I Tried a Keto Diet for 14 Days and This is What Happened (Hint: It's Not All About Weight Loss)
Yep, I tried a keto diet for 14 days and survived.
Despite having followed every diet known to man (or more likely, woman), I am pretty much anti-diet. I hate strict rules because I'm always rebelling against them. I don't want to be told what to eat, and when to eat it. I despise following someone else's meal plan because I like what I like, you know? (Though I am very aware many of my readers love meal plans, lol.)
That said, I like healthy eating "guidelines." I do best when eating low carb but I usually don't say I'm on a low carb diet. I just eat that way. I don't identify with my eating style.
Keto is kinda like low carb on steroids. I committed to following a keto eating plan for 14 days and wanted to share the results. I followed the Happy Keto Body program by Leanne Vogel at Healthful Pursuit, and I have actually committed to doing so for 12 weeks. But I wanted to give you a sneak peek of what can happen in just 14 days.
You can read my review of the Happy Keto Body program HERE. Also, I just restarted Happy Keto Body and am blogging about my journey each week. You can start with prep week here: Happy Keto Body Review Prep Week - How to Plan for an Awesome Start
Do you need a little help doing keto?
Do you feel frustrated with your results? Do you need a program that not only gives you recipes and meal plans, but also helps you tailor keto to your body and your personal tastes?
Happy Keto Body is an online 12 week video course I went through to learn keto.
Before I did Happy Keto Body, my keto information came from random info on the web or Pinterest. And I felt frustrated because it wasn't working for me.
But Happy Keto Body is doctor-approved, holistic keto program for women. You'll learn how to balance your hormones, reset your metabolism, lose weight and boost your energy WITHOUT lowering your carbs to dangerous levels, limiting your veggies, or eating pounds of bacon and cheese.
Bonus Happy Keto Body Printable Planner
If you decide Happy Keto Body is right for you and purchase the program through one of my affiliate links in this post, I have an awesome printable planner just for you! It's a whopping 170 pages and it is designed to walk you through every single day of the Happy Keto Body program.
It has goal setting worksheets, pages to track your weight, measurements, and progress photos. Weekly "to do" checklists, meal planning and shopping lists, and daily journal pages to log your food, your symptoms, and how you feel. This planner is not for sale, and you won't find it anywhere else - it's only available to those who start Happy Keto Body through one of my links.
To receive your free printable planner for the Happy Keto Body program:
Purchase Happy Keto Body through any of the links on this page. Like THIS one!
Forward me a copy of your digital receipt (dated January 10-17, 2019) to Jacqui@PlanAHealthyLife.com .
Check your inbox. You should have the planner within 24 hours.
Why I wanted to eat keto (and commit to a "diet").
The short answer is I have backslid and have gained some weight, after losing 86 pounds (actually more) in 2008. My clothes don't fit, I feel sluggish and, dammit, matronly. Not a good feeling. You can read my story here: How I Lost 86 Pounds
It's more than the weight gain. I have chronic knee and back pain and I'm hopeful these symptoms will lessen by reducing inflammation in my body. I also have autoimmune issues, which many believe can be helped by a keto diet.
But to be brutally honest with y'all, it's how I FEEL. About myself. I am having the same icky feelings I did when I was obese. That people are judging me. That I'm not worthy to go to the swimming pool because I don't like how I look in a bathing suit. That I can't buy cool, fashionable clothes in a larger size because I have an entire wardrobe waiting for me at my "skinny weight." I don't feel sexy, and I don't feel confident or happy in my own skin.
The icky feelings are what really drove me to commit to a keto diet.
Why I chose the Happy Keto Body program.
Remember my "I hate to follow rigid diets and strict eating plans" belief? That is one of the main reasons I chose to follow Happy Keto Body. (The Happy Keto Body online course is only open for registration through January 17, 2019. If you are reading this post after that time, you can follow a similar plan designed by the same lady, Leanne Vogel: Healthful Pursuit Keto Bundle.)
Happy Keto Body is about personalizing keto to fit your body and your life. Finding what amount of carbs works best for your body. Maybe intermittent fasting, maybe not. Maybe tracking macros, and maybe not. Including the foods that make you happy and make your body feel good. Paying attention to sleep, and stress reduction, and self-care. It's a holistic, whole body approach.
You can read my review of the program here: Happy Keto Body Review
The other reason I chose Happy Keto Body is because it is whole foods based. This means you are eating whole, real foods, just the way nature made them. No relying on processed keto bars or diet sodas. I want to nourish my body for good health, and I don't want to rely on deli bologna, American cheese, and fake stuff. Real food, please.
I did not want to be limited to 20g of carbs a day, as advocated by many programs.
I did not want to be thrown into intermittent fasting before I am ready, like some programs. I have IF'd in the past, but there are days I wake up starving and want food. I don't want to feel guilt because I ate a meal before 11am.
My results (because I know that's why you're reading this).
Weight and Inches
In 14 days I lost 7 pounds and my waist size dropped by an inch.
Not miraculous (and if you're looking for miracles you will be sadly disappointed because they do not exist in the diet world), but very realistic and I am thrilled.
Other Positive Improvements
I lost my desire to binge eat. This is huge and you will understand this if you are a binge eater. No more zombie eating. No more hiding food so I can cram it in my mouth when I'm alone. No more trips to the gas station mini mart for candy bars which I furiously eat in my car. 'Cause you can't binge eat in front of others, am I right?
This is the biggest blessing, over and above weight loss any day. When you are in binge eating mode it is incredibly damaging emotionally.
If you struggle with binge eating, you might find this blog post helpful: 4 Simple Steps to Recover from an Eating Binge
I have no cravings, other than for veggies and salt (both of which I eat without restriction).
My "digestion" is much improved. I have a history of IBS and gluten-intolerance. Going off both gluten and grains seems to be very helpful.
I feel a peace with food. I am no longer obsessed with what I'm going to be eating at the next meal or snack.
My overall food quality has improved tremendously. I rarely ate processed foods during these 14 days, and the ones I do eat are in the form of bacon, and grass fed beef sticks. I was a huge Quest bar addict and now they taste overly sweet and artificial to me. I am eating more veggies than I have in a long time.
I'm not hungry every 5 minutes. Well, every 30 minutes, more likely. But you know what I mean. You eat a bowl of "healthy" granola for breakfast and you not only have a sugar crash but intense hunger a half hour later. I feel satisfied.
I don't worry about calories. Yes I track my macros (using MyFitnessPal) but I am not overly concerned about calories. I am definitely eating more than any traditional diet program would tell me too. I'm averaging about 1900 per day.
I was more mindful of my eating, and the signals coming from my body. I tried to pay attention to signals of hunger and fullness. Listening to your body is really stressed in Happy Keto Body.
It definitely takes a little more effort to eat keto than to calorie count or just eat "whatever." I needed to plan my meals so I could shop and have healthy food in the house. But meal planning, for me, takes 30 minutes or less. I don't spend a lot more time in the kitchen because I prepare very simple meals and also use a lot of planned leftovers.
I didn't notice an increase or decrease in my energy levels. I get crap sleep and I need to work on getting to bed at a reasonable time.
What I ate on the keto diet.
On a keto diet you eat lots of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and very little carbs - mostly in the form of veggies. You'll note my meals are simple and repetitive. I am not a gourmet eater and I don't mind repeating foods that I enjoy. You may want a little more variety and that's fine.
If you like meal plans and recipes and don't want to mess with planning yourself, check out this weekly keto meal planning service which sends you a week's worth of keto meals, recipes, and shopping lists.
I almost always have eggs in some form, and often avocado. I definitely drink coffee, either with heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk. Here are some breakfasts I've had:
bacon, eggs cooked in bacon fat, 1/2 avocado, coffee with cream
bone broth Rocket Fuel Latte, eggs, Brussel sprouts, 1 square dark chocolate (I was starving this particular day!)
leftover chicken wings with blue cheese dressing, Brussels sprouts with walnut "cheese" (recipe from The Keto Diet book)
scrambled eggs with mozzarella, a handful of olives, coffee with coconut milk
bone broth RFL, coffee with coconut milk
My Bone Broth Rocket Fuel Latte is a recipe from the Happy Keto Body program. Just add grass-fed butter, a minced clove of garlic, and a touch of sea salt to a mug of homemade bone broth. Delish!
My lunches are generally leftovers or weird combos thrown together. Don't judge.
leftover ham with avocado, square dark chocolate
McDonald's double cheeseburger no bun, few macadamia nuts, bone broth RFL (not ideal, but ok in a pinch)
scrambled eggs, olives, Brussels sprouts with "walnut cheese"
bone broth RFL
chicken thigh with stir fried veggies, guacamole, fresh salsa, square of dark chocolate with coconut butter
burger with cheddar, more asparagus with EVOO and parmesan, dark chocolate
My family eats whatever keto goodness I'm cooking up, though I will supplement with things like mashed potatoes, hamburger buns, etc. for them.
sliced ham with homemade broccoli soup and dark chocolate
burgers with cheddar and onions, along with some veggies drizzled with EVOO
"Fried" chicken thighs with salad and cauliflower mash
"Reuben sandwich" with sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, baby Swiss, and Thousand Island dressing. Pairs well with salad.
Gluten-free meatballs with pesto and zucchini noodles
Paula Deen's Black Pepper Shrimp recipe with veggies and salad
pulled pork with Greek salad
catfish cooked in butter (one of my favorite things in the entire world) and asparagus with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
My go-to snack is sliced organic baby bell peppers with dip - either blue cheese or feta. I make the dip myself using either sour cream or Greek yogurt, garlic, sliced green onions, a bit of salt, and either blue or feta cheese. Yum.
bell peppers and dip
string cheese and a grass fed beef stick (I like Nick's Sticks brand and order them on Amazon)
handful of macadamia nuts
a weird combo I call "Spicy Peppers" - it's almost like an antipasto (I combine chopped onions, bell peppers, pepperoncini, black olives, cherry tomatoes or other veggies I have on hand, and sometimes feta cheese. I drizzle with extra virgin olive oil....so delish!)
the occasional glass of red wine
[Tweet "I tried the keto diet for 14 days and this is what happened. Hint: it's not all about weight loss."]
What about calories, though?
I ate, ummm, plenty of calories. I averaged 1973 per day.
We all have had those diets that tell you to eat 1200-1400 calories a day. I've talked about lots of them here. I'm not gonna lie, I will literally gnaw my arm off or sacrifice a chicken if I eat that little. I will be a raving, starving maniac.
In Happy Keto Body you are not focused on calories. Macros, yes, calories, no. The goal is to eat if you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. (Which, I understand, is sometimes easier said than done.)
My Keto Diary - How I Felt
I kept a daily journal and made little notes at the beginning and end of the day. This way I could track symptoms or how I was feeling emotionally about keto. (This is the printable journal I used for my keto journey: My Keto Journal.) Here is a sneak peek into my journal:
Day 1: Headache and heartburn, probably from all the wheat yesterday. Ate a lot for dinner. Scrounging for food because haven't been to the grocery store.
Day 2: Feeling good. Happy with food choices. Under 1700 calories for first time in forever. I am reminded when I have access to healthy food I enjoy eating this way.
Day 3: By afternoon splitting headache. :( Headache subsided by later. Satisfied with food. No real hunger or cravings. (Note: I have headaches very often. This headache may or may not be attributed to my keto diet.)
Day 4: Not in ketosis. Close on macros, but not perfect. (I was shooting for 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs.) The carrots and dip were amazing. Not feeling deprived. Need more water!
Day 5: Digestion is, um, amazing. Calves hurt, idk why. Feeling good but tired. Eating a decent amount of calories, obviously, but no urge to binge. (Note: My sleep is crap so tiredness is a normal thing for me.)
Day 6: In ketosis. Need more water. Rethink kombucha or budget it better. Feeling good today, no headache. Long gap between lunch and dinner. No cravings. Feeling at peace with food.
Day 7: Feeling good, scale down. Hungry but I have good food in the house. Looking forward to my day. Body seems to respond well to keto. I ate a lot today. Probably didn't need the late night snack but I'm not stressing. I feel good about this week. It passed super fast!
Day 8: Down 3 pounds - excited to begin the week! Macros spot on. Loved the Cheesecake Balls but they are very sweet and might lead to overeating. Delish food today. Will work on next week's meal plan.
Day 9: Not hungry in the slightest this morning which is really unusual. Normally I'm ravenous. Later that day.... Really hungry tonight so I ate a lot. But all keto food. One of the videos addressed ravenous hunger. I will watch that one again.
Day 10: Watery diarrhea (sorry, lol). Could this be the xylitol from the fat bombs yesterday? Everything else the same. Super thirsty. In ketosis. Good food day. Happy with my food choices. (Note: I continued to eat the Cheesecake Fat Bombs sparingly, and had no further issues. Perhaps this was a fluke.)
Day 11: Feeling good, in ketosis. I'm gonna look into supplements later. I did NOT need the second helping of my fake Reuben sandwich. Otherwise a happy food day. Trying really hard not to feel guilty about overeating. Guilt over my food choices is a bad habit!
Day 12: Really starving tonight and craving a rare hamburger. (Which I did have.) Maybe it's the salt cravings I sometimes get. Will research. Tempted to eat at 10:30pm because feeling hungry, but I resisted.
Day 13: Had the coaching call with Leanne (from Healthful Pursuit) tonight. She mentioned ravenous hunger could be your metabolism kicking in and getting used to eating more calories. Makes sense.
Day 14: These 14 days have flown by! Feeling good. Excited to continue my keto journey. I'm happy with my results so far (7 pounds gone and no food cravings), and I look forward to experiencing other benefits of keto, like gut health and autoimmune response.
What were your macros and how long did it take to get in ketosis??
In this two week period I averaged 69% carbs, 17% protein, and 14% carbs. I was shooting for 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs to start. One of the things I love about Happy Keto Body is you are not thrown into crazy macros in the beginning. You can take it at your own pace.
As far as getting into ketosis, I'm guessing it was Day 6. I say "I'm guessing" because the keto strips I had on hand had expired and didn't change color. I didn't realize this at first. I now have new keto sticks(These are the cheapest I found on Amazon.) and are working, lol.
Did I have the dreaded "keto flu"?
If I did, it was mild. I did note some tiredness the first week, however my sleep quality is crap and I know this is something I need to work on. Oh, and getting to bed before midnight will help as well, LOL.
I did have a pretty nasty headache on Day 3, but I do get headaches often. So it may or may not have been the dreaded keto flu.
Whether my tiredness or headache is attributable to my change in diet I can't say. But no other weird physical symptoms.
I was taking some precautionary measures (as explained in Happy Keto Body), like drinking bone broth, plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, eating lots of avocados and nuts, dark chocolate and olives.
What I learned about me, about the food, and random observations.
What I learned about myself.
When I have food in the house, I really enjoy eating this way.
Totally love baby peppers with dip.
I used to be obsessed with Quest bars but now they taste overly sweet and artificial. Bye bye!
I need to be careful with keto treats, like these Keto Cheesecake Fat Bombs. Sweets, even with acceptable sweeteners, make me want to eat more.
I do really well eating eggs and veggies for breakfast.
Love my bone broth RFL.
I don't have cravings when I eat keto.
Listen to my body. And trust it.
What I learned about keto (from the Happy Keto Body program).
Fat is not bad, sugar is bad.
What you eat makes or breaks your overall health.
Power foods are:
raw apple cider vinegar
raw coconut meat
wild caught salmon
The quality of your meat matters. Choose grass fed and finished beef, free range chicken, wild caught fish if possible.
Avoid grilling and cooking to well done.
Corn, sunflower, and canola oils are bad.
When you're hungry, eat fat! Healthy fats keep you full, reduce cravings, balances hormones, and has lots of nutrients.
A good keto plan is one based on whole foods, not relying on artificial sweeteners and processed stuff.
The Calories In/Calories Out theory is flawed. Your body doesn't know what calories are: many factors affect your metabolism like hormones, food quality, genetics, stress.
The best part about 14 days of keto.
No cravings. No binging. I'm back in weight loss mode. I like eating veggies and dip, chicken thighs, and salads liberally drizzled with EVOO. Oh, and cheesecake fat bombs.
Most importantly, I have a peace with food that I haven't had in a long time.
The worst part.
It's not really a bad thing, but meal planning and grocery shopping are a must. I can't be lazy and wing it. Otherwise I'll be having lunches of bone broth and a handful of nuts.
Some people are judgmental when you tell them you're eating keto. I tried to keep my mouth shut. What I eat is no one's business but my own.
Summary - was it worth it, will I continue?
You bet. I feel much more confident and prepared this keto go 'round because I'm following an actual plan. I am committing to ten more weeks of keto and I look forward to tweaking it to suit my own personal health issues.
If going keto sounds appealing to you, and you'd like guidance, meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes to get you started, I highly recommend Happy Keto Body. Enrollment is only open through August 26, 2018 and you can learn more here: Happy Keto Body
If you're reading this after January 17, 2019, check out The Keto Bundle. It's the basis for the Happy Keto Body program and, since it's a digital download, you can get started today.
If you're interested in keto, you might enjoy:
My Keto Journal - Printable 12 week planner to track your food and macros, help you plan meals, get organized for a keto lifestyle, track your progress, and much more.