What the Digimon is Keto?
A diet/lifestyle where the goal is to induce ketogenesis – essentially, to have your body run on fat as its primary source of energy rather than sugar/glucose. Different people can reach and maintain ketogenesis at different levels of carbohydrate intake (although many people recommend an Atkins-like induction phase of limiting carbohydrate intake to 20 net grams a day). You may also see people refer to a ketogenic diet as Low Carbohydrate, High Fat (LCHF).
Why would you do that to yourself?
This diet was specifically recommended to me by my physician as a result of a variety of medical conditions: morbid obesity, elevated insulin and inflammation levels, and suspected insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome. The long and short of it: a ketogenic diet is the medical intervention recommended in order to facilitate weight loss and lower my insulin levels.
Alright, I’m interested, how do I start?
A great forum for beginners is reddit.com’s Keto group (subreddit). They have a very comprehensive FAQ, which includes additional recommended reading on a variety of related topics. I use the following calculator in order to calculate my macros (how much protein; carbohydrate and fat I should get in a day) and a caloric goal (based on my goal rate of weight loss). With regard to calorie restriction, I’m currently eating about 1600 kcal a day (about a 25% deficit) and losing weight as quickly as I did on a 1,000 kcal diet. So additionally restricting calories may not actually help you lose any more quickly (take that, science!).
You’re crazy, Kara. There’s no way I could give up bread/sugar/potatoes.
That’s cool and that’s your decision to make. From my perspective, as someone who used to binge on cakes and ice cream and boxes of cereal with gallons of milk: I’ve probably had more delicious foods than I ever had a right to. If I never eat my mother’s amazing brownie sundae again… or a raspberry pie from the Amish market… or homemade pretzels… I will be a little sad. But I’m making a conscious decision to trade all those things in, maybe permanently, in order to try to live an adult life free of preventable chronic illness (ie, Type 2 Diabetes). It’s a worthwhile trade for me, but if it’s not for you, that’s okay. Your body; your decision.
Does the diet work?
It appears to, but stay tuned. You can check out the category on the website entitled: Progress for all the nitty, gritty details.
You must work out, too.
Nope, not really. My physician even told me to take it easy on the high intensity cardiovascular exercise. I do at least half an hour of yoga a day but otherwise, I do nothing consistently. I go for walks or hikes when I want to (which is actually pretty often), but exercise does not factor into my weight loss (and many, many people who are unable to get moving for a variety of reasons have found great success losing weight on ketogenic diets). I really can recommend yoga, though, especially if you’re fat: body weight exercise is a great way to gain muscle (how cool is it to use that extra weight for your benefit?) and flexibility is fun.
Who the heck is Kara?
I’m a nearly 30 year old serial hobbyist, who has been married to the webmaster (master of his domains) for seven years. As a fat chick cooking, eating and discussing food and nutrition has pretty much always been central to my life. Combine that with my incessant writing and you get this blog.
By fat chick, how fat do I mean? At my largest, at the beginning of 2011, I was about 285 pounds (size 26-28). I’ve swung up and down on various diets since that time, but thankfully have not hit that high again. When I started this diet at the end of September 2014, I was about 245 pounds. So, that’s my fat chick cred: Morbid obesity has been the name of the game for many, many years.
Questions? Comments? Irrepressible Compliments? Send ‘em along.