Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, and we find ourselves hurtling into a world of guilt and regret. Could I have avoided it? Did I handle it the right way?
Should I even carry on following the ketogenic diet at all?
These are some of the questions Alex and Chelsea were faced with in Week 7. For Alex, it was learning to navigate shared mealtimes with respect while staying in ketosis.
For Chelsea, Week 7 brought a drastic uptick in weight that could have derailed her whole journey had she not done her research and discovered that women simply have it harder in the world of weight loss.
Alex: Feasting and Fasting
After 7 weeks of eating keto, I’ve managed to lose 20 lbs., a number I never would have dreamed I would achieve in less than 2 months! I think the secrets to my success lie in several aspects of the ketogenic lifestyle:
- Keto fills you up quicker and keeps you satiated for longer, with no cravings
- The body is fat-adapted, and thus primed for lipolysis (fat burning)
- Wholefoods used in keto are high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Keto and intermittent fasting/OMAD work wonders together
- Ketones energize my workouts for extra calorie-burning
- My mental performance is super-sharp so I’m well-positioned to make good food choices
Even though I’m seeing amazing results week by week, not everything has been smooth sailing. Just this Saturday I had to face the challenge of partaking in a shared family meal complete with obligatory rice and bread.
On the one hand, it felt good to participate in the time-honored tradition of sharing a meal with guests, but on the other, after I’d eaten the last bite of starchy rice, I almost immediately felt bloated.
I decided the best way forward was to embrace the renewing qualities of intermittent fasting. I made this choice primarily to flush out the excess water weight I’d picked up on Saturday evening, as well as boost my metabolism back into ketosis-proper.
Sunday I did a full-on dry fast – no water, no coffee, no nothing – and I plan on using this type of intermittent fasting throughout this coming week to make a keto-comeback.
How do you bounce back from a carby meal? Let me know what I could have done differently in the comments!
Chelsea: Women, Weight Gain, and Keto
I gained weight this week, in a big way, even though I’ve stuck to perfect keto eating this whole time. I couldn’t actually believe my eyes when I saw the number on the scale.
I found myself seething in anger and then wallowing self-pity once I realized that my plateau has now graduated into full-blown weight-gain. Even my beloved boyfriend, who drinks beer and eats chocolate by the ton, has lost more weight than me over the last while.
So, how did I manage to undo 3 weeks of perfect keto in 1 week, you ask? … Well, buckle up female readers, it’s time to find out some harsh truths about estrogen and fat loss.
Estrogen is a fat-storage hormone
One of the roles that estrogen plays in the body is to assist in the storage of fat – how much of it we store, as well as where we store it.
Women tend to put on fat on their hips, lower abdomen and thighs as a result of this, while men retain more lean muscle mass. Like insulin, estrogen affects the metabolism and thus has a lot to do with how effectively and quickly you lose weight.
Women actually have 9 times the amount of estrogen in their bodies than men at a given time, so it affects us much more dramatically.
Of course, we need estrogen in the body as a key feature of the endocrine and reproductive systems. However, when the estrogen to progesterone ratio in our bodies get out of whack, say, during menopause, in times of stress, because of new medications or due to estrogen dominance, fat loss can come to a standstill and you may even put on weight.
The same principle of hormone balance applies while in ketosis, so if you find yourself gaining 2 or 3 pounds (or 8 in my case…), don’t let it deter you.
New medication can cause weight gain
As a woman with epilepsy and estrogen dominance, I have to take a few important pills a day to stay healthy and able. Unfortunately, some medications for neurological and psychiatric illnesses can upset hormonal balances in the body and lead to fat storage.
The anticonvulsant medication that I take daily to control epileptic seizures has been known to interact with hormones like estrogen in unpredictable ways.
Also, medications like SSRIs, SSNRIs, anti-psychotics, and mood-stabilizers warn that ingredients may stimulate the appetite and slow the metabolism by interfering with hormonal homeostasis, although this is not true for everyone.
Talk to your physician about possible side-effects of prescription medications to be at your best prepared.
Why I gained weight this week
I think the reason for my weight gain this week boils down to 3 key contributing factors:
1. Medication changes
Starting my new contraceptive pill certainly played a role in my gain this week. I believe switching from a standard pill to one specifically designed to work with epilepsy medication is primarily what threw my body into an estrogen-fueled nightmare.
Once my body gets used to the new medication, pressure will be taken off my endocrine system and hopefully, my metabolism follows suit.
2. Estrogen dominance
I’ve always had health problems that stem from having too much estrogen in relation to progesterone in my system. From digestive health issues to thyroid problems to chronic inflammation, estrogen dominance affects the whole body in often mysterious ways.
With such an unbalanced hormonal climate, retaining weight becomes easier and losing it becomes more difficult.
3. Sedentary lifestyle
Last week I promised you that I would be out and about hiking, experiencing nature and getting my heart rate up into the fat-burning zone.
Although that is totally still my goal, I failed at it this week. I could give you guys excuses as to why I never made it happen, but that would help neither you nor me.
Are you a woman that’s done or is doing keto? How do you stay on top of your weight loss game? Please let me know in the comments!
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