Early in 2018, I lost 60 pounds in six months on the keto diet. I’m not currently on keto, but had great results with it last year. It helped me to lose the weight I so desperately needed to lose, and lose it fast.
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My Ketogenic Diet Experience
Writing about my weight loss journey has been a long time coming. Every time I’ve sat down to write about my ketogenic diet experience and all of the weight I lost on the keto diet, I’ve encountered a mental roadblock of sorts. I think maybe it’s because, for me, it was much more than losing the weight and getting healthier. While I am so proud of what I have accomplished, I still feel some shame about how far I had let myself go. This weight loss journey has affected me just as much mentally as it has physically.
What is a Keto Diet?
Keto is short for ketosis diet or ketogenic diet. The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins diet and low-carb diets. On the keto diet, you will eat very few carbs, moderate protein and high fat. It was brought to the mainstream community in the 1920s by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. It was extremely successful in treating epilepsy patients, but disappeared once people were given the opportunity to take anti-seizure medication.
Eating a ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. It is the process of putting your body into a metabolic state of ketosis by producing ketones in the liver to use as energy. When eating high carbs, your body is using those carbs as its form of energy. Since glucose is the easiest converted molecule for energy your body will always use that over any other energy source. Therefore, storing any fat that you eat. Once you cut off the glucose to your body by drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake, it switches over to use your fat cells as energy and converting them into ketones.
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How I Lost 60 Pounds in 6 Months on the Keto Diet
My 6 Month Keto Diet Results:
I am 5’6″ tall and my starting weight was 222 pounds. On a ketogenic diet, I dropped down to 162 pounds in 6 months, and in the process went from a size 22 to a size 12.
Before starting the ketogenic diet I was on prescription medications for both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both of which I am now off of, with my doctor’s blessing.
I have long suffered from asthma which in recent years transitioned to COPD. When my weight was at its highest, I was out of breath from something as simple as folding laundry. It kept me from enjoying many activities with my 10-year-old daughter. Today, I am able to walk and run for miles. I can manage an entire day at the Disney Parks. I was even able to kayak 14 miles in one day this past summer. I can flip tires at the gym. My joints no longer hurt from carrying so much weight around.
My Weight Loss Journey
There are some people who wear plus size very well, embrace it even, but that person is not me. I wish it could have been. I wasn’t always overweight. Quite the opposite actually. Up until about 8 years ago, I was always very fit and trim. Being overweight hurt my confidence, and self-esteem in ways that I am still recovering from. It has been an emotional journey, but I am glad to say that I’m happier and healthier than I have been in a very long time.
Last January, when I started my keto diet I didn’t tell many people. I had tried and failed at various diets over the years, and went for a long spell where I couldn’t even mentally prepare myself to start a diet. I don’t think I would have been successful this time around, had I not mentally been ready for it.
I had to change the way I thought about food.
I had long been an emotional eater, and in order for me to be truly successful on a diet I needed to change the way I thought about food. I had to stop thinking of food as something that brought me pleasure, but rather as fuel for my body. In order for me to do this, I had to make sure that I found pleasure and happiness in other things. I made a conscious effort to do more of the things that I love. I can’t stress enough how important this mental mindset has been to my weight loss success.
A year ago, I would have never taken a car selfie!!
How I got started on the keto diet.
It was about this very time last year, when I started doing extensive Google searches to learn more about the keto diet. I wish I had taken note of some of the websites I found most helpful, but honestly at that time I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in my success. I certainly didn’t imagine myself sitting here writing about how I lost 60 pounds in 6 months on the keto diet.
I want to be careful here, because I am not an expert on the ketogenic diet, and don’t want to give advice on how to do it. I do want to share some of the things that helped me be successful, and the mistakes that I made. Please do your research and consult with your doctor before starting this diet.
My ketogenic diet experience has been wrought with many ups and downs. Early on I made a lot of mistakes on the keto diet. In the beginning I wasn’t keeping track of my macros and was not consuming enough calories. I limited myself to no more than 20 carbs for much too long. There are a lot of apps you can use to keep track these things, such as MyFitnessPal, the Lose It! app, and the Atkins app. I wish I had used one of them from the start.
How do you know if you’re in ketosis?
Ketone strips are the easiest way to know if you are in ketosis. These are the ones that I buy from Amazon. The current price is $7.80 for 100 strips and they are Prime eligible.
Other signs that you might be in ketosis are weight loss, loss of appetite, clarity or increased focus, short-term fatigue, toilet issues, and bad breath.
It is normal to have low energy when you first start a keto diet. Many experience what is referred to as the keto flu, and that usually passes after the first few weeks. These symptoms lasted a little longer for me, because I wasn’t eating enough food.
It is possible to exercise while on keto.
I’ve seen some bragging out there from people who have lost weight on keto without exercising. Some even say that you don’t have enough energy to exercise, while on keto. However, if you are doing keto the right way you will have the energy. Even more importantly, if your goal is to get healthier, exercise is an important part of that. A lot of people can consume up to 50 carbs per day and stay in ketosis. You’ll have to do some experimenting with your diet to see how high you can go.
All the years of inactivity while I so overweight had weakened my core. I hired a personal trainer who helped come up with an exercise routine to strengthen my core, and build muscle. I was working so hard to lose the weight, I didn’t want to still be flabby. Toning up was very important to me.
One thing I learned from the insistence of my trainer was that I needed to eat more carbs than I was, in order to have the energy to exercise and weight train. He suggested that I get the additional carbs from fruits and vegetables, and that’s what I did. It was such a treat to eat a cup of berries and an extra helping of green veggies.
I lost almost half of my hair on keto.
I mentioned that I made a lot of mistakes early-on, which caused some serious deficiencies. My body was starving, and as a result my hair started falling out.
I lost a LOT of hair.
It was really scary.
Once again, thanks to Mr. Google, I learned that what I was experiencing wasn’t that uncommon and the hair would grow back. Thankfully, it has grown back after making some changes in my diet and taking hair vitamins. The vitamins I take are called HairAnew (Hair Growth Vitamins with Biotin) and I buy them on Amazon. I currently have 2 to 3 inches of new hair growth all over my head and it is starting to look thick again. I no longer have any bald patches.
Since I mentioned the hair vitamins, there are a couple of other products I buy from Amazon that helped me be successful on the keto diet. I like Perfect Keto Chocolate Protein Powder a lot. I stir a scoop of it into a glass of coconut almond milk for an afternoon pick-me-up. The other product is MCT Oil from Coconut which helps you maintain essential fats while on the keto diet. I found it also gave me energy. You can mix it into your keto coffee or salad dressings, but I preferred to take a tablespoon of it straight up once in the morning and again in the afternoon. It is flavorless. Avocado is another great source of fat while on keto.
Here’s another tip: I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and when that craving hits a sugar free jello cup with a little Redi Whip usually does the trick.
Where I’m at now.
Since the fall, I haven’t been on a keto diet. I’ve been trying to stay fairly low-carb with my diet which is hard, because I LOVE me some carbs and missed them dearly while on keto. I kinda went off the rails BIG TIME during the holiday season. Over the last few months, I have gained back 12 of the 60 pounds that I lost. I attribute some of the weight I gained to “happy pounds” because last July I fell head-over-heels in LOVE with an amazing guy, and he makes me incredibly happy. Losing weight helped me find the self-love I was missing, and the confidence I needed to put myself out there again. I’m in a really great place right now and am so excited about what’s to come in 2019.
I have a little more weight to lose still. I’m trying to find balance and a diet that I can stand to do long term. Long term keto isn’t going to work for me. It served its purpose, but I really do enjoy carbs too much to stick with it. All things in moderation. I’m work toward a low-carb maintenance plan that includes plenty of exercise. I promise to keep you posted on how that goes, and won’t wait a year to tell you about it.
For the record, I am not an expert on the keto diet and am not a medical professional. I am simply sharing my personal experience with you. Before beginning any diet, it is always a good idea to speak with your physician. Also, this post contains some affiliate links.
You might like these keto-friendly, low-carb recipes:
Keto Bacon Wrapped Brats with Beer Cheese Sauce
Flavorful Low-Carb Shrimp Alfredo Recipe
Keto Meatballs all Parmigiana
3-Ingredient Keto Cookies
Greek Inspired Low-Carb Egg Muffins
Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
My goal in writing this is to inspire anyone who feels like they need to make some healthier choices. Keto isn’t for everyone, but it can help you lose weight and do it fast. I only hope you will learn from some of the mistakes that I have made on this journey. I am 48 years old, and proof that it is never too late to learn and make healthier lifestyle choices. If you’re thinking about starting a diet, I wish you much success. I know it isn’t easy, and if you need someone to talk to or just have a question, I am here for you. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.