Yes! It is another blog about Keto!
“I’ve had my bulletproof coffee, extra butter on everything and I haven’t even looked at a carb in 4 months.”
These kind of comments are always being said when people come see us for their Dexa or RMR. It seems like the majority of people that do come and see us for those tests and already in the know about the latest, effective trends in nutrition so they come in doing something specific, and sometimes extreme. This isn’t always a bad thing, because there are so many great approaches out there and they are all effective (minus veganism… jk thats just my personal opinion, but that’s for another time).
When people come in doing keto, I am primarily so happy for them because they are doing something that is extremely good for them… however I’m not talking about Keto itself, I’m talking about the fact that they have found a program that they can stick to and stay consistent with for the long haul. And quite honestly, after doing something that’s “cleaner” and overall eliminates sh**, you feel better and never look back because you see how bad things are. Of course, some joys in life are sugar packed, and not aligned with Keto… so that is why we need to establish a baseline so that when we do go off track, the baseline is the normal lifestyle and we can pick up where we left off.
Everyone is going to have an opinion about these things and whether they work or not, myself included. Realistically, what works best is something you can stick to and have fun with and truly believe in. Keto has worked for people in their 20s, and people in their 80s. Men and women, active adults and athletes, to people who are brand new to fitness and nutrition. The extremely rigid to the ‘Lazy Keto’ – it all works. But it all doesn’t… its strange to consider but the same groups I just spoke of, also speak on how it hasn’t worked… so finding what works for YOU is what really works. Trial and error is the key.
I feel like simplifying it is the best approach to get a result in the short and long term, so I have taken it upon myself to break it down into three simple steps, all of which our clients have come in and raved about, but I’ve also experienced as well.
The steps are completely what you’d think they are, but they can’t be overstated enough.
- Start slow and don’t overcomplicate it.
- Minimize added sugar.
- Have fun with it.
I’m not going to explain to you what Keto is, because you can look that up and find it on every corner of the internet now. But what I will map out is what I have gathered, through testimonial and my own personal trials, over the course of the last 3.5 years.
Start slow and don’t overcomplicate. This is the only place to start, in my opinion. We should learn how and why to avoid certain foods, cut them back slowly, and let our bodies, and our minds, adjust to the changes that are made. Another reason this point is important is that most of the time, people try something and lose track so they go off course. If you’re starting keto it’s probably for health, weight loss or something significant in your life. Starting slow allows us to build a habit and make sure we are adjusting appropriately, allowing the lifestyle change to be easier and take hold in our daily routines.
What does starting slow look like? Well for me, it was learning about the different types of fats and what I should avoid. But then I realized, ‘why not just eat fat that I know is natural, but don’t over consume?’ and so I did. I stuck to animal fats, nutty fats, olive oil, avocado oil… this made it easy because the question then became “is this natural fat, or was it processed or made in a lab.” Then learning about macronutrients – fats, carbs and protein and their relationship. I quickly learned that my body just felt ‘cleaner’ when consuming lower carb. To start that I stopped eating things with packaging, which typically contains carbs and started eating more vegetables. Remember people saying Keto was so restrictive, but I’d never eaten so many vegetables in my life, in addition to animal protein.
Rather than adding a ton of fat, I just restricted carbs that were obvious. Rices, breads, fruits. If I did consume them, I didn’t fixate on it. Instead, I would just move on and try to make the next 24 hours carb free (or close to it). When I started to do that, I would notice a little more hunger so I began to add more fat, primarily avocado (chipotle guacamole at the time… lol) and the balance in my body changed. I was beginning to feel the energy boost and mental clarity people were talking about. Better sleep, better mood, all around I felt amazing. Whenever I would slip, I would literally have a hangover from sugar.
This is why starting slow is so important. I learned so much about my body, didn’t let a set back ruin me, and kept learning on how to make the next 24 hours, or week, or month even better. It’s also opened my eyes to all of the crap that is out there… so I am glad that I started super slow and allowed my body to adjust, but more importantly for my body to learn and know what is fuel and what isn’t.
The second step would be right in line with the first, but a step further, and harder. Eliminate / minimize sugar. So if you started slow, you probably did pretty well with eliminating the obvious carbs, but going further would be really looking into the sugar content of that protein bar or shake you are consuming. Just be sure you’re ready to eliminate sugar or else it becomes a mental struggle and you may fall off track.
What is in your coffee? What about the barbecue sauce you use? Did you add even a little ketchup? That KIND or Rx bar is loaded with sugar. Do you eat too much Jiffy peanut butter? Chances are that you are consuming a decent amount of added sugar, and you just cant do that on Keto.
Around the time I started, I made this BOMB shake with coffee in it every morning. Coffee, cinnamon, cacao, protein powder, MCT, heavy cream. I later realized that I was using this protein powder that would give me more carbs than I *should* have if I wanted to limit them all the way down to below 10 carbs or whatever. It was a very small change, but I switched protein powders and started to limit carbs even more… there was an actual difference in how my body felt. It wasn’t until later that I was measuring ketones with the blood meter, but knowing now how I feel when fully into ketosis, I think that I was feeling it then as well! My point is, sometimes sugar is hidden in the things we do so routinely that we need to completely examine everything we consume, if Ketosis is the goal.
The third step is to make sure you have fun! Experiment with recipes, get creative, trick your friends with keto desserts. They will love it and then you can reveal that it was keto and watch them all freak out!
Of course, as it is natural for us to crave things, I would always try some cool recipe, usually really simple, too. Mug cakes, milk shakes or smoothies, fat bombs, etc. It was fun because I was experimenting with baking and other things that I didnt even used to do before. Like never did I ever bake before… but then there I was, with an apron on and lost in the kitchen, but was having fun making things even if they turned out bad.
Going keto is not required for you to lose weight or feel great, but it is effective from what we have seen! The key is to follow those steps and make sure you aren’t over thinking it. Don’t chase ketones, chase how your body feels and find what is right for you. For me, now, I could probably test my ketones any given day and I’d be close to keto. I eat primarily animal based protein (beef, pork, fish), lots of vegetables, and stay away from the added stuff that I have learned doesn’t do well for me. It’s like a natural foods, high protein Keto I guess. But it works, for me. And I learned that it works from years of trial and error with my body and mind.
Good luck to you and I hope this helps guide someone to a successful approach to Keto.