When I first heard my friend mention the word "ketosis," I immediately thought he was referring to science fiction. I imagined intergalactic space travel or my midichlorian count, definitely not my diet.
As someone who relied on cheap junk food and sugary soda to power through the day, I tried to ignore the negative side effects my body was experiencing. I had difficulty completing my workouts, I could never lose weight, I was always exhausted, and a heavy layer of "brain fog" made it hard for me to get through the work day.
People don't always realize the amount of fatigue they experience on a day-to-day basis. Through high school and college, I blamed my lack of energy on not getting enough sleep, overworking, or needing more coffee - basically, on things I was doing or not doing. I began to realize, however, that my body itself that was the problem. Eating a carb-heavy diet left me constantly snacking, feeling drained, and always in a slump.
When my friend told me about the ketogenic diet, I shrugged it off. A diet based on fat? That sounded as legitimate as an "As Seen on TV" product. The more research I did, however, the more I realized this diet could help me live the full, active life I longed for. Little did I know a year later I would be working my way towards certification as a ketogenic diet coach.
As a coach, I'm often met with the same skepticism I had before I made the keto jump. People worry that the keto diet is just another celebrity-endorsed diet scam that will land them in the hospital, and they often question me about my career. Every time they ask, I tell them about my clients.
Jenny loved her kids and was used to an active lifestyle, but her recent struggle with stress eating caused her to gain weight quickly. This made it difficult for her to keep up with her kids' busy schedules and enjoy her life for both herself and her family. When she approached me about helping her with weight loss and renewed energy, I knew the keto diet was right for her. By restricting the carbohydrates in her diet and replacing them with unsaturated fats and proteins, her constant snacking was reduced, and her body began burning excess fat. A year later, she's lost 40 pounds, and she's able to keep up with her kids the way she always wanted to.
Mark had a family history of both obesity and diabetes and was concerned that, if left unchecked, he would be next in line for both conditions. Working with his doctor, we created a diet of heart-healthy fats and animal proteins that worked to reduce his blood sugar and with, careful monitoring, kept his weight and diabetes risk at bay. He's now living an active lifestyle with less anxiety and fewer medications.
As exciting as it is to start a new diet, it's important to remember that starting a keto diet will cause you to feel fatigued. Like my girlfriend Karen found out when she started the keto diet with me, your energy will probably be reduced in both daily activities and especially your workout routine.
This period of exhaustion may last several weeks to a month as your body to get used to processing ketones instead of glucose for energy. As the liver produces more ketones and your body becomes accustomed to the change, you'll enter into ketosis and become a fat-burning machine. This will restore and increase your energy.
Martin was already a dedicated athlete when we met at my local gym. When I told him about the keto diet, he was skeptical, concerned it would reduce his muscle mass and energy. I assured him that building lean muscle is still possible on this diet by consuming more fats and proteins. While his energy would be temporarily reduced as his body adjusted to ketosis, he'd soon find a difference in his ability to work out harder and longer. As we worked together in the months that followed, he soon found out I was right.
This diet isn't for everyone. I've had potential clients who were pregnant, taking insulin, or had issues with their gallbladders that approached me asking if I would help them get on the keto plan. In any of these conditions, I have to say no. I also insist clients talk to their doctors first to make sure the diet won't interfere with any of their medications. Your health is my number one priority.
In certain cases where a full-fledged keto diet isn't safe, I modify the plan to suit my client's needs. Amy had hypothyroidism but wanted to try the ketogenic diet. To keep her diet safe in light of her thyroid condition, I created a low-carb instead of no-carb plan. While this didn't put her in ketosis, it had similar benefits such as weight loss and improved mental clarity.
Is the keto diet effective? Absolutely, I've seen it work for countless clients. The important thing to remember is that you're not focusing on a "diet" - you're focusing on your health and wellbeing. The keto diet helps you improve your quality of living and gives your body the nourishment it needs. Taking care of your body is the most important thing you can do for both you and the ones you care about.