Please note that I have been 80/20 paleo for the past year – which in my definition is focusing on real foods, but still splurging on “non-paleo items” more than someone on a strict 100% paleo diet would do. While being pretty strict with my food throughout the week, I would still have a non-paleo meal a few times a week and did drink alcoholic beverages on weekends. I work out at least 3 times a week (sprint intervals and strength) Many would say that this is not strict at all, but there is a reason for that. Stress. It’s a major factor in being a healthy individual, and can even cause weight gain, among other physical issues. So, I wanted my non-strict paleo routine to be without any added stress. To me, that means allowing myself to fall off track without beating myself up when things go wrong. I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this – what to do and what not to do.
I wanted to take this year to gradually get myself used to consuming more REAL food, less carbs, less sugar, and less chemicals in order to prepare myself for a ketogenic diet (more info below).
I gave myself a full year to review, because changing your lifestyle takes time. It’s NOT EASY and it’s not FAST. If you are looking for a fast yo-yo diet that will make you lose 5 pounds in a week (then gain 10 back because your body is stressed), this is not for you. This is for you if you are looking to improve your health and be as human as we are meant to be – lessening the amount of chemicals we put in our bodies and the stress we feel. Think about all the damage you have done to your body over your lifespan and know that it is going to take some time to heal, time to change your mind about how and what you eat, as well as how you move/exercise.
A typical paleo day of food for me:
Breakfast is 2 hardboiled eggs, banana, and coffee with cream. Lunch is a big veggie salad topped with turkey or tuna, avocado, seeds and balsamic vinegar. Dinner is 5-6 oz. of meat/poulty/fish with a big side of veggies in butter or oil. If I’m hungry between meals, I snack on veggies, fruit, sometimes a few nuts or slices of deli turkey. Dessert? Fruit, dark chocolate, or grass-fed yogurt I put in the freezer.
Splurges meals? Yes, there were some, maybe 2-3 meals a week included something that wasn’t “paleo”. When I wasn’t on track, it was usually at restaurants and on weekends. I would eat things like a bun on my burger or fries. The worst splurge for me was alcohol. But, I’ve come a long way from my meals of cereal, pasta, and cookie dough!
So, How did that go?
Well, my health has never been better!
Here are the pluses and minuses that I have seen since last year:
+I have only been sick once this year (when I caught a virus going around our office)
+I sleep better
+I have more energy
+Less stomach aches
+Skin is clearing (Please note, I also switched my birth control pills and stopped using foundation makeup which also helped)
+I feel stronger and more willing to do physical activities
-Minus: My body fat % is not quite where I want it to be. While being 80/20 paleo, I’m not leaning out and “dripping” off fat like many people may write about. In fact, if I were to actually weigh myself (as most paleo experts say to avoid using as a measurement of health), I actually weigh more. Yes, I technically gained 8-10 pounds in a year. But what does that consist of? How much fat, how much muscle? These things are very hard to measure. It was suggested that I do other measurements as well – tape measure and comparison photos. All in all, I saw a minimal gain in inches, like .5″-1″ in certain areas. This could mean a few things. Either I’m gaining muscle and kept the fat, or I could have lost a little fat while gaining muscle. Also take into consideration all the health improvements, as I mentioned in the list above.
I have been taking body comparison photos, but really… there isn’t much to look at. No extreme changes to note. But here are my skin comparison photos. No photoshop! As you can see, last year, I had constant breakouts. I was pretty embarrassed to walk around, thinking everyone was staring at my breakouts and trying to cover them up with foundation which probably made things worse. My skin always had trouble spots! And now, I no longer use foundation makeup and I am very aware of my diet. I still get a pimple here and there, I have naturally oily skin, but seriously less breakouts.
NEXT STEP FOR ME: KETOSIS/CARBNITE
More specifically cyclical ketosis with a weekly one meal carb re-feed. But that is just a fancy way of saying Keto diet with a weekly carb night. OR, some may call it CarbNite Solution.
What is it? And Why do it?…….
I have been doing a lot of research, and suggest that you do the same if you are looking into a ketogenic diet. I have gotten to the point in my life where I have very little stress, I am not anxious or OCD. If you have high stress levels, I would NOT recommend trying this, because it will add stress to your life and your body. My reasons for starting this is to really tune into what I’m eating and also managing my weight: fat vs. muscle, and to do all this without starving myself – I want to feel satisfied with what I eat!
Possible benefits: *Source: “Keto Clarity” by Jimmy Moore. pg. 37
-Natural appetite and hunger control
-Weight loss and maintenance
-Blood sugar normalization
-Insulin sensitivity restoration
-Reduce levels of inflammation
-Lowered blood pressure
TIPS for Starting a Ketogenic Diet:
-RESEARCH: Be well aware of what you are getting into before you decide it is right for you. If needed, please reach out to more experts for help. If you have a nutrition/diet related disease, illness, allergy, please understand what is right for your body before making changes like this. If you consult your doctor, he/she may fight the idea of a high-fat diet. Know your facts, know your sources.
-Baby Steps and patience! If you are currently eating a typical, high-carb diet (anything over 150-200 grams per day), it will take some time to get your body used to functioning with different nutrients. Some people even describe it as going through withdrawal, especially the cravings. I would start small, and lower your carbs little by little until you are comfortable and have no problem staying within 100 carbs per day. Then you can move on to trying a ketogenic diet. Depending on your current diet, this could be easy, OR it could take weeks – even MONTHS to do so. Seriously. This was not easy for me and I would say it took at least 6 months for me to go day to day without serious cravings. Going cold turkey might work for some, but I feel like it will make for a higher chance for failure.
-LOTS OF WATER. Make sure to stay hydrated during this process!
-TRACK: I think it helps to use an online app or journal to help you keep track of your daily intake of nutrients including carbs, fats, proteins, fiber, sugar, and calories. You can also keep track of your ketone levels using urine or blood analysis tests.
-CHILL OUT. Like I said before, if you are stressed out, you should not put your body under more stress by trying to do such a strict diet. Make sure you are chill and as stress-free as possible (for no better words for it)… find your happy place.
“KETO” acronym by Jimmy Moore:
-Keep carbs low
-Eat more (healthy) fats than you’ve ever eaten
-Test for ketones often – only use keto urinalysis sticks when first starting, need to do blood tests once keto-adapted.
-Overdoing protein can be bad
Sites that helped me learn more:
-Listen to Jimmy Moore’s interview on Everyday Paleo HERE
–Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet
–Your Brain on Ketones
–Keto Sample diet Plan
–The Ketogenic Paleo Diet
-5 Steps to Transition into a Keto Diet
So follow me and I’ll keep you posted on my menus, workouts, measurements, as well as how I feel and what I’ve learned! Hope to see some some positive changes!
Thanks for reading! If you have any insights on your keto diet, I would love to hear how it’s going!
AND as always, no questions are too personal or too silly, please feel free to ask me anything! I am glad to help out in any way I can! :)