I’m Kelly and I eat Keto

I started this blog to share my progress, journey, and advice for anyone trying (or thinking about trying) a ketogenic diet approach to weight management. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve lost over 70 pounds, and I’ve found a sustainable way to lose fat and keep it off with very little effort. I want to share what I know with others, because I know how defeating it is to try to the same bullshit over and over and fail over and over. I’m still learning and still losing, but I’ve got some great experience with the keto diet, intermittent fasting, prolonged fasting, and dry fasting. This approach to nutrition isn’t for everyone and removing carbs from your life can be crazy hard at first. But for me, it’s been well worth it.

2 year time span

 

 

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Working Out On Keto

It’s totally possible to lose a ton of weight just by eating a ketogenic diet and not exercising. Lots of people do it and it works! But for those of us who want to take our fat loss to a new level or finally have the confidence to wear yoga pants in public, working out can be a really great addition to the keto lifestyle.

Although I usually feel really energetic from eating keto, that doesn’t always translate into powerhouse workouts. I like a combo of good, sweaty cardio and relatively heavy weight lifting, but sometimes I’m completely gassed after my first set of Romanian dead lifts. It’s taken some finessing, but here’s some things I find to be helpful:

Don’t make it hard (that’s what she said) before it’s a habit. If you’re new to exercising and you’re super out of shape like I was, exercising is going to suck at first. I think it’s important to make working out as doable as possible, because if you hate it or it’s really inconvenient, you won’t stick to it. The most important exercise is the one you’ll do consistently – even if it’s just walking until you get into the habit. Once you’re exercising regularly, you’ll be motivated to increase your intensity and you’ll be a friggin’ hulk before you know it.

Cardio is not the answer. I love doing cardio, which obviously means that I am insane, but weights are the real heroes of the gym. When I spend more time lifting weights and less time doing cardio my body looks smaller, perkier, and firmer. If I’m low on energy or time, I will skip cardio and try to get a good strength session in, even if it’s short.

Stop intermittent fasting (IF). For me, intermittent fasting (particularly One Meal A Day, 23 hour daily fasts) has simplified my life and made losing weight easier. But when I stepped up my workouts, lifting heavier and more frequently, I really struggled to get through my gym session if I hadn’t eaten yet that day. I made two changes to my meal timing that really improved my endurance while lifting; breaking my fast (ie: eating for the first time that day) an hour before I work out with a high-fat snack or MCT oil, or enjoying a shit ton of cream in my coffee all day and not giving a crap that I am not fasting.

Rest more. Sometimes I’m so disappointed to miss a gym day due to an appointment or other obligation, but it ends up being the best thing for me. The next time I work out, I usually kill it because my body is completely recovered and refreshed.

The biggest takeaway for me has been that my body is a special snowflake and I will always have to tweak things. These suggestions may not work for your one-of-a-kind bod, but I sure hope they do!

Drinking on Keto

One of the best parts of eating a ketogenic diet is that it’s flexible and allows you to get crunk sometimes. The best alcohols for people on keto are dry wine and liquors (mixed with low-carb mixers, like water or diet soda). My favorite low-carb drinks are whiskey & diet ginger ale, vodka & water with Mio water enhancers, and my version of a Moscow Mule:

Low Carb Moscow Mule
4 oz diet ginger beer
1.5 oz vodka
1/4 lime, juiced

If you like spice, try making your own pepper-infused vodka. Just slice up your spicy pepper of choice (I like cherry peppers the best, but habanero and jalapeno are also delightful), put them in a jar with your vodka and place in the fridge. The spice will increase as the days past, so beware! I think  36-48 hours is prime spice time.

For a really useful, comprehensive guide on carb content of alcohol, visit Diet Doctor’s page on Keto Alcohol.

My personal experience with drinking on the keto diet is thus: I don’t really like it. I definitely still do drink, but the occasions are few and far between, and here’s why.

  1. I get hella drunk really quickly. I approximate that for every one drink I have now, I could have had 3-4 drinks as a carb-eater to feel the same effect.
  2. I’m not right for a few days after. I’ll have a low-level hangover for at least 3 days after drinking. Bloating, constipation, headache, irritability, excessive thirst, and lethargy are all legit.
  3. It messes with my weight loss. I swear to god, the texture of my body fat stores feels different for like a week after I drink. I’m sure that has to do with water retention, but I will gain a few pounds after I drink, and I don’t feel slim again for at least a week. Drinking (even just a glass or two of wine) sets me backwards.
  4. I want to skip the gym. Who wants to work out when they don’t feel good? If I don’t skip the gym, my workout tends to be shitty.

If I could have a glass of wine with no repercussions, I totally would do that. Often. I love wine! ❤ But even with a tiny glass, I get unpleasant side effects, so it’s better that I just skip it… or if I do partake, I make it count. #ketocrunk

5 Tips for a Keto Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! If you’re not trying to shove cookies and chocolates into your face every 5 minutes, Christmas gatherings with family and friends can be tough to navigate. The key to being successful is planning ahead. I know that’s boring, but making a good plan of attack while you’re in a motivated state of mind can help prevent us from falling off the wagon and eating every candy cane on the way down. Here’s some tips to help get you through.

1. Don’t apologize for eating keto. Just as you don’t expect everyone to accommodate your dietary restrictions, you don’t have to accommodate anyone else. If you are hosting and cooking, make delicious keto-friendly foods that everyone will enjoy. Your guests can bring carby side dishes to contribute if “it’s just not Christmas without mashed potatoes.” When I hosted Christmas Eve brunch for my family this year, I fried up a ton of bacon and sausages, asked my mom to bring a veggie and egg casserole, and my sister brought her infamous Tater Tot Casserole. No one had a single complaint about the food – plus, they nommed a bunch of pies and cakes later on in the day.

2. It’s not cheating if you planned it. I really like the idea of not even using the word “cheat” or saying that you’re “being good.” I think it’s way more beneficial to say that you’re either on-plan or off-plan. No only do “cheats” put a weird sneaky guilt around food, but it’s better to be really aware and intentional of your diet and how that plays into your social calendar. You can still get sloshed at a Santa pub crawl and have a slice of your niece’s first birthday cake. Just plan for it. Try to break the habit of impulsiveness by being really intentional about what you’re consuming and planning your fun foods in advance.

3. Bring a little keto wherever you go. This applies to all times of year, but especially Christmas time. If you go to a gathering, bring a side dish or two that is hearty, keto-friendly, and something you love. That way, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the spread looks like, because you’ve got you covered. And don’t worry about looking weird. Some of the keto sides I have brought to parties have been the most raved-about dishes at the gathering! The host’s teenage son snuck the dish of roasted broccoli remnants up to his room as the party was dying down, returning it when he thought no one was looking. Carbs & sugar aren’t the only delicious things in the world, and you might actually be helping your friends change their thinking if you’re always bringing super yummy foods to your get-togethers.

4. Practice your clap-backs. It was like 6 months before people stopped shreiking “YOU DON’T EAT SUGAR?! YOU’RE CRAZY!” To which I respond, “Oh really? Because I thought being so addicted to sugar that you freak out when other people don’t eat it was crazy.” JK I didn’t say that. But here’s some things I did (and do) say:

  • So what the hell DO you eat?? Lots of stuff! Just not grains or sugar!
  • I could never do that. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure!
  • Eating bacon and butter everyday can’t be good for you. As long as you’re not eating carbs, fat is totally good for you.
  • I tried that and it didn’t work for me. Some people adjust more easily than others, for sure.
  • My mom did Atkins and lost weight but she gained it all back. Weight loss is the same no matter how you do it. You can’t go back to eating like crap or you’ll gain all your weight back.
  • How do you have any kind of social life? Literally nothing’s changed except what I eat. I still go on dates and happy hours and brunches with my lady friends, same as before.
  • I bet you never eat out anymore. It’s never hard to find something keto-friendly! Burger without the bun and a side of veggies. Boom.

I have found that the key to navigating these conversations are to keep it short and sweet. A lot of people have tried keto or low carb, and when they got a bit of keto flu, they thought they were going to die and they stopped. So not only is eating keto going against everything we were taught about the idiotic food pyramid, but your friends might have their own vendetta against the diet. The best thing we can do is lead by example without being judgey.

5. Have a naughty food available if you’re drinking. I don’t know about you, but when I drink, I don’t always make the best choices. My mom brought a tub of seasoned pecans that she made just for me (that woman is a friggin’ saint), that taste like the crunchy stuff on the top if a cinnamon bagel from Panera. My plan for the family Christmas party didn’t include pumpkin pie or eclair cake, but it included a shit ton of wine, and without those sweet pecans, I would have felt quite deprived of a nice drunken munch fest. Here’s the recipe my mom used:

Crock Pot Cinnamon Spicy Pecans
16 oz Pecans
1 stick melted butter
1/8 tsp All Spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup erythritol

Combine all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for 3 hours. Spread out to cool.

Every social gathering and holiday gets easier to handle as I become further removed from my carby prior life. What are some of your tips and tricks to navigate the holidays?

First Dry Fast Experience

A “traditional” fast involves ingesting only water for a set amount of time. A dry fast is when you don’t ingest anything, including water, because you are a crazy person. Extra crazy people will avoid all contact with water, even bathing, which is called a “hard” dry fast. If you are ok risking a bit of water consumption through the skin, you can brush your swampy desert mouth, which is a “soft” fast.

I recently tried a soft dry fast, trying to challenge myself a little more than a traditional 23 hour fast (which I do 3-5 times a week) or a 48 hour fast (which I do every couple of weeks). Before you wonder why I like to torture myself by not eating, it’s not really torture for me. I’m not a hungry person by nature, so fasting comes pretty easily to me.

But dry fasting? That shit is hard. Before I say how it went for me, here’s why someone might consider dry fasting… or any fasting, honestly.

Obviously fasting gets rid of fat cells faster than calorie reduction, because in the absence of all food, your body switches over to using fat for fuel. But. The coolest part is that your body also needs some protein to operate, and contrary to what most people think, it doesn’t just eat up all your muscles overnight when you don’t eat. It might eat up a smidge of muscle, but what it really prefers is your old shitty cells that aren’t a pulling their own weight anymore.

Each cell in the body is made up of different parts. I’m not a scientist, so I’m not going to look up what everything is called for you. But I’m sure you can remember back to high school biology – there’s a nucleus and a… mitochondria? Anyway, after a while, the stuff in your cells gets all old and raggedy. When you aren’t getting protein from your food, your body will use the junky shit from your cells for food. Then the cell makes a new whatever-just-got-cleaned-out, and boom. You’ve got a shiny new cell and you’ve tapped into the fountain of youth. That process is called autophagy, which literally means “self eating,” or something like that.

There are people who have lost hundreds of pounds and have virtually no loose skin because they’ve fasted periodically in the process and their bods just ate that stuff right up (over, like, months and years. You can’t just do it one time and get rid of your jiggly bits). People also report that skin tags fall off and fatty cists dissolve. Weird and awesome, right?

There’s conflicting thoughts about when autophagy starts. Some scientists think you need at least 24-36 hours of fasting to start eating your crap cells, but some researchers think a smidge of autophagy starts happening at hour 16. One thing everyone can agree on, though, is that dry fasting speeds up the process of getting to autophagy.

24 hours of dry fasting is equal to 3 days of traditional fasting, and the end results are allegedly 3-5 times that of a one day fast with water. Over my 8 day fast, I lost like 3/4 a pound per day (actually 1 1/2 pounds but I gained half of it back immediately with water consumption). So if your body is like mine, you could do some math and figure out how much fat you’d lose over a 24 hour dry fast.

So what was it like? Kind of shitty. Firstly, the decision is yours if you even want to try fasting at all, and you should probs check with your doctor. But if you do decide to try it, is recommend doing it on a day that you can just lay around or sleep. I went to work and by hour 20, I felt like a bag of ass. Also make sure you’re super hydrated before you start your dry fast. I started mine kind of on a whim, so I don’t think my insides were very moisturized to begin with.

Over the course of the fast, I felt increasingly thirsty and worn down. Even my eyes were dry (contact lens wearers beware – I had to take my lenses out and put my glasses on because my contacts felt like cornflakes in my eyes).

When it was time to break my fast, i sipped water for an hour and then allowed myself to chug it. Then over the evening, my hunger was insatiable and I think I ate like 3 days worth of food at one go.

As far as weight loss, I lost 4 pounds and gained 2 back.

Will I do it again? Probably not. And I wouldn’t really recommend it, either, for those just looking to lose weight. If your reasons for fasting are medical, or you’re interested in the anti-cancer and Alzheimer’s prevention benefits, absolutely think about trying it. But for weight loss, there’s just more pleasant and less uncomfortable ways to get there. Fasting with black coffee, water, and diet soda might not be a “true” fast, but it’s good enough for me.