From Fat to Fit: My Experience with the Controversial Ketogenic Diet

At the beginning of the year, I played around with something called “ketosis.”

Ketosis is a state of being, one where the body burns fats rather than carbohydrates for energy.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding ketosis. Some people say it’s unhealthy, especially for women. Others say it’s perfectly natural and can help conditions like depression and epilepsy.

But almost every agrees—ketosis is a great way to lose weight.

Body builders swear by it, as do many individuals looking for greater muscle definition.

You get into ketosis by restricting your carbs to ridiculously low levels. At that point, your body has no choice but to switch to burning fat.

As your body burns fat, it produces ketones, which are excreted into your urine.

You know you’re in ketosis when urine strips register positive for high levels of ketones—or when you feel like you have the flu for a few days while you’re body adjusts to the new way of being.

Most people struggle to get into and maintain ketosis. A couple years ago, Andrea had a handful of clients who went on a ketogenic diet together, and it was nearly impossible for them to get their carb levels low enough.

For some reason, it was super easy for me. I felt like crap about a day after cutting out carbs, grabbed a test strip, and sure enough—I was in ketosis.

(My theory is that I had been in ketosis before from all the weird diets I’ve tried over the years, and that this made it easier for my body to slip back into that state. But that’s just me speculating.)

I stuck with the ketogenic diet for a couple weeks. It was an interesting experiment, but not one I ultimately stuck with.

 

I think it could be helpful for some people, but for me it felt too extreme. I had to keep close track of my carb intake, and that made it really difficult to just enjoy eating.

I also wasn’t too impressed with my weight loss during those weeks. I seemed to drop quite a few pounds at first—probably water weight or something—but then I got stuck.

That, combined with my growing aversion to doing things just to lose weight, made it hard to stick with the diet, especially in the face of potato chips and fruit.

That said, if you’re interested in trying the ketogenic diet, I do recommend the following:

·         Doing some more Internet research into ketosis, so you can make an educated decision about whether the diet is right for you. Make sure to check with your doctor to make sure you’re a good candidate for the diet.

·         Tracking your meals in MyFitnessPal. You’d be surprised how fast the carbs add up!

·         Buying some ketone test strips from the local drug store. They are pretty inexpensive, and it’s better than wondering whether you’re in ketosis or not.

·         Sticking with ketosis for at least a week or two. I felt pretty sick for the first couple of days, but after the transition I felt fine.

·         Seeking help from a professional like Andrea. The diet seems safe, at least short term, but it made me feel better having Andrea looking out for me.