My First Week of Keto

I would love to come here and tell you that on my first week of keto, I ate the perfect foods, hit all my macros just right, and was happy as a clam. A flawed part of writing for the world is the desire to smooth out rough edges and focus the light away from the muck and chaos.

To confirm that I am a human and maybe help you learn what not to do, I'll share my first week of keto experiences below...

Day One

I started on a Sunday, knowing I would have time to make my own food and do some meal prep. We usually have a big family breakfast on Sundays and since I didn't want to be picky, I just took some sausage and eggs. I knew I needed fat, so I snuck some cold Kerrygold butter under the warm scramble. The butter did not melt, so I chewed through it. This felt like a low point, but I was pleased I had found food to eat and tried to get over it.

But then, I waited far too long in between meals and was starving. I spent hours googling keto recipes, trying to find the best meals to prep for the week. I fell into a complete hole and I'm still not quite sure how many hours I allocated to this task.

I don't even remember what I ate for lunch that day, but I do remember that we had a good dinner: Twice-Cooked Pork Tenderloin. I think I had this with a small serving of zucchini as I was still very fearful of vegetable carbs at this point.

Overall, I learned some things this day, like needing to eat appropriately sized and timed meals and definitely not adding butter as a food on its own. I felt pretty good and remember thinking that if I got to have that amazing pork tenderloin on a "diet," this would be fine.

I also meal prepped a taco pie for lunches, which was surprisingly delicious and filling recipe.
Homegrown, sugar-sweet broccoli

Day Two

Knowing that I needed to be in fighting order for grad school, I made a huge breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausage, and even these cream cheese keto pancakes (that I think are disgusting). I struggled to choke down the food. During my hour-long commute to school, my head had a dry ache as if I'd consumed an entire bottle of wine the night before. I knew I would be a mess in class if I didn't do anything, and I remembered reading something about electrolytes on keto.

I stopped at a Safeway, went to the electrolytes aisle, and found Powerade Zero. They were on sale for  like 59 cents each if you bought 5 or more, so I bought 5. I downed one on the short trip to class and began a two-Powerade a day habit that belied my love of natural, organic, locally grown foods. I will admit...I lived off these things, at least two a day, for a solid two weeks. I made so many Safeway runs!

I was a little ashamed, but I also felt so much better. Electrolytes are essential on the ketogenic diet, so I take them religiously everyday now (see all my supplements here!).

By the end of this day, I was showing through urine strips that I was in ketosis.

Day Three

I think my day looked similar to the day before: protein heavy breakfast, meaty and eggy taco pie, and who even knows what's for dinner.

As someone who does not like to eat much meat, I found this way of eating to be really unpleasant. After managing a farmers market for two years, I kept feeling angry that I wasn't eating vegetables; they're so good for you!

I remember distinctly this night feeling really pouty and frustrated. It didn't feel like keto was worth it to compromise so much on my values and I was not willing to turn ultra-carnivore! I told my boyfriend I wanted to quit keto. "Keto is dumb," I said. "It's all meat and I don't want to eat this much meat and I'm mad." He nodded understandingly and prompted me to keep going. I'm pretty sure I said something like, "I'll do what I want, but it probably won't be this dumb thing."

I went to bed planning to quit keto.

Day Four

I woke up and since I had all my meals prepped, I figured I'd eat them anyway. I was still grumpy and had a short-temper. Later, I started to feel better and decided I could keep trying keto. Everyone says that the first few days are the worst, I was clearly in ketosis based on the urine strips and my keto symptoms, so maybe it'd just get better.

I texted a friend who had done keto and told her I needed help; everything was awful. She gave me the best advice I could get: "keep it simple." What this meant was still a mystery, but I tried to think of ways to make keto even easier and more straightforward.

I also remember around this time frame feeling really...bloated. My body was not digesting foods. I felt puffy and kind of swollen. It was clear I needed to make some changes, and I needed this way of eating to more closely resemble my food values.


At this point, I don't remember anything about what I ate except I know I finished all my meal prep. I think I was still making really heavy creamy dishes for dinner, so it was probably mostly dairy and meat, with little to no vegetables.

I think it was around my one week point that I finally bought some psyllium husk capsules and started reducing dairy. All of a sudden, my body felt so much better!

I kept drinking Powerade Zero twice daily, but I also had basically no sugar cravings. Most people starting keto note that they crave sugar horribly for the first few days. I wonder if having that little sweetness everyday helped me stay focused. After that, I cut them out cold turkey, but subbed in some sugar-free Crystal Light drink. I later found that any sweetener, artificial or sugar, limits my weight loss, so I cut them out except on occasion.

I do know that it wasn't really until Day 9 that I trusted myself to start eating vegetables. I ate some raab with some kind of meat and although it wasn't great, it was so refreshing! After this, I learned about Dr. Berg and his assertion that people on keto need to eat lots of greens everyday and possibly to even stop counting those carbs. Once I made the mental switch that my carbs were for my vegetables, I felt free. I could still eat my salads and other vegetables with some moderation. I could still try the fresh harvests at the market. I could still eat the food I grow.

Since then, I've changed what my version of keto looks like. This first week really helped me set some clear ground rules for myself, though.

My Keto Rules

  1. Save carbs for vegetables. Don't fear the green.
  2. Limit dairy. Vegetables + meat = <3
  3. Take electrolytes and psyllium husk capsules daily.
  4. Real food or bust!
  5. Cut yourself some slack.

I'll share more about my experiences in future posts. For now, tell us your first week flops below!