Posted in diet, fasting, Health, Ketogenic, Weight Loss

Keto: How To

Dear Diary, 

Today, I typed up this informational packet that I can share whenever someone asks me how they can get started with Keto. I’m keeping a hard copy in here for reference. 


Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? If you’re going to embark on this “keto lifestyle” journey, you have to know what “keto” means. “Keto” (short for “ketogenic” ) when referring to a way of eating generally refers to a high fat/very low carb diet. But that is a very general definition (we’ll talk about that later).

More scientifically speaking, “ketogenic” is a term used to describe a diet that replaces carbohydrates with fats as a source of energy.  With a high carbohydrate diet, our bodies run on glucose (which is essentially a fancy term for “sugar”). When carbohydrates are severely restricted, our bodies will start to burn fat and produce “ketones”.how keto works

“So I have to eat fat to burn fat?!” Yes, that’s exactly it. This concept seemed crazy to me, too, at first. Why would I eat more fat? That’s the stuff I need to stay away from! Our culture is so accustomed to “low-fat” everything that we are scared of eating healthy fats. That’s a key distinction.

If you still don’t believe me, I would encourage you to do more research into what actually causes weight gain (sugar) and read more about the process of using fat for energy. I would highly recommend reading The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. It is not specifically a “keto” diet book, but has a great explanation of weight gain/loss and uses good studies to support its claims. It’s fat-scinating (oh my…what a terrible pun!).


Let me try to boil this down to a few basics to keep in mind.

  1. The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.
  2. Your diet should consist of roughly 70% healthy fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
  3. Examples of healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil, butter, animal fats… etc.
  4. Most of your carbohydrates should come from green leafy vegetables.
  5. You can’t have sugar (not even brown sugar… and before you ask me about “healthy” cane sugar, that’s a no, too).


Step 1. JUST DO IT!

Seriously, the most important step in starting the keto diet is to decide to just do it. There are so many reasons to delay. You might feel unprepared to start on the keto diet because you just don’t have enough information. It might be a “bad” time of year because holidays are coming up and you’re going to cheat anyways. Maybe you just went grocery shopping and you don’t want all your carb-heavy foods to go to waste.

Starting this new way of eating is only going to get harder if you keep delaying. So start with what little information you have. Start even if Christmas is only two days away. The sooner you get into the “keto mindset”, the sooner you’ll start seeing results and feeling better.

Step 2: Cut the Carbs

You might not be ready to track every single morsel of food that goes into your mouth. That’s ok. But what you CAN start doing right away (today!) is counting your carbs. The magic number for most “ketonians” is 20g of carbs. If you can keep your carbs under 20g/day, you’re well on your way to “ketoville”.

You don’t even need an app if you want to count your carbs. Because the number 20 is so low, it’s so easy to just keep a tally in your head or on a sticky note, or in the “Notes” on your phone. If you prefer to be super precise or you’re just bad at math (like me), you can use a tracker like “My Fitness Pal” or “Carb Manager” (both offer free versions).

Make sure you are reading the labels of literally every food item you are planning on eating. There are so many carbs in so many foods and when you are just starting out, it can be shocking how quickly they add up if you don’t read labels carefully. Obviously avoid simple carbs like bread, pasta, rice and grains (yes, even whole grains like quinoa) altogether. Other categories that are high in carbs include fruit, dairy, legumes, and root vegetables.

carbs in fruitCarbs in root vegetables

Net vs Total Carbs

There are two “camps” of carb-counters on the keto diet: net carb-counters and total carb-counters. Counting total carbs is going to be much harder and require you to be more disciplined and selective in the foods that you eat. I would say that most people on keto count net carbs.

Avocado nutrition facts

To count total carbs, simply refer food label and record the “total carbohydrates” number. (insert avocado nutrition facts picture. ) In the picture on the right, for example, you would calculate your total carbs for eating an avocado as 17g, meaning you would have 3g left for the day if 20g is your goal.

To count net carbs, subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbs. Referring back to the nutrition facts for an avocado, we can subtract 13g of fiber from 17g total carbs and get 4g of net carbs, meaning you would have 16g left for the day if 20g is your goal.

Because starting keto is hard enough as it is, I would recommend counting net carbs over total carbs.. Later, after you’re used to eating this way, you might want to try being more strict and counting total carbs.

Step 3: Fat is your Friendhealthy vs. unhealthy fats

Because fat has been demonized in our society, it is going to feel weird to soak your food in a bunch of healthy fats. On the keto diet, though, because you are severely limiting

julia childs butter

your carbohydrates (which is where your energy usually comes from), you need to really focus on increasing your consumption of healthy fats. A lot of times, when ketonians see a stall in their weight loss, it’s because they need to add more fat to their diets.

So, push through the mental barrier of feeling guilty for eating fat and enjoy that extra butter on your veggies!

Step 4: Calculate Macros

In your first month of being on keto, I would highly recommend plugging everything you eat into a tracker like “My Fitness Pal” or “Carb Manager”. If you’re like me, you’ll find this to be very tedious and annoying and time-consuming. And it is. But it is also super beneficial and important to see exactly what is in the food you’re eating. Your eyes will be opened to the lies and deception of the marketing world of various “health” foods.

Secondly, to maximize your results, use a keto macro calculator to calculate how many calories you should be getting in each of the macronutrient categories. (Remember, on keto, you should get about 70% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates. As you lose weight, you will have to re-calculate these goals.

Sticking to these numbers can get you some amazing results if you have the patience for it. But if you try it for a month and you just can’t stand it (like me), you can always go back to counting just your net carbs. If you LOVE tracking things like this (you weirdo), you can be even crazier and start tracking your micronutrients! But don’t ask me how to do it ‘cause I ain’t got time for that!

Step 5: Avoid the Keto Flu

In the first few days of eating keto, your body will go through a transitional phase as it switches from using carbohydrates to using fat for energy. During this time, you may experience some flu-like symptoms such as headache and fatigue. This is commonly called the  Keto Flu. To avoid these symptoms, make sure you do the following:

  1. Stay hydrated.

Drink insane amounts of water.

  1. Supplement your electrolytes.

A lot of people like to buy supplements at a pharmacy, but you don’t need to go buy magic pills to get your electrolytes in. You can supplement by adding pink salt to your food, and making sure you eat foods that are naturally high in potassium (like avocados) and magnesium (like almonds and spinach).

  1. Don’t restrict your calories.

When you are just beginning, don’t try to restrict your caloric intake too much, Focus on limiting your carbs, but when you are hungry, eat and eat fat, specifically. Fat will make you feel full and will make your brain less foggy. Try drinking a bulletproof coffee or making some fat bombs!

  1. Get extra sleep

Plan on going to bed early or sleeping in when you are starting keto. First of all, if you’re fighting hunger pains, sometimes it just helps to go to bed early so you don’t have to face those midnight snack cravings. Secondly, your body is going through a major shock in transitioning, so help it through that process by getting plenty of extra rest.


There are two sides of a “keto spectrum”, if you will. Lazy Keto and Strict Keto. You don’t necessarily have to decide which side you’re on, but you will inevitably fall closer to one side than the other and you need to be prepared for the “other” side judging you and your every move.

If you want to be super hardcore about your weight loss and health goals and you like tracking all the things, then strict keto might be for you. Generally, with strict keto, you want to avoid processed foods and keto-fied “junk” food like Halo Top Ice Cream. You want to stick to organic, grass-fed, unprocessed foods and you want to make sure you’re hitting all your macros. Basically, your diet is going to be even more restricted than with just regular keto (you won’t be able to make recipes that call for cream cheese, for example).

With lazy keto, there’s more flexibility in the types of foods you eat. The focus is not so much on avoiding processed foods (although that happens kind of naturally as a result of not eating carb-y foods) but more on keeping your carbs low. So, if you had enough carb allowances at the end of the day, you might make yourself a keto dessert with sugar substitutes and almond flour.

It can be tricky to navigate the whole spectrum of different levels of strictness when it comes to keto. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

– Lazy keto is going to be easier to maintain.

– Lazy keto is going to be easier on your wallet.

-Strict keto may produce results faster.

-Strict keto is the “ideal” to strive towards (in my opinion).

If I could do strict keto (emotionally and financially), I would. But the reality is, sometimes I just want to eat something that tastes sweet and if it’s going to make or break my diet, I’d rather have a lazy keto treat every once in a while than try to be so strict only to cheat really badly later. So find a balance that works for you and shut out all the haters who are going to say you’re doing it the wrong way.


When you have adjusted to the keto lifestyle and your body is running efficiently on fat (after the first month), you can start adding in periods of fasting, or fasting intermittently. There are several benefits to fasting, but if weight loss is your number one goal, you’ll notice it start coming off even faster.

Start by simply restricting your eating times to a 12 hour window (8am to 8pm). Eat three solid keto meals per day and don’t snack in between meals.  When your body has adjusted to that, cut out breakfast and eat within an 8 hour window ( 12pm – 8pm), still no snacking in between meals. This second step is commonly referred to as 16:8 intermittent fasting and is, in my opinion, fairly easy to do.

If you want to bump it up even more, you can do OMAD (one meal a day) and just eat once a day. This is what I currently do. It takes a while to build up to this point, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get there right away. I think it took me about a month to fully adjust to OMAD. There were days when I would eat just the one meal and then the next day at lunchtime I felt like I was going to faint so I ate a small lunch. I just kept on trying to have just one meal a day until I could consistently do it.



If you’re here, you’ve benefits of ketoprobably already heard about the benefits of eating a ketogenic diet. It’s a great way to lose weight, but it also may help reduce the risk of cancer, improve heart health, reduce seizures, reduce inflammation and improve other areas of your health.

You need to keep in mind, however, that everybody is different when it comes to these health benefits. If your goal is to lose weight, you can ask about someone’s results, but remember that their body is totally different from your own and they might be able to lose ten pounds a month while you can only lose 5. There’s no magic equation that applies to everyone, so set realistic goals and keep track of your progress by taking pictures, recording your weight and measurements, and checking your blood work periodically.


In the first week of doing keto, I would suggest NOT exercising as your body will be run down from the transition. A lot of people who lose weight on keto never exercise. So, if you have a health issue that prevents you from exercising, you can still expect to lose weight just by changing your diet.

If you CAN exercise, though, go for it! You’re going to feel more energized, reduce your levels of stress (which can contribute to weight gain), and tone your body.


The most common questions I get from people when I mention I’m on a ketogenic diet is “can you eat this? Can you eat( fill in the blank)?” It’s actually really simple once you get the hand of it but it does take a while to become familiar with all the DO’s and DON’Ts. Thankfully there is a wealth of information on the internet and a whole lotta keto recipes on Pinterest. But for now, just take a look at this list.

Food red light green light


Below are some meal plans I found online. Unfortunately, I’m afraid my own meal plans won’t be super helpful because I only eat once a day. I would recommend just keeping it really simple at first. It can be overwhelming trying to make keto cookies, for example with substitute sugar and flour and weird ingredients that you have to order online. Just keep it easy and work your way up to the fancy recipes. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with grilled steak and asparagus and bacon and eggs.

Sample Meal Plan 3Sample Meal Plan 1


Note from the author

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope you have benefited from reading this post. Please be aware that all of the information I share comes from my own personal experience being on the ketogenic diet. I have been eating this way since May of this year and have lost 40 pounds so far. However, I’m not a doctor or scientist and cannot make recommendations for your specific health concerns. But I do hope I can offer some insight and encourage and motivate you to start your own journey towards a healthier you. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.








Posted in Body Positivity, diet, Health, Ketogenic, Weight Loss

1 Month on Keto (again!) + weigh-in!

Dear Diary,

I made it!

One month on keto with no cheating, no fake sweeteners, no fake breads….

This past week was my fourth week and things are finally starting to get a little easier. Last entry, I was really struggling with all of my cravings. But this week, I tried to turn my focus on all of the yummy food that I CAN eat.

Strawberries, bacon, steak, chicken, hamburger, sausages, bratwurst, eggs, pickles, cheese, brussel sprouts (which I actually really love!), asparagus, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, blueberries, butter (oh, my ‘lanta, so much butter!), avocados, almonds, celery with peanut butter, olives, taco salad, pulled pork…. and the list goes on. Thank God for my taste buds and that I get to enjoy such delicious food!

So, Thursday, the 31st….the big day… This past week felt like it dragged on forever because I was so excited for my weigh-in day! In my mind, I had decided that I was going to set my expectations low. I didn’t want to determine that I had lost too much weight because I didn’t want to be disappointed if I had only lost a couple of pounds. So, 10 pounds, I thought. That would put me at 227, for a weight loss of 2 pounds a week, which is more than I could manage on other diets that I have tried. Yeah, that seems reasonable…

And my plan worked because I was not disappointed when I stepped on the scale and saw 222.2; a loss of almost FIFTEEN POUNDS! (14.8, to be exact!)

What a great month! I’m so so happy with my progress so far. When I did keto the first time, last year, it took me about 7 months to lose 30 pounds and in ONE MONTH of doing strict keto, I’ve lost half of that already! That’s crazy! So, I’m definitely going to stay with doing strict keto (i.e: not allowing myself to have fake sweeteners or bread substitutes made with almond or coconut flour.) This month has been so hard in a lot of ways, but to see that number on the scale and to see (and feel!) the changes that are happening in my body — it’s so worth it!

For the month of June, I’m going to try to strictly track my macros. I eventually want to eliminate caffeine from my diet (maybe in July) as well. But now that I am out of school, I think I will have more time to track everything (which is a pain in the butt, tbh) and that will hopefully increase my results!

So excited by my first month’s results and ready to tackle month 2!


A Fat Girl

Posted in diet, Health, Ketogenic, Weight Loss


Dear Diary,

They say there is no greater feeling than being skinny, but, I don’t know, ’cause it feels pretty great to stuff my face with doughnuts.

I am really struggling this week with cravings. It is getting real. I’m on my fourth week and resisting bad things has not gotten any easier! WILL IT EVER BE EASY?! Or will I always have to plug my nose when I walk past a bakery so I don’t smell the freshly baked goodness that I can’t have?

I’m already planning my first cheat meal in my head. Should I even have a cheat meal? Can I allow myself to cheat and then get right back to being strict? What if it makes me lose my progress? What if I just miss cake too much?

Here is a list of all the bad foods that I have resisted eating this week:

Monday: a burger from Wendys, pasta, movie theater popcorn, cake.

Tuesday: Rice Krispie Treats

Wednesday: Didn’t have to resist anything directly, today. I felt kind of sick, actually and had a very low appetite.

Thursday: Today was the day of the big fondue party for my classes. I stayed up until midnight last night making everything; cutting up chocolate, smelling it as it melted in the crockpot. And then I was around it all day today. You wouldn’t believe the number of times that I had to stop myself from popping a marshmallow in my mouth. There were also rice krispie treats there, so…. it’s so surprising to me that it is so easy for me to subconsciously just put junk food in my mouth. But I didn’t cheat at all. I didn’t have a drop of chocolate or one little fluffy marshmallow. I did eat a lot of pickles. 🙂

Friday: Today was the last day of school. We had a day of fun for the students, so I was kept pretty busy and didn’t have much time to think about food. It was a pretty easy day as far as temptations go, plus, I got to run around with the students, playing kickball and sharks and minnows. Good day.

Saturday: Today, on the other hand, was really really difficult. Starting with the good news: I stuck to my keto diet! (Yay me!) and I am really proud of myself. I was doing well in the morning. I got up early and filmed a video for my Youtube channel, drank some coffee, got ready for the day. James and I left around 10 (going to a wedding) and I had enough forethought to pack some almonds, cheese, and water for the road trip. We met up with my brother and sister when we got to our destination and we had some time to kill before the wedding, so we ordered some lunch from a Mexican place. I was looking at the menu, trying to see what I could order that would be keto approved and there wasn’t really anything. But I thought I could just pull ingredients from the menu that I knew would be keto and have them put it all in a bowl (like a burrito bowl). So we sent our husbands out to to get the food. My meal came back completely wrong. I had ordered steak with guac and cheese and lettuce (no tortilla, no rice, no beans) and they gave me a burrito (tortilla) filled with steak and what looked like a whole can of beans. I’m not gonna lie, I almost cried. It’s hard enough as it is to resist having a cheat meal and then, when you get something that is so wrong from what you ordered and you can’t eat two-thirds of it….. So for lunch, I basically just had some cubed steak (i did add some shredded cheese to it).

Then, we went to the wedding, which was beautiful, by the way. I love weddings, but I always find them bitter-sweet, so sometimes, like today, they can make me a bit sad. So  I reallllllly wanted those comforting mashed potatos and macaroni when I went through the dinner line. But I didn’t take any. And then, I thought “I could just have one bite of cake…” and tried to calculate in my head how many carbs that would be and wondered if it would throw me out of ketosis. But I resisted that too.

So, in the end, success! But, it was a really difficult day. I was so emotional about having to deprive myself of those carbs and sweets, and feeling that way made me ever more depressed because I feel like I’ll never get rid of my “inner fat kid”.


Looking back on this week, I am just so proud (is it wrong to be?) of all the temptations that I resisted. Here’s hoping it gets a little bit easier in the weeks to come.


Posted in diet, Health, Ketogenic, Weight Loss

Keto Diaries Week 3 – I’m craving carbs!

Monday: I did not fast for 24 hours today, like I had planned. James and I ended up having a later dinner on Sunday, and I wanted to eat dinner with James on Monday. So, I didn’t quite do 24 hours, though I did skip breakfast and lunch. I have been feeling pretty tired. I don’t know if it’s because I worked out on Thursday and was completely wiped out afterwards. I also had a pretty busy weekend. I guess it could be an electrolyte imbalance or I could be dehydrated. I’m trying to figure it out, because I hate feeling like I’m dragging.

Tuesday: I’ve felt less tired today. Still not feeling full of energy like I did on some days last week. The school administrators and PTSA keep on putting carb-filled food in front of my face. It’s really awesome that they want to encourage us teachers, but also, I can’t have any of the snacks that they are providing. I should just not even go look at the options. I should just stay in my classroom, away from temptation. But I go everytime and then I’m hangry because I WANT CARBS! 😦 I’m just really craving carbs right now. It’s good to practice saying “no”  I guess I’ll just go eat my salad….

Thursday: I felt super sick this morning (#notpreggers) and I’m not sure what is wrong. I hope that it’s just that I’m dehydrated or maybe I’m not getting enough electrolytes. I also don’t have much of an appetite, which I know is normal on keto, but also I don’t want to put myself in too much of a caloric deficit. Made chicken cordon bleu keto style tonight for dinner. It was ok, but I wish I had made some béchamel sauce because it was just a little dry.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 3.57.06 PM.png

Friday: James and I are leaving tonight to getaway for our third-year anniversary! I didn’t have breakfast or lunch, but just got a couple of bulletproof coffees from Starbucks. For dinner, we had leftover chicken cordon bleu.


Saturday: We had an amazing breakfast today of scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit (blueberries for me). The scrambled eggs were sooooo good! I don’t know what I did differently, but they turned out amazingly! For lunch we had brats (mine was bunless) and for dinner we had huge ribeyes with brussel sprouts and I’m so bummed that I didn’t take a picture of it because it was beautiful and it was delicious!

Sunday: This week started off kind of poorly. I felt really sick and tired. By the end of the week, I felt pretty good, though and I’m proud of myself for sticking to keto and not cheating. I am really craving carbs and I’m not sure that is something that will ever go away. Still haven’t weighed myself (weigh-in day is 5/31!) but I feel like I can tell a difference in my body composition. Other people might not be able to, but I can feel things tightening up, which is super exciting!

Keto Diaries Week 3 VLOG

Posted in diet, Health, Ketogenic

Keto Week 2

Monday: I’m fasting today. I feel pretty good! I haven’t experiences very many hunger pains and I have been keeping my mind busy, planning fun activities for the summer. James and I went shopping tonight after he ate dinner and I started to feel a little bit weak towards the end of the trip, so I broke my fast at 24 hours. See, self? I don’t NEED food to make it through a Monday…

Tuesday: Did Intermittent Fasting. Had a bigger lunch (Tuna Salad-YUM!) and felt great!

Wednesday: Typical hump day. I felt a little bit tired but not nearly as tired as I felt pre-keto diet. My mood has been great all week. I have been more confident, and more upbeat than I have been in a while. IMG_0814

Thursday: Did a P90X workout today – chest and back. I’m not going to stick to the DVD’s strictly, yet, at least until I get out of school for the summer, but it’s good to start doing some sort of workout. Right after I finished, I crashed for about 30 minutes on the couch. Went to Chuys for dinner and ordered steak and chicken fajitas without any tortillas.


Friday: The PTSA at school put on a little snack bar for teachers, which was really sweet of them. I walked by platters of muffins, candy, cookies, chips, and popcorn and grabbed a LaCroix sparkling water, and went back to my room and ate my lunch… *high-five, self!* James and I went to Outback tonight and I ordered steak, with shrimp and added on a lobster tail. It came with a side salad and some broccoli. James didn’t believe I could eat it all, but my lunch was on the smaller side today, so I had no problem polishing it all off! I did feel really wiped out today…possibly due to my workout yesterday? End of the week?

Saturday: Such a fun day! So nice out! Planned my meals for the week, took Ro for a 2-mile walk, cleaned the house, picked up a couple groceries, went for a swim, and had people over for dinner!

Overall, after this second week back on the keto diet, I am feeling pretty good! I did really struggle on Friday because I wasn’t able to have any of the things the PTSA brought for teachers, but I am super proud to say that I have not once cheated. I feel like I have so much energy and I can be so productive because I don’t feel like I’m dragging physically or mentally. I also feel like I’ve been in a better state-of-mind and have had a more positive, happy mood (to which my husband will attest).


No weigh May has been great so far! It’s nice to not have to stress about the scale and just be able to focus on how I am feeling. I took some progress pics, and they look the same to me, but I know I feel different, and I feel like I have lost some weight. But even if I haven’t, I know that my body is changing, and that I’m feeling better, and that is what matters most.

Excited to see how I do in week 3! Going to try to add in more workouts and stay focused on my goals.


Posted in diet, fasting, Ketogenic, Weight Loss

Keto 2.0

Dear Diary,

It has been a week since I re-started my weight loss journey. I thought I would never want to go back to Keto, but I know that it works for me and I loved the results I had last time, so I’m going for it.

I’m being a little more strict this time around, especially at the beginning. For the month of May, I’m not going to be weighing myself (No-weigh-May!), I’m not going to be making any keto bread substitutes with almond flour or using fake sugar, I’m going to eat clean(er) foods, and I’m going to exercise.

My starting weight last week was 237. So we will see how quickly I can lose this time. I hate to set a goal, because a lot of times, they are unrealistic and I just end up disappointed. So for now, my goal is to just stay on track and have no cheat days for the whole month of May.

“You can do it, but it won’t happen overnight. Keep going!”


A Fat Girl

VLOG l Keto Diaries

Posted in Body Positivity, diet

I’m Alive!

Dear Diary,

Man! My last entry was kind of a bummer, right?! So, on a more positive note, I just want to remember all the wonderful things about my body.

First, and most obviously, I have to be thankful for the ability to simply live. I only have a short time to be on this earth (hopefully), so I’m thankful that I get to live. I’m thankful that I can run and jump and BREATHE.

I’m thankful for my strong legs that allow me to stand in front of a class and teach all day.

My arms, which are relatively strong for a girl, have been a life-saver in all of our moving adventures (and they’re pretty useful for giving and receiving hugs). What would I do without them?

I have eyes to see the wondrous beauty of this world, ears to hear the birds sing, and a nose that allows me to (literally) stop and smell the roses. Because of my vocal chords and lungs, I can sing and laugh.

Every part of me, down to my little pinky toe has been wonderfully made and I have so much to be thankful for.

So, I may not be able to do a lot of things (like run 5 miles, do the splits or do a pull-up), but I know I have the ability and the tools to keep striving towards those goals, and that’s more than some people can say.

Love, A Fat Girl