is the simple and basic explanation to what the Keto diet is and really on why it works. Now before you ask, yes it does matter what kind of carbs you eat. You have to eat good carbs such as your leafy greens and no you can’t have any sugar either. The good news is that you get to eat fats such as butter, bacon, avocados and olive oil.
I also want to clarify that although I love this new way of eating, I don’t think it’s for everyone. Obviously if you are doing something else and it’s been working for you then keep doing you. When I first started researching more about it I couldn’t believe it. I mean eating bacon everyday? Frying chicken with lard? It was a bit overwhelming but in my case and many other people’s cases it worked!
Another thing that you have to do when trying this way of eating is staying below a certain amount of carbs per day. This is one of the differences between a strict Keto diet and a LCHF diet. In Keto it’s recommended to stay between 18 to 25 carbs a day. In LCHF you can go up to 50 carbs a day. I tend to stay under 25 carbs a day but that’s only because I can’t eat more than that. Yeah, I never thought I would ever say something like that 🙂 but in reality I don’t get hungry and I get full pretty fast.
Another difference between Keto and LCHF are the foods allowed to eat. In strict Keto it’s not allowed to have any substitute sugars such as Splenda or Equal. Also there’s this thing called bulletproof coffee (Yum!) that strict Keto dieters don’t really drink. I fall between a Keto diet and a LCHF diet. I think that everyone is different and our bodies are going to react a little differently. For example, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are allowed (in moderation of course) and yet I still can’t bring myself to eat any.
In order for you to get into ketosis you have to eat enough fat. Again when I say fat, I mean healthy fats. Fats found in butter (REAL butter, NOT margarine or vegetable spread), olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, heavy whipping cream and bacon. I know it sounds strange because we have been programmed all of our lives that butter is bad, lard is a big no no and so forth. I hardly ever ate bacon because I thought it was bad for me. When I look back I think that’s funny (and silly of me) because even if I wouldn’t eat bacon I would still eat chocolate cake!
Okay so enough of my ramblings, let me break it down for you on how to start on the Keto diet, or a version of it anyway.
– Stick with 18 to 25 net carbs a day.
– Eat proteins in moderate levels. (1 gram or less per day, per kg of body weight)
– Eat enough fat! The secret is the fat in your meals that will fill you up and keep you satiated for longer periods at a time.
– Absolutely NO sugar. Look up the different names for sugar that are disguised in products. Learn to read labels so you won’t be fooled.
– Don’t eat anything that says Low Fat (because you want to eat fat remember?) the same goes for Fat Free stuff. At the beginning this will be difficult because we’re so use to thinking that fat is the enemy.
– Absolutely NO bread, flour, wheat, rice, potatoes, carots and fruits. The only fruits allowed (in moderation) are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
– Drink plenty of water!
One last thing I would like to say about this (for today anyway lol) is for you to do your research. I was so overwhelmed at the beginning; I didn’t know where or how to start. My advice is for you to look things up. My best friend in all this has been Pinterest and Facebook. In Pinterest you will find tons of Keto friendly and Low Carb High Fat recipes (I have several boards on the subject, click on the link below). On Facebook there are many groups that will guide you and encourage you on your new journey.
A word of caution. Many people will try to detract you from trying this because it sounds too good to be true. If you truly want to give it a go then just do it. I had told myself that I would try it for at least one month and if it didn’t work then I could always try something else. Here I am going on three months and I can honestly say that I don’t ever EVER want to go back to eating the way I ate before!
In future posts I will be posting examples of what I eat, recipes and tips to make things easier to follow this Way of Eating (WOE). If you are already trying this or plan on starting I would love to hear your thoughts about it and maybe, we can share tips; I’d love to hear from you!
This is my progress so far. It’s a big deal for me since its been years since I lost any weight! Two months ago these pants were SO tight I could hardly move in them.