Most of you already know me as a Certified Nutrition Consultant, or as the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo.
But I am so much more than that!
In my new vlog series, DIANE: DIRECT, I'm diving into some new topics and you're going to see a whole other side of me.
In this episode, I'm digging into the basics of a keto diet and how I'm doing it.
Right now I’m following a pretty low carb, borderline ketogenic diet, meaning I’m eating about 30 to 35 grams of carbs per day.
“Why are you doing this, Diane?”, you may ask.
Because I want to! You guys know I’m a rebel – sometimes I just want to try something, do something different, see how I feel, and (of course!) see what the food is like.
The bottom line is, I don’t go into any dietary change with the mindset, “This is going to be horrible, and so now I want to do it.” That’s just not how I operate.
I’ll be doing this for about 2 to 3 months to see how my body responds.
I’ll be taking note of how I look, how I feel, and how I perform at the gym.
I also want to see if my sleep improves (it’s already started to), if my energy improves, and if I’m able to go longer in between meals.
I’d like to be able to go 4 to 8 hours between meals, or possibly intermittent fasting, as opposed to having to eat every 2 to 4 hours.
What is a keto diet?
A keto diet means you’re eating very, very low carbohydrate. For most people, that’s somewhere between 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day.
Then there’s the debate of “total carbs” versus “net carbs”, and which I’m counting.
For me, it’s all about total carbs – the total grams of all the carbs I eat in a day.
But what are “net carbs”?
To get net carbs, you take the total amount of carbohydrate grams you’re eating in a day – let’s say, 50 grams – and subtracting out the total grams of fiber you’re eating a day – let’s say, 15 grams. Subtract 15 from 50, and you get 35 grams of effective net carbs.
Keto is different than a standard low carb diet because it is very important that daily grams of carbs remain at that low level. You can’t be eating upwards of 75+ grams of carbs a day and still be eating a keto diet, unless your body somehow allows you to be producing ketones while you’re eating that higher level of carbohydrate.
Keto differs from paleo in that a paleo diet focuses on food quality and food choices; a keto diet focuses on maintaining a particularly low level of carbohydrate – a balance of macronutrients. I’ll be combining both concepts, and eating very high-quality food, in a certain balance of macronutrients.
How do you know if you’re in ketosis?
Most folks rely on quantitative testing methods – urine tests, blood tests, or breath tests. I prefer something more qualitative – how do I feel?
I can tell when my body gets into a more ketogenic, fat-burning state when I can go those long hours in between meals, I’m not constantly hungry, and my energy levels are higher and better sustained.
Do you have to be in ketosis to be a fat-burner?
It depends. We all wake up in a fat-burning state, after fasting for 6 to 8 hours overnight while we sleep. That doesn’t mean that you can never burn fat for fuel if you’re typically a sugar-burner – it just means that your body primarily prefers to run on glucose (sugar and carbs) for fuel. When you start to feel those pangs of hunger, that’s your body signaling that it wants some more glucose!
If and when you get into a fat-burning state, and you feel those pangs of hunger hit, the cool thing that happens is that your body can start to tap into stored body fat to fuel you for several more hours – maybe even longer than that!
Most of us have at least some stored body fat that we’d like to be able to tap into – ketosis is one way to help our body mobilize that stored body fat for fuel, instead of always looking for more glucose.
What workouts are best when you’re on a keto diet?
Right now, my workouts are strength-based. These types of workouts tend to be better at tapping into fat for fuel, versus something like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or Crossfit, that tend to rely more on carbohydrate.
I train fasted in the morning – meaning, I work out first thing on an empty stomach (other than my Chameleon Cold Brew, of course!). I do this about 5 days a week. I find that this works great for me, and I feel good doing it, and have since even before I started a keto diet.
Is this the only way to lose weight and burn body fat?
Absolutely not! There are tons of other options out there. Some of you may remember that I followed a macros-based eating plan in the past. These types of plans tend to be lower in fat and higher in carbs, and it did work to lose some body fat that I wanted to lose. After following it for a while, I learned that I didn’t like eating all the time, my energy throughout the day wasn’t great, and honestly, I didn’t love the food I was eating anymore. That’s a big deal for me!
So I decided to go back to something that had worked for me in the past – a low carb/ketogenic diet. I love that I can go much longer between meals, and I’m really enjoying the food I’m eating again.
Does this have to be a permanent change?
No! You can try this for a while, and see how you feel on it. However, you can’t try this for one week…or two weeks…or even three weeks. If you want to try this way of eating, you must commit for at least 6 to 8 weeks to really start to see the benefits from it. You have to give it time.
The caveat to that? The first one to two weeks are probably not going to feel great. This is a big change for your body, especially depending on how much sugar and carbohydrate you were eating before. You may notice all kinds of symptoms – feeling tired, hungry, thirsty, or maybe even like you’re gaining weight. Again, this is a big change, and you need to give your body time to adjust.
All of this said…a keto may not be right for everyone!
If you’re pregnant, a breastfeeding mom, already underweight, or someone who has a long, lean body type, sometimes referred to as a “hard gainer” or an ectomorph, this may not be right for you. You may not have a lot of excess body fat to tap into to fuel you between meals. It’s not that it can’t be great for you, it just may not be something worth trying.
That’s all I’ve got for you guys today. Remember, I post new videos every week.
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