It’s a Ketovore life.
Well friends, it’s been 12 months of working on healing my body and I’ve definitely come a long way and still have a long way to go…
It’s been an interesting journey so far. Frustrating at times but definitely rewarding.
I’ve lost 24.5 kg (53.9 pounds – sounds more impressive ha!), and with it a lot of inflammation and discomfort. I’ve also managed to reverse Type 2 Diabetes (as long as I stick to low carb eating), clear up most of my dermatitis (that too returns if I let certain foods back into my diet), and developed a wicked coffee addiction.
I started the entire journey by deciding I was going to do keto (again). Twenty odd years ago I had managed to drop 30 kilos by doing an Atkins style diet – unfortunately allowing carbs back in plus having another 3 babies saw me gain almost all of it back.
What I’ve Done
I knew keto worked for me in the past but also found it a struggle to get back into keto as well. I had all the tools and all of the ‘wisdom’ of social media influencers to help me but found following the traditional keto path actually left me feeling sick to my stomach, frustrated and definitely not losing weight.
However, I was determined. So I started digging further. I knew I’d reached Type 2 status after having gestational diabetes 3 times it wasn’t really a surprise but it still scared the pants off of me. So I took action and thought I’d start with an egg fast to get into ketosis. By day 3 of the egg fast I wasn’t hungry anymore so though heck I’ll try this fasting thing everyone is talking about.
I made it 5 days of fasting – during the fast I continued to research and in one of the fasting groups I was in a lady who had a very similar story to mine was sharing her journey with the Carnivore diet. By the time I was ready to end my fast I thought – you know what? I’m going to give it a go – can’t be any weirder than not eating….
And that my friends is when things started to change for my health. I stopped worrying about losing weight and focused on healing my body.
Initially I did the hardcore carnivore – only meat, lots of added fat, salt and nothing else. I STRUGGLED not with the food so much but actually being able to eat enough. It was weird. I tracked what I was eating and in the end was under eating – even though it felt like I was eating A LOT of meat.
That changed after a while and was able to eat more, which meant more calories and that’s when the weight started to come off.
When I cut back on the fat, I lost even more. I eventually started letting in a few other foods as I tolerated them. Dairy seems to be ok for me and I have that mostly in the form of cream in my coffee. Sometimes the occasional ice cream or cheese. I have nuts and seeds here and there but not everyday. I definitely use spices these days and I really really like sugar free dark chocolate. That said I almost never have fruit or vegetables (and yes I poop just fine).
It all flew in the face of the conventional nutritional wisdom I’d been fed my entire life. But it works for me. My A1C dropped from 9.8 down to 5.2 over the last year. That’s probably my biggest success.
I definitely live the ‘ketovore’ label these days – I eat a meat heavy diet – I sometimes have a bite of vegetables if the mood takes me and I fit in other foods from time to time. I use fat as a lever and since I’m trying to lose body fat I try to keep it lower than what you’d find in traditional keto macros. In general my carbs are usually under 20g a day and most of that comes from the dairy I consume.
As much as I hate to admit it adding in activity was one of the biggest levers for me. It was and is particularly important in improving my blood glucose levels. That said I do not do hard core workouts – I walk – a lot. These days my days feel weird if there isn’t a walk involved. I also added in resistance training, nothing hectic a simple circuit workout 3 times a week that takes about 30 minutes.
It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve felt like I want to take it up a notch in this area. I’ve started experimenting with yoga and pilates classes and lifting some heavier weights.
What I’ve learned about MY body
Well, let me tell you, I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion about what works and what doesn’t and my best advice is to experiment and see what actually works for YOU.
Super high fat does NOT work for me. A higher protein approach with moderate fat does.
The best sweeteners for me if I am going to indulge are erythritol and allulose. Xylitol and other sweeteners all send my blood sugar up just like regular sugar.
I am not blessed to be one of those people who can drop weight fast and do it without exercise, my system has been damaged by 40+ years of eating the wrong foods for me. Movement is my friend and I’ve kind of grown to love it (never, ever thought I’d say that).
Coffee has become a crutch – now I will say that’ really become the case in the last few months and it might just be because it’s winter – and it’s cold…I’ll let you know lol.
Stress has a major impact on me – that and hormones. Sigh. I’ve definitely hit peri-menopause and I can see the effects of hormones and stress in my blood sugar readings. I can literally pinpoint where I am in my cycle by what my blood sugar is doing. (I have been wearing a CGM for quite a few months so can see the patterns). Also my cortisol is crazy especially with stress – it has definitely improved and I hope it continues to do so with more healing.
The stress and cortisol has definitely impacted my progress over the last few months with things being extremely challenging in my personal life. I’ve had to learn to cut myself some slack and be happy with maintaining my weight and accepting that my body is in preservation mode for the time being.
What I’ll be doing in the future
I plan to continue with my meat based diet. I’ll play around with higher protein and see where I am comfortable with fat and carbs.
I want to add in some more diverse exercise and movement to keep it interesting.
Continue to focus on being kind and patient with myself and knowing when my body is ready things will start moving again.
My ‘goal’ at this stage is to lose another 12kg of body fat. I don’t have a goal weight as such because I know very well now that I will likely gain muscle weight while I lose fat so I could very well hit my goal by only losing 5 kilos. So rather than a scale number I’m looking for body recomposition. Who knows how long that’ll take. I’m 50 now and everything takes longer these days lol.
I won’t be quitting and I will never go back to the way I used to eat. I followed all the conventional nutrition wisdom my whole life and I ended up diabetic and overweight. Grains are not my friends at all – my system is so damaged that things like fruit are off my plate because of the sugar/carbs. I also have a lot of sensitivities to fruits and vegetables so I’m happier without them!
I will also continue to experiment to see where my sweet spot is – I don’t believe there is any one way to eat that works for everyone. We are all unique and have unique bio-individual needs. I don’t believe in eating one way and doing it forever and ever – my needs change and I’ll go with that.
Things that have helped
I’ve focused on mostly eating real foods but there are a few things I use to help along the way and you can find them on my resources page.
Mindset and education have been a very big part of my journey – podcasts have been invaluable. Never stop learning!
I believe in this so much that I got my Keto and Carnivore Coaching certification through Maria Emmerich I 100% recommend any of her cookbooks and courses to help you build your knowledge and help you on your journey