If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I am a flexible dieter through and through. I believe that having flexibility in your diet, allowing things in moderation, and enjoying food is a big part of life – all while attempting to reach your goals. I have followed my macros for the great part of 2 years and I’ve seen some great success eating this way. Recently however, I’ve become very attune to my body and it’s different responses to food.
Unfortunately, many nights the past few months I’ve been plagued with what I’ll leave as “digestive issues” after a full day of eating. It would usually hit right around 7 or 8 pm and last throughout the night and sometimes in the morning. After looking at my diet and critiquing some of my decisions, I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed it down to cheese and broccoli. Cheese is the absolute worst. Broccoli and cauliflower I can handle.
After doing some thinking about my choices, I stumbled back to Corina’s blog where I updated myself on the fact that she started doing what’s called “Keto”. I’m pretty familiar with keto as it’s a diet method my sister has been following for the greater part of 2 years off and on. Before her wedding she made some serious progress with weight loss that was awe inspiring.
The Ketogenic diet is basically a high fat, super low carb, and moderate protein diet. The idea is to eat so few carbs (<20 grams) to get your body into “ketosis,” which is when you use ketones as an energy source instead of glucose. The claim is that this enables you to burn fat and have a significant amount of weight loss.
For the longest time I was a disbeliever when I saw some of the posts on Instagram and some of the foods my sister ate; fried everything, cheese, butter, bacon, etc. I thought my body would never like that diet. I thought my gallbladder would hate me and I would feel nauseated all the time. BUT, after reading Corina’s blog about her reasons for starting keto as well as the way her energy levels improved and how great her body felt on this protocol, compounded with the facts that she follows keto in what I call a “healthy” way, I thought “why not?” and decided to give it a shot.
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Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not following strict keto, nor do I want to attempt to get into full ketosis. I really don’t care that much to be so strict. But, I am following a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet. Before I started this I literally thought to myself “there’s absolutely no way I can go without eating carbs” and “I’ll be hungry all the time.” I also thought that I would have terrible cravings for sweets and carbs all the time. This was absolutely the opposite of how I felt.
My first few days I literally could not believe how full I was throughout most of the day. It’s so weird, but the high fat content keeps me satisfied all day long. I no longer had severe cravings for sugar, Oreos, bread, chocolate, etc. I no longer came home at 2 am wanting to binge on the entire pantry full of carbs. I looked forward to my meals because I was no longer hungry 30 minutes after eating. I was satisfied for hours…and the meals were delicious.
I started off with the following macros for a few days:
Protein: 150 g
Carbs: 100 g (around 75 net)
Fat: 95 g
I didn’t want to shock my system so I followed the 100 grams of carbs for a few days just to ease myself into it. Once I felt pretty comfortable with that, I dropped the carbs even more:
Protein: 150 g
Carbs: 40 grams (around 20 g net carbs)
Fat: 116 g
The past few days of being pretty low carb have been nothing but amazing. I feel like I have so much more energy. At 1 am during my 12 hour shift, I felt like I could keep going forever, where before I would be yawning and so tired before my long drive home. My workouts have felt amazing and I’ve been able to PR most of my lifts at home. I am only hungry in the morning after my workouts, which I do fasted. My cravings are non-existent. The craziest thing is that I no longer miss bread, sugar, oreos, cookies, chocolate, etc. I just don’t even think about them.
The way that you calculate out your net carbs is based upon how much fiber you eat in a day. I generally aim for 25 grams, so when you subtract your fiber from your regular carbs, you get your net carbs. Like I said before, I’m not trying to do strict keto, I’m just trying to stick with lower carb. I’ve eaten so many vegetables over the past few days than I have ever eaten in my life…and I’m actually enjoying them.
On top of eating low carb, I’ve cut out most dairy from my diet. I drink almond milk or cashew milk and I still use heavy cream in some things but I’ve eliminated cheese and yogurt completely from my diet and my belly has definitely been thanking me. I haven’t had any digestive issues in the past few days and I can tell that the bloat I previously had from these foods has disappeared. I feel leaner each day and my weight is finally starting to respond.
I swear I have more than one pair of grey underwear. And band-aids are there for a reason…nobody needs to see that!
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I didn’t necessarily try this out because of weight loss, although that is my current objective (more fat loss), but I did it more so to see how I felt while following this. Cutting out gluten and dairy completely has made such a significant impact on my energy and the way that my body feels, I’m not sure that I’ll ever want to include them again!
Obviously this way of eating is not for everyone, but some of my clients have suggested toying around with the idea for their macros and I thought I’d give it a shot myself to see what it feels like. I really thought I’d be starving or feel deprived without those sacred carbs in my life, but I’m not. I feel better than I have in a long time. I’ll update in a few days to see how I’m still feeling and how my body is responding!
And please, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I was a disbelieving for a very long time until I tried it myself. Despite popular belief, you do not need carbs to survive or to perform well in the gym so long as your fat and protein are kept higher. The most important thing about a diet comes down to consistency. If you can’t stay on your diet and you’re hungry all the time, you will not make progress…I can guarantee that.