Last weekend, I had my yearly poconos trip with the guys. Booz, great food, cigars, movies for guys who like movies, fire pits, and gambling at a casino.
Oh – and I gained 18 pounds.
Of interest, 5 days later every single pound was gone.
You see, people love the calorie math. Each pound is 3500 calories, so I must have ingested 63,000 calories more than my normal daily intake over 4 days. That means with calorie math, that I had about 18,000 calories per day. Yeah….no.
What happened was a combination of a few things:
- Lots of liquid hit my body
- Lots of salts were taken in
- Lots of carbs hit my body and also filled up my glycogen stores and sucked water in
What happened when I went back on keto on Monday?
- I drank a TON of water all week to flush out the salts
- I cut my carbs to 30g per day or less
- I depleted my glycogen stores and ran through that excess water
This is why I tell anyone who wants to “go off of keto” to have a gentle off ramp. When I did atkins like 15-20 years ago, I’d run into this. The last time I did it about 14 years ago, I took off 60 pounds and kept it off for 5 years by exiting atkins gradually.
How to do this?
- Add about 5-10g of carbs, per week. So in week 1, you might have 50. Week 2, 55, week 3, 60. If you see the scale start to move upwards, hold your carb levels, then try again the next week. Maybe 3-4 months in, you’ll be back at your normal ability to ingest carbs.
- Avoid massive carb binges. My total “off ramp” of atkins back then was about 6 months. Meaning, maybe when I went out to eat I ate a roll with dinner, but I did not have a massive spaghetti dinner with 3 pieces of bread followed by ice cream. I kept my carb intake on the lower end.
- After about 6 months or so, I was back to my “pre-atkins” eating shit, and I didn’t gain anything. About 4-5 years later, stress hit me hard which then started the weight gain that accelerated quickly.
One of the big knocks on keto is they say, “it’s not sustainable”. It’s extremely sustainable, but the biggest thing you take from it is understanding the role of what sugars do to you and what foods contain how much. This will lead to most people eventually probably eating 100-150g of carbs per day of whole foods rather than the 400g on the SAD with tons of sugars and refined grains.
Another way to look at the above statement – it’s not sustainable….
Much of our “keto community” feels like sugar is a drug. My keto friends have heard definitions of a drug as something that provides an artificial response yet has no nutritional value. Essentially, they found that sugar is as addictive, if not more addictive than cocaine in rats.
So let me tell you what I hear:
“Look…this drug called sugar just tastes too good to refuse. We all know it’s addictive, and we all know that this is the root cause of most metabolic diseases today – including cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia. We know how bad it is for you, but it just tastes too good so you will relapse. Don’t even fight it. Don’t even try to give it up. Just understand that you shouldn’t bother to quit this addictive substance because your friends are doing it and you’re too weak to give it up”.
The problem is, people see these diet rankings and see keto near the bottom, so they infer that it is a dangerous diet. No. It’s not. It’s how our ancestors lived. I keep telling my skeptics:
“There are essential amino acids we needs to get in our proteins. There are essential fats we need to get in our diet – including animal fats. There is no such thing as an essential carb”.
That statement sort of blows peoples’ minds.
But to exit my soapbox – I wanted to write this for the below reason….
Just because you are on keto, doesn’t mean you can’t have a few days or a week off from time to time. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a piece of cake for your birthday. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a cheat meal or day occasionally. While strict “keto” means you are in ketosis the whole time, many of us are very flexible with it and live it 90-95% of the time. Combined with intermitted fasting, OMAD, and even alternate day fasting (ADF), keto is a low carb, high fat diet that can change your life.
Sunday night – I was 18 pounds up. It’s Saturday morning, and all 18 pounds are gone.
If you do keto, I’d advise a good 4-5 months where you do this with no cheats. While it takes 2-3 weeks to become “fat adapted”, it will take your body months to get “really fat adapted” and your athletic performance to go back to 100%. Once you are on this for 4 months or so, perhaps schedule a cheat meal. You may get 3-4 pounds on you the next day. Don’t sweat it – see above what that is.
Over time, you will get used to jumping in and out of ketosis, and you will get good with taking that “cheat water” back off.
So – to conclude, keto can be life changing. Don’t quit keto before you started it because you can never have a piece of bread again. You will learn that these carbs will not rule your life, but will be the occasional treat – as they were meant to be.
While you can lose weight on 40/30/30 – which I demonstrated 70 pounds lost in 15 months, I also lost another 60 pounds in 9 months on keto. I’ve also demonstrated time and time again that keto is not only sustainable, but I FEEL so much better on it. When you do the cheat meals/days, your body feels the carbs like sandpaper in your body.
P.S. this week I ate my goddamn face off with whole chickens and taco Tuesday (and Wednesday) with the GIANT salad below. Taking off weight does not have to be eating rabbit food!