Keto 1 Year Later
I started the ketogenic diet on March 27, 2017. Wouldn't you know it—today is March 27, 2018!
It's been a year.
In this post, I'm going to share pictures and details on the last year. There are so many posts I could write about this....you are encouraged to leave comments if you have ANY questions! In putting this post together, I went through all my pictures and really can not believe the last year. I realized that today, I don't feel like I am on a diet. For months now, I have not used myfitnesspal.com to track anything and I really can go by how I feel for the most part. Isn't that nuts? When I started out, I had to come to grips with my eating habits. I was eating a lot of roasted veggies (high carb!) and fruit. Carbs. CARBS. I learned a lot. Now, it is not something I have to plan for really.
The Ketogenic Diet was invented in the 1920s as an effective treatment for the management of epilepsy and other brain issues (hence why many people report lots of cognitive functioning improvements.) A ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet (50g or less a day, but strict keto is 20g or less/day).
Here's the 411:
- I am 5'2".
- Starting Weight: 150 lb.
- Lowest Weight: 124 lb.
- Current Weight: 129 lb.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT KETO IN A NUTSHELL
WHEN I STARTED OUT, I FOCUSED ON THREE THINGS
You see, when I started keto, I knew I had a bunch of symptoms that pointed to inflammation. So, I stripped out any exercise of any kind and focused on the following three priorities:
- Water (Drinking at least half my bodyweight in ounces a day)
- Food (Eating strict keto, 20g-25g of carbohydrate a day max)
- Sleep (Sleeping as much as I could....I averaged 9 to 10 hours a night......which is yet another sign of inflammation. A hard thing with this one was the hard time I'd give myself for sleeping until 9 or 10am. Looking back, it makes me sad to think about how exhausted my body clearly was.....and on top of that I was shaming myself?!)
HERE'S WHAT TO DO TO GET STARTED
STEP 1: Use a Keto Calculator to figure out your macros (how much protein, fat and carbs to eat a day). This is the one I use. I used it every 10 pounds my weight changed.
STEP 2: Read about how keto works. I linked above to the Keto In a Nutshell Guide.
That's really about it. You'll have to make decisions about supplements, accessories, books, whatever. Do what works for you.
BEFORES AND IN PROGRESS photos
A Few Weeks Before I Started Keto
One Year Later
Here's What Happened
- HAIR My hairline started to move forward and grow in. My hair stylist even noticed this! I also noticed more hair growing in on the very top part of my head.
- SKIN I noticed a big change in my skin, both my face and body. It's smoother! I do not wear foundation anymore (I basically stopped wearing foundation before I started keto. Keto seems to have smoothed my complexion out even more, to the point that when I speak in public, I don't wear foundation anymore. I used to ALWAYS wear a full face of makeup when I spoke.)
- KNEES I have had knee problems since I was a kid. In the 8th grade, we found my left knee was already showing signs of wear and arthritis. High school came and I found that I • loved • running. Well, more like jogging but whatever. I spent basically all of my 20s only going for runs when my knees had 'good' days. My left knee, in particular, was often swollen, and I would have lots of pops and snaps going on, not to mention pain. It took about 3 months of keto before I realized that I don't have knee pain or irritation. I remember when I noticed this....it was going up to my 3rd floor at the end of the day. The arthritis in my knees was bad enough that near the end of the day, I'd avoid going to the 3rd floor until bedtime. Ahh, writing that it's crazy to me how we can adapt to inflammation and discomfort like that, you know? I was in my 20s dealing with this!
- MEDICATION When I started keto, I was on 4 daily medications. Now I am on 1.
- SLEEP I have had very serious issues with insomnia the last few years. I was basically an extreme light sleeper, and I wasn't always that way. I would sometimes have to wear earplugs and a sleep mask in an effort to STAY asleep should I be so lucky to FALL asleep. It took just a couple weeks for me to notice big changes in my sleep. I sleep really great now. While I don't think I sleep as deeply as some people do, I definitely am not a light sleeper anymore. I am a well rested lady today. That is a great feeling.
- BACK PAIN I have a slight curve in my lower back. My back would pretty regularly go out. I'd just need to lay flat on my back for a day for it to calm down. I kept a stock of prescription muscle relaxants on hand for when this happened. Basically, I don't have back pain anymore unless I haul 20 bags of dirt into my backyard, and tackle large landscaping projects by myself. :) Not saying I ever did that..... Actually, my back did not go out in the last year (except for that landscaping day)
- TASTE My tastebuds changed. SIGNIFICANTLY. I now drink black coffee...before keto, IF I ever had coffee and I mean IF, I would have 2 cubes of sugar and 1 tbsp. of cream per cup. Most mornings, it's just black coffee with coconut oil. I also enjoy spicy food now! I 100% avoided spicy food, did not enjoy it at all. I realize there are so many foods I never tried because of the spiciness. I also have a different relationship to sweetness. I really do not enjoy cake anymore. It is toooo sweet. It feels like my mouth puckers up, like I have the sort of sensation I'd get as a kid after eating a pixi stick or a Fun Dip. Remember those? So now, I have a bite of cake here or there but like, it doesn't get my goat anymore. When I do have sweet cravings (and I still do!) I realized the nostalgia for the food was actually stronger than the actual enjoyment of eating it. So I remind myself of that. Diet coke, 72% Lindt dark chocolate, or a bowl of mixed frozen berries does the trick usually.
- NAILS My nails got suuuuuppper hard! And they grow long very easily if I let them. They also don't peel anymore.
- DRINKING One glass of wine and I'm done. Nearly drunk. Before, I could do 3 or 4 glasses and be fine!
- WEIGHT I started at 150 lbs. at 5'2". My lowest weigh in happened about 100 days in at 124lbs.! At that point, I realized I needed to recomposition my body. That's when I started working out again. As I type this, I usually am around 127 pounds now give or take.
- SIZE I was wearing size 6 or 8 jeans, size 4 skirts and Small tops for the most part. Now, I'm wearing size 2 jeans, 0 skirts and XS or 0/2 tops. I lost inches most often when the scale wasn't moving. :)
- RUNNY NOSE IN THE MORNING Every morning, I'd wake up and within a minute or two, have a very runny nose. Tissue box by my bed? Yes. Always. Well, I do not wake up and have a runny nose anymore, at all. Isn't that nuts?
These are my natural nails now. They very easily grow long and thick. No peeling anymore. Crazy!!
The photo on the left was part of what made me start keto in the first place. It was taken in early March of 2017, and I started keto on March 27 of that month. The photo on the right was taken over the summer, after I had lost about 23 pounds. I was not exercising at all at the time, just changes in diet.
I am wearing a full face of makeup on the left, just brow pencil, lipstick and mascara on the right.
About 100 days in to the diet I realized I needed to start working out.
The first couple of weeks of regular workouts, it was rough because I was burning fat for fuel instead of carbs/glycogen so my body needed to learn how to be efficient with that. I remember I felt like lead trying to go for a run. It was rough.
But, after about two weeks (maybe 4-6 workouts over that time period), it was like WOAH. My runs (usually a 2.5 mile loop) became really nice and 'easy'. Easy in the sense that I finished a run feeling like I had a great run, got the blood pumping, broke a sweat and felt energized.
I started with running. Then I did weightlifting, and now a MELT program.
I then gave weightlifting a try and found that I LOVED it.
I started with the Stronglifts 5x5 App program. I would recommend this to anyone (keto or not), woman or man. I noticed significant changes in my body with the addition of weightlifting. The added strength helped bring my measurements more into proportion and sort of, I don't know, lifted everything? I definitely noticed some saggy butt situation happening at the tail end of losing those 26 pounds. It looked to me like I had been sitting wayyyy too long and the thing was deflated.
I also noticed how much easier it became to lift stuff, like boxes of stuff around the house.
The hardest part with lifting was just overcoming the fear of the gym and the fear with not knowing how to use the equipment.
Right now, I'm in week 8 of 10 of an online program. At the moment, I need to workout from home (or from my hotel room if I'm traveling). Every week I have a new workout which is a mix of barre type work, light cardio, ab work, leg work and arm work with 1 pound hand weights and 2 pound ankle weights. Five days a week, about 45 minutes.
This program is legit. I have 'ab shadows' at the moment (listen, I may have lost 26 pounds but I still have some fat I could lose haha).
LET'S ALL LOOK AT MY BUTT
A lot of people who follow a ketogenic diet also fast. (That said, there are also a lot of people who don't do any diet of any kind and they practice some form of fasting. Whatever works for you is best!) The most common type of fasting is intermittent fasting. I have tried both intermittent fasting and extended fasting. I have been doing monthly extended fasts since September of 2017, and I practice intermittent fasting basically daily.
Basically every day, I have a light lunch about 1pm. Then dinner. Then that's it.
I usually end up doing 16:8 or 18:6. That means I don't eat for 16 hours, and then eat over 8 hours. Or I don't eat for 18 hours, and then eat over a 6 hour period.
I love it. I feel great.
Extended fasts are 24 hours or more.
I've been doing these monthly since September of 2017. Every single time has been different from the last.
I became interested in extended fasting because I wanted to see about this autophagy thing. Here's autophagy.
I noticed a significant disappearance or lessening of my scars and stretch marks. I don't have inner thigh stretch marks today. I've had those since my teenage years. During a 44 hour fast, they got all red and bumpy. Then just kind of disappeared. Strange. But I accept!
During extended fasts, I use boullion cubes, salt, hot tea and water.
For 3 years, I ate gluten free. I had to. I would react very strongly to gluten. Inflammation in my mouth immediately, digestive um—results, and swelling of my abdomen. There were times I'd order gluten free at a restaurant, explain I had an allergy and reacted immediately....would get my food and be assured it was all good. Then I would react. I would notify the server, and would find out that 'actually, chef says he added a little flour to thicken the soup but he said it wasn't much."
As of this writing, I no longer am reacting to gluten. At all.
STUFF I BOUGHT AND WOULD RECOMMEND
I gathered up all the things I bought.....and most importantly....still use! In most cases. I don't use the ketone pee strips anymore because once you are fat adapted, they are not accurate. I think they are really helpful in the first month though.
I get asked a lot what items I use in relation to keto. Well, here's my list!
Click the button to get to my roundup.
- Drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces each day. You really need water on keto.
- The pee strips are cheap and useful at the beginning of keto, when your body isn't so efficient at ketosis. I'd recommend them the first month, but after that, I would not.
- Do what works for you and makes you feel good. Even if someone on the internet recommends something different. :)
- Sleep. Don't underestimate the impact of sleep on EVERYTHING.
- The 16oz. wide mouth Nalgene water bottle....best investment. I use these daily, fly with them, dishwash them. I have two total. They fit in a car cupholder too!
- I got so much knowledge, help and support from the women's keto forum on Reddit.
- There is a 5 way measurement method you can do at home to get a more accurate bra size. Do this with or without dieting. I say this becasuse as a woman, getting a properly fitting bra can make a huge, huge difference in being able to see your weightloss and FEEL your weightloss.