How is Keto Working for Others???

This W I L L be long. I have to purge and have no other place in which to do so. I am 43F, 5'9", 238lbs. I have been fat for as long as I can remember. Looking back at young adult me I wasn't fat, but was compared to my friends. The pregnancy/birth of my second child (2002) and beyond I ballooned to my heaviest, 245lbs. The untimely, unexpected death of a loved one is what finally motivated me enough to get my life together. The extra weight and stress were killing me. Literally. In early 2010 went on a diet. "The diet for heart surgery patients who were too heavy to undergo surgery". I worked out diligently. Started yoga. It was slow, but after a year I went from my highest known weight of 245 to 200. I hovered around 200 for a long time. It wasn't until my gallbladder went bad in 2015 that I hit 180. 180!!! I threw away all my fat clothes. "I don't need them. I'm never going back!" But I went back and more. I had a back surgery. My mental health went down the toilet. Mental health meds made me balloon. Depression killed my Give a Damn. It was a long road to where I am now. Two years ago I got a Total Gym. Used for a very short while and quit. It was always in the back of my head that I was utterly unhealthy. That I have the tools to get my health and fitness back. I couldn't. Cue the mental battle...I've always known about Atkins/Keto, but despite it being logical it flew in the face of everything is been taught. I kept revisiting Keto and learning more. A few months ago it just clicked. Let's get back in shape. I want to get married and wear a swimsuit again and not look like a sausage. No offense to sausages. I slowly began transitioning to Keto and it was really easy for me. I love Keto more than I thought. I don't feel deprived, especially giving up fruits that held me back from doing Keto. It took several weeks to see any sort of weight loss. I kept reminding myself that some folks take a while to become fat adapted. On July 21 I weighed 236. I asked my husband to get on the scale as I thought it was wrong. Then on July 24 I was 228. 228lbs!! *🎶You can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a man's woman. No time to talk🎶* Yeah, I had a strut in my step. Pulled old clothes I couldn't wear and washed them. Getting ready for the day I could. I was on cloud 9. Life's good. Cue the brakes squeaking. My weight started creeping up...And up...And up. As of today I'm 238. I haven't cheated. I don't go over my macros. I don't even get close to my NET carbs. My macro targets* are as follows:

Protein-101g

Net Carbs-20g

Fat-117g

*Using the macro calculator on the keto subreddit

I drink around 100 oz water/day.

Four Fridays ago I began fasting from midnight Friday to 8 am Saturday. Sometimes later as it depends when my husband comes home from work and we go to breakfast. AKA Satur-dates..get it?? Even then I eat smart. 2 strips of bacon and 2 scrambled eggs. I have been playing with sweeteners as well. I was a Splenda users for many many years. And have since used liquid Splenda, liquid Truvia, Splenda Monk fruit w Erythritol and am currently using liquid Pyure (stevia).

I use a tiny, wee squirt in my coffee and have switched to HWC instead of half and half for my coffee. The fastings have greatly curbed my need for things to be as sweet as I used to.

I also work out 3 days a week on my Total Gym, 39 min total body workout.

2 Mondays ago I also began another fast. Midnight Monday till 4pm Tues.

I chose to not fast today, Fri July 30 as I am on my period.

Additionally I am currently day 4 of my period.

It's always been hard for me to lose weight as if my body has a death grip on the fat. Is this weird biology, am I using a sweetener that's causing the weight gain? Am I bloated, Is it because I'm short on my macros??

Am I doomed to be a sausage the rest of my life??

I am so frustrated....

Thanks for reading. And thanks for any advice/tips...

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Comments

  • edited August 3

    I am not a nutritionist so take my comment with that in mind. I noticed that nowhere in your post do you mention total calories. You talk about macros and which sweetener to use.

    Losing weight is a calories issue, not a macro issue and not which type of sweetener to use. It seems to me that your focus is on minutiae rather than the big ticket item you should be focused on - that is calories. I’ve tried keto, it wasn’t sustainable for me. I started thinking that eating an apple was bad for me - it’s not.

    In my opinion, protein and carbs are king. I keep fat at about 25% of total calories and switch between 45% protein when building mass & 30% protein when cutting. But all that comes from knowing and tracking total calories. Once calories are determined, whether I’m a little higher or lower in one of the macros, it ultimately isn’t as important.

    I’ve found that calories are for weight, and macros for body composition. Focus on the big picture - you say you want to lose weight. Oh, and do eat apples - they’re good for you.

    Please take all this with how it was intended, to try to help. Nutritionists in the forum will likely be more informative. And good luck with your progress. Never give up the struggle - it’s what makes life interesting.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • The omission of the calories was a simple oversight.

    According to the macro calculator I used my limit is set to 1550.

  • I talked a keto for a very long time. I ate a lot of fruit and the thought of giving up fruits held me back. Now that I'm following a keto diet I don't miss fruit like I thought I would. It's actually been incredibly easy. Now a few days a month I'll have a very small (1/2c) serving of fruit.

  • edited August 4

    Oops, my mistake, sorry. I thought you said that keto wasn’t working because your weight was heading back up. I was saying that focusing on macros may not be the first choice, because it’s calories that trump all the other dietary fads when trying to lose weight. 20 g of carbs for extended periods of time seems unsustainable, it was for me to be sure.

    I wish you luck and good health.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • @A_Keto_Newbie

    Thanks for sharing your story. As a dietitian, I've heard many stories similar to yours and it pulls at the heart strings. I think it might be helpful to address some of the root causes of your weight gain and discuss behaviour strategies to ensure that your weight loss is sustainable.

    Whenever we diet, our body assumes we are sick or starving so tries to put the breaks on to prevent further weight loss (i.e. metabolic adaptation is occurring). A keto diet results in a lot of water being lost upfront so it can make it look like you are no longer losing weight when rather, your pace has decreased. It's also possible that you could be undereating/over-exercising and putting your body into a starvation mode where further weight loss is halted.

    I'd suggest only weighing yourself every 1-2 weeks at most. True weight loss happens slowly over time... If you do see a true plateau, it might be helpful to consult a dietitian to ensure your calorie and exercise targets are helping your metabolism.

    Best of luck!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    cronometer.com
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:
    https://forums.cronometer.com/discussion/27/governing-terms-and-disclaimer

  • Forget calories. Calories are not important. What is important is hormones. Stick with Keto, it will work for you. The whole eat less, move more has never been proved to work, and most of us have experienced it failing - at least in the long term. If you eat a smaller meal than you want on a regular basis, your body will go into starvation mode, which should be called "calorie reduced mode".

    I know my starting point was lower than yours, but it worked for me and I believe it can work for you. I gave up the carby foods and sugars nearly entirely (since December '19 I have eaten 8 hot cross buns, 2 pizzas, and probably a total of a slice of cake in a dozen single bites), no seed oils (except for traces in condiments like horseradish). Despite that, the weight loss did stall, a lot. I broke the stalls with fasting. 36 and 60 hour fasts. To lose the last few kilograms I did about a month of alternate day fasting, where I would eat 3 large meals one day over 12 hours, and then nothing at all for 36 hours, and then 3 large meals again.

    I now have been effortlessly keeping the weight off for a year, so I know it has not damaged my metabolism (studies also show that fasting doesn't, it's calorie restriction that does). I have done a couple of fasts this year, but just for the health benefits and to keep my hand in, not to lose weight.

  • edited August 19

    @jefmcg

    Without trying to be combative in the least, I really am interested in all this, how do you account for what you wrote

    ”studies also show that fasting doesn't, it's calorie restriction that does”

    Isn’t fasting an extreme case of calorie restriction? Doesn’t your two day total calories get cut in half when you eat normally one day, then fast the next? If so, then isn’t that the same as having half total calories for both days?

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • edited August 19

    @p0wer_lifter here is an interesting article that can explain fasting vs calorie restriction better than I at the moment...

    https://medium.com/beingwell/fasting-vs-caloric-restriction-which-is-better-for-weight-loss-980007ac378f

  • @p0wer_lifter

    "Isn’t fasting an extreme case of calorie restriction?"

    No. Most people are glucose fuelled. If you are in calorie deficit and many of those calories are carbs, you will stay glucose fuelled, just with less. Your body has to slow down, because you aren't getting enough fuel. But when you fast, you deplete your glycogen stores. Your body can create some glycogen for essential needs via gluconeogenesis, but not enough for it to be your primary substrate. 12 hours or so into a fast, your body is forced to switch to fat burning, and there is plenty of fat to burn, so no need to slow anything down. In fact, the metabolism goes up at first during a fast, which makes sense; hunter gatherers who haven't eaten for a day need energy to hunt or gather. If the metabolism slowed down, our ancestors would have all died young. If there is some food, just not much, it makes sense of our bodies to slow down, so the food will last longer.

    But fasting is even better if you are fat adapted. When I eat, I don't eat many carbs, so my body uses fat as it's primary substrate and the glucose feeds the processes that need some glucose (mostly the brain). When I am fasting, I use body fat and my liver makes a small amount of glucose. So my digestive system and my liver knows I am fasting, but the rest of my body it's just a normal day.

    "Doesn’t your two day total calories get cut in half when you eat normally one day, then fast the next?"

    I don't know how many calories I eat. I don't count them, because it's a nonsense. But, FWIW, it's more than half the food as I usually only eat 1 or 2 meals a day but definitely less than 2 days worth of food.

    The analogy I like is this: Bill Gates' personal wealth increased by $20 billion this year (🤯). How did he do that? By bringing in more money than he expended. That's obviously true, but not helpful financial advice.


    I may have lost the same amount of weight by just eating half food every day - but that's not sustainable. I tried calorie counting for 3 weeks and I was crazy by the end of it; not losing weight, obsessed with food, spending all my time reading the wrong part of food labels. And I would have put the weight on again, and some more, by now, just like every other time I used calorie restriction.

    It's the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results

  • edited August 19

    @A_Keto_Newbie

    Thank you for that, I found the article very interesting. So, what I got out of it is that fasting is better than calorie restriction during weight loss, firstly, for psychological reasons, in that it’s easier for our psyche to get through it, and, secondly, for physiological reasons, because we lose less muscle and burn more fat through ketosis. I hope I got the basic ideas right.

    This makes sense to me and agrees with other reading that I’ve done. I actually live a partial fast every day as I stop eating at about 5:00 PM and start again at 7:00 AM the next morning. But, ultimately, the actual weight loss, as far as I understand it all, comes down to total calories. It’s body composition that is impacted by the ratio of macros. We lose weight by restricting calories, it’s just more beneficial to do it through ketosis, at least that’s how I see it from a non-scientist non-professional perspective.

    All that being given, I’m still not convinced that extended periods of ketosis (less than 20g carbs???) is sustainable. For how long should a person keep to such a severe carbohydrate restriction? We know that people can go through extremely long periods of fasting & ketosis, but should they? It’s this that seems ill advised to me.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • Jumping to the last question first...

    20-50g net carbs should be enough of a restriction to get the body in ketosis. Because bodies are different 20g or less is the magic number for everyone. I haven't exceeded 20 net carbs since I began keto. I think my highest has been 17 (thanks cashews) It has not been difficult at all, for me. This only the weight loss phase. Once the goal weight has been obtained, one moves to the maintenance phase by increasing carb count.

  • Looks like my last comment was deleted - not by me. I’m not sure why, but there wasn’t anything offensive. In any case, thank you @A_Keto_Newbie and @jefmcg, interesting discussion.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • Ok...I was wondering what happened. I had a comment not show up as well.

    I agree this is an interesting discussion.

  • But regarding you concern with extended carb restriction. From what I've read 20-30g net carbs will get the body in ketosis. But because every body is different 20g net carbs is sort of like the magic number to guarantee ketosis. This is only for the weight loss phase. Once the goal weight has been reached then one goes into the maintenance phase by increasing net carb count

  • So weird. I have to think it was a glitch, there was nothing to offend. My post saying calorie counting is nonsense would have been deleted first

  • @Susan_RD_101

    With your background as a nutritionist, I’m curious about what you wrote

    “I'd suggest only weighing yourself every 1-2 weeks at most”

    To deal with fluctuations and plateaus, I like to weigh daily but analyze weekly and/or monthly depending on my weight goals. So, I weigh every day, then take a weekly or monthly average. It’s the averages that I compare to know how my weight is trending. Have you found that it’s better for people to weigh infrequently for psychological reasons? It seems to me that if I weigh myself once a week and that weigh-in happens after an abnormal day of eating, then the single data point won’t really reflect my overall weight.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • Cutting out the sugar and carbs help cut the cravings and the appetite swings. I even drink my coffee black now (whoa!) and enjoy it. Sometimes I treat myself and add a splash of HWC.

    Anecdotally, as a woman, I had horrible, huge, driving carb cravings before my period and now they're gone. It still blows my mind.

    I hope to "document" my progress that it may encourage anyone else that is facing similar challenges. I've thought long and hard about this since my initial post and I feel that my mental health struggles and not taking care of myself really damaged my body and it's taking time to heal. I gave my scale away bc I caught myself getting on it way too much. Getting rid of that stress has been a huge weight lifted off. And we know stress increases cortisol which impedes weight loss...

  • edited August 19

    Arghhh!!!! I just wrote a carefully composed post and it disappeared when I hit "post comment"


    😡


    Edit: But this one worked fine 😤

  • First of all, I want to thank you all for the comments and insight. This is exactly the interaction I as hoping for.

    @jefmcg Your progress photos are incredible and inspiring.

    I haven't given up my journey nor have I given in to temptation to eat things I shouldn't. Absolutely no breads, rice, pasta, no fruits, no juices (I take kratom for pain management and downed it with orange juice. I use MiO now)

    I enjoy, feel nourished and sustained on keto that has far exceeded my imaginings. I've come to far to give up. I continue to work out as well and think I'm finally starting to see muscle definition and can feel a difference in the way my clothes fit.

  • Eating the majority of calories from fat is satiating. Then moderate protein and less carbs. Too much protein can cause gluconeogenesis as our bodies do not store excess protein. (I hope I've explained that accurately)

    When the body has become fat adapted through keto fasting is a natural progression as the appetite naturally drops. 16:8, 20:4, OMAD (one meal a day). Extended fasting encourages Autophagy which is the bodies cleaning, recycling process. Studies have shown that it not only helps prevent degenerative neurological conditions but also skin tightening. Anecdotal reports that scars have become less notable as well.

  • edited August 19

    That's a good summary. I think the concern amount muscle wastage might be unfounded, though. The Minnesota study kept the carbs up, so they needed glucose. Their brains will need more than 100g of carbs a day, and their muscles even more. If you are fasting, your muscles will almost be entirely fuelled by ketones, and your brain 70%, so the amount of carbs needed is much less, just 20 or 30g. And it doesn't necessarily have to come from muscles. Fasting encourages autophagy, which is your body breaking down proteins for rebuilding. It may easily use these to make glycogen. And when making ketones from stored fat, triglycerides, that will release glycerol, a form of glucose. So it's very possible that no muscle will be used.


    Edit: this is the post that vanished; it has now reappeared a couple of hours after I wrote it. 🤔


    And @p0wer_lifter I see your prodigal post has returned.


    Edit #2 I see 3 posts all at the same time. Obviously all restored at the same time

  • @A_Keto_Newbie

    I believe gluconeogenesis is demand driven; that is, it's triggered by your body needing glucose not by what you eat. That means if you don't have excess dietary protein, it will take it from your lean mass. It's not 100% proven that is true, but it is 100% proven that protein deficiency is bad for you, so I err on the side of a little too much, rather than too little. I have ordered a continuous glucose monitor, so I may have some more solid data on that shortly.

    @p0wer_lifter

    All that being given, I’m still not convinced that extended periods of ketosis (less than 20g carbs???) is sustainable. For how long should a person keep to such a severe carbohydrate restriction? We know that people can go through extremely long periods of fasting & ketosis, but should they? It’s this that seems ill advised to me.

    People always talk about the long term effects keto, but never the long term effects of the current dietary pattern. The CDC estimates about half of adult Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Keto seems very safe compared to that. Anyway, I eat a diet of lots of veggies, meat, fish and dairy. That doesn't seem extreme to me. Do you really think I would be healthier by adding a slice of bread to my diet - even whole grain isn't nutrient dense, so eating less veggies so I can eat some bread and have overall less micronutrients seems crazy.

    Back to @A_Keto_Newbie

    This only the weight loss phase. Once the goal weight has been obtained, one moves to the maintenance phase by increasing carb count.

    Why would you do that? if the diet is working for you, why change it? From your history, it seems a big risk. Doing this is why a lot of people say keto doesn't work.

    The Diet Doctor, Andreas Eenfeld, has a beautiful analogy:

    I was dirty, so I started showering, and my body was clean. But then I was stopped showering, and now I am dirty again. Showers don't work.

  • edited August 19

    @jefmcg I won’t argue that the current state of health and nutrition in the world is not good, to say the least. That doesn’t necessarily mean that something else is better. In my mind, one extreme doesn’t require the other as a countermeasure, but that’s not the issue. My only thought was for the viability of long term extreme carbohydrate restriction. Is it sustainable?

    I tried it for several months and found it less than ideal, but that was just me and related my lifting.

    Have there been any large scale and long term studies? What does the research say? I’m afraid that my background makes it difficult to sift through research papers.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • edited August 20

    I don't personally see any need for studies. The foods I don't eat are foods that were rarely eaten 10,000 years ago (eg grains) or a couple of hundred years ago (sugar) or a century ago (seed oils) or fifty years ago (canola and out of season fruit) etc etc. Obviously evolution has made me able to be healthy without those foods. I want studies proving they are safe to eat, not the other way around.

    But you might find David Unwin interesting. He has been putting his patients on a low carb diet for the last 8 years, with good results.

    https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/3/2/285



  • edited August 20

    I’m not looking for studies showing that keto is unhealthy. I’m more curious about sustainability. Does keto show positive results for a large population over the long term? From what I have read, I understand that there aren’t a lot of long term studies, because people don’t stay on the plan for extended periods. But that’s neither here nor there.

    The link you provided talked about diabetic patients on keto. I think that there’s little doubt that keto helps people with various medical conditions. But what are the effects on healthy adults over the long term? I’m not sure we know that yet.

    So, all this has got me interested in retrying keto. It’s been a long time since I experimented with it. I’m coming in to a 3 week rest phase from heavy lifting, so my protein intake will drop - perfect time to play around with keto. I’m not sure what metrics I’ll use to evaluate; maybe just overall feels.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • edited August 20

    @p0wer_lifter I don't think it's _____ diet that is more or less sustainable over the other but more so the person on _____ diet. @jefmcg

  • However I do understand where your coming from. Low carb eating has been around since the early '70s by Dr. Atkins. People have balked at it because it flies in the face of "The Food Pyramid" with it's 6+ servings of grains a day. And poorly designed studies have tried to debunk it.

    To my knowledge over the years there haven't been anything definitive that a low carb lifestyle is harmful...

  • Low carb eating is waaaaaay older than Dr Atkins. His diet was literally just what he learned at medical school and as a young doctor. Carbohydrates are fattening was just generally understood by everyone.

    And then there is Banting.


    https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Letter_on_Corpulence.html?id=OWUivKrZ4zgC

    And then there is my personal history... Oh! @A_Keto_Newbie i've just had an insight. I am close to 60. If I was your age, I probably would have had a lifetime of obesity. My family doctor had a quiet word with me and my mum that I was getting a bit pudgy (he was tactful, but it's interesting I remember it). He told me to cut back on bread and potatoes, which I did. The weight went away. I stayed at a BMI of just 25 & a bit for the next 4 decades. If I had been born 15 years later, my doctor would have told me to eat less and move more. He would have told my mum to keep giving me the bread, no more butter, and to feed me plates of pasta with low fat sauce. I would have ballooned in weight, and had a life of ill health.

  • @jefmcg I agree that too many of the wrong types of carbs are known to be problematic. My issue with keto and extreme low carb is that the diet restricts all carbs. So, you mention potatoes and pasta, but the diet lumps apples and pears in there. On keto, apples are a no-go. That makes no sense to me.

    Much like fat, there are healthy and unhealthy carbs, as far as I understand things, and telling the general population that eating an apple isn’t good for them and will make them gain weight flies in the face of logic.

    Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

  • I don't think it does fly in the face of logic. Sugar is sugar, and if you are eating sugar, your will burn sugar and not fat. If you want to get into ketosis, you have to cut right down on all sugars.

    I don't think apples and pears are that natural. My ancestors came from the British Isles (mostly) and apparently apples only arrived there in 1066, and pears centuries later, so my ancestors were not eating them before that. And all fruit, until very recently, was only eaten in season. So you feast on fruit for a few weeks at the end of autumn, which raises your insulin and encourages fat storage - but that was a good thing, you needed reserves of fat to get you through winter. And you had sun, which gives you vitamin D that helps control blood sugar.

    But now it's continually autumn, and we keep eating and eating and stay in fat storage mode 365 days a year.

    You can still have fruit; peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, tomato etc etc. You just can't have the ones that are 10% or more sugar, or only small amounts.

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