60 days ago, I embarked on a 100 Day Challenge with my cousin, who had just finished a 100 Day Challenge that resulted in a 63 lb weight loss.
When I first heard she was doing a low carb diet previously, I didn’t want annnnnything to do with it. I know my weakness is carbs, but I loooooove them and didn’t feel like starting another diet I couldn’t stick with long-term.
Then she added me to her Low Carb Misfits group on Facebook.
Suddenly, my Facebook feed was bombarded by all of these amazing weight-loss stories and low-carb food options! I started doing a little more research and found that it looked like a healthy way to lose fat and quickly.
So when my cousin asked if anyone wanted to join her on her next 100 Day Challenge, I signed up!
April 23rd was Day 1. I started out just trying to keep my carbs under 50 net grams. I tracked my food in MyFitnessPal and was amazed at just how many carbs are in the foods I enjoy eating!
Cutting carbs wasn’t as hard as I thought though (once I learned all the foods I could eat). I kept hearing amazing things about Keto, so I decided to give it a shot during my 2nd week into the challenge.
There are different forms of The Ketogenic Diet, but basically, it’s when you’re body goes into ketosis and starts using fat for fuel instead of carbs. For most people, that happens when they stick to 20g net carbs or less. For more detailed info, read THIS.
The macros for The Ketogenic Diet look like this:
If you haven’t ever tracked your food before, macros can be confusing and overwhelming. But once you start tracking your food, you can see how things add up. Again, there are different forms of Keto. This is just the basic rule of thumb.
This chart is more specific to individuals based on their sex, height, and weight. I’m a 5′ female, so I should try and eat 82 grams of protein per day, 20 grams or less net carbs, 61 to 143 grams of fat, and 962-1700 calories. Again, if you haven’t ever tracked your food, you might find the thought of having to figure out what you can eat to meet those requirements overwhelming.
What I did was something that was suggested in an article I read for Keto beginners (you can read it HERE), and it’s what I suggest others who are just starting out to do as well: Focus on nothing but eating 20g net carbs or less. Track your food in an app like MyFitnessPal so you can see how many calories, fat, and protein you are getting as well. Slowly but surely, you’ll learn what you can eat to reach your macro goals.
The best part about Keto for me has been how easy it is! Somehow, by eating the foods I eat and focusing really only on how many carbs I’m eating, the other macros just work themselves out! I almost never eat more than 1200 calories, which is my personal goal, but I don’t actually count my calories. I almost always get around 80-100 grams of fat. I do struggle getting enough protein, so I’ve recently started drinking my hubby’s protein powder in my coffee.
So what do I eat?
My typical day looks like this:
7-8am: 16 oz decaf coffee with 1/2 scoop Muscle Pharm Vanilla Protein Powder and 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
11-12pm: Vitamin Water Zero; Meat, Cheese, and Veggies (beef burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and avocado; canned tuna fish with celery, boiled egg, mayo, and green olives; deli meat and cheese)
2-3pm: A snack and hot Cinnamon Apple herbal tea (pork rinds; mixed nuts; boiled eggs; pickles; olives; cheese stick; cucumbers and ranch dressing; guacamole and bacon; Halo Top ice cream; low-carb candy bar; berries and whipped cream)
5-6pm: Meat, Cheese, and Veggies (salmon with asparagus; taco meat with cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and black olives; chicken with homemade alfredo sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli; beef roast with cheese, mushrooms, and baby carrots; pizza made with almond flour and mozzarella cheese crust, pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, and black olives; pulled pork with green beans and cauliflower mac and cheese; bratwurst with sauerkraut; spaghetti with zoodles)
8-10pm: A glass (or two) of red wine
Yes! You can eat cheese (although there is a strict form of Keto that abstains from dairy completely)! Yes! You can eat bacon (and sausage, and red meat)! Yes! You can eat sweets (so long as you use very little sugar or erythritol, stevia, sucralose, or aspartame- I try to stay away from the artificial sweeteners since they make me really tired, give me a headache, and hurt my stomach, but there is a little bit of sucralose in the protein powder I use, although I’m getting ready to try one made with stevia instead). Yes! You can drink alcohol (red wine is the best choice, and luckily it happens to be my favorite, but there are certain beers you can fit into your macros, and straight liquor is carb free!).
THIS is the reason I have been able to stick with Keto longer than any other diet I’ve ever tried (and I have tried many): There are enough of the foods I love and I can have occasional cheats! Plus, I can eat out (even fast food!), and it’s not expensive because you don’t have to buy all organic grass-fed stuff! I totally think that stuff is probably better for you, but we just can’t afford to eat like that. I only spend $150-$200/week eating this way, versus the $300-400/week I spent on the Whole30!
I did Whole30 (for 28 days) in January of this year. I lost 10 lbs in a month then as well, but I was miserable (I didn’t even last the full 30 days). I felt too deprived and eating all that fiber from all the fruits and veggies flared my Crohn’s really bad. I ended up having to go on steroids for 10 days to get my stomach right again! And within two weeks, I had gained 7 lbs back.
Speaking of fiber, don’t worry about it! I know you’ve probably heard that you need fiber, and lots of it. The truth is, you don’t. I only get around 10g a day and I am perfectly regular. Now, some people do experience constipation when they go low-carb or keto, but it’s usually because they are eating too many hard to digest foods like cheese and nuts. If you start to experience issues in that area, try cutting back on dairy and nuts. And don’t just take my word for it! Go HERE to read about the top 12 myths about fiber.
By Day 30, I had lost 10 lbs and a few inches! It doesn’t sound like much, but take a look!
I’m still wanting to slim my thunder thighs down, but I feel more confident than ever before! I’ve even been wearing a bikini OUT IN PUBLIC this summer! I am very close to my maintenance weight goal, so I didn’t lose a crazy amount of weight in a month. If you are very overweight, you could lose much more. There are 300+ lb people that have lost 50+ lbs in a month in my group! I think the most I’ve seen was a 500 lb woman who lost 250 lbs in less than 6 months! That is CRAZY!!! Crazy AWESOME!!!
Here are my Top 10 Tips to getting started on Keto:
And now…a little food porn to get you excited for all the delicious things you can eat! (Many of these recipes are on my “Low-Carb” Pinterest Board, so check it out if you need some inspiration!)