I love bread.
I wanted to start out by saying that so there is no confusion throughout this article. I love bread, and pasta, and cookies, and cake and all carbs – bad, good; it doesn’t matter. However, I may love them too much sometimes (like when I eat 14 Oreos in just a few minutes).
Because I’m interested in trying almost any diet at least once, I decided to go low carb right before my 25th birthday. I have been low carb before, but never quite like this. To prep for yet another birthday that reminded me how the previous birthday I said I would get in the best shape of my life by my next birthday (… THIS birthday), I decided I would try to get into and stay in Ketosis (a state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs) for at least 6 weeks.
To get there and stay there, you need to eat 50 grams net carbs OR LESS. 50 grams net carbs is about equal to a banana and a slice of bread, just so you have that for reference. I decided to be an overachiever and eat as little carbs as humanly possible – most days I clocked in at under 30 net grams. I am a rockstar. Please hold your applause until the end.
At this point you’ve probably written me off as crazy, and I do not disagree. But no one has as much motivation as girl trying to fit into an amazing (and tight) cocktail dress for her birthday. Except maybe brides, but at least they already have someone willing to marry them whereas I am both trying to look good on my birthday AND trying to find a husband. So on second thought, I am the most motivated of all.
How to Follow a Ketogenic Diet
I have to stress that without this motivation – without an intense WHY – you will likely fail at staying in ketosis for a long period of time. I was extremely motivated, but when friends tried to join me and lacked a strong goal, they barely lasted a week. I also worked out twice a day while following this diet, once around 7am for 30-45 minutes and once at 5:30pm for the same length. You can see results from this diet without working out at all, but as with all diets, working out will speed up weight loss. Here are some examples of how I managed to eat so few carbs and not kill anyone:
What I Ate to Get to Ketosis:
Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with 2 turkey sausage links and 2 slices full fat bacon*
Lunch: Zucchini noodles with chicken and bruschetta
Snack: Atkins Shake; Celery & PB
Dinner: Greek salad with avocado, pine nuts, cucumber, tomato, red onion and homemade dressing
*To compensate for the lack of carbs and to help your body enter Ketosis, you need to up the amount of fats that you eat. About 60-80% of your calories should be coming from fats while following this diet.
What I Ate Once in Ketosis:
Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with grilled green pepper and onion, diced ham and pepper jack cheese
Lunch: Tuna lettuce wraps with celery, onions, soy sauce and full fat mayo
Snack: Atkins shake + 2 TBSP PB
Dinner: Grilled chicken and one bag frozen low carb vegetables (like broccoli with cheese sauce)
Signs of Ketosis
I had never attempted a diet like this before, but I figured if Kim Kardashian could do it, so could I. I had no idea how I would know when I was in Ketosis, and technically I guess I’ll never know. I didn’t do any blood or urine tests, but I experienced a number of signs that indicated I made it:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Extreme thirst
- Rapid weightloss
- Increased energy
- Increased mental clarity
The symptoms will be different for everyone, and others have reported more and different signs of Ketosis, but as long as you’re eating below 50g net carbs, it’s pretty impossible to not have entered Ketosis after 10 days.
After the first week, where you lose mainly water weight due to decreased carbs, multiple people started to comment on my weightloss. By the end of the 7 weeks I was following this diet, I had lost 15 pounds and felt amazing.
How Long Should You Follow a Low Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet can be a way of life for some people, especially those with medical issues like diabetes, but Ketosis isn’t a very sustainable way of life, at least not in my opinion. By being so restrictive, you are more likely to snap and fall into binge eating. For quick weight and fat loss, Ketosis is the perfect solution. Increased fats help keep you full while decreasing bloat and promoting actual fat loss. If you’re interested in burning fat for a moderate amount of time, whether it be for a special event or as prep for a bigger goal, like building muscle, I would recommend giving Ketosis a try. And if you want to stay low carb afterwards, you can always follow the Atkins diet.