The keto challenge: I actually gained weight

It’s 7:30 am on Friday morning as I type this. I just woke up from really disturbing nightmares and I’m trying to collect my thoughts enough to write an article but I’m having a hard time.

I took this week off blogging so I could focus on learning about keto and fasting. I already thought I knew enough – but I needed to experiment and I’ve decided that for ME – keto has too many downsides and I feel worse after having been low carb for a couple of weeks.

Not only that, but I haven’t lost any weight! In fact I’ve gained a few pounds!

The Keto Diet

The keto diet is one that many of my friends swear by. Many people I’ve chatted with online say that it worked for them for weight loss. They saw progress in early stages of keto and experienced other benefits that came with keto like improved sleep, energy and overall feeling of being “healthier”.

For me, it was the complete opposite.

The object of keto is eating foods that are high in natural fats but low in carbs. Foods like meat, protein sources (fish, peanut butter, eggs) are strongly recommended as they contain little to zero grams of carbs.

While foods that I normally love and consider healthy, are not allowed. Fruits like bananas, strawberries, mangoes and watermelon. Vegetables like potatoes, yams, parsnips and even carrots aren’t allowed.

That’s right. Even carrots are considered high carb and eating them may “boot” you out of ketosis.

Calorie counting

I tried keto for two weeks and had a very hard time consuming enough calories to get me through the day. While I was eating extremely healthy foods like lettuce wraps, low fat cheese and raspberries – I found that even with two meals during the day, I struggled to reach 1200 calories.

I found myself eating more when I was full and eating at 9 pm at night to meet my daily calorie goal. I felt and still feel that anything lower than 1000 calories is dangerously low. And there were some days where I had a hard time getting over 700 calories.

I didn’t like this. While I didn’t feel hungry after my meals, I didn’t feel like I was eating enough to sustain my energy levels.

One night, I even binged on McDonalds and ate about 2000 calories in one meal because I was craving something salty. Of course, I regretted it instantly.

I gained weight

Yesterday was the lowest carb day I’ve had in three weeks. I managed to consume less than 30 grams of carbs. By the end of the day, I had a headache, I felt sick to my stomach, and I did not like the way this felt. I went to bed at 10:00 pm only to wake up at 2:00 in the morning. And then again at 7:30 after some horrifying nightmares.

Being in ketosis, made me feel sick – which I suspect was the keto flu but I didn’t like it at all. I’m trying to get healthy.

I know that keto is supposed to have all these great benefits. But for me, it was disappointing. I stepped on the scale this morning and was six pounds heavier than I’ve been. SIX pounds.

I think eating food that was low in carbs made it harder to meet my calorie goals and so I was eating constantly throughout the day and munching. Where as with intermittent fasting – I found that I was less hungry and able to meet my calorie goals no problem.

So, in a nutshell – keto is great for many and has some health benefits. But for me – it was a failed attempt. I’m going to stick to intermittent fasting and try and work up to a 16.8 schedule.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos with Dr. Jason Fung and he explains things so well I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

When we were kids, we were told to eat six meals a day. Three main meals and three snacks. We were told this would boost up our metabolism. But fasting is what people like me need for insulin resistance. And to “reboost” my insulin, I need to fast to get it working properly again.

And so, this is where we are this Friday morning. I’m lost in thought from my nightmares that left me feeling sick to my stomach. But that could have been from the dark chocolate yesterday – that I don’t like at all.

Have you tried keto? Did it work for you? Let me know in the comments.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Hilary Tan says:

    I gained weight trying keto too so I stick to a high carb diet, which works much better for me. When I say carbs, I mean complex carbs and fruits. Potatoes and brown rice. Naturally occurring foods – not the processed, fluffy stuff. I find I do best on a 60-70% carb diet. I don’t calorie count and use hunger cues instead. As for fasting, I did 20:4 for 2 weeks but then PMS hit and that was the end of intermittent fasting.

    A diet that works for someone else might not work for you. Personally, I don’t think keto is sustainable long term. Keto gets a lot of hype but maybe it gets too much hype….

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  2. Wendy says:

    Yeah same for me. I think the high fat foods were messing with my stomach too – been an awful few days. So I’m just counting calories for now and going back to IF which is just meal spacing. I found with keto I was just stuffing my face trying to get those calories in. So frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilary Tan says:

    I got my gallbladder removed as a teenager so I don’t digest fats well. I used to count calories but it made me neurotic so I stopped. I agree that IF is tough, especially when I’m not hungry but “feel” the need to stuff my face. It made me feel bloated and sick so I’m hesitant to return to 20:4. For the past 7 years I’ve been eating 2 meals a day and will continue to do that.

    If anything, try cutting out refined foods and eating things that are natural or less than 5 pronounceable ingredients. It sounds boring but this kind of diet (lifestyle) really works. I even make throat lozenges from scratch now (4 ingredients!). At one point, I made homemade caramel popcorn too and protein gummies. I make my own fries and chips which are air-fried. You can have junk food, but try making it yourself…. it’s much easier than counting calories!

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  4. Wendy says:

    Yeah I think it was the fatty foods that didn’t agree with me. Rough morning today. I do most of my own cooking save for things like rice and the occasional cup of pasta. I think IF is the way to go! I am also upping my vitamin D and B levels as if they are low, they can hinder progress too.

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  5. ketostoner says:

    I’m sorry that your experience with Keto wasn’t good! Hopefully mine is different!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have been on keto for 10 months. It looks to me like you did not get enough protein. Peanut Butter is high in carbs if it isn’t all natural. I have lost many inches and have lost 20lbs so far. I am maintaining my weight. I know Keto is not for everyone and results will vary. I focus on high fats like heavy whipping cream, cheese, and avocado. I eat meat and eggs. I stick to all greens. Those are good for you. If you are lazy keto, you are allowed coke zero and sparkling ice drinks. I am not eating gluten so I stay away from all keto bread and low carb tortillas. Keto is definitely a challenge but definitely not impossible. I have focused on inches lost over pounds lost or I would have driven myself crazy. I do have my progress photos on my blog.

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  7. Wendy says:

    Oh I got plenty of protein. I don’t have a gallbladder. The high fat contents in some of the recipes did a real number on my stomach. Also, keto is not great for some women who have PCOS. What works better for me, is just watching what I eat and sometimes, intermittent fasting. I found keto to be too restricting for me and I never felt like I was eating enough because my daily caloric intake – it was hard to make it to even 1000 calories some days.

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  8. Can you explain how keto is not good for PCOS? My best friend is doing keto on PCOS recommended by her dr. I hope she is not in danger. I am sorry I missed the part where you do not have a gall bladder. For sure keto is not for everyone.

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  9. Wendy says:

    It just depends on the person. I know some women who have success with it. Insulin resistance is a tricky beast and not everyone with PCOS has problems with insulin resistance. Keto is used in some cases to manage illnesses like diabetes and some of my friends swear by it. But there are women like me, where it just didn’t work.

    My problem was I never felt like I was eating enough even though I was eating three meals a day. I’m very focused on numbers and aiming for even 1000 calories a day was tough, so I found myself stuffing my face with high fatty foods and protein late in the evening which made me feel bleh the next day.

    My doctor was really surprised when I brought up intermittent fasting and she was very supportive of that for me. I find it works better. Some days are hard to meet the 15-16 hour window of not eating but it all depends on my sleep schedule too.

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  10. I know IF for me would be hard with my work schedule and I get so jittery with no food. I’m glad you found something that works!

    Liked by 1 person

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