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Week 4 in Nutritional Ketosis- How I got my Ketones Back!

photo (2)After coming back from vacation, it just seems to take the body awhile to readjust to the old routine. Get up early, go to the gym, go to work and resume daily life.  I felt the 2 hour time difference was worsened by the fact I had started drinking tea every morning, and I’d been avoiding caffeine for several months. I felt extra sluggish in the mornings. And the frustration I was noticing is that my ketones weren’t perking back up into the moderate zone yet. They were still at a trace to few. So with low ketones, I wasn’t getting the great mental clarity I was used to and that made me feel less than optimal. I noticed it was hard to stay engaged with monitoring the carb levels, the cravings for sweets and chocolate started to rise again. And I thought- is this it? Is my keto experiment over? Did I fail it?

But I resolved to use some patience, self compassion and curiosity to see what would happen next. “Pretend you’re back at week 1 and just see what happens.” Eventually by mid week- the moderate ketone levels were back and I had begun to feel that mental clarity and energy boost and drop in cravings that I was looking for.

What was Different in Week 4

Even though I had been doing keto for 3 weeks, I felt like I was starting over, the mindset had to shift to more patience and curiosity and keeping carbs under 50 grams.

I resumed my exercise routine, but noticed some soreness and tiredness(probably likely due to skipping my strength training for a week on vacation).

No weight loss occured this week, as I think of it as an adjustment week, getting cortisol stress back to baseline and noticing more energy by the end of the week.

By mid week, I reestablished my moderate ketone level according to the test strips.

By the end of the week, higher fat intake kept my appetite and cravings low and I could “feel” the ketones much more noticeably. More energy, more clarity and no hunger for several hours.

What I ate

Breakfast: I resumed my normal cauliflower porridge breakfast, with occasional bacon once or twice a week.

Lunch: chicken wings, broccoli, chicken salad scoop with caesar salad, tuna salad with tomatoes.

Dinner: curry coconut chicken, ground turkey cabbage and tomatoes. Salmon with zoodles and tahini sauce. Pork sausage and sauerkraut, pot roast with carrots and onions and cabbage and salad.

Snacks: coconut butter, unsweetened almond milk and chia seed pudding with stevia, macadamia nuts.

The Pro’s & Con’s of Eating Keto (after a 30 Day Experiment)

So after about 30 days of trying Nutritional Ketosis I can say I’m definitely glad I tried it.

Pros:

  • What I noticed is that my body seems to functional very well while in this state. I enjoy the way I felt and it didn’t take me long to adjust to it.
  • My exercise and strength was enhanced. I was less sore and saw strength gains. I also had surprising endurance for activities (like hiking) that I wasn’t used to doing
  • I had very little cravings and enjoyed the freedom of staying full and satiated for several hours, which came in very handy when travelling.
  • I used a food tracker called Loseit! to track carbs and I had a relatively easy time keeping carbs under 50 grams, which seems to be around my personal threshhold. I do better close to 50 and felt less alert when it was less than 25.
  • It really helped me deal with sugar cravings. I was able to eat other snacks like coconut butter or almond milk or herbal tea or 85% dark chocolate to satisfy my desire for a treat without worrying about activating my sweet tooth with sugar. I don’t recall experiencing any unpleasant physical symptoms.

Cons:

  • Frequent testing for ketones can create a little anxiety, especially when they fluctuate, it’s easy to think you’re doing something wrong.
  • Many factors, other than carbs, can influence the production of ketones and it’s important to understand that and have patience. More than a couple of carb splurges or alcohol plus carbs can disrupt ketosis. Depending on other factors, resuming a moderate state of ketosis can take as little as 1 day or several.
  • It’s not a quick fix or guarantee for weight loss. I was partly interested in ketosis for personal weight loss (that 10 pound creep of the past couple of years) but I only lost a couple of pounds at the beginning, which may have been water weight. Knowing my own sluggish weight loss history, staying the course for several weeks has always worked best. Not everyone will have weight loss results in 30 days by being in ketosis.
  • The hardest part may be the psychological adjustment. It takes a determined mindset to actively reduce sweets starches and fruit to a level that will allow you to produce ketones.

Will I Continue the Experiment?

I would like to try eating for nutritional ketosis for another month while avoiding the trouble I experienced in Week 3. I’d like to see what other  things pop up or are notable. I’d like to continue to track strength and exercise performance. My other reason for trying keto was to have another option to engage in endurance exercise. I had to stop running due to chronic hamstring problems and was hopeful that the anti-inflammatory effects of ketones could be helpful in resuming some exercise I’ve been avoiding. I wanted to see if I could become keto-adapted for performance and possibly introduce this approach to my husband who is an endurance athlete who also struggles with periodic injuries and soreness. I’d like to note any effects on my hormonal cycles and see if another 4 weeks has any effect on weight status and body composition as well as energy levels and mood.

What did you think? Would you try keto based on my experience? Have you already tried it? What was your first 30 Days like?

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