For those who don’t know, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since getting divorced, mainly because of stress, heart ache, depression, cocaine…
No, I’ve actually lost the weight (55 lbs thus far) using the ketogenic diet, which means eating 70-80% of one’s calories as fat with as little carbs as possible. I’ve described the diet, how I discovered it, and why it works in a previous post on Medium, but today I want to describe what it might look like day-to-day and week-to-week.
One mistake I’ve made as an ambassador for the diet is not stressing that you have to eat more than you think, otherwise you’ll get super hungry, carb crash, and reach for the first donut someone offers you. The other thing I’d advise people–especially if carbs are a big part of your diet–is to ease into it by eliminating carbs one meal a day, then moving to two meals, then all three, because again, it can take your body a little while to get used to being in ketosis.
Anyway, here’s what a typical weekday might look like:
- 4 hardboiled eggs
- Asparagus sautéed in coconut oil
- Coffee with Almond/Cashew creamer
- Lamb curry over oven roasted cauliflower and brocolli
- 20-30 pistachios
- 1/2 lb grass-fed, beef burger (fried in butter) w/ garlic aioli
- side Caesar (no croutons obviously)
Other sample meals I eat when on the keto diet:
- Eggs fried in butter or coconut oil with avocado and roasted Brussel sprouts
- Roasted chicken thighs with sauteed mushrooms and veggies
- Salads of every kind, usually with some kind of meat, nuts, veggies (I love cucumbers for some reason), dressing (just be sure it doesn’t have a lot of sugar), and cheese (I personally try not to eat a ton of cheese because I’ve found dairy isn’t fantastic for my body, but cheese is a totally ketogenic food–so have at it).
- Soup! You can basically make it with anything as long as nothing you add has carbs, and be sure to fry your veggies and meat in oil or butter before adding them to the stock.
- Salad sandwiches (romaine lettuce leaves, with mayo, mustard, meat, cheese, avocado)
- Pan fried rockfish with tartar sauce and roasted broccoli
- Tuna mixed with mayo stuffed into bell pepper halves
So to me, when I eat this way, I miss NOTHING. Because everything I’m eating is fucking delicious. But note: I’m eating quite a bit, and the thing is, it’s still probably not even 3,000 calories. That’s a key point I’ll stress again: if you’re going to do keto, you have to make sure you’re eating enough or else you’re going to get hungry, crash, and start reaching for the bread drawer.
There are a lot of other meals I could mention, but the diet works best if you’re making stuff you like, so find what works for you. It’s actually pretty easy–you just can’t have bread, potatoes, rice, alcohol, or fruit when your in ketosis.
It’s also important to remind people that you don’t have to follow the diet 365 days a year. What’s important is that you stay in ketosis for extended periods of time–say at least three or four days. The other thing–and this can be hard–is to fast if you can.
Quick review: your body burns either sugar or fat for energy (it converts protein into sugar)–but it will always burn sugar first. Ketosis is when your body has run out of sugar and is now burning fat, or ketones, for energy.
This is why fasting is extremely potent if you want to shed those pounds: because you’re forcing your body to burn fat–the fat on your body–for energy. On the flip side, this is why a lot of people exercise a ton and never lose any weight: they’re never in ketosis. Their body always has enough sugar so it never has to burn body fat for energy.
Now I get it, fasting sounds pretty scary. But once you get used to being in ketosis and those cravings for sugar go away, it get’s a lot easier. There are a couple ways I’ve found to fast effectively:
- Mini-fast: Eat breakfast and lunch, but no dinner (if I feel really hungry I’ll have a spoonful of almond butter). This ensures that from say noon until the next morning, your body is in ketosis and fasting, which for most of us is going to be around 20 hours. The nice thing here is that you’re sleeping during the hardest, hungriest part of the fast.
- Extended fast: eat all keto friendly foods, but more than usual on say, Monday, start the fast after dinner, don’t eat anything Tuesday (I still allow myself coffee), and then go as long as you can Wednesday before eating. If you eat dinner at 6 on Monday and can make it to lunch on Wednesday, that’s 42 hours, which is pretty impressive, and yet, for 16 of those hours you’re asleep and not aware of being hungry.
Obviously, use common sense when fasting and/or consult your physician if you’re concerned. Like I mentioned above, if I’m trying to fast but feel hungry, a spoonful of almond butter does the trick, and though it’s technically breaking the fast, my body is still experiencing an extreme calorie deficit, burning my body fat for energy.
I should say here that you DO NOT HAVE TO FAST for the keto diet to work. It’s just something that accelerates fat loss, but if you switch to the keto diet, you’ll lose weight regardless.
OK, so in terms of scheduling, I give myself at least one cheat day a week and try to do a couple fasts and/or a series of mini-fasts every month. My month might look something like this:
- Week 1: Monday–Friday, eating keto. Saturday cheat. Sunday: keto breakfast and lunch, start an extended fast to…
- Week 2: Monday continue extended fast, Tuesday back to my four egg breakfast and keto foods for lunch and dinner, continuing again to Saturday cheat. Sunday back to keto.
- Week 3: Monday through Thursday eating keto breakfast and lunch, but no dinner (a series of mini-fasts). Friday cheat day, back to keto for the weekend.
- Week 4: Monday eat extra keto, fast overnight, all day Tuesday, go as long as I can Wednesday, then keto to Saturday cheat–Sunday back to keto.
Alright, I think that’s about it. If you have any questions post below and I’ll try to answer them next week.
All of today’s post was a nugget, so nothing extra, sorry!
As always, thanks for reading! Cheers!