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The Keto diet

primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposalDetroit, MI Icrontian
edited Dec 2011 in Fitness
I think it's time to share my struggles and successes with the community that I love.

Almost a month ago, I decided to take control of my diet. There are a lot of factors that contributed, but something just snapped (as they say it always happens). At 34 years old, I am on the fast track to diabetes, as it runs strongly on both sides of my family, I am extremely overweight, and my lifestyle is entirely sedentary. I had a blood pressure scare earlier in the year, I suffer from sleep apnea, and I'm just generally miserable with my body.

I read a post on Reddit from a guy who was 800lbs, and lost 300. His thread was about his depression at still being extremely overweight even after the struggle that it took to lose that crazy amount of weight. To sum it up, "Yeah, I lost three hundred pounds. People look at me and I'm still 500 pounds."

I know I could never get to be that out of control, but I knew where this guy was, mentally; many of you will remember that a couple of years ago I went a bit nuts and started nightly walks and blogged about it every day to keep myself motivated. After months of that, I lost about 20 pounds, but I was highly discouraged because it didn't really look like I lost 20 pounds. I lost it in my thighs and around my groin; areas that didn't show when I had clothing on. The amount of effort to lose those twenty pounds was incredible for me. Maybe it's the sleep apnea, maybe it's my thyroid disorder, whatever... I grew to loathe the walking so much that I would literally wake up in the morning and ALREADY have anxiety about the walk I would be taking that night. It was unsustainable, and I stopped. The weight came back.

At any rate, through Reddit I found the Keto subreddit and started doing some research. The more I read, the more sense it made. I decided to try it. I was highly encouraged by how successful the community members were.

So it's been almost thirty days. I've lost a bit over twenty pounds already; needless to say, it works. Besides the dramatic weight loss in such a short time, I also feel much, much better; both mentally and physically. My freaking teeth feel healthier. I'm sleeping a little better. My allergies which normally plague me heavily during autumn have entirely disappeared. It's almost like a miracle diet.

Keto is not a healthy lifestyle for the long-term. What it is is a short-term plan to lose weight; it can be rotated in and out with other smart food choices. I don't want anybody to be concerned about my liver or kidneys or brain or whatever; believe me, I've read (and heard) all the criticisms and "Oh, that's quack medicine" and whatnot.

For me, Keto hasn't been much other than eliminating grains and sugar entirely from my diet. It sounds simple, but it limits your food choices remarkably. Going to a grocery store, it's amazing to see it with Keto eyes; there's almost nothing in the entire store you can eat that's not fresh produce or meat. 85% of the store shelves are useless. The western diet is absolutely inundated with all kinds of sugars and wheat. It's no wonder we are the unhealthiest people in the world (and cultures that adopt our diet are finding out the same things. Diabetes. Obesity. Heart disease.)

At any rate, my "fat" pants are now starting to fall off of me. My belt is now at the tightest notch and I'll probably need to drill a new hole soon. Six months from now, I'll probably need a new wardrobe.

Keto is 65% fat, 30% protein, 5% carbs. I've been keeping extremely strict, under 20g carbs a day, and have been ensuring my ketosis with urinalysis. I have not had one single cheat day (as cheating would knock me out of ketosis and it may take 5-7 days to get back into it. Not worth it.) The only downsides so far have been remarkably smelly urine and occasional complaints of slightly off body odor (the body excretes acetone during ketosis).

I've been cooking a great deal more (I don't really have a choice). I've been planning meals ahead, and I've been eating MUCH better. I eat a lot of fresh meat and a ton of leafy greens, most notably spinach and kale. Eating keto is very difficult in certain situations (most sauces, etc, are loaded with carbs), but I'm used to it now and can eat correctly with little effort. It's becoming a habit.

For the long term, I am heavily considering moving into a paleo diet. I think I'll be able to cut wheat entirely from my diet for life; I really don't miss it. When I am transitioning away from keto I'll be adding healthier carbs to my diet; namely rice, potatoes, and carrots. Eating sugar-free is not as hard as I thought it would be.

At any rate, I hope my struggles and successes encourage others who are trying to lose weight. I truly gave up hope that I'd ever be able to lose weight, but this is actually working for me, and I'm reasonably certain I can make a lifestyle out of this.
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Comments

  • jj Easpointe, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    FIRST -
    Keep going, you have my full support,
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    When you no longer need that motivation cape, send it my way. Oh, and CONGRATS. Keep it up and I REALLY pray you still with it.

    You doing any exercise?
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    This is absolutely fantastic news! Just keep in mind that cutting weight isn't always a fast process, it's a lifestyle change that depends on consistency and control. Don't ever get discouraged and you WILL succeed. I only hope that you can afford clothes that fit in the coming months :P
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Thanks guys.

    Q: No exercise yet. I may start exercising when I drop some more weight.
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I highly suggest it at some point. Diet alone isn't the most effective (or healthy) way to lose weight by my understanding. The trick is to find a kind of exercise you enjoy, if you hated going for walks consider something else such as weightlifting, boxing, or bike riding. Hell I don't know, doesn't Matt still do martial arts? Go with him some night and try out the basics. You could even try 1 on 2 wrestling with Kyle and Perry, that should be a blast.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Baby steps. I'm sure when it doesn't physically hurt to bend down, walk, or do whatever, I'll be more receptive to the idea. My knees are bad and physical effort is not in the cards until I drop about 50 more pounds.
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Which is why I say at some point, you'll know when you're ready. :D
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I'm back up in my weight... heaviest I've ever been. Sucks ass... too tired, down, and stressed to motivate myself to exercise and food is SO damn good to eat. DAMN IT Career! :D
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    There are a lot of discouraging moments, Q.

    I was looking back; I had gained 50 pounds since 2007. That was an eye-opener. I'm now having to make major lifestyle changes to get back to a weight that I thought was very overweight back then! My heaviest was 285. I was pretty much disgusted with myself; no way I was going to let myself get to 300. That was a magical number in my head; if I was 300 pounds (at my height), well then, it was just over. I would be forever a fat guy.

    I'm down to 260 now, and I still need to lose another 25 pounds to get back to my 2007 level. That was when I made the "Short Media 30 pound challenge". Hah! Now it's more like the 100 pound challenge :D
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Amazing what a diet change will do for you. Amazing what exercise does too. Both these things take less effort than people think, and when you commit to at least one of them, it'll rock your world. I wish more people who struggle with weight understood that. The biggest effort you need to exert is to make the decision to change things. The rest is pretty simple.

    Glad you're doing this again, Brian.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Orange, CA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Am I the only one who thought of keto when reading the thread title?

    Huge congrats, Brian. I'm glad it's helping you to feel better.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    GHoosdum wrote:
    Am I the only one who thought of keto when reading the thread title?

    Huge congrats, Brian. I'm glad it's helping you to feel better.
    No, you are not the only one, I thought Brian had resorted to eating the members.;D
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
  • ketoketo Occupied. Or is it preoccupied? Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    HEY what's THIS now??

    In the unlikely event the question crossed anyone's mind, no. Nothing to do with me.

    I'm 'genetically blessed' and, at 48, can eat what I want when I want...I'm 6' 175lbs, out of shape and about 15lbs overweight that my doctor laughs at me when I suggest it. My brothers, my dad & mom, most of my aunts and uncles on both sides are healthy...and they almost all live to be OLD, though cancer did get my dad at 66. His mom is still alive, his dad was 84, mom's dad & mom were 104 and 97.

    My only weight loss story involves quitting smoking, eating like a pig 24/7 for a few months, stepping on a scale and seeing 199...which is just ridiculous for my build. So, I cut a few things out of my diet (soda, specifically Pepsi, was the big one), pushed my plate away when I was reasonably satisfied instead of stuffed, and 3 months later I was 175 again. 0 exercise. Most of my reading says that, while exercise is excellent for your health, it's only a small contributor to weight loss, diet being by many times the larger factor.

    Hey Brian - good luck man.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Diet, specifically eating the correct number of calories, is a huge component of weight loss. Exercise absolutely helps, but diet should be first.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    A recent study:

    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/112/abstract

    A lot of people ask, "If this diet is so magical, why aren't more people doing it?"

    The answer is complicated, but mostly it has to do with how absolutely ingrained (pun!) carbohydrates are in the Western diet. Eating ketogenic is giving up a great deal of treats and common foods. A single can of soda, a single cupcake or Twinkie, a single bottle of beer? Say goodbye to ketosis.

    The other reason is that fat has been extremely vilified by society; the very word itself is both the name of a macronutrient AND a condition that is associated with being out-of-shape, lazy, slovenly, obese, and unhealthy. Everybody thinks "fat is bad" and "Must eat low fat". Low-fat foods are common. Low-carb? Not so much.

    I've been eating a lot of high-fat foods. I use heavy whipping cream in my coffee. I put butter and sour cream on everything. I eat a pound of bacon at a sitting. I'm losing weight, my blood pressure is much better, my headaches are reduced, I'm sleeping better, and I feel better. This goes against everything we're taught from childhood.

    My doctor, the other day, said "You must have decreased your salt intake and started exercising! Good for you!"

    Nope. Did neither. Increased my salt, actually. Quite a bit.

    Medical science? There is no actual scientifically proven correlation between salt and high blood pressure, yet every doctor in America will tell you to lower your sodium intake. It's almost craziness.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Specifically about the salt thing: a recent study came out and showed that the others ones were basically bunk. I can find a link later if people are curious
  • ketoketo Occupied. Or is it preoccupied? Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    That salt thing is eyebrow raising. I don't like much salt, never EVER use a shaker on anything on my plate....and, I have the blood pressure of a teenaged athlete (like 115/75) despite being really out of shape and a smoker, so naturally I always attributed the low bp to my low salt intake (ok, let's call it 'moderate', see below). Interesting.

    As an aside, I recognize that the way I eat, I'm getting more sodium than I'd ever need to survive, fast food, potato chips, canned/pre-prepared foods (yes, I am slowly poisoning myself, I know). Just none ever from a salt shaker.

    I also eat a fair amount of fat in my diet - nothing better than a big mouthfull from the edge of a nicely done pork chop or a good prime rib :respect: Again, I'm only very slightly overweight ~15 lb.

    Anyone ever try raising their metabolism by eating 5-6 meals a day instead of 2-3? I eat 1. Breakfast 2. lunch 3. afternoon snack, light 4. supper, early 5. evening snack, usually fairly substantial, sometimes twice. At 48, I still burn it all off despite being pretty sedentary.

    The drawback is, if I miss a meal, I'm getting dizzy and faint pretty soon :P
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    5 meals does raise metabolism, bit the actual number is marginal. Around 100 calories per day for an adult male.
  • WagsFTWWagsFTW Grand Rapids, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Brian, this is great. I'm so happy for you. Keep at it!

    :)
  • pseudonympseudonym Michigan Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Well done sir!
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    208x228_cool-king-curtis-bacon-is-good-for-me1.jpg?1318992465

    King Curtis approves.
  • NecropolisNecropolis Hawarden, Wales Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Did this diet a few years ago. Worked really well for me, I lost a hell of a lot of weight then made the mistake of trying to go the guy after about two months on it and it felt like it nearly killed me. Been toying with going back on it as its the best diet I have done as I found it very easy to stick to. Keep at it.
  • MAGICMAGIC Furniture City, Michigan Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    So happy for you man, keep it up.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Thanks :)

    Today was rough; I'm staying at Nicole's mom's place in northern Michigan for a few days; today the power went out for hours. We went to a nice restaurant on a golf course, and the menu was superb. There were so many things I wanted, but I ended up getting the "back of the menu for non-adventurous eaters" standard american bacon cheeseburger and took the bun off. I ate my sad patty and slice of cheese.

    On the plus side: It was way cheaper than anything else on the menu! :p

    MY WILL IS STRONG
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja Mountains Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    you can't even use my presents you healthy bastard.

    well I'm proud of you all the same, some day I will join you.
  • BetsyDBetsyD Cincinnati, OH Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    :rockon:

    Glad you found something that will help get you going down a healthy path :)
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    25 pounds down :)

    This chart (not mine, someone else's) illustrates nicely my exact experience:

    GzQO3.png
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Excellent work so far. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes (plus considering it for myself after the holidays).
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Somebody asked.

    A typical meal for me is something like this:

    jeOt4hKqjQiDC.jpg

    That's a giant bowl filled with baby spring green mix from Costco, a bunch of pork tenderloin (with the fat on) that I made with nothing other than garlic and ginger (in a crockpot), a bunch of shredded cheese, sour cream, and no-carb hot sauce (most Mexican brands have no sugar; this is Tapatio. Basically vinegar and chili peppers and a few other seasonings).

    jbke5mS3R2QjMb.jpg

    Ingredients.

    I made a pork tenderloin in the crockpot, and that will feed me for about three days' worth of meals.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Point being: It's freaking delicious. The only carbs in that meal are dietary fiber anyway (not metabolized). That's pretty much a perfect Keto meal right there.

    One of the downsides of the Reddit community is that they post a bunch of pictures of extremely greasy, fat dripping meat and cheese and egg concoctions. People get sidelined into thinking the Keto diet is the Bacon and Cheese diet, which is not the case.

    An important factor is getting enough fiber and water. I've been eating a ton of spring greens, spinach, and kale with added fat (olive oil usually).
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    The other thing I wanted to say is that for the past several years, I've slowly watched many of my friends get fit while I gained weight. I'm so proud of all of you Icrontians who have gotten in shape. Thrax, Conrad, Jackie, Steven, Fatcat, Amanda, Meghann. You guys are all trimmer and in better shape than you were when I met you, and it's inspiring.

    It's been hard to feel like I was going in the opposite direction. I felt like I was the one who couldn't do it.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is: I feel like if I can do it, ANYBODY can do it. I've always had zero success with weight loss; I have only ever gotten fatter from the time I was 18 years old. My entire adult life has been a slow weight gain. It's really hard to think of that as a possible parabola. When the pattern has always been "Every year I get bigger", it's an extreme psychological roadblock.

    I think I've finally broken the pattern, and I've done it before it's too late. This road has just begun.
  • QCHQCH Chicago Area - USA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    The other thing I wanted to say is that for the past several years, I've slowly watched many of my friends get fit while I gained weight. I'm so proud of all of you Icrontians who have gotten in shape. Thrax, Conrad, Jackie, Steven, Fatcat, Amanda, Meghann. You guys are all trimmer and in better shape than you were when I met you, and it's inspiring.

    It's been hard to feel like I was going in the opposite direction. I felt like I was the one who couldn't do it....

    I've always had zero success with weight loss; I have only ever gotten fatter from the time I was 18 years old. My entire adult life has been a slow weight gain. It's really hard to think of that as a possible parabola. When the pattern has always been "Every year I get bigger", it's an extreme psychological roadblock.
    BINGO... next up for me, trying something and sticking with it. But I am so happy to see that you are doing so well.
  • CrazyJoeCrazyJoe Winter Springs, FL Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Prime, I am much the same as you in the way that I've tried exercising and diets to lose weight but I can't seem to stick with it for more than a month or so (even that with minimal success.) I am looking into this after reading about your success. Where would you suggest as a starting point in reading about the plan, what you can and cannot each and such?
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    If you go to the Keto subreddit and look to the right at all the links, I gave most of those a cursory glance to get an idea of where to start.

    There's really not a whole lot of complexity though—that's the nice thing about Keto. It's just: don't eat carbs. At all.

    After you've been doing it for a week or so you're going to want to get some Ketosis testing strips to make sure you're actually in Ketosis. If you eat under 20g of carbs a day, you'll be in Ketosis in a few days. You may experience some minor side effects at first; some describe a "keto flu" as your liver sheds all its stored glucose. That didn't happen to me. What DID happen to me was carb withdrawals. Seriously, we're addicted to them. The first two weeks were tough (Willpower-wise), but I guess I rolled a 20 on my will check, because I did not break. After two weeks, I stopped craving the carbs (although I still occasionally get cravings, but I just Like A Boss through them).
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    It's very, very important to start being aware of everything you eat; check the labels on everything. If it's packaged, there's a VERY good chance you can't eat it. SO many packaged foods have added sugar or starch or gluten. If a package says >2g carbs, I put it back and never touch it again.

    Get your 20g of carbs from fresh leafy greens. Buy bags of spinach, kale, and other greens. Eat broccoli. If it's green and grows above the ground, it's probably alright.

    The biggest mistake I think most people make on Keto is not eating enough greens. Seriously, I can't stress that enough. You'll see loads of BACON CHEESE OMG LOL I LOVE BACON but that's not the right path.
  • jaredjared College Station, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Is there a set period of time that is recommended for this. Such as do the keto diet for up to 3 months, but then you have to get off it. Obviously as you said it's not something you do forever, just didn't know what your goal is or what is recommended.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Keto is good for 3-4 months cycled with 1-2 months of the same calorie intake, whatever that value is to shed, except with carbs.
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    jared, it means NO LONESTAR BEIRZ!
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    For now, I'm going to 180, but I'll re-evaluate when I reach that goal.

    For the long term, I'll probably switch to something like the Paleo diet.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Yeah, the no beer thing is a bummer, but whatever. I'm over it.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    That's why I'm starting after the holidays. It gives me a good 3-month stretch with no distractions from January through March.

    I still have quite a bit of research to do, but the plan currently sits at January to March, and then evaluating from there.

    If I could get down to 240, I'd be beside myself happy (not to mention 50lb lighter).
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Why is it that basically every diet involves eating the one type of food that I can't even force myself to eat... leafy greens?

    FML, I'm going to be fat until I die of a heart attack at 45.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Orange, CA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I suppose you could keep mostly the same diet, and replace the leafy greens with, perhaps, cabbages...
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Cabbage is the same way for me as leafy greens... as are pretty much any raw vegetable. I don't know what it is or where it comes from, but I have what I can only describe as a severe psychosomatic response to leafy greens & raw vegetables wherein it feels like my throat swells closed when I bite into them and I can only swallow them if I really force myself to. Oh, and I've been tested for food allergies, I have none. It's strange and frustrating and makes me feel like I'll never have a chance at being healthy.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Orange, CA Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    What about cooked veggies? Cooked broccoli or spinach? I mean, look what spinach does to Popeye!
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Most cooked veggies are fine (and I do eat them as much as possible). The leafy ones still weird me out though (including cabbage). Spinach I can handle in some forms, such as cooked and mixed into mashed potatoes. Fuck, typing this out makes me sound like even more of a weirdo than I already knew I was.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Nah, it's not weird. There's nothing saying you need to eat them raw.

    My girlfriend introduced me to baby bok choi, fried in butter. Amazing. Do weird shit: Fry broccoli in butter, fry spinach in bacon fat.

    There are all kinds of ways to eat leafy greens that don't involve eating like a rabbit.
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    I think that's one point where I think I lucked out. I love a lot of leafy greens, particularly raw spinach. I also love broccoli (raw, steamed, fried in butter, dipped in cheese*, etc).

    The Dole Spring Mix box is heaven in a plastic container for me. Spinach, arugula, and 100 other things that look like they might have come out of my back yard.

    * This includes cheese, and "cheese".
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Oct 2011
    Hrmm... I've always read that once you cook vegetables you lose a lot of the valuable nutrition. Not that you shouldn't eat cooked veggies, but that raw would always be much better for you.
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