6 Months of Intermittent Fasting and Eating a Low Carb Diet

I began the Keto Diet in August 2020. Now it is mid-February 2021. After years of basing my eating on kidney friendly foods, for my PKD, I still felt horrible. I knew I needed to do something about the way I felt.

I’m not skinny, but after following a low carb diet for six months, I am feeling much better. Because I wrote, but never got around to publishing notes from my first weeks, I’m including them here.

After One Month on Keto, Notes:

When I cut carbs I saw changes right away. I lost about 10 pounds. I was weighing my self and taking waistline measurements on every Monday. But, I wrote this at the four week mark:

“The Monday morning weigh in was not impressive this past week. I lost less than 1/2 a pound and lost 3/4 inch around my waist. This seems ridiculous because I have cut out 1/3 of my meals every day. How do you eat seven fewer meals a week and not loose weight?

But, I am not going to worry about that. I want to see changes that tell me my kidneys are being affected. That would mean getting thinner around the waist and lowering my blood pressure. The bad kidneys make my BP high and I would love to see that come down. So far, not much difference.”

Weigh In Notes and Measurements

I’m hesitant to share my weekly logged weights and measurements, but by listing them here you will see how I did lose weight in the beginning. I am in my 60’s and haven’t lost weight at all in probably 20 years – no matter how much I exercised or watched what I ate. All I did was cut out the carbs and the pounds began to go, but I did not lose a lot of weight.

  • Aug. 24, Day 1 : 171.6 lbs, waistline: 40.5 inches
  • Aug. 31, Week 1 : 165.2 lbs, waistline: 39.5 inches
  • Sept. 7, Week 2 : 166.4 lbs, waistline: 40 inches
  • Sept. 14, Week 3 : 162.4 lbs, waistline: 40 inches
  • Sept. 21, Week 4 : 162 lbs, waistline 39 1/4 inches
  • Sept. 28, Week 5 : 160.4 lbs, waistline 38.5 inches
  • End of October – 2 months – 158.8 / 38.5

As you can see, the pounds dropped off quickly in the beginning. Then I stopped weighing myself. I threw my scale away (in frustration – just kidding) so I couldn’t post my weight, but I suspect that I today I weigh around 160 pounds.

I really wanted to see my waistline get smaller as an indication that my kidneys were shrinking – losing all the cysts. I suspect that will take a very long time, if it will ever happen at all.

After Six Months of Intermittent Fasting

The fasting part of this plan is going very well. I really believe in this part of my diet plan.

I stay busy all morning, working usually, until noontime, then I cook something low-carb for my first meal of the day. When I need a snack, I usually eat a few nuts. No more chips or crackers. Sometimes I have a few slices of cheese.

I eat one more meal for supper anywhere from 5:00-6:00 and try to be all done eating by then, or at least by 7:00. I drink water all evening. So, in general I don’t eat for 18 hours out of the day.

My mind feels very good and I have no trouble concentrating on work. My younger sister was recently diagnosed with dementia, and my mother died of Alzheimers, so keeping my mind going is one of my top priorities.

I am sleeping fine most nights and continue to NOT have heartburn.

I do not get much in the way of exercise, but I do Yoga stretches. If I moved more it would be helpful. I have my excuses, and I know I should. I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to care.

Shopping and Cooking

Like all things, getting started may be the most difficult part of making a change. Eating is a huge part of life. Food and drink are the fuel for our bodies. We can choose to add useless junk to our system, or beneficial nutrients. We only get to eat so much in any given day and most, if not all, should be working to increase our health.

At the beginning of this diet change, I boxed up my high carb, unopened foods and gave them to the Boy Scout’s who came around at holiday time.

Grocery shopping is easy, and I know what to buy and what to avoid. The only “food” troubles I have is keeping track of bad kidney food while eating Keto. An example is avocados. Look up any page on eating for Keto and I bet you will see an avocado! But, avocados are high in potassium, which makes them a food to avoid with kidney disease.

I’m also still careful of sodium, which the Keto diet plan seems to ignore. I do not count carbs, just avoid high carb foods. Some days I think I do eat too many carbs, but most days I believe I stay under the 50 grams recommended for ketosis.

These Days Staying on Track is Easy

My shopping list looks different these days. I’m careful of my kidney needs, but mostly I try to stick with Keto friendly food. I’m eating more vegetables than ever. I feel like I am eating the healthiest I ever have!

Keto shopping trip with low carb groceries
Keto shopping trip

I’ve come to like my “vegetable casseroles” that are easy to create without a recipe.

Meatball and zucchini caserole
Meatball and zucchini casserole is Keto friendly food

Keto and Food Documentaries

If you are curious about Keto and intermittent fasting, take a look at the documentary “Fat Fiction”. This show opened my eyes to a better way of looking at food. I’d already tried to become healthier because of my kidney problems, but in reality I was not eating all that great.

The Fat Fiction show, along with Dr. Weimbs’ study results on reducing cysts in animals with PKD by fasting, is what opened my eyes. (Read Ketosis Slows the Progression of PKD if you have PKD and need some hope, because finally it seems there is some.)

Here is a link to a list of food documentaries on Netflix and Amazon for more information about the Keto diet and how to change the way we look at food. Even if you think it’s stupid to follow a specific diet, these shows will make you think.

All information on this blog is to help myself, and share my journey. I am not suggesting anyone do this diet, but to keep an open mind. I am not a qualified nutritionist, or any type of medical professional. Please read my blog disclaimer here.

Credit for the giraffe photo at the top goes to Howard Wilks at Pixabay.

READ: What I Was Doing Wrong on Keto

Mistakes I Made When I Began a Keto Diet

I have now surpassed my six month Keto diet anniversary (I began in August 2020). Overall, I am pleased with how I feel. Since I don’t go to a doctor, I don’t have medical results to share, only my own personal observations.

The breakfast I used to eat was something like the one pictured below. Black coffee with lots of coconut oil, and yogurt with nuts, coconut and bananas (or other fruit). I thought it was a great meal, and it’s not bad, except for the carbs in bananas.

The little bananas came from my neighbors backyard here in Florida. They are the perfect size since bananas are a no-no on Keto. (Hint hint, I don’t give up everything because I believe that variety is good.)

coffee yogurt little bananas
Florida bananas in yogurt

Since I began Keto, I also do intermittent fasting so I don’t eat until noon. Sometimes I eat a “breakfast” and other times I eat a regular meal – low carb of course.

Balancing Good Foods and Keto

Which brings me to one of the things that bothers me about Keto. I don’t want to give up fruit. So I have been eating a little, like the tiny bananas. Or I add a few blueberries or a couple strawberries to my yogurt – (Cabot Creek, full fat, plain Greek Yogurt is my favorite.) I’ve stopped drinking juice, but still eat a little fruit. If I eat more carbs than usual for breakfast I am careful the rest of the day.

I don’t count my carbs. For a few days I used a carb counter app but I just can’t spend time entering all the foods I eat to see how many carbs I’m getting. I feel like I know the basic foods to avoid, and I read labels if I’m not sure.

I’m cutting back on the Keto breads and biscuits which really have no nutritional value.

Keto breakfast of quick bread and omelet
My breakfast of spinach and egg with a keto biscuit containing poppy seeds

I Was Eating Too Much Cheese, Bacon and Replacement Bread

After a few weeks on Keto, I stopped losing weight. In fact, I gained a few pounds! This was depressing after having a good beginning and dropping a few pounds every week. Something was wrong.

Lots of online Keto recipes are loaded with cheese and I was eating too much of it. I’ve gone back to eating more normally and using less cheese in my dishes. I also quit eating so many Keto biscuits. Once I did these things, I stopped gaining weight. Keto replacement food can be yummy but loaded with calories!

***Eat healthy, using lots of organic vegetables, grass-fed proteins, and good oils while greatly reducing carbs is the goal. Stay away from processed foods.

Read more about the differences between a clean Keto diet and a dirty Keto diet.

Keto cheese biscuits
Keto biscuits with cheese have little nutritional value and lots of calories

Where to Find Keto Recipes Online

I bought Maria Emmerich’s Keto recipes book (Amazon affiliate link), but she also has a website with recipes. In fact, many popular food sites also list Keto dishes. Just eat sensibly and watch the sodium as many Keto foods don’t worry about sodium content.

Eating to Help My Mind and Body

My original reason for trying Keto is to help with my PKD, so I had to remind myself of this constantly. Since I don’t go to a doctor, all I have to go on is the way I feel, how I sleep, and my own blood pressure readings. I do Keto and think about what is best for my kidneys at the same time.

My mother, and now my younger sister, have had dementia. Before my mother, no one in my family had impaired mental abilities at all, especially at a fairly young age – my sister is only 63! So this is scary. I tell myself it is lifestyle and food that contributes, and I especially believe in eating correctly.

Dementia forgetting puzzle pieces missing
Losing brain power is a scary thing

A big plus from eating this way is that my mind feels good. I do not get tired in the middle of the day, and I am sleeping very well most nights. Because I don’t bother with food for the first five to six hours of my day, I get more work done (I own an online business). I am very focused and do not miss breakfast, nor do I believe it is necessary to eat first thing in the morning.

I’ve actually come to like the fasting part of this diet. It might sound odd, but not eating all morning has been a good thing for me. I stop eating by at least 6:00 pm and that gives me 18 hours total without eating. When I get up in the morning, I make a regular cup or two of coffee then I drink watered down versions of coffee – or Dandy Blend (this is an Amazon affiliate link to a Dandelion coffee replacement drink) – until I can eat. I do get hungry, so when you hear people say “you won’t be hungry on Keto”, if you fast, you will probably get hungry.

Use that non-eating time to think about a healthy meal you will cook for your first meal of the day.

A Keto food shopping trip

Monday Morning Weigh In After a Month on Keto

I began my Keto eating plan with intermittent fasting on August 24th. I am now finished with week five.

This month (September) I’ve lost a total of six pounds. My waist is smaller by about 1.5 inches. I’ve begun taking my blood pressure once again just to keep track of it now that I’m on this eating plan.

Because of my kidney cysts, my BP is usually high. I recently went to the dentist where they took my blood pressure and it was 155/92 – yup, high. I will be taking it on Monday mornings only to compare as I continue the diet. This morning it was 133/92. I’m not on any medication.

There are ways to measure the ketones in the body. One of the cheapest, and least reliable (so I’ve read) ways is to use urine test strips. I bought the Perfect Keto strips at Amazon (I am an affiliate and could make money from this link) and have been testing my urine at various times of the day. They are relatively cheap.

Keto test strips bottle
This is the brand I bought

At first I was getting a negative color, but soon after – like the next day – I began getting the 1.5 to 4.0 colors. From what I’ve read, that is all you need.

There is a lot of information online about measuring for ketosis and which types of monitors to use. The strips are definitely the cheapest, but after a while the ketones won’t show up in the urine – so “they” say. In other words, the strips won’t be accurate always.

If I had diabetes and really needed to know my levels, I would invest in a good meter, like one that uses blood. I’m not that serious about it. I won’t link to any sites here because so many are just out to make money. If you carefully search good sites (that are not full of ads) you can find decent info.

Ketone urine test strips
Level indicator on side of bottle

My Overall Feelings

I think I was going overboard with the cheesy meals. I do stress a bit about getting my calcium and nutrients. About a week ago I didn’t feel as good as I had been feeling. I lost only a tiny bit of weight that week too. The culprit was cheese and dairy, I believe. Now I have cut down on the cheese.

I’m still adjusting to this new way of eating and with only six hours of the day spent cooking and eating, it feels like I just about get two meals in! Since I don’t eat until about noon time, I have lots of morning hours to plan my two meals for the day.

I’m eating a lot more vegetables these days. I guess that without potatoes and onion rings as sides, I need to fill the gaps, and veggies it is. I really did eat a lot of potatoes. And yes, I miss them! Baked with yogurt, fried, potato pancakes, french fries….it’s probably my biggest craving.

These Keto biscuits are really good. I plan to make more.

Low carb Keto biscuits
Low Carb Yummy Biscuits For the Keto┬áDiet Simple and delicious – really

But I am losing weight, so good things are happening. Even though I eat less food, I never feel tired. Bread and carbs can do that, and I’m eating very few.

I’ve cheated a few times. I made pizza one day – real pizza with normal crust. But all in all I have done well. I’m not saying I plan to eat this way forever but I could follow this plan for quite a while. I want to see kidney changes, blood pressure dropping, and my waistline get smaller. Until then, I’ll keep at it.

Monday Morning Weigh In

I am now three weeks into my Keto / timed-eating (fasting) diet plan. Each Monday morning I will weigh myself and measure my waistline to track my progress. You don’t get to see my weight, but how many pounds I lose.

With PKD (polycystic kidney disease) the cysts are constantly growing and forming, which expands the waistline and gives us an overall feeling of being “full” all the time. At least that is how I’ve been feeling, until I began to make this change.

floor scale weight tape measure

As of today – after 3 weeks time – I have lost nine pounds total, and four pounds in the last week. My waistline has only shrunk about 1/2 inch.

My big goal is to see a decrease in my waist. I suspect that as the kidney cysts shrink my midsection will get smaller. I started this diet to help with my disease after reading Dr. Weimbs’ articles on diet, fasting and PKD.

I’m not one for getting on the scales, and haven’t for a long time. Weighing oneself is usually depressing, especially if the overall feeling is that weight is not coming off.

I Like the Fasting Part of This Plan

So far, my new meal planning is working out. The limited eating hours have been easy to follow. I found that it was tough to stop eating by 5:00PM, so I’ve moved that goal up to 6:00PM. Now, I fast longer in the morning to make up for later evening meals. When I wake up and start my day, I don’t eat anything, and drink only black coffee and water, until 11:00AM or Noon.

I can only fit two meals into this space of time, with maybe a small snack in between. Because of this I am eating less.

If I stop eating by 6:00PM, and don’t eat until noon the next day, I have fasted for 6 hours. If I do this every day of the week, I will have fasted 42 hours for the week.

The fasting part of this new eating regimen is quite easy for me.

And don’t fool yourself into believing that all those hours of not eating are really “fasting” hours. The body spends twelve hours dealing with the previous meal, and only after that are you truly “fasting”, or so I’ve read. Read about intermittent fasting at the DietDoctor site.

Changing the Food I Eat

I’m used to watching the amount of sodium in my food, and now I also have to look for carbs. Even some vegetables can contain lots of carbs. On a Keto diet, carbs for the day should not be more than 50 total. Some people go even lower.

I honestly don’t count carbs, just make myself aware if I eat anything high carb. Then I try to do better the rest of the day.

Some food that I ate and drank regularly are off my plate now. No more potatoes. Skip that occasional piece of toast with breakfast (but I found a good replacement bread for that), and don’t drink juice! I had already mostly given up pasta and rice and sandwiches, so that’s not tough for me.

But fruit, like bananas, remain part of my meal plan – occasionally. I could also do with a sweet potato now and then, and maybe oatmeal with an apple for breakfast.

Eating a big variety of good food is always a good idea, but now I am more aware of what all those carbs can do.