Six months keto: Results

keto before edited      keto

 

When I started keto on August 29th, 2018, I was morbidly obese. My weight was 95 kgs (209.4 pounds). I had severe joint pains, acute indigestion, acid reflux, chronic fatigue, chronic anxiety and depression.

The very first week on keto, my weight started dropping, my acid reflux disappeared and my joint pains reduced significantly. Three weeks in and I had adjusted to the diet. Then my indigestion disappeared and my joint pain went away entirely.

Six weeks in and my chronic fatigue was gone for good and I noticed that I was calmer, happier and far less anxious than I used to be. And I kept losing weight.

The improvements in my health continued, but I did have a couple of set backs. I made mistakes. Then I learnt more about the food I was eating and I tweaked my diet accordingly. Some things worked and others didn’t. But I was steadily getting healthier and feeling better.

I started walking and cycling every day and that helped increase my energy levels and boost my mood. But as you can see from the last couple of blog posts, things have not always been easy.

But where improving my health and losing weight seemed impossible before, I have proved to myself that it is entirely possible if I can just stay the course. And I intend to.

As of today, my weight is 72 kg (158.7 pounds). That is a total weight loss of 23 kg (50 pounds) and honestly, it feels like a miracle. I still have weight to lose and I still have a lot of reading and learning to do. But just for today, I’m going to pat myself on the back.

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Week 26 has been a bit of a struggle.

I said last week that I had gone back to my very low carb keto and I was trying to get back into ketosis and stay there.

I succeeded on the diet end of things, but despite that, it’s been a tough week. My insomnia is worse than ever and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep all week. Naturally my stress is high and ketosis isn’t happening.

So my anxiety has been high as well and that has made the insomnia worse. So yeah. Not a great week.

But it has been a wonderful six months. As of today, I have been keto for exactly six months. More on that in the next post.

Week 25 and I find out that carbohydrate addiction is real.

I ended my post last week on a very positive note, saying that I was back in town, back to Keto and doing well. I also stated my intention to stay Keto. Well, so much for good intentions.

The day after I wrote that post, I got sick. I had a cold and a cough and I wasn’t feeling very well. I was craving hot drinks and before I knew it, I was having three cups of coffee a day. I was reaching for biscuits every time I had coffee, making myself a sandwich every night because I wanted to have some bread…

I almost didn’t notice it for the first couple of days…and when I did, I tried to rationalise it. You know, “It’s just a couple of slices of bread and a few biscuits. It’s still pretty low carb,” and so on.

It is fairly low carb, in that I never got up to even 100 g of carbs a day, but that is not the point. The point is that once I let myself relax on my vacation, I slipped back into the habit of eating bread every day without even realising it.

Another thing I said in my last post is that I’m handling carbs better now. I actually said it in the title. Well, this is me eating my words. Eating carbs, even in a small quantity, will mess me up. I start feeling hungry again, cravings come back, I start putting on weight and I get knocked out of ketosis which means that my energy drops and my anxiety comes back. And sometimes, like last night, my insomnia comes back as well.

This is a physical and emotional state that I don’t want to be in. I want to be in ketosis as much as possible, which means I cannot eat bread, no matter how much I crave it. So yeah. I’m now having to find the self-control and the will power that I did not need when I went five days without eating any food. Not eating is easy when I’m in ketosis and so is staying away from carbs.

Once I let myself have a few carbs, it is difficult to stop because they are addictive. Particularly bread and biscuits, because of all the grains and beans out there, wheat is the most appetite stimulating and the hardest to give up.

So, as of yesterday, I’m back on very low carb Keto (5g of carbs a day or less). It is now 44 hours since I had any carbs (other than a small amount of spinach and green chillies), but I am still not back in ketosis. My hunger is down and my energy is okay, but it is not high and my mood is blah at best.

Clearly, this is going to take a bit more time.

 

24 weeks in and I seem to be handling carbs better now.

When I wrote here two weeks ago, I was three days into an extended fast. I was hoping to do a five day fast and I did. I went a total of a 124 hours without food and it was not difficult at all. That’s a fact that continues to amaze me because it was only my second extended fast and the first time I went five days without eating.

The fact that I kept up my daily walking without feeling any tiredness or dip in energy was even more astonishing. I’ve heard other people talk about how easy fasting can be when you’re fat adapted and while I did believe them, I had to experience it myself to really get what they were talking about.

Anyway, I ended the fast after five days. I lost a total of 3.5 kgs (7.7 pounds) and I felt very, very good, both physically and emotionally.

Two days after I ended the fast, I went out of town with my husband and my kids. We went to visit my parents. I was out of town only for a week, but it was a week of not being keto. I didn’t go crazy and eat a lot of carbs, but I had a cheat or two and I was more low carb than keto for that entire week.

It messed with my stomach a bit, but not as much as I expected and I didn’t feel any real drop in energy. And I regained some of the weight I had lost before I left town. I gained two kilos (4.4 pounds) by the time I got back home. But, and this is the surprising thing, I’ve only been back home and keto two days now and I’ve already dropped the two kilos I’d gained.

So it seems that I’m handling carbs a little better now than I used to,  but there is one big reason that I want to stay keto long-term and that is my mood. I am happiest when I’m in ketosis. I’m calm and rational and I don’t get stressed as easily. I’ve been prone to anxiety and depression for years now and keto helped me get rid of all that. It might seem strange to attribute improvements in mental health to a diet, but I am not the only person to have felt this.

There are plenty of people who I see online, in the forums and on twitter who’ve found significant improvements in mental health once they went keto. They’ve come off medications for depression, anxiety, bipolar disease and so on. And then there’s the fact that keto has proven benefits for people suffering from Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism, Asperger’s and so on. It is becoming obvious that the human brain functions better when it runs on ketones than when it runs on glucose.

My brain certainly does. I’m happier and just more peaceful and that is worth more to me than all the bread, biscuits, pies and pasta that I can’t eat when I’m keto. I’m very happy not eating them. So, I’m back home, back on keto and I plan to stay that way.

22 weeks into keto and three days into a fast.

My latest weight loss stall lasted more than seven weeks and I finally broke through it a few days ago. The biggest reason for the stall was stress. I’ve been really busy since the end of November and with the busy came a good amount of stress.

I’m a stress eater, so fasting was off the table. I did a bit of intermittent fasting here and there, but I was simply not able to take it beyond 16 hours a day, a couple of times a week.

I also started walking for an hour every day around this time and that spiked my hunger and made want to eat more. I don’t like being hungry and I didn’t want to will myself to not eat, so I enjoyed the walking and I ate when I wanted to eat.

I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t gaining either and I felt healthy and energetic despite the stress getting me down every now and then. So I stopped thinking about my weight and just got on with my life.

Things settled down for me a week ago and straight away, I lost half a kilo. Then I woke up three days ago, had a big cup of keto coffee and an hour later, I decided that I didn’t want to eat for the rest of the day. I haven’t eaten anything since then. I am 81 hours into a fast at the moment and I’m doing surprisingly well.

This is not a water-only fast. But the only things I’m having every day are a small cup of coffee with a tablespoon of cream, a cup of vegetable broth and a cup of green tea. I’m taking my supplements as well.

And I’ve kept up the daily walking. Three days without food and I’m doing all the work that I normally do and I’m walking 5 kms a day. I actually went 6 kms yesterday and I was buzzing by the end of it. Honestly, I could’ve kept going.

I know that a lot of people exercise fasted and there are athletes out there running marathons and ultra marathons in a fasted state, so this is probably not a big deal. But it is a big deal for me.

The best part of this experience is that all of this has required no real will power on my part because I’m not hungry and my energy has not dipped ever since I started the fast. I don’t feel any different than I do on days that I’m eating. It does require a bit of discipline and self control to not eat day after day, but it is not all that hard because I feel good and I feel well. I’ve had the odd hunger pang, but it’s mild and it goes away quickly.  What makes this experience even more amazing to me is that I’m currently on my period.

I’m finding it hard to believe that fasting can be this easy, but it is. So all those people in the forums and the podcasts were telling the truth.

I started with the intention of doing a 24 hour fast. I didn’t think I would be able to go longer than that because it’s been so difficult for me to fast over the last couple of months. I got to the end of 24 hours and I didn’t feel the need or the inclination to eat, so I decided to carry on. I still have no desire to eat, so I’ll keep going.

I want to see if I can make it for a full five days. But I’m not going to push myself. If I feel too hungry or too weak at any point, I’ll eat. At the moment, though, I feel pretty good.

I am, of course, losing weight. I’ve lost 1.75 kgs (3.85 pounds) over the last three days and while that is fantastic, the thing that I am happiest about is knowing that I can go more than three days without food and be just fine.

20 weeks on keto: A long overdue update.

It’s been more than five weeks since my last blog post because I’ve been very busy over the last few weeks and it was difficult to find the time to write. Things have eased up a bit now, so here I am, still keto, still doing well and feeling better than I ever have.

I’ve started walking every day and I enjoy it so much. I’m lucky enough to live in a place that though a suburb, is full of trees, lakes, ponds and some rather nice places to walk. So I take off every afternoon and I walk for 4.5 to 5 kms every day. It takes me about an hour and I only stop because I have to.

I’ve always loved walking, but I haven’t been able to do much of it because I used to be so tired all the time. So yeah. It feels great to be able to take a walk every day.

My weight loss, though, has completely stalled. I am still at the same weight that I was in week 13. I’m back in that place where I lose and gain the same two pounds every week. I am not losing any inches either.

This is not a great place to be and it can get a bit demotivating. And it is easy to start feeling deprived, like you’re giving up a lot of foods that you love and not getting anything in return. This is the point where a lot of people give up on the diet.

And that is a pity. Because keto is not just a diet. It is a life style and it has many life enhancing benefits that have nothing to do with weight loss. I feel good on this diet. I’m calm. I’m happy and I have loads of energy. My mind is clear and sharp and I can work long hours without feeling fatigue or hunger. These are solid benefits and I would stick with keto even if I didn’t lose another gram of weight just so I can feel like this all the time.

That said, I need to lose weight. I have lost 19 kgs (almost 42 pounds) in the last eighteen weeks. I need to lose another 20 kgs to get within touching distance of my ideal weight. And I am going to get there. But I’m not in a tearing hurry. And I realise that it took me years to put on all this weight, so it’s going to take more than a few months to lose it all.

I need to be patient and I need to trust the science because it is solid and I have already proved that it works.

Some days can be difficult…

I have been on the ketogenic diet for 14 weeks and this way of eating is second nature now. I love the fact that I don’t have to count calories and I never have to go hungry.

But this does not in any way mean that the ketogenic diet is easy. I may not have to count calories, but I do have to watch my carbs.

I’ll confess that I miss certain foods. There are a lot traditional Indian dishes that I cannot have and yes, that feels like a loss. Because food isn’t just fuel. It is celebration, companionship, memory, nostalgia and good times. All associated with specific foods and yeah, I can’t eat them.

I miss baking. I love making cakes, cookies, pies and bread. I don’t miss eating any of these things, well other than the bread, but I miss the process and the ritual of making them. And did I say I miss bread? I do. I crave it every day.

I have the good sense not to reach for the bread because I know it is not good for me, but trust me when I tell you that it is not easy. Particularly on days like today when I am stressed and I just want to have a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of sweet tea.

But I refrain, because the indulgence is not worth it. I like the way I feel when I stick with my diet. I feel healthy, I have energy, my mind is clear and sharp and I feel calm and emotionally stable. These are rich rewards and that’s without counting the weight loss.

So…I miss a few things and I can’t indulge in some mindless snacking just because I feel stressed. These are tiny sacrifices and most days, I’m happy to make them. But sometimes, I struggle…