If you know me at all, you might know that I like to spontaneously decide to do things. And when I decide to do these things…I’m all in. It may look “irrational” from the outside looking in, but it’s usually something I’ve been sitting on for a bit. With Keto, I had been silently listening to the talk around me for months…forming my own opinions. (For what those opinions were and more of my “why” to try the keto diet – refer to my last blog post Intro Into My Keto Journey.) Steven and I were set to go to Paleo f(x) and I was SUPER stoked to get to meet Robb Wolf who I knew was into keto. (serious interest peaked – Keto Masterclass purchased to learn more) I was slogging through Robb Wolf’s class when I received an E-Mail about purchasing healthy meals for the conference from Snap Kitchen. The options were paleo or keto. Someone would be making keto meals for me. I took it as a sign. Lock & Load Bitches. Lets Do This!
In retrospect, jumping into a whole new way of eating and redirecting my body to fuel on a completely different energy source less than a week before flying to Texas for 4 days may have been a bit ambitious, but once I commit…I commit. We sped through the rest of the course in one day, purchased a ketone/blood glucose monitor, and I started tackling our first week’s meal plan.
Meal Planning and MACROS…
I’m no rookie when it comes to adhering to certain diets for extended periods of time. I do a Whole30 yearly for a health reset and love that I learn something new every time I do it! So I knew going in that having a weekly meal plan, and prepping lots of food beforehand was going to be key. I also knew that I wanted to mostly follow a paleo friendly and whole food approach to keto. With all of that in mind, I sat down with my meal plan template, my Keto Masterclass – keto friendly food guides, my best friends: Pinterest & Google, and got to work.
“4 HOURS OF MEAL PLANNING LATER….not even kidding.”
4 HOURS OF MEAL PLANNING LATER…not even kidding. This was a great reminder that trying on a new way of eating is NEVER easy. (It also gave me a great taste of what I ask from my clients…heh…mad respect guys.) Coming up with low carb keto-friendly food wasn’t the hard part. I eat mostly paleo…so I just took what I normally eat and deleted fruit (except for some berries) and vegetables that are higher in carbohydrates (potatoes, carrots, root veggies). Cool…looked great. It also looked super simple…because I knew I had to track all of this food…so simple seemed easier for that. (Eating healthy really doesn’t have to be hard!) I had to figure out this whole macro thing though….I mean….I know what macros are…but I don’t track them. That’s the beauty of eating a Whole Food Paleo diet…you can stay pretty lean and healthy without any neurotic weighing and measuring. But my body’s “happy and healthy” weight doesn’t seem to come with a side of abs…so…for this experiment I said…bring on the scale!
Meal planning and making my grocery list took like an hour…figuring out what my days of food actually looked like in order to hit my macros…took…FOREVER. I’m exhausted just thinking about it….ugh. I had to work and re-work every day of meals a bazillion times so I could get it exactly right. If I had ever really tracked my macros before – this may not have been such a challenge. But I hadn’t. And so it was…hella challenging. Be warned.
Going Into Ketosis
“I was honestly completely shocked by how hard transitioning into ketosis was….I’m already pretty low carb so I thought it would be easy. With how difficult it was, I made the assumption that even though I pride myself for being low carb…my body has ALWAYS had plenty of sugar/carbs to fuel on and has NEVER had to go into ketosis to burn fat for fuel.”
WAS A BITCH. I got through day 1. Food was delicious. Feeling mostly fine. Got a little light-headed around 3:00 PM. Not surprised – usually happens when you cut carbs in your diet. Did a CrossFit workout. Hit my macros. Went into day 2 still feeling pretty strong. Had a slight headache this day. Felt light-headed and a little nauseous after my morning sessions. Came home to eat…laid down…died. I felt like I full on had the flu. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t look at my phone or watch Netlix. That’s bad. Couldn’t even get up to drink anything….which I wanted to do because Robb Wolf taught us how important electrolytes were during the Keto Masterclass…especially if you’re feeling crumby…and I hadn’t had my electrolyte drink mix “LMNT” yet that day. It can supposedly help you get through the keto flu. I laid in bed the afternoon, into the early evening, cancelled the rest of my sessions for the day, finally peeled myself out of bed and drank my electrolytes, tested my ketone levels and voila….1.5mm…officially in ketosis. I started feeling better pretty soon after taking the electrolytes and by the late evening I felt perfectly normal again. I was honestly completely shocked by how hard transitioning into ketosis was….I’m already pretty low carb so I thought it would be easy. With how difficult it was, I made the assumption that even though I pride myself in being low carb…my body has ALWAYS had plenty of sugar to fuel on and has NEVER had to go into ketosis to burn fat for fuel. But I did it! I was in!
Tracking My Blood Glucose and Ketone Levels
I think that being able to actually see when you’re in ketosis is why a lot of people like the keto diet. Anytime you’re trying to lose weight…patience is key. You can’t usually see anything happening for quite awhile. Using a blood monitor to test your ketone level…is like the greatest form of instant gratification for weight-loss. It’s exciting! “Scientific things are happening in my body! I’m becoming metabolically flexible!” Ketones are a byproduct of burning fat as fuel and I can literally test for that….soooo cool. It’s also very motivating to keep going. You wake up in the morning, prick your finger, test your numbers, eat a meal, wait a few hours, prick your finger, test your numbers. You are testing to make sure you are staying in ketosis and also how your blood glucose responds to different foods. A range of .5-3mm (millomolars) is technically considered in ketosis from what I’ve read. Robb Wolf recommended a slightly higher range of 1-3mm. A fasting blood glucose number below 100 mg/dl is considered good. 100-125 mg/dl is prediabetic.
I was a little obsessive with tracking at first. Partially because it was fun and partially because I was scared to kick out of ketosis. I didn’t know if I would get sick again, and I didn’t have time for that. My glucose was always under 100…however sometimes it dropped to around the 60’s. During the first 2 weeks, I would occasionally feel cold, nauseous, and light headed. When I tested then…my blood sugar was low. My ketone levels – once in ketosis were 1.2-1.9 for the first 2 weeks. At the end of week 2, while traveling, I accidentally kicked out of ketosis, went through the flu shit again, and after that…my levels never seemed to go above .7. I have some speculations, but am not entirely sure as to why this was.
Summary of the First Two Weeks…
The first two weeks were rough. Kicking in and a out of ketosis – getting the keto flu. The second time it hit I was flying back to Ohio from Dallas – that was a terrible day. Once I transitioned, I at least didn’t feel like death, but I didn’t feel great either. I fluctuated between feeling just fine, having occasional low key headaches that stayed all day, getting nauseous, and feeling the side effects of low blood sugar as mentioned earlier. I could hardly workout without it seriously kicking my ass and I felt sore…all the time…without even doing anything. I tried CrossFit once during the first 2 weeks and almost passed out. I also got my period 2 weeks early…which I don’t think has EVER happened before. That really spooked me. Steven told me it might just be because my poor body had gone through so much lately…I did some research and hoped he was right. The food being delicious and my stubbornness is the only thing that kept me going. I had to know if it would get better after I adjusted. I had to know if the reports of optimal health, great energy, perfect sleep and sexy abs were waiting for me on the other end of the keto rainbow. I diligently kept at it, but also wanted to make sure that I wasn’t compromising my health, so I reached out to Robb Wolf and the KetoGains group for guidance. (experts on the topic) They all said the same thing. YOU NEED MORE ELECTROLYTES! Stay tuned for….MORE ELECTROLYTES.