Featured Image: Perfect Keto
Article By: Shealynn Waller
The low-carb diet known as Keto seems to have taken the health world by storm, but what is Keto? How does it work, and what can you expect from the results? Every weight loss diet or program is advertised as the magical unicorn that promises results if only you give it a try and your credit card number, so what makes Keto so different?
For one thing, the Keto diet does not require a monthly or annual subscription. It’s a prescribed lifestyle that takes you down to the very science of how our bodies process food. It also does not require you to commit to Keto for life. In an article published by USNews Health, Keto is a diet you can stay on indefinitely, only commit to for a short time, or start and stop as needed. As a tentative rule, however, the Charlie Foundation, founded in 1994 to study ketogenic diets in regards to epilepsy and neurological disorders, recommends at least three months for an accurate trial to see if the diet works for you.
What is the Keto Diet?
The diet itself cuts out almost all sugar, allows a small carb count, and focuses on high-fat content. Harvard Health published an article that said, “…a keto diet centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories.” By cutting sugar and carbs and forcing our bodies to work on fat, it changes the way we metabolize. It changes it so much that your body is in a state of “Ketosis” when you have successfully balanced your fat to carb intake. Ketosis means that your body is relying on ketone bodies, a chemical the liver produces from stored fat, as fuel. Ketone Test Strips can help tell you if your body is in ketosis, and are available at most pharmacies and drug stores.
Our bodies are unique, and therefore, there is no “one size fits all” solution for weight loss and healthier lifestyles. The Charlie Foundation has defined six different kinds of Ketogenic diets; The Classic Keto, Modified Keto, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), Modified Atkins, Low Glycemic Index and Intermittent Fasting. The Classic Keto is the most well known of the variations. However, the others hold the pros and cons for themselves. Information on these variations is on The Charlie Foundation Website. They also recommend getting your doctor’s opinion on which variation will best fit you.
Can I actually lose weight if I try Keto?
Delinda Smith, a mom and Developmental Specialist for children, has followed the Keto diet plan for over three months. Like many other women, she had tried different diets such as Isagenix, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and Nutrisystem. While these are all accredited dietary plans, Delinda never found a long term solution for weight loss prevention, and more importantly, an all-around healthier lifestyle. Delinda says, “Keto’s an easy lifestyle for me like I don’t feel like I’m on a diet because I’m not hungry. I don’t feel deprived.”
Keto does require to cut out foods with high carb content such as pasta and bread; however since Keto has gained traction in the public eye, there are plenty of recipes including a 90-second bread you can make in the microwave that is Keto friendly. Outside of home cooked meals, there are actual Apps now that can not only help prepare meals but also help decide what to eat at restaurants and even fast food establishments. Delinda uses Carb Manager, providing an easy way to follow what she eats, find recipes, and know what she can eat when she goes out. “One of the challenges was meal prepping, but you can still eat out and have like a hamburger, just without the bun.” When asked why Keto was successful where other programs had not been, Delinda said, “It works for me because I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel hungry all the time and have to fight cravings.”
Do I need to incorporate exercise to be successful?
Another huge aspect of weight loss besides food that becomes difficult is the incorporation of exercise. Exercise can present a considerable struggle for people because of differences in athletic ability, injuries, medical conditions and simply not having the energy, time or finances to pay a membership fee and kill yourself in a gym every day. Keto, however, does not require exercise. Keto does not ask for anything except a dietary commitment.
For Delinda, it was a perfect fit. “Instead of feeling the pressure of having to exercise every single day, I feel like when I do exercise, it’s the cherry on top. I don’t need to do it to lose weight; I can do it to be healthy. It changes your mindset,” Delinda says. Instead of exercise becoming another chore that must be done at the end of the day, and inevitably pushed aside, exercise becomes a healthy activity you find yourself wanting to do. Your weight loss is taken care of, so any activity you choose to do helps with your mental and spiritual health, which in turn, strengthens your mind to continue to be healthy in your eating habits.
What should I expect in the first few weeks?
Besides the lack of carbs and sugars, there are a few things to look out for when committing to Keto. For the first few weeks, you will feel like crap. Your body is adjusting to an entirely new way of operating, and it doesn’t feel great to start. It’s called the Keto Flu and happens because of the lack of carbs and sugars that your body, up until then, had needed to survive. While Keto doesn’t outright require giving up all sugars, sugar becomes obsolete as a result of the process. Headaches and achiness are well-known side effects of going “sugarless,” and it’s no different for Keto. However, the effects only last for a couple of weeks. Think of it as a full-body detox from a toxic substance that you no longer need.
Another thing to keep in mind is that weight loss will depend entirely on you and the uniqueness of your body. Some people lose copious amounts of fat in just the first month, while others may lose only one pound a week. Like any other commitment, patience and a strong will are necessary to yield results. Delinda’s journey was a slower one. She’s lost a total of twenty pounds since beginning Keto, but that was at a rate of about one pound a week. Delinda said, “For me, weight loss is slower than most people…it’s different for everybody.” It is essential when giving Keto a go, to not compare your results to others. Be patient with yourself and your body.
Harvard Health Publishing warns against issues such as nutrient deficiency, liver and kidney problems, constipation and even mood swings. If you do not calculate the right amount of fat to carb ratio for yourself, your body may not be taking in as much as it needs to be. If you’ve had liver problems before, Keto may be too much since Ketosis relies primarily on the functionality of the liver to produce ketones. Delinda herself dealt with the Keto flu, “Keto breath” which is a strange taste in the mouth and constipation. Her solutions were to eat more mints and take magnesium pills to help digestion.
Starting a new diet can be challenging and confusing, and you may need a bit of guidance in the beginning. If you wish to know more about the keto diet and its benefits I highly recommend you check out KetoLogic. They offer all the resources and products you will need to be successful and to start feeling great on the ketogenic diet. Their goal is to educate people on the ketogenic lifestyle. Some of their products include keto snacks, coaching, meal replacement shakes and more. This is the website that helped me to lose over 30 pounds on the keto diet. To learn more about KetoLogic click HERE.
Keto may not be the easy “fix it for me” solution we may want, but it could be the lifestyle change you need to get on track and live healthier, lose some weight, and become a happier individual. Keto uses science and our biology to curate a healthier functioning system. Is Keto the solution for you? Only you can find out.