Why Counting Calories for Weight Loss Isn’t The Answer + What I’m Doing Instead

Ketosis Week 2

Introduction to the new keto eating style I’ve been following for the last 14 days that has resulted in an 8 pound weight loss and a reduction in my body fat by 3%.

I went on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in an effort to get my period back (more on this here, here + here). I got my period for the first time in 5 years, stayed on HRT for 8 months, gained 20 lbs and got up to a whopping 32% body fat. I accepted that if the weight gain was getting me back to health, it was worth it.

Went off HRT. Got 1 period in 4 months (the endocrinologist chalked it up to “breakthrough bleeding”) and haven’t gotten one since.

What I know: gaining weight didn’t help heal my hormones. Based on the results from this test, we know that my lack of periods is due to an estrogen imbalance. More on this later. Today, we talk weight loss.

So here I am. No periods + 20 extra pounds at my waistline and recovering from a state of excess progesterone (brought on by HRT).

Why the extra poundage? Progesterone increases fat cell COUNT – the same action that happens when women transition into puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Once you have new fat cells, they stick with you for life. They can only grow or get smaller but not disappear. And when you gain more fat cells as a result of hormone irregularities, they’re a bitch to shrink, I’m learning.

I want to be clear here — I’m not saying that gaining 20 pounds is bad or that 32% body fat is a horrible place to be. It’s just not MY place to be. Last month when my hips wouldn’t fit into a pair of last summers’ shorts, I didn’t call myself “fat” or “disgusting”, I just looked in the mirror and said, firmly, “My current state is no longer a reflection of the commitment I’ve made to take care of myself.

From that day forward, I started (healthfully) reducing my daily intake, working out more and operating at a daily 500 calorie deficit. But I was starving and craving everything in sight. All I could think about was all the food I was trying to avoid. Then, every 2-3 days I binged and was back to square one with loads of guilt. Ew.

Twitter50x50Healthy weight loss is about doing what's best for ones body and feeling GOOD while doing it. It shouldn't be torturous.

Lots of research later (and at the advice of my Naturopath), I had a plan:: High fat, minimal carbs, moderate protein.

They call it, “Ketosis”. Have you heard of it? I don’t enjoy labels but for the purpose of “research”, I’m labeling this eating style as keto. Just for a second.

Basically, ketosis is a state where your body goes from burning glucose as energy to BURNING FAT AS ENERGY. Glucose includes ALL forms of carbohydrates. From sugars, to grains, to starchy vegetables and fruits.

If (roughly) 100 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates – fiber) are eaten per day, the carbs that the body cannot use as instant energy get stored in the liver for later (as glycogen). If more glucose is consumed than what can be stored in the liver, it’s converted into body fat. The hunger pain, craving, crashing feeling I experienced as soon as I restricted my calorie intake was my body calling out to replenish glucose. The more I ate, the more I needed, the more I eat… etc.

The science behind ketosis is to eliminate this fat storage process by reducing the amount of daily carb consumption so the body switches from burning carbs as energy to burning fat as energy. This is not to be confused with Atkins where high amounts of protein and fat are consumed (excess protein converts into glucose…)

I have been on this keto journey for 14 days and; while I’m using my Nutrition Educator brain to bust through the ins and outs of this keto new eating style, the keto approach is new to me. So, in short:: I don’t have all the keto answers… yet. The intention of this keto post is to share with you what I am doing – I am not saying that keto is right, or wrong, or the answer. Throughout my personal healthful pursuit, I’ve tried loads of different eating styles, transitioning into and out of styles that resonate with me. Keto is another one of those times.

From what I’ve researched, ketogenesis is a highly effective approach to hormone weight loss and in healing various health issues.

In the 14 days I’ve been following this new keto eating style (the image at the top of this keto post highlights the change)…
::I’ve lost 8 pounds, 3 inches and 3% body fat.
::Except for the first 2 days, I have not been craving sweets.
::My hunger has reduced drastically. I’m eating about 2 keto meals a day and practice a 18 hour fasting period (called intermittent fasting) between my last keto meal of the day and my first keto meal the following. The reason I am able to do this is because my body doesn’t NEED constant feeding as it does when using glucose as energy.
::Dizziness and “keto flu” was pretty intense the first couple of days. I found drinking 5 liters or more of SPRING or MINERAL water really helped.
:: I’ve found that initially being grain-free really helped me with the transition to keto. If keto is something that you’re interested in trying, my keto meal planning program is a great resource!


Interested in high-fat, keto living and whole food-based nutritional ketosis? Grab your copy of my newest digital program, The Keto Beginning: Complete Guide + 30-day Meal Plan. 17 chapters, 147 pages + over 70 high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein, keto, dairy-, gluten-, sugar-, grain-, legume-free recipes. It’s the rocket fuel for achieving flawless health and effortless weight loss through sound nutrition practices and vibrant food preparation in ways you’ve never seen before.

I’d love to chat with you about keto in the comments::

Have you experienced weight gain as a result of hormone irregularities?

Are you interested in healthy weight loss?

Questions about ketosis? Post a comment and I’ll feature the answers to all of your questions in the blog posts to come.

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Happy Keto Body


  1. Hi Leanne!
    I’m pescatarian… I would LOVE to incorporate the KETO Lifestyle…I too am suffering from hormonal imbalances acne etc…I’ve also been researching The Blood Type Diet…Being type “O” I’ve learned that grains are possibly the main culprit to my weight gain and contributes to hormone disturbances…I don’t eat pork, chicken, or beef please HELP!

    • Hey Kim! Check out some of our resources for beginners, like this keto for women resource we made earlier this year! This gives a great overview of the keto diet and how to incorporate it into your life! I also have some great books for beginners, like The Keto Bundle, which gives you a step by step guide to keto!

  2. I have your new book The Keto Diet and love all of the detailed information. I’m still confused on how to know where to start my calorie goal. I had previously had 1200 recommended by a trainer but it wasn’t a Keto diet. When I eat very little but high fat my calories are over 1500 (keeping your target ratios)and I’m worried I’m not getting enough veggies and fiber. How do I know where to start? Is there such a thing as eating too much fat? I’m trying to follow the guidelines for the Classic Keto Diet. (I’m 52 yrs old, 5’6″ and 150 lbs and walk 6-8 miles a week). Thank you for your response. I have been so impressed with the amount of information that is packed into your book!

    • Thanks, Holly! I wouldn’t worry about the number so much as listening to your body’s fullness and hunger signals. Do that, and you’ll be golden! Feel free to adjust things and personalize them to your body. No need to stick to the ratios exactly…if you want more veggies and fiber, have them!

  3. My hormones have been messed up since my 3rd child. I had always been able to lose baby weight until that last baby. I never lost a pound that I could keep off afterwards and in fact, gained another ten. I now have melasma…. an outward sign in the skin of my face that my hormones are not okay. Hoping keto helps me lose 30 lbs and maybe in the process, my melasma heals itself….. one can hope!

    • I hope so too! Keep me posted on how it goes for you!

  4. I’ve been in peri-menopause since I was 39, I’m now 47 and have never been able to heal my hormones, despite visiting specialists, naturopaths, using Traditional Chinese Medicine and DO’s. I have been on bioidentical HRT. I have also been on pharmaceuticals. Still nothing. I did take the Birth Control Pill for years in my teens and 20’s so I am sure that those drugs did a lot of harm to my body. It’s insane the amount of money and time I have invested trying to heal myself, to no avail. And my insurance didn’t pay for non-traditional methods so I am in serious medical debt as well. So this diet is also my last resort. Let the medicine be thy food and thy food thy medicine.

  5. “My current state is no longer a reflection of the commitment I’ve made to take care of myself.”

    Could not have hit home more. This is a much healthier way to think about our bodies than just fat or skinny.

    Good read!

  6. My doctor has just told me to start eating extremely low carb. I have food restrictions, though – no dairy, no grains, and no pork. Do you have a sample meal plan yet? I looked at another website, but most of the recipes include cheese.

    • Hey Amie! Yes, a lot of low-carb resources use dairy, no thanks! Here is the link to my low-carb book (with a 30-day meal plan): http://bit.ly/KetoBeginning I do use a bit of pork (in the form of bacon) in the meal plan portion, but you could easily use something like eggs or chicken skin as a replacement.

  7. What is considered high fat, moderate protein, low carb? Is there a percentage ratio to follow? Thanks. Just found your blog today and have been unable to stop reading!

    • Hi Brit! You bet, I talk all about finding your ratio in my newest book, The Keto Beginning (out now!). It’s slightly different for everyone. Here’s the link to the book, if you decide it’s right for you: http://bit.ly/KetoBeginning