Regular readers of my blog know I like doing experiments. I read a lot and want to experience what I read about. Call it childish curiosity or being playful, it is certainly a way to be able to form my own opinion about a topic. This time I wanted to experience ‘being in ketosis’. In an earlier blog ‘Ketosis: what is it and what are the do’s and don’ts’ you can find more background information. This blog is a weekly update about my month on a ketogenic lifestyle.
Diary: a full month on a ketogenic lifestyle
So from January 1st I started with this new lifestyle of less carbohydrates. I follow the advice of Optimal Ketogenic Living (OKL), mainly because they focus on:
- being able to maintain this way of eating for a longer period,
- maintaining the natural hormonal balance and
- prevention of muscle breakdown
And I combine it with the food list from the Plant Paradox by dr Steven Gundry. I want to eat real and healthy foods, including variety to make sure I get all the nutrients that my body needs.
On one part I am a bit stubborn, because it is highly recommended to use some supplements like:
– 2000 mg sodium (Dutch: natrium).
– 4000 mg potassium (Dutch: kalium)
– 3 tablets (in total 1250 mg) magnesium
– psyllium (Dutch: vlozaad)
I however start my experiment without these supplements, because it feels as an unnecessary strain on my liver and my gut. I have no science to back this up, so don’t just copy my behaviour. Once my body is giving me messages it is deficient in any form I shall add supplements.
Weight: 54 kg
Macro’s: at least 94 gr protein; no more than 84 gr fat; no more than 23 gr carbs, based on the OKL-chart
My aim with this experiment is a) to find out how metabolic flexible my body is. How easy can it switch between energy sources (glucose and fat)? and b) to loose some weight (4 kg’s). That’s why my fat macro is -10 gr of my protein (94-10 = 84 grams). If you don’t want to loose weight use the min -max on the OKL-chart. Target is 50 kilograms, but not after a month. If this lifestyle works out for me I might extent it with two more months.
And I had pictures taken of my body (front and back) to compare the physical results after a month. Standing there in my bikini however felt awkward and painful at the same time. Somehow this is a bit strange, because I don’t mind wearing it on the beach. However to have my body ‘exposed’ on the internet feels tougher than expected. Especially my legs are a sore point (read my blog: The Swan with elephant legs: Time to exercise). Although I really see the improvements in the shape of my legs, I’m still uncomfortable. So I don’t know if I’m ready to share these after all. I shall decide after finishing this blog.
Week 1 (1-7 Jan 2018)
I would describe this week in 2 words: Poor Preparation. Although I read a lot about ketosis in general, I know too little about meal plans and macro’s. And especially the combination of both. So the first days my macro’s were a mess. Either too many carbs or too much fat and always not enough protein. I admit cheating already on day 3 with a white wine and desert to celebrate my birthday as excuse (could have seen that one coming ?). But I used these first three days as well to get more knowledgeable on the nutritional value of food items. Because I had started I had to increase my knowledge fast.
And than there was my search for keto sticks. I assumed I could buy it at a local drugstore, but that was not the case. So ended up buying it online, although I was desperate to check the ketones in my urine. Foodwise I ate plenty once I got the hang of it; more accurate it was a struggle to eat enough food to reach my macros. I ran one time and that was a tough one. I really had to slow my pace down.
Weight: 53 kg. -1 kg, which is most likely water as your body will reduce water once it looses carbs (about 2 liters).
Week 2 (8-14 Jan 2018)
The second week, and Holiday-season is over and I have to combine my new ‘ketogenic lifestyle’ with work. That means even more preparation and planning my meals one day in advance, to make sure I have at least 30 mg of proteins in each meal. Normally I don’t eat breakfast, but I want to do this right, so I’m eating breakfast now. This week I would describe as: Mentally Fit. The brain fog that was a consistent partner the last weeks/months, due to too much snacks (in the office), disappeared. My blood sugar is more stable and thus I have a more consistent energy. And I thrive on that. My keto sticks confirm my body is producing ketones, which doesn’t mean I’m fat-adapted yet.
I went to the gym (strength training) twice and did my weekend-run. I could feel my body searching for energy, but it went better than expected. My pace running was almost normal, but I was really drained when I got home.
I do fear any signs of keto-flu, but I manage to get through this week without any. Could it be that my body is more metabolic flexibel than I expected? Maybe because I skip breakfast on regular basis and I have done some 100% all sugar free-challenges, it might be more metabolic flexible than I thought. Or is this just wishful thinking and my brain playing tricks on me….
Foodwise I try to eat up to my macro’s. Especially on days that I exercise I consider this a must, especially for the proteins, to avoid muscle breakdown. But on other day’s it is sometimes hard, because it is so much. Most of the time I eat more than my husband, and he’s 1.90 meters and I’m just 1.63. Sometimes I snack raw mushrooms to increase my protein intake. But I don’t complain, there is plenty room to eat great meals.
Weight: 53 kg.
Week 3 (15-21 Jan 2018)
I wanted to write this post last Sunday already. But I was in a depressed mode and had curled up on the couch with a blanket watching my all-time favourite Top Gun. Hoping Maverick would get me back on my feet again. No energy at all to even think about blogging on this ketogenic lifestyle. Dwelling in my sorrow is what I needed and did. In the company of Tom …… and my two daughters (who couldn’t believe this movie released in 1986 and their mom was only 11 at that time).
The first part of the third week didn’t seem a problem. Macro’s, energy, sports everything went okay. My weight went up and down and even reached 51 kg. But the second part became hard. Thus I would describe this week as: Struggle and doubt.
This week I did the same sport routine as last week (strength training twice) and a ran two times. I could feel improvement, but the second part of the week everything became harder. I had a small headache, felt nauseous a couple of times and lacked some real energy. On the emotional side I was really uptight at one point, making a fuzz on everything my daughters could even think about. The ketone sticks didn’t change that much color anymore, so I was in doubt. Was I still in ketosis or did I consume something wrong and/or too much? I was confused because my macros seemed right.
Weight: 53 kg. My weight fluctuated a lot this week, and I noticed some changes to the shape of my body.
Week 4 (22-28 Jan 2018)
Monday, I had to go to the office and it worked as distraction. And I realized my bowel wasn’t moving and that triggered me. Instead of doubting my macro’s I focused on the micro nutrients and I decided to add psyllium and magnesium (every other day) to my diet. And that helped me a lot almost instantly! In hindsight I was experiencing three days with some keto-flu symptoms.
And from that moment on, I felt like Superwoman! High on energy, happy, reflective, alert, as if I can do everything. Powerful and at ease at the same time. I went to the office, did my administration, investigated new mortgage interest rates, created some new recipes… I was in a flow. And I drove back from work one day, just feeling tremendous grateful and happy with my job.
For my sport routines the same is applicable. I could run full speed for the entire distances and in strength training I could finish all the exercises without trembling a lot. The only thing is I really warm-up doing something strenuous. So if you see me these days walking around in a t-shirt only, don’t be surprised. I assume this means I’m fat-adapted now. I would mark this week as: Ke-Flow. It was one of the best weeks in a long time.
Weight: 52 kg.
This ketogenic lifestyle is working out for me. So, I’m going to extend it with 2 more months to find out if it can be a real lifestyle. Want to further investigate how to work with this lifestyle, once I reached my optimal weight. Will keep you posted!