Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LET'S TALK...KETO.

I know I've been promising this post for a while now over in the FB group but I had no idea so many of you were curious about Keto!  So I wanted to do a good job on this post and throw in as many tips, tricks, recipes, and products as I could so you could have a comprehensive view of "Why I Keto"...and how. I knew this "Let's Talk..." series would be the best way to do it.
 (You can find my "Let's Talk...Makeup" post HERE.)

PS:  There's a lot of info in here so it might be a great idea to pin that graphic above to your new Keto board on Pinterest (b/c you'll want one of those!) and come back to it when you need to.  Plus, I'd appreciate it. ;)

So, I really went back and forth over putting my actual weight on the blog.  I don't want people to look at it like "Wow, she was a lot bigger than I thought" or "Is she serious?  She didn't need to lose any weight and this is all over the top.".  I'm not great at being vulnerable and that's how I feel sharing it so please be nice!

 But after I saw the response I got when I asked if anyone had Keto questions on my Instagram post the other day, I felt like I might as well let it all hang out because yall came out in droves with the questions and DMs.  (All of those Q&As are saved in my #KetoLife Highlights now by the way in my IG bio.)


 I wanted to be as real as I could be with this.

Now let me just preface this by saying that I hadn't seen a number on my scale in the 140s since I was a few months pregnant with my kids and that's what triggered me to put a stop to the weight gain.

Starting Weight: May 20, 2019 - 142lbs
Current Weight:  July 23, 2019 - 123.8lbs

That's 18.2 pounds that have melted off in 2 months.  No, I haven't been working out either (shame shame, I know) unless you count a few 20-minute sessions a week on my pilates reformer.  That's not burning a ton of calories though. So it's all diet.  I wish I would have tracked my inches lost but I didn't. ;(  More on all this in the post...

Not for you?  No hard feelings!  See you back here next time! ❤
Interested?  Keep reading!

WHAT IS KETO?

If you've only heard the word Keto and have no idea what it actually is, here's a brief rundown.  Keto is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that pushes your body into ketosis.  (Not to be confused with the dangerous "ketoacidosis". Not the same thing.)  When your body is in ketosis, it is being forced to burn FAT instead of carbs and don't we all want to burn fat?! #ketoinanutshell

On Keto, you want to stick to under 20 net carbs a day.  A net carb is calculated by subtracting fiber + sugar alcohols from the carb count.

Example A:
Image result for how to calculate net carbs

How does it compare to Atkins or other Low Carb programs?  Keto is stricter than other low carb diets.  Many low carb dieters try to stick to around 50g of carbs a day.  With Keto, you want 20g of net carbs or less.  Other than that, I know nothing about any of the other programs out there but I'm sure they all work if you work them!  I have no doubt every program out there will help you lose weight.  It just depends on which one is going to work best for your personality, lifestyle, goals and taste buds.  😉  I just personally feel like you lose weight a lot faster this way and I prefer the food choices on Keto.  I may not be able to have bread, but I can have sour cream and guac on EVERYTHING. Plus, you get some instant gratification on the scale which continues to push you each day!

WHY I KETO

I posted a Keto dessert pic on IG the other day (you can find me HERE) and mentioned that I was down 17 pounds in 2 months.  And I got so many messages saying that they had no idea I had 17 pounds to lose.  But here's the deal.  I really did have 17 pounds to lose.  Was it strictly vanity weight?  Absolutely, 100%.  I was not overweight by any means but my jeans were getting tight in my thighs and waist and the scale had just bumped me up to a new tens place that I hadn't seen since I was a few months pregnant with my babies.  I felt way too fluffy and squishy.  I just didn't like it.

I wanted to feel better when I looked in the mirror and knew it was time to reign it in.

For the past 10 years, my weight has hovered around 130.  (I'm 5'5".)  And I was fine with that.  In college, I was 118.  When I got married (at 23) I was 122.  When I got pregnant (at almost 26) I was 128.  I've had a curvy body (especially my lower half) since college and have been a comfortable size 6/28 for years.  When those 6s started feeling tight and the scale showed 142 the day after Matthew's 11th birthday, I just had had enough.

I'd been dealing with back problems for the past year and up until recently, I could barely stand up through all the worship songs in church without being in pain.  So working out has not been on the agenda for the past year and it showed.  At least to me.  I think everyone around me just saw me as me.  Not fat, not thin.  Normal.  Average.

HOW I DECIDED ON KETO

I had two friends (who are best friends) who had posted a few pictures recently of them looking like they had both dropped at least 20 pounds.  I messaged one of them to see if she'd spill her secrets and she said KETO! She said it had really been working for them and that was all the inspiration I needed. #thatinspiredchick #Ilovetobeinspired

I actually replied back that Keto sounded high-maintenance but I'd look into it.  And clearly, I did. :)

HOW I KETO

DISCLAIMER:  This is how I have managed this diet, friends.  I am not trained in all things Keto.  I've simply learned as I go from Instagrammers, YouTubers, Google and Pinterest.  I don't claim to be a doctor or an expert and want you to know that I'm just telling you what I have done and what's helped me.  Not everything I eat is 100% organic, unprocessed, all-natural, etc.  I eat food that I like, period.  I don't get too caught up in thinking about all the bad stuff in it because I've tried that before and it's exhausting, depressing and for me, I just can't live that way.  So no comments about that type of stuff, please! :)

Now let me just say this.  I am not typically one to do anything that is high maintenance, especially when it comes to food.  I've been known to roll my eyes when it comes to Keto/Weight Watchers/Atkins/South Beach/Gluten-free/Dairy Free/etc talk.  And now here I am, eating crow.  😂🤦‍♀️ But I'm also not one to do anything halfway if it's something I've set my mind to.  When I commit, I COMMIT.  And I was 110% committed to getting down to my goal weight as fast as humanly possible without making myself miserable, sick or hungry.  This girl likes her food!

FIRST THINGS FIRST...

The first thing I did was download the Keto app.  There are a few.  I tried out the Keto.app and Carb Manager and liked the Keto one better.  Give them both a try and see which one works best for you.


This app is my everything when it comes to keeping myself on track.  It will give you a quick quiz to run through and then it will give you your macro goals.  (Macros = carbs, protein, fat, calories, etc.)  THIS IS STEP 1 in starting Keto, in my opinion.

Since I don't really workout (eeek...I'm getting there, y'all!), my numbers were all set pretty low.  If you feel like anything is too low or too high, you can go in and manually change them but your goal is to 1) keep your NET carbs under 20 per day and 2) try to maintain a ratio of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% net carbs within your calorie count.  Sounds confusing, I know.  But the app will keep track of all of that for you.  This will push your body into ketosis which makes it a fat-burning machine!  Remember that the goal is to burn fat so if you deprive your body of any sugars/carbs, keep your protein moderate and fat high then your body will burn the fat.

I'm not going to show you all my macro numbers because everyone's will be different depending on their height, weight, goals, exercise.  And honestly, I know there will be haters out there who will have something to say if they think mine are too low or too high.  You do you, girlfriend.

But the main thing is that you need to keep your net carb count under 20.  I started out at 18 but I've lowered mine to 13 because I've gotten the hang of this stuff!  And if I go over a few, I'm still under 20 and its no big deal.  I just figure, the fewer the carbs, the faster the weight comes off.  And I am an impatient girl. ;)



So once you've got your app going and you see your macro goals, it's pretty simple.  You will add in everything you eat.  And I do mean everything!  Carbs are sneaky little suckers.  Do you know there are even carbs in lettuce?!! What the heck?!!  Don't ever just assume a certain food is 0 carbs.  Fruit? Be careful!

Just the accountability of inputting what you are eating is what keeps me on track.  It's fun for me to put in my lunch or dinner...it's like a game I'm trying to win every day.  You can save things you eat a lot to your favorites so they are easy to tap and add each time and you can easily adjust how much you ate in terms of servings/cups/tbsp etc.  You can also scan the barcode on any package and it'll pull up the macros for you as well.  So simple.

I highly recommend downloading this app or Carb Manager if you prefer that one instead.  And if you are going all in, make sure you USE IT EVERY TIME YOU EAT.  Let it hold you accountable and make it into a game you want to win every day!

Honestly, I rarely hit all my daily macro goals to where it all perfectly adds up.  Actually, I've never done that.  I have a hard time staying under for my protein and never seem to get in all my fat in order to fill that circle on my app.  As for carbs, I'm fine as long as I don't go over but being under is even better!  Just because it says I can have 13, doesn't mean I HAVE TO HAVE 13.  If I only have 8 for the day then whooohooo!  ;)  Just do the best you can and don't get discouraged.  It took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of things and I learned where I needed to adjust in order for my numbers to come out ok every night.  They don't have to be perfect.  Just get them close and you should be in ketosis in no time.

Also, this app is free but if you want to add more than 5 foods a day to your tracker (which you will...) then you'll need to upgrade to PRO which is $2.99/month or $11.99 for the full year.  I started out with the monthly but once I realized this was all going to be part of my life from now on, I saved myself some money in the long run and switched to the $11.99 for the year.  
*I am not affiliated with any of these apps in any way.  Although I wish I was!  haha

INTERMITTENT FASTING

Intermittent fasting and keto go together like peanut butter and jelly.  They just work.  I strongly suggest adding in IF if you are doing Keto.  I honestly know nothing scientific about IF but I know it works.  Most IFers follow the 16:8 plan.  That means 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8 hour window where you eat.  I eased into this though using this app...


With the Zero app, it shows you several different fasting options including a 13 hour fast which is what I started out with.  After a week or so of that, I tried to hit the 16-hour mark and it wasn't that hard.



The app lets you hit a timer when you start fasting and then sends you an alert the next day when your fast is up.  Very simple and effective.  I typically go from 8pm(ish) to 12pm the following day.  If I only make it 14 hours, I don't stress.  But skipping breakfast is super helpful when you are counting carbs and calories.

QUICK WORD ABOUT CALORIES

YES, calories do matter on this diet.  Not as much as carbs but you can't go nuts.  Your body must be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight on any diet.

I try to eat around 1200/1300 calories a day but as time has gone on with Keto, I realize I'm just not as hungry as I used to be.  I'm not craving the things I once was and sometimes I even have to force myself to eat more than 800 or 900 calories a day!  (Not a bad problem to have!  Hand over that cheese wheel, please.  haha)

If you are working out on a regular or semi-regular basis, your calorie goals will be higher.  Now that my back is finally feeling some relief, I'm hoping to get back into shape and my macros will be adjusted and my calorie count will go up.

And one last app recommendation.  The Keto app will track your weight loss but I wanted one specifically designed to do that.  So I found one called the Happy Scale and I love it.

With Keto, you are going to see a rapid weight loss in the first week or two.  I was down 6 pounds after 5 days, y'all.  It was water weight and bloat but it was still 6 pounds that fell off and watching your number go down every day is pure inspiration to keep going!

The Happy Scale app documents your weight loss each day and tracks your trends so that it can give you milestones to reach and track how much you are losing on average each week.  Once I settled down into a steady weight loss, I was losing-on average-1.4 pounds per week.  This app was just another way that I could focus on my goals.

I know there are people who say not to weigh yourself every day but this is what keeps me on track, keeps me motivated, inspired and fired up.  I weigh myself every morning KNOWING that sometimes the scale will go up, sometimes it'll go down and sometimes it'll stay the same.  And if you go up a pound or even two from the day before, look back at what you ate the day before and see if you see anything that sticks out to you that might be the cause.  But also know that it's completely normal for your weight to fluctuate.  Sometimes I'll go up a couple of pounds for what seems like no reason and stay that way for a couple of days and then BAM, I'm down 4 pounds.

Anyway, if you're wondering how to get started, GO DOWNLOAD THOSE THREE APPS!

STEP 1:  Download Apps
STEP 2: Find & Follow!

Once you've downloaded the apps and got your self all set up, go find Keto people to follow on social media!  This has been so incredibly helpful to see how people do it, what they're eating...all that.  On Facebook, I joined this group and this one (among others) but there are so many.  Just search "keto" and a ton of them will pop up.

One thing I want to mention about these groups though.  A lot of them will push their very own "30 Day Keto Diet Plan" or "Speed Keto" or whatever.  They want you to buy their program, follow a meal plan, etc.  While this might be helpful for some people who feel they need it, it is NOT necessary.  I never bought a thing mainly because I hate people telling me what to eat and when.  😂  Just wanted to point that out in case you see these pinned programs at the tops of Facebook pages or run across ads for them on Instagram.  I'm not saying they are bad at all, I'm just saying its definitely possible to do it without them.

On Instagram, it's the same.  Just search #keto and you can follow that hashtag so that any posts using that hashtag will pop up on your feed.  Or find some people within that hashtag to follow!  I follow more and more every day but off the top of my head, I love @ketoincourt, @dat_keto_lady, @keto_okie, @ketomadesimple and @kaseytrenumblogger.  But seriously, there are so many and I get great ideas from their food posts every day.

3 TYPES OF KETO

As you can see, I really do go all in when I have a goal.  But that is because I work best when I see instant gratification.  haha  I want results NOW.   You should have seen me when we decided to try to get pregnant! 😂😂😂   If you google "how to pregnant as fast as possible", I tried all of that stuff. And there is some weird stuff in there.  #Iprobablydidit #soembarrassing

Again, this is what works for me.  Not everyone will have my personality.  Some of you think this is all too much, some of you may think it's exactly what you'd do and some of you may fall somewhere in the middle.  I get it.  So I wanted to show you this little graphic about the 3 types of Keto.



I was a mix of both strict and dirty.  I monitored closely because I really wanted to hit my goal weight before our vacation.  I was just two pounds away when we left.  But that was why I was super strict. My goal had a deadline. And as for the "dirty" part, I do love a mix of processed and "unhealthy" foods.  Fash food cheeseburgers with no bun?  Delish.  😉  I realized that there are so many compromises you can make with your favorite foods on Keto and still maintain ketosis.  I steer clear of the fries but a fast-food burger with no bun is not bad at all.  If someone tells me I have to eat whole, natural, organic, real food on a diet, I'll probably quit within 2 weeks.  I gotta live, y'all.

After we got home from our vacation, where I ate like a "normal" person, I was only up a couple of pounds.  But I jumped right back into my Keto routine on Monday morning and dropped 4 by the end of the week.  I actually think eating cheese enchiladas and chips and salsa (and fries!) a few times jump-started my metabolism again!  I say that so you don't get discouraged if you mess up, have a cheat meal or fall out of ketosis.  It only took me 2 days to get back into ketosis after my vacation so it's not the end of the world if you dive into the chip basket at your favorite Mexican place.  Just don't make a habit of it. ;)

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN KETOSIS?

There are several physical symptoms that can tell you that you might be in ketosis but you can read about those HERE.  (Trying to keep this post moving!)

I personally needed more proof.  I wanted to have something that would show me without a shadow of a doubt that I was either in or out of ketosis.  So I did some more googling and they have pee-on-a-stick tests for that!  I loved a good dip strip or pee stick back when I was trying to get pregnant.  It just made me feel like I was somewhat in control.  Plus they are kinda fun.  So I decided to order these Ketone Test Strips from Amazon and they work so well!

Nurse Hatty - Ketone Strips - Made in U.S.A. - High Performance Keto Test Strips Perfect for Ketogenic, Low Carb, Atkins & Paleo Diets + Free 38pg. eBook Education (100ct. + 50 Free)

Basically, you pee on them or dip them and if they turn any color at all, it is detecting ketones in your body which means you are in ketosis.  Sometimes you'll have a much larger amount of ketones than other times but its all the same apparently.  Any amount is good.  I've been testing at least once a day for the past 8 weeks and the only time I got a negative was during our vacation after a couple of days of eating carbs.  I jumped back on board fully though on Monday and by Wednesday morning, I was back in ketosis.  I love seeing proof that what you're doing is working.

If you're super hardcore, you can even do blood tests which are more accurate because they give you actual numbers.  You just have to prick your finger each time and I'll pass on that.  haha  Plus they are more expensive.

SO WHAT DO YOU EAT???

We've finally come to what I'm assuming is the question you're really looking for.  Let's call this Step 3.  What do I eat that keeps me full, happy and under 20 net carbs a day!?

For starters, there are approximately a million keto recipes on Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram.  Just type in #keto on Instagram and start scrolling.  There are thousands of IGers who have pages solely dedicated to keto recipes.  I can't possibly post everything here but here's a rundown of some of my favorites.

Salads: Grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, ground beef.
Add-ons:  sour cream, guac, cheese, salsa, avocado, eggs, bacon, tomatoes (sparingly), these low carb chips are amazing if you crush some up on your taco salad and these are awesome in place of croutons.  You can get both at Walmart.
Dressings:  I lean towards Caesar or Ranch for my low carb options but I know there are others.  My favorite thing to do is buy a large ranch from Wingstop to use throughout the week.  They have the BEST RANCH EVER.

This Sir Kensington Buffalo Ranch is great too.  I used it on this chicken taco salad.


We ordered takeout from a mexican place nearby one night (Fuzzys) and I got this taco salad minus the shell.


And on vacation, even when I was allowing myself to eat "bad", I still craved a salad.  This Caesar was delicious. (No croutons.)


Breakfast Tacos: 1 low carb flour tortilla (I like the mission brand) in the fajita size.  4g net carbs. 1 scrambled egg, a little cheddar cheese, 2 strips of bacon and maybe some diced jalapenos for an extra kick.  (If it looks like I have more than 2 strips of bacon, its because I snapped them in half.


This breakfast is 5.7 net carbs with 4 of those coming from the tortilla.  So sometimes I'll skip the tortilla completely.  :)

Also for breakfast...All kinds of eggs.  Period.  And bacon.  And cheese.  Omelets, scrambled, fried.  Whatever.  All good.

Keto Waffles
:  Speaking of eggs...you have to try this little waffle maker (its seriously the size of my hand and is under $10) and make Keto Waffles using a couple of eggs and some shredded cheese.  And that's IT. It's the closest you'll come to a real Eggo Waffle.

1. Crack an egg or two into a bowl and give it some quick whisking.
2. Spray both plates on your waffle maker and let it get hot.
3. Sprinkle just enough cheese onto the bottom plate so that it covers the majority of the squares.  (This is what will give you that crispy texture.)
4.  Spoon or pour in just enough egg mixture that it covers the bottom.  If you make them too thick, they aren't as good, in my opinion.
5.  Add a little more cheese sprinkles and close the lid.
6.  Let it cook for several minutes.  You can check on it to see how it's coming along but I like mine pretty crispy.

When they're done, carefully scoop them out and make another one until your egg mixture is gone.  Add real butter and sugar-free syrup and you'll have yourself one delicious super duper low carb breakfast.  These can also be used in place of bread for breakfast sandwiches, regular sandwiches, burgers...anything you want!




UPDATE:  Recently I've been seeing this recipe as 2 eggs and 1 cup of cheese mixed all together and then put in the waffle maker.  I haven't tried this version but I will be soon!

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole:  This was the first Keto recipe I made for dinner and it was a huge hit.  Chicken, cream cheese, bacon, melted cheese and fresh jalapenos.  What's not to love!?!

I'll link straight to the 2 recipes I've used but wanted to say that if you have little ones that'll be eating it, you may want to make sure to scoop out all the seeds from the jalapenos for a very mild version.  But if you want it spicy, be sure to leave a decent amount in!


This recipe uses pre-cooked shredded chicken.
This one uses raw chicken and it bakes all together.

I've used both and they are equally amazing.  I think each recipe has the macros broken down for you but if possible, so try to stick to their serving size.  Also, Philadelphia Cream Cheese has 1 less carb per serving than Great Value and several other generic brands so spring for the brand name if you can!

Keto Sausage Balls:  Sausage balls are a favorite of mine and when I saw there was a Keto version on Pinterest, I chose a recipe at random and whipped some up.  These are made with coconut flour in order to keep them keto-friendly.  These are great to make at the beginning of each week to have on hand to pop in the microwave for breakfast or a snack.  This was another winner for my hubs who is still not on board with the Keto thing...I'm slowly trying to pull him in.

Recipe HERE.

I ate a couple of these with a side salad with ranch for lunch one day.  Yum.

Also, it didn't include the macro count for these in the recipe but someone in the comments said they figured it up and it came out to:

Calories: 100
Protein: 1g
Fat: 9g
Net Carbs: 1g

This is all per piece and the recipe will make about 35 if they are about a tablespoon of batter each.

Buffalo Chicken TaquitosThis was another recipe that I made pretty early on and oh heaven help me.  It was insane.  And so easy!  Buffalo Chicken dip is my favorite dip ever and this is almost just as good.


Recipe HERE.

One thing I missed so much was sandwiches!  And then I did a little digging and found out that there are tons of companies (and bakeries) that make zero carb bread!

I ordered this KetoThin bread from Julian Bakery HERE first.  This bread has zero net carbs but is very dense, thin, and moist, like banana bread.  It must be kept frozen or in the fridge.  Once in the fridge, it lasts about a week.


So this stuff was not good just out of the package but it grills up so nicely!  I've been eating ham/egg/cheese and bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches with it and its really good!



I also make some basic ham and cheese with mayo and lettuce.


Once I had finished my KetoThin bread I decided to try a different brand.  This time I bought ThinSlim bread from HERE.  (All of these are available online only as far as I can tell.)
I LOVE this bread!  It's much closer to "normal" bread and I always toast it or grill it. I especially love the Honey version.  This is my top recommendation for bread.


I bought it in the plain version first but again, the Honey version is even better!

I put it in the toaster this time and even though it doesn't look toasted, it was nice and crunchy on the outside.  This sandwich below only has 1.5 net carbs.


And for my last recipe post (for now), I had to show y'all this Keto Lemon Pie.  Because it is OUTSTANDING.  I am not a baker.  I hate all the beating and mixing and the mess.  And then the waiting for it to bake and then waiting for it to cool...it's just not my favorite.  But I was craving lemon-flavored desserts like nobody's business the other day so I took to Pinterest and found this recipe HERE.  I ran up to Walmart and grabbed the things I needed and made my first ever pie from scratch!  (Possibly my second pie ever.)

It turned out perfectly!!


It's creamy and smooth and rich and fluffy.  It's got the most perfect lemon flavor and the pecan crust is the best compliment to it all.  Craig loves it too.  Once this one is gone, I'll be making this strawberry one next!  (UPDATE:  This was amazing!!!  It tasted like "strawberry fluff" if you've ever had that??  My grandmother used to make it.  So perfect with the pecan crust!  Highly recommend this, y'all!)

These desserts are great if you need to get more fat into your day too.  I always have trouble reaching my fat allotment and this definitely helps get me there.

This is 3 net carbs, 377 calories, 39g of fat and 4g protein per slice.  (If sliced into 8 pieces.)  And you'll need to grab some of these if you are going to be baking!  It's your sugar replacement and I love it.  You will probably use both the granular and confectioners and you can find those HERE.

And now a few random things I've come to love!  You can get most of these on Amazon and few might possibly be at your local grocery stores.  I've tried to include several of these products in my Amazon Store in my Keto Faves section if you want to just shop around in that.

If you love a sweet snack, then you MUST try these little cookies!  They taste so much like regular Famous Amos or Chips Ahoy minis (except better in my opinion) are I only need 2 or 3 to satisfy my sweet tooth.  There are 12 cookies per pack and each serving (6 cookies) is just 2 net carbs.  Yes, like all Keto products, they are a tiny bit expensive but not crazy.


Next up, on my list of must-haves are these Quest Protein chips.  They come in BBQ, Ranch and Nacho Cheese at my local Walmart but you can find them HERE with even more flavors.  And they are really good.  They taste like a very light, thin regular chip to be honest.  I don't typically eat these by themselves though.  I crumble up about half of them in the bag and put them in my taco salads to give it that crunch!  They have the same texture as some of those thin, super crispy taco salad shells at Mexican restaurants and it's the perfect extra topping.

The bags come in snack size bags only from what I can tell and there are 4 net carbs per bag.


Also on the must-have list...WHISPS.  Or something similar because I've found several different brands that are all basically the same thing.  (Funny side note:  If you accidentally type in "whips" instead of "whisps" on Amazon, the list of suggestions that it lists in the dropdown is pretty funny. 😂)

These are thick and crunchy and 100% cheese!  I've tried the Cheddar and Parmesan ones but I've heard Asiago Cheese is amazing too!   These are great for little nibbles but I use them mostly as a sub for croutons!  I crumble them up on my regular salads and don't miss regular croutons at all!  They could also be used for dipping.  

Pair me up with some buffalo wing dip and Cheddar Whisps and just walk away, friends.  ;)


They are also available on Amazon HERE and in my local grocery store.  I love buying them in bulk from Amazon though b/c they have more flavors to choose from.

This past week I've discovered Realgood foods in my frozen food section. I tried out these chicken enchiladas and while small, they are delicious!  I load them up with sour cream, guacamole and some salsa and they are pretty great.  


SNACKING

As far as snacks go, I keep mini Babybel Cheeses (in the White Cheddar--Yum!) in a bowl in my fridge to grab when I need a snack and almonds on hand too (just don't go overboard with those).  And now that I've found those Keto pies, they are the most delicious go-to!  They definitely help you get in more fat for the day too (GOOD THING--NOT BAD!) so from now I'll make one pie at the beginning of each week, keep it in the fridge and just eat from it all week.  Sometimes just a bite or two is all I need.  And honestly, when you don't start eating until noon and are finished by 8, and your body enters ketosis, you won't be as hungry.  I really don't snack all that much.

ALCOHOL

UPDATE:  I've gotten a lot of DMs and comments asking what I drink when it comes to alcohol.  I've always been a white wine girl.  Pinot Grigio to be exact.  :)  Luckily, Pinot Grigio is considered one of the lower carb wines.  BUT, those carbs can add up quickly if you're staying under 20net a day.  I think I saw that there are 4 net carbs per 4oz glass of PG.  Hmmm.  I'm no lush but I'm typically going to want at least an 8oz glass. ;)

So I've found alternatives for when I'm at a party or a night out or whatever.  I found this Strawberry Lemonade Svedka vodka the other day and looked up the nutrition facts.  Vodka is naturally a zero carb alcohol but when you start adding flavor it can also add carbs.  I looked this particular one up though and it is still zero carbs (yay!) and it goes great with Sparkling Ice.  I buy the strawberry lemonade Sparkling Ice in the 12 packs on Amazon bc I can never find them in stores.  A yummy, fun, zero carb drink!


When I'm out, I'll usually ask for a skinny margarita on the rocks but agave nectar that they will most likely use to sweeten it for you still has 5g of carbs per teaspoon.  So if you really want a skinny margarita, make it clear to the bartender or waiter that you are avoiding any sugar and stick with just tequila and club soda and add in some limes.  (More on the skinny margarita and recipe HERE.)

The SkinnyGirl Margarita (Bethenny's bottled margaritas) has 1.7 net carbs per serving which doesn't sound bad...until you see that the serving size is 1.5oz.  Hmmm.  Not a great Keto choice.

If you are wondering about any particular drink, I'd say your best bet is google.  But here is a quick chart that might give you a better overview.  But just because it's in GREEN, doesn't mean its zero carb.  Always check the label and add it to your Keto app to keep you in check.

Keto diet alcohol guide

COFFEE

If you've been around my blog for a while, then you probably know that I'm not a fan of black coffee.  I need the sweet stuff.  I prefer a hot cocoa/coffee mix.  I did this "Smart Coffee" review (aka Magic Coffee) last year and y'all, I'm still a fan.  It still knocks out my appetite, puts a pep in my step, turns my brain to "FOCUS" and gives me a light endorphin rush.  (I don't know if that's exactly what's happening but I just know I always feel happier and less anxious after I have my coffee.)

I haven't had a coffee all summer though because coffee and heat just don't seem to go for me, but I've been craving it lately!  We had a couple of cloudy days last week and it got me all ready for fall!  So after checking out some Keto-friendly add-ins to make this coffee work for me, I think I've got it nailed.  In the past, I would mix in half a packet of hot chocolate and some Hershey's chocolate creamer to my coffee (made with milk not water.)  It was rich and sweet and delicious.  It was also full of calories, fat and carbs.  Boo.  But it knocked out my appetite and cravings so I figured it all canceled out.  ;)

So now, I drink it like this.  Eight ounces of hot water, a scoop of my coffee, 3/4 scoop of this awesome Keto Cocoa and 2 tbsp of heavy cream.  I use this cheap little milk frother really quickly to stir it up and give it a little foam and it's so good!  *Picture taken before I discovered how awesome a handheld milk frother was!


If you are a coffee fan, I definitely suggest checking out my Magic Coffee Review HERE but also be sure to google "Bulletproof Coffee".  Keto peeps have some creative ways to drink it that all sound gross to me but apparently aren't.  And PS.  That Keto Cocoa tastes amazing all on its own.  If you need a hot chocolate alternative, there ya go.  I also read that you can bake with it!

ELECTROLYTES

And a little word about electrolytes.  (By the way, I swear I saw a question come in on Instagram about electrolytes but for the life of me I can't find it anymore.  So if that was you, I'm so sorry I never responded!  No idea where it went!) 

I'm going to have to look into this more but from what I remember reading, you need to keep up your electrolytes on this diet.  That means SALT YOUR FOOD, drink water with electrolytes and however, else you can get them.  There is a thing called Keto Flu that I have heard a lot of people get it when their bodies are starting to adjust to their "new way of life" and they feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, etc.  They say to make sure you keep your electrolytes up in order to avoid this and I guess I did because I never felt sick in any way.  You may want to google this before you start to find any more tips on how to avoid it.  I guess I got lucky.

WATER

And yes, make sure you're drinking a lot of water just like with any other program.  I typically drink around 100oz a day but just do the best you can.  They say to aim for half your body weight in ounces.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There really are so many great ways to make Keto work for you.  I know I have left out so much but this post is long enough as is.  I'll continue to share things on IG and save them to my Keto Highlights so you can go check that out anytime.  And I'm sure I'll be sharing more recipes as I go.

So to wrap it up, yes, Keto has definitely worked for me.  I've never stuck with a program longer than 21 days because normally they are 21-day programs.  And by the time I'm to day 21, I'm so ready to just EAT.  But this hasn't been like that.  I see myself continuing on this for the foreseeable future.

I HAVE reached my goal weight though so what's next for me will be a little different than the past 2 months just trying to get here.  Now I'm just trying to maintain.  I don't feel like I need to lose any more weight but I DO need to start working out and toning up.  So that's my next step.  I'll also loosen up on my tracking and probably venture into that "lazy keto" category a lot more where I just count net carbs and that's it.  

I also fully intend to "cheat" during fun nights out like one we have planned on Saturday!  But the next day I will jump right back on board.

So there we go!  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below or DM me on Instagram.  I'm happy to help if I can.  And if I didn't answer your question here, make sure to check the #KetoLife Highlights on Instagram because I answered a lot more over there.  Also, I updated my Amazon Store with a Keto Faves section and I'll be adding in new products as I try them.  I haven't tried ALL the ones that are in there now but they are either highly rated or I know someone who has.

And for any new readers joining our Keto talk today, I also run a Daily Deals Facebook Group (HERE) where I posted fun finds, great deals, sales, price drops, rollbacks..you name it.  You should join us!  I'm sure I'll be sharing any new favorite Keto finds there as well!  And I've also got a great little Etsy shop HERE that I'd love for you to check out.  
(A little shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone, right? 😉)

Remember to PIN THIS so you can come back to it whenever you need!  You can find my Keto-Friendly Pinterest board HERE.

See you on Friday for Friday Favorites!!


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30 comments

  1. wow- this is amazing- thank you for all the time it took to put this post together. I've never considered doing Keto- but you have me convinced it might work for me to drop a few pounds and the muffin top. THANK You for the great info. WOW. Didn't know there was an app. I'm a goal person, so I think it would work well for me. It seems overwhelming to try to "learn" it all, but you layed it all out great here.

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  2. Congratulations! I know it must feel so good to have made it to your goal. Questions: 1.) My sister did Keto and lost of a ton of weight, but it really took a toll on her hair. Did you see any changes to yours? 2.) I am interested in how you "maintain" on Keto. Please keep up posted and maybe do a follow up post. I am just not sure how I would make a "life style" out of this kind of plan. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing. You are the best and most real!

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    1. I haven't noticed anything different with my hair at all. But it has been helping my skin a lot! It's clearer than it's ever been! As for maintaining, I'm only a couple days into that phase so I'm learning as I go. My plan is to continue to keep my net carbs under 20 each day as much as possible but maybe loosen up on tracking all the rest. And if I go out to dinner and really want chips and salsa or a burger and fries, I'll eat it and then jump right back on board the next day. If the scale starts to go back up, I'll just clamp down and go back in to "Strict Keto" until I'm back to normal. That is how I see this playing out but I could be wrong. I'll keep y'all posted for sure! :) And THANK YOU!! ❤

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  3. Amanda! Wow! I am just blown away by this post!! First of all, I'm so proud of you! You've really worked hard and been disciplined (I've eaten meals with you, so I know!). Secondly, this post was so informative!! You put so much into this, and I know you are going to help, inspire and motivate many. This was so comprehensive!!!

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    1. Thank you, friend!! Not getting a Mambo Taxi with the rest of the table at Brittany's birthday dinner was basically torture. 😂 And I loved that breakfast nacho casserole (not sure what you're going to call it) you had for us on Sunday! I was so happy to be able to grab some now that I'm down to where I want to be and don't have to say no every single time. And I certainly plan to have fun Saturday! 🎉

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  4. Awesome post! This came at a perfect time for me cause my husband & I just started the Atkins Monday! I see a few similarities between the 2, but you can bet that if I don't see results as fast as you did, I'm switching over :) I'm like you, I need to see results asap in order to stay motivated. Thank you for being real & for all the great tips!

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  5. Love these recipes and tips! Are those tacquitos really that easy? I'm intimidated by the "cheese shell" lol

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    1. Ha! I was too but it was so easy. You're basically just letting it melt until the edges start to brown and then let it cool until it's easy enough to handle but still pliable. And you just drop in some chicken and roll it up. I got a little impatient and may have burned my fingers a little though! haha Next time I'll wait to let them cool down a few more minutes. ;)

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  6. Thanks for all your hard work on this post! I added those apps you recommended to my phone and plan to start tracking everything asap! I also really appreciate the recipes and low carb options on Amazon!

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  7. I love this Amanda!! Congratulations!!! I appreciate you sharing all of your knowledge. I’m going to start today! Can you share some of your favorite people/groups that you follow. Thanks so much!! ❤️

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    1. Hey Karen! I just updated the post to include a little section about who I follow on Instagram and some of the groups on Facebook. I just noticed my favorite group got archived a few days ago so I had to join a new one they started. (Check right under the "apps" section in the post.) If you type in Keto on Facebook or #keto on Instagram there are so many to choose from though. I add to my list every day!

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  8. Thank you for this post! So informative without coming off as preachy like so many diet posts I seem to read on other sites. I've been trying portion control and lowering my sugar intake but the results are so slow. I am horrible about drinking my calories (iced tea mainly). I love so many of these foods though that I think it would help me not miss bread and sugar. It's shines through that you feel good and I think that's awesome:) Congrats!

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    1. AWww such a nice comment! Thank you!! And I hate preachy. My defenses always immediately go up! ;) There are some really great sugar alternatives that are (from what I've read) much better for you than aspartame and Splenda and things like that. Swerve is a brand that a lot of Keto-ers use. It's what I used for my lemon pie and I don't taste any weird after tastes or anything like that. Give it a shot in place of sugar (especially if you are baking) and you may be surprised! Good luck!

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  9. Jenny7:37 AM

    Thanks for your transparency AND lots of resources and meal ideas Amanda. I struck out with Keto a few months ago but maybe it just wasn't the right time in my life for intense focus. This inspires me to maybe give it another try when things settle down again this fall. I would be interested in a few updates (maybe every month or every couple months) as to whether or not you are able to maintain (and how you do it) as well as some more lenient meal ideas (as you maybe increase your carbs?) and especially if you venture into baking/cooking more with recipes (as that feels doable for those of us who don't bake/cook often to cook/bake if you felt successful)

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    1. Thank you, Jenny! I'll definitely keep y'all updated!

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  10. This post has motivated me to give it a shot! You are such a wonderful teacher, make it so down to Earth for those of us who feel intimidated!

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  11. Katie5:31 AM

    Thanks so much for this great post! My husband and I just started low carb/keto and 4 days in we are going strong. What were your favorite adult beverages and snacks on keto?

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    1. Hey Katie! Thanks for the question! I totally forgot to add in stuff about alcohol but I've gone back and updated the post to include a little section about it and about snacks. :)

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  12. Anonymous10:21 AM

    Thanks for the inspiration to try Keto and for using your space on the internet to create a positive environment. So much of the blogging/insta world seems to make readers feel badly about not having a huge house or traveling to exotic destinations every week. Your blog is positive, I appreciate that!

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  13. Thank you so much for such a well thought out, comprehensive post!! I've been burned out on my "go-to" plan to lose weight, and this encouraged me to give Keto a try. And I keep referring back to your post because you are very straight forward and encouraging. Please post updates as the maintenance phase is what I'm most nervous about. (I suppose I should concentrate on the losing first!) 4 days in and I already feel a change. Thank you for putting this post out there!

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    1. Thank you, Maryann! So far maintenance is going well! By now, it's feeling like more of just my normal way of eating so it's not a lot of work. I'm posting updates in this post frequently and over in my Instagram Highlights but currently working on a followup post as well. So glad this has encouraged you!

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  14. Thank you so very much for taking the enormous amount of time to put this post together. I also have a pesky 20 lbs. I would love to lose before our Hawaiian cruise in Feb. I have been doing a calorie counting app and lost 15 lbs. but have been needing a fresh kick-start and wanted to try something else. I didn't realize how friendly the KETO diet was to my needing to eat Gluten Free (due to Celiac Disease), so that is the final push to give KETO a go. I have already loaded the apps to my phone and am ready to "go big or go home" with this!!! I will keep you posted!!! Thanks again!!

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    1. Ahhhhh I want to go to Hawaii!! Since you are already pretty disciplined with your calorie counting, this would probably be a great add-on to help you drop the last few really quickly! And yes, Keto and Gluten-free dieting seem to go great together from what I've read. I know nothing about gluten other than though!

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  15. This was such a great post! In regards to IF, is there a way to drink my coffee before I break my fast without just going straight black coffee? Thanks!

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    1. From what I've read, anything over 35 calories will technically break your fast. Some things I've read even say 50 calories. So if you need to add a splash of Stevia or Swerve or heavy cream, it should be ok as long as you keep your calories in check. :)

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