5 Things I Learned During My First 30 Day Keto Diet



So last month, I did the Keto diet for 30 days, planning on potentially having 4 cheat days to get me through. In the end I lost 7.3 kilos (about 16 lbs.) with only two cheat days and a  few concessions along the way. I’m not saying this is the best diet in the world. I am not saying that this will be a sustainable dietary choice for me.  I chose this diet because I knew that it had the highest chance of helping me to overcome my sugar addiction and reduce my cravings.  The weight loss was truly a bonus compared to taming the raging white sugar stallion bucking and kicking at the cheap wood pallet stall of my will power.

  1. Fill the fridge with good foods, get rid of all the bad foods.  I knew that I needed to have plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so my refrigerator was stocked with the vegetables and meats that were on my list so that I could access them at all times. It’s always easier to add more veggies to a meal if they look like they are starting to go bad and the extra meat I threw in the freezer as a back up for the following weeks. My flatmate was gone so I didn’t need to worry about any of her cooking to tempt me (she doesn’t keep secret stashes of chocolate or sugar so that really isn’t a problem most of the time).
  2. Support is key. I posted on Facebook everyday the first couple of days because it was tough and my people came through. When people questioned the efficacy of the diet and if it really was right for me I told them bluntly, I don’t need your opinions, I just need your support.  If you can give that, great. If not STFU. (Ok, those of you who know me, know I would never say it that way, but I sure did express myself clearly albeit more tactfully).  When things got really tough on a physical and emotional level, I said as much and asked for specific things to make me happy and to distract me. Once again, my people came through. People also took the time to let me know that they love me and are always glad that I express myself honestly. Do that.
  3. Cheating on this specific diet really sucks. Really, really SUCKS! There’s always some excuse for not doing a diet – special occasions or holidays, friends or family visiting, mandatory business functions, Taco Tuesday. Knowing this before I started the diet, I planned  four “cheat days” so that I could focus on the diet and not feel guilty for breaking from the path. I also had to deal with emotional triggers because three days after I started the diet I went through a break up. This ended up being a good thing because 2 of the “cheat days” were specifically built in to handle a holiday birthday weekend. With those crossed off, it was just 2 cheat days to reward myself for staying focused. DO NOT DO THIS! I was mentally prepared for the setbacks on the scale and the cravings. I knew that it would force my body to restart the process of switching to Ketosis. I was not prepared for what they call the “Ketosis Flu” that hit the day after my cheat days. I had an abrupt drain of all energy and headaches that imitated migraines that have been described to me. Joints and ligaments were sore and felt over-stretched. There was also a slight depression. The next time I do this I will be shooting for 60 days with no cheat days.
  4. Overeaters Anonymous (OA) doesn’t use the Keto Diet. I have a correction to make. I have been saying that Overeaters Anonymous uses the Keto Diet. Wrong. Sorry about that. OA doesn’t recommend one specific diet because they are very aware that they have people coming to them with a variety of problems and a variety of body issues. They recommend working with your doctor and a dietitian and they offer 6 samples of different dietitian approved plans. The three ladies I know from Maine who are in recovery with OA  lost over 300 lbs combined using Keto dietary plans.
  5. Plan your Exit Strategy as well as your Initial Strategy. My intial plan was to do the 30 days, take off the weekend and then hop back on for another 30 days. Life plans changed and I ended the 30 days in another country, with somebody who has different food needs. Then I had a crazy week of work and travel where other people were in control of my menu.  I then came home late in the day to an empty refrigerator where it was easier to go out and eat comfort food and a lot of it. I should have had a 4 day break which turned into a 10 day break, losing some of the gains I made in the past month. Spend as much time planning your menu for the week after your diet as your very first week so that you are arble to maintain a consistency of good choices.

I’m starting a new dietary plan, going 60 days on the Keto plan without any breaks. Along the way I have a marathon and a bunch of small trips, so I am planning like crazy. I hope these hard won lessons help if you are starting a challenge of your own.  Already done your 30 day challenge? Leave a note with your best tips!

I did not take pictures at the beginning of the process but here are my photos from the end.  We will see how they compare after the next 30 days.

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It’s been a week since New Year’s.  How’re you feeling? Checking off the goals on your list? Keeping to the straight and narrow? Running on the right track? Falling off the wagon? Feeling in a rut? You are not alone. My first week didn’t go as planned. It went better than the week before but by no means was it perfect. It is times like these that I like to think of my friends who don’t drink Tequila. I like tequila; it’s probably my favorite shooting liquor (probably due to the licking of salt and inappropriate placement of juicy lime slices).

My friends who don’t like tequila will often say “Oooo, I had a bad experience with tequila once.”

My response is “Did you ever fall off a bike?”

“Yeah, everybody has.”

“Did you walk your bike back to the garage and hang it up, or did you get back on and ride on down the road?”

“Well, I biked back home with my skinned knee.”

“Bartender, two tequilas with salt and lime slices, please!”

My point is to keep on truckin’ on.  You take your scrapes and bruises and you learn to do better. Please ignore the fact that my drinking tequila may have lead to minor flesh wounds.

You also may have come across some unbelievers, detractors, debaters, or haters. People in your life who can’t believe you are starting on a diet or a regiment again. People who will find something wrong with each choice you make, often armed with trite half truths – “Running is bad for your knees” or “Carbs can be part of a healthy diet.” They will debate the merits of your plan you have put in place even though they can’t see a plan through themselves. Some people are just plain mean. As much as I love my community at the gym, I heard a snippet of conversation this week while walking behind some regulars on the track.  It was said loud enough that all the newbies on the treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals could hear.

“I can’t wait til all these losers with their New Year’s “Loserlutions” give up, so we can get back to our regularly scheduled awesomeness.”

Don’t listen to them.  Listen to your reasons for being at the gym. Don’t listen to the unbelievers – what do they really believe in? Don’t listen to the detractors – if they use “but” instead of “and” they are not trying to help you on your path.  Don’t even engage with the debaters. As to the haters, listen to your heart.  Listen to your well of unconditional love for yourself.  Listen to the part of you that believes you can do anything you can dream and then figure out how to make it so.


Ran four times this week for over twelve miles, but slept through an alarm and stood up running partners.  This lead to some running days in a row without giving my body proper recovery time.  Lost two pounds so I am down to 283. I did do two days of cross training in the pool swimming. I also had a tour of the new weight machines this week to set myself up for successful weight training in week two. I did not stretch everyday. Maybe five days out of the week. I resolve to do better next week. I will watch and participate in a yoga for runners program to further me towards that goal. I have continued to develop plans towards a career supported by running and continue to be excited.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Best Intentions

Here I go…again. I don’t know how you found me but here is the beginning of another reverse Horatio Alger story in weight. Heavy boy downloaded with a ton of extra baggage works hard, loses the pounds, and does good. Lives happily ever after. Unfortunately I have lost weight before and gained it back and lost it and here we are as Vizzini said “back at the beginning”. You are probably reading this months or years after I started this and hopefully you have just read a post where I am successfully running my umpteenth marathon and feel great. You just had to go to the archives to see that at the very beginning I was wallowing in depression and self pity wondering why am I right back at the bottom of the hill. Stop being a Sisyphus and get to the good part. Where’s the motivation? Where’s the life altering event that says “Something needs to change and it needs to change now!”. Right here, right now, that event is New Year’s Day.

How trite – setting goals on New Year’s Day.  75% of Americans who set goals today are finished by week 3.  Week 3!!!  I can do better than that.  I have set goals before and accomplished them.  I have run consistently. I have raced consistently.  I have finished a Marathon, despite physical maladies.  Mostly I have set little goals, accomplished them then went back to sleep for a couple months, like a hibernating bear or an annoying strain of STD.  The new goals are big.  I’ve decided to dream big and make the results immediate. OK my goals are not going to cure cancer or bring about world peace, but there will be a massive tectonic shift in my world.  I love running and what running does for me mentally and physically .  I am going to make running my life.

Goals for 2015

Run 4 days a week, rain or shine, day or night, in sickness and in health, til death do us…wait a second.  4 days a week unless something is broken or doctor’s orders. I will run my running plan and believe in a system that has already given me so much.

Cross train 2 days a week.  Swimming, biking (uggh), and weight lifting.  Maybe kayaking and snow shoeing. Sword fighting and cliff diving.  Ok, maybe not the last two.

Stretch every day.  I have learned a number of exercises for running ailments – shin splints in 2010, ITB strain in 2013, plantar fasciitis in 2014.  I need to be doing them everyday to support the amount of running I will be doing.  Potentially incorporating yoga into my regular routine.

Run a marathon distance by June.  Finish another one a month later. Complete 6 more by the end of the year on a diminishing timeline.  This is leading to a longer term goal.

Lose 1.5 lbs a week.  This will be accomplished not only by increasing my activity consistently but also drastically changing my eating habits.  As God is my witness, I will not eat ice cream until the first day of summer.  I am starting at 285 lbs today. By the end of December 2015,  I will be 210 lbs or less.

I will write about my successes and my challenges every week.  I will go into detail about my larger dream and I will envision and execute a plan that will allow me to take the joy I feel when I am running into other aspects of my life, primarily my work and personal relationships.

I have already been starting a few of these changes, so although today is a Thursday, my week is already set for success.  I will be updating this blog each week with occasional special entries.  Thank you for joining me on this journey.