I want to tell all of my friends and family about this. I’m not crazy.
At work, we had a little talk about how the very bad people of this world multiply and do bad things. Note, I’m not going to say certain key words that might make my page more popular than I want it to be.
Radicalization –> Mobilization –> Action
You can basically say that when most people start weight loss plans, they can follow this structure. You don’t want to be alone, and you share this awesome goodness with others.
For me, I spend a LOT of time researching my diets, then spend up to a month planning how I’m going to execute. Then, is the day of action. I had planned to start keto on 1/15, but stepping on the scale the day after Christmas…and feeling HORRIBLE…I decided I wanted to do this sooner.
Why the big deal? Well, a few things:
- I did Atkins before and was able to do low carb for extended periods of time. I wanted a means of dropping 30-40 pounds before June-ish so I’d have less to drag around with biking this year. Needed to get through the plateau.
- There’s a LOT more resources out there today with youtube and cookbooks for low carb
- Many in the fitness and health industries are leading this now, as opposed to it being some fad or craze.
- When I did this 20 years ago, I only ate a fraction of the foods I eat now, so this has been ridiculously easy to do compared to 20 years ago.
- I no longer smoke or drink, so all of the weekend temptations are no longer there testing me all the time.
- I have means to afford better food, better cooking equipment, better nutrition/exercise advice
But WHY this diet for me? Why am I so excited?
- There are essential fats and proteins. There are no such things as essential carbohydrates.
- I FEEL amazing. Not just good. Like amazing. Like my skin is soft, my hair feels amazingly soft, I’m alert, I sleep like a log, and I have steady energy throughout the day.
- I’ve learned a LOT more about physiology than in years’ past. You CAN NOT burn fat when insulin is going into your bloodstream. So all of those years of “eat small meals 6 times a day with high carbs on the food pyramid” has made me and many others never really be able to burn stored fats – just as the insulin is dropping and the glucagon is about to it – you tell your body to stuff your pie hole again.
- One vlogger who I watch said it best (to paraphrase) – “you can also do seasonal keto. Do you think mankind was walking around in winter eating all kinds of carbs? No, they were hunting meats and living on stored fats and fasting. In summer, when carbohydrates became more plentiful, they were eating greens and berries”. So – for me, it seems logical to have the more carb-free ways of eating during the cold months and then introduce more carbs (if needed) during the summer months. BUT – that’s when I become lean. Until then, I have stored fats I need to burn off. So, we’ll see how this goes, but it could be a long time with all of the good foods I’m eating!
- When in keto, you are burning fats as your primary fuel source which convert to ketones. I just feel like I’m melting fats away, down 12 pounds in 2.5 weeks on this. Obviously there’s a lot of water weight, but after seeing my plateau for 2+ months and then a gain around Christmas, it is awesome to see the scale moving fast.
- Another vlogger I watch (Jason Wittrock) ate 4,000 calories a day of keto for 21 days and lost 2 pounds, while increasing his FFM and decreasing his fat%. He is an outlier, but he was trying to prove that when it comes to weight gain/loss, insulin is more important than calories in/out. Of note, he’s a professional bodybuilder and ate a lot of heathy shit.
Some notes about keto diets:
- Those like Jason Wittrock who have done 4,000 calorie challenges are not eating giant steaks and piles of bacon. If you watch closely, he’s eating a lot of eggs, avocado, nuts, and healthier fats. He does the 80/20 burger at times, but I never saw 2,000 calorie steaks or chicken wings. So, this diet is NOT a free for all, but use those foods strategically and sporadically. This is why I’m trying to get more avocado/nuts/fishes in my diet.
- There are a lot more people out there making up foods that are interesting – for example, cauliflower mash, cauliflower pizza crust, bullet proof coffee, etc. Done the right way, these things taste amazing.
- Calories in/calories out still do matter to an extent. However, when you are eating healthy fats, protein, and lots of greens, you are not really hungry a lot. This allows for timed eating/intermittent fasting to increase the windows of insulin-deprivation.
- There is the clinical keto diet which is 80/15/5, but there are modified versions which I have which have .8-1g of protein per pound of LEAN body mass, 30g of carbs or less of NET carbs, and the rest as fats. This is usually 65-70% fats for me.
- It just makes sense for our bodies if we think about how our ancestors lived. They hunted and gathered up until 2,000-4,000 years ago when agriculture became more prevalent. This would lead to many months of cold, no carbs, and in the warmer months, led to more carbs to store fats for the winters. Look at hibernation within many species. Do you think our ancestors were eating a snickers bar in December?
- You need to be disciplined. This is not a great diet to just “jump into”. I’ve had 15 months of strict macro/calorie tracking. 15 months of discipline. 15 months of exercise. For me, I can now follow this a lot better than I did 20 years ago.
- The staggering number of people online who have lost weight and kept it off with keto is phenomenal.
- Muscle loss is not to be expected in great quantity. In fact, some people do gain muscle on it.
- This diet seems to fix a lot of problems with humans that we have been seeking medication for.
So how does one do the keto diet?
- Stay under 30g of carbs, ideally 20 to start. Understand that your world of eating carbohydrates is over. I don’t think I’ve bought bread in 2 years, and used a lot of flatbread and low carb wraps. I don’t really NEED breads anymore. But you have to realize that today, there are a LOT of really good substitutes that didn’t exist many years ago. You need to keep below 30g of carbohydrates a day. This is TOTAL carbohydrates minus FIBER. This means your total carbohydrate intake for the day is about the equivalent of an apple. Fruits are really high in sugar, and unfortunately, a lot of fruits we have today didn’t taste this way 20,000 years ago. The amount of sucrose people have is astonishing, and that goes to liver glycogen stores – and you can only store so much sucrose, so usually more than one piece of fruit per day is stored as FAT.
- In the clinical version, they insist on 80% fats in your diet. However, there are modified versions of this (which I do) which are indeed high fat, but not 80%.
- Moderate protein. In the clinical version this is 15% protein. However, it is recommended to get .8-1g of protein per pound of lean body mass, so keep this in mind for “moderate”.
There…you’re on keto.
The idea is to get into ketosis, then after time, your body will become “fat adapted”. So, going into ketosis is stage one…and it could take a few days to get into this. This is when I was eating chicken wings and drumsticks with hot sauce and ranch dressing. Over time, your body then “learns” how to burn fat as its primary fuel source. I feel like I’m there, but I’m not sure. There are a lot of talks of “clear thinking”, tons of energy, and a lot of other benefits when you become “fat adapted”. This was not something I feel like I ever did on atkins because I would have a TON of protein. Apparently, if you have too much protein, the body can turn this to glucose. But…ironically, some people say this can’t really happen.
So – you’re fat adapted, now what?
Ultimately, you are less hungry constantly. Hormones are made from fats. Your body starts to find hormonal balances. Your body no longer craves sugary things. Less cravings and less thinking about food…for a person like me…means it’s pretty easy to hit caloric deficits. Also, we can now do “timed eating” and get some of the benefits everyone is talking about with intermittent fasting.
People do have to be meticulous with their carbs – I use MyFitnessPal.
Below is what is known as the “keto food pyramid” – there are slight variations to this, but these give you an idea of how to feed yourself.
Also, when I did atkins years ago, this is essentially how I ate:
- breakfast – a handful of peanuts and a piece of string cheese. Sometimes I might make eggs. Shitty coffee with Splenda and some coffee creamer, but not a lot.
- lunch – burger king. Burgers without the bun
- dinner – chicken and salad…or cashews and string cheese, or lunchables on the way home.
I dropped like 40 pounds in just over a month, but my guess was I was at 800-1200 calories per day. This was not sustainable.
Over the last 15-20 years, I started to eat a LOT more foods. Meaning, my variety of foods I can eat on this are astronomical. Also, years ago I would take off a weekend once every 3 weeks or so in order to eat pizza. I never wanted to give that up.
Today, there are a LOT of substitutes. Look up “keto connect” on youtube, as they have reliably given me the best recipes. The below you can find with “keto connect pizza” and “keto connect chocolate”.
I also didn’t eat salad until I was 27 – and barely at that. Now, I am eating a TON of leafy greens. I also eat broccoli, string beans, tomatoes, and a ton of other things. Below, you can see green beans that (thanks to my bro) were made by steaming, then pan frying in butter with generous salt. Holy mother……
There are some other pizza substitutes. There are essentially 3 main schools of pizza crust out there:
- Fat head – made with a ton of mozzarella cheese as a crust
- Cauliflower – with the right seasoning, can taste really good – but I’ve had problems with it staying together unless completely dried out. I bought cheese cloth to try this better. But the pizza LOOKS amazing, and my most recent trial had terrific flavors.
- Deep dish – I added this based on the keto connect, and their crust is a mix of cheese, almond meal, and egg. I liked this one the best so far.
In summary, ketogenic diets WILL BURN FAT with caloric deficits the same (but a little better) than a standard diet. The big difference here is that with keto diets, you are not spiking your insulin and running on glucose from the foods you are eating, but you are running on fats and stored fats. Of most interest here is that a diet filled with healthy fats and proteins will produce a significantly higher satiety than a diet which spikes insulin and creates food cravings multiple times a day. I have been eating in an 8 hour window a day for the last 2 weeks with zero issues, fasting for 16 hours. You just simply cannot do such things on a carb-rich diet.
Sample meal plans…
Breakfast – bulletproof coffee. About 250 calories, I’m good until about 11AM every day.
Lunch – for meal prep purposes, I make the following items
- Salad and chicken. Giant Tupperware of spinach/romaine. Take a side cup of ranch. Add cup of one sweet tomato. Heat 8-10 oz of chicken breast up in microwave, add to Tupperware with salt, pepper, oregano. Add ranch. Close lid, shake, and enjoy. Looking to try avocado in many forms with this…
- Bacon cheeseburger salad. The same salad as above, but I prep 80/20 burger, low sodium bacon, and American cheese and freeze. Take a small tub of this in, heat up, throw in your salad. Enjoy.
- Pot roast or chicken and cabbage. I spent 42 years of my life not liking cabbage. Dumb. Really dumb. I have my instant pot and within an hour, I can make 4 giant meals and freeze to take to work. These heat up terrific. The pot roast tends to be much higher in calories than the chicken breast, and I’m doing chicken thighs today. I make this with 2 cups chicken broth and celery.
- Take extras of sugar free jello, almonds, string cheese, and avocado pudding.
Dinner – Any of the above, but I’m also rotating the following:
- Chicken parm and green beans
- Steak and cauliflower mashed potatoes. Dear god, you can add butter/olive oil to this and it really is a rich mash.
- side salads to any of these
- eggs/bacon/sausage/ham. I also take eggs with me to lunch in carriers and make in the microwave.
- Any of those lunches – it’s great to have items on prep at all times.
- pizza! Deep dish or fat head/cauliflower. I do this about once a week and change up toppings.
- Chicken wings. Frank’s hot sauce and butter make a terrific coating.
- Chicken drumsticks. I use the same hot sauce/butter as well on these. Ranch is great for dipping.
- salmon – I have some frozen salmon and I’m not a huge fan, but there are great fats with this.
- Seafood – I love the snow crab legs. Dipped in butter. Can eat a ton of these. Shrimp also fall into this.
- Cheeseburgers! What I like to do with these nowadays is cutting them up and eating on a romaine leaf. You can eat a bunch of this!
- Chocolate. See pics above.
- sugar free jello.
- Almonds/almond butter. I put some pink salt on unsalted almond butter last night and it was amazing. Going to mix this with my chocolate. One of my problems was chocolate/peanut butter.
- Cheesecake. I haven’t made these, but apparently there’s a ton out there on this.
- Chocolate avocado mousse. This can be a meal replacement, but I’ve been trying to get avocado into my diet as a rich source of potassium. This diet chews through the electrolytes.
Overall, I stick to 2240 calories these days, and if I’m a little over, so be it.
Lastly, I would not advise eating bacon, chicken wings, and cheese all day, because the quality of fats affect your energy levels just like the quality of carbs might affect your energy levels. So – those on a ketogenic diet will seek out better fats just as a person on a standard diet would not eat gummy bears for a meal high in carbs. That being said, I have some wings/drumsticks to make up soon!