So after roughly one month on the keto/LCHF (Low carb high fat) diet I feel like I am ready to share some serious knowledge I have come across.
So first of all, counting macros is for the birds. I quit doing it about 2 weeks ago and I may be out of ketosis more often but I have still lost weight and maintained being under 125 lbs (5+ lbs down from my original weight) and that is without even being super strict on my LCHF diet.
I have cheated...a lot. But I would say even on days when I am not following keto I still eat WAY less carbs than before starting this. On any given day before Keto/LCHF I probably averaged about 2000+ carbs, between sandwiches, fruits, sauces, and all the things that have carbs because I wasn't paying attention to anything I ate. Now, even on a cheat day or cheat meal I probably am still way under 500 carbs.
However I still shoot for under 20-50 carbs, I pay attention to what I am putting into my body, the carbs, the ingredients. I still feel over all better and I have noticed a major change in my body's physical appearance as well as just how I feel every day. It is WAY easier for me to get up earlier, go to sleep earlier, I am not so tired all the time. Clothes fit me better now, I fit into clothes that haven't fit well in a long time. Just overall a better quality of life.
Here are some things I have learned in the past month...
1. Things baked with coconut flour are not for me.
I tried the coconut flour tortillas, coconut flour cookies, etc. They all taste super grainy and just are not for me. I am determined to use up the little bit of coconut flour I have left and then I will be sticking to almond flour after that!
2. Not every "replacement" recipe is going to be good or taste like the original.
I got lucky in the beginning with the waffles and the Big Mac casserole because I have tried a lot of replacement things since then, granola bars, bread, rolls, etc. that tasted like crap. So there is a huge curve with this diet on trying things out and seeing what works for you!
3. Don't avoid things just because you assume there will be carbs.
Spend some extra time in the grocery store, look at the labels. I have found really more options than I had ever thought possible by just taking more time to look at labels and see stuff that could fit in. I found dressings, BBQ sauces, canned goods, protein bars, potato chips, protein shakes, frozen meals (hello frozen buffalo wings), and all kinds of things that are low carb and taste really good!
4. Just because it works/doesn't work for someone else doesn't mean it will be that way for you.
There is SO much info readily available for the keto/LCHF lifestyle. Facebook groups, blogs, twitter, Instagram, all kinds of stuff. There will be people who eat absolutely no processed foods because anything processed kicks them out of ketosis and stalls them. Some people drink no diet drinks, some people don't use artificial sweetener, some people don't eat any grains, etc. etc. however, there are people who eat ALL those things (me) that have still had positive results. So you have to try and see what works for you.
5. Low carb protein bars are gross. (my opinion)
To be fair, I have never really liked protein bars. However I have really just thrown away the idea of even trying protein bars anymore because I don't like the texture/taste of ANY of them. To me they are all gross and I will not spend money on them anymore.
6. Just because it says low carb or keto does not mean it will taste good.
I cannot reiterate enough that a lot of marketed "low carb" options are GROSS. You will learn by trial and error but whereas when I first started I loaded up my amazon cart with a bunch of keto/low carb foods I have since decided not to order any of them for now because there are so many low carb/keto options that DO taste good, they just aren't marketed as low carb/keto because they have always existed. (pickles, parmesan crisps, salads, grilled chicken, sausage, cheese, etc.)
7. Just because you are on a keto diet doesn't mean you can't go out to eat.
I have yet to face a sit-down restaurant that didn't offer a salad or meat/veggie option. It is totally possible and makes ordering a lot easier. I never feel like I don't get to have something yummy because most of the time pre-keto when I went out I would normally order steak/veggies, fish/veggies, shrimp/veggies, buffalo wings, burgers, etc. And all of those are easily keto-fied and you can order a side salad. Voila, keto meal out to eat. And I save money on not ordering expensive appetizers. BOOM.
8. Don't over complicate things.
Just because you CAN put in extra work to make keto replacement meals and whatnot doesn't mean you should or HAVE to for every single meal. The other day I sat in my living room for an hour trying to figure out what I had the ingredients/energy to cook before I realized I had chicken and broccoli and that was perfectly keto/low carb. So I threw it in a skillet with some low carb marinade and cheese and it was DELICIOUS and low carb. Don't make this more complicated than it has to be, you will be stressed, spend too much money, and it will be so much harder to stick with it.
9. This is not supposed to be an expensive diet.
This kinda goes with #8. Keto can be as expensive or cheap as any other diet. Raw chicken is SO cheap, I can get enough chicken to last me a whole week for under $10 and marinades/sauces last weeks at a time. Frozen veggies are cheap too. Realistically you can do keto in under $40 a week depending on how tolerant you are of repeat meals. Just because you CAN have something doesn't mean you should. Don't buy stuff just because its low carb, only buy stuff you really want to eat and can afford.
10. Meal prepping is necessary.
Somewhat. At least a little bit of meal prepping is necessary to make this an achievable diet. I don't meal fixing whole meals in plastic containers and taking up the whole fridge, I don't do that. But I will buy the big containers of raw chicken because they are cheaper and then put 2-3 breasts or thighs in a ziplock and put those in my freezer to pull out every couple of days. Makes my life easier and cheaper.
11. The scale lies.
You can still have days where the scale will say no change but the mirror says differently. I will also have days where I am bloated but the scale says I have lost a couple pounds. Listen to the mirror, listen to your BODY. If you look/feel good/better than the day before then think about the food choices you made and remember them. If you are bloated and feel gross then do the same thing and try to avoid things you think bloat your body and make you feel bad. The scale makes me crazy, my body doesn't lie to me.
So there you have it. Those are some of the things I have learned the past couple of weeks. At the end of the day the most important thing I have learned is to just listen to my body. Pay attention to the things I am putting into my mouth and what they do to my body. Your body will react to EVERYTHING you put into it either positively or negatively. We tend to pay more attention to the extremely negative (cramping/puking) but it is so important to stay conscious of how our body reacts each day to what we ate.
So Kate is still going keto, for now anyways. Really enjoying this diet and so far my body is saying that it is too!