Why do I prefer Keto?

I switched to keto a year ago.  Yes, there are times where carbs call my name....I'm only human!  I'm learning summer time is the most challenging for me to stay on track.  Somehow beer is more refreshing when it gets hotter outside.  Eh who am I kidding, I love beer no matter what season it is!  Bring on the pumpkin and Christmas ale and I'm one happy person!  Plus I've learned being on a strict diet during social events isn't worth it!  So I indulge during them.  Wow talk about side tracked..

Back to the point, I switched to Keto for two reasons: to lose weight and to run faster.  I had been paleo/primal for awhile and ran a PR in both a full and half marathon.  I wanted to see what the next level of food control would do for me.  I was hoping this miracle diet would help me lose the last 15 pounds and make my half marathon time 15 minutes faster.  

If you're like me you tend to like a summary and then skip straight to the end result.  So for those people, did this work for me?  Not in the way I expected.  Before you leave I did learn a lot on this and plan on sticking with a cyclical ketosis plan.  While I didn't lose the last 15 pounds or run 15 minutes faster I did gain more to change my outlook.  Just to name a few benefits: I'm more relaxed, I'm not hangry, I don't need food every 3 hours, I'm not stressed out, I have constant energy throughout the day, and I'm not as emotional as I was before.  It has taken some time but my emotional stability and wellbeing is more important than losing 15 pounds.  

There are also a few things I've learned: Keto isn't for everyone, it isn't a miracle weight loss tool, carbs amounts are different for everyone, you do have to play around with calorie count, it is extremely important to do the MAF method (training in your aerobic heart rate zone) of endurance training while eating low carb, and most importantly the scale has no freaking clue what it's talking about!  

Ok for those of you that would like the whole story....I'll try to keep this short.... Let's look at what I was dealing with.  I have always struggled with my weight.  My freshman 15 turned into a freshman 50+ and it's been a rollercoaster ever since!  I have a thyroid problem which takes time to heal.  Being someone that struggles with their weight makes losing the last 15 pounds even harder.  When it comes to the running goal, I have bad knees.  My left knee doesn't have an ACL which means I have to run with a metal brace so I can walk the next day.  That's how much I love running!  I currently can't give it up long enough to get my knee fixed.   

With these issues is it fair to think a ketogenic diet will help me reach my goals?  Looking back on it I was slightly unrealistic.  I started training and eating low carb 12 weeks before the half marathon I wanted to get a personal best in, 12 weeks!  It takes everyone a different amount of time to get into ketosis and become fat burning.  I knew that and somehow believed my body would be quick to adapt.  Well, I was wrong!  It turned out to be the hardest half I've ever ran!  I was exhausted and my legs didn't want to move!  

Luckily the Facebook Keto Reset Diet group got me out of my slump and helped me troubleshoot my issues.  I wasn't eating enough calories and I needed to slow down on my runs.  Slowing down was probably the hardest thing to do.  It's SOOOOO boring at first!  Seriously who wants to see their time get worse?  It took me awhile to enjoy the slow runs but I eventually saw progress. Just like the keto diet you have to be patient!  It all works so well together!

Seven months later, still keto, I tried another half and it was a blast!  I felt great through it!  It was a charity run with friends so I wasn't going for a specific time.  My time was horrible but I know I could have done so much better!  I had so much energy and I didn't need constant fuel.  I was wired!  When my friends were ready to run again I felt like Pheobe running through Central Park....Let's Go!!!

Since then I have done cyclical ketosis.  After a lot of playing around with my macros and calories I personally needed more carbs for my long runs.  I enjoy a beer and potatoes once (or twice) a week.  My MAF training runs continue to constantly get better!  I am constantly seeing improvements with my running and have another race scheduled for October.  We'll see if I can get a PR but i'm not stressing about it.  

Since I follow the Primal life I have heard Mark Sisson say a bazillion times that maybe you can't lose the last 10 pounds because you're already at an ideal weight for your body.   Easy for him to say!  He looks great and doesn't have 10 pounds to lose!  Through this keto journey I'm learning maybe he's onto something!  Maybe I was a little unrealistic with the weight loss goal.

I'm slowly learning to deal with my curves.  I am not one of those runners that can comfortably go running in a sports bra and show off their abs.  On the plus side I don't have to plan my day around food.  I don't have to worry about needing a nap at 1pm.  I don't get hangry.  My husband doesn't have to worry about me becoming crazy over nothing.  Most importantly my stress is under control and I feel as though I can handle anything that comes my way!  That is why I do keto!


Erin Pennington