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Hey all I’m back with one of my favorite, albiet never finished, DIY projects. My bod. Now be forewarned, I’m not loving my body and never have. It is an ongoing process and most days are better than others. First I’m going to give you the background on how I got here and then we’ll chat all things keto.
My body issues started on a barge in the swimming area of Lake Greeson in Arkansas. I was 10, and loving my rainbow striped bikini, then I looked down at the teeny tiny rolls on my prepubescent tummy and deemed them hideous. Fun Fact: I was 38 before I wore a bikini again. Even though my left brain often reminds me that my beautiful, wonderful body has grown and fed 7 children when my right brain pours on the body hate, I struggle.
My body is a unique amalgam of attributes that I have a love/hate relationship with. One, large frame, now, when I say that, please understand I mean doctor confirmed large bones, I mean, I am a little fluffy or we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but I do genuinely have a large frame. Two, I also have the ability to grown muscle quickly, my body responds to weight training very quickly. Now those two attributes, allow for me to weigh much more than most women and you’d think, at some point, I wouldn’t care about the number on the scale BUT I FRICKEN DO! It is too high all. the. time.
I’ve decided to lose that fluffy status for once and for all for a few reasons. As you may or may not know, I have a special needs child in my little tribe of 7. So, my health is taking a different meaning for me. One, I have slightly high blood pressure and would like to get that down. Two, I also must lift my ever-growing limited mobility kiddo and need more muscles in the right places to do that.
I am culling all that I know about my 45 year old body and putting together my plan. The first and most essential piece of that is the way of eating (not diet I’m not going off of it). For me that has always been lower carbs. I have a stomach and thyroid issue so I avoid already try to avoid gluten and soy. I’ve tried just about every fad diet out there and my body just functions best and feels best with meats, fats, veg and some fruit for carbs. Sidebar: I love most vegetables and almost every fruits. Like, I get fatter in the summer because of my fruit intake, love fruit, so sacrifices will be made, lest you think this will be easy peasy lemon squeezy. NO it will be DIFFICULT DIFFICULT LEMON DIFFICULT. But I have to do it for him and for me!
How I learned about Keto
Since I knew I wanted a low carb plan I decided to research the hottest form of it right now Keto. I set about learning about keto. I watched documentaries, researched online through blogs and links to studies and debunked studies. Here’s what I’ve been able to find. It is a healthy way of eating that will yield health, vitality and weight loss results. It was started as a medical treatment for those with diabetes and epilepsy. So it does have strict parameters that have been loosened in society. I’ll break the new terms down for you a little later but first, what is keto?
Currently I weigh 185 and wear a size 12. I’m going for a muscular 155 and size 4. I am 5’4″. Most posts, blogs, journal, books etc leave those details out and I need them to relate so here they are for you.
**I’m not a doctor but I’ve had the same nutritional training as them and probably more since I’m a white girl on a diet since ever but please see your physician if you have any questions. This is just my experience**
What is Keto
Keto is a diet in which you monitor your ratio of macros in relation to your calorie consumption in order to achieve a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body has changed from a carb-burning machine into a fat-burning machine. To achieve this you eat very few carbs. You begin keto by calculating your macros no matter which plan you ultimately follow you need these base numbers. So what is a macro? For keto purposes they are fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Since all keto diets are trying to achieve ketosis and that generally means eating 75% fat, 25% protein and 5% fat. Now % of what you ask? Your calorie count for the day. Your total calories for the day are based on your activity level, age and gender.
How to calculate macros
Here is a great calculator to help you calculate calories, and macros. https://www.ketoconnect.net/calculator/ That is also a great site for recipes and all things keto related.(I’m not an affiliate just a fangirl) If you’re old-fashioned and want to DIY 😉 then take your calories for the day and multiply it by the macro %: 1500/75%= the amount of fat grams per day and so on for each macro.
What is a net carb?
Once you have those numbers you need to learn what a net carb is because we only count net carbs in macros. That is fairly simple to explain. Grab a package, flip is over to the nutrition label, look at “total carbs” now subtract the “fiber” and “sugar alcohols”. HOWEVER if it has xylitol, maltitol, sucralose, aspartame or saccharin listed in the ingredients you can only subtract half the sugar alcohols. The label will also give you grams of fat and protein. Those are important as well because some forms of keto are counting all macros. Now that you know how to calculate and count macros which keto is right for you?
One other “macro” for keto
Water. This is the fourth keto macro in my research. Water is very important to all of the functions we are asking the body to do and changes that are being made. It is essential for weight loss. Water keeps you full longer, keeps you regular, and transfers salt in and out of cells which is how fat leaves the cells as well! So half your body weight in ounces per day no excuses. More if you workout or live in hot humid climates like I do!
Types of Keto
The basics on dirty keto are you keep your net carbs to 20 and you only count and keep track of that. You can eat processed keto food like bars, modified fast food, diet sodas and sugar subs. As long as you keep those net carbs in check, as you’re losing weight and in ketosis. This is obviously the easiest and most accessible form of keto it is a great starting point and even staying point for some but I’d like to have more of an impact on my heath than just weight loss. This is as close to the standard American diet as keto gets. However, weight loss is a huge positive impact on health so do not feel less than for staying in this zone.
The next option for keto is lazy keto. It is like dirty keto in that you are still only really concerned about staying under 20 net carbs, but you are doing it generally free of processed foods. So, you incorporate the low carb vegetable like lettuce, kale, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans and avoid potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, and other high carb vegetables. You can also incorporate some berries if your macros allow. In this option you are trading out processed carbs for vegetable carbs and you pay attention to your macros. A word about vegetable carbs, there is a whole school of thought that says don’t even worry about counting those carbs, that is going to be your decision. Just like every other choice on this journey it needs to work for you.
Lazy not non-existent
Do not see keto as a quick fix, it needs to be a seismic shift in thinking because we are all programmed to think fat is bad. That takes a while to overcome. But if you try to half way it you’ll end up eating high carb/high fat which is basically the SAD. Which is not a healthy way to eat at all. Also our bodies are going to crave those convenience foods for a while, but for this way of eating remember: fat is your friend and fast food isn’t. But if eating a bacon cheese burger with no bun and half a small fry keeps you going, one day won’t kill you. So, decide then monitor.
This is the healthiest option of keto which the most drastic lifestyle change. True clean keto is top shelf ingredients such as organic or local farm grown, grass fed beef and pork products, nitrate and nitrate free, pastured poultry and eggs eaten as fuel. I does not include sugar subs, bacon, cauliflower crusts, almond flour muffins, you need to just eat fat, meat and vegetables. While these high quality items are becoming more and more available, they are still, for the most part, cost-prohibitive to be used exclusively. I think the definition for our terms is going to be highest quality food you can afford with the least amount of human interference from market to mouth.
Too hard core?
I aspire to join the land of “food is just fuel”, however, I’m fluffy cuz I love food! I love warm pita dipped in baked feta with marinara, I love fresh baked brioche, I love homemade lasagna! For me to think I will ever not want some form of those things seems impossible but who knows?
What am I going to do?
For me, I think I’m starting in the lazy keto lane, focusing on net carbs, veggies for carbs, berries and almond flour goodies for snacks and see where that gets me this month.
What if it doesn’t work
First of all from all I’ve read we are trying to achieve a pretty big thing in our bodies. That takes some time so be patient. After the initial 5-7 pound water weight loss it can take a minute for your body to release the fat. Secondly when you make a big change your body puts the breaks on because of survival it will comply after a bit. In fact, it is called the keto whoosh read more about that here. If you are 4-6 weeks in and still aren’t getting results switch something and see if that helps. Common culprits are too little water, too many diet drinks, not enough fat and poor sleep habits. Try adjusting one of those for a week and see what happens. Everyone is different and what works for some may not for you so be flexible as you figure out your right way through the maze of weight loss. Just don’t change too much at one time or you won’t know what worked!