Sunday, May 10, 2015

Some general Observations About Keto and Weightloss

So fellow ketoers I wanted to share some of my recent discoveries. These are things that have been working for me and just some observations. Most of them are pretty simple, but it helps to remind ourselves of the basic tenets of the plan from time to time.
1) Eat when you are hungry. Drink when you are thirsty:
This is what I tell myself most of the time. As far as the eating goes, I have learned that I lose the most weight and feel the best when I am eating only 1 or 2 meals a day. Optimally, eating around 4 or 5 in the evening is perfect for me. I eat as much as I want until I am satisfied (not stuffed). I don't worry about calories as much as I worry about how I feel. As far as water goes, if I think I am hungry, I drink water first and usually find I am not actually hungry but thirsty. You should be drinking AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces on a keto diet.
2) Replenish electrolytes:
The three electrolytes you need most on a keto diet are the ones that get used up or flushed out of your system most quickly. These are Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium. For me, I take a daily 500mg Magnesium supplement (I think this one is most important because it keeps you regular). I use a product called No Salt to season my food. It's basically potassium in salt form. It tastes a little funny so I use pepper and other seasoning to mask it. Finally for sodium, if I am feeling a little weird I know almost right away that I need sodium so I boil up some water and pour it in a mug and then add in a beef bouillon cube. It's sorta yummy and I usually feel better almost immediately. Keep these three things in balance. If you start feeling bad I think 90% of the time it's because you are deficient in one of these three things.
3. Carbs are a limit, protein is a goal and fat is a maximum:
Your macros may vary from mine and that's okay. The important thing here is to remember that you want to stay under you carb goal for the day. Mine is 20 grams and after subtracting any fiber I hit it 90% of the time. (Don't freak out or beat yourself up if you go over by a few carbs, you can just try harder tomorrow). However, if you go waaay over and don't have sufficient fiber to balance things out...this is not good. Chances are too many of these oopsies will knock you out of ketosis and getting back in is not fun. Trust me it's not worth it. No you don't deserve that piece of cake! What you do deserve is a healthier you... so stick to your limit!
If you consume too much protein, more than your body needs for homeostasis, your liver performs some magic....evil black magic, lol. What happens is that any protein your body doesn't use when it is consumed goes through a process called gluconeogenesis. Your liver basically turns protein into fat and stores it in your body! So, if someone advises you to eat more protein...they may not understand the science behind ketosis. In reality, you probably need more fat or you're not drinking enough water, or your electrolytes are wonky. Which brings me to my next point...
Fat. Fat is not evil. In ketosis, fat is your friend. If you are some fat. Healthy fats are best for obvious reasons. Grass fed butter, coconut oil, fatty meats and fish, eggs. These things will keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours...maybe even days at a time. You can eat as much fat as you need, but you don't have to force yourself to reach some arbitrary goal on MFP. That is why I say fat is a can eat as much as you need until you hit that number. It's also okay if you go over too. Just keep in mind that if you are really listening to your fat-adapted body you will likely not need that much. You don't have to chug coconut oil to stay in ketosis.
4. Keep it simple!!!!
I can't stress this one enough. For me, I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, but this can lead to your downfall if you are a ketoer. Often, I have tried a new lchf recipe and it has caused me to stall because it has things in it, like sugar free sweeteners, that my body doesn't like. My body wants fat not erithrytol. Or, oops that almond flour actually has quite a few carbs. Or maybe, speaking to the previous concept, that fat bomb was not necessary! I am sure you get my point. If you're consistent in your diet you will see consistent results. Maybe save those fancy recipes for a dinner party or a special occasion and keep it simple the rest of the time. For me simple means, eggs...some fatty meat of some type (I fancy bacon and filet mignon)...and a green leafy veggie (kale, spinach or broccoli). That's it. Have some variation for this at every meal and you will see it work for you too I bet!
Now I know what some people might say....don't you get bored? No, I don't. This is because I have changed the way I think about food. Food is not entertainment for me. It's fuel to keep me going so I can go do things that are entertaining. This is perhaps the most important thing keto has done for me. I used to eat to feel. Food was my addiction and my obsession and my safe place. Now, food is just nutrients my body needs. Something to keep me alive so I can go out and live. Breaking the chains to the refrigerator has saved my life and added a quality to it I have never had before. It has been a blessing for me and that's why I wanted to share this with you all. So if you are struggling with keto take it back to these basics and you will probably see some results.
5. (Last one, I swear) Find other ways than your weight to validate your success and track your progress:
There are so many factors out there that effect the number we see on the scale. Water retention, amount of food and waste in your body, electrolyte imbalance, normal fluctuations, TOM if you are a lady and the list goes on. DO NOT cling to the scale as your only source of motivation. Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you are not happy with your scale.
1) Have I lost inches? Take your measurements!!!! Do it weekly or monthly. You will see a difference. Not only have I lost 74 pounds but I have also lost 32.4 inches!!!!
2) How do my clothes feel? Perhaps the most exciting albeit expensive NSV for me has been my need to buy progressively smaller pants and tops. I love the feeling of trying on a pair of pants only to find they fall off of me or I need a belt to hold them up.
3) How do I feel? Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Are people bugging you less? Do you have better mental focus? These are all sure signs that you are healthy and getting healthier.
4) What can I do? This is a big one for me. I can walk further and longer than I could a year ago. I can get through an entire Insanity workout without keeling over and dying. I can fit in a plane seat and buckle the belt. I can go on rides at the water park. I can ride a horse. I can bungee jump (not that I would). I can skydive if I wanted to. I can fit in the movie theater seat or the concert hall. I can go out dancing without sweating buckets. All of these things are things I couldn't do when I was 319 pounds. What can you do?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Update: Intermittent Fasting on Nutritional Ketosis or I'm not Hangry anymore!

      So I lost another 3.2 pounds according to the weight-loss challenge at work as of Wednesday. 1.4% BMI lost.  Total of 8 lbs in two weeks. I am really convinced that nutritional ketosis is the way for me to get healthy. If you are interested to learn more about it I recommend reading Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore with Dr. Westman.

This book is changing my life!
     One of the things I have learned from this book is the concept of intermittent fasting or IF. The concept behind IF is that you only eat when you are hungry. This is a surprisingly simple concept but the ability to only eat when I was hungry was something that seemed impossible before I started keto.  Before I started keto I was consuming upwards of 200g of carbohydrates a day. Eating carbs triggers an insulin response in your body. When insulin is triggered the body burns the glucose created from the carbs. The problem is that these carbs are often converted to fat because they cannot all be burned. Then because insulin is triggered you just feel hungry again. It was a vicious cycle in which I would eat carbs then get hungry again and eat more carbs. It was a struggle not to eat above my calories every day and I felt hungry all the time. Then I discovered keto and everything changed. I changed my diet to high fat, moderate protein and low carb. I now get 75% of my daily calorie intake from healthy fats found in eggs, meats and dairy. I also liberally use butter, coconut oil and lard. It may sound crazy to you and it did to me at first too. Now I know I will never go back. Here's why:

    The reason following this simple rule of only eating when hungry is so easy now is that I am keto adapted and my body is now burning fat for fuel. What this means is that I am not hungry most of the time because my body is using my ample fat stores for fuel. I typically now eat one meal a day and it is definitely a substantial meal. After my last 24 hour fast I ate a hamburger patty, three slices of bacon wrapped around cream cheese, three eggs sprinkled with cheddar and some sauteed kale. That was last night at 6pm. I haven't been hungry since.

My fasting schedule is as follows:

Day 1: Eat until 6pm and then stop
Day 2: Do not eat until 6pm
Day 3: Eat until 6pm and then stop
Day 4: Do not eat until 6pm

And so on....

   If you had asked me a few months ago if I could go without eating for 24 hours I would have told you no. But technically I am not really fasting at all because my body is using ketones to fuel itself. I am so happy that I have such control over my appetite now. I can't wait to see what the future will bring. For the first time in my life I can hear my body and I know when I am really hungry. I have broken through the American concept of having to eat 3 meals a day because that's just how its done. Now I know that this is unnecessary and that I don't need to eat every 3 hours just because that's what is considered normal.  More on keto later.....hope everyone has a great weekend. In other news since the weigh in on Wednesday I have lost  another 2 pounds and am under 260 pounds for the first time in 8 years!!! Only 14 more pounds until I reach my halfway point on MFP! Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beef. It's what's for dinner.

Got a great deal on 12 third pound Angus steak burgers. I had to use or freeze them by today. So I had two for dinner and froze the rest. They were delicious and I didn't even miss the bun! I seasoned them with sea salt and fresh ground peppercorns. Then I drizzled a little sriracha on each one. A side of steamed broccoli sprinkled with grated Parmesan was a perfect combo! I am really enjoying this diet and I really think I can stick with it! 

In other news: I joined a weight loss competition at work and I lost 4.2 pounds in one week and .8% body fat! I think I am in the lead!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Started a new Facebook Group

I started a new Facebook group called Low Carb Living with a friend from My Fitness Pal named Andy. Andy has been doing LCHF for 4 1/2 months and has lost 157 pounds. He is an inspiration to me and many others. If you read this blog and are interested in the LCHF  aka Ketogenic way of eating please feel free to join us. We share recipes, stories, advice and food porn (pictures of dinner). If you are interested in joining you can find the group by following this link here: Low Carb Living

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bacon, Bacon and more Bacon...please.

I don't know if anyone still reads this but I am going to keep posting on it because I want to share some recipes I am creating to fit into my new LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) lifestyle. I have been eating a great deal of bacon and its working for me. I find that I am full, have no problem eating within my calorie goals, and I feel fantastic. The secret? I have embraced fat as my primary source of fuel. I have been doing LCHF for about 2 weeks now and have already lost 8 lbs. This puts me at 53 pounds lost since  I began this journey so many years ago. I am hoping that loss number will continue to increase. Anyway here is my favorite recipe of the moment: 

Bacon and Kale "Salad" with Balsamic Mayo Dressing


6 slices of bacon2 cups raw kale1 tbsp full fat mayo1 tbsp balsamic vinegar1 tsp real lemon brand lemon juicea pinch of salta dash of pepper

Balsamic Mayo Dressing:

In a small bowl mix together 1 tbsp full fat mayo1 tbsp balsamic vinegar1 tsp real lemon lemon juicea pinch of salta dash of pepperStir mixture until it achieves a smooth and creamy consistency

Kale and Bacon Directions:

1) In a non-stick skillet fry six slices of bacon on medium high to desired crispness2) remove bacon from skillet and set aside but leave the bacon grease in the skillet3) reduce heat to medium or low and deposit two cups of lightly chopped raw kale into the skillet4) using a spatula or spoon stir the kale until it is thoroughly coated with bacon grease then cook while stirring until the kale wilts and reduces to half the bulk (about 1 cup)5) remove kale from skillet and arrange on a plate6) crumble up the bacon slices and sprinkle them on top of the kale7) pour dressing over the "salad" 8) Enjoy! I ate mine with a side of eggs fried medium in the bacon grease.