Like most people, I went on a ketogenic diet because of its ability to induce rapid weight loss.
I had been unhappy about all the weight I had gained after birthing and breastfeeding two babies and after six years of working at an 8 – 5 back-breaking desk job.
So when I began freelancing, I decided to exercise my freedom by losing as much weight as I could within a short period of time.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diets made their debut in the 1920s when they were used to treat difficult cases of epilepsy in children. After a while, they were replaced by other anti-seizure medicines. But today, it has become popular in the fitness and weight loss world as an excellent diet to lose weight fast. Ketogenic diets are easy to get on and off.
My body generally adapted to the changes (mostly tiredness and sleepiness) that had been induced by the diet. And the diet posed no health risk whatsoever.
I have heard people say the following about a ketogenic diet.
- It is restrictive.
- It is too expensive.
These assumptions are both true and false, depending on your perspective. When I went on my keto diet, I was living on a low budget. Nigeria, my country of residence, was in recession, and the prices of food items had hit the roof. But I was determined to be creative with the ketogenic diet and I lost 10kg within four weeks.
There are many things I did to make the diet yield such surprising results. Here are the top 5 on my list.
1. Be Creative With Recipes
Personal research had taught me the basic science of a keto diet. So I knew that a keto diet was well-known for being a low carbohydrate diet and that it involved the body producing ketones in the liver to be used as energy.
Further research helped me create a comprehensive list of keto-complaint foods that were available in my little corner of the world/ So I saved up about fifteen thousand naira ($45, then) for the food items I needed to last me for a week. I knew I would have to improvise with the food items to come up with my own recipes.
I bought a lot of cucumbers, a large bulb of cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise and a crate of eggs.
Of course, I made sure I had different kinds of soups (vegetable soups, okra soup and egusi soup) stacked in my freezer. From time to time I invested in tiger nuts, coconuts, groundnuts and avocado pears
These healthy foods were ultimately filling and were easy to play around with. If I became hungry in between meals, I snacked on garden egg leaves and/ or garden eggs, carrots or nuts. This made the keto diet less frustrating for me.
2. Exercise Makes A World Of Difference
Most people I know fancy ketogenic diets because they know they can lose weight even without exercises. While this is true, there is something they are missing. A keto diet will not tone your muscles and no one wants flabby skin.
I knew the many benefits of exercises and wanted to continue enjoying them, so I incorporated a variety into my routine. I chose short, specific workout routines because I wanted to burn fat in my butt and thighs, my stomach and arms.
Of course, I included full body workouts such as jump ropes exercises. But I recommend rebounding exercises because they are short and effective full body workouts anyone can enjoy.
Once I began bouncing on my Needak rebounder, my routine felt more like fun than exercise.
The results were unique and amazing. I lost much more weight than my counterparts who hadn’t exercised. When my former boss saw me at a shop, he said, “you look like someone shaved 10 years off your age.” I smiled and thanked him.
Exercises improve blood circulation, tone the muscles and renew your body so that you look and feel younger and healthier. When you’re on a keto diet, you’ll need the exercises to help you feel energised and stronger.
3. Don’t Be Scared of Fats and Proteins
Fats have been called all sorts of terrible names in recent times. But they aren’t as bad as you think. Someone once asked, “isn’t it possible to die from too much fat?” To which I replied, “Possibly. Just as you can die from too many carbohydrates.”
Too much of anything is bad for you. I was fat phobic before my keto diet and had to learn that ingesting healthy fats can help you lose weight.
Dietary fat is perfectly healthy for you if taken in the right portions. While on a keto diet, you’ll need to ingest a sufficient amount of healthy dietary fats for energy. You can choose your fatty foods from a variety of sources. I recommend avocado pears, coconut oil, tiger nuts, butter, olive oil, fish, cashew nuts, groundnuts, almond nuts, and coconuts.
You’ll also need to increase your protein intake to improve muscle recovery. There is a lot to be gained from the calories derived from your protein intake.
In my opinion, vegan protein sources are the best protein that you can find and use in your diet.
Eat a lot of meats, fish, eggs and almond milk (if you can afford it).
4. Drink Green Tea and/or Oolong Tea.
Drinking green tea and or Oolong tea is a wonderful way to improve your diet. It is no secret that tea drinking increases your body metabolism. It is also an effective stress buster and mental alertness enhancer.
Both Oolong and green tea are gotten from the same Camellia sinensis plant as black tea. The difference is in the processing. While black tea is fully fermented, green tea is unfermented. The oolong tea, however, is partially fermented. I love Oolong tea for its high nutritional value.
It contains carotene, calcium, manganese, potassium, Vitamins A,B,C,E, and K.
I noticed that drinking tea right after my exercises made me feel more relaxed and mentally alert. Moreover, the tea detoxified and cleansed my system. The pores of my skin opened up and let out toxins. My skin and hair were healthier as a result. Tea drinking is one habit I continued even after my keto dieting came to an end. It has helped me keep off the weight.
Alternatively, you can try out ketocoffee. I heard it has similarly wonderful benefits as the green and oolong teas.
5. Drink A Lot of Water
When your body is being starved of carbs, the body naturally stores less water. You’ll need to increase the quantity of water you ingest so that your body can stay hydrated. This is very important especially since you won’t be eating a lot of the watery fruits that provided your body with alternative sources of water.
I particularly missed watermelons, oranges, pineapples and pawpaw.
But I kept my eyes on the prize.
I noticed that when I had a headache, two glasses of water were all it took to dispel the pains.
Once you get on that keto diet, drink up.
In conclusion, don’t give up. It gets easier as you go along. But medical experts have advised against going on the ketogenic diet for long stretches of time. Three months is often the limit. You can slowly incorporate the carbs in small portions. If you still need to lose more weight, try intermittent fasts. Intermittent fasts are healthier and just as effective.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes creative non-fiction and prose fiction. Her works have appeared in Romance Meets Life, Flash Fiction Press, MTLS, Saraba Magazine, Sentinel Magazine and others. Her first novel, Finding Love Again, was published by Ankara Press. She owns and manages Creative Writing News.