Hello friends! As promised, I am coming to you with an update regarding my first month on the ketogenic diet as a woman with PCOS. I’ve attempted a little outline so as not to ramble but I apologize if this gets lengthy because the last month as been eventful and kind of rough. I’ve put headers for each of the topics I will discuss so you can skip around to what matters to you if you’d like.
Let me just start off by saying I practice “lazy keto” so don’t go shaming me in the comments because I eat something you personally wouldn’t eat (ie: sucralose, dairy, or processed foods). I heard a doctor youtube say that if the way you can keto is by eating a hotdog and mustard its still better than the snickers you were eating before. FYI, I hate hotdogs, so that doesn’t apply to me, but you get the gist and I think thats something important to keep in mind for dieters who get too bogged down by trying to be perfect I first. I definitely want to make even better choices as I continue on my journey but right now, everything is an improvement. I keep my carbs between 20 and 30 per day and aim for calories at 1200 to 1500. I was tracking everything the first week or so and then stopped which I will get into why later.
The first thing I want to talk about is mental health. As a little bit of background I have a history of OCD and currently am diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression and its been a battle for years. Before keto for the last six months, I had got into a depression phase where I had a terrible sleep schedule and was experience something similar to selective eating disorder. I didn’t have the energy to make anything or care because of depression and the list of foods I was willing to eat was extremely short. This resulted in me eating one, usually lower calorie, minimally nutritious meal per day. I was taking a medication that had drastically improved things for me and at the same time started keto so that when I did start to eat meals again, they would be healthier and I would actually lose weight. (The eating habits before did not result in weight loss due to PCOS and the food choices). Fast forward to two weeks into keto and my mental state had plummeted as evidence by the lack of posts between week one and now. I was angry all the time, weepy, an anxiously fixating on things that didn’t matter at that point, and just overall no motivation to do anything. Eating got hard again because nothing sounded good, I was disgusted by everything, and I just didn’t care. Now, I attribute this change to one of three (maybe a combination) factors: PMS, estrogen released from fat cells, and/or electrolytes.
Focusing on the electrolyte issue for a moment – if you’ve been doing keto for very long, you’ll know that electrolytes are so so important when avoiding keto flu during your first week on the diet. In my one week keto post, I attributed my lack of keto flu to the electrolytes I was getting from powerade zero. This was false. After doing more research later, I realized Powerade Zero has basically nothing compared to the amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium you need daily (2-4g, 2-3g and 500mg respectively). While I was probably coming pretty close to sodium from regular food, magnesium and potassium have been no where near where the should have been for the last month. This had to be a contributing factor to my mental state decline. I have since been tracking those levels and supplementing so hopefully, things will go back to normal. I definitely want to do a post about supplements for electrolytes in the future once I’ve got everything tweaked because clearly its a super important topic.
Next I want to talk about periods. So if you don’t want to read TMI stuff, then skip ahead haha. In my one week post you’ll notice I mentioned my period had started on day 9. This was also false. I spotted for one single day and went back to being dry as a desert, much to my dismay, but! around the end of week two well into week three I noticed I was having light cramps. Like so light their were barely there. I saw someone on a reddit post refer to them as phantom cramps which felt spot on. Over the week and a half of experiencing them they progressively got worse until I had actually convinced myself that I probably just had a UTI. About 6 days ago I was out of this world emotional and ragey and the next day experience the worst cramps I can remember since I had my period over a year ago. I also noticed sore breasts which had never really been a PMS symptom of mine. My period started that day – not spotting, barely there, false alarm-ness but a real, open the flood gates kind of period. I had a few days of heavier than normal but it does seem to be tapering off now to my relief and the cramps are gone. So between normal hormonal fluctuations, electrolytes and this period stuff, no wonder I was depressed. Things can only get better from here.
Weight Loss, Gains, and Stalls
Now, I’ll talk about weight, the big one that everyone wants to know about. I can confidently say I lost about 9 pounds during the first two weeks and I was glorious. Week three rolls around and I stalled, even gained a few pounds which, of course, triggered a huge emotional break down. I’ve heard ladies talk about how fluctuation is perfectly normal, especially around the time of your period but at that time, I wasn’t aware it could be a PMS thing so I took it pretty hard. I also cheated some during this week which probably didn’t help. As of yesterday, my total I went back to my pre-period weight minus another pound. My total weight loss for month one is 11 pounds and to my surprise, I also experienced a loss in inches.
Cheating is like a huge no-no in any diet, especially keto just because of how ketosis and becoming fat adapted works, BUT, we are all human and sometimes its hard to get over cravings. From day one, my husband and I had decided we would have a cheat day after one month of keto. It was completely planned out down the meal and drinks and it kept us motivated during that first month. Admittedly, I had some cheat meals in the middle which I attribute to depression and PMS and just general lack of willpower during that time. Obviously, I don’t recommend cheating but it happened, I still lost some and I didn’t die. Would I have lost more if I hadn’t cheated this month? Sure, maybe. But I’m always looking to improve and now I know that cheat meals really just aren’t worth it in the future. What happened after my cheat meals/day you might be wondering? Nothing. I didn’t gain ten pounds of water weight, I didn’t feel crappy or spend all day on the toilet. I may have gotten a little tired at one point but thats definitely it. So while you should try really hard to stick with your carb goal, its not the end of the world if you make a mistake and you definitely shouldn’t give up and binge because you feel like a failure. You’re not a failure and it will be okay. Just pick up where you left off and keto on. If you’re going to have a cheat meal or cheat day, I definitely recommend planning it out in advance and sticking to your plan because I think this really helps prevent binging and negative feelings about yourself afterwards.
One month of keto is down, several more to go. While I haven’t seen the massive initial losses others have seen, I am at my lowest weight since probably the end of 2017 (I gained *all* my weight in the last two years thank to PCOS). Any progress is good progress and I’m definitely going to keep moving forward. Maybe next month their will be enough of a difference to post before and after pictures. Here are my official updated measurements.
Bust: 42.5 in –> no change
Waist: 37.5 in –> 36.5 in
Hips: 44 in –> no change
Arms: 14 in –> 13 in
Thigh: 28 in –> 26.5 in
Calf: 16 in –> 15.5
Weight: 205 lbs to 194 lbs
I waited an entire month to measure and was pretty darn sure I wasn’t going to show any changes so I’m awestruck at these numbers. There’s a NSV (non scale victory) for you.
Are you starting your own keto journey? Let me know in the comments below! Lets keep each other accountable!