So, when I first started no cheat keto back in June of 2017, I was doing keto/low carb because my macros for carbs were higher than 20 net grams a day. At that time I allowed myself to have up to 46-48 or so net grams of carbs and got high fat and moderate protein and I was happy with this. It gave me enough carbs to satisfy me while still allowing me to lose weight nearly every week (the only weeks I did not lose weight between June 2017-December 2017 was in the last 2 weeks of December).
Then I took my one feast day off for Christmas Eve and you all know how that went (I binged on sugar and carbs on and off for a month and regain a bunch of weight).
So, in my infinite wisdom (hahahaha) I decided that when I would restart low carb/keto after the binging was over, I would keep my net carbs at 25 and under and I've done that for the last 22 days. Before that I managed to sneak in a 9-day binge-free time where my net carbs were 15-18 net grams of carbs and my fat and protein were way, way higher than before Christmas.
What I discovered was that keep my net carbs under 20 left me unsatisfied and made the skin on my neck and chest react far more than normal, so I upped them to 25 net which is what I've been doing since my January 29th "real" cheat-free restart. Plus I upped my protein even more and somewhat upped my fat on the advice of many keto people and keto calculators. And, honestly I've been pretty happy with this carb amount but I haven't been happy with how I'm handling my food choices.
Now, granted, I did lose a lot of of weight the first three weeks of that restart at least half of which I'm counting as mostly the water weight that I needed to drop from the post-Christmas binge but I'm not happy with several things and my skin is getting worse again. Of course my skin is in bad shape all the time (will see the derm again on the 27th after 3 months of having to reschedule due to horrible weather EVERY SINGLE TIME that I had an appointment scheduled since November!!). But, I've noticed it gets worse under certain conditions such as when my carbs are under 18 net grams or so.
I also feel like I am overdoing it slightly on protein and basically driving myself crazy constantly messing with (and researching) macros, so, like I often do, I went back in my blog and on My Fitness Pal and tracked backwards to June to see how I was doing on the months that I lost well and felt well and on the months that were very bad for weight loss, mood and general blog posts and here's what I found...
My calories definitely need to go down. I can't eat the same amount of calories that I was eating to lose at 230 lbs as I have been to lose at 165 lbs because that's a huge difference in body size! I also noticed that I was losing better when my protein wasn't as high as I had been making it during the really low carb days (under 20 net grams). I know people's body's react different to ketosis with different amounts of protein and I think I'm taking in too much for MY body at this time. I'm going to keep playing with those macros every few weeks and see how it goes.
I'm also far less satisfied with my food and my meals than I was when I was allowing myself more "real" food. I've been cutting out foods that are higher in carbs (including things that are good for me like baby carrots) and having less fresh food and more protein shakes made from actual protein powder (instead of the Atkins shakes I used to drink). Yes, these shakes are a Godsend for getting in all my protein on the days I need them but not to the point where I should replace fresh veggies with them.
So after hours of rereading info and comparing numbers, macros, weight and health I am upping my carbs by, maybe 5 more net grams a day (so 30 and under net) but that has to be from the veggie/berry/healthy carbs, dropping my protein back by about 10 or so grams a day and basically letting the fat fall where it will within the calories while not going over a certain amount. And maybe I'll discover that it wasn't the extra protein messing me up but the calories but that will take some time to figure out.
I am NOT stopping the no-cheating plan and I'm not throwing in the extra carbs in the form of candy or bakery items or sugar or any of that crap. I'm looking at healthier carbs that still fit the low carb/keto guidelines. I'm also dropping my calories down by about 50 a day and approaching them very carefully.
Some strict ketoers won't agree with this but it's what's worked best for me in the past. A lot of people say that keto is whatever number of carbs your body can handle and still be in ketosis. A lot of others say it's only "true keto" if you stay under 20 net grams, others say it's keto if you're under 50 grams of carbs. Some say you need more protein than fat, some say the opposite, some say they should be the same. I've read and listened to many, many opinions over the last I don't know how many months and I've decided to trust myself with this but take it in small steps. Change protein and carbs by about 10 grams or under, drop calories and see where that goes, then reevaluate when needed.
So... here's what all that comes down to... lower calories, possibly higher net carbs, lower protein, fat wherever it falls, more fresh veggies, less protein powder and shakes, more real food, less stuff I eat just because it's keto. And absolutely NO cheat days (on Day 22 cheat free today!).
I will run with this for now and then reevaluate over time depending on how things go. If I see them going badly by how I feel physically and mentally, how my clothes fit and what the scale says, I'll change things again and if they go okay, then... great!
So let's do this thing!