For the past 5+ years I’ve been Primal, keeping my carbohydrate at around 50-100 a day, I’ve had moments of 20-50 (only when in weight loss mode). More often than not I wouldn’t have been in strict ketosis the majority of the time, probably on the cusp of ketosis, certainly dipping in and out. For the past few months I have generally been strict keto (20-50) to see if it would improve my health after a nasty inner ear virus I got last year. Unfortunately I’ve come to the conclusion that my delicate hormones weren’t happy with the extreme low carb.
I was noticing my monthly cycle was a LOT worse than normal and I was having pain for 3 weeks out of the month which felt very abnormal, I have terrible menstrual pain due to my PCOS but never had I experienced the random pain in the same place when I wasn’t menstruating, it was concerning me. My dizziness (due to Menieres) wasn’t improving and I was feeling really tired most of the time. My energy was just really lacking and exercise was the last thing on my mind, I was struggling to get through the day without a nap and everything in life was just feeling so much harder, it felt like a mystery and that maybe I was having a stint of depression.
I decided to change what I was eating to see if it was in fact the strict level of carbs I was eating that was causing my issues. I know for a fact that food affects our bodies and brains so much, it’s the most powerful form of medicine. So I started eating a lot more carbs, the addition of kumara (sweet potato), potato, white rice and bananas and lowering the fat a little to compensate so my overall calories don’t go too high. While I miss the high fat keto levels interestingly enough I have felt incredibly satiated on the lower fat levels and higher carbohydrates than what I thought I would.
The best part is the pain I was having in my lower abdomen has gone, my period pain is much more manageable. My energy has been so much higher and I no longer need to nap during the day, most importantly the dizziness has mostly vanished which has made life feel so much easier. As a bonus I’ve actually been very surprised that I’ve lost cms, the scale has stayed the same but I’m fitting things I haven’t fitted in a while.
Before anyone gives me advice that I didn’t do keto right, believe me I know a lot about it and I love all the science behind it. I made sure I had bone broths, I kept the salt, potassium and magnesium high, fat was 70-80% and I have in the past felt amazing on keto so I was miffed that I felt my health declining. I’m all for doing what works, but if it stops working I’m the kind of person that will keep digging until it feels right.
I’m yet to find my perfect macro nutrient amounts but for now I’m just feeling so much healthier. I wholeheartedly think keto has it’s place for so many people, including myself for a moment in time, it was crucial in getting that 40kgs off effortlessly, however my long term health is most important to me right now.
While I still wouldn’t consider the macronutrient ratios of my current style of eating “high carb” compared to the conventional carbohydrate wisdom it is a lot higher than I thought I would ever go, I’m averaging at least 100gms a day at the moment.
I’ve been at this weight loss, weight maintenance, health journey for a long time now and i’ve been every different weight imaginable, what is my priority these days is my health, waking up and feeling amazing and happy. Its not always about a number on the scale or the size of your clothes but how you feel in your skin, my focus these days is to be healthy and confident.