The Keto Lifestyle ROCKS!

This is Keto

What the heck is ‘keto’?

Ketosis (keto) is where you train your body to work slightly differently. Normally, your body uses carbs for its fuel because we eat a ton of carbs (pasta, bread, wheat, etc.). But when you go into ketosis and maintain a low carb, high fat lifestyle, your body transitions into burning fat instead of carbs in order to get its energy.

So what do you eat while in ketosis?

The goal with keto is: low carb, high fat/protein. The exact values you want to hit are different for each person (depending on gender, weight, height, activity level), but to give you an idea, here are my goals:

  • Carbs: 20-25g per day (or less)
  • Fat: 100g
  • Protein: 80g

The first and most obvious thing is to cut out carbs, grains, and sugar. This means no bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, and anything with sugar. Next, you need to load up on fat. STOP buying anything that says “low fat” on it. Not only are these foods horrible for you anyway, but you won’t be getting the fat you need if you buy them. Remember, when you’re on keto, your body actually uses fat as fuel. If you don’t have enough fat, you don’t have enough fuel, and your body will start using muscle instead. That’s bad!

How do you lose weight by eating low carb?

I couldn’t survive on a calorie controlled diet

I should say that I never spent any large amount of time on just a calorie controlled diet, but I did try it a little bit. IT SUCKED!

I found it so incredibly easy to go over my daily calorie limit. Then when I “ran out”, I’d get super moody and cranky because I was hungry and wanted more food. A lot of people report that a ‘normal’ calorie controlled diet causes them to do well for a week (or a few days), then totally binge eat the next few days. This is because they’re unsatisfied and hungry, so when they ‘break’ they go wild. This was pretty similar to me.

And heck, even when I wasn’t doing any kind of calorie control, I still got moody and cranky in between meals. Even if I snacked a bit, I’d start getting REALLY hungry just before dinner (at around 7pm). My stomach would rumble, but I couldn’t eat yet, so then I’d get annoyed and in a bad mood. I kind of hulk out and I’m like FEED ME NOW!!!!!!!

Keto and fat to the rescue

Eating plenty of fat is really the ultimate key here. Fat is filling! Sure, carbs may feel filling for a while, but the feeling doesn’t last. That’s why I’d hulk out in between meals when eating carbs. The full feeling wears off and suddenly I’m starving! But not on keto.

Fat really fills you up. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I was really starving (or even just “quite hungry”) while in ketosis. I eat a small-ish, fat-filled meal and feel completely satisfied. This satisfied feeling lasts HOURS. So even when it’s next time to eat, I don’t feel super hungry. It’s more of a feeling like, “Yeah I suppose it would be nice to cook now.”

Because all this fat makes you feel full, it naturally causes you to consume fewer calories. Now I stay within my 1400 limit EASILY! Every single meal leaves me feeling full and satisfied, so I don’t feel like I’m being deprived or portion controlling. But at the same time, I’m not overloading on 2000 calories or anything crazy like that.

It feels amazing to be losing so much weight when you feel fully satisfied after every meal.

You can even have some damn good food!

There are two reasons that keto doesn’t feel like a diet. The first was that full feeling I described before. The second is that you have so many comfort foods available to you! It’s not all just rabbit food (lettuce and veg). Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • BUTTER!!! I cook all my vegetables in a huge pool of butter and it’s amazing. I went from not liking vegetables much to adoring them. Now I have asparagus with practically every meal because it tastes so good bathed in butter.
  • Bacon. Trust me, you’ll eat A TON of bacon on keto.
  • All the meat! Meat is high in protein and most meat has zero carbs. This means you can have tons of chicken, beef, ham, sausages, etc.
  • Cheese. I love cheese! And you can have practically unlimited amounts on keto.
  • Cream. You need to avoid having a lot of milk on keto, but you can have cream instead! You don’t want a ton because it is high in calories, but it’s low in carbs.

Some of my favourite meals

Here are a few few of my favourite meals:

Scrambled eggs with bacon and peppers

Scrambled eggs with bacon, peppers, and green onion

I pretty much have this for breakfast every single morning.

Mozzarella Meatballs

Mozzarella meatballs

Grilled Chicken Skewers

Chicken skewers

Pizza

Keto low carb pizza

Yes, you saw. PIZZA!! I have a whole post dedicated to that low carb pizza recipe coming up because it’s one of the best things in my life right now. ♥

Treats? Desserts? Why not!

You can even make some low carb treats like biscuits and cookies!

Almond Flour Biscuits

I made some almond flour biscuits recently and they were great! It was hard to believe I was eating low carb.

Low carb keto almond flour biscuits

Low carb keto almond flour biscuits

Peanut Butter Cookies

Another great one is peanut butter cookies. I make them super simple: peanut butter, eggs, chunks of dark chocolate (optional), and vanilla extract. I know these look weird as hell, but there are two reasons for that:

  1. I used chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. That was a mistake.
  2. It was only my second time in the world making cookies (low carb or not!). Go easy on me.

That being said, they tasted great, and that’s what counts!

Low carb peanut butter cookies

Peanut Butter Cups

I made these just the other day and OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! They taste INCREDIBLE!! O_O Almost like Reese’s! πŸ˜› I used this awesome recipe from screwedonstraight.net. I can’t wait to make them again! I’ll have to do a double batch and stick them in the freezer.

Keto friendly peanut butter cups

Just a couple cautions

Keto is a fantastic, healthy way to lose weight (and quickly!), but if you plan on trying this out there are two things you have to be very careful of:

  1. You need to drink like 2 litres of water per day. This is NOT optional! If you don’t drink enough water you will get kidney stones.
  2. You need like 3-5 grams of salt per day. This is partly because you drink so much water, so the salt keeps getting flushed out of your system. But you need salt! If you don’t have enough salt you can start feeling dizzy, get headaches, etc. Sometimes it’s useful to just drink a glass of salt water in the morning or have some chicken broth. Putting loads of salt on EVERYTHING you eat does help though.
  3. Get enough vitamins. Pay close attention to potassium, magnesium, and fibre, but also make sure you’re eating enough vegetables or taking supplements.

Blah blah blah… How much weight have you lost?

This is the only thing people care about, right? πŸ˜› Cut to the chase, let’s see those numbers!

Low carb keto weight loss graph
Click to Enlarge

I started keto on September 4th, 2014. It’s now October 18th (six weeks later—five if you exclude vacation week) and I’ve lost 9.6 pounds. My husband has lost about 15 pounds in that same amount of time. This is with zero exercise and eating fatty foods like bacon and cheese. Yum!

There’s a pretty awesome Keo Calculator that helps you estimate your weight loss. I’m currently on track with where the calculator estimates I should be! (Actually 2 pounds ahead, thank you very much.) I should hopefully be at my goal weight of 130 pounds by early March 2015! Here’s hoping. πŸ™‚

But isn’t all this high fat food unhealthy?

NO!

Sorry for the caps there, but it’s important that you realize everything you know about “low fat” and “cholesterol” is blatantly untrue. I know a lot of people will refuse to accept this because it goes against everything they’ve been taught, but try to listen anyway!

There are several misconceptions about low carb/high fat/cholesterol/arteries/etc.

  1. Fat is bad for you and it makes you fat
  2. Eating a lot of fat will clog your arteries
  3. Low fat foods are healthier for you

Those are all untrue. Rather than repeating what tons of other people have said, I’m going to link you to their posts/essays/studies. They describe it more eloquently than I could!

  1. Top 9 Biggest Lies About Dietary Fat and Cholesterol
  2. 10 Proven Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets
  3. Low Carb Dieting Myths — Particularly see Myth #6, where they say: “cholesterol is made in the body from the products of glucose metabolism. The more carbs you eat, the more cholesterol your body will make.”
  4. Fats: Myths and Truths

A few of the most important takeaways from those articles are:

  • Low fat food is HORRIBLE for you. Since food without fat tastes horrible, companies substitute fat with tons of sugar or other sweeteners so they can actually sell those products. Sugar is not good for you.
  • A low carb diet is NOT detrimental to vascular health.
  • There are many studies that show “a high carbohydrate diet, elevated blood sugar, and insulin are highly associated with inflammatory heart disease”.
  • “Cholesterol is made in the body from the products of glucose metabolism. The more carbs you eat, the more cholesterol your body will make.”
  • “The best way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels is to reduce carbohydrate consumption. This is also a very effective way to treat and possibly even reverse type II diabetes.”
  • “There is no evidence that low-fat diets have any benefits. They do not cause weight loss in the long-term or reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Some studies show that they may even cause harm.”

In short, the whole world is extremely misinformed and trained to believe that “low fat” diets will help them lose weight. In reality, low fat diets can actually be very bad for you. There’s nothing wrong with fats. The only thing “wrong” with fats is that they tend to have a lot more calories than their “low fat” equivalent. But since fat fills you up so well (read my earlier point about that!), you naturally eat less when you consume more fat. Therefore, it’s actually easier to consume fewer calories.

What’s your weight loss experience?

Have you ever eaten low-carb for a long period of time? How did it go?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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48 comments

    1. Keto does a great job of improving your cholesterol. It decreases the levels of the “bad” cholesterol. You can read a bit about that here: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets, and you can read why carbs make it worse:

      And one last point.. cholesterol is made in the body from the products of glucose metabolism. The more carbs you eat, the more cholesterol your body will make.

      In addition, in the metabolic pathway for making cholesterol, there is an enzyme called HMG-CoA Reductase. This enzyme is the rate limiting step in cholesterol production. If it is turned on, more cholesterol is made. If HMG-CoA Reductase is turned off, less cholesterol is made. What turns it on? Insulin. As insulin levels rise, so does cholesterol production. Check any biochemistry book for this fact.

      Low Carb Dieting Myths

        1. You can do a google search for some “keto recipes”.

          You can also buy some ketostix strips for testing whether or not you’re in ketosis.

    1. It is recommended to talk to your doctor before going on ANY diet. I haven’t because I don’t personally feel like I need to. The main reasons being:

      1. There’s nothing bad or dangerous about low carb, UNLESS you have a health condition already or you’re on certain medications.

      2. I feel perfectly fine after 6 weeks of this, so there’s nothing I really need to talk to my doctor about.

      3. I did A LOT of research into keto before starting.

      This is my personally decision though. It is generally good to talk to your doctor before any diet.

      You can watch a documentary called Fat Head (I think it’s in YouTube) if you want to learn more.

  1. This really sounds interesting. I am a lot bigger than you and when I calculate how much food I should be eating to lose weight it always says like 3000 calories and I could never understand how eating that many calories could cause me to lose weight and every time I got on a diet I can never even reach 3000 calories! I would try and avoid fatty foods and eat like a rabbit and never get over like 1500 calories a day..on a bad food day I still would never reach 3000. (I would still be starving as well.) I bet if I ate a lot of bacon I could reach that calorie intake…lol.

    So I find this really interesting because I love bacon and cheese..lol. My only real problem is no pasta or rice..I could almost go without pasta but not sure about rice…lol. I really got to get my mind wrapped into a new way of thinking and eating and my father is diabetic and he needs to start eating better so this would also help him.

    Do you have any good places to get keto recipes? I need to read up some more on this as I might be willing to give it a try. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the info and congrats on weight loss. (PS. Doesn’t it just bit that men can lose so much more weight in the same amount of time…lol. So unfair..hehe.)

    Stormi

    1. Well keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to eat 3000 calories (I wouldn’t recommend it!). The number they give you is really the maximum you should eat in order to lose weight. Any more than that and you won’t lose weight. Less is still better though! 1500 is a pretty good amount.

      I never thought I’d be able to go low carb. All my husband and I would eat was pasta and rice. That was it!! We’d just switch it up with different sauces.

      But now we’re learning how to make new things and branching out. I actually don’t even miss rice and pasta.

      I really recommend http://ruled.me for recipes. They have some AMAZING dishes. That’s where I get a lot of my dessert recipes. Another good one is http://cavemanketo.com/

      And yeah, it sucks that men lose weight more quickly! Grrr

      1. I facebooked you..don’t know if you check your Nose Graze facebook often..anyway. I tell you my dreaded weight in that message..won’t do it here..lol. I did the keto caculator and I caculated and caculated till I gave up..lol. Even if I put my carbs at 45g I need 160g protein and 146g fat! I know it’s just my no fat, no fat mind torture but that just seems so high..lol. That is for consuming 2160 calories a day to lose weight (which is better than all those others telling me 3000..lol) I figure the only way to see if it works is to give it a try! πŸ™‚ So I think I might but it might be after I eat all my rice and pasta up..just bought it and must not waste..lol. πŸ˜‰

        1. The calculator gives you a range of protein (from minimum required up to the maximum you should consume), and it’s up to you to pick a number within the range which you enter into the calculator. This is just your goal, but you should try and hit at least the minimum number. The fat, however, is a maximum number, you are not required to eat that amount of fat, it’s merely the maximum you should consume daily. Fat is for satiety and makes you feel full, if you feel hungry between meals, you should eat something fatty, but if you don’t feel hungry, then don’t eat it. The number isn’t a target.

          For your target number of carbs, you should set it as low as you can manage (with about 20g being the minimum you should probably attempt initially).

  2. I definitely think this is super interesting! Did some additional research on it and apparently according one case study, it seemed beneficial for epilepsy patients.

    However, I think it’s important to note that anyone who starts it definitely should do their research and/or consult their doctor since if they start the ketosis diet. If done incorrectly, ketones, which are acidic, can accumulate due to the fatty acid breakdown (ketoacidosis), which is one of the causes for kidney stones, as you mentioned, and other serious problems.

    Congrats on the weight loss and the that you made look amazing!

    Jessica recently posted: Tech Meets Books// Orange You Glad
    1. Yeah Keto has all kind of extra benefits! It’s also known to get rid of certain food allergies (which were actually brought on by something else in your diet) and even reverse certain kinds of diabetes. Very cool!

      But yes, you definitely need to do research. My husband and I did A TON before starting out, so we always make sure to drink tons and tons of water, get our vitamins, and meet our salt intake.

  3. DAAAAAAANG. Look at all that delicious food! I’m currently trying to lose weight (30 lbs, to be exact) but nothing is going the way I want it to. I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables and fruits, drink more water, AND work out at least 3-4 times per week…yet I’ve barely lost anything! So frustrating.

    Maybe this is something I need to try. Would you mind sharing the recipe for the peanut butter cookies?! Look delicious!

    Rosie // Rosie Reads recently posted: Are you getting ready for NaNoWriMo?
    1. You should totally try Keto! It’s a fantastic way to drop some quick pounds. Just make sure you do your research and follow the key guidelines, including:

      * Drink at least 2 litres of water per day. Not optional. πŸ˜‰
      * Consume 3-5 grams of salt per day. This helps fight off dizziness/nausea as a result of depleting your salt levels (due to drinking tons of water).
      * Keep in mind that some people go through a transition period commonly referred to as “Keto flu”. This is a period where your body has carb withdrawals. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it can happen.

      But as long as you do your research, it can be a fantastic diet! I felt like I put zero effort into losing those 10 pounds.

      Here’s what I do for the peanut butter cookies:

      * 1 cup of peanut butter (natural, no sugar added)
      * 1 egg
      * A splash of vanilla extract

      Stir LOADS LOADS LOADS.

      Spoon them out onto a baking tray and bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes (sometimes I let them sit for 15).

      Take them out, let them cool. This is very important, otherwise they might just crumble. I actually take them out, let them cool, then pop them in the fridge straight away. Then I just pull them out of the fridge when I want to eat them. πŸ™‚

  4. Glad you found something that works for you! I dabbled with low carb at the very beginning of my weight loss phase, but for me alternate day intermittent fasting was what clicked πŸ™‚ The important thing is that we all find a plan that we can stick to long term-weight loss is the easy part, it’s that darn maintenance phase that’s a biatch πŸ˜›

    Great job so far, and I’m cheering you on as you continue working towards your goal!

    Finley Jayne recently posted: Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Tracking Post
  5. Losing weight is never easy, so it’s good that you found something that works for your and your husband. I’m doing a low-carb diet, but more of a “diabetic” diet, which still includes carbs and is also low-fat. I did printed the recipe for the almond flour biscuits, I will try those for sure! I’m very curious about your pizza, I just use a very thin whole wheat tortilla to make mine πŸ™‚

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #99
    1. I hope you like the almond biscuits!

      The pizza is seriously amazing. It tastes like real pizza, not like a low carb substitute.

  6. I also did a low carb diet. It was the Les Mills 21 days challenge. I really saw differences. Since then I started eating carbs again, so all my efforts are gone now, but I think I am going to start eating less carbs again. It really works!

    And indeed, light or low fat products are not good for you, they put a lot of bad stuff in those products.

    Made by Carlijn recently posted: #FASHION FRIDAY: It is Christmas in Primark!
    1. You should totally start it up again! πŸ™‚ I’m thinking I’ll probably continue with low carb, even after I reach my goal weight.

  7. I’m reading this and I’m so digging this diet! πŸ˜€ I’ve been on another diet; it’s called the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy and it was so effective! I really encourage you to go look it up πŸ˜‰ I lose 10kg in 2 months it was pretty amazing. And because this diet works by increasing your metabolism, it’s a long-term thing too! πŸ™‚ But you DO have to exercise, and I keep fit now by exercising a LOT! πŸ˜€ But this KETO diet sounds amazing – meat all day?! CHEESE? OMG. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay away from my bread πŸ™ But it still looks super good!!
    Oh and I also read your most recent post! I really enjoy reading posts like these because I can relate to them πŸ™‚ And I think even though there are bloggers in specific niches, there are some bloggers out there you can talk to about lifestyle as well and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it! πŸ˜€ Like I’ll be happy to talk about diet-related topics even though I mainly blog about books, but it’s all fine! πŸ˜€ I hope you keep posting posts like these, Ashley! I really enjoy them πŸ™‚

    Emily recently posted: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
  8. So I got your newsletter announcing you were creating a wait list for your blog design site, that brought me to your portfolio which brought me here. I love when I find others who are enjoying a diet similar to mine. I am Paleo and have been for almost 3 years now. I have allowed some carbs back in my diet in the form of white rice and potatoes but for the most part protein and fat are my loves. My mother harasses me a bit with her concern for my cholesterol and when I come back with my numbers (which are a little too low in my opinion) she was blown away. Granted her come back is I am young and it will catch up with me :/ mothers. πŸ˜€ Keep up the great work and glad you have found something that is working so great for you and also I am loving your designs!

    1. Hi Jennifer!! Thanks so much for stopping by. πŸ™‚ It’s awesome that you just stumbled upon this post. My mom is on Paleo! She’s been on it for almost a year now I think.

      My mom loves that I’m eating low carb, but I don’t think she’s quite accepted the whole “fat is good” thing yet. πŸ˜› Because although she’s paleo, she just eats a ton of veggies and not much fat. She kind of turns her nose up at me eating a bunch of bacon.

      Have a great day and thanks for commenting!

  9. How funny….my husband and I actually just met someone a week ago when hiking to the Kaaterskill Falls who was talking about this very diet. I don’t think it would be something I’d try …not sure how it would work for a vegetarian…but my husband sounded tempted to look into it. Thanks for the additional info…and especially the link to the Peanut Butter cup recipe!! I am so making those!

    1. Haha, what a coincidence!

      I imagine this diet could be very difficult for a vegetarian. πŸ™ It would probably be hard to get enough fat and protein.

  10. This sounds awesome. I’ve been dieting (or trying to) for the past three months and I just can’t stick to it for very long at all. I’ll do well, then something at work will put me in a bad mood and it’s straight to the chocolate.

    I might have to give the Keto diet a try. I love the idea of not counting calories (you’re right – once you’ve used them up, you just KNOW it and it’s so irritating) and having bacon and eggs and cheese. I’ll have to look into this a bit more and see if it can work for me. I’m such a fussy eater – I know what I like, and it’s all stuff that I shouldn’t really eat and that mostly comes in to the house frozen.

    This is definitely something to look in to, thanks so much Ashley for sharing! πŸ™‚

    1. Woohoo, I hope it works out for you Leah! Make sure you do plenty of research first. πŸ™‚ I illustrated the most important things in my post:

      * Drink AT LEAST 2 litres of water per day.
      * Don’t skimp on salt. You need like 3-5 grams per day.

      If you don’t follow those, it won’t be a very nice diet. πŸ˜‰ (Kidney stones, dizziness, etc.) But if you do it correctly, I’m sure you’ll see some great results.

      And FYI, I’m totally a fussy eater too. I hate fancy food, historically I haven’t liked healthy food (salad, vegetables, fruit), etc. I’m very big on desserts and pastas and stuff. But this diet has been working out great for me. Who knew vegetables could be so yummy when you cook them in a shit ton of butter? πŸ˜‰

  11. Hey Ashley! Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the kind words about my peanut butter cup fat bombs and the link back to my blog. I saw where several hits had originated from over here in my stats and decided to come check it out πŸ™‚ Your photography is beautiful!

  12. Hi, I’ve been on low carb diet now for three weeks, have lost 5lb in first two but no more since, sticking to it strictly, so don’t know why I’m not losing any more, have heard about carb cycling, but not sure about it as you would go out of ketosis, would this help, as don’t want to spoil all my hard work. Please help, feel like giving up!

    1. Have you been:

      1. Counting your calories?
      2. Weighing your food?
      3. Staying under 25 grams of carbs?
      4. Reading the labels on everything?

      It’s important to stay consistent and actually measure out your food so you know exactly what you’re consuming and how much of it.

  13. I love the ketogenic diet! It’s more of a lifestyle at this point. I’d like to say I really enjoyed your article and was well written. However I would like to point out one thing, this is a Muscle Sparing diet after your well in ketosis your body will not attack muscle if you don’t get enough fat. It will go after the body fat and old debris like damaged cells, scar tissue… Again, I really like post I just feel like this is a big misconception that needs addressed correctly. Thank you πŸ’›

  14. Hi my name is Therese Powell and I want to get rid of my belly flat but this the cause I dont have any money to buy diet pills and I really want to lose and stop stressing and worrying myselfbut how can I without and money

  15. Thats really a great explaination ! Now Im totally aware of what keto diet is. I love to build muscle while losing fat. This is best diet that would suit my goals.

    Once again I thank you for this great post !

    πŸ™‚ insta @mirzafarazalibaig

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