I got on to the low carb way of eating back in February 2018. The first couple of weeks were really difficult. I had asked the consultant that I had gone to to give me a food plan. So, he gave me an excel with two to three options of things to eat for each of my three meals, I was allowed 1 cup of black coffee a day, 200 gms of paneer or 150 gms of any meat, 3 eggs in any form (omlette/boiled/fried/scrambled/etc), and 4-5 litres of water. While this sounds like a lot, when it comes to actually eating this way, anyone who’s been eating the standard diet is shocked.
As I’ve said before, it sometimes feels as though I’ve been on a diet for at least 80% of my life. Even so and even though I had expressly asked for this, reading the plan was shocking.
No rice/roti/noodles/etc. No potato!! Let me say that again – no freaking potato!!! And *absolutely no snacking*!
Positivity in diet
After a painful two weeks, I finally started seeing the positive side effects of this life style – sound sleep, clear skin, stronger nails, healthier, faster growing hair, etc. And the weight and the inches started falling off! Within two months I was down 6 or so kilos. That’s when the stall hit. Even though I was working out with the dedication of someone trying for the Olympics (slight exaggeration, but you get the point), there was no impact on the scale or the tape. And it was frustrating beyond belief. That’s when I decided to do my own research.
I realized that:
- I need to recalculate my macros – the amounts of protein and fats I was supposed to have – with every 5 or so kilos of weight loss
- I needed to scale back my workouts because they were messing up my knees and were in fact becoming an obstacle to achieving my fitness goal.
Recalculating the macros took some research. Every time you calculate your macros, you need to use a macro calculator from one of the keto websites. Ruled.me is a personal favourite. The calculator is kind of a quiz – asking you your height, weight, body fat percentage and the amount of protein and calorie you would like. Most of those take some work to figure out. And even after recalculating the body experienced a milder version of the keto flu – feeling weak, upset stomach, head aches etc. After a few days though I started seeing progress again. But that wasn’t enough.
Diet and exercise
My workouts were actually hurting me. I had somehow managed to hurt my knee through not maintaining my form while working out. My trainer possibly got over-enthusiastic because I was completely gung ho about finally winning my personal war on obesity. And as a result, both of us ignored the warning signs, until it got to a point where I literally couldn’t walk for the pain in my knees. So I scaled way back. Actually stopped working out completely for a few weeks to allow my body to heal. Then slowly added back yoga and walking and finally after a three month recovery period slowly started to feel normal and started working out again.
During this time, my weight and inches kept decreasing because I stuck to the diet strictly. And when I had dropped another five kilos, I knew it was time to reevaluate both, my exercise and my macros.
The new normal
This is not an easy diet, but it’s the one that I have found the easiest to keep doing. The food is tasty because you have a decent amount of butter/ghee on it. I love the fact that my life doesn’t revolve around meals – over a year in now, I know that if I am going somewhere where I may not get something I can eat, I need to eat beforehand and keep drinking water so I don’t give in to the temptation to eat. And that, that temptation is my taste buds testing me. I am fine to go an entire day without eating, because my body is still digesting dinner from the night before and the slow release of energy from that will keep me going easily. As a result, I notice myself becoming more free – more willing to do things, take risks by fasting as much as I need to until I can get the right food for me, more strict too – if I’m meeting friends for dinner, I’ll actually eat and go more times than not – because meeting people has now become about spending time with them rather than being an opportunity to eat off diet. And the diet has actually just become my way of life. I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel hungry. That last reason is why I will probably keto as long as I can.
If you missed ‘The Emotional cost of dieting‘, read it here!