When I started the ketogenic diet on June 25, 2018, I did so to lose weight. And so far, I’ve lost around 40 pounds. I have about 85 pounds to go before I reach my goal weight. So I’m off to a really good start on the weight loss.
For me, eating a ketogenic diet hasn’t been difficult. In fact, I explained in an earlier post that the ketogenic diet is the first one I’ve ever done that has truly left me feeling satiated after meals. Before keto, I never knew what satiated felt like.
When eating lots of carbs, I knew what it was like to feel full, and to have a belly so full of food that I didn’t want to move. But that feeling of being satiated (which is both a body and mind thing) was foreign to me. No matter how full I was on a carb-laden meal, I could always make room for dessert. That’s because I wasn’t satiated and I was addicted to sugar.
Anyway, the difference in how I eat now, and how I view food, is remarkable. And the fact that I’ve been able to lose weight without suffering at all or feeling deprived has been really nice. And, of course, the difference that I’m seeing in the mirror pushes me to continue.
I took two snapshots of me and put them together just so that I could see the difference. Had I known I was going to share this recent selfie with the world, I would have brushed my hair. 😀 But after seeing the difference, I didn’t care about my unbrushed hair. I still wanted to share…
That’s a remarkable difference, and that’s with 85 pounds left to go!
But what have surprised me the most about the ketogenic diet are all of the non-scale victories.
My non-scale ketogenic diet victories:
- Back pain completely gone
- Inflammation in feet and ankles gone
- Pain in feet completely gone
- Blood pressure normalized
- No more exhaustion and pounding heart beat after eating a meal
- Increased and sustained energy throughout the day
- Better mood
- Resting heartbeat decreased
I’m sure I there are more I’m not remembering, but let me explain each of these.
My back pain is completely gone.
For years, I had chronic back pain every single day. I’d wake up with it. I had it all day long. I’d go to bed with it. And sometimes, it would wake me up during the night. On a scale of 1-10, it would range from a three to an eight. It would be worse after a very active day, and that describes most of my days as a DIYer.
My pain would mostly stay in my lower back, but it would sometimes settle in the middle of my back. But regardless of exactly where it was, it was always there.
I would tell Matt continually that I just felt like I could get some relief if I could hang upside down and let gravity stretch my spine. I would envision myself hanging upside down from monkey bars on a children’s playground and experiencing relief. I suggested several times that we should get an inversion table, but that thought made Matt nervous. (If I couldn’t get upright, he wouldn’t be able to help me.) He suggested that I go to the chiropractor and get spinal decompression, but I just never got around to it.
Well, after about three months on the keto diet, my back pain completely disappeared. COMPLETELY. After years of suffering!
I never went to a doctor for my pain because I knew they would just prescribe me pain pills, which I’d never take. And I also knew that if I would just lose weight, it would help. Well, I still have 85 extra pounds of weight on my tiny 5-foot frame, and yet the pain has already completely disappeared. That’s more than just a weight issue. That was the food I was eating causing inflammation.
And speaking of inflammation…
The inflammation in my ankles and feet is completely gone.
Since I spend my days working on home-related projects that I share on my other blog, I do a lot of standing and walking every single day. When I was eating carb-laden meals, by the end of each day, my feet and ankles would be swollen. I’m talking about cankles here.
At one point, it worried me so much that I started sleeping with my feet elevated in an effort to get rid of the inflammation during the night.
Sometimes it would help, but sometimes it wouldn’t. I got to where I would just wake up with swollen ankles, and I knew that was a terrible sign.
I don’t remember how long I had been on keto, but I do remember after a long day of working on DIY projects, I looked down at my ankles and was so surprised at what I saw. I yelled to Matt, “MY ANKLES LOOK NORMAL!!” I hadn’t seen normal, non-swollen ankles in quite some time, and they were a beautiful sight.
And again, that’s not because I’ve lost all of my weight. I still have 85 pounds to go. My ankles were doing that because the carb-laden food I was eating was causing inflammation. Keto got rid of my inflammation, even with me still needing to lose so much weight.
The excruciating pain in my feet is completely gone.
This is a huge one. Ever since college, I’ve had pain in my feet. It goes away throughout the day as I walk and stand, but first thing in the morning, it was bad. And if I sat down for an extended period of time, like to have a meal, it was bad.
The last couple of years, the pain in my feet got so bad that it was excruciating to get out of bed in the mornings. In fact, it was so bad that I told Matt that I was considering getting crutches to use in the mornings just to ease my feet into holding weight every morning. The pain would be so bad that I’d be close to tears, and needing to grab walls and anything else just to steady myself.
Well, that pain is completely gone, too. In the mornings, I can pop right out of bed with zero pain in my feet. Zero pain. Do you know what that’s like after experiencing such excruciating pain for years? It’s pretty amazing!
My blood pressure has normalized.
The last time I checked my pre-keto blood pressure, which was about three weeks before starting the diet, my blood pressure was 157/97.
It didn’t take long after starting the keto diet for my blood pressure to normalize. In fact, I think after only four or six weeks, my blood pressure was down to 117/79.
I no longer have exhaustion and pounding heartbeat after eating a meal.
As if the things I’ve already listed about my pre-keto life weren’t scary enough, this is the one that scared Matt the most.
When eating a carb-filled diet, about five or ten minutes after eating a meal, I would get so sleepy that I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and my heart would beat very hard. If I was sitting in a comfy position after a meal, I would go to sleep. No exceptions. And the meal didn’t have to be filled with terrible things, like fast food fries and milkshakes. It could be a meal that most people view as “healthy,” like some sort of chicken and rice dish. It didn’t matter. If I ate, I would go to sleep.
And I’m not talking about just a little shut eye, or a cat nap here. I’m talking about a near-comatose kind of sleep where Matt would have a hard time waking me up. That’s scary.
After a couple of weeks on keto, that went away completely. I can now eat a meal, and feel totally energetic afterwards. No need for naps anymore. And I also don’t experience that pounding heartbeat after meals anymore. I stay awake and alert throughout the whole day now, with energy to spare.
And speaking of energy…
I have increased and sustained energy throughout the day.
Before keto, I was continually exhausted. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I managed to get out of bed in the mornings with the condition I was in, much less get any home projects done. Somehow I managed, mostly out of sheer necessity, but each day was a huge struggle. At any given time in the day, I could easily lie down and take a nap. I counted down the minutes until I could stop working on a project for the day and go sit down.
After a couple of weeks on keto, that completely changed. The first week on keto, I still felt sluggish. But after that first week, my energy began to gradually increase until I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with it all.
And this was different from energy spikes I had experienced from other diets (like HCG) or energy pills/drinks that I had tried in the past. Those left me feeling like I was bouncing off the walls. I had crazy high energy, but had trouble concentrating and focusing with those.
With keto, the increased energy is steady and sustained throughout the day. In fact, back when I was working on my pantry remodel, I would easily work until 11:00pm, and not even realize how late it was. When Matt would call me and tell me it was time to close up for the night, I’d be so disappointed because I had so much energy and focus that I could have easily gone on for another two or three hours.
It feels amazing to be able to get through the day energized and focused, without the need for an after-meal nap, and without the continual fighting against exhaustion.
I have a better mood and outlook.
When eating a diet filled with carbs, I was continually having to keep my attitude in check. I didn’t want anyone bothering me (including my husband), so if he interrupted me in the middle of a project because he needed help with something, I would get so frustrated. I would help him, of course, but my attitude wasn’t good. I just wanted to be left alone.
And along with that, I could also get quite short-tempered and snippy. And pessimistic. I always seemed to have a negative outlook towards life and things in general.
On keto, that has completely changed. I no longer feel short-tempered or snippy. Matt has commented on the change in my attitude as well. He says I’m way more pleasant to be around now. We’ve always laughed together, but we laugh way more now than we did before. Life just feels lighter, and my pessimistic outlook has disappeared. Now I just generally feel positive, happy, and happy to help my husband when he needs it.
My resting heartbeat has decreased.
Before keto, my heart was always beating fast and hard. It didn’t matter if I had been sitting for an hour and doing absolutely nothing. My resting heart rate was still around 100. And I didn’t have to search for a pulse on my neck or my wrist, either, because I could always just feel my heart beat.
Now, my resting heart rate is 64. And I can no longer just feel my heartbeat pulsing through my body. In order to check my heart rate now, I actually have to find a pulse on my neck or wrist.
The changes from following a ketogenic diet have been life-changing (and probably life-saving).
Those are all of the changes that I can think of right off hand. Like I said, when I look back on my high-carb diet days, I honestly have no idea how I functioned. (And you’ll wonder that, too, when I get brave enough to share “before” pictures with you.)
Now, my life just feels completely different. And if I feel this good with an extra 85 pounds on my frame, I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel once I get ALL of the excess weight off! I’m excited to find out!
I went from having such inflammation all over my body that it hurt to do normal things, to being completely free of pain and inflammation. I went from being so tired and exhausted all day long, to having more than enough energy throughout the day (with lots to spare) to get my projects done.
Just the other day, I went to the courthouse to pay our property tax. In front of the building, there are six steps (seven, if you count the curb) to reach the front door…
I got out of my car (with zero pain), headed towards the building, bounded up those steps without giving it a second thought (and without the handrail), and just before I grabbed the door to go in, I stopped.
I turned back to look a those steps because I remembered that just the previous spring, when I went there to register my car, those steps looked like Mount Everest to me. I got up the steps, but each step was a chore, and I don’t know if I could have done it without the use of the handrail. Every step hurt my knees and feet, and when I reached the top (of just six steps!!) I was out of breath.
The ketogenic diet has changed my life. And, quite frankly, it has probably saved my life, as well.
And I still have 85 pounds to go. I’m so excited to continue on this journey.