I can honestly say, when I’m eating a low carb diet I feel great and the weight falls off. I have found however, that maintaining a low carb diet with a busy life can be very challenging. The most important aspect of any diet is having your head in the game. If you have the right attitude and a determination to reach your goals, then nothing can get in your way. Once you’ve reached your goals, the work continues to ensure you don’t slip back into the old habits that got you there in the first place.
The information below is based on my own experience eating low carb and being in Ketosis, the good and the bad. You cannot consume a no carbohydrate diet as such as carbohydrates are intrinsically found in most foods, some higher than others. Potato’s (high starch/carbohydrate) verses celery (high water low carbohydrate) for example. I must admit that I didn’t count my carbohydrate intake, I just kept to list of foods that I knew were low in carbohydrate and avoided those foods that were clearly high in starch or sugar. I also utilised product labelling and nutritional panels to get a feel for the total carbohydrate level in foods and to compare product against product as they can be quite different for the same type of product. For more information on this please see the Food & Beverage Labelling page. My own experience in ketosis provided me with the following benefits –
– A higher intake of fat and protein provides a feeling of satiety and fullness and you feel less hungry between meals.
– No need for snacking between meals. Once I had breakfast (usually 2 boiled eggs), I didn’t feel hungry at all before lunch so morning tea and afternoon tea were not a routine that I needed anymore.
– An even level of blood sugar. I found a low carbohydrate diet helped to avoid the highs and lows experienced after eating carbohydrate heavy meals. For example, the tiredness that you can experience after eating a carbohydrate heavy lunch and the high and low cycle experienced after a sugar binge. I didn’t get the shakes if I hadn’t eaten for a while and if I couldn’t eat at lunch or dinner at my normal hour. I wasn’t getting the hunger pains which would usually find me reaching for the closest anything to satisfy my hunger.
– I wasn’t constantly thinking about food, planning what I was going to eat or worrying about where I was going to eat my lunch or dinner.
– I saved money as I avoided purchasing meals on the go from take-aways, fast food restaurants and bakeries. You will find low carbohydrate options at most fast food restaurants and I’ll give you my tips on these. I quit my daily coffee which also saved $4.00 a day. Add that up per month and that’s a lot of money in my pocket.
– More energy when I was awake to keep up with the kids and when your awake you feel really awake and alert.
– No Achne or blemishes at all. My skin was clearer and looked fresher.
– Sleep came more easily and was deeper.
– Blood pressure dropped, heart palpitations disappeared and my stress levels dropped.
– As my weight dropped I was getting comments from work friends, colleagues, and other mums about how good I was looking and that made me feel great. As my self-esteem increased my general mood and outlook improved.
– No need to spend a huge amount of money on a gym memberships that I never used.
– No need to signup to an expensive weight loss group or a meal home delivery plan. I used that money to ensure I purchased good quality ingredients to boost my health and keep me motivated.
– NO weighing or measuring of food, no counting carbohydrates just a simple set of guidelines on what and what not to eat. I also kept an eye on the Total Carbohydrate levels stated in the Nutritional Panels of the foods I was purchasing.
– Increased self-control. After I’d been losing weight for a while I actually found myself looking at people in shopping centres munching down on cinnamon donuts, burgers and chips and I realised that I was feeling so fantastic about myself and my weight loss that I actually felt a little sorry for those people. Sorry that they had no idea how amazing it felt to be off sugar and refined carbohydrates. Ketosis resets your body’s sensitivity to sugar and you begin to realise just how sweet a lot of our everyday processed food and beverage products really are.
The following were the negatives that I found when being on Ketosis –
– The “Keto Flu”. After eating a solid carbohydrate based diet for so many years, it takes your body a few days to make the changeover from burning carbohydrates into burning fat. During this period of time your body may experience flu like symptoms, ache’s, pains, tiredness, headaches etc. The most important thing is to keep in mind that these symptoms will pass in only a few days, for me it was between day 3-5. Keep on going, don’t quit so early and push on through. Within a few days you will start to feel the benefits of being in Ketosis and you will feel fantastic.
– Constipation. This can occur when your on a low-carbohydrate diet as you are no longer getting the fibre you would from whole grains, breads and cereals. You must make sure that you are eating several salads a day. A salad based meal at least twice a day will help you consume as much insoluble fibre in vegetables as possible. Stick with your water based vegetables and keep your vegetables unpeeled wherever possible. I also recommend consuming some fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi with your meal to help keep your gut flora balanced. We will talk about this in a later post.
– Consistency. As with any diet, your weight loss success is gained over time. It took a long time to put the weigh on and it will take a long time to take it off safely. Any diet where you lose weight quickly, is probably not safe or sustainable over the long term. Slow weight loss is also the best way to keep it off longer term. There is a degree of planning when your eating low carb. Be ready for the meals where you need to get something on the go, or the kids really want pizza. To be successful you need to enjoy your time off, then jump back onto the diet. This was something I did find difficult after being off the diet for a while, especially in the first few days. Plan ahead though and have some low carb treats on hand to curb the sugar cravings whilst your getting back into Ketosis.
As you can see, overall the good points well outweighed the few days at the beginning where you are feeling a little worse for wear. Everyone’s body is a chemistry set and every body works in it’s own way. I never purchased ketosis strips. The way I knew my body was in Ketosis, other than seeing the weight dropping off was listening to my body. After the initial few days of Ketosis flu, when I was in Ketosis it felt like I was walking on clouds, I felt light, energetic and airy. When I am off Ketosis I feel so heavy, almost like gravity is pulling down on me. You will learn by listening to your own body the signs of being in Ketosis. Some other signs include bad breath, urine smelling different, increased levels of ketones in the blood and urine (which can be tested with ketosis strips), loss of appetite and an increase in energy and focus.
If you have been going really well for a few weeks and you’re in a situation where everyone in the family wants pizza or the smell of KFC chips was just too hard to resist, it’s okay to take a break but know that if you do, you will throw yourself out of Ketosis by consuming a large intake of carbohydrate. The good news is that whilst it will take you some time for your body to get back into Ketosis, you will get back on track. Have your meal, enjoy it while you’re having it but get back onto your low carbohydrate eating the next morning. The amount of carbohydrate that you consume in your breaks depends on how long it will take for you to get back into Ketosis. The more carbohydrate, starch and sugar you eat, the longer this process will take. After a while of being on the diet however you will feel the changes between the two states and you will know when your body has kicked back into a fat burning machine.
Copyright 2019 Food Facts for Healthy Eating