I Lasted 7 Days On The Ketogenic Diet
Updated: Oct 21
I decided to embark on a week-long exploration of the keto diet. My original plan was to give it 3 months as I wanted to reach ketosis and give it a fair shot to see how my body responded to such a drastic diet. Ultimately, I only lasted 7 days before experiencing issues that prompted me to stop.
The keto diet is extremely popular for those looking to lose weight, as it includes very little carbohydrates and is replaced by high amounts of fat and moderate amounts of protein. My focus was not to lose weight, but to see if it would help with my GERD issues and health overall. Coming off a vegan focused diet to a diet that is heavily focused on meat, cheese, eggs, oils, and nuts, I had some concerns on how my body would react to such a big change.
Diets are not one size fits all and are highly individual. I’m in the process of crafting a diet plan that leads to better health outcomes and long-term success. My goal with the Keto diet was to see if there were certain elements, I could implement with my personalized diet plan.
If you’re curious to explore the keto lifestyle, in this blog post, Ill share challenges I encountered, the negatives and positives, and key takeaways from the week. Additionally, I’ll give tips on how to get started.
Day 1: Getting Started
Disclaimer: Before getting started on any diet, it’s best to consult with a registered dietitian. They can access your individual needs, considering goals, lifestyle, and medical history to provide expert guidance.
Getting started on a ketogenic diet requires a good amount of planning and preparation. Here’s how I kicked off my keto journey:
Step 1: Research and Understanding
Before diving in, spend some time researching the principles and understanding the science behind the keto diet. This will enable you to make informed choices week after week.
What jumpstarted my interest in the diet, was coming across a Youtube video of Dr. Berg explaining the root cause of indigestion, GERD, and acid reflux. While Dr. Berg has a diverse mix of tips on improving health, he is also a big advocate of the keto diet. His Youtube channel and website were a big help in understanding what all goes into the diet.
Step 2: Meal Planning
Meal planning was the most overwhelming part for me, as one of my one of my initial goals with the diet was to reach ketosis. According to Cleveland Clinic, Ketosis is a metabolic state where fat is the main energy source instead of glucose or sugar. To reach ketosis and stay there, you must be diligent in tracking your macros.
Before getting started with a meal plan, I used the ruled.me calculator to get the recommended amount of food I should eat per day. Since I was eager to get started with the diet and wanted to keep it simple and eliminate the guesswork, I purchased the meal planner on the same website. The meal planner is specific to your needs and includes hundreds of recipes scaled to your profile that you create at the start.
If you prefer not to add another subscription to your monthly bills, use the free calculator linked above to get an idea on how much you should eat. While there are a ton of resources and free recipes in blogs, websites, Pinterest, and more, I used a good number of Dr. Bergs recipes. My biggest complaint is it’s not well organized, but the recipes are free, simple, and give the right nutritional information.
Step 3: Clearing Out Carbs
Prior to starting the keto diet and to ensure success, I removed or ate all carb-heavy foods from the pantry and fridge. This included bread, pasta, rice, and sugary stuff. This helped eliminate any temptations during my new diet journey.
After creating my meal plan for the week, it consisted of foods rich in minimal carbs, moderate protein, and healthy fats. Avocado, eggs, dairy, fish, and leafy greens were staples in my plan.
Day 1 Meal:
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs cooked in butter with spinach and feta cheese.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with a side salad of mixed greens, avocado, and olive oil dressing.
- Dinner: Baked salmon with asparagus drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
Day 2 – 4: The Adaptation Phase
During my initial research and browsing various forums and websites, “keto flu” seemed to be a common side effect when first starting a ketogenic diet. During this phase, your body shifts from using carbs for energy to utilizing stored fat. While I don’t believe I ever got the “keto flu,” I did experience some noticeable changes.
Day 2 Meal:
- Breakfast: Omelette filled with mushrooms, onions, and cheddar cheese.
- Lunch: Tuna salad made with mayonnaise and diced pickles, served over lettuce leaves.
- Dinner: Pan-seared steak with broccoli florets sautéed in garlic butter.
Day 3 Meal:
- Breakfast: Keto-friendly smoothie with almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a scoop of MCT oil.
- Lunch: Sliced turkey breast wrapped in lettuce leaves with mustard and mayo.
- Dinner: Baked chicken thighs with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil.
Day 4 Meal:
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt topped with chia seeds, walnuts, and a drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup.
- Lunch: Cauliflower rice stir-fry with shrimp, broccoli, and a low-carb teriyaki sauce.
- Dinner: Grilled pork chops with a side of sautéed spinach and garlic.
Low Energy: I was surprised to have such low energy after only a couple of days on the diet. I tried to do one of my normal 1-hour long week rides and noticed a hit in performance.
Hunger Pangs: It felt like my stomach needed something. It was safe to assume that my body was still craving carbs, and I found myself hungry more frequently.
Acid Reflux: By day 3, it seemed like an acid reflux flare up was imminent, which I was already starting to second guess the diet. I was questioning whether I was doing something wrong, if it was a regular flare up, or if I should have eased into it more.
On day 3, I had a strange, heightened clarity feeling and focus. Though it
seemed to be short-lived, as I lost the feeling by day 3.
Day 5 – 7: Trying To Find My Stride
Midway point, my body was adjusting to the keto diet, but my acid reflux seemed to be getting slightly worse. However, my energy levels seemed to have stabilized, and I didn’t feel as hungry throughout the day.
Day 5-7 Meal:
- Breakfast: Avocado and bacon omelette cooked in coconut oil.
- Lunch: Sardine salad with mixed greens, olives, and an olive oil vinaigrette.
- Dinner: Baked cod fish with a side of steamed asparagus and a lemon-butter sauce.
- Nuts: A small handful of almonds.
- Cheese: Cheese sticks or slices.
- Vegetables: Sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, or celery
Energy: My energy level issues I experienced the first couple of days started to stabilize, and I felt more active throughout the day.
Appetite: The hunger pangs during the initial phase of the diet had significantly diminished. I noticed I was satisfied with smaller keto friendly meals.
Social Events: I had an event the same week I started the diet which required careful menu scrutiny in finding keto-friendly options.
Acid Reflux: The diet seemed to have triggered a flare up which prompted me to quit the diet early.
Key Takeaways from My 7-Day Keto Experiment
1. Initial Challenges Are Temporary: The “keto flu” symptoms are usually temporary, and the initial discomfort gets better. As your body adapts, these issues should fade away.
2. Meal Planning Is Crucial: Planning your meals in advance makes it much easier to stay on track with your macronutrient goals. The online meal planner was a huge help for me, but with a little bit of planning and research, you can easily do this for free also.
3. Mindful Eating: Being mindful of your carb intake can be tricky. Hidden carbs can sneak into many foods. You will have to get used to reading labels, which is a good thing to do anyways.
4. Stay Hydrated and Supplement Electrolytes: I think this was a big factor in me not experiencing severe “keto flu” symptoms during the week. Just be mindful of which electrolyte supplements you take, as many brands are carb heavy.
5. Social Situations Require Planning: Eating out with friends or attending social events may require planning in advance to ensure you can stick to your keto diet. Social events often include tempting carb-loaded treats which might test your willpower.
Prior to starting the keto diet, I planned on committing to the diet for 3 months. While I only last 7 days, I think the key to success with this diet is patience and commitment. If you’re considering trying the diet, I recommend doing the proper research and planning.
Understand the principles and create your personalized meal plan yourself or with a healthcare professional. Be prepared for the initial challenges as your body adapts but remember that these are typically temporary.
While this diet didn’t work out for me, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you!
What are your thoughts on the Keto diet?