‘I did a perfect day of keto exercise and diet. This is what happened’

For starters, I wasn’t left starving for a single second.

There’s a clear definition between people who love their food and those who LOVE their food. The first group like to obsess over how delicious their Buddha bowls and green smoothies are, and occasionally ‘treat’ themselves to a’naughty’ square of dark chocolate after dinner. And the latter group? Carb-lovers, the dessert-obsessed, snack-oramas, those who workout to eat – basically the peeps who have 365 ‘treat yo’self’ days of the year. AKA me.

Okay, I do have to admit that I’m a healthy weight and make sure I exercise every day (#F45cult), but aside from the fact that this carefree lifestyle isn’t really helping my non-existent abs, my mindless eating habits leave me feeling incredibly bloated more often than normal, which leads to discomfort and restless nights.

I wanted to see if a change in my diet would be the solution to solving these problems, and with the Ketogenic diet being the biggest buzzword this year, I simply thought ‘why not trial it out?’

For starters, a Journal of Endocrinology study found that a Ketogenic diet paired with HIIT positively affected body composition by increasing hepatic growth hormone, which can improve strength and youthfulness. Plus, there was no way I could ever do the daunting ‘F45 8 Week Challenge’, so I thought it would be a good compromise.

But there was one big problem. I’m Asian, and what do Asians love more than anything? Carbs. Rice, noodles, dumplings, you name it – I would die for them all. And sadly the Keto diet does not agree with this mentality.

In fact, most research around the high-fat low-carb diet has identified a carbohydrate intake between 25 and 50 grams per day; equivalent to two apples or a single cup of cooked brown rice. Ummm say what?

This dramatic decrease in carbs allows the body to draw from stored fat for energy, resulting in a metabolic state known as ketosis. With this comes a reduction in excess body fat, thus helping build lean muscle mass, enhanced energy and optimal mental clarity (hello Abby Abs).

After thoroughly researching about the world of Keto, I concluded that I’d trial the diet for one day to see if I was capable of surviving it.

Following a weekend of over-indulging on stir-fried noodles and dumplings, I was mentally prepped and extremely motivated to start the week off on a good note.

Image: Juna Xu

Image: Juna XuSource:BodyAndSoul

I woke up bright and early the next morning to do my regular sweat sesh at F45 Burwood. I always make sure I exercise first thing in the morning because not only do the endorphins give me an incredible amount of energy to last me until the end of the working day, but I was also concerned that I wouldn’t have the energy to last 10 minutes of a HIIT session if I left my workout to that evening after a day of dieting.

For breakfast I fueled myself with two slices of an egg and bacon frittata I prepped the night before, and a quarter of an avo as a side. Yep, bacon is keto friendly (high in fat and protein), hallelujah. The frittata was also packed with zucchini, mushroom and broccoli for my fibre and veggie intake.

Image: Juna Xu

Image: Juna XuSource:BodyAndSoul

By 10am I was ready for my morning snack – a Bare Blends Vanilla Bean WPI shake and one boiled egg.

For lunch I tucked into a mixed leaf salad with tomatoes, haloumi and chicken breast roasted in Table of Plenty’s Spicy Dukkah. Dressing was simply a light drizzle of EVOO and a pinch of pepper.

Image: Juna Xu

Image: Juna XuSource:BodyAndSoul

I always crave for something sweet after lunch and often find myself reaching for my favourite sweet and salty popcorn, or a piece of fruit and some chocolate. But instead I opted for a handful of tamari almonds and made myself a ginger tea, which is known to help curb sugar cravings.

Surprisingly, I made it to dinnertime without a complaint. I lightly pan-fried a fillet of salmon, and then popped it in the oven to crisp up the skin. This was served with steamed asparagus, smashed avo spiced with jalapeno, and drizzled with the juice of one lime.

Image: Juna Xu

Image: Juna XuSource:BodyAndSoul

For dessert I actually “treated” myself to some dark chocolate – and boy, it tasted good.

And just like that, my Keto day was over.

As a huge foodie, I had major concerns about saying goodbye to carbs for a day, but I can confirm that all those concerns were completely unnecessary.

For starters, there was not a moment where I was hangry. I felt extremely satisfied throughout the day, and in fact, it actually might be a good idea to stick to the Keto diet during ‘that time of the month.’

I was also more regular than normal….if you know what I mean. Okay, nuff said.

Although it does sound like I snacked a lot, it was nothing compared to what I would normally nibble on unconsciously. All my food was also portion controlled, which was never a big deal to me before, and it also forced me to make use of my Sunday evening and meal-prep. FYI you can still watch Bachelor in Paradise and meal-prep at the same time.

And finally, I had the most incredible sleep that night. My tummy wasn’t uncomfortably full and I hadn’t consumed enough sugar throughout the day to keep me up all night.

What I found most difficult was that I needed to cut out all starchy carbohydrates, sugar and gluten – a huge issue for someone who would be thrilled to receive a basket of fruit, chocolate and popcorn as a birthday present.

Would I maintain it long-term? Look, I ain’t a professional athlete, #fitspo blogger, nor do I want to lose weight, so that’s a definite no. But to my amazement, I would 100 per cent aim to do it two days every week. Why? I enjoyed focusing on my health and it allowed me to be mindful about what I was putting in my body. The reduction in bloating and improvement in my sleep work as a huge incentive, and just from one day after mindful eating, I’m now conscious about my horrible snacking habits.

And after all, life’s all about balance….and dumplings.

Before considering a diet make sure you consult a healthcare professional.

This is your 7-day ketogenic diet meal plan. Plus, how the keto diet is different from Atkins.

Know someone who would find this interesting? Share this article with them!