I’ve heard by the time you reach 30, everyone has tried the Keto Diet three times. Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that won’t be me!!
Last summer, I had just finished my first year of graduate school, and realized the Freshman 15 applies to grad students too. It was about time I got into shape and lost some weight, so I gave Keto a try. One of my friends raved about keto since she had been on it for an entire year, so I was convinced. Unlike other diets, the keto diet is super scientific and requires constant work. To maximize the impact, keto dieters can only eat 20 grams of carbs per day, eat less than 1,200 calories, exercise, and count their macros. Even though the weight comes off like crazy, take it from me, keto is not worth it.
As a vegetarian with nut allergies and mild lactose intolerance, keto started off and stayed rough. Basically, the only foods you can eat are meat, dairy products, and nuts. These three food groups have few carbs, where lots of veggies and fruits are filled with healthy carbs. Also, in keto, if you so much as look at a loaf of bread, you’ve gained two pounds. The diet is so strict because your body actually undergoes a process called “ketosis” which burns your carbs and fats quickly. If you cheat for one snack or one meal, you’re knocked out of “ketosis” and have to start all over.
Although thousands rave about their results from keto, I did not think my weight loss was worth the agony my body experienced from the 30 days I was in ketosis. Here’s a list of the crappy things that happened to my body:
1. Horrible acne: Since you’re eating fatty foods, your skin breaks out like CRAZY.
2. Constipation: Without the fiber of a normal diet, you get severely backed up and often need medical laxatives.
3. “Keto Flu”: In the beginning of your keto diet, and if you cheat, your body undergoes “Keto Flu” which makes you cranky, sleepy, lazy, and feel horrible. It eventually ends, but ruins a week of productivity and happiness.
4. Stomach pain: As a vegetarian, my body wasn’t used to the heavy meat intake. Nearly every meal has meat, and boy was my stomach mad at me!!
5. Bloating: The heavy intake of dairy made my stomach extend, even if I was losing weight. Also, all the salt from the meat and cheese bloated me. It wasn’t cute.
6. High Cholesterol: My cholesterol shot through the roof since my diet was basically just eggs, meat, and cheese. After every meal, I felt SO icky and my heart wasn’t feeling great.
7. Bad breath: Ketosis scientifically gives you bad breath. And trust me, it is bad. But, you can’t even chew gum because gum has carbs!!
8. Nausea: I got really sick of eating eggs, cheese, and meat all day. Even when looking at my meal (even if it was yummy) I’d get nauseous and loose my appetite. Even now, a year later, I feel that nausea. I have keto PTSD.
9. Sadness: I love food. And the fact that I had to miss out on so many yummy treats at work and while I traveled made me sad. Even more so, I was sad that I had to miss out on events with my friends because I couldn’t eat anything there.
10. Mental changes: I have always had a good relationship with food, my body image, and confidence. However, tracking my food so carefully gave me a really negative, dangerous relationship with food and my body. I started viewing food as the enemy and looking at my body in disgust. This was by far the worst part about keto because my confidence escaped me and I couldn’t stand eating or looking at myself.
After my horrible experience with keto, I have redeveloped my healthy relationship with food and discovered new ways to healthily lose weight. I recommend trying a vegan or paleo diet to lose weight. These diets include healthy portions of fruits and vegetables, all while keeping your body in balance. No amount of weight I lost from keto made up for the damage it caused me. Take it from me and don’t do keto. Your body and mind will thank you later!