Magnesium might be the greatest thing ever. And I’m about to tell you why.
As I now sit here at 263 pounds and a total of 109 pound weight loss, I wonder why I feel so good. Why weight loss this time has been “easier”.
Years ago, I did atkins twice. Once was a 40 pound loss and once was a 60 pound loss. As of today, I’m down 39 on keto in almost 5 months. However, this experience is a little different. Actually, a LOT different:
- I have ridiculous amounts of energy
- I eat a LOT more than on atkins
- My exercise performance is insane
One key difference from 15-20 years ago when I did these was that I didn’t have youtube as a support structure. I didn’t have the knowledge, the recipes, or any of the pep talks that exist there. But another thing that is important has been the nutrition aspect of this. 15-20 years ago, I also ate 1/10th of the foods I eat now and my nutrition was way off. I probably ate 800-1200 calories a day. The staples of what I ate on atkins:
- bunless burgers at burger king with cheese
- shelled peanuts (I never measured these and ate wayyyy too many)
- chicken breasts and salad
- heated cashews and string cheese
- diet pepsi by the truckload
Mostly what was missing was a ton of nutrients and greens. I probably had my salad once a week with the chicken. And, this was a high protein diet. I still clung to the “low fat”, so my cuts of meat were also lean. I was probably struggling to stay in ketosis with the high number of peanuts I ate. I had no food scale. I eyeballed things. I didn’t track in an app that didn’t exist yet.
When you start keto, all of the experts tell you the following:
- Ensure you get enough electrolytes, specifically sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
- Ensure you eat LOTS of greens
- Get high levels of fat, low levels of carbs, and moderate protein
- Drink lots of water
Greens – look at the size of the salads I eat!
The first 2-3 weeks of keto is a little hard. I followed the above advice, so it wasn’t too bad. I had also done atkins before, so I understood the principles of no bread, pasta, etc. I did feel a little feverish to start, called the “keto flu”, but it wasn’t terrible. I felt drained during my exercise. I lost a lot of power in my lifting. It took about 3 weeks to become “fat adapted” and my body to then start doing its thing.
But the energy has been so amazing. First, about 2 weeks in, what I call “coma sleep” starts. You do not know what a good night sleep is until you get it on keto. What seems to be happening to my body:
- I am feeding it proper nutrients
- I have reduced/eliminated all inflammatory items (sugar, veg oils, starches, etc)
- I have increased my dietary fats/cholesterol. These are responsible for hormone production
- I have continued to my exercise, but also moderated it.
- I have improved my body electrolyte intake and mineral/vitamin intake
- Sleep hormones have a chance to actually work correctly
- I get well rested and my body is properly rejuvenating itself for the first time in my life
- At the mitochondrial levels, my body is functioning properly for the first time ever
- My energy levels are through the roof
I’m also thinking the “smoking gun” here is my daily supplement of magnesium. I take 500mg per day. I also try to have some nuts a few times a week, and I’ve had dark chocolate a decent amount on this as well as avocado. I have my tons of greens DAILY. Overall, I have talked with a bunch of my keto friends and some have had a tough time at times, others feel like I do. Some have not been supplementing routinely with magnesium, others have. And those sets of people seem to be correlated.
With keto, there’s a big “n=1” approach for you to experiment with yourself. There’s overwhelming evidence, in my opinion, that the way I’m eating is 10 times healthier for me than the SAD (Standard American Diet).
I watched a video by Morley Robbins this week which also seemed to confirm everything I’ve been thinking about Magnesium the past few weeks. I stumbled on him after a few of the people I watch on youtube cited him. I then watched this video and feel an even stronger correlation. Robbins also goes into how a magnesium deficiency coupled with a calcium abundance may be a leading cause of disease in the west. It was pretty fascinating, and he makes a convincing argument!
Why have I been so successful on keto and not atkins 15-20 years ago? In both diets, it was low carb. But my experience with how I feel is so much better on keto. I started keto to continue my weight loss, but I’d like to CONTINUE because of how amazing I feel.
Something Morley goes into is the balances of the below:
- Potassium works opposite sodium
- Magnesium works opposite calcium
Of interest, apparently our ancestors had magnesium in everything, and today’s water/food supply is a desert of magnesium. He estimated our ancestors had 1500mg per day. I really looked hard at my food intake over the years, and I can tell you, I probably struggled to get 100-200mg per day. If that. And on my atkins diet previously, I probably had under 100mg per day.
Of particular interest, magnesium is EXTREMELY important for mitochondrial function and the Krebs cycle to produce ATP.
Meaning, when you have no magnesium, you have no energy.
And THAT is what is what I’m finding to be the gold standard of why I’m feeling so amazing. The cells in my body are actually working how they are supposed to !!
Also, I think I had a hard time with getting a lot of potassium in my life. I had a banana a day, but that was about it. I didn’t eat a lot of greens. That has changed in the last 5 months. I eat foods now rich in potassium. My blood pressure is now also 107/67. The lowest ever. Doctors may tell you to cut your sodium to improve your blood pressure – but it also works the other way – INCREASE YOUR POTASSIUM. I eat a ridiculous amount of salt, and I’m the calmest I’ve ever been in my entire life. It’s because I’m eating lots of potassium and magnesium.
I feel “normal”. Actually, I feel like Superman, but I’m also a good 70-80 pounds away from my end “goal weight”, so let me get back to you in a year or so on that.
Breaking my stall
So it wasn’t a real stall, more like a slow down in the number on the scale. I don’t think those on keto can ever expect linear weight loss. You will lose weight, but it might be in batches. You have 1-2 weeks with no loss, then the next week drop 4. 3 weeks no loss, then 5 pounds in one week. Gain 2 pounds of water weight, don’t hit the bathroom for 5 days, then hold steady.
Last month was a 2 pound loss, but I showed on the scale not only muscle gain and water gain, but 6 or so pounds of fat loss.
This past week, I think I’ve dropped 3 pounds. At the advice of my trainer, I stopped doing OMAD. I will go back to it at some point, but sometimes just changing things up might help. I then went to eating 1 oz of macadamia nuts and a quest protein bar for lunch (maybe 400 calories) so I didn’t have a massive lunch, but I got things moving. I also changed up some foods, with adding a stuffed pepper meal in this week amongst some other minor changes. Rotate your food. When you do intermittent fasting, don’t do it every day for 4 months, make it “intermittent” lol.
This week I also didn’t do ANY exercise. It’s been raining in the northeast for what seems to be an ark-level event. No walking the dog. No mowing the lawn. No weight lifting this week. And 3 pounds dropped off.
What I have found (n=1) is sometimes when I up the weight training/running/biking that my body tends to hold water weight. Like it knows I just biked 15 miles and I might need to bike 15 miles in the next few days, so lets hold on for dear life to water. Same thing with running. I run 2-3 miles and the next 2 days I’m one pound heavier. This week, I took it easy, slept 8 hours per night, and lost 3 pounds.
So – off to do my training now. In your n=1 experiment, try to ensure your magnesium and potassium intakes are sufficient. With the magnesium, I have to supplement, and I take 500mg a day. For potassium, I rely on BIGGGGG salads every day, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and just a rich diet of veggies to help this. One of my friends mentioned he takes a 1000mg supplement of potassium, but the best I could find at the store was 100mg. Going to try the vitamin shop after the gym. One of my secrets is my cabbage/chicken thighs/celery/chicken broth I make up in the instant pot. It stinks to hell when cooking, but it is about one of my favorite things to eat on a Friday evening – nourishing as hell, salty, tasty, and filling as shit. I didn’t eat cabbage before 5 months ago, and this is one thing I can tell you to look into, also high in potassium. If you look at the pictures below, I am getting high potassium in my meals.
Lastly, anyone ever try making KeDough? I saw a video on it for pizza and it LOOKED good and it sounded like it got a nice crisp crunch for pizza.