Keto Diet Update

I have 4 months in the books now with my Ketogenic food plan and I’m still progressing towards my goal to be able to see my abdominal muscles.  At this point, I’ve hit a high weight loss of 17 pounds on this food plan.                                     I don’t like to use the word diet all the time, because this new way of eating has become a long-term proposition for me.

I don’t see any reason why I would stop this plan because I continue to show progress.  My weight has leveled off, but that is most likely due to a switch in my exercise plan and an increase of approximately 200 additional calories.  Basically, I decided to start engaging in weight training again.  After losing a lot of body weight (mostly fat, but definitely still some lean mass) I started to feel a bit sloppy and even a little weak.  I started up with Beachbody’s Body Beast workout plan with the intentions of adding some muscle back, all while maintaining and even working on my progress of fat loss.

I’m currently alternating Body Beast weight workouts with a cardio-style workout, every other day. On the weight workout days I strive to keep my calories higher, then back down about 100 or so when I do cardio workouts.  I’ve been doing this plan for about 3 weeks now and I’ve been able to maintain my weight and continue to get leaner.  My muscles feel tight and my strength is good, so it all seems to be working well so far.

I’m still in the low 12% body fat range, but continue to progress to my goal of 10%.  I feel really good on the Keto food plan and I highly recommend it.  It’s not for everyone, but it is very effective for fat loss and much more health benefits long-term.

Would you like to learn more about this food plan, or even about my journey?  If so, contact me via this site or my Facebook page at Forever Be Healthy and I’ll be happy to share more about what I’ve learned so far.

 

 

My List Of Keto Diet Must Haves

There is no doubt in my mind that the ketogenic diet works and is very effective for body fat loss.  I know because I’ve made some good progress myself with this food plan.  At about the 11 week mark, I’ve lost 12 pounds and 3% body fat.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a goal to lose enough body fat to actually see my abdominal muscles.  I can honestly say I’ve never been able to get there no matter what I’ve tried;  different types of workouts, eating less, switching up my macronutrients, I always ended up back at the same place.   I’ve tracked my body weight and body fat percentage for at least 7 years.  During that time, I only came close to 13% body fat one time.  Now after 11 weeks on this diet, along with some recently added cardio work with Beach Body’s Core de Force workout plan, I’m closing in on 12% body fat.  I anticipate I will need to get close to 10% to really see sharp definition in my ab muscles, so I still have a ways to go.

So, up to this point in my journey I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned that might be helpful in your venture with a ketogenic diet.   Here are some of my recommendations to stay on-course with this food plan:

  1. Learn as much as you can about the diet.  Get educated and research everything you can by reading books or doing internet searches for ketogenic information. One of the best books I’ve read was Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore.  It’s a really good read and you can learn really all you need to know about this diet with this one book.
  2. Understand how to control your macronutrients.  You absolutely need to know what your percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrates are every day.
  3. Track your food intake and macronutrients.  I use MyFitnessPal on my Android phone.  It’s really easy to use and it only takes me a couple minutes each day to put all my meals into the tracker.  There are lots of good apps/tracking tools out there, but this one works great for me.
  4. Get a food scale so you can measure your portions.  Do not guess at this because you will likely be wrong with your quantities of each type of macro you are taking in.  Even 200 calories off one way or another will alter your weight loss goals.
  5. Keep measurement tools handy.  Along with the food scale, I keep a 1/4  measuring cup, and both 1/2 and 1 tablespoon measurement spoons right on the kitchen counter so they are ready to use for all my meals.
  6. Get coconut oil and/or MCT oil to use for some good fats.  Either are really easy to add to coffee in the morning or use in cooking a lot of your favorite foods.  When I first stated with the diet I had a hard time trying to understand how to add good fats.  These two things are a staple for my daily intake now.
  7. Have the right foods available and easily accessible at all times to make it as easy as possible to stay on-course.  Focus your shopping cart on foods you will need for each day.  Read the labels on everything!  Stay focused on no/very low carbohydrate foods.  Instead of really lean protein sources like chicken or turkey, use more pork or beef instead.  If you can tolerate dairy well, use full fat dairy products like cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream.
  8. Will power.  You must be disciplined and stay with the plan.  If you do, you will reap the rewards of this diet and you will feel so much better all around.  No more bloating and gassy stomach, less joint aches, more focus, less food cravings and better energy.  There are many more documented benefits with long-term health and wellness, read all about them in Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity book.

I hope this list helps.  I know people that have “tried” this food plan and claim it didn’t work for them.  If you do this right, it will work and it will reduce your body fat.  It just takes patience, will power and a good overall knowledge of how it all works.  Once you’ve got these things down, it’s really not hard to maintain.   Good luck!

 

A Day In My Keto Diet

I admit eating a keto-style diet takes a little practice to master.  For me, the best chance for success at this diet was to make it as easy and convenient as possible.  After a couple weeks of experimentation I was able to get a decent plan of action.

I wanted to share an example of my daily meals to give you an idea of what has been working for me.  Keep in mind I’m not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, so if you really like to cook and prepare meals, this diet has endless possibilities.  I also purchased a really good keto cookbook on Amazon.com for some great meal ideas to keep the possibilities open when I decide to try new recipes.

As I mentioned, I like to keep things as simple and easy as possible, all while staying in my target caloric and micronutrient ranges.  Once you get in a rhythm of tracking these foods and portion sizes, it gets a lot easier to put together your meals daily.

We do most of our cooking on Sunday’s so we will be prepared for the entire week.  I also really like to use “grab-n-go” style foods to keep things really easy and quick.   I work 10 hour days and have an hour drive on each end, so I need to prepare for a 12 hour day away from the house.  Here is one example of what I eat on any given work day with a 1700 calorie target range and macronutrient percentages of: 70% fat (minimum), 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.:

Breakfast:

  • two whole eggs, cooked in 1 tablespoon of Kerrygold butter
  • two pieces of thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup of Jimmy Dean ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any variety)
  • coffee (usually 2 to 3 cups…I need it at 4:30 in the morning!) with a teaspoon of coconut oil in each cup.
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream split between the 2 to 3 cups of coffee.

Lunch:

  • 4oz of pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (any variety)
  • 1 tablespoon of MCT oil over the meat

Snack:

  • 10 slices of Genoa Salami deli sliced (small round-thick sliced) Private Selection, Kroger brand.
  • 1 slice of American cheese

Dinner:

  • large serving of salad
  • two tablespoons of Italian-style dressing (high in fat, < one gram carbs)

 

I track each food item with MyFitnessPal app, so I know the total calories and macronutrient breakdown for the whole day.  I also weigh my food so I know exactly how much I’m taking in.   I realize this sounds like a lot of work to do all of this daily, but I found that once these foods are logged into the app, it only takes a couple of minutes to put all of the information in my phone for the entire day.   You can also scan most foods right off the product label with the phone app, this makes it really quick and accurate to track.

The main goal is to keep your carbs low and fats high, with only moderate protein intake.  I always shoot for 70 to 80% fats and try to keep my carbs to less than 20 grams per day.  This seems to work good for me.  You can find a good macro/calorie calculator like the one on ketogains.com and setup your daily routine around these numbers.  After a little practice you will be able to really narrow down your foods to each category and keep things very accurate.  Once you get to that point your body will start to change and ketosis will begin.  Be patient because this process takes time and you need to be disciplined to stay on course.

Read the labels on all foods and drinks, carbs are in just about everything it seems!

 

My Keto Journey

It’s been about six weeks or so into my keto diet and I’m happy to say that I’ve seen some good results so far.  Looking back a couple of months ago, I would have never imagined I would be eating the way I am now.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve eaten a pretty clean diet consisting of moderate to high carbohydrates, very low fat and high protein. The truth is, I never really made much progress eating this way.  I pretty much stayed the same and didn’t get any leaner.  Now that I’ve switched to a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and very high fat diet, I’m actually seeing body fat drop for the first time in years.

It wasn’t an easy switch for me to eat this way, mentally or physically at first.  I really had a hard time eating high quantities of foods like butter, whipping cream,  cheese, bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni, coconut and MCT oils, etc.  Once I got my mind past the fear of eating this way, I started to really enjoy it and my body started feeling much better.  I noticed no more bloat after eating meals and best of all, absolutely no gas (the wife loves that the most)!  Of course there was a lot of changes that my body went through to make the “switch”.  By the switch I mean, “switching” your body from a sugar burner to become a fat burner.  Once you remove sugar from your diet, your body starts to utilize its fat stores for energy.

Ketosis is a natural state for the body, when it’s almost completely fueled by fat. This is normal during fasting, or when on a very low-carbohydrate diet.  The word keto in ketosis comes from the fact that the body produces small fuel molecules called “ketones”.  This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.  When the body produces ketones primarily for energy it’s said to be in ketosis.

I admit I was very skeptical when I starting this food plan.  The first couple of weeks experimenting with a low carbohydrate diet was frustrating and really confusing to get my head around what I was supposed to eat.  I’ve been pretty good with tracking my food with apps like MyFitnessPal for a long time, so I knew how to track my macro-nutrients (carbs, fats and proteins), but trying to plan it out to line these macros up with the correct percentages of each, then to stay under a target caloric intake was challenging.  After about the third week-in I felt pretty comfortable about what I was doing and I’ve made some decent progress so far; just over eight pounds lost and down 1.5% body fat.   I know for some people these numbers might not blow you away, but for me I haven’t been able to drop a significant amount of weight or body fat in years eating the way I was.

So far here are some of my observations with this eating plan experiment and the state of ketosis:

Pros:

  • Less hungry – the fats keep you much more full all day long so I don’t need to eat nowhere near as much as I used to.
  • No bloating – this is amazing because I was always bloated and gasy after eating my meals
  • My body just feels a lot better and lighter
  • My joints feel better
  • Good energy
  • I enjoy eating the different foods in this plan once I got my head around eating that way
  • Easy to follow once you understand how it works and pay attention to your food/drinks.
  • Finally losing stubborn body fat

Cons:

  • Decent energy, but lack of strength – some of my bigger weight lifting moves (compound movements) have suffered, not all, but some like the bench press and squat have declined.
  • Occasional stomach issues like diarrhea when I’m kicked out of ketosis by eating too many carbs or even too high of protein levels.  This has happened only when I went over too much in one or more of my macros.  I have heard reference to the transition between coming in and out of ketosis as being the “keto flu”.  I’ve had some of these flu like symptoms (diarrhea, headaches, no energy, lethargic, etc.).
  • Definitely have to plan your meals or at least understand what you are eating all the time.  Read the labels on everything you are about to partake to see if there are any carbs in the food or drinks.  Carbs are in tons of food and drinks!
  • Potential to loose muscle unless you take in the appropriate amount of calories, along with the correct macros. There are many good macro/calorie calculators available.  I like the one on Ketogains.com.
  • No Beer!   Ah, this one stinks, but it’s really impossible to have beer unless you have an occasional super low carb beer here and there.  That’s what I do when I have a craving.  I use Michelob Ultra, Bud Light or Miller Light.  You still have to really watch your carb intake though.   Beer will easily ruin your ketosis state. If you need an alcoholic beverage, use vodka, whiskey, rum or tequila.  These have no carbs, just be careful of what you mix with them!

My goal with the keto experiment is to do this eating plan for at least three months, then assess my progress.  If everything still feels good and my body fat continues to drop, then I’ll  probably stay on it indefinitely.  I guess we’ll see. Tune in for the next update soon.

 

 

 

 

Are You Self-Sabotaging Your Fat Loss?

healthy eating wordleWe have all been there at some point in our lives, when just one small slip turns into another and another until we just don’t know how to stop!

We miss a meal or two and then are starving and eat anything and everything in sight! We don’t eat enough at each meal, so then we overeat at the end of the day to make up for it. We don’t properly prepare our meals for the day ahead and then eat whatever we can find, usually something quick and easy or processed.

So why do we do this? Myself, I do it when I skip meals, I am stressed or bored. There are some days that I get so caught up with my computer work that I just forget to eat. What happens then?  I get over hungry, over eat and eat junk, resulting in weight gain and body fat gain…. Not exactly what I want.

So how do we get ourselves out of this rut? By PLANNING! Planning is the key! In the past, when I have sat down for 20 minutes the night before and planned out my meals for the next day, not only do I know what and when I will be eating my meals, but I also know what calorie range I am in and if I need to adjust it a bit. Prepping your meals for the week ahead, so that there are healthy options for you to grab.

Easy enough, right? It can be, once you make it a habit. Make the decision that YOU and YOUR HEALTH will come first! That pile of laundry that needs to be folded can wait until tomorrow or that email you wanted to send out can wait. Find the time to plan ahead, make it a part of your day and you will no longer get in this self sabotaging rut!

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10 Changes to Make to Your Diet Better

10 Changes To Your Diet That Will Instantly Make it 90% Better

The Small Change Diet_2Most individuals do not eat like they are supposed to. Out of those individuals 95% of them don’t realize that by making 10 simple changes to their eating lifestyle they can improve their diet by 90% along with improving their health and overall well-being.

Apply these changes to your diet today and you too will be experiencing an increased benefit to your health, probable weight loss, a leaner body, and likely improvements to your blood profile. This all equals a longer healthier life.

Now let’s get started so you can benefit from these 10 simple changes that everyone can make immediately.

1. Hydration: Is there a difference
Consume Green Tea or Water instead of calorie filled drinks such as soft drinks. Green Tea has many health benefits and is a powerful antioxidant. You should be drinking 1ml of non-caffeinated fluid for every calorie that you consume. This works out between (8-12) 8oz glasses of Green Tea or Water a day.

2. Benefits of Fiber
Recommend consuming 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Since the average diet contains only 14 grams we could all use more fiber. Fiber will help satisfy hunger pangs as well as control insulin and blood sugar levels which tend to promote fat storage when they are elevated. By simply eating at least 1 serving of fruit and vegetables at every meal should get you to the goal of 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

3. The Importance of Protein
Eat lean protein sources which include; lean beef, chicken breasts, turkey breasts, salmon, low-fat cottage cheese and other low-fat dairy products, and whey protein powders, at every meal. This will also help control insulin levels and satisfy hunger pangs which tend to promote fat storage. You will find yourself naturally eating less food throughout the day if you eat some type of lean protein at every meal.

4. Frequent Meals: Why?
Eat 4-6 small meals day a day instead of the usual 2-3 large meals. Eating frequently will help regulate and boost your metabolism to burn more calories. By also including your protein and vegetables at these meals you will tend to eat less overall thereby reducing your calorie intake.

5. What are Whole Foods?
Consume whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar such as lean protein (lean beef, chicken, fish, and whey protein), fruits & vegetables (oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, carrots, nuts (almonds, cashews, & walnuts), and whole grains.
Try to minimize processed foods that come in a box or a bag. Instead choose whole grain choices such as whole wheat foods, oatmeals, and vegetables.

6. Healthy Fats: Yes, there are healthy fats
Consume adequate amounts of healthy fat foods such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, or other Omega-3 products. Healthy fats are great antioxidants as well as help with brain function and many other essentials processes that take place in the body on a daily basis. Essential Fatty acids also help prevent certain diseases.

7. Superfoods
Include what I call “Superfoods” into your meal plan on a daily basis. These include but not entirely lean meat, salmon, low fat plain yogurt, tomatoes, spinach, mixed berries, whole oats, mixed nuts, olive oil, flax seeds(or flax meal), green tea, and various beans. These are just some of the “Superfoods” you should be incorporating into your daily meal plans.

8. Fat
Keep total fat intake under 30% for the day. This can be accomplished by not adding too many extra fats such as butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, etc. This doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate these items, but do not eat them as a regular food item every day.

9. Food Log: Yes, this is the most important step
Record what you eat and drink. You will be amazed at what you consume and not even realize you did it until you right it down and reflect back on the day. Keeping a food log is critical to your success because if modifications need to be made you need something to be able to evaluate and analyze. If changes aren’t happening like you had hoped the answer can usually be found in your food and or exercise journal.

10. Food Labels
Review food labels. Avoid foods packed with excess sugar, calories, or foods that contain any trans-fats. You should be looking for more natural foods and not overly-processed foods. Ingredients to look for and avoid or minimize if they are one of the top ingredients listed in the ingredients list: Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil.

If you see these ingredients listed at the top then that means the product is made up of that ingredient as it’s largest source.

Now I don’t expect you to make every change in one day. What I do expect is that if you are serious about living a better life and a healthier life then you need to make these changes over the next 4 weeks. The best way to accomplish this task is to map out your plan. Create meal plans and have a plan of attack in place in regards to what you are eating and when.

You will start to see just how easy it is to live a healthier life and achieve the goals that you desire.

About the Author:

Jayson Hunter, RD, CSCS, is a registered dietitian and fitness professional with more than 10 years of experience. He has worked with 1000’s of individuals in achieving their ideal body and has been published in numerous magazines. He is also co-creator of Meal Plans 101 nutrition software. For more information on how you can utilize Jayson’s expertise go to www.mealplans101.com