As I wrote yesterday, last week I had a yearly poconos trip and put on 18 pounds, then took it off in 5 days. This was not fat, but tons of water.
So many people are against keto. They are using the studies and the thinking of 1963 to continue to promote the standard American diet which has led to sooooo many people dying. They are continuing to promote the old thinking, the old studies, and the old theories – why? Because it is “established” medicine. Well….have you seen how every few years they flip flop on if eggs are good for you? Every day you see a study about how wine is good for you…no it’s no…yes it is.
Do any of those studies give you a warm and fuzzy that anyone has a clue?
What I can tell you is that keto has really given me an appreciation for how much sugar that our country consumes, and the complete lack of understanding about how this consumption affects you. It doesn’t mean that me or you should never have a treat. It will just show you that you can have this stuff once a month rather than 6 times a week. You truly appreciate it as a treat to be used sparingly rather than your daily norm.
Ultimately, I do have moments where I consume some items with higher than normal carbs. But rather than it being 3 meals a day (or the 6 smaller meals they used to preach) pounding my insulin up and down, it’s a treat once every few weeks or few months. You see – until I did keto and flipped the switch, I literally was unable to control food portions, appetite, or my weight. The “governor” switch was broken. My hunger satiation hormones were broken. That life is over.
I felt like a drug addict. My rationalizations, my attempts at moderation, my ability to over-exercise myself into injury, and my sheer abilities to gain weight rapidly have had me trapped in someone else’s body my whole life. I am an athlete at heart. But I’ve had to carry around a spare tire or three doing activities my whole life. It just made life extremely difficult at times. Luckily, that’s also made me a lot stronger than most people.
From this – I have learned a ton of lessons. I’m going to try and drop some experience here. Again – I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I can tell you what I’ve found, for ME, with my experiences. Here are some tips on moderations and breaking your addictions.
- Start keto with a “3 week challenge”. Research what keto is and how to avoid the keto flu. Give it your all with no cheats. You will find somewhere at the end of week 2 into week 3 that your hunger mostly disappears. It’s life-altering.
- Moderation was not possible for me when I was a “carb burner”. I was not someone who had a sweet tooth. But I am someone who craved breads, pastas, grains, and would eat them incessantly. I’d eat a GIANT plate of pasta and then be tired…and 3 hours later be starving. I didn’t understand how people could live being so hungry all the time.
- When I switched to being a “fat burner”, my cravings and hunger disappeared. Having primarily fats and proteins in my diet with lack of insulin spikes, I was able to then eat to satiety with much less food. This, in turn, helped me reduce my overall caloric intake.
- After 3 months or so on keto, my athletic performance returned. While my top end bench did not come back, I feel amazing 24×7 and my long distance steady state cardio vastly improved along with my VO2 max. I am highly efficient with breaking down fats for fuel.
- With the lack of crazed, frenzy-like feedings, my mood has become more stable. I frequently eat one big meal a day which is based with a MASSIVE salad with some higher fat meat. I never need to snack. I work 8 straight hours at work with no lunch, and it doesn’t bother me one bit. With the more stable moods, I then also don’t have swings where I need food to make me feel better.
- Carbs are not evil, refined sugar is. I see a day where I will be able to have 100-150 carbs a day, mostly with plant-based carbs. I will have potatoes once a week or two – not every night. I will continue to get most of my carbs through green vegetables. I will have reasonable servings of fruit, but not 5 servings a day because someone says “it’s healthy”. Fructose is not metabolized like complex carbs and the liver can only process so much. I love fruit – but I’d eat like a whole watermelon or half a bag of grapes. Keto has taught me an appreciation for having fruits in moderation. When I cut so much fruit out, I also kept my blood sugar more stable. You can eat a plate of fruit and an hour later be starving. If you try and stick with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries – you can enjoy fruits but not kill your body.
- Fast food is the devil. With keto, you rely a lot on home cooking. I might go out to eat once or twice a month, and it’s usually a steak dinner with broccoli. I don’t get food through a window unless I’m in a dire condition, and this is usually bunless burgers. When you see how a lot of this food is made, you start to realize the ingredients they put into them are just really, really, really bad for you. There was an addiction here for me as well. The taste of some of these meals were so good, that I would have them multiple times a week. Now. I might get something once every 2-3 months. Meal prep can assist you with quick meals fast rather than reaching for the fast food.
- I cut out almost all liquids except water. I used to have tons of diet sodas. Interestingly enough, these trick your body into thinking it’s sugar and provides an insulin reaction which can then make you hungry. I might have a diet coke out once a month or two. Other than that, I have my coffee every morning.
- You can strategically address your “cheat meals”. I like to look at major events and parties and say, “I’m going to just go over the edge” or “I’m going all out”. This allowed me to have half a piece of cake at an awards banquet I went to…it also allowed me to have my once-a-year binge event in the poconos. Those office birthdays that happen twice a week? Avoid them like the plague. Keto has helped me not crave this stuff and therefore discipline is a lot easier.
- Intermittent fasting and keto are a match made in heaven – which curbs your appetite. IF is all the rage these days. Historically, the bro science told people to eat 6 times a day. There is validity to this. Just look at the Mr. Universe guys. They work out twice a day for maybe 2 hours each session of HEAVY weights. What the six smaller meals do is provide protein for intake and uses insulin in carbs to shuttle this to cells more quickly. These guys are constantly tearing muscles and repairing. For everyone else not working out 4 hours a day bench pressing Toyotas, this is killing you. It’s spiking your insulin and crashing it, constantly making you hungry and offering a lot of opportunity for you to underestimate your calories for each meal. This can lead to overeating very easily. If you look back at our ancestors, I’d like to ask you what supermarket they went to. They may have killed small game every couple of days and perhaps taken down a deer once a week or two. They grazed on berries and leafy greens. With keto reducing hunger and stabilizing blood sugar, it is easy to go long durations without food. This improves your body’s testosterone and growth hormone – to the point a lot of people are now doing weight training fasted. I practice OMAD mostly. This has not only cut down my grocery bills, but reduced the amount I have to cook and I think about food 300% less than I used to. Ultimately, this can reduce the calories you take in as well.
- Snacks. For those times you’re a little hungry, but don’t need a big ass meal, have some keto friendly snacks around. Usually, for me, this is a piece of string cheese or those little cubes, peanuts (roasted/salted), sugar free jello, quest bars, and almond butter. I used to do chocolate/fat bombs, but after 2-3 months on keto you don’t really need that crutch anymore.
- Drink a lot of water! I’m drinking 4-5 quart bottles a day. The times I tried atkins before, I never added this much water, and the water helps a ton with weight management.
- Meal prep. I don’t do a ton of this anymore, as it was a lot easier on 40/30/30 than keto. But – you can do things to make it easier. For example, one of my favorite meals is my taco salad. I will make up several pounds of ground beef, add taco seasoning, then add chili powder, paprika, and cumin. I’ll then split it into portions so I then might have the meat for 3-5 salads prepped. Same thing with chicken. I’ll make up 5 pounds at a time. Sometimes I stop on the way home and get one of those $5 rotisserie chickens. You can also make up a ton of sauce/meatballs for usage with zoodles.
Some other bonus keto food tips…
- The fats you really should worry about are not saturated fats, but trans fats. Humans are omnivores, and with this, we have evolved to eat both plants and meat. What’s of most interest here is that I read that some tribes and early humans would go for the fattiest part of the animal and feed the lean meat to the dogs. French fries in tallow, not bad. French fries in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil = clogging your arteries and death. Apparently it takes like 60 days for your body to process trans fats. This is why “fast food” is killing a lot of people. About 20 years ago, they switched fats in deep fryers to the hydrogenated oils. And that – that will kill you.
- You don’t have to be in ketosis all the time. The “die hards” of keto like to try and talk about “true keto” and it is either 20 or 30 grams of carbs. Anything more, you are not “true keto”. They might be right. Don’t care. In 9 months, I’m down 60 pounds. I am doing low carb high fat, which is the premise of keto….LCHF. Occasionally, I might have low carb and high protein. To curb the “insulin spike” from the chicken breasts with my salad, I will add extra virgin olive oil to my salad. The fats from this ultimately reduce the insulin need. But the big question with LCHF is….”what is low?”. This is a magic number you have to find for you. When I’m planning on doing 2-4 hours of exercise in a day, I’m usually in the 75-100g range. This might be 20+ miles of biking, several miles of running, swimming, tennis, mowing the lawn, then walking the dog for 30 minutes. If I have those same 75g on off days, I don’t lose weight. Use carbs strategically. Those heavy days I’ll be doing a smoothie with spinach, raspberries, strawberries, etc. That’s essentially the only times I really use my fruits.
- Extra protein will not magically convert to sugar through gluconeogenesis. You can find on the youtubes that there’s this massive debate going on. Gluconeogenesis is demand-driven. One reason it’s hard for people to gain muscle on keto, which I think much of them fail to realize, is that with a LCHF diet (with moderate protein), those with lower levels of protein don’t realize that this protein is being converted to glucose for the brain. If you want to gain muscle with LCHF, it’s possible – you just also need to eat moderate to high levels of protein. The problem here is “what is moderate”. To sustain your bodyweight, perhaps have about .6g of protein per pound of LEAN body mass. For me, I’m 162 pounds of lean body mass, which then translates into about 100g of protein for me each day. If I’m doing a lot of working out or exercise, I will try to bump this to .8-1.0g of protein per day. Anything more than that does not automatically turn to sugar, it will be stored as excess fat. You need a POSITIVE nitrogen balance to create muscle. Keto without addressing protein needs to create muscle will either maintain or lose muscle.
- Keto is getting more popular. I recently went on a trip to the outer banks where half of the people there were on keto! Mostly, I would feel like I’m a leper and at events, I’d have to eat like a bird. Fortunately, keto does crush your hunger so you can get by. But it was nice when going to this trip and having others to talk to about it, meal plan for our dinners with it, etc. One basic thing people like to say is “I can’t do this because no one else does it and I’ll have nothing to eat socially”. It’s just not true these days.
- The sugar industry is a real thing. Apparently, there is sugar in over 600,000 products in the grocery store. The sugar industry paid Harvard researchers $50,000 in the 1960s to point to FAT as the reason for heart disease, not sugar. Unfortunately, in the lightning fast internet days of today, the research is able to come out and be shared directly to the consumer and bypass lobbying. The “standard American diet” was borne out of industries promoting their agendas. Grains, sugars….and unfortunately, we have decimated the health of this country and put costs of healthcare into a national defense level issue.
- Type 2 diabetes is caused by the abuse of sugar and carbs. Somehow, some way, the narrative has been that “obesity causes type 2 diabetes”. However, it has been pointed out now by literally everyone, that type 2 diabetes is caused by continued insulin spikes leading to insulin resistance and metabolic disorder. I was listed as “pre-diabetic” a few years ago. Those days are gone. All of my numbers are stellar.
- Dietary cholesterol has no bearing on your cholesterol numbers. Remember how eggs were bad…then good…then bad…and now ok? The reason is they found that your body produces cholesterol, about 5 times what you take in with your diet.
- Your cholesterol number is now being mostly being found to not be any factor in your heart disease or chance of death. You see a number like 200 or 300 and they want to put you on drugs to reduce your cholesterol. Apparently, the numbers that matter are two things: 1) the count of “small, dense LDL particles” and 2) the ratio of HDL/LDL. When doing keto, often people will find their cholesterol numbers to go up. However, keto, when done right, is a low inflammation diet. Additionally, keto vastly improves your HDL cholesterol. Also, keto increases your large “fluffy” LDL while decreasing your small “dense” LDL.
- Inflammation is a thing. So apparently there are foods that increase inflammation and those that reduce inflammation. Some inflammation is needed, like in the case of a cut or internal injury to help clot. However, too much inflammation then can lead to your arteries processing carbs like sandpaper and causing all kinds of fun with arterial plaque.
- Omega 3 to 6 ratio. So with the above with inflammation, omega 3s reduce inflammation whereas 6s increase it. While your body needs omega 6s, there needs to be a balance with the 3s. This is why you hear so many people telling you to eat fatty fish like salmon. Personally, I can’t really stand salmon, but the point is made of trying to promote omega 3s. Then, you take it a step further and find that wild caught salmon and farm raised salmon are almost night and day with their ratios – to the point where I’d advise against farm raised salmon because of how bad the profile is. When animals can eat their normal foods, they produce omega 3s in their meats. This is why you want the chickens in the pastures eating worms and giving you eggs and meat with high omega 3s – and you want the grass fed/finished beef. And the wild caught salmon. These foods are different in prolife from their grain-fed counterparts. Supplement with fish oil pills. Go for the pasture friendly chickens/beef when you can. Choose your oils carefully for salads. Extra virgin olive oil is VASTLY different than soybean oil.
- Cooking oils. Going with the above – immediately ditch your vegetable oils. These aren’t really made from vegetables, and these oils first came about as lubricants for industrial products. They are HIGH in omega 6s and will lead to high levels of inflammation.