My official 4 weeks of my 12 week challenge will officially be on Tuesday, but I wanted to give my takeaways almost one month in.
Start weight: 301.2
Weight today: 287.8
Total loss: 13.4 pounds
I’m now 15 pounds away from 100 pounds of weight loss! Only the last fraction has been keto, but changing it up!
Now, I’m fully aware a lot of my immediate weight was water stored. When I depleted my glycogen stores, this dropped a lot of stored water.
However, a lot of this is fat loss. A lot. I’m feeling it immediately in my mid section.
As some of you know, I have been watching a ton of the youtube vlogs over the past 6-12 months. One thing of interest is with keto, I seem to be one of those people where the scale doesn’t move for 4-6 days, then you wake up the next day 3 pounds less. I’m ok with that!
Technically, I’m doing a modified keto diet. The only people who need the strict 90/8/2 or 80/15/5 are medical patients who need to be that strict. For most other people, if you try to hit 30g or less of net carbs, .7-1.0g of protein per pound of lean body mass, and the rest as fat, you will be good to go.
One thing it took me some time to adapt to was “fat makes you fat”. No. insulin is the storage hormone that will take glucose and force it into fat cells. While calories in/calories out still are in a sense a part of this, if I’m over/under by 100-200 in a day, I’m not really sweating it. And, as you can tell, the scale doesn’t seem to mind at the moment.
Essentially, you are burning the fat in your food as fuel as opposed to glucose. What’s interesting is I feel 100 times better when doing this. This apparently is a “cleaner” way of eating. Apparently, according to Dom D’Agostino, this diet essentially can reverse type 2 diabetes, be a treatment for cancer (and pre-cancers), and prevent heart disease.
With this, you will run into an electrolyte imbalance at first. You need to up your salt intake, potassium, as well as magnesium. Drink plenty of water. Make sure you eat your leafy greens.
Wait…fat prevents heart disease?
Everything you kinda know? Well, it’s not as we thought. Doctor after doctor I’m watching are coming out and speaking out about this. Let me paint how a lot of problems happen….
Inflammation is bad. Inflammation can occur in a lot of ways, but let me explain a few – sugar intake, poor diet, and omega 6 fatty acids (you get this a lot in fried foods). Sugar is like sand paper inside of your arteries. This causes tiny tears and cuts, which then activates cholesterol to come to the aid and repair things. This creates some band aids, and scar tissue, and over time, you get plaque inside of your arteries. This can cause blockages and well, you die. Vitamin C (not the supplement) found in broccoli, spinach, etc can actually repair this damage and reverse the blockages. However, vitamin C competes with sugar – and sugar wins. So when you have that orange juice with vitamin C, you are actually just putting sand paper in your arteries and all of the good vitamin C is wasted. Think about that the next time you give your kid orange juice because “it’s healthy”.
With cancer, you’re looking at cancer cells feeding on glucose and eating foods with carbs..well, it promotes whatever cancer cells you have…and you die.
With diabetes (type 2), you have fed your body so much sugars and starches that the amount of insulin you’ve been pumping out of your pancreas isn’t enough. The body becomes desensitized to insulin (called insulin resistance), and your body needs to pump out more and more insulin to regulate your high blood sugar.
So, the sugars/starches we eat contribute to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes? We knew about the diabetes part….obviously…but the link to heart disease and cancer is not what most people know. Most people think eating fat does that to you.
What if I told you – the body can survive forever without ever having sugar/starch again? What if I told you that cavemen didn’t eat pop tarts? Wait, you knew that one.
The body has essential fats and proteins it needs, that we can not produce, in order to survive.
There is no such thing as needing sugar in your diet. And, cutting off sugar to near zero can cure type 2 diabetes. If you like your appendage, you can keep your appendage. Or eyesight. Or kidneys.
How hard is this?
Well, I can see you right now. “I don’t understand a diet of people eating nothing but bacon and sausage all day long. It can’t be healthy”. Those aren’t the primary fuel I would use either, but yes, these items are permitted.
For me, I did atkins a few times. So, the goodbye to bread has mostly been there for 10-20 years already. For many of you, this might be hard to follow, at least to start. For anyone who ever did atkins, this is actually much easier than atkins. While the same carb restrictions are there, the emphasis on fats create another level of satiety.
Of interest, I eat a LOT more foods than when I did atkins 20 years ago. It’s not just eggs, bacon, and steak for me. The foods I’m eating?
- Chicken – all types. Mostly thighs and drumsticks, but also wings and breasts
- Beef – strip steak, ground beef, pot roast
- Bacon, eggs, sausage
- Leafy greens out the ass – spinach, romaine, and lots of cabbage. Love this now.
- Other veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, some onion. Will crush the zucchini soon when it comes back.
- Avocado – straight, in salads, but my favorite is to make a chocolate mousse with this. High in potassium, omega 3 fats, and fiber
- Keto coffee. On atkins, I had black coffee with some powder creamer and Splenda. It was gross. Could not put a lot of my creamer in. Hated Splenda. Now I just have coffee with 1 TBSP grass fed butter, 1 TBSP coconut oil (MCTs for energy), and 2 TBSP heavy whipping cream. Love it. No longer need the sweetener in coffee.
- Keto pizza – I’ve done this a few ways. If I need a pizza fix, I can tap into one of these. I didn’t have this during the time of my atkins, and pizza was a reason I slipped on atkins.
On atkins, I was also addicted to diet coke. There have been studies that have shown that when you introduce sweeteners, you do increase insulin. So, all of that time on atkins, I was also spiking my insulin on diet drinks.
When insulin is in your bloodstream, you CANNOT BURN FAT. So, those of us who were told to eat 5-6 times a day, 60% of carbs in your diet….this was all nonsense and made us all fat. If you were fat, it meant you were lazy and you could not control yourself. Well….when your body is constantly having insulin hit it, and drop – your body is sent hunger signals when insulin crashes. So, you are constantly ravenous.
Those who hate on keto/atkins would say something like, “it’s all just calories in, calories out, and those diets are trick diets. You simply aren’t hungry and don’t eat a lot, so you consume less calories and thus lose weight”.
First, I want you to unpack what you just read. “You aren’t hungry”. This is called satiety. And guess what? Fats and proteins are GREAT with this. Guess what is not? Carbs. Carbs quickly hit your body and are burnt for fuel. Eat too many carbs, and your insulin takes this glucose to store in adipose tissue until it is needed. But you can’t ever touch this if you constantly have insulin in your system. Ever.
Second, I want you to know I eat 2200 calories a day and sometimes hit 2300-2500. On tougher training days, I eat more calories. On light days where I’m not moving much, I eat less.
With any way of living….you need to create the deficit in order to burn stored fat. But you cannot burn stored fats when insulin is flowing through your arteries.
So, I’m really not hungry that much. I drink my bulletproof coffee at 5AM every day, get hungry around 11-11:30. I eat my prepped lunch then at work…and then eat dinner around 5:30-6PM. This ultimately is going with the 18-6 or 16-8 intermittent fasting. The coffee technically doesn’t break the fast because there’s no insulin spike that I know of. Some say keto coffee is ok on it, others say not. It’s working for me for now.
Meaning – I have 16-18 hour windows with no food. This allows my body to burn the fat stores for fuel.
It takes some time until your body gets good at this.
While this is a 12 week keto challenge, I could see doing this longer term. One thing that is a game changer for me is the zoodles. This, along with my pasta sauce (2g of carbs for 1/4 cup) makes for an amazing plate of pasta. Spaghetti was also a weakness for me. My recent love of zoodles makes this quite possible!
My concerns were the following, and how this could be mitigated:
- biking/running – when I did atkins before, I would not really be able to exercise well. I would always be drained. Well, after nearly a month on keto, all of my energy returned, and I’m ready to run through walls. So…maybe I don’t need carbs for high level workouts? I’m not a pro athlete. As long as I can do my exercise, I can see keto being ok for me.
- Pizza – one weakness I have. I now have a few viable substitutes that I can do. One in an iron skillet, is pretty damn tasty. It’s high in calories, so I might do this rarely if I really have a need for it.
- Pasta – zoodles!!
- Chocolate – I’ve never been huge on sweets. Occasionally, I might like chocolate peanut butter. Well, I have made a chocolate bar with almonds, and then dipped in unsalted almond butter and crackled some pink salt on it – AMAZING. Nope, no need to go back to regular chocolate with this. I also make a chocolate avocado pudding which gets me some chocolate as well as a lot of potassium in avocado.
- Potatoes – I now have a cauliflower mashed potato recipe that I like better than mashed potatoes. Zero guilt.
- Coffee – I used to put lots of sugar, creamer, and chocolate creamer in my coffee. Legit 300-350 calories of carbs. Replaced it with 300 calories of fats, no breakfast now. Eliminated 300 breakfast calories and have a coffee with a high satiety level.
- Working out – the energy stores were tough the first few weeks. It’s getting better.
- Cooking – lots of my recipes take a long time to cook. The instant pot gets me dinners in a fraction of the time with simple cleanup.
- Alcohol – when I did atkins 20 years ago, I drank a ton. I would do vodka and diet iced tea. Well, I don’t really drink anymore. The last drop I had was August, and probably won’t drink until August again this year.
As the summer comes up, perhaps I indulge in some berries on a long bike ride. These are not disallowed with keto, but they are at the top of the pyramid to eat sparingly. I love raspberries, and on some of my bike rides, I come across natural patches. I love peaches. I may want to grow strawberries again and have 1-2 of these a day. Some fruits I really like in season, like apples and strawberries. I can see where maybe some days in summer I have one serving of fruit – but my expectations this summer will that I will be walking, running, lifting, or biking every damn day, so one serving of low-glycemic fruit may fit within my net carbs. My issue here is ensuring the insulin spike is smaller and doesn’t take me out of ketosis for long. I will monitor weight loss with this and adjust accordingly.
As fall would come, I would also reduce my carbs of the seasonal fruits/veggies.
I believe, with my genetics, that my people over many thousands of years would eat carbs over the summer when available, put on weight, then over the winter, without carbs, our bodies would burn fats and live off of meats/fats. My genetics have a high concentration from the Scandanavian peninsula, so these people didn’t exactly have carb sources all year round.
Maybe your genetics are better with carbs that mine? Maybe you don’t burn fat on keto/atkins as well as someone like me?
Or…perhaps you might realize that insulin is blocking you from burning your fats and this might be something you can do?