Over the past month, I have been sharing my keto diet adventure on my instastories and a little on my blog. The keto diet has been something that has been so helpful for me and has especially reduced my autoimmune issues. I’ve felt in a large part, my autoimmune issues have really hampered my personal growth and what I wanted my everyday to look like. I have been so encouraged to see improvements in my life; if you’ve been discouraged about autoimmune issues, weight loss, or just want to learn more: this post is for you.
If you’ve been reading my monthly posts on the blog, my autoimmune issues have been a low point for me almost every month for a long time. I’ve had horrible flare ups. I’ve spent months nauseous. I’ve slept with heating pads. The list keeps going, but one of the other unfortunate side effects when my medication is messed with is that I gain weight; I gained 20 pounds in one month last summer (do I get an award?). I began looking for solutions and different ways to try to get the weight off and had to realize that calorie tracking just doesn’t work for me anymore. I began researching macro counting as well as “the keto diet” and decided to just go for it after I realized my Doctor had recommended me go low carb in one of my many lab reports. I have great news though and good food to show for it in posts coming up 🙂 .
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?
It means I have been eating under 20-50g of net carbs a day. A net carb simply means: carb – fiber= net carb.
While keto diet is low carb, low carb is considered anything under 100g daily according to the FDA. Regular meals for me looks like: meat, a lot of dairy, tons of vegetables, and I drink a protein smoothie everyday with unsweetened almond milk and berries. I have been putting a lot of my meals on my instastories on instagram; which has also included the massive fail of protein powder coffee mug cake that clearly crawled out of a sewer and the 7th circle of hell (it was so bad y’all… so bad).
- Basics here
- Health benefits of keto here
- Foods to eat and to avoid here
- My pinterest board with recipes and more resources here
THE GOOD BEHIND THE KETO DIET (FOR ME)
Of course, I am not a medical professional and I don’t think this will be the best way to go for everyone, but this is my experience and I’ve found a lot of good. As far as weight loss, I have lost over 11 pounds in a month which has been impossible in any other way I have tried. I’m able to button pants that I have been avoiding for a few months. I am full. My appetite is mostly gone throughout the day.
After a few days though… I realized that I hadn’t had a single autoimmune symptom that whole time. A week passed and I still realized I didn’t have any autoimmune symptoms.
After two weeks, I realized I still hadn’t had a single autoimmune symptom. People began commenting how nice my coloring was when I wasn’t wearing makeup. I always used to have a healthy coloring, but I often have an ashy coloring when I’m having autoimmune issues.
After three weeks, I realized I still hadn’t had a single autoimmune symptom. I also began seeing people in the Keto facebook groups I am in asking if other people had autoimmune issues and if they were seeing the same impact in their life. They were!
This has been really working for me. I feel myself again. My coloring is normal. My body doesn’t hurt all of the time. I haven’t been dead tired. People have commented on how I seem to have more energy. I am so pleased! We’ve easily gone to restaurants and I’ve been able to figure out different things to eat. We also haven’t eaten out as much just because I’m really just not as hungry.
I did take a break while we had a guest in town and I had an autoimmune flare up. I have to work on getting back into ketosis, but it has definitely made me think a lot more of what I used to eat.
HOW THE KETO DIET HAS HELPED ME:
- I am more mindful of what I eat
- I like that I’m always full
- I feel like I’m learning a lot about food + my body
- I love that I haven’t had any autoimmune symptoms
THE BAD BEHIND THE KETO DIET (FOR ME)
I did low carb in high school and I stopped because there wasn’t a lot of variety of recipes or foods. Well, food blogging has been a complete game changer for this and there is a bounty of recipes. However, the food takes a lot longer to make. There are really excellent recipe substitutions, but the ingredients can be way weird sometimes. I tried stevia and I thought it was absolutely disgusting. I’m still working on having variety in my diet, but I’m content otherwise.
The second thing: keto flu. It is a real thing. It was nothing compared to my autoimmune flare ups, but I was super weepy for a few days for absolutely no reason. Keto flu is basically carb withdrawals while your body is learning to process your body fat for energy instead of using eaten carbs for energy. It is real. It was a lot of tears. I kept checking my anxiety medication trying to make sure that I actually had taken it for the day (yes, I had). I learned the hard way that you can avoid keto flu by having enough electrolytes; learn from my mistakes 🙂 .
PRODUCTS I AM USING (affiliate links)
- Ketone strips
These are strips that you pee on to measure how many ketones you have in your body for weight loss. This helps me know if my body is spending time burning fat from food I ate or fat from my body; I want the latter.
- Garden of Life protein powder
I have been using this protein powder in my morning smoothies for months. I found it while researching a cheaper alternative to Shakeology and I wanted something with less sugar in it. This is a great option because it is actually only 1 net carb (dietary fiber – carbs = net carbs) and it is super nutrient dense. I get the vanilla kind, but I’d be open to trying different kinds when I need to order more.
I use this app (I pay $2 a month) to easily track my calories and macros. I love this app because it makes tracking your calories, carbs, protein, and fats so simple. It makes suggestions, but you can also adjust them all. I plan on continuing to use this app and I do think it is worth the money. Considering I was thinking of going on Weight Watchers again prior to choosing this option, this option seems extremely cheap.
You’re probably like: why are you using two different apps? I really like the social component of MyFitnessPal because people cheer me on and I track my weight and measurements here. I log my calories in it everyday since I have been logging here since 2010, but I think the interface of the app could be a million times user-friendly like KetoDiet.
WILL I BE DOING THE KETO DIET FOREVER?
After saying all of the things I say that are positive, I don’t think I would want to do this for the rest of my life. I have weight to lose though and I’m really motivated. Devin has been really helpful and supportive. He doesn’t stick strictly to this, but he eats what I eat when he is home. He has lost some weight and has been doing most of the grocery store runs for us because it keeps me from buying comfort foods.
While the low carb aspect of keto is helping with weight loss, I should make it clear it that I don’t think keto is the reason I have had reduced autoimmune symptoms; rather, I think it is because I have reduced potential trigger foods to follow this diet. My plan right now is to lose weight and then continue macro counting without such an extreme carb deficit. I really love fruits, beans, and sweet potatoes and I’d love to slowly add these back into my diet. However, because I’ve had such a positive impact with this and the foods I have been eating has been heavily reducing my autoimmune symptoms, I’m going to be very mindful in slowly these food items back in.
I’ve loved hearing from my autoimmune illness people how effective different food techniques have been for them in reducing symptoms; if you’re struggling with autoimmune issues, I hope this can bring some hope to you that things can be better. If you’re feeling really discouraged because you’ve tried other weight loss strategies, macro counting in addition to calorie tracking works!! I feel like I’ve tried a lot of different things and they have bombed, but I’ve been really grateful for how natural macro counting and the keto diet have felt for me.