Fresh to keto and curious about food intake!


#1

Hey guys, I’m almost on week 3 of keto! I (30f) started at 162lbs and am now 10 lbs down. This is by far the most successful I’ve been on any lifestyle change. I went from eating a long-term and very healthy plant based diet with tracking and exercise to keto. I began after I became frustrated when my husband decided to eat the same as me prior to keto and lost 8lbs in 2 weeks (and he’s a very slim and healthy guy to begin with, weighing just 145lb), and I gained 3 lb. I was happy to share healthy eating with him, but seeing his success and my gain after I’ve spent years eating well and controlling myself with little success was tough. I kind of just gave into the idea that because I had children, and hit around 30 years old I was destined to be bigger no matter how I much I starved.

But then I saw a random suggestion for the book “The Case for Keto”, decided to read it based on reviews and wanted to learn more. I looked into keto more and more and decided to give it a go.

Now as I said I’m a few weeks in, managed without any flu, or cravings. Which surprised me a ton because I’m cooking different food for my family every night as well. I’m still tracking my food as well because I want to make sure I’m getting nutrients and such right until I’m more confident. But I’m worried about my calorie intake. I decided to not force myself to eat if I wasn’t hungry, so that means I often don’t eat breakfast. So I go from 5:30pm-1pm without food and there have been no issues. I drink a lot of water, always have, so that might be part of it, but my daily calorie consumption is usually around 700.

I’ve had issues with eating disorders in the past and even managed to live at just 95lb when I’m 5’4" for quite a while. So when I eat so little I get worried. I’m not hungry, nor am I experiencing any negative side effects, infact I feel great, so should I worry? Is this my body using it’s own fat efficiently and I should just keep up with nutrients? I count total carbs, not net (for now, start at the bottom and work up), and I’m managing my macros and vitamins/minerals well with nutritionally dense foods and a multivitamin.

Any assurance or advice would really be appreciated! I don’t want to wake up one day to something bad because I didn’t eat enough.


(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Welcome. Keto is carb reduction not calorie reduction. Just reducing carb intake and the resultant insulin response makes stored fat available for utilization. If you successfully tap into your own fat stores, it’s a common experience not to feel hungry for a while. The rule of thumb is persistent hunger is your body’s way of saying “eat more”. If you’re not feeling hungry all the time or only feeling hungry before meals, then you’re probably OK. Hunger before meals is just your body’s way to remind you it’s time to eat.

Are you losing weight/fat? If so, then you are burning onboard fat. 1-2 pounds per week is sustainable long term. Don’t try to force it by calorie restriction. When you’re hungry, eat. 700 cals per day won’t last long. As one burns onboard fat, the amount available per day steadily decreases, so you’ll hit your limit and start feeling hungry. Don’t ignore that signal!

You are currently intermittent fasting with a 4 hour eating ‘window’. Jason Fung (google him) would tell you that’s a good plan as long as you’re not feeling hungry for the rest of the day. Best wishes.

PS: others with more experience and knowledge will show up to advise you more specifically.


#3

You probably don’t have enough extra fat to get very much energy from it per day (but it can’t be calculated, there are formulas but they can’t work for everyone and every diet) but I don’t even know your energy need. But whatever your energy balance does, 700 kcal is extremely little, how could you get all the necessary nutrients from that tiny amount, even if you had tons of fat so you possibly could get enough energy?

Hunger isn’t always reliable so just because you aren’t hungry, you easily may NEED to eat. Some of us feel it, I gets a bit week and feel the need for fuel but hunger? It doesn’t always come, not even after days sometimes. You need food and maybe you are among the ones who feels no urge to eat on keto while starving. I heard about a few people like that, keto messes with their signs.

Intermittent fasting is okay - as long as you can eat enough. IF is natural to me but whenever my meals gets tiny, I start to eat in a bigger window as I know I need the food (and my body WILL complain eventually, it helps so lack of hunger can’t do harm). Many people simply can’t eat enough in a small eating window especially on keto. And that’s not good.

What do you eat? Can’t you add calories? Some people just add some extra fat, I wouldn’t do that at 700 kcal, I would worry about my nutrients but as you wrote, you focus on nutrients, you aren’t new at that so you probably eat great, nutritious food just little calories? I never tried to squeeze everything into such a tiny amount so I have no idea how hard is that. We have different needs too…
It sounds almost impossible to me that you can’t eat more - and probably you can just doesn’t want due to lack of hunger at that point? I probably would eat until I comfortably can but I know that works for me, I don’t know you. I think you should try to add something or keep eating if you can - but maybe you need satiating food. I can control my own calorie intake to some extent through my food choices as different items satiate me differently. Many people have this but not all.
Eating disorders makes things more difficult, you probably have a resistance regarding eating more when you aren’t hungry anymore. You have fat you lose so it doesn’t sound very unreasonable but 700 kcal is just too little. If you lose too fast, that’s a warning sign. But even if you lose slowly enough, your body may be very effective at slowing down your metabolism and you don’t want to play with that.
So I would eat more somehow, be it more meals, less satiating food, a few extra, very dense, very nice bites (we who have a “separate dessert stomach”, may find this ridiculously easy), a bit of extra butter here and there…


#4

That’s the thing, I feel very energized, never weak, etc. I’m absolutely not hungry inbetween meals, that’s including physical symptoms of hunger. I often make myself eat lunch because by then I’ll have done a minor cardio workout.

My portions aren’t huge, but I struggle with eating more so often my dinners contain Salmon fillets, chicken thighs skin on), bacon, eggs, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and then some choice of veggie on the side. I think my low cals may come from lunch where I usually make some kind of spinach salad. I load it up with fat from olive oil, feta cheese, and usually throw an egg in there as well. But it doesn’t amount to much calorie wise.

My total carbs have been staying under 20g a day, so that was my big focus but it’s been hard to get to the 1,200 kcal without making myself feel stuffed. Should I just force breakfast in there and make it work? I’ve honestly never been a big breakfast eater so not feeling hungry didn’t surprise me for the morning but the small amount of calories consumed is obviously worrying.


(Susan) #5

Welcome to the forum @ninjaleelu =).

The IF is awesome, I do a 20:4 TMAD and it works well for me and I love that. I would suggest that you eat more calories though! You do not need to count or be obsessed with calories on Keto; keeping your carbs at 20 carbs or less is essential for most of us, but eating enough is also important =).

I am speaking from experience here; I was 293, and I am now 202, and I still have a long way to go, (I have been doing Keto for almost 2 years now) and I love it, and it is my permanent way of eating (WOE). I will never go back to the SAD (Standard American Diet) WOE as I love Keto!

In the summer of 2019 I had a period for about 3 months when I didn’t lose any weight at all – doing Keto but not eating enough --I started Keto in February 2019, and I lost a lot very quickly so then I was frustrated and I was following Keto but I was only eating about 500 calories a day on average and not feeling hungry but my body just refused to lose weight during that time; and I jumpstarted it into weight loss again when I increased my calories markedly! I have read lots of other people’s similar experiences on here over the time I have been on the forum, I am not the only one.

I wish you much success on your Keto journey (for life as I feel to be truly successful on Keto you must adopt it as a lifestyle WOE, not think of it as a fad “diet”); but, please, eat enough!! Your doing IF is terrific; though, I certainly encourage you to keep that up, but try to eat more. @amwassil’s idea to increase your fats might be a very good way to increase your calories --a good example for this could be having a Fatty coffee/tea with your lunch. We will all be here to cheer you on; you have found an excellent forum for that for sure!!
So – again, welcome aboard!

=)Susan.


(Laurie) #6

Congratulations on your progress! And on your question.

You say your lunch is a salad loaded with olive oil and little else. I suggest that you replace this with a meal that resembles your second meal of the day (salmon, chicken, etc.). On keto, vegetables are an extra, not the centerpiece of the meal. Good luck!


#7

Thank you for your advice and for sharing your experience! I’ll be looking into ways to increase my fat and thus calories while maintaining my regular eating schedule. I’d like to say that I never enter any sort of new eating habits with the idea of it being temporary. I dislike the word diet and always try and choose my lifestyle as completely sustainable. I think a fatty coffee could really add to my intake, so I’ll try that first and keep going from there.


#8

That’s an excellent point, and I really appreciate that you brought it up. I’m still in a bit of a mindset that vegetables are a massive part of my food intake instead of a side. I’m beginning to make larger portions of food for dinner for ease of reheating at lunch. I have 2 little ones (2 and 4 years old) so cooking, especially at lunch wasn’t easy to squeeze in.


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #9

Fat is not magical, it is merely the macronutrient with the least effect on insulin secretion, which makes it a “safe” source of food energy (calories). We need a certain amount of insulin in order to live, but too much insulin is damaging to the body. For that matter, so is too much glucose (which is what all carbohydrates are made of), and that is the reason for the insulin response in the first place, to get excess glucose out of the bloodstream, so it won’t cause damage.

So the main effect of lowering carbohydrate intake is to reduce chronic insulin levels. The human body evolved for insulin to rise during and after a meal, in order to cause some of the food energy to be stored for later use. Insulin is then supposed to drop after a time, so that some of the stored energy (fat) can be used to keep us going between meals, especially during the overnight fast.

A proper ketogenic diet provides enough energy to allow us to go for long periods of time between meals. So eat when hungry, stop eating once satisfied, and don’t eat again until you are hungry again, regardless of what the clock is telling you. If you find you need a snack between meals, make it a low-carb, high-fat snack, and eat more at the next mealtime. Done right, eating this way will allow the body to metabolise both the fat we eat and any excess stored fat that we can shed.

When you use the scale as your sole indicator of success on a ketogenic diet, you may miss some real progress. For one thing, it is not any old type of body weight that you want to lose. What you want to lose is fat, not muscle mass or bone density. In fact, people on a ketogenic diet have been known to add muscle mass at the same time they shed fat, so this makes the scale an unreliable guide to keto progress. Keep track of the fit of your clothing. Since muscle is less dense than fat, your clothes may continue to get looser, even as your scale weight remains the same, or possibly increases.


#10

I forgot the mention this before, drinking calories is often easier than eating them… So this is a good tip! Many of us can easily boost calories using cream… I hate putting plain fat into my coffee but cream? That’s nice. And cream has many other uses… It has lactose though so it’s not for everyone.


(Susan) #11

Welcome to the forum. I hope your new WOE is as pleasurable for you as I have found it for me.
I wish you continued success.

I don’t count calories myself. I found it helps to use an app to see how much 20 g of carbs are at first and try to ignore the calories.
I have heavy whipping cream HWC in my coffee instead of breakfast.

I think you are right. I agree with @islandlight saying you could use something denser than salad for this meal.
I understand the feeling of not being hungry, sometimes with eating disorders our satiety signals are off. I am sure you know the problem with not eating enough is that your metabolism slows down. If you eat too little you end up stalling or gaining weight on very few calories. You need to reset your thermostat and feast for a while so your body doesn’t think it is starving and have to conserve. I don’t mean 6 meals a day though. I mean keep to your eating window and eat at least two good meals a day.

Good luck, KCKO keep calm and keto on.