When I started eating the ketogenic diet, I knew a lot less than I do now! And as such, I made quite a few mistakes, especially when it came to getting my macros right. So I thought I’d do a quick post explaining how I started, what I learned and where I am now.
My Macros in the Beginning
There’s a fair bit of information out there as I’m sure you’re already aware. And the primary information I used to start eating keto was simply to keep your carbs under 30g, your protein at 0.8g per pound of lean body weight (so around 100g for me), and the rest of your calories from fat (to satiety).
This seemed pretty simple to me. I signed up to MyFitnessPal and off I went.
Oh, and at the time, in order to track whether I was in ketosis, I only had Ketostix that measure the ketones in your urine.
It took me a full 2 weeks to even begin seeing any changes in colour on those Ketostix and in that time I was starting to wonder whether I was doing something wrong. What happened was I had a couple of days of very small appetite, where I also happened to be out and about and walking around a lot and then suddenly I saw ketones in my urine. Hurrah!
I thought I’d already cracked it, and happily carried on eating using these same macros. However, what I noticed was I didn’t seem to be experiencing any of that super duper energy that I’d read about. Even 3 weeks later, every day I still just wanted to lie down in the afternoons. I felt sluggish and lethargic and was seriously starting to wonder if it was all worth it. It didn’t take too much longer for me to figure that I must be off key somewhere. What was I doing wrong?
I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a blood ketone and glucose monitor to try and get to the bottom of things.
Why I Changed my Macro Percentages
On the next day when I woke up, I measured my blood glucose and ketone levels. To my surprise (and horror) my blood glucose was 95 and my ketones measured 0.4. Rubbish! This basically meant that I was dancing on the edge of ketosis but not remotely adapting, so my body wasn’t getting used to using ketones for energy. However, I wasn’t eating enough carbs for my body to have enough glucose for energy. The net result was this continued tiredness and ‘blah’ feeling.
After more reading round I realised that I needed to increase the amount of fats I was eating to help ‘persuade’ my body to start using them as fuel. I had been eating 80-100g of fats per day, which just isn’t enough to keto-adapt.
Also, 100g of protein was far too much. I don’t do a lot of exercise, and even though I’m 5’8″ I don’t need that much protein. If you eat more protein than your body needs, it simply breaks it down into glucose which can block your keto-adaptation.
What My Macro Percentages are Now for Optimal Ketosis
After these revelations, I adjusted my macros again and suddenly started seeing awesome results! It took about a week, but I started feeling these bursts of happiness and energy. I scared my cats on more than one occasion by jumping up from my chair with a whoop, just for the sake of it!
Best of all, I started feeling my clothes getting looser especially around my middle.
So what are my macros now?
Carbs 20g (net)
Fat 150g (minimum)
Obviously, they vary a bit from day to day, depending on how active I am, how hungry I am and whether I’m having a carb up meal. In truth, nowadays I don’t focus too much on macros any more. I know what feels good and I try to stick with eating in a more intuitive way now. More on this another time. 🙂