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:
- 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
- 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.