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Down 92 lbs: Lo-cal vs Lo-carb—my experience

LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
This is my personal experience—that is to say, my response to 1 year on lo-cal (in 2014) and 1 year on keto (2018-2019). The simple story: I lost weight on both diets, but the lo-cal (calories-in-calories-out) diet was not sustainable: the carbs kept my appetite on a rollercoaster so I had to rely on will power alone to sustain the weight loss. I regained the weight over the next couple of years. On the keto diet (≤25g total carbs/day), not only have I lost 20 lbs more in the same time frame, but I've discovered the feeling of satiety (absence of hunger pangs, no more constant thought of food, no more uncomfortable full feelings...which I used to think was satiety), a feeling totally new to me. I used to think that feeling "full" was "satiety." Feeling the way I do now, at peace and not tortured with cravings, I believe the keto diet will be the way I can live for the rest of my life.

Other changes I've noticed on the keto diet:
• A1C: was 5.8 --> is now 5.3 (≤5.6 = normal; 5.6-6.5 = pre-Diabetic; 6.5+ = diabetes)
• Triglycerides: was 189, is now 116
• Blood pressure: was 156/85 (with meds), is now 125/75 (no meds)
• Three spots of psoriasis that were on my hand for a few years have cleared up with no meds

I have a family history of diabetes and I am carb sensitive. In June 2018 I started seeing symptoms that my insulin resistance was increasing and that I was skirting diabetes. So I got very serious about weight loss and started researching the latest scientific research and findings to understand the metabolic system. I knew low-calorie was not workable to address my morbidity.

Below is my weight-loss graph from both diets: brown line = 2014 CICO (calories in calories out); Black line = 2018 keto.
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edited June 12
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Replies

  • RodaRoseRodaRose Posts: 9,541Member Member Posts: 9,541Member Member
    Congratulations on your success. :star:
  • QbaimeeQbaimee Posts: 119Member, Premium Member Posts: 119Member, Premium Member
    WOW! Thats amazing!! congratulations!!
  • amckholmesamckholmes Posts: 18Member Member Posts: 18Member Member
    I have been doing keto (<25g total carbs) since January and have lost nearly 40 lbs (my goal). I too am learning about satiety and how great it feels! Congratulations to you LRLemon!
  • hafsatoheed2019hafsatoheed2019 Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    amckholmes wrote: »
    I have been doing keto (<25g total carbs) since January and have lost nearly 40 lbs (my goal). I too am learning about satiety and how great it feels! Congratulations to you LRLemon!

    How you do that
    Keep the carb that low what about the veggies with carb how you count those what about dairy
    Can you give me an idea how to start out

  • hafsatoheed2019hafsatoheed2019 Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    Does you do it on your own or doc supervised I feel like I’m slave to carbs.
  • amckholmesamckholmes Posts: 18Member Member Posts: 18Member Member
    amckholmes wrote: »
    I have been doing keto (<25g total carbs) since January and have lost nearly 40 lbs (my goal). I too am learning about satiety and how great it feels! Congratulations to you LRLemon!

    How you do that
    Keep the carb that low what about the veggies with carb how you count those what about dairy
    Can you give me an idea how to start out

    I only eat vegetables that fit into my carb count, I eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, a reasonable portion of cauliflower, brussel sprouts, or cabbage. When my carb count allows I put a couple of tablespoons of raspberries or blackberries in my salad. I weigh everything, typically plan my food in the morning to be sure I don’t get to the end of the day and not have room for a good dinner.

  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi hafs... I did it on my own. For me it was comparable to starting a low-cal diet—the first three days being the hardest. But I adjusted pretty quickly. And, about 1 week into the diet, I noticed that cravings went away. Another benefit was that my desire for sugar or sweets disappeared...and I loved carbs (breads & ice cream especially)!! I did a lot of research and started slowly: at first, limiting carbs to 50g and then to 25g. At 50g I noticed my morning blood glucose was still jumping around between 99-120s. At 25g carbs/day my blood glucose settled down to a steady low 80s. (≤25g carbs/day is what is recommended for those with a degree of insulin resistance (aka prediabetic). I also learned the importance of drinking water and increasing salt because on a keto diet the liver releases trapped fats (triglycerides) more readily in the form of water and salts. BTW: a family member reversed his diabetes (was diagnosed 5 years ago) after eating keto for 6 months. Best of luck.
  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi hafs again...sorry, didn't see your initial question. To keep my carbs at ≤25 total/day, here's a typical day: breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled in butter, 1-2 bacon, coffee with half n half. 2nd meal (late lunch or early dinner): a salad [spinach, peppers, mushrooms, a little onion, crumpled bleu cheese, olive oil (optional), balsamic vinegar] or a hot veggie (i.e. cauliflower, broccoli, non-starchy veggies) and a portion of protein (grass-fed rib eye, salmon, shrimp, fish, chicken). I don't eat fruits except for a half cup of berries now and then. Snack: 12-22 almonds. I usually dont feel like having more than 2 meals per day. Before I eat lunch/dinner, I check my carb load for the day before selecting what veggies I want for dinner. I do not eat sugar, breads, starchy veggies, or any seed oils. I also stay away from artificial sweeteners since many of them do cause insulin surges (insulin is the fat-storing hormone).
  • hafsatoheed2019hafsatoheed2019 Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    Thanks so much for the quick response guys.so you just keep the carb low around 25g but not worry about crazy amount of fat intake or consuming loads of protein. Because that’s what I have heard about keto. And do you think if I plan my meals around non starchy veggies/chicken/fish/salad/and eggs I b good to go. And stay away from bread /pasta/white sugar /or any obvious carb laden food.
    Sorry my English is all over the place that’s not my first language so have a trouble responding/and asking any questions.
  • hafsatoheed2019hafsatoheed2019 Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    From your response I assume that I just have to keep my carbs low and consume fats and proteins as normally. I mean there is no number that I have to meet. And avoid the obvious bad food that is cake cookie confectionery and tropical fruits that are high in carbs. At least that is a good starting point. Plz correct me if I’m wrong or advice me if I’m missing any important aspect
  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi again, hafs... Just to clarify, I keep my protein moderate, about 79g/day: too much protein will trigger insulin. Since I am still losing weight I try to keep my fats about the same as my protein since my body is using stored fat for energy. When I get to goal, I'll increase the amount of fat I eat to maintain my weight, will continue eating about 79g protein/day and ≤25g of carbs per day.
  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi hafs... yes, you've got it right. MyFitnessPal is terrific for tracking carbs. If you add in what you are PLANNING to eat you'll see if which fruits you can eat. For instance, an apple has 19g of carbs. I can eat one but then I'll need to skip a big salad...and for me that's not worth the trade off. Again, I have a prediabetic system that works best at ≤25g carbs per day. Others might be able to handle more carbs. Everyone is different.
    edited June 13
  • hafsatoheed2019hafsatoheed2019 Posts: 58Member Member Posts: 58Member Member
    Thank you so much ladies.
    I’m 36 fe 184 lb 5’1. I’m not diabetic yet. But it runs in my family sooo much it’s everywhere. So it’s haunting my as I’m moving towards my 40ies. I’m trying lo-cal /lo-carb and IF thrown in here and there every now and then but don’t keep up enough long / don’t be religious enough to see the results. But I know quitting won’t get me anywhere.
    Anyway thank a lot
  • brenn24179brenn24179 Posts: 1,695Member Member Posts: 1,695Member Member
    I have done both also and I do low carb now, 100 gr or less of carbs and it works well for me. Lost 30 lbs that I needed and I dont stay so hungry is why I like low carb, hope to do it for life.
  • grinning_chickgrinning_chick Posts: 707Member Member Posts: 707Member Member
    Congratulations on finding a way of eating/eating plan that is proving to be the most effective for you. That is so awesome! It's taken me over a decade to finally hit upon mine (knock on wood so I don't jinx myself, lol), so I know how euphoric it is. :)

    The ketogenic diet is not a low carb diet. It is a very low carb diet with a high fat to protein ratio - 4:1 or 3:1. And, it is indeed calorie controlled.

    If you are eating low carb (around 20 grams carb/day, +/- 10-15 grams) with 2:1 or 1:1 fat:protein and calling it "keto", what it really is, is the Modified Atkins Diet (MAD) version of the ketogenic diet. It is Atkins modified because one never leaves the Induction Phase (or close to it) of the original 1970s-early aughts Atkins diet it is based upon. It was created to make a long term sustainable diet that was just as effective for a large chunk of patients at controlling seizure activity as the ketogenic diet. And because the ketogenic diet is acknowledged to be massively unbalanced nutritionally since it was never meant to be long term, just an effective short term tool to get uncontrollable and/or breakthrough seizure activity back under control.

    Many diet plans, and recipes, I see being touted as ketogenic on social media there days are nowhere near 4:1 or 3:1 and, in fact, commonly 1:1 or even (gasp!) reverse the ratio and high protein vs. high fat.
    edited June 13
  • LesssambythedayLesssambytheday Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
    LRLemon wrote: »
    Hi again, hafs... Just to clarify, I keep my protein moderate, about 79g/day: too much protein will trigger insulin. Since I am still losing weight I try to keep my fats about the same as my protein since my body is using stored fat for energy. When I get to goal, I'll increase the amount of fat I eat to maintain my weight, will continue eating about 79g protein/day and ≤25g of carbs per day.

    Congratulations on your fantastic results, LRLemon!! And thank you so much for breaking down your Macro intake above. I am very much focused on weight loss (26 lbs down, about 110 lbs to go!) and I've been keeping my Net Carbs at around 20-40g/day, Fat 60g/day, and Protein 50g/day. I aim for 1,000 Calories per day and I am often under that.

    I've been educating myself about Keto, but I'm really nervous to increase my Fat and Caloric intake and potentially lose the ground I've gained. Overall, I don't find it difficult to maintain what I've been doing (for about 6 weeks now), and I'm very pleased with results, but I do wonder if I should change my Macros for the long term.

    Any thoughts?
  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi Lessa... I can only speak for my metabolism and what I’ve learned that has worked for me. My daily calories usually come in between 1100-1200 cal per day without counting calories. That being said, I am focused on getting to a healthy weight so I do keep a close watch on my calories. I try to follow a well-managed keto diet so I keep protein at the same level, my carbs very low, and my fat lower than a standard keto diet since my body still has a bunch of its own fat to burn. When I achieve a normal, healthy weight I will increase my fat. I am 66 years old, have PCOS, and a family history of diabetes, I am obese still but close to entering “overweight” range. I have been various levels of obese for most of my life. I’m totally surprised I can now walk 19,000 steps in a day (7,000 of them comfortable, the remaining spurred on by curiosity visiting a new place :)
  • neugebauer52neugebauer52 Posts: 788Member Member Posts: 788Member Member
    Very interesting comparison, thank you. Would it be possible that there are different kinds of carbs? Thanks to MFP I have finally understood "trigger food" - in my case bread, lots of it and whatever I could put in between the slices and on top. Result - dead tired for hours on end and terrible heart burn for the rest of the day and half the night. I have stopped bread just about completely - my carbs come from vegetables, salads and some dairy. No more tiredness, no more heart burn. After 440 days on MFP I have lost 36 kg (80 pounds). Over time I have worked out my ideal daily meal plan (macros: 30 / 35 / 35 with small seasonal changes), I feel satiated and I stay within the calories calculated by MFP. Maybe there is a special meal plan (I don't like the word "diet") for everyone out there?
  • LRLemonLRLemon Posts: 33Member Member Posts: 33Member Member
    Hi neuge... congratulations on your progress! And on all the effort you've put in to understanding what works for you! I too used to get tired when I used to eat carbs. I'm right there with you—i.e. bread...for me it was a fresh sourdough that called my name. It still surprises me that I don't crave bread on a keto diet. It is a new-found freedom from addition for me.
  • Keto_Tranform_MeKeto_Tranform_Me Posts: 15Member Member Posts: 15Member Member
    How did you manage vacations, occasional cravings, just life on keto?

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