I think I'm doing this wrong? Advice and encouragement welcome!

(Megan) #1

Hi everyone, this is my 1st posting. I’m a 60 year old female, went thru menopause about 10 years ago so well and truly out the other side, 6 foot 2 inches tall, and currently 118.5 kg (260 pounds).

I’ve been overweight since childhood, with 3 periods of my life at a healthy weight. I haven’t been a yo yo dieter, and outside of those 3 times I dieted to reach a healthy weight, I haven’t dieted at all. Just ate what I wanted and carried the evidence on my body lol. I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of person and have always thought there’s no point trying to lose weight if my heads not “in the right place”.

Fast forward to 29 days ago - I started keto. Why? Hmm I hate to say it but my primary reason then was I needed a “project”, desperately. Something to occupy my mind during my waking moments because I decided to stop playing a computer game I’ve spent a good 90% of my waking hours playing for many, many, many years. I also have a new puppy and am determined to do right by her - which means a lot of socializing and exercising and training - none of which I can and would do if I was playing Everquest day in, day out. My friend, who lives with me, had started keto a month prior and was talking with me about it, so I started reading up on it and watching Youtube videos.

I’ve kept my net carbs to 10-20 grams a day every day (sooooo much label reading and trying to find accurate nutritional analysis chats online!). The only carbs I eat are from above ground green leafy veg, cruciferous veg, mushrooms, the very small amount in full fat cottage cheese, unsweetened greek yoghurt, unsweetened almond milk, fresh cream, MCT powder and the odd teaspoon of cocoa when I feel like a hot chocolate. So, I think I’m doing the very low carb bit correctly.

As for fat and protein - colby cheese, eggs, bacon, cream cheese, pork chops and steak, cottage cheese, unsweetened greek yoghurt, ground beef, mayo, cream, chicken drumsticks, MCT oil, butter and extra virgin olive oil. Meat is crazy expensive in New Zealand, hell most foods seem to be crazy expensive these days, so I have to do keto within my budget.

Ok, so what am I doing wrong? I’m eating on a calorie deficit because I want and need to lose a lot of weight - approx 1700 cals a day, sometimes less. Should I be starting keto on a calorie deficit or am I slowing an already slow metabolism? I’ve lost 5kg (11 pounds) in the past 29 days and am disappointed. I can hear some of you saying that’s great, but I am expecting it to be more. Am I wrong to expect more rapid weight loss? Do I need to eat more calories, at least initially?

I’m a bit confused about how much protein I should be eating compared to fat. I’ve come across folks online who say different things. The keto calculator I filled out gave me this as a guideline:
1703 kcal Daily Calorie Intake
20 grams Carbs (5%, 80 kcal)
100 grams Protein (23%, 400 kcal)
136 grams Fat (72%, 1223 kcal)

Does that sound about right? Would it hurt to eat more protein and a bit less fat some days? Or do i need to make sure I am eating about 70% of my cals from fat in order for ketosis to happen?

I have urine sticks and I’ve read they are not very accurate in showing how many ketones are in your urine but they will tell you if you have any. I never have any 1st thing in the morning, and have only had 3 positive readings (last week) when I tested at night. Why only 3 positive readings and none for the past 5 days? Does this mean I am not in ketosis yet? If so, why, when I’m keeping my carbs so low? I’m feeling very discouraged.

I’ll end here so this post isn’t too long. Thanks for reading!


(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #2

For a fairly decent source of information, try the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Composition Database.

You might find dry, aged cheeses to have the lowest carbohydrate content. I am personally doubtful about the usefulness of almond milk on a ketogenic diet, because it tastes like sweetened, flavoured water, to me. Heavy cream has no sugar in it, unless it has been doctored.

We find that the healthiest fats are exactly those we are told to avoid: butter, lard, tallow, bacon grease. Polyunsaturates in quantity are not only nauseating, they also cause systemic inflammation. So we try to avoid the industrial seed oils (soybean, corn, cornflower, cottonseed, sunflower, etc.) in favour of the fruit oils (avocado, coconut, olive), if we must have oil in our diet.

Women often find that they need a period of hormonal re-regulation before fat loss actually begins. Also, women who have restricted their calories for years often find that a ketogenic diet eaten to satiety will cause them to add lean mass, even while shedding fat. This naturally messes with the number on the scale, so we advise keeping track of the fit of one’s clothing in preference to the number on the scale.

But even on a low-carb, and therefore low-insulin diet (remember that insulin is the primary fat-storage hormone, and carbohydrates are the foods that stimulate insulin secretion the most), we have seen that a diet in which calories are restricted seems to put the body in famine mode, in which it is very difficult to shed excess fat. Many forum members have found that their fat loss began only once they started to eat more, not less, which is why we advocate eating a ketogenic diet to satiety. Once insulin drops, most people find their appetite dropping, as well. If/when that happens to you, you will spontaneously be eating less (since you have excess fat to metabolise), but you should not try to eat to a caloric target. That only runs the risk of messing with the body.

Also, as a reminder, fat contains more than twice the calories per gram than carbohydrate. So if you cut your carb intake by 300 g, it will only take 133 g of fat to give you the same number of calories.

We recommend eating 1.0-1.5 g of protein per kg of lean body mass a day. So if you weighed 100 kg, and 30% of that was fat, then you would want 70-105 g of protein daily, which is 280-420 g of meat (almost all meats are 25% protein). Then, so long as you are keeping your carb intake under 20 g/day, you can safely eat enough fat to satisfy your hunger. I eat fatty cuts of meat, adding gravy made with heavy cream. Perhaps I’ll have a vegetable (usually broccoli or cauliflower) with cheese sauce, or else a salad with blue cheese dressing. That is very simple to prepare and very tasty to eat. I eat enough to satisfy my hunger and don’t worry about the calories involved.

(Megan) #3

Thanks for replying Paul. Interesting what you say about women needing a period of hormonal re-regulation and famine mode making it important to eat until satiety, rather than trying to stick to a calorie deficit. One of my new reasons for doing keto is to reset any insulin sensitivity I have so maybe I need to give my body time to do that 1st? I’ve always eaten a lot of carbs, plus at least one of the medications I’m on is linked to metabolic disorder.

I quickly found I don’t get hungry very often. I’ve always skipped breakfast and tended not to eat til mid afternoon, but then eat a lot right up until I lay down to sleep. Since starting keto I don’t get hungry til dinner time and even then I’m not always hungry per se, more my body telling me it’s time to eat something. I don’t snack at all now and don’t eat right before bed like I’ve always done.

Re fat, yes, I’m only eating the good ones - butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and I’m saving and using any fat left over from cooking meat.

Oh! One great thing that I forgot to mention in my original posting is my chronic pain is soooo much better! I used to take oxycodone to cope with taking my dogs out, the last 6 times I’ve taken them out for a run I’ve been fine just taking paracetamol (think you call it tyenol in the U.S.?) and an anti-inflammatory. And the constant pain I’m in throughout the day and night has improved a lot as well. Amazing!

I’m still trying to find heavy cream here, but sometimes use a dash of ordinary cream in my coffee. Lowest carb one I can find is 0.8 grams per 30 mls. The brand of unsweetened almond milk I drink is only 0.9 grams of carb per 300 mls, which is about what I drink each day. I stopped drinking dairy milk when I went vegan for a year a few years ago.

Thanks for the link. The few packaged foods I eat have a nutritional analysis on them, was just a hassle to find sites that agreed with each other re the carb content of veg and meat. I’ll check out the U.S. Dept of Ag site. Surely a U.S. broccoli is the same as a NZ one? =P

(Allie) #4

Eat to maintenance at first, obey your hunger. Your body is going through a massive change and needs adequate fuel in order to do so. As you adapt, you’ll likely reduce your food intake naturally, but for now, you have to make sure you are eating enough not feel deprived as that’s what trips many people up at first.

Don’t worry too much about protein / fat this early either, keep it simple for yourself and count only the carbs to keep them below 20g.

You’re doing great, go easy on yourself and give yourself time as the changes won’t happen overnight.

(Megan) #6

Thanks Shortstuff for the advice and encouragement, I’ll try to be a lot more patient. I haven’t missed bread and bakery food and pasta and potatoes etc at all, but what’s making me feel deprived is how much I have to limit the “keto safe” veg like cauliflower, cabbage, won bok etc. And apart from a few mushrooms at times I haven’t even looked at a non-green veg. I love raw won bok and celery, and slightly fried cabbage in butter and cauliflower cheese is awesome, and here I am weighing it all so I don’t eat too much. It really annoys me some days.

Thanks Terroirgael. Is it worth asking my doc for blood tests to check for things like insulin resistance so I can track my progress? Or are there better ways to track it? I’m assuming I have it to some degree or other. I’ve naturally slipped into intermittent fasting, except for (what I’m assuming is) one big no no. I drink about 300 mls of unsweetened almond milk in my tea/coffee during the day (0.9 grams of carb, 2.1 grams protein, 5.4 grams of fat, 60 cals). Black tea/coffee is ewww imo. I also have a teaspoon of mct oil in a coffee mid afternoon before I take my girls out for a run, just because I assume I might need a bit of fuel for walking 1-2 hours incase I feel light headed or get really tired. Other than these 2 things I eat between 7-9pm. Not because I’m trying to eat this way, more because I just don’t get hungry til late, and once I’ve had a meal I’m hungry for another in a couple of hours. But then I’m done until 7pm-ish the next day. I don’t know who this person is.

(Allie) #7

Switch for cream - double cream in the UK, heavy cream in the US, don’t know what it’s called in NZ but whichever has the highest fat content. It’s not quite zero carb, but is very low and will be a better option than almond milk.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #8

Insulin resistance takes time to resolve, but we can get into ketosis as soon as our insulin drops below the threshold. Since it is glucose that has the biggest effect on insulin, cutting glucose (carbohydrate) intake sufficiently is usually all it takes to get insulin to drop low enough to permit ketogenesis in the liver. If you cut carb intake low enough, it only takes a day or so to get into ketosis. Reversing insulin-resistance takes a much longer time.

It may help to bear in mind that the primary effect of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet is to heal the metabolism; weight-normalisation (the building up of muscle and the shedding of excess fat) is essentially a side-effect, though a much-desired one. A woman’s menstrual cycle is a complicating factor, but not an insurmountable one. Excessive insulin levels interfere with that cycle, so lowering insulin is a good thing there, as well. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is usually caused by excessive insulin, for example, and a ketogenic diet is well-known for reversing this.

I don’t know won bok, but celery is mostly water and fibre, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it. The cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower in particular) also contain a fair amount of fibre, and the cheese sauce is mostly fat and protein. The diets for treating obesity and Type I diabetes from a century ago generally allowed unlimited leafy greens and cruciferous veg, so while you probably don’t want to go bonkers, you probably don’t have to worry too much, either. Many people feel safe not counting fibre and just worrying about the amount of digestible carbohydrate they are eating. And it’s hard to eat too much spinach or kale, lol!

In any case, if you are getting enough fat, you shouldn’t be getting so hungry that you find yourself overdosing on carbohydrate. Many people even find that they can cut out all plant foods from their diet and not crave them at all.


Yes. Well if the 5kg is fat, it’s a QUICK fat-loss already and expect it to go slower later.
If it’s almost all water, it’s slow but 1700 kcal sounds pretty low so I wouldn’t lower it.

Do I need to eat more calories, at least initially?

How do you feel? You don’t seem to lose fat extremely rapidly to be worried only based on that… You may or may not eating too little, I can’t possibly tell, I don’t know your activity and it can’t be calculated anyway. 1700 kcal is rather low than high if you ask me but IDK if it’s still right for you or not.
But if you feel your body wants more food, give it more food.

Very, very indivbidual and the ratio doesn’t even matter to many of us. I only keep myself at 65% (okay, I don’t keep it there, it just falls there most of the time :D) because I like food with that fat content, my staples are often there and it perfectly suits my needs anyway. I can go lower or higher but my calories almost inevitably go to the wrong range then.

Your grams easily may be right, these surely work for many. I am pretty sure it should be right for me - but my body refuses anything below 120g protein, I just get hungry (unless I overeat fat) so mine is higher. And some people will think you need more protein anyway. But some people are fine and even gain muscle with 1g/kg protein for LBM (not everyone can do it but it happens) so it’s possible it’s enough. I believe that 1-2g/kg for LBM is the righ range in general, 1.5-2 sounds safer especially if we eat at a calories deficit and/or have a higher activity… But surely some people are different, hence my significantly higher than 2g/kg (but still far from unhealthily high) average.

You may try eating more protein, who knows, maybe it will work well for you. But maybe your calories drop and I really don’t think you can afford that.

It’s fine to have very different days as long as you feel right. When I eat very properly and all is good, one day I eat twice as much protein than the previous day, it’s perfectly fine for me. Probably not for everyone, though. But you needn’t to stick some fixed numbers, we aren’t robots. I never have lean days but sometimes I eat 55% fat, sometimes I try out 80%… It doesn’t matter as long as I get what I need, don’t overeat and feel right.

Ketosis happens even with 0% fat… Fasting triggers ketosis too :wink:
You don’t need 70% fat for it.

(Marianne) #10

Hello, and welcome!

First off, congratulations on finding a positive alternative to binging on video games. Not an easy feat but you have the awareness that this is not the healthiest thing for you and have the desire to change.

Although you have a month behind your belt, you are still in the beginning stages of your keto journey. This is a period of restoration and metabolic adjustment. Be kind to your psyche and your body. Feed it, even if you don’t feel “hungry,” per se. You definitely don’t want to eat at a calorie deficit. I encourage you not to even track that or use pee sticks or anything else to measure these values. Others here may disagree, but what helped me (not having a real clue what I was doing or what this was about at first), was to obtain my macros and use those as a projection of where I wanted to be with my food in a day. This was a “loose” guideline, but it was a guideline. I never wanted to know how many calories I was consuming and didn’t track those. I was an active member here and asked tons of question or brought my fears and frustrations to the forum. People were quick to respond and I learned so much. Dietdoctor.com was also another big resource for me, or other informational links that people turned me on to.

I’d encourage you to eat three times a day until you become fat adapted, or at least until a time when your body naturally reaches that point. You will know it when you get there. Then you can switch to two meals a day, but only when your body tells you. I never ate breakfast before, either - but once I did (and ate three meals a day), I loved it and looked forward to every meal. (I had never experienced a “diet” where I could actually eat, and eat delicious food! It was usually all about calorie deprivation, craving, white knuckling it and eating things I didn’t enjoy.) Anyway, however number of times you eat, eat enough to sustain yourself comfortably until the next time you eat. Don’t snack. If you feel you are craving food or anxious about your new way of eating, add in another meal until that goes away. You should feel completely relaxed, nourished and satisfied.

I don’t know what food prices are in NZ, however, going by the US, it seems that pork, hamburger (73/27%), beef that is leaner and tougher, and chicken seem to be the most economical. This is mainly what my husband and I eat. When the meat is particularly lean, I add bacon grease or ghee. I love fatty, “rich” food and it has become my preference over anything.

This right there tells you amazing things are happening inside! I, too, experienced this almost immediately. Years of infirmity went away in a couple weeks time (I’m 63). I’ve never felt better in my life.

Eat to satiety and enjoy your newfound, healthy pursuits. Maybe make researching keto and learning the science behind to fill some of your time. For me, I really enjoyed that and found it fascinating, enlightening and encouraging.

Good luck and I hope we see more of you here.

PS, what kind of puppy did you get? Did you know there is a thread on here, “Show Us Your Dogs,” where you can post pictures, etc. Love it!


You already mentioned raw vegs, that would have been my typ… I had similar problems, I quit keto right after fat-adaptation just to get enough vegs again :smiley: But I came back all the time and eventually I lost my vegs.
Raw vegs seem so much more! While 1 kg fried cauliflower is a little tease I eat up immediately, 1 kg raw vegs are SO MUCH! So I used a lot of raw vegs and missed the big volume less. Some vegs are really low-carb, lucky people don’t even dislike them like me. I barely ever touched green leaves, ew. But I used all kinds of vegs, whatever I liked :slight_smile: To me, eating them was the important thing, not eating MUCH of them. I used some non-green but very low-carb vegs for volume. Carbier vegs are so much more flavorful so a little went a long way! :smiley:
And one can change, eventually. Sometimes suddenly as I did when I was curious about carnivore but did vegetarian keto/low-carb with plenty of plant carbs… I just lost interest in most plants. That felt surreal for months. I gradually lost the need to eat other items. Of course it may be not the case for you ever and even if it will happen, it may be in the distant past… Just saying. We can change A LOT even if we don’t believe it. I thought I always will love my decent amount of vegs with a passion. I was so, so shocked, I thought I knew myself at that point :smiley:

Good luck!

(Julie Greenwood) #12

I strongly suggest using an app to track macros etc. you will see patterns that effect your weight loss. Dairy stalls me. I use straight curve since there is so many incidentals in things we don’t think of like eggs or spices. And you’re right, no matter what way of eating one chooses the old calories in versus calories out applies.
If you are insolent resistant sometimes doing a 16:8 fast is beneficial.
I use Loseit! As an app but many prefer Carb Manager.


I’d have to agree, 11lbs in a month is VERY good! There’s a huge problem in keto circles where people take the initial diuretic effect of dumping the carbs, then only refer to “weight” instead of fat and go around talking about their 20+lb losses at first, it’s not real! You’re doing fine!

You want to be in a deficit, but for the long run not much more than 20% or so or you can slow down your metabolism, it’s also good maybe one day a week or so to go over it, or eat at maintenance for a week maybe once a month if you have a lot to lose. There is NOTHING worse than slowing down and then having a lot to lose still. I know from experience! Having to reverse diet to rebuild a slowed RMR is something that should be avoided at all costs.

NOPE! In fact that’s how many of us do it. Protein should be the priority. At 60 (or any age really) you want to make sure you’re preserving muscle and bone mass. Ketosis is from lack of carbs, not from high fat. I’m not a fan of going by percentages at all, going by grams is both more accurate, and it actually sets limits, where percentages doesn’t.

(Megan) #14

So many awesome replies, thank you all very much. The main thing I am taking from them is to chill out for now, focus on keeping my carbs low, don’t worry about calories, eat when hungry and eat until satisfied, then chill out some more and let this way of eating do what it does. I have some entrenched thinking I need to change when it comes to “eating healthily” and “eating to lose weight”. Keto flies in the face of all of it.

I’d still like to know why urine strips aren’t showing ketones tho. They never do in the morning but in week three I got some positive readings 3-4 hours after my last meal for the day, so it seems that’s the time for me to check. However nothing the past week.

Thanks for the support re my addiction to Everquest Gingersmommy. I’m happier not playing, which initially surprised me, but I still miss a lot of what the game and the people provided. Also my pup is a Rottweiler, and she is amazing. A super smart, loving, wanting to please people focused wee girl, and very chilled out for a puppy.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #15

Ketones in the urine are being wasted. At some point, the kidneys get better at retaining ketones, and the liver gets better at matching production to demand. I don’t know any research on this, but my speculation is that during the initial phase of fat-adaptation, the liver produces extra ketones for the skeletal muscles, but once they have adapted and stop using ketones in favour of fatty acids, then the liver cuts back. This would be my guess, anyway.

(Allie) #16

(Megan) #17

Thanks Paul and Shortstuff. I’m glad I read/watched a lot about keto on the internet but all the advice and encouragement and personal sharing in this thread and others is much more helpful. I am going to keep calm and carry on and just enjoy all this delicious food.

As a testament to peoples’ replies here and elsewhere on the forums I just ate and it’s “only” 2.15pm. Old me would have thought “I can easily ignore this feeling of needing to eat and just eat later when I get home from taking the dogs out for a run”. New me made a salad, added some fatty roast pork I cooked yesterday, half an avocado and a good amount of mayo. Ha!