By now I’m pretty sure you’ve at least heard of the “Keto diet” or heard of someone saying they are doing ‘Keto’ for quick weight loss. It seems to be gaining some huge traction over the past year or so. The truth is the “Ketogenic diet” was designed as a response to epileptic patients in French hospitals. The original remedy was to have patients fast completely (no food or drink other than water) for up to 30 days. Results were astounding. As research in 1911 continued, they deduced that fasting caused what are called “ketones” to be developed as a natural response to the body being without carbs.
What is Keto?
Keto, short for Ketosis/Ketogenic is a metabolic state that the body enters when it has depleted it’s glygocen/carbohydrate stores. This happens in around 2-3 days of having less than 50g net carbs(or less). At this point the body begins developing ketones, and using fat as a primary energy source instead of the quick energy source, carbs.
How did I start a Keto Challenge?
I was wasting my life scrolling through Instagram, and I stumbled on @aroperfit keto challenge, that was to start June 15. Figured I’d try it out see how I respond to it and use the guidance to get through the 30 days. Simple right? Definitely… not. 😊 Thanks to Aaron West aka Aro-PerFit (Click here for personal training & Meal plans mention Trent J!) I was provided with a weekly meal plan and grocery list, and even workouts to accompany the diet and help increase weight loss. Below I want to provide a few observations of my experience as it relates to the Ketogenic Diet. Also below, check out a few of the foods I enjoyed while working through this diet.
So by far Week 1 just like with any diet is probably the most difficult. You are depriving your body of what it’s used to cold-turkey and the cravings will be real. For this particular challenge it started on a Friday so I jumped right in to going through a weekend with no carbs or alcohol. (not easy in the slightest). In addition to the diet plan provided, I began my first 3-4 days with intermittent fasting. I wouldn’t eat until around 11am-12pm and would get in calories within a 8-10 hour period.
I immediately experienced the low energy and being cranky as I felt hungry all the time for the first 72 hours or so. To fight my hunger, I kept lots of healthy fat snacks (peanuts, almonds, meat/cheeses) on hand to keep me on track. The key here is you want to get your body into ketosis as fast as possible, so you HAVE to get through the first 2-3 days.
By the time I reached Week 2, I had a good routine. Workouts, diet, and everything was pretty much on auto pilot. My first check-in was -5 lbs. Not bad for 1 week. I told myself it was probably 80% water because that’s a natural reaction of no carbs initially.
During this week I began to notice that I had increased mental clarity, lots of energy, was sleeping a lot longer and deeper, however lower performance. Which I never realized was different until experiencing this diet. See I noticed I was losing some of my strength in the few lifts I did, but throughout the day I had consistent energy from the time I woke up to laying down.
Week 3 I dropped another 4 lbs, so I was motivated at this point. I began to get a little more creative with my diet so did stray away from the original meal plan. And I’m not surprised as I’m always trying to experiment in the kitchen. This is where I began to notice changes in my sleeping. For the better actually, I was sleeping a lot more deeply and longer than normal. Whereas I would sleep only for about 4 or 5 at most hours at night (when scheduled allowed) I was sleeping anywhere from 6 – 8.5 hours. Which is extremely abnormal for me.
This was also the week I started feeling myself and said “oh this little cut of bread won’t hurt, or 1 or 2 drinks won’t hurt.” Well yea… not recommended.
The home stretch! Because of the way the days were structured though this was the last week I had roughly 10 days left. The humbling reality about going into Week 4, is I had no weight loss. Yep, just because I wasn’t eating carbs doesn’t mean that my ‘slip ups’ weren’t going to catch up with me. Must admit it was a little disappointing, but after reviewing what I had eaten and my drinks it made sense.
So I refocused and got back on track.
The last few days of the challenge I was certainly ready to wrap it up. It was on this Friday, that I actually finally reached my goal of losing 15 lbs. Roughly 2 days before the challenge was over. Exciting stuff, had missed no workouts and stay pretty on target with my macros. The cravings for waffles, rice, potatoes, cakes, pasta, toast, etc was at an all time high.
But with all of that being said, I completed the challenge pushed my body and mind beyond a new boundary. Not to mention, learned more about what works for my body and what doesn’t.
Do I recommend the KETO diet? Well sure. But probably no longer than 2-3 weeks. 30 days max. I think it’s most useful to help kick start a new diet (this is not a detox) as it gets the body into a fat burning state. If you follow up this diet with some carb cycling I think you’ll be well on your way to seeing the body you’ve always wanted!
With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,
Trent J ACEO
See some of my favorite recipes & even my 30 day results below!