“Understand that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days may not be great but don’t beat yourself up. Also understand what works for you—maybe only for you. Tracking my food and running have been my unlock, but everyone must figure out what’s best for them. It could be meal prep, cutting out certain foods, doing more cross training... Whatever it is, do what you can practically manage, and also enjoy.”
So she began a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb keto diet and tracked her goals, eating habits and exercise in an app called “Lose It!” Wallis also opted to bike to work instead of drive, and do an additional 30 minutes of exercise each day. Now, at 146 lbs., Wallis is able to bike 29 miles and ran her first half marathon. “I feel empowered,” she says. “I could have given up, but I persevered.”
By being aware of the things you might be deficient in, you could (and should) load up on foods that are rich in those nutrients, such as cheese for vitamin B12, eggs for vitamin D, and leafy greens like kale for calcium. If you are interested in trying keto without eating meat, Mass also recommends easing up on how strict of a vegetarian you are and eating fish if you don’t already since it’s a great source of omega-3s and protein.
When using flax seed in your vegan diet, you can use them for anything from a breading on roasted vegetables, to making even a sweetened or savory porridge. It’s an incredible binding agent that is often used as a substitute in vegan baking for eggs, which makes it a prime candidate for everything from a low-carb pizza crust to some homemade crackers (maybe to enjoy with some avocado slices?). Try making our quick & easy Flax Seed Porridge with the recipe here.
In the long term, dietitians warn that you could experience deficiencies in nutrients. “When eating a very low-carbohydrate diet, it is possible to become nutrient deficient because many of the food groups from which vegetarians get their nutrients (whole grains, legumes, root vegetables) are eliminated,” Davis notes. “So by eating vegetarian and keto, you could be at risk for nutrient deficiencies.” Learn about 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet.
Even though MacDowell has stuck with it for so long, she admits this way of eating can be tough in social situations. “It’s not only the reaction of your family members who will tell you eating that much fat will kill you, but going out for appetizers and drinks with friends is challenging,” she says. “You learn to work around it, but there’s a learning curve for sure.”
Some people who lose significant weight may still feel as if they're carrying the same amount of fat, despite wearing smaller sizes and reading lower numbers on the scale. They continue to feel larger for years after they've lost dozens of pounds. The weight loss provides health improvements and a new appearance, but they don't feel smaller. In serious cases, people who have this distorted body image may need counseling to shift their mindset.
"I always told myself that once things slowed down at work, I’d try to lose weight. The only problem was that work never slowed down. After being overweight for several years, I finally decided to take action, but had no idea how to begin. I thought it would be a long and difficult process to slim down. Luckily, I was wrong. It turned out to be much easier than I expected and I have now lost over 40 pounds!
Keto protein bars - Normally I wouldn’t recommend these, since many protein bars are really not as low carb as they need to be for an intensive vegetarian low carb diet. However, Quest bars and ONE bars are both pretty good for this, with Quest bars generally hovering below 5g net carbs and ONE bars being below 10g net carbs. These add up very quickly though, so use sparingly!
There are a lot of you out there who hate on Tofu, and all soy products for that matter, but we are tofu advocates! Tofu is not only high in protein, and relatively high in fat, but it's low in carbs, which makes for a great protein source on a ketogenic diet. It's a good source of essential vitamins, such as magnesium, calcium and iron and absorbs flavors really well so whether or not you're a great cook, cooking with tofu is cooking made easy!
“I was 18 years old and 230 pounds. I was unhappy and realized after my freshman year of college that I needed to change my lifestyle. I come from a family of marathoners, but in 2012 when I told everyone I wanted to run my first marathon, I was told I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it—by family, friends, and even professors in front of my whole class. I took that adversity and have run the Marine Corps Marathon five years in a row, competed in six half marathons, and lost 83 pounds along the way.”
In our sandwich-with-a-side-of-bread culture, cutting carbs down to the wire trips many people up. “Exact numbers vary person to person, but in general, strict keto dieters need to consume less than 50 grams of carbs a day,” says exercise physiologist Michael T. Nelson, Ph.D. (miketnelson.com). “Some people need to go as low as 30 grams.” The Mod Keto approach allows two to three times as many, but it’s still very low-carb compared to the diet of the average American. (For reference, one banana, one apple, or a single slice of bread would put you over your daily carb allowance on a strict keto diet.) #ketones