Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the KETO diet. In case you haven’t heard about it, let me answer some basics. Before you click off, I assure you this will not be another generic guide to keto; it will be my understanding and experience with it, and if you’re curious to try it or just want to compare notes…KEEP READING.
WHAT is the Keto diet? The Keto (short for ketogenic) diet is more of a lifestyle and a school of thought than a diet. The goal of keto is to achieve a metabolic state of ketosis, where your body is trained to create and use ketone bodies instead of glucose for fuel. In laymen’s terms, you decrease your intake of sugar and increase the level of fat consumption so your body has no choice but to convert fat into energy.
WHY the keto diet? The simplest and most common benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it is an easier way to deplete your fat storage. In the absence of glucose and sugars in the diet, your insulin levels will be significantly lowered, resulting in an elevated fat-burning process. Insulin is known as a fat-storing hormone and when levels are low, and ketosis is achieved, it’s as if your body is in a prolonged state of fasting without actually fasting. In addition to turning your body into a fat-burning machine, studies show that the ketogenic diet actually reduces hunger and increases clarity and performance in daily functions.
Now that we’ve established a baseline, please allow me to share my experience with Keto.
Let me start off with a spoiler alert: IT WORKED for me.
It is my firm belief that anything will work as long as you’re consistent. Whether we’re talking keto, vegan, Paleo, raw foods or other, if you’re committed to it you’ll most likely yield some positive results. Whether those results are lasting or instantaneous I’m not sure of, but these diets aren’t still around for nothing-they’ve worked for people. In terms of keto, it was truly a life-changing experience for me.
If you are curious about trying keto, let me reiterate what I said earlier: you HAVE to be committed. In order for it to work, your body has to hit ketosis and stay there. Any spike in sugar and insulin can knock you out of ketosis, defeating the purpose and derailing your progress. I was on keto for around 6 months, and while on it, I lost over 20 pounds, and found lots of energy and clarity. Not only did I notice a drop in weight, the way my body carried the weight was different from other times. Simply put, I looked more toned than ever, a true sign that my fat stores had been tapped into.
Because those fat stores were tapped into for energy, I also noticed that I was less hungry. This made it easier for me to practice intermittent fasting because I wasn’t hungry a lot of the time anyway. According to the JBI Database of Systematic Reviews, intermittent fasting is a great way to intervene with obesity and even help reverse type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is something that every one of my grandparents have been afflicted with, and is something that I try to stay aware of at all times. Because your body doesn’t depend on dietary carbohydrates for fuel, your brain is also constantly being fed by ketones. This allows for a consistent train of thought and a more balanced mood. You won’t find yourself looking for a “pick-me-up” snack or a cup of coffee.
The hardest part, and probably only downside for me was changing my thought process when it came to eating. Reducing the amount of carbs I ate was only hard at the beginning, but it is mind-blowing once you start keto and you realize how many carbohydrates everything has. You get so used to looking for “Fat-Free” products when dieting, but now fat is the star of the show. Roughly 80 percent of your calories should be coming from fat (10-15 from protein, the rest from carbs) in order to maintain ketosis and this is where I struggled. There are supplements for ketones, but I tried to see if I could do it the old-fashioned way. Although it was difficult to keep meals fatty, cheap, easy and engaging at times, it did force me to get creative in the kitchen and really be in tune with what I was consuming.
If you’re looking for something different, something effective and something proven to aid in weight-loss, I would most definitely recommend the keto diet. I found myself entering a state of ketosis after only a couple of days, and in case you were wondering, there are methods (such as a urine strip) to check if your body is in ketosis. I noticed an immediate drop in hunger, elevated energy levels, and significant fat-loss. Because keto has become so popular, there are tons of resources out there for recipes, tips, tricks and advice. There has also been an influx of restaurants offering a keto-friendly selection. If you’re willing to stay consistent and aware of what you’re putting into your body, you have nothing to lose when trying keto, except for weight!