In a recent article, we discussed what types of n=1 experiment you might try to fine-tune, improve, or expand on your ketogenic diet. But how do you conduct such an experiment?
- Choose what you’d like to experiment with. (See the previous article on some ideas for experiments to try) Don’t try to do multiple experiments at once. One at a time will allow you to see exactly how foods or activities actually impact you rather than leaving you wondering what exactly promoted a particular result.
- Commit to that experiment for at least 4-6 weeks. 3-6 months is even more worthy. Some experiments may result in results rather quickly, but keep going!
- Approach your experiment like a scientist. Keep a log of your data. That data should include both numbers and feelings. Numbers you might keep track of: weight, measurements, blood sugar, number of hours slept, and ketones. Feelings you might keep track of: how you feel when you wake (do you feel refreshed?)? How are your cravings and hunger, and what is your pain like? These feelings could be rated on a number scale so that you have a data point to assess. You might also keep a log of environmental conditions, like pollen and other external stressors.
- If your experiment is a food elimination, it’s worthy to have a reintroduction phase. For example, if you eliminated dairy for 6 weeks, see what happens if you add it back to your diet. You might not have felt different during the elimination, but the reintroduction could bring to light issues that you didn’t even realize you were having!
- If your experiment resolves around sleep or self care, how can you assess if a difference is being made? This can be done by measuring how you feel on a numerical scale. You can also assess by testing hormones (especially insulin and cortisol) before you start and at yearly intervals.
It's important to track whatever data points you can so you have a concrete picture of what the experiment revealed. It's equally important to be honest about what was revealed (even if it means you have to give up your daily heavy cream latte).
If you don't feel the results were especially strong, look back at your logs and see if there's an improvement to the conditions or consistency that you can make, then try again. Since all bodies are unique, n=1 experiments can really help you identify what particular ingredients build your best keto lifestyle and help you achieve your own idea of ketogenic success.
Katrina Harris is one of our Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaches. Our ketogenic coaches help clients achieve habit change via coaching. Your keto coach is happy to work with you to best support your goals. Learn more about Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaching or start your coaching plan today.