Our experience with the ketogenic diet
I am all for trying new things when it comes to anything we do in life, whether it’s new countries, experiences, food or diets. So when Peter said he was reading up on this ketogenic diet and he would like to give it a go, I was all up for it!
I heard about low carb diets but I never game them much thought as I always ate quite healthy (no sugar, no white flour, no chips or other crap) so I was already quite low carb, just like Peter because I made his food too.
So I started reading up on it and it sounded good. The posts I read all said you’re not hungry that often on the keto diet, you don’t have to think about eating all the time and it’s not the end of the world if you miss a meal, you won’t even notice! That would be great I thought, because so far I have always been eating small portions every three hours, and I got hungry and cranky if I didn’t get my food. So to think that I wouldn’t have to take snack with me or make sure I have lunch every day at 12:00 sounded liberating…I joined Facebook groups where people on the keto diet shared success stories and recipes.
After a few days of research we jumped into it full speed! No more rice and corn cakes, which I had been eating a lot of and no more fruit, which was still unbelievable. I mean, no fruit?! But yeah, as I learnt fruits have a lot of sugar in them (natural sugar, fructose, but still sugar, duh). We couldn’t have any of the usual side dishes like rice, pasta, potatoes, but we could have a salad as a side dish.
The plan was to keep out carbs under 30 grams a day so we get into ketosis fast. Ketosis happens when your body is depleted of carbs and it starts using fats as a source of energy. So you can eat a larger amount of food (as long as it’s keto friendly) and not put on weight as your body will be using the fat from it as fuel! Of course there’s no overeating, eating more than one needs results in weight gain, no matter what type of food is consumed.
My day of eating looked something like this:
Breakfast: yogurt with a portion of protein powder and some seeds (sunflower and linseed) and coffee with coconut or MCT oil.
Lunch: Chicken friend in a pan or baked with salad
Dinner: salad (some lettuce, cucumber, tomato) with cheese and bread made of coconut flour or almond flour
Peter’s day of eating was similar to mine just the portions were 3x mine.
During the day we had a few snacks at the beginning, have a look in our Healthy recipes for these. After a while we didn’t need snacks anymore, as we were not hungry that often.
Did we notice any changes? Not at the beginning but after a month or so we started feeling different in the gym. Weightlifting has gotten much easier but cardio got harder. We could both lift more and do more sets (within our own category of course) but we couldn’t do that much cardio. Which was ok, cause we didn’t much care for cardio anyway.
After a few months I didn’t really feel like eating. My meals were a bit monotonous, everything tasted the same…It wasn’t a very good feeling because I knew I enjoyed eating but I kept going, changed a few things around, ate different things and it got better.
Maybe 4 months into it, I started having difficulties falling asleep at night. Sometimes I didn’t sleep all night, oter times I managed to fall asleep at 3-4 but then I woke up at 6. It happened almost every night and I was feeling very exhausted during the day. So I started thinking, what has changed that could have caused this? So I did some research on what effects can the ketogenic diet have on sleep. And I found out that a constant lack of carbohydrates may cause insomnia. It’s because carbohydrates are necessary for the production of hormones that make you go to sleep at night.
So I concluded that this might have something to do with my recent problems. It might have been also the lack of light, as it was winter, or the combination of the two. So I started incorporating carbohydrates back into my diet, and just then we went on a week’s holiday to Mexico. That was when my problems stopped. In Mexico I slept really well and I kept sleeping well after we got back home.
I was incredibly relieved and I didn’t go low carb again, also since then I stopped eating fruits except for berries. All the other ones just taste too sweet for me.
Peter has kept mostly low carb, although not so low carb that he would be in ketosis. He didn’t have any problems with the keto diet but low carb is just easier to maintain and it’s more enjoyable.
This picture was taken when we were fully into the keto diet.