Have you wondered why the Keto (Ketogentic) lifestyle has become so popular in recent months? Have you considered “going Keto”? Here is a guide to getting started with Keto.
Helpful Getting Started with Keto Resources
Download our Free Printable Keto Friendly Food List here: Click here to get your copy of the free printable Keto Friendly Food List.
A few years ago I met Julie Donahue when she was part of our Faithful Finish Lines program. I so admire Julie and the way she has totally embraced a healthy lifestyle. Julie inspires me! Julie now follows a Keto diet and shares her experience below.
What is a Ketogenic Way of Eating?
by Julie Donahue
- Eat bacon and butter?
- Avoid fruits?
- Eat fat to lose fat?
- Avoid low fat foods?
These concepts go against everything we’ve been taught about losing weight.
A ketogenic, or keto, diet is a way of eating that includes a very low amount of carbohydrates (carbs), a moderate amount of protein, and very high amount of healthy fats. Carbs should be under 20 net grams per day and no more than 7-10 carbs per meal. (To find the net carbs, you subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbs.)
A ketogenic diet offers plenty of foods to enjoy, including most types of meats—especially bacon. Leafy green vegetables, as well as vegetables that grow above the ground can be eaten. Nuts and seeds are allowed, but watch labels because some nuts are higher in carbs and portions can be very small. There are many sweeteners that do not raise blood glucose levels, such as stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil are important. If you eat dairy be sure to use full fat varieties because low and no fat varieties are usually higher in carbohydrates.
A keto diet does not include any refined carbs, including grains (such as corn and wheat); starch (such as potatoes and beans); or sugar (including honey, guava, and maple syrup).
The Benefits of Keto Eating
What are the benefits of a keto eating program?
There are many benefits to a ketogenic diet, and weight loss is only one of them. There is much research to show that a keto diet helps control epilepsy—this was the original purpose of the diet.
Keto regulates blood sugar, which help control diabetes. Keto has proven to reduce blood pressure, chronic inflammation, heart disease, and migraines. The ketogenic diet can provide mental clarity, an increase in energy, and a reduced appetite. (Read more about the benefits of a Keto diet here.)
Julie’s Keto Experience
In January of 2013, I began a journey to lose half my body weight. I started at 306 pounds, and I was wearing a very tight size 28 jeans. I lost the first 65 pounds by literally working my tail off.
I worked out 2-3 hours a day, 3-4 days a week. I began walking, and then fell in love with running. I carefully monitored every bite I put in my mouth, and I was obsessed with food. I thought about food all the time–what I was eating; what I was about to eat; and what I couldn’t eat.
I was successful, but I knew I couldn’t maintain that level of activity—and I always felt deprived. During the next four years, I maintained a 55-pound weight loss.
In January 2017, I began a ketogenic diet. I weighed 248 pounds, and was in size 22/24 jeans.
Honestly, I was skeptical. My friends (a medical doctor and his personal trainer wife) offered a class at church. My husband, who had been denied a knee replacement due to his weight, agreed to go with me. I decided to try it. We learned the science behind keto, as well as the basics of how to do it.
Because of my previous obsession with monitoring food, I made the decision not to weigh or measure anything. I simply chose keto friendly foods.
We both began losing weight. During 2017, we each lost about 80 pounds—and my husband got his new knee in January.
I can honestly say keto is the easiest diet or way of eating I have ever done. I am not hungry, I don’t feel deprived, and I don’t have cravings. There are foods I miss—like pasta—but I don’t crave them. I am not tempted by doughnuts and treats at the office. This is huge for me because I have always had a sweet tooth.
I am about 15 pounds from my initial goal of “Half a Julie”. I really have no idea what my ideal weight will be since I am smaller than I have ever been as an adult. I am currently 168 pounds, and I am wearing size 12 jeans.
I continue to run, and I am training for my first half marathon near Yosemite National Park in May.
Keto Tips from Julie
Here are some tips for getting started with a keto eating lifestyle.
- Start simply. Don’t worry about fancy ingredients or complicated recipes. There will be plenty of time for those later.
- Take lots of pictures (face and full body). There will be times when the scale will lie to you. Side by side pictures have been my lifeline.
- Meal prep—this one is hard for me, but it was essential when I first started. If you have to think about what you are going to eat, it is easy to cheat.
- Educate yourself. There are lots of resources on the internet (click here for keto resources), but be careful because not everyone who preaches keto follows the same guidelines.
- Remember that the scale is simply a measurement—the number on it does not define you. Use it as a tool—or throw it away.
- Even if you don’t track your “macros”, get familiar with the nutritional information for your favorite foods. You might be eating more carbs than you realize.
- Don’t compare your progress to someone else. Each body is different.
- Beware! Keto has become a fad, and many people post recipes that claim to be keto. Look at the ingredients and check them in an online calculator if you are suspicious.
Do you eat keto or have you considered it? Share in the comments below.
Ready to try Keto? Be sure to download our Free Printable Keto Friendly Food List here.
Julie Donahue blogs at Half a Julie about her journey to lose half her body weight. She has lost 135 pounds so far—the last 80 pounds following a ketogenic diet. She is currently training for the Yosemite Half Marathon in May 2018.
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