So a lot of people have heard about ketones, ketosis, ketogenic diet, keto diet etc… and some of you may already know what is keto about and how it works. In this post, I will share my personal experience with the keto diet and what you should expect out of it as well based on my research and experience.
By all means, I am not a fitness expert but I have tried different diet approaches and by far the keto diet and everything behind keto have made a big difference in my life, appearance, energy, mental focus, and the way I view dieting altogether. I love all the benefits behind it and feel like it’s the best way for someone to start losing fat naturally. You basically turn your body into a fat burning machine.
My Personal Experience: Keto Diet & Intermittent Fasting
Like most people out there I was doing the mainstream diet of eating every 2-3 hours and having 5-6 meals a day. The reason I call it “the mainstream diet” is because that is what the fitness industry and food industry wants you to believe. They want to sell you more food, protein powders, and supplements in order to get lean and build muscle.
But there are other ways of meeting your fitness goals and for me, this was not the one. I felt bloated after eating my 5-6 meal a day and having each meal within a 2-3 hour window. It was not easy for me to eat every 2-3 hours since work always got in the way and when I missed a meal I felt like I screwed up my whole diet for the day.
In early summer of 2015, I started to do some research on different diet methods that could help me achieve my fitness goals. My research led me into intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet a.k.a keto diet. Once I really started looking into it and watching a few YouTube videos about it I decided to give it a try.
So my first week of practicing intermittent fasting was not as bad as most described it. Other than feeling super hungry in the morning by skipping breakfast I did not experience the headaches, dizziness, or brain fog that most people get when starting off. I would fast 16 hours (9pm-1pm) and have my 8-hour eating window.
My first meal was usually just meat and veggie omelet (with bacon and turkey), some nuts, followed by a protein shake (no milk). After work, I would change into my gym clothes and hit the gym for about an hour. Once back home from the gym (around 7:30), I would make one big meal that consists of most if not all my macronutrients and calories for the day (75% fats, 15% protein, 10% carbs).
After eating my main meal after the gym my body would just dissolve it like it hasn’t eaten for days! I did get hungry after my main meal sometimes and I would just follow it up with a protein shake. Once 9:00 pm came I would stop eating, sometimes I would even eat until 9:30 pm and just start my fast 30 minutes later the next day. Within my first month of fasting and sticking with the keto diet, I noticed a BIG difference in my energy level, I was focused all day, and not feeling hungry at all. I love the way I felt and knew I found an approach that worked for me and my work schedule without having to worry about eating so frequently.
My body changed dramatically also the first-month practicing fasting and sticking to the keto diet. I finally started to see my lower abs….you know the two down at the bottom that everyone struggles with! I even looked like I put on extra muscle even though I weighed the same. What caused this effect was my lower body fat thanks to the keto diet! I looked lean, ripped, and had great muscle volume.
Not only was I reaching my fitness goal but I found it less stressful to work with this fasting and keto diet approach. I could make it work around my schedule. For example, if I knew I was going to go out later at night with friends to catch dinner I would push my fasting later into the day so my eating window would align with the time we planned to go out and eat. I found it much easier and convenient than the traditional 5-6 meal a day approach.
Till this day I still do intermittent fasting and from time to time incorporate a keto diet if I want to get extra lean and ripped. None the less this way of eating and dieting has made a big difference in my life and I hope it makes a difference in yours!
How to reach ketosis and what is it
In order to reach a “ketosis state,” you have to deplete your body of all the glucose (carbs/sugar) and glycogen (carbs/sugar stored in the liver).
How do you do this ?… You have to keep insulin levels down. The way you keep insulin levels down is by consuming less and less carbohydrate (which converts to sugar in the body).
Glucose is the body main source of energy. Once glycogen levels get depleted blood sugars and insulin levels are lowered and the body starts to look for an alternative source of fuel: in this case fat.
When the body starts to burn fat for fuel ketones are produced as a source of energy for the brain and body. This process is known as ketosis.
Like mentioned before to stay in a ketosis state you must keep insulin levels down. Everyone is different and some of us are more insulin sensitive than others. To get a good idea of how insulin sensitive you may be, find out what body type you have.
Ectomorph out of the 3 body types is the best for processing carbohydrate which makes them less insulin sensitive. Endomorph is the most sensitive out of the 3.
What to expect: The Pros & Cons
There may be other pros and cons than mentioned here. There is not much negative effect caused by the keto diet from what I researched. Keep in mind that everyone is different and react to things differently.
- Burn fat naturally
- Better mental focus
- Less % of body fat
- More energy throughout the day
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces insulin levels and resistance
- Better mood
- Helps balance hormones
- Helps with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- May be uncomfortable for some to adapt to ketosis
- May cause high cholesterol for some depending on genetics
- Could make social gathering harder at times
When starting the keto diet for the first time you may experience what some call the keto flu which includes:
Ketogenic Diet Plan:
When I first started to get into the keto diet I found it very hard to keep a low carbohydrate intake. I loved eating rice, bread, and mashed potatoes but had to stay disciplined and stick with a plan!
What I recommend when starting off from experience is to reduce carbohydrate intake little by little as you progress into the keto diet. Make sure you consume plenty of water and get a good rest. This approach helps me start off the right way and kept me from experiencing the keto flu.
Here are some healthy fats, food, and drinks to consider for the keto diet:
- Fresh meat
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Plain black coffee (no added sugars or sweeteners)
- Tea (no added sugars or sweeteners)
- Sparkling water (with no calories)
The Keto Bottom Line
Some may have found other diet that works best for them other than the keto diet which is great! By all means, if eating 5-6 meals a day is easier for you to reach your physique goal than continue doing it. But for me, the keto diet combined with intermittent fasting was the best combo I came across that was less stressful and easy to follow. Once you get used to it, it becomes easier over time.
You will basically switch your main body source of fuel from carbohydrate to fat. Once your body continues to use fat as its main source of energy and keep feeding it a high-fat diet it will continue to burn fat all the time. All you have to do is keep insulin and blood sugar levels low in order to keep yourself in a ketosis state.
Now and then you should take a break from the keto diet and cycle in and out of it. This way you can keep the effect of the keto diet at its optimum level. Remember that our bodies adapt over time and is always a good idea to switch things up.
Remember guys if you have any questions or find this information helpful feel free to comment below!
My Fast Fit