This year I’m onto my weight. I’ve put on way too much weight, I’m unfit, and I want to get back to dancing. Since I stopped (due to bad ankle and achilles issues) nearly 2 years ago, I’ve put on more weight. So this year it’s going. My brother also back on his healthy eating too and is making a point of reminding me I need to lose weight. So I’ve no choice even if I wanted to slack off.
Which diet to choose
I’ve previously lost 3 stone (years ago when I was lighter) through using Weight Loss Resources and counting calories, and recording my food. I was on the website all the time though – I just don’t have the time for that. Plus it was pre N and I was dancing 4 times a week and a lot fitter. It was also pre-blogging so I wasn’t a night owl – it was easy to fit in an exercise DVD early each morning.
A couple of years ago I did a review for New You plan which is a very low calorie diet (VLCD) – basically shakes, meals and bars. It worked – I lost 4 stone, but it’s hard going when you want to include normal eating or get back to it so is easy to put on weight again.
I love numbers and stats but I don’t want to have to record every meal on an app or online. I like to check numbers and record my weight regularly to understand fluctuations, and I’m best if I’m planning in advance. Also while much of the week we don’t eat our evening meal together, at weekends I want to be able to eat normally with the rest of the family. I can’t be doing with cooking different meals and there’s no way the OH will eat anything he suspects is low calorie or ‘diet’ recipes. So the diet I’m trying is keto. Or as keto as I can manage.
What is keto?
Keto is a way of eating that is quite strict, but is also manageable. There’s a few different ways of doing keto, but basically it’s cutting down carbohydrates, increasing fats and eating some protein. By cutting out the carbs, it moves your body into a state of ketosis which means it starts to burn the fat rather than carbohydrates. The VLCD I tried and lost weight on before was essentially keto based, although I don’t intend to drop calories to that level.
Reading up there’s a few options for eating keto in terms of the balance of carbs/fats/protein. I aim to keep a slightly higher protein level than they advise, and I can’t cut out fruit so my carbs will be a little higher. You can eat fruit on keto diets, but avoid high carb fruits like apples and they say cut out root veg.. Realistically I won’t be able to totally avoid them, or all carbs all the time, so it’ll be good to give my body some time out from the diet. For example going out for a meal, I don’t intend to limit my choices. So I’ll work a mix of the diet.
The aim is to give my weight loss a boost for a few months, then change to just a more healthy diet keeping the veg high.
What do I like about eating keto?
It’s real food. It’s not meal replacements (although for speed before work, I’ll probably end up using up my shakes I have leftover from before).
It gives me the chance to try new recipes, and I can use a lot of my store cupboard sauces and fridge items.
Because I’m adding more veg into my diet than I was eating, I’m eating a lot more on the plate and it keeps me filled up.
The keto meals I’m trying are tasty. Every time I’ve made my tea, N’s wandered in and said it smells good. Meals have also been pretty fast to make as well.
It fills me up so I’m not grazing through the day or needing snacks. I have been having a clementine, berries or nuts as a snack standby, but it’s a big gap from lunch to tea, so I usually need 1 small snack.
It’s effective in losing weight. As I’m very overweight, I’m in the area where keto is said to work well. And after less than a week I already feel ‘lighter’, and I’ve lost more lbs than I would have on calorie counting.
What’s not so great about keto
There’s mixed views about keto. There are findings that show keto diets help children with epilepsy, very overweight/obese people, has some benefits for cancer fighting and others. But there are also watch outs due to the low carbs, low protein and high fats amount. This is why I’ve amended the levels for my version of the diet to what works for me, rather than being totally strict. It shouldn’t usually be followed for a long period of time or permanently.
I’m on warfarin so can’t have lots of green leafy veg, and can’t alter my diet massively otherwise it can cause fluctuations in my INR reading. When I did the VLCD, I spoke to the nurse in advance to check if it was sensible to try and we kept an eye on my readings, but they didn’t change things. So I’m hoping this diet won’t either.
I’ve not had it this time, but often people get ‘keto flu’ and feel really headachy for a few days. This stops when the body gets into ‘ketosis’ state. I usually find cutting out sugar generally gives me a headache too.
The cost. Carbs are cheap – pasta, bread, rice, potatoes. They’re good fillers, and let’s face it, taste great. When you can’t eat normal flour, the alternatives are coconut flour and almond flour. They’re expensive – luckily cooking meals for one including these, I don’t need a lot so the packs do last well. I buy lots of meat and veg anyway, so those costs haven’t increased too much.
Week 1 keto meals
Breakfasts I’ve been lazy and just had a meal replacement shake. I need to get more organised and do some smoothies instead.
Lunches have been lots of veg and salad with chicken (plain or teriyaki skewer) or ham and egg; leftover beef stew with veg (minus the dumpling). I added celery with peanut butter on the side one day as well. I also did scrambled egg with spring onion, red pepper and leeks. On Saturday when the OH and N were out on the shoot, I treated myself to a sausage, cauliflower and broccoli gratin which was delicious.
Snack – generally I’ve just had a clementine or tangerine as that’s what I’ve had at home to take in to work, or a handful of raspberries at home.
- fluffy coconut flour pancakes with greek yoghurt and raspberries
- 90 second coconut flour bread made into a cheese toastie with cucumber and tomatoes
- courgetti alfredo with chicken
- omelette with chopped up pigs in blankets, pepper, broccoli, cheese and spring onion (odd mix, but I had to see what I had left in the fridge and freezer)
- chicken fajitas in lettuce leaves with sour cream, guacamole and cheese (what we’d normally have just without the tortillas)
- hamburger casserole with a layer of veg (celery, pepper, onion, cauliflower rice) and side of cabbage
- Pork tenderloin in the slow cooker, with lots of veg. Not strictly keto because it had cornstarch to thicken the sauce and had a little sugar added, but still pretty low carb.
I generally didn’t have puddings, although what I have had is yoghurt and fruit. I needed to use up some milk so was planning to try a keto blancmange or magic pudding but that required xanthan gum. I’m not sure I want to particularly include that in foods. But I’ll see if it appears in lots more recipes I spot.
I need to remember I’ve also got nuts at work I can snack on if needed, and add seeds to my salads.
What’s madness is I like these meals with lots of veg, But I’ve got out of the habit of having healthier meals and opting for stodgy comfort food. So far, it’s been fine.
How’s it going?
So far, I’ve not felt hungry which is the best bit. I’ve not felt flu-y which I did when I started the previous New You diet. So even cutting out sugar has been fine. I’ve felt a lot lighter, I’ve lost around 9lb (expecting that to obviously slow down going forwards), and while I didn’t take measurements at the start, I feel like my stomach is less rounded. I’ve also found my left ankle isn’t swelling as much. Much of the loss will be from water, but hopefully that’ll even out, and I’ll be able to lose a couple of lbs a week.
My aim is to get to my first goal by 1st October, then ideally goal 2 by Christmas. I might share some of the recipes as I go.
If you’ve no shops stocking key keto ingredients near you, try online (*affiliate links below) where it’s often cheaper to buy in buik.
Have you started a new diet this year? Let me know how it’s going or if you’ve any tips for continuing or maintaining.