I switched my diet from a high carb vegetarian diet to an extremely low carb ketogenic diet back in July. I gave up 22 years of vegetarianism to do so. I’d been lurking on the /r/keto subreddit for a couple years, mainly out of curiosity, and finally decided to take the plunge after reading so many reports of how the Keto diet helped folks with PCOS and anxiety. I thought it might be a solution to a few health issues I’d recently been experiencing, and thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did.
Why Did I Do It?
From my reading, it’s pretty clear that for the last five years or so I’d become more and more resistant to insulin. I was just slightly over the line for pre-diabetes, I was low energy often and I found myself regulating my mood with sugar and carbs, and my cravings for both were through the roof. Insulin resistance (and type 2 diabetes) is often linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
I had gained about 30lbs over the past five years with no change to my diet. I realize that often happens in your mid-thirties, but this seemed more drastic than typical. I’d tried to lose the weight by going to the gym. After about a year of trying to outrun the weight gain, I realized that going to the gym wasn’t going to make me lose weight. It did have great mental health benefits, and made me feel strong and good, so I continued to go anyway.
I typically got my period every 45-90+ days pre-keto. I was curious if the anxiety/depression was related to a potential hormone imbalance originating from PCOS. My periods were often very painful, and I’d read that keto can help with that as well.
It’s been 5 months now and here are my results:
- I’m no longer pre-diabetic. (A1C went from 5.7 to 5.5 at three months in)
- My bad cholesterol is down, and good is up.
- my blood pressure is still great, even with all the newly added saturated fat. (111/66)
- My moods are regulated — no more ups and downs. It’s an even, solid good mood all day.
- I’m sleeping better.
- My depression and anxiety have lowered, perhaps even totally disappeared. I no longer have “blah” days, or days where I feel sad or anxious for no reason. I no longer have that nervous feeling in my stomach.
- My periods are more regulated (around every 40 days now), and they aren’t painful anymore. I’m guessing that means my hormones are more regulated, but I haven’t done the blood work. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- I no longer have sugar cravings/carb cravings/get hangry/need to eat RIGHT NOW.
- The food I eat doesn’t affect my mood anymore. Like I don’t get sleepy after a meal, or feel blah or lethargic after I eat.
- I lost 25lbs and am continuing to slowly lose weight. I can wear all my old clothes again! I didn’t count calories at all, I just try to stay in ketosis.
- My energy levels are through the roof. I feel like I never get tired.
- My emotional stamina is higher too. I can do a hard hike and not have to “talk myself through it”. I just do it and feel good while doing it. I used to push myself to do 15 mins on the elliptical, now I do 30+ mins without thinking.
- My attention span is longer than before, and I feel more present.
- I’m more productive with work.
I had NO IDEA that changing what I ate could have such a profound difference in my mental and physical health. If you’re interested in giving keto a try, here are some links to read more: