20 things that happened during my first month of keto (and one that didn’t)
I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for a month now and for the most part, I’m feeling great and wishing I had discovered keto a long time ago. After years of constantly feeling tired and being frustrated with “healthy” diets that didn’t work for me, I feel like I’m finally giving my body what it needs. I’ve had a few minor setbacks (due to eating ice cream and not hydrating enough), and I feel like I still have some improvements to make (like giving up dairy), but overall I feel like I’m continuing to make progress. Here’s what happened during my first month of keto.
Keto week 1
- I stopped mindlessly snacking. Since I was tracking all of my macros and I knew any snacks would count towards my daily carb limit (which I set at 25 grams), I became more deliberate about everything I ate. This meant no more snacking out of stress or boredom — a big issue for me in the past.
- My appetite decreased. After a few days, I simply couldn’t eat as much as I used to. Sometimes I started feeling full after just a couple of minutes of eating. I had to remind myself to take smaller portions at mealtime.
- I started eating less in general. Given the first two items above, I was eating a lot less food than I used to. I didn’t feel heavy and bloated and completely stuffed after meals.
- I started eating more greens. I used to get lazy about preparing meals and would sometimes just throw some gluten-free mac and cheese in the microwave for lunch. But because I stocked my fridge in advance with keto-friendly, low-carb veggies and leafy greens, I made sure to include lots of them in every meal.
- My sinuses started clearing up. This is huge, and was completely unexpected. I’ve always had sinus issues. I’m always sneezing and blowing my nose, regardless of the time of year. I often get bronchitis. After less than a week on the keto diet, I realized I could actually breathe through my nose — and a little online research revealed I’m not the only one who’s experienced these effects. It never occurred to me before that the sinus problems could be related to carbohydrate intake.
- I got a touch of the keto diarrhea. This can happen if your digestive system isn’t used to all the fat. For most people, this clears up after a few days.
One thing I did not experience, however, was the keto flu. I attribute this to the fact that my diet was already low in processed carbs and I was already taking a magnesium supplement. If you’re even just curious about going keto, I would recommend cutting back on processed carbs immediately. Your body will thank you for it. You can always go back to your carb-loving life if you choose, but if you try to go from a high-carb diet straight to a keto diet, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Keto week 2
- I started having more energy. I still wasn’t exactly jumping out of bed in the morning, but once I was up and moving around, I felt pretty awake and less dependent on coffee.
- I stopped experiencing the 3pm energy lull. I didn’t even really notice when this happened, but I no longer felt like I needed a coffee break or a mid-afternoon nap.
- I started feeling more productive and motivated to get things done in general. This likely goes along with the increased energy, plus I felt like the mental fog was lifting.
- I lost 8 pounds. Losing water weight is common when you start a ketogenic diet, so this was not unexpected.
Keto week 3
- My skin cleared up and started looking amazing. I’ve always had oily skin and my face is usually a grease pit by afternoon. After a couple of weeks on keto, my skin was damn near glowing and felt much smoother. I’m still oily, but it doesn’t feel as severe as before. Other people even commented that my skin looked great.
- I lost 2 more pounds.
- I ate a mini ice cream cone and felt extremely bloated the next day. Apparently that can happen with ice cream or too many carbs. I drank water all day and didn’t eat until late afternoon when I finally started feeling hungry again.
- I finally started experiencing a real increase in energy and mental clarity towards the end of the third week. I felt like I had more stamina when I went running, and I didn’t feel completely mentally drained by the end of my work day.
- I noticed I wasn’t having any cravings. I had bought some dark chocolate so I could eat a small piece when I wanted something sweet, but I hadn’t even touched it. I didn’t really feel like I was missing my old snacks, because I just wasn’t hungry.
Keto week 4
- Now I really started noticing the increased energy. I especially noticed it when we went rock climbing, and even though I hadn’t climbed in a few months, I was able to get up more routes than usual and didn’t even feel tired afterward.
- I felt different in general, lighter and more upbeat. I didn’t feel like stress was weighing me down. I felt more resilient.
- I got super tired one day and I couldn’t figure out why. This happened to be the day I was ovulating, so I’ll have to look into this more and see if the same thing happens next month. I actually had to lie down and take a nap for a little while, but the rest of the week, I felt great.
- I continued to feel more focused during the work day and more productive.
- I got lazy with my water intake, drank half a glass of dry red wine one night, and woke up with a terrible hangover. I need to remember to keep drinking lots of water, especially if I’m going to drink any alcohol.
Did you experience any of the same things on your first month of keto? Are you considering keto and want to know what else to expect? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and a professional health writer. She has written extensively on the subjects of nutrition, yoga, and natural living for many leading websites, including Livestrong.com and Natural News. Her holistic health and wellness blog, Have a Namaste, was listed as #6 on the Top 100 Online Holistic Nutrition Resources.