“Why would anyone eat food that makes them have severe headaches, low stamina, chills and night time sweats?”
To this question, I finally can smile and be happy with my decision.
If you’re keeping track, today marks the 14th day that I’ve been following a Ketogenic Diet. For the 3% of you who may be just catching up, be sure to check out why I’m doing this experiment and my last post which recapped my first week of ups and downs. Once my body switched its fuel source from burning carbohydrates to burning fat, the difficulty of maintaining the eating style seemed to have disappeared. It's beginning to become second nature and I can even make it late into the morning without eating while maintaining energy.
While many think that the only reason someone would embark on the low carbohydrate journey is to lose weight, there are actually numerous advantages to being in Ketosis. Here are a few of the key benefits that I’ve realized since entering the nirvana of Ketosis:
Crystal clear like a crystal ball
My overall energy and mental awareness has changed for the better. While in Ketosis, the liver produces a very efficient source of energy in the form of Ketones. The brain is able to use Ketones to power it more efficiently and gone are the days of having a haze or cloud when trying to recall information. There has even been quite a bit of research to show that a Ketogenic Diet can be an effective treatment for epilepsy and can reduce effects of short term memory loss. There is also ongoing research as to how it may be used in the treatment of early cases of Alzheimer's Disease.
My mood has greatly improved. I think everyone tends to have bouts of anxiety and mood swings here or there, but I haven't encountered much of that at all recently. I have also generally felt much happier overall. By removing most carbohydrates (with the exception of vegetables), Keto tends to balance your hormones by keeping your blood sugar constant throughout the day. Many of the highs and lows that people typically experience during the day has to do with the rush of carbohydrate in the form of sugar into the bloodstream. Insulin is then released to reduce the blood sugar level and as it comes crashing down, you feel a bit tired and lethargic.
The gains train is back
Week one was tough to swallow my pride and barely hit 65% of my normal maximum weight for my lifts. Fast forward to the middle of week two, and I was back to putting up 98% of my numbers. Now, the conventional nutrition wisdom states that you must maintain a large amount of protein in your diet to prevent muscle loss while cutting calories and working out. While running on Ketones, the body can prevent muscle loss because it burns fat from the food you consume as well as from your body stores before it begins breaking down protein or muscle for energy.
What does it feel like to be hungry?
Ok, so I wouldn't say that I’m never hungry anymore, but I have been playing around with Intermittent Fasting or just having a cup of coffee with MCT oil for breakfast. Fat and protein as macronutrients are generally much more satiating than carbohydrates. As a result, my cravings and hunger has diminished pretty substantially. Additionally as mentioned above, your body is not constantly going through ebbs and flows of energy. What most of us do when we are low energy is reach for sugar, caffeine or other possibly problematic foods. Most humans have an abundant store of fat (some more than others) which can be liberated for a constant source of energy while in Ketosis.
Oh yeah, weight loss
14 days in and I am down 11.6 pounds. Aside from the fact that some of this is definitely water weight, I think this one speaks for itself….
While this is all amazing, not everything is all well and good. I do still have cravings here and there, and generally suffer from reduced recovery in between movements during an intense workout.
Until next time, catch me in the comments.
About Performing Nutrition: Jon is a certified Nutrition Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and pursuing a M.S. in Nutrition at the University of Bridgeport. Performing Nutrition offers tailored programs for men and women of all sizes and backgrounds looking to lose fat, get stronger and become all around healthier.
Disclosure… Even though he is a certified nutrition coach and studying to be a nutritionist, opinions shared here should not be a replacement for your doctor. Please consider using the links to purchase items to support this blog. Performing Nutrition is a member of Amazon associates and may receive a commission.