Ketogenic Diet Diary – 2017
Keto Diet Introduction
It has occurred to me that I have made some pretty bad life decisions over the past few years. I have been focusing on areas that have been negative and fairly damaging to me physically and mentally. Some areas I have no control over but some areas I DO have control over and those are the areas I need to work on.
I am not going to go into them right now because this isn’t about all the crap that has led me down this path…it is about how I am going to IMPROVE on things. The things that need improving are both physical and mental but in my experience the mental side is probably the most important because if the mind is not firing on all cylinders then don’t expect the body to be working correctly.
This diary is going to be about my changes…it is going to follow my changes and I am just going to jot down whatever I feel is important. The two main areas will be my fat loss/body transformation and my continuous battle with depression. The two may not seem connected or related to one another but they are…very much so. My depression has been the bane of my life for as long as I can remember and it goes all the way back to Kindergarten. It is always there…trying to ruin any weight training or fat loss program I happen to be following at the time.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of my depression here…bits and pieces will come out over the course of this year…depending on my mood or what I want to share. With the inclusion of my YouTube videos I am sure you will see me in states of total misery to “feeling ok”. Depression for me is just constant ups and downs.
As for my physical changes…I will be putting myself through a Ketogenic Diet once again because I have become dangerously FAT over the past couple of years. Why I allowed myself to get to this stage is because I guess I began not to give a crap…I mean, no one else gave a crap so why should I.
Of course, I am coming to realize that I need to stop concerning myself with what other people think of me and just get on with what I think is important. I know where these feelings and thoughts were born from, I know their beginnings and the whos and they whys. I have been living them and analyzing them all my life and know the facts…facts that any $200 per hour Psychiatrist would most likely tell me. I understand it, but I really don’t want to feel or think it anymore.
I want to bring some positivity into my life and I want to be able to look myself in the mirror without the erg to puke my guts out. Yes, the majority of all this is mental…but getting my body back into shape will help me a lot.
A few years ago I got to a pretty good stage in my life physically. I mean, I was no “beef cake” but I was fit and had very little fat. I was training daily and I kept my depression under control…sometimes.
My intention this time? To get fit and healthy to be able to cope with what goes on in my head a little better. I don’t have a set plan as to how I want to look at the end of it. Right now it is for health reasons BUT at some point I may begin to plan out where I want to go…how I want to look. I will take this one step at a time because the last thing I need right now with work and all the other stuff going on in my life is overwhelm. Overwhelm is like Burnout…it is not a nice feeling!
Ketogenic Diet – 2017
I last attempted to get rid of the fat back in 2015 and that was a total failure. My mind was not in it…I guess I was not desperate enough. Funny thing is I started all this a few years back as an experiment. I thought I would try out a few different fat loss methods to see which would work the best. I thought I had control over my body…and I guess I did have some control until I allowed things to get messy in my personal life which in turn effected every aspect of my life.
So now, a few years later I REALLY AM FAT….and something IS going to finally be done about it. I have tried a few methods for fat loss but for me the one that really worked the best for my physical AND mental health was a Ketogenic Diet.
So, over the next few weeks and months I will be documenting the changes in my body and mental state. I recently bought a FitBit Charge HR to help monitor my heart rate throughout the day as well as my weight loss, water intake, calories burned, exercise duration, food intake, sleeping habits and more.
Some of those metrics will be shared here on the site or via Facebook or Twitter. The information will not be 100% accurate but with today’s technology it certainly will not be far off. I checked my resting heart rate manually and compared it to what my Fitbit wrist watch picked up and the numbers are pretty much the same. It may be one or two beats off sometimes but not much more.
Ketogenic Diet Preparation
I am going to give myself a few days to prepare for the challenge ahead. I still have lots of “crappy” foods left over in my home so I will have to get rid of those first. I will then begin replacing those bad foods with the types of foods that I will be eating over the next few months while following a ketogenic diet.
As well as the change in my food intake I will also begin exercising again. At this point I am still not sure of the type of exercises I will be doing but I do know that I will be doing a lot more cycling. I think I will be incorporating a morning body-weight exercises routine every day or every other day…I still need to sort that out. Right now getting my food right is the main priority because that is the core of this diet. Get it wrong and the whole process is pointless. Exercising is just a bonus!
Why Did I Choose A Ketogenic Diet?
Putting it simply, it is the only one that worked best for me. I think it suits my personality type; I am an “all or nothing” kind of person. Not great but that is just the way it is. A keto diet is a low carb diet, very similar to the infamous Aitkens Diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that is what your body chooses over any other energy source. Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, the fats in your body are not really needed and so it all gets stored…usually in the worst places, belly, waist, etc. With a Ketogenic diet the amount of carbohydrates put into the body is lowered considerably to the point where the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
So the point of a Ketogenic diet is to force your body into this metabolic state by lowering your carb intake. So once in Ketosis your body will begin to use any stored fat as its main source of energy. You essentially become a fat burning machine! That sounds good to me!
Benefits Of A Ketogenic Diet
While being on this diet your body basically adapts and uses energy in a very interesting way by essentially using your body fat. Huge fat loss and weight loss benefits there right!
Control Blood Sugar
When I eat whatever I want my blood sugar levels are all over the place. It usually gets to a point that if I don’t eat something every couple of hours I get cranky. Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels due to the type of foods you eat which all happen to be low carb foods.
I always try to find ways of improving my mental focus and have noticed that over the last couple of years, (while eating any crap I want), my mental focus has been low, low, low. However, when I was last on a Ketogenic Diet I found myself being really focused during work and play.
Ketones, (which are produced by the body during ketosis), are a great source of fuel for the brain. When you lower carb intake, you avoid big spikes in blood sugar. Together, this can result in improved focus and concentration.
Increased Energy & Normalized Hunger
This is also a big plus for me and one of the reasons why a lot of bodybuilders use this diet to help with their training and fat loss. By giving your body a better and more reliable energy source, you will feel more energized during the day. Fats are shown to be the most effective molecule to burn as fuel. A huge bonus to this is that because you eat more fat during this diet you will actually feel more satiated after eating for longer periods. Great if you want to lower your calorie intake per day.
There are many more benefits for being on a Ketogenic Diet but the ones above interest me the most and are of more use to me.
This is what I am expecting to happen in the first and probably the second week. I experienced Keto Flu the first time I tried a Ketogenic Diet and it was no fun but I just had to work through it because it is only temporary. Keto flu occurs when transitioning to keto from your usual state. You may feel some slight discomfort including fatigue, headaches, nausea, cramps, etc. I only experienced a few of these mainly fatigue but that may also have to do with the fact that I was training in the gym while on the diet.
Here are a couple reasons keto flu occurs:
Keto is a diuretic. You will be going to the bathroom… A LOT, especially in the first couple of weeks. This is partly due to the loss of both electrolytes and water in your body. You can combat this by drinking a ton of water per day…up to around a gallon if you can manage it!
You’re transitioning. You have to give the body time to adapt to all the changes going on. Your body is mostly used to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to some of the keto flu symptoms mentioned above.
In the first couple of weeks of starting a keto diet I will try to keep my net carbs at around 20g per day. It is not easy but keeping the carbs that low at the start helps to speed up the process of getting into a state of Ketosis. For me, the entire adaptation process will take about 10 days or so but it is different for everyone. This time around I hope to get into Ketosis a lot quicker.
Gym Training While On A Keto Diet
The first couple of weeks in the gym, after I had popped into ketosis, were very hard going. I had lost all my energy and my strength had dropped. I didn’t panic though because I knew this would happen and just adjusted my training program to fit the change in my body.
As soon as I began to adapt I noticed an increase in energy and strength and changed my training routine back to what it was before. So, a temporary decrease in physical performance is typical. Once your body becomes keto-adapted, your body will be able to fully utilize fat as its primary source of energy.
How Do I Plan On Reaching Ketosis?
Well, it’s pretty simple…but quite tough for the first few days especially if you have been used to eating whatever you want, when you want. In a nutshell:
1. Restrict my carbohydrates. I will try to stay below 20g net carbs and below 35g total carbs per day.
2. Restrict my protein intake. Too much protein can lead to lower levels of ketosis. For fat loss, I will eat between 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound lean body mass.
3. Drink water. I will try to drink a gallon of water a day. However much I drink I will make sure that I am hydrating and staying consistent with the amount of water I drink.
4. Stop snacking. Weight loss tends to do better when you have fewer insulin spikes during the day.
5. Do some fasting. Fasting can be a great tool to boost ketone levels consistently throughout the day. Maybe I will miss the odd lunch once in a while.
6. Include exercising. Add exercise in. To get the most out of my ketogenic diet, I will make sure to do some form of exercise each and every day. Most will be cycling but I will also be including some form of bodyweight training too.
7. Vitamin supplementing. I want to see how much this is going to cost me because good supplements are expensive.
Ok…I think that is it for now. My next post will most likely be about what I will be doing to prepare for the diet a few days ahead.
A Deeper Look – What Happened To Me?
I have some images from 2016 when I had a smaller waist of around 40 inches.
So why did I let myself go when things seemed to be going so well? Why did I allow myself to slip mentally and physically? I guess things in life just happen and you have to find your way of dealing with them. This seems to have been my way; not a good choice!
When I think back to the start of my gradual fat gain things were kind of messed up and times were difficult for me. That can be the case for many people who have fallen into a spiral of weight gain / fat gain and depression.
When things begin to go wrong in a persons life they tend to either loss a lot of weight or gain a lot of weight. The depression is with you regardless. When I was younger I used to lose weight when I suffered long bouts of depression but these days, twenty years later, it is the total opposite. I need my comfort food…right?!
While I “let myself go” I knew it was happening and I did nothing about it. That to me is scarier than the actual fat gain for the simple fact that it tells me that I didn’t care…for me or for where my life was going.
Bad times happen to us all and how we deal with those bad times is the difference between a slight, temporary change for the worst and a huge nearly permanent change for the worst. The latter is something we all need to avoid as best we can.
At the back of my mind I knew I had to sort myself out sooner or later but I kept putting it off and kept giving myself excuses. Of course, you can only do this for so long before you body and mind start to show signs of “damage”.
Getting Sick While Fat
From now on in this article and most likely throughout my website I will be using the word “fat” to replace the word people use these days to avoid offense which is “overweight”. Being “overweight” rather than “fat” is not really being accurate. Again I wont go too deep into it as it involves the infamous BMI, (Body Mass Index), which also is not accurate.
I will simply offer an example of what I mean.
A heavyweight boxer technically could be classed as obese going by the BMI because of his shear weight to height ratio. But bone structure has not been taken into account, (large boned) and accurate muscle to fat ratio etc.
A boxer can have the same weight as someone who is truly “overweight”…..FAT… and yet be muscle toned and ultra fit. They may both be the exact same weight but one would be in perfect health with just the right amount of body fat and the other would be fat. It does not matter what the fat person weighs…their organs are surrounded by too much fat…that fat will begin to cause health issues. They are not overweight…they are fat!
No…it is not politically correct but you know what…I don’t care. People need to understand that if you look fat…if you have flab hanging over your pants, then you are fat! Accept it and move on from there.
What Woke Me Up?
So what happened in my life to finally “wake me up” from my brain dead attitude towards my fat gain over the past few years? My health is what happened. As I mentioned above…eventually…having too much fat in your body will cause health issues. It may happen suddenly or it may happen over time…but have no illusions, It WILL happen.
With me it was a gradual thing. The first year I saw myself getting fatter and flabbier and just ignoring it because I could still cycle around, walk, run without any major issues. However, about half way into the second year of my “fatness” things began to change. Any kind of excessive activity would now have me huffing and puffing for breath. Walking to the local grocery store was getting uncomfortable because not only did I struggle to breath properly but I also began sweating like crazy.
Cycling around was getting much harder and any uphill climbs would have me in major panting sessions as I gasped for air climbing a not so steep hill. My heart would be thumping away in my chest and on the odd occasion I also felt dizzy with exhaustion.
I would feel tired all day and I suffered some very painful heartburn, mostly at night before and at bedtime. That was actually a huge sign for me because I only suffer from painful heartburn when I eat something that does not agree with me. Let’s face it, I was eating all kinds of crap during the day, especially chocolate and sweets. Chocolate is known to cause heartburn.
The thing is, this was no ordinary heartburn. A few times at night I would wake up choking on sick in my airways. Not a fun experience let me tell you. Being fat aggravates the condition as well as eating too late in the evening just before bed. Yep, I was guilty of that too.
Basically I was gradually getting sick and my body had been giving off warning signs for long enough. I decided to go to the doctor to have a checkup to see how much damage I had done over the past two years.
What The Doctor Ordered
I got myself a general blood test and the results were not as shocking as I had expected. Yes, my blood pressure had been slightly elevated but that was something I knew would happen and was easily controlled…once I get my head together. As for my blood test results…not a dang thing wrong with me. I didn’t even have high cholesterol. My insides had not been fully effected by my lack of exercise and bad eating. However, a few more months down the line and things would begin to change for the worst.
My body was hanging on for dear life and maybe the fact that I have always been quite fit and healthy most of my life had saved me from falling apart too early…but that would not last forever. It was very simple…stop all the things you are doing that are damaging your mind and body or things will begin to get a whole lot worse AND may even cause irreversible damage.
It so happens that a few days after I got my blood test I caught a nasty flu. Funny…I rarely go to the doctors and rarely catch any colds or flu but the one time I go to the doctors for a checkup is the one time I catch the darn thing!
Let’s face it, those doctors waiting rooms are pretty nasty with all those germs floating around. People coughing and spluttering everywhere…how could I NOT catch something. So now I had to deal with a bad cold or Flu. This dang thing lasted three weeks! I was drugged to the hilt most days with medicines and pills. Then…as if that was not enough I caught a bad chest infection! There goes another three weeks. I was a total mess for 6 weeks.
You may be thinking that that had nothing to do with my fat gain…but that is not fact. My immune system was obviously much weaker. It was struggling to kill off a cold and struggled even more to kill off a chest infection. There is not proof that my fat gain and lack of exercise had anything to do with this but considering all my life I have never been that sick before…and for such a length of time…I had to see the connection. My health was beginning to be affected by my fat gain.
Time To Make A Change. Time To Lose The Fat
For the first time in months I actually stopped and looked at myself in the mirror. Totally naked, bits hanging, bits flopping…it was disgusting! Looking at myself made me feel worse because the realization was there that this was going to take a lot of work.
Right then I just wanted to go off to McDonalds and grab myself a humongous burger meal with all the greasy-ass trimmings. I wanted to buy a box of chocolates and eat the lot while sitting in front of the TV watching a movie.
Of course I cant’ do that. It is time to change. The battle must begin…and for those of you who have tried losing the fat you know it IS a battle…especially for those who are past 40 years old. It’s going to be tough but not impossible. At the end of the day it all comes down to how much I want this; how important is it for me to get back to the size I used to be and to be as fit and healthy as I used to be. I think we all go through that. It is not just a case of losing the fat…it is the case of can I keep the fat off.
Dieting Is 90% Mental
This IS the case! You will not get very far in losing the fat if your heart and mind are not in it. It is one thing to say you are going to lose the fat but another thing to actually mentally FEEL that you want to change. Before you even begin to plan your fat loss journey you need to first be 100% sure that your mind is focused and that you will continue to battle through the roller-coaster of emotions and feelings that occur during such a big physical change.
Personally, I should have began a fat loss regime a lot sooner but for some reason the time just didn’t feel right. Yes, I knew I had an issue with fat and knew that deep inside I wasn’t happy with the way I looked but for some reason that just wasn’t enough to get me to do something about it.
I knew from experience that if you are not totally committed to losing the fat then chances are you will not succeed. So I continued to ignore all the unhealthy signs and carry on eating whatever I wanted regardless of how I felt afterwards.
Some days I would wake up telling myself that this would be the last day of eating crap food and not exercise. That I would create a fat loss plan for myself and get started the next day. But then my negative inner voice would sound off telling me that my heart wasn’t in it and that it would be too difficulty a task to accomplish.
That voice would hound me all day telling me to accept my fate and that I was just too old to go through all that fat loss stuff. Images of my past fat loss failures would pop up in my mind and shortly afterwards I would just give up on the idea. What was the point of burning off all this fat? Who was I doing it for? Why bother going through those weeks of uncomfortable change only to eventually slip back into my old eating ways?
To me the physical part of losing fat is not the difficult bit; the mental part of losing fat is. I think this is true for everyone…if your mind is not in it then you will not succeed.
The Humor In Fat Loss
Another area I think is important for those going through fat loss regims is humor. No doubt that there will be times during your “diet” that you will feel either physically or mentally low. For most of us we will experience both, especially during the first week. To counter this effect we can use humor. Granted, this is not a subject that most people will find humor in but it is there. Laughing at your situation, finding the lighthearted side of it will make things easier.
I tend to make fun of myself in pictures and videos. For example, look at the pathetic mess of a photo on the left:
I look like a candidate for a new male pregnancy experiment who had just been dragged out of bed at 3am to take a photo for the experiment files. That is NOT a happy face! The drooping right shoulder and…OMG….look at that belly!!! Is there something alive in there? I look like an absolute mess and I am sharing it with the world!
You gotta laugh because the alternative is pain and misery.
GO TO THE NEXT STAGE OF MY KETO DIET DIARY