BY MORGAN GILL
At the beginning of my fitness journey over 2 years ago, I began by counting calories religiously. I ran 3-5 miles at least 3-4 times a week, and I ate super low-calorie food. Did it work? Yeah, I lost about 11 lbs. Was it fun? Heck, to the no.
So over the course of 2 years, I’ve tried to maintain a moderate protein, high carb, low fat diet. (Probably the normal American diet except I counted calories.)
I worked out with weights, but wasn’t gaining significant muscle mass, so I went on a bulk and ate a surplus in calories. I finally got up to 123.5 lbs and personally decided it was time I started my cut for my short, five foot three frame.
A cut is the period of time in a fitness journey when you decrease calories consumed -aka - go on a diet.
I maintained a weight that was healthy during my bulk. I didn’t look extremely toned, and I’ve always wanted that. I am not saying by any means that a certain weight on the scale is “bad” or “good.” The perfect weight will differ for everyone and their personal body type. Most people don’t even use the scale as a practical judge for health anymore. *Please do not look at my numbers and compare yourself, as they are included strictly for reference.*
I decided it was time to finally try the Keto diet -- the low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet that I’ve heard HUGE success stories from, miraculous claims about health and curing of diabetes, and more.
Although I am not in need of a miracle cure, I was looking for something that could heal me of my stomach pains I had been experiencing after every meal, and reduce my serious post-eating energy slumps. (I had started believing that too many carbs in my diet were producing these symptoms). I also wanted to reduce my body fat percentage and maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
So, my journey began.
I didn’t dabble. As soon as I decided, I jumped in.
My mom, who is looking for major results, decided to do it with me. However, the rest of my family is still eating carbs, so my mom and I either make meals the entire family will enjoy that are secretly Keto, or we just eat something entirely different.
A typical day of eating for me consists of waking up, drinking some KetoCoffee for breakfast, but continue throughout the day with as much black coffee as I want. (If I have some extra calories, I’ll add in a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Absolutely no sugar-filled creamers.)
Later, around lunch, since I work from home, I’ll typically make a fresh omelette from egg, sausage, bacon, cheese, onion, green pepper and garlic. It’s amazing. When I get hungry later, if I need a snack before dinner, I’ll eat a cheese stick or bowl of spinach salad with a tablespoon of Olive Garden dressing.
Dinner normally consists of some type of meat, cheese, and vegetable.
Example - burger bowls with lettuce, cheese and tomato or grilled chicken with green beans and a small side of strawberries.
I usually have some Keto dessert on hand, such as a Keto OMG Bar (Pinterest recipe. It’s so good. Think sugar-free chocolate, unsweetened coconut, nuts and a Keto butterscotch sauce all mixed together in a little muffin tin) or I’ll have my Keto chocolate mousse Best Fat Fuel as a treat if I still need to hit my fat macros for the day. I can turn this into actual chocolate mousse or drink as a shake, and this makes it super easy to get my sweet fix.
NOTE: (If you’re interested in this, yes I do sell this. I use it myself though, and I didn’t write this article to market to you. However, if you are wanting to use the yummy things I use, you can reach out to me at my email located at the end of this article, and I’ll help you figure out what’s best for you!)
Another drink I LOVE is the Keto version of the London Fog. All it is, is fresh brewed Earl Grey tea with two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and two tablespoons of Torani sugar-free French vanilla syrup. It’s so good. You can thank me later. ;)
Also, I think it’s important to mention that I workout around 5 days a week. (The extra energy I’ve experienced makes this easy.) I work arms and back twice a week in the gym, legs and glutes twice a week in the gym, and I normally get in a short run along with a yoga practice one day.
I have recently been pairing my workouts with walking for 45 minutes to an hour at the end of they day when it’s cooler because this gives me peace of mind. I head out with a water bottle, my headphones, and a good Audible book, and it’s one of my favorite parts of my day. I highly recommend doing this even if you don’t workout. It’s peaceful, good for the mind and body.
So, after a month of this, you’re wondering - OK. How was it? What did you experience?
I’ll tell you, I’m thoroughly impressed.
I really didn’t expect anything to help with my constant stomach pains (I hadn’t asked a doctor about it because it wasn’t super serious pain. It hurt, but it was something I thought I could figure out on my own.) Since I started the Keto diet, (not eating a single carb-filled meal) I have experienced ZERO stomach pain. And that is enough to keep me low-carb for a life-time, if necessary.
My post-lunch energy slumps have practically disappeared! My total energy has increased. My mental performance, clarity and productivity have been boosted exponentially. (I credit this to the increase in ketones to my brain, the brain’s preferred energy source.)
I did notice a decrease in endurance when performing high-intensity exercise that typically burns carbs (aka: running), but I perform much better in my weight workouts on keto, so I’ll take weights over the other any day. (If you’re not resistance training, you should be.)
Also, I’ve noticed improved sleep, which is good for hard training muscles to recover.
The largest thing I noticed was a decrease in appetite and sugar cravings. (This is why so many people successfully lose so much weight on Keto. The high fat content of the food keeps you full so much longer, you don’t eat as much!)
So. Did I lose weight?
I started out at 118. I dropped to 113 by the end of the month.
I didn’t check my body fat percentage before I started, but I did check it last week, and if the calipers were accurate, I was at 16.5%. Which is great, and I’m feeling better than ever. Now, to get the toning I want, I need to gain more muscle mass.
Will I continue keto?
Yes, for now.
As long as my body fat keeps reducing and my muscle mass builds, I’ll keep it the same. If it’s working, don’t change it, right?
Would I recommend it to others?
From my experience - yes.
There is plenty of evidence out there to support the benefits of the Ketogenic diet. You just have to do the research yourself to decide if it’s a good fit for you.
And remember, fad diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes do.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, you don’t need to do the Keto diet just to go back to your old, high-carb overeating daily bad habits. You’ll gain it all back. If you’re ready to lose it and keep it off though, I recommend doing Keto, and incorporating healthy lifestyle changes that you can maintain for life. (Such as daily exercise and consistent healthy food choices.)
Thanks for reading a piece of my story! My email is email@example.com for inquiries of products mentioned, or further information!
Morgan Gill is a Clinical Exercise Physiology major at Mississippi State University. She's multi-passionate, running a business while also pursuing other dreams. Her fitness has always remained a priority. Her workouts consist mostly of consistent weight training mixed with runs, yoga, and HIIT.