Help please 🙏☺️


(Malin Hallett) #1

New to keto and have got a million questions that I am hoping some old timers can answer please :blush:

Background: F, 40, 89kg. I have hypothyroidism and whilst medicated I have really struggled to lose the weight I gained when I first got it after my pregnancy. Keto is my last chance saloon before I opt for weight-loss surgery. I’m not huge per say (BMI of 33) but I am way too big for what feels like “me”. I live a healthy lifestyle: I exercise 4-5 days a week, I always get 12k or more steps a day, I don’t drink or smoke. I have struggled with binge eating over the past few years and coupled with unstable hormones I don’t think fasting is for me at this stage. Perhaps in the future when I have found my way of doing keto.

  1. I am in day 10 of keto (-3.6kg) although from reading this forum I’m not sure if I’ve been doing it quite right as I’ve been aiming for 50g net carbs, that’s seemed hard enough for me and I am have to say I’m slightly disheartened to see that this should only be 20g. I have a keto breath meter which has told me I am in ketosis for the past 7 days, does this mean I can assume 50g is OK for me?
  2. I don’t understand why my numbers fluctuate to much, and I can’t seem to find a reason for it. Sometimes I can eat nothing and my number has gone down since the last time I measured?
  3. I have found the last three days REALLY hard. I am so bloody hungry. Is this normal at this stage? I have very nearly caved on a number of occasions but haven’t, thankfully.
  4. How long will it take me (roughly) to get fat adapted?
  5. I am going on holiday next week, there will be options for me to continue eating keto. I’d love to be able to have dessert on a couple of days but will this put me back to day one?

Many thanks in advance for your help :blush:


(Geoffrey) #2

Welcome and congratulations on starting your journey into the keto lifestyle.
It’s not actually your last chance saloon. There’s always carnivore if you really want to get optimal.
Weight loss surgery should never be an option. Never mutilate your body over vanity or weakness.
You are still very new to this and just starting out so don’t be expecting great things in the beginning. It took you a long time to get unhealthy and it can take a while to get back your health.
Your numbers are probably fluctuating because they will do that throughout the day and at 50 carbs I believe that’s too much and may be why you still feel hungry.
Fat and protein is what will satiate you, not carbs. They will only keep you craving more. Cut your carbs down to 20 or less and increase your fat intake. It should help with the hunger.
Becoming fat adapted requires you be eating less carbs and more fat. It can take as little as three weeks for some people but we are all different so you can’t go by anyone else. You may even be one of those people who do well on a higher carb count than others but the general rule is 20 carbs. I don’t do well on carbs so I’m carnivore.
Don’t worry about your ketones. If you are eating a high fat, moderate protein and 20 grams of carbs or less you will be in ketosis. I’ve never measured mine and ever saw a reason to simply because I know that by being zero carb I’m in ketosis.
Give your diet more time for your body to adjust to it. Give it at least 90 days.
Good luck and good health.


#3

I agree :smiley: And there is fasting. Keto never helped me to lose any fat, I need extra rules… But first I had to have carby keto times as I couldn’t do it any stricter. But eventually I made changes and they gave me lots of benefits (not fat-loss related ones but I am pretty sure they will follow this time). Of course, everyone is different and while going lower-carb, stricter is the way for many of us, others find a different way…


50g carbs - net or total? 50g net is too much for most of us, big, muscular, active ones have better chances… But there is a big individual factor even with the same stats. I could do 40g net and unlimited total (I surely had over 100g carbs plenty of times) and got fat adapted in 7 weeks just fine. 6-8 weeks for fat adaptation is pretty normal.

Hunger isn’t. Eat more, obviously. Figure out what you need, just calories, fat or protein. I am unable to get satiated without high protein (except when it’s super low and I almost just eat fat, it’s not sustainable but useful to have such occasional days, for me I mean) so I eat high protein. Others like high-fat adequate protein better (though I suppose if my body wants high protein, that is my adequate even if it’s above 2g/kg for lean body mass). So if eating a ton of fat doesn’t help (or you can’t or don’t want to do it), definitely try more protein. Unless it’s already super high or something.
But satiation is a complex thing. It’s not just about macros. Some items don’t work well for satiation, at least for many of us. For example, ruminant meat tends to be very satiating while chicken… Not so much. (Not at all for me unless it’s paired with red meat or if it’s just a quick meal and another, better one will soon follow.) But it’s very individual. Nuts and cheese can have a low satiation level too and nuts can even triggering so you can overeat and stay hungry if you choose your food items really unwell. So experiment with your items but until you figure it out, just eat more when hungry. It’s so obvious to me, hunger always urges me to eat, macros be darned… I handle the emergency and experiment and think about what to do differently later. It’s almost always my food choices but timing has some importance too.

Carbs can be very satiating too, by the way, my SO has this. I don’t. Carbs always made me hungry short term (but gave me very good satiation longer term. the massive overeating and the very high fat that I couldn’t avoid when eating higher-carbs probably had a hand in it). So it’s individual. My SO eats a decent sized mostly carb breakfast and it satiates him for 8-10 hours (while he is doing his light physical work and 12km cycling/running). I would feel starving right afterwards :smiley: (If I could eat that early.)
So, try out different styles if the first doesn’t work. Don’t force it, maybe you can go stricter later. But if it’s hard and you are hungry, maybe you should make it less strict but rather, different as you can’t just add even more carbs and expect keto.

I never measured my ketones, I don’t care about it. I listen to the feedback of my body but after many years, I already know what it likes anyway. My actual carb macro doesn’t even matter as long as I eat my right food so my plant carbs are minimal. High protein and enough fat but the latter varies, I eat more if I am still hungry, the right items I have found good and satiating for me. We aren’t robots, our needs vary every day so even if we track our macros, it’s unnatural to try to squeeze them into tiny ranges. If you are hungry and ends up eating much more on some day, so be it. If it causes problems, you should tweak something though.

Oh, by the way, hunger… I suppose it’s individual too but for me, fat adaptation changed my hunger for the better. It got way softer. Even off keto, as long as I am fat adapted, my hunger isn’t as bad as it was sometimes before. But my carb intake has a big effect on it too (and on other things), yes, at least plant carbs. Fat adaptation and very low carb, that is a good combo for me. And as years passed and I made changes, it got even better. In the beginning, I still had strong, annoying hunger, it just wasn’t that attention seeking (demanding. inevitably getting… oh it was bad) sudden sharp stab I sometimes got on high-carb. It was nicer but still not something where I could say no. But now I usually have a subtle cute polite thing, just a warning that I may want to eat in the next few hours if it’s convenient for me… It’s glorious, I am so free. If there are exceptions, they are rare.

But you are in the beginning. I was so hungry on keto before fat adaptation if I went below my usual food amount… So I didn’t. I ate just as much as before and I maintained just like before. It was getting used to keto, making new recipes… I can’t handle my old hunger anyway but as a newbie ketoer? I really didn’t need extra hardships even if keto wasn’t really hard. Still different, still some holding back, missing my usual amount of vegs… But I ate tasty food in big enough quantities so I was satiated and pretty much okay. And got fat adaptation as a reward, I appreciated it greatly.

So… I think you should eat nice keto food, maybe trying to eat less carby ones… It’s not hard to eat a very delicious, satiating meat that contains almost no carbs, it may make your day planning way easier. I have my carby extras I like to have under some circumstances (we have a very serious multi fruit season now…) but if my normal food barely has any carbs, it’s way easier to keep it keto. Even if you need your plants (many do, it’s fine), it’s useful if you can have a big nice dish with very little carbs. But it is highly useful if your desires merely include carby items but you are fine with tiny amounts. I had only 1-2g for my daily fruits on vegetarian keto (and I used all the tricks I could) and it worked very well, I still ate (frozen) banana (covered with chocolate) nearly every day :slight_smile: I needed it, not physically but for some other reason, to feel not too restricted. Sometimes we may need to do these little games, extra joys, feeling of freedom… Whatever works. Not everyone can be happy with meat and vegs or something like that right away or ever.

Good luck!

Can you tell me your macros? And your usual food items? I am curious.


(Malin Hallett) #4

Thank you. Very helpful.

Current macros are 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% fat. Normal day of eating:
Brekkie: keto granola and double cream
Snack: keto ball (nut butter based)
Lunch: eggs, chorizo, cheese, spinach, avocado followed by some keto friendly dark choc
Dinner: beef burger, cheese and no sugar ketchup followed by a low carb keto snack bar

I actually feel better today hunger wise. I guess it’ll go up and down.

I am going to take your advice and not focus on eating less at the moment, and just focus on getting myself fat adapted. The weightloss will hopefully come in due course and I will be less hungry when adaption occurs.

I think I mentioned in the bio and the question but I have suffered with binge eating in the past and fasting has brought this on, so I don’t think it is for me at this stage, that may well change as my body adapts.

Thanks again!


(Malin Hallett) #5

Thank you @Geezy56, I’m not expecting miricles I am quite happy with my weight loss to date, I just had a few questions :blush: as of today I have lowered by carbs to below 25g (net) so will see how my body responds to that! Thanks for your advice!


(Marianne) #6

Welcome! You got this; you are already doing so much right, that the main thing is to change your eating.

So much of your post resonated with me. I was terrified when I started because it was my last ditch effort, and also I really didn’t know “how” to do it. This forum was instrumental in my success. In the beginning, I just followed what people told me. Along the way, I learned much of the science behind why keto (low carb) works and why this way of eating is the bedrock for metabolic health (fascinating stuff).

For now my advice is:

  • try to keep the carbs under 20/day. Stick to low carb veggies (maybe a salad at lunch with your other food, and then a veggie at dinner). Fruit is very high in carbs so I didn’t/don’t eat it at all.
  • Get your macros (free calculator at simplyketo.com), and stick to the fat and protein macros loosely. I wrote down what I ate in the beginning and tracked values until I got more familiar with the foods I enjoyed and how many values they had.
  • Eat enough(!) so that you aren’t hungry. If you are hungry, you aren’t eating enough or the right food. Let go of all of your ideas from conventional “dieting.” This is nothing like that.
  • Don’t snack. If you feel like you want/need to snack, chances are you aren’t eating enough. When you hit your sweet spot with food, you will find that the cravings for former foods will lessen or stop and your meals will carry you comfortably through to the next without snacking. Chances are three meals a day will become two meals a day - without trying.
  • Don’t count calories or weigh yourself. The scale is the devil and can really mess with your head, whether the number is “good” or “bad.”
  • Don’t track or measure your ketones or anything except your macros. It is insignificant. If you are eating around 20g carbs day of clean food, you will be in ketosis.
  • Don’t eat processed “keto” food. Just eat clean food - protein (beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs), veggies, bacon, cheese, etc. Of course you can combine them to make your meals, but they are usually one ingredient foods in their natural state.
  • Don’t worry about whether or not your are doing this “right.” Just follow your macros as best you can. It sounds simple and trite, but all of these things are true. If you follow the above and eat, this will be the easiest “diet” you’ve ever been on (I don’t like to think of this as a diet; it is my way of eating now and I’m healthy because of it.)

Do the above and live your life. Don’t obsess about your “diet” or losing weight. It will come. This is your new way of eating. It doesn’t have to consume your every waking moment. Just eat and try to relax. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it may take you six months or so to get where you want to be weight-wise. Let the days pass and it will happen in it’s own time. Your body is a miracle and it will be healing itself the whole time you are eating this way. Focus on all the good things that are happening and how you are taking care of yourself. Hopefully once you lose the weight, you will want to continue with low carb eating indefinitely. It is the solution that everyone is searching for but it is not promoted by the medical community, big pharma, big agriculture, or the “diet” industry.

For me, fat adaptation took about 4 months. No mistaking it when it happens. Bring your questions/concerns here. People want to help and will likely make you feel better.

Looking forward to following your journey!


(KM) #7

One thing you may find helpful is to cut out the sweet stuff. Even if it’s artificially sweetened, that taste can trigger cravings. Some people do fine with artificially sweetened things, but it can be really liberating to get beyond that. In either case, welcome, and hang in there!


(Marianne) #8

I used to be a serious binger. I loved to binge and eat large quantities of food, then of course felt depression and shame after doing so, but would do the same thing in a few hours or next day.

I did a 24-hour fast once a week in the beginning. It was fine but I didn’t like it. Somehow it just made me anxious. I like to eat (on plan) and enjoyed it. I stopped fasting and didn’t return to it. Now I just naturally eat once a day, twice if I feel hungry. I love how we can eat.


(Malin Hallett) #9

Thank you! All of your tips are where I want to get to but jeez I find it so hard to not weigh myself, not track, not snack etc. A life lived in diet culture and I have a lot of undoing to do!! I hope I get there, I may have to take it step by step as my all of nothing approach makes me want to binge!

Can you tell me a bit more about your journey please? How much did you have to lose and what have you gained except weight-loss?

Thanks for taking the time to write to me :blush:


(Malin Hallett) #10

I hope I will able to, baby steps for me! If I remove it all history tells me I’ll go f### it and binge. Ill cut down more and more and then hopefully give it up all together once I’m fat adapted. That’s the goal. I’d love to love a love free of food focus.


(KM) #11

I do get that! It’s just that once you get over the hump of sugar craving, if you’re lucky, that whole taste profile becomes unappealing, making this all much easier. But getting there is not easy, and you are right, whatever baby steps work for you is a solid strategy. :slightly_smiling_face:


(Robin) #12

If it’s driving you crazy to not look at the scale, that is telling you how much you are invested in the numbers. And if you’re like me, those numbers can do a REAL number on your head!

Even when we are at our goal weight and in maintenance, our weight fluctuates. So if a gain of a few pounds will devastate you, try to weigh once a month and look for the overall trend. And keep in mind your body will be going through changes that show in your clothes and the mirror and how you feel. It’s all good.
Trust the process.
Good luck. You got this!


#13

I have that if I restrict myself too much (or if I eat too late and the wrong items. but I have learned my lesson, it took a long time). I can’t handle that mentally. I need enjoyable normal days and some off days too (it doesn’t mean high-carb just carbier) but it’s highly individual. Definitely don’t be hungry or focus on eating “little”, just try to do keto as enjoyable as comfortably possible :).
But one can change A LOT. You don’t need to hurry. Even if you need more changes, they probably will be way easier later.
I still don’t think hunger is normal, even before fat adaptation… I still say food choices may be the key! As it’s the case for me. When are you hungry? That may help to figure out what to change…

You can do all of these if they are important for you and you consider them safe. They can do harm to some people and not for others. All of our advice is something that may work - or not, maybe not at all. We are all different and even objectively not so great (but not particularly harmful!) things may keep us from getting tired and quit… It’s quite complex and you should figure out how to make it work.
And it’s perfectly fine to love sweet things if you ask me. IDK why people think differently, probably because many people overdo sugars and sweeteners but if it’s more healthy, it can be a very nice, joyful part of your diet or sometimes just you. I mean, I love sweet things even when I don’t eat them as I don’t NEED or crave them. I merely love them and when I eat something sweet and nice, it’s enjoyable. I like variety. Different flavors, textures, smells… A big part of my journey was to realize I can keep so much joy related to food even if the food goes against my default woe. I don’t even need to EAT something edible to get joy from it. Sometimes it’s picking, making, looking at it, watching my SO enjoying it… Me being me, I often taste it too but more and more often - not. I am not restricted, I eat whatever I fancy or close so it’s quite fine. But I would hate to dislike my fruits, they are awesome and it would be a waste not to enjoy their existence.


(Malin Hallett) #14

Thank you this is so helpful. I like the non black and white view.


(Malin Hallett) #15

Thank you so much! :pray:


(Malin Hallett) #16

I also feel anxious when I fast, that’s interesting. Thank you, I have hope it’ll all come together if I just stick to the plan!


(Bob M) #17

Over time, many of us transition to eating fewer meals. I usually eat 2MAD (two meals a day), but try to eat OMAD (one meal a day) once a week or so. I can only eat OMAD when I don’t exercise.

What I recommend is checking out what happens when you eat certain foods. For instance, I gave up on nut butters and nuts because I could eat them and eat them and… But you might be different. (I also gave up on bacon – could eat a pound after eating dinner, berries and yogurt – would eat 2 bowls and want more; etc.)

Also, don’t be afraid to increase protein, eg, eating leaner meat/less fat. And don’t be afraid to mix things up; try no dairy and see what happens; try try eating fewer or more meals; etc.


(Malin Hallett) #18

Thank you! I’m the same with yogurt for sure. Will experiment!


(Joey) #19

YES to this: :point_up_2: @Geezy56 gave you great feedback.

I’ll mention that it is very common for women - especially those experiencing a flood of post-pregnancy/hormone/thyroid issues - to respond much more s-l-o-w-l-y to carb-restriction than others.

This is because most of what’s happening to you now is internal, cellular and hormonal - not terribly adipose fat tissue-oriented early on in adaptation.

Please be patient. As you know firsthand, pregnancy takes a toll and after 9 months of bringing a baby into the world, your body needs extra time for your metabolism to readjust.

But you are healing yourself. Your body gets to decide how that plays out and the experience of others may be interesting, but not overly relevant.

One tidbit: You mention “keto friendly dark chocolate.” The only “keto-friendly” chocolate, at best, is 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate. Any product that says “keto-friendly” on the label is probably not. Don’t be duped by marketing.

When shopping, buy (and eat) only what’s on the perimeter of the supermarket floor plan (meat, dairy, produce). Stay away from everything that’s found along all of those inner aisles. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

Meanwhile, stay the course and reap life-changing benefits! :vulcan_salute:

[EDIT: And when I mention “produce,” I mean some leafy vegetables that grow above the ground, like spinach, kale, broccoli, peppers, avocados (technically a fruit), avoiding roots like potatoes, carrots, and the like. Know thy carbs during this important time of transition and new eating habits.]


(Megan) #20

Hi @MalHal, welcome to the forum.

It takes a while for many of us to get used to a new way of eating and your food choices indicate you may be trying to keep hold of some of the old “types” of food, even if made with different ingredients and labeled keto friendly. That can work for some and hinder others. For me, personally, I’d opt for foods that are unprocessed or very minimally processed. There is a large keto industry now with companies producing all sorts of so-called keto friendly foods - some are, some aren’t. Their aim is to make money, not promote health. The diet industry is a multi billion dollar machine. Have a good look at the ingredients in the foods you are eating and see if you can make cleaner choices. Keto is a way of eating that repairs and re-regulates our bodies, with some people saying weight loss is a side effect of that process, not the primary intention. Eating clean foods will really help that healing and re-regulating process.

It can also help not to look at keto as a diet. See it instead as a new way of eating. The diet mentality can get us too hooked into numbers (pounds, ketones etc) and into ideas of restriction and feeling deprived etc - which can make us miserable at times! Keto is about not being hungry a lot of the time and not needing to snack. It’s about eating until satiated and being able to stay that way for a good period of time before wanting to eat again. It’s about eating in a way that is sustainable rather than a way you can only manage for a month or 2, like many “diets”, and it achieves this by eating foods that leave us satiated, re-regulating hunger hormones and hunger cues and, for many people, reducing our appetites. But all this takes varying amounts of time, so give yourself the best chance of sticking in here by ditching the idea of dieting and making sure you eat enough fat and protein to not be hungry.

I measured ketones initially (blood meter) but ditched doing that quite quickly because I became too focused on the results, especially when the readings were low. Many peoples’ ketone readings drop after a short while - you’ll find various postings here that go into various reasons why this happens (it’s normal). But if you’re focused on the numbers you risk getting frustrated and discouraged and think you’re not doing it right. I also only weighed every 2-3 weeks because thinking about those numbers also occupied far too much of my mental space. After a few months I was a lot more relaxed. I felt fine about eating more fatty meat and some full-fat dairy on hungry days and eating less on less hungry days and keeping my carb intake very low.

There are some ketone meters on the market now and one of “new” pieces of understanding they provide is ketone levels fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day and this is normal.

You’re very early into adapting physically, emotionally and mentally. If you are hungry chances are you aren’t eating enough protein and fat. There is also hunger that isn’t physical (habit, cravings, a need to eat to emotionally soothe etc), and I found the latter the most difficult to deal with. If self care and distraction didn’t work, I fed it fatty meat and cut myself some slack. I’d been a binge eater and overeater most of my adult life so it was going to take time for that to resolve. The only hard line I drew was what I ate in response to this “hunger”.

Some people reach fat adaptation in a few weeks and for many people it can take 8 or more weeks. Depends on how unhealthy we are metabolically, our mitochondria and various other factors. I don’t think there is a magic switch where one day we wake up feeling quite different, I think it’s more of a process - tho I am sure there are people out there who could immediately tell it had happened.

Try to go for grams, not %. Carbs (total or net, your choice) 20g or less, protein at 1.2-2 grams per kg of ideal body weight (the variation is to account for gender, body size, age, levels of activity) and enough fat to create satiation. One note about protein: there is quite a lot of physical repair going on when we start eating this way so I wouldn’t skimp on protein. Protein is also very satiating which can help with hunger. You may be someone who does fine on more than 20g of carb but I think it’s worth limiting carbs to about 20g a day while repairing any insulin insensitivity you have.

It doesn’t take you back to day one but there may be other reasons not to do it. Completely up to you tho. Enjoy a dessert or 2 on holiday if you really want to and know it won’t make it hard to eat clean keto the rest of the time and once you get back home. For me, one or 2 desserts is a slippery slope, opening the door for dessert number 3 and 4, then half a dozen 2kg tubs of icecream in my freezer lol.

Post as often as you want and welcome again. This forum can be support and encouragement no matter where we are in our journey. Writing about what and how we’re doing can also provide some accountability if having that is helpful.