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Bonita J
Chicago, IL

About me

Bonita Jackson is a passionate writer and advocate for healthy living, particularly for individuals with diabetes. Her blog journal, "My Journey with Keto: A Diabetic's Perspective," chronicles her experiences and insights while navigating the challenges of the ketogenic diet

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Wednesday, May 17

  Thursday, May 18, 2023
Freestyle Journal

My Journey with Keto: A Diabetic's Perspective

Hello there, friends!

It's been three months since I embarked on my ketogenic journey. Being a diabetic, I initially had my reservations about this low-carb, high-fat diet, but I decided to give it a shot. I thought it would be beneficial for my blood sugar levels, and perhaps help me shed a few pounds.

I diligently stuck to under 20g of carbs a day, a task easier said than done. In the process, I felt exhausted, especially in the mornings. My energy levels were low, and I felt miserable at times. The restrictive nature of the diet meant I had to constantly resist the urge to binge eat. I used the Carb Manager app to monitor my macros and have now opted for a low carb high fat setting that allows up to 50g of carbs per day. It seems more doable and less daunting.

Despite my strict adherence to the diet, the scales didn't budge. I was consuming around 1800 calories a day and felt satiated, but the lack of weight loss was disheartening. Being a newly diagnosed prediabetic, albeit probably having been one for a long time, I wore a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to keep a close eye on my blood sugar levels and note my body's reaction to different foods.

One important lesson I've learned during this journey is the importance of electrolytes. Sodium, magnesium, and potassium are essential, especially when on keto, as they help alleviate the feelings of exhaustion and energy depletion. Fat adaptation, the process where the body shifts from burning glucose to burning fat (or ketones), takes time.

Another realization I've had is the confusion between USA/UK carb count listings. It's essential to count net carbs, which is total carbs minus fiber. Although 20g of carbs per day is often recommended for keto, many can remain in ketosis at higher levels.

Amid all this, I've learned that calories aren't the enemy. Most of us don't need to count calories to the dot. On keto, carbs are the limit, protein is a goal, and fats are a lever to adjust satiety and weight, if need be.

As for weight loss, scales can be deceptive. It's crucial to remember that fat is physically bulkier than muscle, pound for pound. It's better to focus on physical measurements and how you feel, rather than obsessing over a number on the scale.

I've also started to carefully monitor my blood sugar levels before and after meals. The goal is to keep a rise of less than 2mmol, mimicking the non-diabetic response of returning to baseline in 2 hours. It's important to remember that glucose meters are not precise, and this is a goal, not a mandate.

In recent days, I've felt a bit more energetic, possibly due to my new routine of drinking apple cider vinegar with fresh lime, sea salt, and fizzy water. It's been a source of much-needed electrolytes.

On the brighter side, my blood sugars have been much better these past few days, and I'm feeling a bit better overall. Despite the challenges, I'm determined to continue on this journey, tweaking and learning as I go.

My Journey with Diabetes and Modifying the Keto Diet

As someone living with diabetes, I've tried numerous ways to manage my blood sugar levels and lose weight.  

Initially, I started with the classic keto approach, keeping my daily carb intake to under 20 grams. While this approach is successful for many, I found it quite challenging. It felt restrictive and I often found myself fantasizing about a guilt-free carb binge. Besides, the fatigue was unbearable, especially in the mornings. I would wake up feeling as if I'd run a marathon in my sleep.

In the face of these challenges, I knew I needed to make some adjustments if I was going to stick with the diet. That's when I decided to modify my approach to a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet. With the help of the Carb Manager app, I adjusted my macros to allow myself 50 grams of carbs per day.

The decision was a bit nerve-wracking at first. After all, I had read so much about the importance of strict carb limitation in achieving ketosis. But, I also knew that I needed to listen to my body and make the diet work for me, not the other way around.

And so, I dove into the LCHF approach, armed with my Carb Manager app and a renewed sense of determination. The immediate effect was the feeling of liberation. Suddenly, I had more options for my meals. I didn't feel as deprived, and the nagging urge to binge started to fade.

With the increased carb allowance, I started to notice a shift in my energy levels as well. Those crippling mornings of fatigue became less frequent. I was able to get out of bed without feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. It wasn't a miraculous transformation, but it was a significant improvement and it made a world of difference to my daily routine.

Moreover, the LCHF approach seemed to have no negative impact on my blood sugar levels. I was still able to maintain reasonable control, proving to myself that a slightly higher carb limit could work for me.

Modifying the keto diet to a more sustainable LCHF approach has been a game-changer in my journey with diabetes and weight loss. It's taught me the importance of individualizing diet plans and listening to my body. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, and that's okay. It's all about finding what works best for you and your unique needs.

Of course, my journey is far from over. There are still challenges to face and lessons to learn. But as I navigate this path, I do so with a stronger belief in my ability to adapt and persevere. Because, in the end, it's not just about losing weight or managing blood sugars, it's about creating a healthier, happier life.

Navigating the Weight Loss Plateau on My Keto Journey

I've always been one to confront my challenges head-on. In my journey with diabetes, the quest to lose weight has been one of the most enduring battles. I embarked on the ketogenic diet with high hopes and a good deal of determination. However, there's one roadblock that has proved frustratingly stubborn - the weight loss plateau.

Despite sticking to the diet religiously and maintaining a calorie intake of around 1800 calories per day, the numbers on the scale have refused to budge. You might think, "Well, are you sure you're not eating more than you think?" I assure you, I've been meticulous in my tracking. Every bite that goes into my mouth is accounted for. Yet, the results I'd hoped for, the ones I'd read about in countless keto success stories, are elusive. Other diabetics often suffer from this issue as well.

One of the reasons I chose the ketogenic diet was because of its promise of satiety. I was tired of feeling hungry all the time on other diets. And, in this respect, keto has not let me down. I feel satisfied after my meals, and I don't find myself hankering for snacks in between. It's a strange paradox - I'm not hungry, I'm sticking to my plan, but the weight isn't coming off.

This plateau has taken a toll on me psychologically. I won't lie - it's left me feeling miserable and drained. There are days when I look in the mirror, and a wave of despair washes over me. "Why am I not seeing results?" I ask myself. It's a constant struggle to keep the negative self-talk at bay, to not let my own thoughts pull me down into a spiral of self-doubt and frustration.

The weight loss plateau is a complex beast, a confounding mix of biology and psychology. It's not just about the unchanging numbers on the scale, but also the emotional turmoil that comes with it. There are times when I've wanted to give up, to throw in the towel. But then I remind myself of why I started this journey.

Despite the lack of weight loss, there have been improvements in other areas. My blood sugar levels are more stable, and I feel more energetic than before. I'm not battling constant hunger, which is a victory in itself. I try to focus on these positives, on the progress that might not be visible but is nevertheless significant.

Navigating the weight loss plateau is undoubtedly one of the most challenging parts of my keto journey. Yet, it's also taught me invaluable lessons about patience, resilience, and self-compassion. It's shown me that progress isn't always linear, and that's okay. I was motivated so much by this substack by Emily.

I'm learning to be kinder to myself, to celebrate the small victories, and to keep pushing forward, one step at a time. After all, this journey isn't just about weight loss. It's about improving my health, managing my diabetes, and building a lifestyle that supports my well-being. So, here I am, still fighting, still hoping, and ready to take on whatever comes next in my keto journey.

The Journey Forward: Charting a Personalized Path on My Keto Adventure

They say, "Life is a journey, not a destination," and I'm finding this adage particularly relevant in my ongoing expedition with the ketogenic diet. As someone living with diabetes, my voyage is a little more intricate, but every step brings a new understanding of my body, my health, and my resilience.

One of the pivotal decisions I've made recently is to start testing my blood sugar levels before and after meals. I believe this will help me understand how different foods affect my blood sugar. This isn't just about sticking to a diet; it's about learning to navigate my diabetes in a way that supports my overall health. This new approach, I hope, will provide me with valuable insights and allow me to fine-tune my diet according to my body's unique responses.

Another major shift in my approach to the keto diet is my decision to stop focusing on calories. While calorie counting has been a key part of my journey so far, I've realized that it might not be serving me as well as I'd hoped. Instead, I've decided to listen to my body more attentively, to eat when I'm hungry, and stop when I'm satiated. It's a shift from external regulation to internal cues, a way to foster a more intuitive relationship with food and my body.

In this context, I've also been exploring the potential benefits of natural appetite suppressants. Certain foods, herbs and over the counter ingredients are said to help manage hunger and cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. While I'm still in the early stages of this exploration of these kinds of supplements, it's an exciting avenue that might help support my journey.

For those of you out there who are on a similar journey, please know that you are not alone. Navigating a diet as a diabetic can feel overwhelming at times, but remember, this is your journey, and it's okay to carve your path. What works for one person might not work for another, and that's okay. It's all about finding what works best for your body, your health, and your happiness.

Embrace the challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Celebrate the small victories, and don't be too hard on yourself when things don't go as planned. Above all, remember that this journey is about more than weight loss. It's about crafting a lifestyle that supports your health and well-being, and that is a journey worth undertaking.

So here's to us, to our health, to our resilience, and to the journey that lies ahead. Remember, you're stronger than you think, and you have the power to shape your health and your life. It's important to take this journey one step at a time, with courage, determination, and a whole lot of self-love.

In closing

In closing, I'd like to express my gratitude for all those who motivated me. I've learned so much and have felt supported every step of the way. If there's one thing I can say to anyone else struggling with a similar journey, it's this: it's okay to give yourself permission to adjust, to listen to your body, and to unlearn diet culture. We're all different, and it's about finding what works best for us.