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

By February 13, 2019

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 initially wrote this post back in 2014 when I was just dipping my toes into the keto waters. For a more recent rundown of where I’m at within the keto headspace, check out this podcast episode, What Is Keto? In the 5+ years that I’ve been experimenting with keto, creating keto resources, and chatting with awesome keto people, my approach has changed and grown to focus on meeting women (including myself) where they’re at, and supporting them holistically as keto individuals.

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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 32% body fat, which was not a place I felt fully comfortable at the time, but 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.

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. And when you gain more fat cells as a result of hormone irregularities, they’re hard 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 a place that I was comfortable with. Last month when my hips wouldn’t fit into a pair of last summers’ shorts, I didn’t call myself “fat” or “disgusting.” Gaining weight and being in a bigger body makes me uncomfortable because I had never been in this space before, in fact, I had been on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, after battling an eating disorder for over a decade.

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, because I put so much energy into restritction. Then, every 2-3 days I binged and was back to square one with loads of guilt.


Healthy weight loss is about doing what’s best for one’s 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 hear from you on social!

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.

This entry was tagged: eating high-fat, eating keto, eating low-carb, fat-adapted, keto, keto basics, keto diet, keto life, ketogenic, ketosis, low-carb paleo, weight, weightloss, what is keto

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Hi! I'm Leanne (RHN FBCS)

a Functional Medicine Practitioner, host of the Healthful Pursuit Podcast, and best-selling author of The Keto Diet & Keto for Women. I want to live in a world where every woman has access to knowledge to better her health.

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