I first went Keto when working at a company that provided my food for me. The food served was of low quality. I had worked hard to drop weight, and didn’t want to regress in my new environment.
Overeating is easy. Mix social gatherings, stress, and late nights together with readily available processed carbs in abundant quantities, and weight gain is all but imminent.
My solution? Remove the carbs altogether.
Oftentimes, people who seek begin on low-carb diets forget the most important part: adding fat.
Think of your macronutrient intake like a pie chart. In order to maintain balance, when you decrease one macronutrient, you must increase one or both of the remaining macros.
Forgetting to add fat is shooting yourself in the foot. Fat is not only the most calorically dense macronutrient, it is necessary in many of your body’s processes.
How do you do that?
Remove the bread, rice, potatoes, or other non-vegetable carb from your plate. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of a olive oil and/or an avocado.
Rinse and repeat as needed.
One popular form of low-carb dieting is called the Ketogenic diet. As a result of eliminating carbs, your body switches fuel sources, from stored glucose (from carbs) to ketones (from stored body fat).
“Ketones and ketoacids are alternative fuels for the body that are made when glucose is in short supply. They are made in the liverfrom the breakdown of fats.
Ketones are formed when there is not enough sugar or glucose to supply the body’s fuel needs. This occurs overnight, and during dieting or fasting. During these periods, insulin levels are low, but glucagon and epinephrine levels are relatively normal. This combination of low insulin, and relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels causes fat to be released from the fat cells. The fats travel through the blood circulation to reach the liver where they are processed into ketone units. The ketone units then circulate back into the blood stream and are picked up by the muscle and other tissues to fuel your body’s metabolism. In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones.“
Being in a state of ketosis in addition to caloric deficit is, essentially, your body’s perfect fat-burning environment.
There are people who swear by keto, and people who think it is ludicrous. This is much like the debate on different schools of breathing for singing: some swear by “down and out” and others by “up and in”. As long as you’re singing in tune, can color your voice for dramatic effect, and be heard at all times, who cares?
Keto is incredibly easy to maintain, and comes with a huge list of benefits. In my experience, these include:
- mental acuity. No brain fog
- Constant, clean energy. There are no blood-sugar spike induced crashes
- You always feel lean.
- Very quick way to shed a few pounds (this is just water weight, though).
- Hunger is non-existent (which makes Intermittent Fasting and control of binge-eating easy)
- Increase insulin sensitivity (avoid Type II Diabetes and make your body more efficient at burning fat)
- You break your addiction to sugar and carbs (thereby eliminating cravings)
- Eating steak and eggs and/or cheeseburgers (without the bun) and being leaner, sharper, and better-looking for it.
All of these benefits and more are explained in depth by Dr. Dom D’Agostino, who is on the cutting edge of ketosis research, on this episode of Joe’s podcast.
HOW TO KETO
First things first, you have to be clear on why you want to make this change. Keto is simple but change is often hard.
Having a strong why-improved confidence from being ripped, wanting to perform better at work, avoiding Type II Diabetes and early and unfortunate death-will fortify your resolve in times of weakness.
Most people don’t realize how much their lives revolve around food. Most people also don’t care about their appearance, their health, and don’t want to see any fellow crabs make it out of the bucket.
You may get some funny looks when you order salad with olive oil on the side and eat your cheeseburger with a fork while ditching the bun. Ignore these nay-sayers. We’ll see who is looking funny when we all go to the beach.
1. ACHIEVE KETOSIS
This is accomplished by depleting your body of glucose stores ie not eating carbs. This usually takes a couple of days for most people. You can speed this process up by working out hard and/or fasting.
So, do some fasted workouts and you’ll be entered into keto pretty quickly. Pay extra attention to your hydration levels. Also, throw some salt into your water or have a broth bouillon cube to maintain blood volume levels and keep your electrolyte balance in check.
You can also enter ketosis by introducing exogenous ketones. I have never used them, but Dom D’Agostino has research on them, and he is Keto God.
2. MAINTAIN KETOSIS
Simply put, you just avoid all carbs that are not green veggies and eat a lot of fat and a lot of protein.
It’s really that simple.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: eat a lot of broccoli when on this diet to poop with normal frequency. This diet won’t constipate you, you’ll just poop less than normal. This is because it creates a low amount of waste, and therefore, your body has less to excrete. Broccoli is also veggie #1 in my book, as it has estrogen-reducing properties and goes with everything.
The late, great physique architect and fitness polymath Vince Gironda
lived most of his life on steak and eggs. He was shredded to the bone. Steak and Eggs is a great diet because it is simple and satisfying.
Be SURE to be keeping the fat in your diet high. As previously mentioned, many people fail to do this and are miserable. Remove your carbs. REPLACE THEM fat. If you are having a bunch of turkey or chicken on a mountain of spinach, that’s excellent. Now add a bunch of olive oil and/or an avocado.
This is why the Bulletproof Coffee cult ruins their coffee by putting butter in it. It is an easy way to add fat to your diet. I’d rather just eat a tablespoon of butter and wash it down with coffee, but who am I to judge?
OPTIONAL 3. RE-FEED
In normal caloric deficit, re-feeds are used to boost leptin levels, a fat-burning hormone. The effect of a leptin boost on top of consistent caloric deficit can be pretty tremendous, incinerating fat stores almost overnight.
Most people undo days or weeks of consistency by re-feeding (misnomered as “cheating”) incorrectly. They binge on FAR too much food and end up taking two steps back, undoing their two steps forward.
Don’t worry about this until you’re 10 or so pounds away from looking like Vince in the above picture, or when weight loss has truly stalled (and can’t be pushed forward by increased activity, the preferred alternative to dropping calories).
Let’s be honest: you weren’t worrying about interspersing “clean eating days” into your diet when you were eating like trash and getting out of shape, so you don’t get to intersperse “cheat days” until you’ve ACTUALLY earned them.
WHO IS KETO FOR?
Keto can work for pretty much everyone. There are studies that show it enhanced performance in all kinds of athletes, from endurance athletes like cyclers and ultra-marathoners to strength athletes like competitive weight-lifters.
Keto can work for:
- endurance athletes
- strength athletes
- people who travel a lot for work and want a simple way to stay fit and functional
- people with risk of Alzheimer’s
- people with risk of cancer
- people at risk for type II Diabetes
- very overweight people
To reap these benefits, you must first become keto-adapted. Essentially, this is when your body has fully transitioned fuel sources. The period up to this point can kind of suck-feel a little weak and flat-but it’s worth it, because the immense benefits of ketosis are worth the discipline.
You can still gain weight on a ketogenic diet. No matter what your macro breakdown is, taking in more calories than you are burning will cause you to gain weight, most often in the form of stored bodyfat.
It is imperative, no matter what dietary doctrine you ascribe to, that you be mindful of the quantity of calories you’re ingesting.
- There is no one-size-fits all diet. Keto is not for everyone. Try it and see if you like it.
- Keto makes dieting easy. It eliminates hunger and allows you to eat steak and eggs and bacon.
- It is a useful behavioral programming tool for your relationship with food. Quit being addicted to sugar and letting cravings control your life.
- Keto is super easy, but you still have to be in caloric deficit in order to lose weight.
- Carbs are not the enemy-eating too much is the enemy. Keto makes it easy to not over-eat.
- Keto is simple. High fat, medium protein, no carbs, lots of fibrous green veggies.