(That’s me in the pink with the crazy shorts and headband)
So I have done quite a few half marathons over the years. I am thinking I am closing in on 30. Iowa was my 13th state on my “50 state” journey. As I approached the start line of this race, I was untrained and had changed my diet drastically over the previous 6 months. Needless to say, I was a bit concerned about the potential outcome
I had decided to try the ketogenic diet at the beginning of the summer. I had been playing with eating a primarily paleo diet for a couple of years. Gluten was a thing of the past, as were most grains. I started eliminating them in an effort to get rid of stomach issues and headaches that have plagued me much of my life. I always thought low carbohydrate diets were kind of stupid, and had never given it much thought, until I read the book Keto-Adapted by Maria Emmerich. I decided to give it a try and see if it could help with those last nagging health issues.
But going “keto” was a whole new lifestyle. If you are not familiar with it, the ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet that when well-formulated, puts your body into a state of ketosis. In other words, your body starts to run on fat, rather than glucose. Limiting carbohydrates to under 30 grams per day is where I began the journey in May. Almost immediately, I noticed a change in my stomach issues. I no longer felt the dull ache that I usually had on my left side after eating. I had a ton of energy, started sleeping better and one day realized that I had not taken any medication for headaches in weeks!
The other very rapid change, was that my body started to release the weight I have been holding onto for a few years. If you have read my blog over the years, weight has been a constant on my mind, with wild fluctuations, even with a very active lifestyle and a pretty clean diet. I have not been one of those people who can eat well 80 or 90% of the time. I have been a 100% on, or I could easily gain 10 pounds in a weekend. Years of yoyo dieting, following low fat, low calorie diets had ruined my metabolism. I had essentially been hungry for close to 15 years.
The ketogenic diet lets me eat the things my body loves and thrives on. I eat bacon, butter, cheese, beef, pork, green veggies, salads, eggs and a myriad of other lovely foods that for years I thought were off limits. I was TOLD by the media and the medical community to eat less and exercise more. What a crock!!
I now eat over 2000 calories a day of amazing whole, natural foods. I have lost over 30 pounds since May, without hunger or feeling deprived. No, I don’t eat sugar or wheat. But I get to have a steak with butter and asparagus!! I will take that any day with the way I feel. My body has found its happy place.
So back to the race. I walked up to the starting line with trepidation. I had been teaching about 10 yoga classes a week, and running some short distances a few times each week. I had also been lifting weights on a regular basis. But how would 13.1 miles feel with no carbohydrates in my system? Was I fully fat adapted and ready for this?
The first mile was a fast one for me. I finished it in under 13 minutes, so then I started to slow down a bit. I was so afraid I was going to hit a wall. Each successive mile was in the 14 to 14:30 range. They were ticking off quickly and I wasn’t losing my stamina or my pace. I actually missed one entire mile as I remembered 10, but all of a sudden, I was at the 12-mile mark!! I had not gotten any cramps, my legs felt great and I had been doing just water and some electrolyte tablets for the race. My only prerace food was coffee with cream. I was essentially finishing 13.1 miles fasted, feeling amazing!!
I crossed the finish line in 3:10. My last half marathon, almost exactly a year ago, was 3:47 and a painful event, that left me drained and exhausted for a week. This time, after the four hour drive home, I took a bath and made dinner. The next day, I taught two hours of accounting classes, did a one hour presentation at a local college and drove to my studio to teach a vinyasa class followed by a YogaStrength class with heavy weights. I felt amazing. I credit it to my new way of eating!
I am thrilled to have found the ketogenic way of eating. I get to eat until I am full and I get to eat whole, natural and healthy foods every day. I haven’t felt hungry in months. I am so thankful to Maria Emmerich! Her books and work are amazing. I was lucky enough to have her come to my studio on October 17th for a book signing!
So, I guess my takeaway here is, to listen to your body. Fill it with real food. Learn the cues to hunger and what keeps you full. Be happy with losing weight at a moderate rate of .5 to 1.5 pounds per week. Rapid weight loss will simply come back, maybe even more than you had originally lost. The “prepackaged” diet food is not good for you. You may lose weight quickly initially, but at what cost? How much is that box of diet food costing you a week? What will happen when you start to eat real food again??
If you would like to learn more about the ketogenic way of life, I would be happy to talk with you. I honestly have never been this excited about a way to eat in my life! I feel like constant hunger is a thing of the past. You don’t have to starve to let your body find its perfect weight.
Message me. Let’s talk.