If you’re a little skeptical about eating Keto, eating so much fat to lose fat, especially if you’re a woman, then I understand. I was initially opposed to that idea, which didn’t make any sense to me.
I was raised with the standard American diet. I was told to drink lots of milk, eat lots of fruits and whole grains, which are actually not allowed on the Keto diet. But my medical conditions were getting so bad, I had to do some research.
Does Keto work for women? That’s the ultimate question, isn’t it? Is it good for women? Does it help women in ways that other diets aren’t going to help?
This is what I’ll prove here; that Keto could be one of the best diets out there that can help improve many, many negatives of the standard American diet. Because let’s face it; women aren’t better off with the current American diet, right?
Why Is It Harder For Women To Lose Weight?
You’ve probably noticed how the fat seems to melt off of men, without them trying too hard and without them experiencing fluctuating weight and fluctuating moods. They look so happy about it and sometimes even rub it in our faces.
So nice of you men out there…
But that’s not due to a lack of control over what we eat as women and it’s not due to a lack of motivation either. It’s all in the science.
It’s got a lot to do with the make up of the woman’s body because it is very different from that of men. Not only that, but the different phases we also go through in our lives don’t help.
1) Makeup of the female body
Women’s bodies are naturally made up of more fat than men’s and that affects their metabolism. Our metabolism is naturally slower. That’s why men will lose more weight when at rest than women.
2) PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
Studies show that 5 – 10% of women have PCOS but more than half of them have no idea they have it. PCOS contributes to a hormonal imbalance in the body, where their menses become irregular.
All this imbalance and irregularity in menses can cause difficulty for weight loss.
This is another phase of a woman’s life, that no man will ever have to go through.
With pregnancy comes extra weight and more fat accumulation and even after her baby is born, the new mom cannot find the time for herself; there’s less sleep and less time to exercise, both of which are needed for weight loss.
That’s the time of life where everything in our bodies seems to slow down; there’s less hormones and the metabolism gets slower. During that time, it is easier to gain weight around the abdomen, called meno-pot.
The Standard American Diet VS Keto
The Standard American Diet, SAD for short, is really sadder than we think. We are actually encouraged to eat more processed foods than whole foods, and those processed foods are dense in carbohydrates.
As you can see, the bottom of the pyramid is full of bread, pasta, cereal, grains, crackers and rice. They suggest that about 60% of your calories should come from these carbs.
Well, guess what carbs do to our bodies? They spike insulin and every time that this happens, we get closer and closer to insulin resistance.
When insulin is spiked in our bodies, this messes up with our hormones as women and that’s where all the medical problems I mentioned come in; PCOS, weight gain, period irregularity, energy crashes and sweet cravings.
All because insulin is spiked in unnatural ways to unnatural heights.
Not only those, but you are also susceptible to more serious conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation in your body causing pain in your joints and even cancer. Most of these foods need so much preservatives to last longer on the shelves too, things that are unhealthy for us, things that we’re not supposed to be ingesting.
We’re ingesting so much carbs that our body is forced to use that as a primary source of fuel and when there is an excess of carbs, our bodies store them as fat in our body for later use. But we never get a chance to use these fat reserves, right?
That’s why we gain weight.
Well what about Keto then? Won’t eating so much fat MAKE you fat? Is Keto a fad diet?
Not at all! Keto teaches you to eat mainly whole foods and reducing processed foods and harmful sugars, the same sugars that spike insulin. I tried to find the best illustration and couldn’t find anything better than the one from KetoConnect.com, another famous Keto website.
Keto means using KETONES as energy, a by-product of fat. So what you need to do is actually bring up your fat intake to make 70-75% of your caloric intake and reduce your carbs to 5-10%.
What this does is forces your body to burn fat as energy, and not carbs. When that happens, you’re able to lose weight, achieve hormonal regularity, decrease cravings lower insulin resistance.
You won’t experience crashes because your body is full of fat to burn for energy. If you’re done with burning dietary fat (fat that you ingest) during a day, your body will automatically switch to burning your bodily fat as energy.
Because insulin remains level with Keto, there are no cravings and there are no energy crashes.
Tips On Starting Keto
Now that you’re convinced, you want more information on how to start. That’s great!
1) Slowly start cutting out your carbs
Some people are able to just cut carbs and that’s what I did. But let me tell you that it was really hard for the first 7 – 10 days. I was suffering from sugar cravings and withdrawals. I came through and it really took determination.
So that’s why I actually encourage you to start by cutting our your carbs slowly, while increasing your fat intake at the same time. I would suggest to start tracking your food in an app specially for Keto called Carb Manager.
There’s an APP for it, or you could also use a computer to track.
In week 1, work towards decreasing your carbs to 100g.
In week 2, decrease carbs to 50g by the end of the week.
In week 3, decrease it even further to about 20 – 25g and you’re good to go!
2) Use intermittent fasting as a boost
What is intermittent fasting? It’s not eating for a period of at least 16 hours and your eating window should be 8 hours of the day or less.
The aim of intermittent fasting is NOT to reduce your caloric intake but it’s to kickstart that fat-burning. When you’re not eating, insulin is not spiked and therefore, your body gets the freedom of using fat as energy.
The longer you’re fasting, the more fat you’ll lose but make sure that you’re establishing an eating window that’s right for you and that works with your body.
Some people can go upto 23 hours of fasting and only eating for one hour but that is just too extreme for me. I fast between 16 and 19 hours usually.
3) Sweet Cravings? Be prepared for them!
Oh yeah! Even after the initial carb withdrawal cravings, you might crave something sweet from time to time. We are all human. Be prepared for those!
Have your sweeteners handy. My favourite one is Swerve (erythritol). I bake with it and I also use it in my coffee and tea, just like regular sugar, when I have one of those cravings. It does not spike insulin levels and is used by diabetics too.
If you’re more of a salty-snack person, or occasionally crave potato chips, I recommend munching on salted nuts, like Macademia and Walnuts. I also love cheddar cheese.
4) Consider supplements
Magnesium, potassium and sodium (salt) are the electrolytes that our bodies need in order to function properly. With the amount of these micronutrients in the current diet, we might be getting more of what we need.
However, with the Keto diet, it is very easy to miss adding foods full of these nutrients, which means that you may need supplements in order to ingest these nutrients.
Signs that you’re not getting enough of them is insomnia, leg cramps, fatigue and migraines. These are not supposed to happen on a healthy keto diet.
So add that Himalayan Pink Salt to your dishes because it has all three. Also drink some bone broth from time to time or add a pickle to your lunch. It could make all the difference.
5) Don’t restrict calories
That’s the worse thing that you could do; is ingest very little calories.
It’s true that there needs to be a caloric deficit in order to lose weight but you don’t want to be extreme. It has some pretty bad consequences.
That’s because your body will go into a state of emergency and will shut down your metabolism. At that point, you won’t lose any weight.
You might actually even gain wait because your body is storing everything that you’re eating. You don’t want to make your body think that you’re going into a state of starvation.
On the other hand, use Carb Manager. Make sure that you set up your account with your current weight, age, activity level and so on and the app will tell you how many calories you should be eating in a day.
Come to as close as possible to the caloric intake while keeping all your macronutrients in balance (75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs).
6) Eat nutritious carbs
There are carbs in almost everything that we eat and we get a very low allowance in the way of carbs on the keto diet. That’s why keeping track is so important.
My advice is to keep to healthy carbs, like leafy green veggies. Load up on those but also keep track. The ideal amount of net carbs you want per day is 20-25g and you don’t want to go over 50g.
7) Keep Hydrated!
You’re always supposed to keep hydrated anyways, right? But it’s even more important on the keto diet.
You want to be drinking lots and lots of water. You want to keep your body hydrated. That’s to flush your kidneys as a keto diet makes urine more acidic.
It could potentially lead to a kidney stone, though that hasn’t been medically proven yet. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
Good Luck On This Journey!
If you have any questions about Keto, any concerns at all or would just like to share your experiences, you are more than welcome to do so using the comments section below. I always love hearing from my readers.