I have to say, this Keto thing isn’t so tough after all! Just to recap briefly, we started a strict Ketogenic diet on January 1, 2018. We are doing this diet for the myriad of health benefits it offers, many of which are just now being verified by traditional American medicine and medical research. Health benefits include stable energy throughout the day, no blood sugar swings, clarity of thought, better functioning of the metabolism, a calmer stomach, increased longevity, anti-cancer, and endurance performance boosts.
This weekend's hike up Atalaya Mountain with my favorite girls, Roxie and Rosie.
To jumpstart the diet, we did a “fat fast” the first few days, focusing our calories primarily from fat sources, such as butter, cream, coconut oil, Brain Octane oil, and some butter and eggs for dinner. From there, we very slowly introduced more carbs and proteins into our diet. Check out our past blog posts to read all about our first few days and weeks beginning the Keto diet.
Starting in week 3, we allowed ourselves up to 30 net carbs per day to begin testing our upper limits of carb-intake to stay in ketosis. We tested our ketosis level with the Perfect Keto urine sticks every morning as soon as we woke up, and every evening right before bed. We were both able to stay in moderate to deep ketosis with consuming 30 net carbs per day.
In week 3, I started lifting weights seriously again, and that was where I personally encountered the most difficulty. I got fatigued quickly, and my heart rate skyrocketed immediately and stayed higher than normal for the whole workout. In week 3, I focused on my usual gym workout regime: on Monday, I did a squat workout; on Wednesday, I did bench press and shoulder press; and on Friday, I did deadlift. To get back into the workout routine, I focused a higher rep, lower weight workout of 4x12 for each exercise. It was very difficult to complete.
Other than this, I have had no negative effects from the diet. A few positives effects I have noticed in the first month of Keto are a heightened sensitivity of taste and smell. I have noticed I can taste the different ingredients and nuanced flavors in food, and things taste much sweeter than before, such as blueberries. I think by limiting the body of sugar, whenever I do have a small amount of sugar now, the sweet taste is very noticeable. Smell, which goes hand in hand with taste, is also slightly heightened now.
Thus far, we have not had any slip-ups and have stuck to the diet exactly, and it hasn’t even been that difficult. Week 4 at the gym was mostly more of the same, but I switched up my workout to 5x5 heavy lifting, with squat Monday, bench and shoulder press Wednesday, and deadlifts on Friday. I also added some cardio and bodyweight exercises on Tuesday and Thursday. The workouts were noticeably easier this week. As we continue to be in ketosis for longer, our bodies should get more efficient at using ketones as energy. We also upped the carbs to a max of 40 per day, and I am still deep in ketosis each time I test.
We also tried our first carb refeed day on Saturday, day 27 of the diet. We attended a dinner party and ate caesar salad with croutons, chicken lasagna, and a small piece of homemade carrot cake. The food tasted great, and we both felt fine after dinner and were still in ketosis the next morning. The one thing I noticed was my stomach was slightly upset the next morning, and Lindsay had some slight inflammation in her gut that evening. However, I am still glad I did the carb refeed. I believe it is good to shock the body every once and awhile, perhaps once a week, by having some foods you don’t usually eat. This also helps you stick to the diet in the long term. I think for the next carb refeed I will stick to some sweet potatoes, beets, and maybe some more fruit.
We have almost completed our first full month of Keto and are loving it so far!