And I mean woe…not way of eating.
Ha…I started writing this blog right in the middle of our 3-month ketogenic diet adventure. (I’m publishing this about 10 months later.)
For three straight months, we stuck to fat, veggies, and protein, with as close to zero carbs as we could do.
I hate diets. Why did I do this one?
I had never done a strict diet before. I prefer to eat in moderation. I don’t have an addictive personality prone to binge eating. But I do love food.
It had been 3.5 years since giving birth to my second child, and I still had some pounds to shed.
I had been reading so much about the ketogenic diet for a while, that I finally thought I ought to give it a try. And my sister-in-law Jolly operates a weight loss clinic and is a fan of the diet, so I have a built-in keto consultant!
Sajan usually tries out a diet at the beginning of the year, so I asked him – how about we both do this one together? And he was on board.
I became obsessed with reading up on this way of eating. There’s so much information and so many Facebook groups out there. I loved reading people’s stories about how it changed their life. There can be conflicting information and snobbery about what counts as keto and what doesn’t.
What I Did
My goal was to stay around 30 grams of carbs. I didn’t pay strict attention to fat and protein, other than to make sure my protein intake was moderate. An online calculator said I should consume 60-80 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat, though I rarely reached that level of fat intake.
I was more generous with butter, olive oil, and coconut oil in my meals than usual.
I actually looked forward to coming home and knowing a satisfying dinner would be waiting for me.
For breakfast, I would eat my usual two eggs, but for keto I added some sauteed greens. For lunch, we usually ate chicken thighs and salad, but for keto I added zucchini to the meal. Eventually I also added two cheese sticks.
Dinner had been our weakness before keto. We generally had avoided carbs at dinner, but on the weekends we would go out to eat and the carbs would come flooding in like a tidal wave.
So during keto, we carefully planned every meal.
That was the key.
We had a fear of getting hungry and making bad choices. So each meal, and even snacks, had to be scripted.
Every morning, I sit at the kitchen table with my tea and plan out my day/week. So during our keto adventure, I would write down exactly what we would be eating.
Just like lunch, dinners were meat with veggies. We kept cauliflower in good supply. We tried different sauces and seasonings. Spinach-and-cheese stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon and laid on a bed of cauliflower mash was a favorite.
Another key was logging every meal into MyFitnessPal. I upgraded to the paid version so I could see my macros. Just having to log my meals kept me mindful of what I was eating.
The good news is we actually stuck to our eating plan.
I had two cheats: I ate a small piece of lemon cake on my birthday (around day 45), and we had bananas foster on our 10-year anniversary (around day 65). And I might have eaten a chicken nugget on another day.
Seriously – I think eating the cake helped shake up my system and spur some weight loss.
The weight loss was very slow and overall, not more than 10-15 pounds, which was fine by me.
The value of the keto experience was learning how to live within constraints.
It was an amazing exercise in DISCIPLINE. In commitment and consistency event when it hurts.
For example — we went to Sajan’s aunt’s house in Dallas. She made some BOMB palappam. There was murukku and halwa. We had to say no to these things. How do you say no to an Indian aunty’s magical food? It was hard. We ate the egg curry.
We went to engagement ceremonies and birthday parties. It was all an interesting exercise in eating ahead when necessary or just eating whatever meat and veggies were around.
I went to a crepes restaurant and had to eat this salad!
Instant Pot chili with veggies became a staple.
We tried crazy concoctions like keto crust pizza.
Even though we had to pass up naan and rice at an event, we got to eat all these sides. That is non-keto friendly bean thoran in the corner, though.
This was very mentally draining for sure, but a great learning experience. What I appreciate is refining my ability to say “no” and permanently adding more veggies to our diet and routine.
I will say that about 3 months after completing the diet, I experienced a week or two period of having no self-control in my eating. One night I was very full but went ahead and ate five big cookies and milk! I think our bodies have a way of balancing things out. So I’m careful to be realistic and not force myself into a super strict eating lifestyle. For some, it seems to work. I think it’s good to test things out and see what works for your body and your lifestyle!
When we did keto, we looked forward to the good meals we had planned. We tried eating out once or twice and were miserable ordering salad and passing up the good stuff. Better to eat home cooked food.
Now that we’ve been off keto, we relish the carb moments! But sometimes we miss the clear boundaries keto gave us. Don’t be surprised if we try it again!