In part one, I shared why I wanted to use a ketogenic diet to get back to my pre-pregnancy size. This post will outline how I went about starting, how I tracked my progress, and my experiences in the first few months.
As I said in the last post, I had used a ketogenic diet before but never while exercising, so when I started this time I had to contend with the adaptation to fat burning for about 1-2 weeks during which my RPE (rating of perceived exertion) was much higher than normal and my speed was much slower. However, I was overweight and just starting back to running so I went from 11:00 pace to 12:00 pace. In other words, not much to lose.
My ratios, in hindsight, were off. I will talk about that in a future post about what I did when I stalled, but for now I will say that the ratios I was following were about 5/80/15 carbs, protein, fat and generally 1800-2200 calories per day, running about 20 miles per week. This led to a steady weight loss of about 1-2 pounds per week. Over the first 3 months, my average pace per mile running went from 12:38 pace to 10:33 pace and my weight went from roughly 165 to 152. That’s not a dramatic loss for 3 months but I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose and I expected it to be slow and steady.
The most important part of the equation with a lifestyle change is always “how do you feel”. And I felt great. I was buzzing around the house, wanting to jump into work projects, full of energy. It was exactly what I remembered from the last time I was keto and I really enjoyed feeling so energized.
I was especially excited about running without carbs and felt really hopeful, although it was a mental and physical discovery process for many weeks. All those years of being marketed to by sports nutrition companies takes a long time to deprogram yourself from. At first, I was afraid to run without food so I would take UCAN or almond butter with me on my longer runs. I had a couple of “run into the woods” moments after experimenting with using MCT oil right before or during a run. But eventually I grew more confident and started running with nothing and it was just fine. My long runs were in the 6-12 mile range through this period.
Some things I did right at this time:
- logged my food every single day
- weighed myself every day
- kept a training log with average pace for the week
These helped me see the big picture and I am glad I was meticulous about these things. BTW, I used the KetoGains Subreddit’s spreadsheet to track everything. You can find it here.
Next time, the stall months.