Do you feel the need to lose large amounts of fat that have taken you half a lifetime to put on? Have you tried by working feverishly to lose a small amount of weight only to gain it back again, and then some? Have you tried “diets” from your favorite magazine or celebrity, paid for nasty package foods, shakes, or even gone hungry? Have you given up or feel hopelessness because your weight seems too overwhelming? If this is you, please don’t give up; I can testify that I was able to change my life in a short amount of time, at little or no change in cost, with zero hunger, and I will tell you how I did it. Move along, however, if looking for a magic pill to replace effort and discipline. I will share with you what worked for me following a commitment of 37 days.
In Tarantino fashion I will give you a glimpse up front about the high level success factors in my journey, but read on to get a much better and detailed insight into my success. Here it is … survey says:
- I placed my body into a healthy ketosis (not to be confused with Atkins diet)
- I intermittent fasted
- I walked twice per day, for a total of 1-2 hours (optional bonus points for weight loss and blood pressure)
- I gradually (and unknowingly) shifted from “live to eat” to “eat to live”
To learn more about ketosis and intermittent fasting, in my personal experience, read my other articles:
Ketosis Is a Gift
Our bodies can use either sugar or fat for fuel. Very few will ever experience the later because we are trapped in a loop that prevents us from discovering the power and benefits of ketosis. Seek it out, and learn how this gift will change your life. My awakening has lead to other awakenings, and so on.
About What “They” Say
I have heard so many things that are intended to raise fear and doubt about ketogenic lifestyles. This is a personal choice one must make, and if choosing this path you should be prepared to deal with this fear and doubt. In my case, I had to put on armor to protect myself. If stepping into this armor, I would paraphrase Mr. Miyagi with this advice:
You keto do “yes”, or keto do “no”. You keto do “guess so” <squish> just like grape.
About My Personal Primer Steps
The following made things easier to get started in my keto journey:
- I partnered with my wife. We helped each other stay on track, and get back on track on failure. Generally, “I” means “we” (and she lost more weight than me =)
- I learned what carbohydrate foods are, and the many words for sugar, scientific or otherwise. Prior to starting I was already on my way to eliminating refined sugar from my diet, including coffee sweeteners.
- I shut off my cable, and connected an Android device to my TV and subscribed to keto related uTube channels that aligned with our general views. I watched many videos from many learned folks on the subject. I always applied my health standards when learning from others who’s health concerns may not have aligned with mine, but who still had something of value to teach.
- I ate at home and prepared food at home when eating away from home.
- I only purchased the best quality food found, regardless of price. More specifically, I only purchased non-GMO and organic foods. I attempted to source meat and dairy from local sources, with the general rule of thumb that you are what you eat, ate. This in itself is a personal journey, and might be considered optional for some. Personally, I was happy to pay more and rationalized it as supporting those who support my family.
- I had to stand firm in my contrarian convictions even while those around me had nothing good to say about it (including friends, co-workers, my doctor). Imagine your doctor all but telling you to take the blood pressure pills or die, and choosing not to because you were convinced it would cause more harm than good — that kind of conviction [and I’m not promoting “don’t take your medicine” unless you execute a plan to solve what makes you ill].
- I fired my doctor and took my health in my own hands.
About Switching to Ketones for Fuel
At no time did I go hungry. I did not go out to eat, but I was prepared to eat out when my body dictated by preparing myself to handle moments away from home.
I consumed high fat, moderate protein, and as close to zero carbs as possible. In the beginning this meant that I would only consume carbs that were in greens, onions, peppers, tomato, etc. No fruit, starchy potatoes, grains of any kind, no juice, no [craft] beer =(, wine, etc.
I started my day with a couple hard boiled eggs and salt, and coffee.
For lunch I ate bacon and eggs, avocado, and mushrooms. I alternated the mushrooms with peppers with onions and tomato, broccoli, or spinach. I used grass fed butter, or the bacon fat. I alternated bacon for grass fed beef, with the fat, and the fattest parts of chicken.
I generally did not snack during the day except in the afternoon, for which I kept salted pecans or macadamia nuts handy, optionally with just a few raisins or mulberry (if needed).
For dinner, I ate a much smaller version of lunch, as needed. Sometimes I was content with just some nuts and peanut butter.
I drank clean water, coffee and tea, thats it. I used only heavy cream in my coffee, no sweetener.
I tried not to eat past 5-6pm, and as my appetite faded, my eating times narrowed. I listened to my body, and over time I became highly fat-adaptive, breaking my fast only around noon, and only needing a snack around 4PM (such as pecans and peanut butter). No hunger. If I ate out for lunch I would typically order a salad with chicken, no dressing or croutons, and just a little olive oil and red wine vinegar (avoiding balsamic if possible).
About the Transformation
It took about a week or so to get into ketosis, but I could feel my body changing. The most drastic part about the changes are the absence of hunger. At first I forced myself to eat because I thought it was odd that I wasn’t being overtaken with hunger. Eventually I listened to my body and only ate when it told me to, but it wasn’t “hunger”. The best way I can describe it is a benign message that says “Keep Calm, Eat Soon.” It took about a week to 10 days from when I started to switch into ketosis.
I now believe that “hunger” is a withdrawal symptom of the sugar-for-fuel box which the world has been trapped in for the past hundred years or so.
I slept better, and required less sleep. My dreams were more vivid. I never needed a nap, and soon realized the absence of what I now know to be the “carb coma”. I needed less food, and could go longer without it. As I became more “fat adaptive”, I ate less fat and my body fed on my fat rolls instead. I discovered that by walking twice per day together with my new eating regiment, I lost a pound per day, and if not, I lost 2 the next, until I lost 30 pounds in 30 days. I measured my blood pressure daily and tracked it all the way down to normal in just 1 month. My arms thinned out and had to frequently adjust the blood pressure cuff, and soon switched to a smaller cuff. I went from an extra large shirt to a large, then a medium. My pants dropped 6-8 sizes. I needed new clothes t/w\i/c\e thrice. All of my wellness markers have now normalized.
Following my 30 day success, I plateaued for a couple weeks with no change in my weight. So, I began adding small amounts of carbs such as berries (blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry), and sometimes adding protein in the morning. Twice a week I would also add one half of a grapefruit, and discovered my taste buds had changed: things that weren’t too sweet were now sweet, such as raspberry’s. Although I never liked grapefruit without sugar, they now taste as good to me as oranges. After cycling, my plateau passed, and I began to lose weight again, and I resumed my narrow fast.
The closer I got to my ideal weight, the longer it took to lose the remaining fat; I think mainly because my body was now taking fat from my joints, fingers, face, toes — all the nooks and crannies. I also noticed a body composition change during plateaus too, so even though my weight wasn’t changing, my composition was. After nearly 20 years, my wedding ring fits again. I can do lots of pull-up’s, whereas prior I couldn’t do a single pull-up without cheating. I can exert myself without feeling like I’m going to die. I no longer get headaches anymore (unless I drink too many IPA’s =). I can ride in a roller coaster comfortably. My pants have dropped from a size 40 to a size 32, comfortably.
About My Medical Situation
In my case, losing weight was a secondary concern, I loved food and had accepted my weight as a lost cause — I knew I was fat, but I had a far more pressing concern. My condition required me to drastically drop my blood pressure very quickly, but I wasn’t willing to take medications to falsely lower my blood pressure. Why not take the pills? I didn’t need a pharmaceutical-based method because I found a way to falsely lower my blood pressure without pills. By simply running for 45 minutes at night (or high intensity shadow boxing for 15 minutes), and walking for 30 minutes in the morning I was able to temporarily lower my blood pressure for a 24 hour period — that’s it. While still tempting to take the pills over doing the work, this method wasn’t resulting in any real weight loss and so I needed to do this routine every day. If I missed a day, my blood pressure was back to redline. So, even though I wasn’t willing to change my life to lose weight, I had to change my life to live. With that in mind, I concluded that I simply needed to get to a healthy weight to fix my severely high blood pressure or risk stroke or heart attack. It probably isn’t any surprise to know that nearly all of my wellness markers were also in the danger zone.
At some point I set out to fool my doctor so as not to get lectured about my blood pressure. I was able to fool my doctor by simply deep breathing for 15 minutes before my appointment; but it was short lived.
About My Shopping Habits
- I avoid products that say “low fat”
- I avoid products that say “vegetarian fed”
- I avoid cured meats with nitr*tes
- I buy grass fed AND grass finished beef
- I buy grass fed or organic grass fed butter, heavy cream, and cheeses; no milk
- I buy organic grain free (when possible) free range chicken/eggs
- I buy organic (everything)
- I say NO to GMO (everything)
- I use plenty of good salts
- I shop at farmers markets with certified organic (not “Certified California Grown” or other lame trickery)
- I shop on the outer edges of grocery stores and avoid “isles”
- I scrutinize the need for packaged food and food with an “Ingredients” label
- I don’t buy crap for my kids, and they get over it (eventually)
- All of the above didn’t happen overnight, and started with a commitment to change, that’s it
About My Medical Bias
In general, I do not believe that allopathic doctors (MD’s) know the first thing about health and wellness. If you are an MD and this offends you — don’t take it personal and convince me otherwise. Their training is symptomatic (not solution-based), is bias towards the pharmaceutical industry in the name of “health” but based in greed. The output of an MD’s training is by design. It doesn’t take a genius to figure what results from that equation. Unfortunately, this training and bias infects the masses and is now part of our societal fabric. For instance, western society would rather get a shot to “prevent” and take a pill to “treat” rather than lead a healthy lifestyle and need neither.
My solution started with rolling back 50 years of “health and wellness” recommendations. This because what you see today is the product of those “recommendations”. For instance, go back 50+ years and you will find a generally healthy society, and you can see for yourself by studying pictures and video, and older folks need only search their memories, however. Better yet, seek out and review the data which is a canvas that illustrates that what we are told to eat, and what is put in our food, and how it is produced, is making us this way. Yes, we have made important break throughs; I am simply referring to the western diet and nutritional recommendations, and its affect on societal health.
Let (good) food be thy medicine.
About Veganism in Keto
For purposes of my journey I can say that being a vegan would add far more constraints to an already mindful task (staying in ketosis). While not a vegan, my wife took a vegetarian route on our journey together and her results were very successful but not as rapid as mine. To be fair, her task was harder because she had already lost 25 pounds from simply removing sugar from her diet (wow!). Still, it was harder for her to find and diversify quality fats and proteins and she had the benefit of being very well studied on dietary matters; vegan is even harder still. It’s important to note that both vegans and vegetarians typically use soy as a protein source, and those highly alert to GMO in food generally deem soy untrustworthy in the USA (like corn, and nearly all other highly subsidized “foods”).
About Keto Resources
There are so many resources to get good information from, and so many bad ones. I generally found channels from learned (traditional) chiropractors, dietitians and other health practitioners, and sometimes DO’s (osteopathic) and the occasional rogue MD (allopathic). From these I have learned so much, and validated much that I already knew from personal experience. These tend to be contrarian views, and one must decide upon their comfort level and discern between what’s worthy, what’s fringe, and what’s fake.
There are also many keto channels dedicated to cutting the edge off of keto. I tend to classify such things as “recipe” related channels, which didn’t help me much. Such channels tend to focus being in the kitchen and often offer fake bread recipes and fake sweet recipe’s. Following these types of channels only made it that much harder to accept what keto is. I found myself having a much easier time by accepting the bounds of keto and not trying to fake breads and sweets.
For instance, I gave up on fake sweeteners such as munk fruits, stevia’s, and erythritol. Besides trying to “emulate” sweets, they tasted funny, like orange juice after brushing your teeth kinda funny. When I finally added oatmeal to my cycle, I enjoyed it much better by dropping the fake stuff and just adding a few more raisins. Likewise, I found that my glucose often spiked with “bread” made from the flour substitutes, no different than a slice of “wheat” bread — for me, I found it easier to just cycle in a slice of Ezekiel bread (which was on the lower end of bread-glucose spikes). More importantly, I always felt this mindset wasn’t right for me anyhow, in that these folks were stuck in the “live to eat” mentality.
My success, and my wife’s, was rooted in a shift from “live to eat” to “eat to live”.
Here are some resources that have helped me:
- Dr. Robert Lustig
- Dr. Eric Berg
- Dr. Becky Gillaspy & 2 Fit Docs
- Dr. David Jockers
- Thomas DeLauer
- Dr. Joseph Mercola
About My Failures
Sh!t happens. Just the other night I’m passing out candy to kids (it’s Halloween night) and I just had “one” mini 100,000 bar, then another, then a mini Reese’s, then my wife stepped in and said WTH! Thank God she did that because I was well on my way to a “Phuk-It!” moment. I have had many slips, some out of weakness, and some from experimenting with the edge, only to be drawn in further than intended. This is just one example; I have many such experiences such as a licorice binge, a chocolate binge, an oatmeal binge, a taco/burrito binge, etc.
I didn’t let these moments break me, and I didn’t get overwhelmed by feelings of guilt or failure. I brushed it off, and moved on. This is where a partner really helps. If you are thinking about a similar journey and your life partner isn’t along for the ride, try to find someone to go on this journey with you. Perhaps a family member or friend, or a co-worker, or a former friend or co-worker. Someone you can talk with and share experiences with. A coach isn’t needed, but helpful if you can find one experienced enough and aligned with your goals. My wife and I didn’t have a coach but we were fully immersed on the subject, had many educational resources, and were already on a path to a healthier lifestyle so we felt comfortable without one. [Actually, in full disclosure, my wife was my coach; she was a wealth of knowledge about carb-to-fiber, etc., etc.]
Getting kicked out of ketosis does carry a cost, however, when in “weight loss mode”. For me, it could take 5+ days to get back into ketosis. Others can switch back into ketosis in just a day or two — each person is different. The main thing lost is time and momentum, so be consistent when you find something that works when in weight loss mode. When in “maintenance mode”, I might gain a couple pounds, only to lose it again when re-entering ketosis. It’s in this mode where I tended to cross the line more as I experiment with the edge a little. For instance, I would cycle extra carbs in once per week and I might add too many in the beginning. When kicked, I would use the same techniques used to originally get back into ketosis. Eventually, my metabolism changed such that even though my blood monitor said I was kicked out for days, my body felt no different, and I was able to get back in without hunger.
About Monitoring Tools
In the beginning the only tool I used was a blood pressure monitor. I probably over did it too. My main tool was listening to my body. Again, this is where a partner helps to share your experiences during similar stages. Later, I began pricking my finger for fairly accurate blood monitoring for both ketone and glucose levels. There are several to choose from, and I opted for the Precision Xtra brand mainly because it has been around and scrutinized for several years. The test strips are pricy and can add up quick for 2 household members. As of this writing, I pay about $45 USD for a pair of 30 ketone and 30 glucose test strips. I am no doctor, and everyone is different, so I leave “glucose” and “ketone” levels to you and your journey.
In the first 30+ days I didn’t need these tools because my routines were consistent. I found these helpful during periods of experimentation, however. For instance, how does this slice of Ezekiel bread affect my glucose? How about this lame “keto” recipe? How about this IPA, or that sweet potato? OMG I couldn’t resist and ate an entire package of Newman’s Own black licorice at the store today, and I already had my weekly cycle of oatmeal! I think you get the idea. I do keep the blood monitor handy even though I don’t think I need it. You and your partner are your best tools. You can also find resources that do the finger pricking for you, while not specific to you, it does give you a good swag about certain foods, duration of glucose spikes, etc.
After reaching my first first major goal of 50 pounds, I immediately celebrated and switched back to being a sugar burner (that’s what fat burners call the masses that use carbs for fuel). For me, it took about a year to add back 20 pounds, even though I was generally a much healthier eater. During this process, I can attribute the weight gain to 2 things:
- I ate too many carbs
- I still consumed high fat
Remember the Mr. Miyagi advice? I failed to choose one or the other, and did both. That is, if I chose to be a sugar burner, I should have kept carbs low to moderate, especially refined flours and cereals, fermented alcohol, and consumed low fat. When a fat burner, I should embrace quality fats, moderate protein, very low carbs. Not both.
I then went back into ketosis and lost even more weight, reaching my ultimate goal of 60 pounds, and my wife lost 80 pounds, being nearly the weight we were around 20 years old. In the process of going back and forth several times both my wife and I have decided that we like the way we feel better as fat burners, and we remain so today. I still consume carbs, but I cycle them in, and don’t cry if things don’t go according to plan. I still enjoy pizza once in a while, and can have a glass of wine or a craft beer if I wan’t. I eat berries for sweets, and they are sweeter now as a fat burner than they ever were as a sugar burner.
After reaching a target weight and choosing to be a sugar burner, I believe that a healthy weight can be maintained by keeping carbs low. When choosing carbs, moderate refined flours, cereals, starches, avoid fruit juices, and limit alcohol. For me, I tend to favor being a fat burner, but will likely go back and forth, and the key will be to change my habits to suit which burning man that I am in the moment.
About Grass Fed
Everything ends up corrupted when money is involved and grass fed is no different. In the US, I don’t trust the “grass fed” phrase by itself, because the rules have been bastardized to allow industrialized food producers to cheat by still feeding them GMO grains treated with herb/pesticides. I look for grass fed, and “grass finished”. Better yet, I seek out local sources that I can visit directly. I believe that grass fed boosted my results, more so than grain fed food sources.
About Vegetarian Fed
Another trick in the US to make you think it’s “healthy” food. When I see “vegetarian fed” or “vegetarian diet”, I visualize an industrialized feed lot of subsidized grains, especially corn and soy, which is both GMO and sprayed with RoundUp (glyphosate). Don’t be fooled.
I generally scrutinize fish sources because of pollution, radiation and GMO. I avoid “farmed” Franken-fish most of all because of genetic modifications to the fish directly. I also avoid fresh water fish because of franken-fish being released into the wild. If you think that there is no such release, remember that it is no different than pollutants that have been released into our water supply by bad actors, and there are/were plenty of “laws” to prevent that. [In the future we will see new breeds of fish that are larger and more aggressive, whose (breed) traits will cause them take over various habitat].
I also avoid fish that are large, bottom feeders, and migratory along the Pacific. Bottom feeders consume mercury and other pollutants that have settled on the seabed, larger (older) fish have had more exposure to pollutants, and migratory fish (along the Pacific) are more likely to be radiant from Fukushima. That said, I look for younger Salmon from trusted sources only.
I consume only organic olive oil and coconut oil. In fact, I often consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with a mixture of cocoa powder and some cocoa nibs. I avoid all other oils, especially canola and vegetable oils. I cook with coconut oil, butter, and coconut derived MCT oil, no olive oil.
I don’t pay attention to what the officialdumb says about salt, that is, I consume plenty of salts that are clean as I can get, free from processing, and rich in minerals. For instance, we have a cabinet full of salts of all kinds and colors such as Redmond/Real Salt, (Pink) Himalayan, (Black/Red) Hawaiian, Celtic sea salt.
About “I Can’t”
I can’t give up soda, sourdough, tortillas, rice, beans, pasta, pizza, waffles, jam, beer, wine, snickers, the list goes on. Remember that when in ketosis, your hunger goes away, so the rest is in our head. This is why ketosis is such a gift; it cannot be compared to any diet-like battle you have ever fought. It didn’t take long to shift my mindset from “live to eat” to “eat to live”, or eat until you are satiated. In the process I got healthy, feel healthy, look healthy, and all of my known risk factors evaporated. Absent a medical condition, “I can’t” likely means “I won’t”. Start with a commitment to change, and then reinforce it with: I can, and follow-up with “keto do” (not “keto guess so”).
A Historical Comparison
Switching between fat-for-fuel and sugar-for-fuel — one can easily be ignorant of the transformation. I believe that as little as 100 or so years ago, our bodies moved in and out of ketosis throughout life, and that we fasted and intermittent fasted causing our bodies to be in a regular state of shedding, cleansing, and healing (like a once healthy monetary system that mixed in expansion and contraction). Grains were likely less common, certainly nothing like today, except perhaps for key periods as in Egyptian and Roman history, meant then to make passive large populations (aka potential “mobs”). Today we consume grains in mass on a daily basis, along with other carbs, fruit juices, and less greens. Our food is industrialized, subsidized, processed/refined, genetically modified, and regularly saturated with RoundUp, preserved and packaged, and no longer seasonal. Add to that the massive amounts of refined sugar, sedentary lifestyles, and viola, ramped obesity and dis-ease, including things never seen before such as type 2 diabetes, leaky gut, and Morgellons.
I write this in hopes it reaches someone whose life might be positively impacted by it. May you be blessed with the will to seek out good health.