NB: I have a lot to say in this post. Before you get into it, go and grab yourself a cup of tea. Make it sugar free!
My path into the low-carb way of life started a few years ago, when I joined a group on Facebook called SleekGeek. It should be noted that I never actually started on this diet at that time – I merely became aware of the lifestyle. Every Tuesday members would post their #TransformationTuesday pics – (before and after) and I would scroll, like, comment and admire each one. It was a dream to post one of my own some day.
Throughout the years I may have had 5 or 6 false starts on the low-carb diet, but i would give up the minute the first headache struck (more on that later)
At the beginning of 2018, Maurice went for his usual check-up, as he had just landed a new role in a series. As Mau has diabetes in his family, his doctor performed a screening just to be on the safe side. You can imagine our shock when we found out that he was pre-diabetic. I had visions of having to inject him with insulin daily. This is how we first got to learn about the ketogenic diet.
What exactly is keto?
A keto or ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet, which can help you burn fat more effectively. Many people have already experienced its many proven benefits for weight loss, health and performance. 1.
Maurice was adamant to start living a keto lifestyle, and I was adamant in supporting him. I had picked up a crazy amount of kilos, so this was perfect for us. I finally had a low-carb partner. And I did well… for 2 weeks. In truth, I was excellent at cooking his meals at night and making sure he had enough for lunch the next day. I would follow the diet religiously at night, but during the day I would snack on the usual – chocolate, chips and take-aways. Loads of take-aways. So while Maurice was getting healthier by the day, I continued to gain a ridiculous amount of weight.
My belly grew, my back ached and I couldn’t get up without a struggle in the morning. My body started throwing warning signs my way. One night after a delicious pasta bake shared between The Kid and I, I started getting stomach cramps that were worse than child-birth. Turns out gluten is from the devil!
The moment it hit me
I will never forget the panic I felt when I visited my friend and stepped onto her bathroom scale. It was the first time I had been on a scale in months. I think I got off and stepped back on that thing 5 times. 82kgs. That’s what it said. 82kgs. 2kgs more than I weighed when I was pregnant. That was the ah-ha moment. That was the paradigm shift. The proverbial slap in the face. I needed to get my life back in shape!
I left that bathroom feeling like my mind had opened up. Everything was clear. I knew what needed to be done.
Preparation is key (tones)
On the 30th of September 2018 I prepared my meals for the week ahead. I had heard the best way to do this is to plan ahead. They were not wrong. I started my weight-loss journey on the 1st of October. I was in the right frame of mind and I was determined AF. They always say “Never start a diet on a Monday”, well this particular Monday was on my side. I had one rule that I was determined to live by: Keep it to yourself.
In my experience the number 1 cause of failure in achieving a healthy lifestyle is other people. You know I’m not wrong when I say this – Other people; whether they be family, friend or foe; have the ability to bring you down.
At the beginning of your healthy lifestyle, your main focus should be understanding where you are at, and where you need/want to be. Your mind is the most important component to living a healthy life. You need that time to yourself and to set your mind on the right path. Because of this, I kept my journey (mostly) to myself to avoid comments like:
“Oooh no, that’s a stupid idea. Who lives without bread!?”
“You’re going to be so boring to hangout with now!”
What I chose to do was spend time in my own head space. I researched various low-carb diets and recipes (You can check out my Pinterest board here. Read loads of transformation stories. Collected quotes on self-love and performed daily manifestations.
A healthy mind is the first step to a healthy lifeAmanda Cooke
I am not going to lie to you, those first 2 weeks were not easy. When you start eating clean you need to rid your body of all sugar and unhealthy carbs. That means no sugar, chips, biscuits, pasta and no bread whatsoever! Your body needs to go into a state of ketosis (ie: when your body is fueled by fat). Some people, yours truly included, go through what is known as keto flu for a few days. Mine lasted 2 weeks.
I suffered from headaches, dizziness and I was lethargic right through those 14 days. Giving up was not an option for me. I knew exactly what to expect this time round. Fueled by fat and determination I pushed on through those keto flu days.
The basics of keto, without getting to sciencey, keto is a high fat, medium protein and low carb lifestyle. The body uses fat to fuel itself instead of carbs and glucose. You can read up more by clicking here.
To give myself an extra boost, I also started fasting intermittently along with the keto diet. This is very possible to do as feeling hungry does not come easy when you “keto”. The reason for this is that fat fills you up for a longer period of time.Intermittent fasting is basically eating your meals over a specific time period. For example, would typically start eating at 12pm and end before 10pm. This method has been working exceptionally well for me.
About a week before Christmas I was down with a mild bout of tonsillitis. My doctor noticed my weight loss and told me to hop onto the scale. Now bear in mind, I avoided scales at all costs since the last incident. I could see the weight loss on my clothes but in my mind, I didn’t lose a single kilo. Your mind is a funny thing.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that I now weighed in at 72 kilos! 10 kilos down in 80 days!
The best thing about the low-carb diet is that it doesn’t feel like you’re on a diet at all. Yes, you do need to avoid foods that are high in carbs. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a burger with some delicious sweet potato fries at your favourite restaurant once in awhile. Eliminate the bun and voila!, you’re eating a low-carb meal.
I have so much more to say about my new lifestyle but I am going to end this post here. Comment below if you want to know more about the meals I eat or what keeps me motivated. Who knows, I may even do a YouTube mukbang while chatting to you about my low-carb life.