For three months, Racefully team member Sarah followed the Ketogenic diet. It’s a high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate regime, designed to force your body to burn fat instead of carbs.


It’s wise to check with a doctor before following any diet plan that cuts out food groups. Here’s what she thought:


Why she did it


“Since starting the ketogenic diet three months ago, I am now significantly lighter and generally feel much better. Before starting the plan my knowledge of limiting carbs meant avoiding bread. Whilst keto is an extremely low carb diet, I considered it more of a moderation exercise than anything else.


While there’s nothing wrong with eating carbs, my particular eating habits (sugar rush followed by a crash) were having an adverse effect on my energy levels and making me feel hungry, leading to unnecessary snacking. It was a cycle I really wanted to break.”


What she ate


“I knew I had to ditch the obvious stuff like wine, crisps and bread, but food like root vegetables I would never have thought twice about. I had to say goodbye to my beloved flat whites too, because of the whole milk.


On this diet, I ate 30g of carbs a day. As a tea fiend, even the milk in my cuppa accounted for 2.5g per mug, leaving not much to play with. Bread, pasta and rice were out of the question.


On a typical day I’d have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, a supermarket salad bowl without dressing and a packet of chicken for lunch, and steamed greens and some meat for dinner.


Once a week I increased to 100g of carbs. This meant a glass of Malbec or a chunky slice of sourdough for breakfast. I was able to really appreciate these foods again instead of taking them for granted.”


The pros


“My favourite thing was not feeling hungry all the time. I felt perfectly satisfied which made the plan easy to stick to.


My problem before the diet was snacking. I was eating unconsciously. Especially in colder weather, I would be ravenous when I got home in the evening and eat whatever was in the cupboard before dinner. Or someone would bring something delicious into work and I’d end up eating cake. None of this factored into what I was already consuming.


Because of the diet, I’m more conscious about the food I’m eating and am prepared to make long-term changes. If I have a treat, I factor that into my overall day and have something lighter for dinner. I don’t beat myself up if I have a pizza because my thinking about food has changed.”


The cons


“The hardest bit about it was socialising and eating out. I made a lot of sacrifices. I avoided social situations where I’d be tempted to drink a lot. I declined dinners. When I did go out for food, I pre-checked the menu to make sure there was something I’d be able to eat. All this is key for the diet to work. It was only a temporary blip in my social life and there are definitely financial advantages!


This diet is definitely not for everyone and there can be side effects like fatigue, dizziness, hypoglycaemia, headaches and weakness. I didn’t experience any of these and would have stopped if I had.”


The future


“After three months I had reached my goal weight and decided to stop following such a strict regime. My snacking cycle had been broken and I knew how to ease back into better eating habits instead of just going back to the way I ate before the diet.


I no longer eat unconsciously. I eat foods that make me feel good and I have a treat when I want. The point is that most of the time I’m making good decisions.”