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?