My low carb experience continues! My goal is to never stop eating this way.
The benefits have far exceeded my expectations.
Keto diet fat loss has been effortless. As I continue my journey, I find this way of eating is continually evolving for me.
Today I will share some things I learned, and some changes I applied, after the 6-month mark.
Basically month 7 to the completion of year one.
I hope you find this information thought-provoking, inspiring, and beneficial.
Month 7 and Beyond!
By the time I got to the 7th month, my diet seemed to have taken a radical shift from the classical Ketogenic Diet. Let’s remember, the Keto diet wasn’t developed for weight loss, it was developed to reduce seizures in epileptic children, weight loss was just a side effect. I started eating this way to lose weight and escape morbid obesity.
In month 7, I was no longer eating to reach my target macro numbers. The only macro that I left unchanged was carbohydrates. I still eat 20 grams of carbs, or less, per day. Controlling my carb intake is, for me, one of the keys to my Keto diet fat loss.
By month 7, I had cut my intake of extra dietary fats, meaning I didn’t go out of my way to add fat to my diet. My dietary fat was coming from the foods I ate. The theory that led me to this was based on basic fat metabolism.
If I provided my body with lots of dietary fat, it didn’t really need to access as much of my stored fat for energy. That sounded logical to me. I wanted access to my stored energy/fat, so I cut out the extra fat, like the Bullet Proof coffees I started my day with. Now I just have black coffee. I also started to eat more protein.
Protein is NOT an Enemy
I did some research on how the body processed and used protein. I learned that our bodies will not magically turn all unused protein into glucose via gluconeogenesis. I also learned that as we get older, we need more protein than what was required when we are younger.
I aim for about 1 gram of protein per pound of my target body weight, which is 225 pounds. I need to lose about 35 more pounds to get there, but I eat protein like I’m there already. I aim for 225 grams of protein per day. Protein is the focus of my meals, and consequently, the source of most of the fat that I consume.
The fats in proteins, like beef, is a natural occurrence, and it’s the healthy type of fats I want in my diet. Let’s talk about that word diet for a minute too.
I’m Not On a Diet!!!
Diet always conjured thoughts in my mind of a strict way of eating for a certain period of time, with the end goal being weight loss. Diet was a verb. That’s not what it is to me now. I shifted my thinking for a purpose.
I now think of diet as the kinds of foods that I eat habitually, or on a regular basis. Diet is now a noun. For me, this enforces that it isn’t temporary. This little mind trick works for me. I have learned I can eat certain foods, and I cannot eat certain foods. The foods I can eat are my diet.
Because I cannot eat certain foods, I am forced to often face my number one enemy. My most powerful foe. The bastard that derailed me in every attempt to lose weight since the beginning of time. My freakin mind!
The Real Battle of Losing Weight
I’ve talked before about the voice in my head. It’s seemingly always there to help push me towards a bad decision. Can you relate? This has to be one of the most bizarre things we encounter as human beings.
We consciously know what we don’t want to do, or what we really shouldn’t eat, yet somehow there is this part of us that tries to lead us down the path of failure. It brings about true inner turmoil, torture, and struggle. In my experience, this is a symptom of addiction. That’s the voice of addiction talking to you!
I have some experience with addiction too. I was addicted to drugs, including alcohol, for about 21 years of my life. I’ve been clean now for even longer, 24 years and counting. I’m also an ex-smoker, and I’ve got that one in remission since 2017. So not only do I know the struggles of being obese and trying to lose weight, but I also know a couple of things about addiction and recovery. I can tell you with 100% certainty, from personal experience and research, that highly refined carbs and sugar are addictive.
But, there is a silver lining! When you stop feeding the addiction, the chatter from that voice will quiet down. I started noticing this in month 7, and by month 9 it had virtually disappeared.
This happened to me when I quit the drugs too. As the time I had been abstinent increased, the desire to get loaded decreased. I’ve found the same to be true with carbs and sugars. Actually, I have found so many parallels between my addictions, and recovery from those addictions, it’s ridiculous.
I’ve come to the conclusion that addiction is addiction, and when you stop feeding that addiction, you’ll deal with the same mind games regardless of the substance. More on the mental aspect of weight loss and addiction in future posts. I think this is a major area of weight loss that nobody really talks about.
Trying to be Normal
Before month 7 I had stopped tracking my food intake on a daily basis. I’m not recommending this, or even suggesting it, I’m simply telling you what I did. By this point, I knew what I could eat and I knew what not to eat. I had settled into a routine, which is a normal part of life.
My diet consists of virtually the same delicious foods on a daily basis. I was/am still losing weight, so I no longer see a need to track. It’s an effort to normalize my life. However, if I happen to stop losing weight, or gain weight, I immediately start tracking again to figure out what, or where, the problem might be.
Along with no longer tracking, I also don’t worry about calories. Actually, I never really did. Low carb allows us to eat a wide variety of delicious foods that also satisfy our hunger. I feel that the likelihood of eating too many calories is possible, but very slim, and I really believe the secret of this diet is the control of our hormones.
Allowing our bodies to naturally balance insulin and glucagon is the catalyst to weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe we have to place a value on calories to lose weight, I just don’t see it as extremely important when you’re eating satisfying, nutritious foods, and allowing your body to do what it is supposed to do naturally.
Do We Really Have To Eat So Often?
On the subject of naturally, I made another shift that might not be for everybody. Early in my research I made a connection, in my mind, that this was really the diet of our ancestors. Our great, great, great, great-grandparents ate this way. They didn’t really have any other choice! It seemed like a natural step to me to go back even further.
Many scientists conclude that human beings stopped evolving 10,000 years ago, when we became an agricultural society, and many also believe that’s when we started getting fatter as a society. So, what and how did we eat before that?
There is an ongoing debate about what our caveman ancestors ate, but the timing of when they ate interested me much more. It isn’t difficult to imagine that they could go without food for days. Not every hunt was successful. There were most likely periods of no, to very limited, amounts of food. Then, when the hunters made a kill, a huge feast was soon to follow.
This eventually led me to explore intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can also be thought of as timed feeding. Allowing yourself to eat for only a certain period of time every day.
I started intermittent fasting toward the end of month 6, and by month 7 it was a normal part of my day. There are many fasting methods. I used the 16/8 method, meaning I fasted for 16 hours and ate within an 8-hour window.
I take my lunch break at 1:00 p.m., so my eating window lasted until 9:00 p.m. I did this for a few months. But, I noticed that I really wasn’t that hungry when dinner time rolled around. I was still satisfied from the food I had eaten for lunch.
My wife works really hard to cook us some fantastic low carb/keto meals, so I always ate, whether I was hungry or not. Then I got a bright idea. What if I didn’t eat lunch? What if I just fasted until dinner time? This fasting method is known as OMAD, or One Meal A Day. I gave it a try.
Now, if you haven’t noticed, our bodies get very used to doing things at specific times. The body seems to synchronize to doing things on a regular cycle, like waking up and going to sleep. The release of specific hormones get in sync with these cycles too. If you ever worked a graveyard shift you’ll know what I’m talking about. It can be really hard to adjust at first, but eventually it becomes normal.
The same is true when it comes to fasting. At first, you might feel a little hungry at lunchtime, and your tummy might rumble as your body releases hormones to prepare for feeding. These hormones are released in pulses. Your body will eventually learn that your feeding cycle has changed, and within a few days it will adjust. I no longer have any type of sensations at lunchtime, but I have a much better appetite at dinner time.
The benefits have been great too. The long fast allows my insulin to fall to baseline and remain there for 16 hours or longer. This provides longer access to my fat stores and provides the potential for more weight loss and ketone production. It also saves on the grocery bill and opens up my lunch hour to do other things.(Win Win!) An added benefit is the phenomenon of Autophagy.
Autophagy is a method the body uses to clean up, repair, or dispose of damaged cells. Autophagy is beneficial to overall health of the body. Research is currently underway to determine if Autophagy may be helpful in preventing cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. One of the key instigators of Autophagy is glucagon, and the key to glucagon secretion is low levels of insulin.
Since beginning OMAD, I now have a little concern with calories. I have to make sure that I’m eating enough! I don’t want to eat too few calories and affect my metabolism negatively. I want to keep my calories just below my RMR (Resting Metabolism Rate). This allows me to eat a large delicious meal (feast) and usually a handful of nuts for desert. It’s the famine/feast model, similar to how our ancestors lived.
Tips And Takeaways
Work on the mental relationship with food. This has been a cornerstone of my weight loss and my ability to remain on track, heading in the right direction. I try to remain mindful of how, and what, I’m thinking about food. I have to control my thoughts to control my actions.
We all know that some foods taste fantastic, and we desire them. I try not to get caught up in those thoughts. The taste is only going to last as long as that food is in our mouth, that’s why we want to keep shoving more in there. But, it’s going to be in our bodies for the next 6 hours or longer. When I look at it logically, it’s not worth it to me. Food is fuel, but we make it so much more in our minds.
I remain mindful too, that these desires are strongly rooted in addiction. When I feed my desires, I’m really feeding my addiction. When I feed my addiction, I’m giving strength, power, and control to the addiction. I don’t want to give away my strength, power, and control. As I grow stronger, the addiction grows weaker.
Dealing with the voice of addiction can be difficult, to say the least. You will overcome this! Try shifting your focus and being mindful of what is really going on. Be mindful of your long term goal and how much you’ve accomplished. Don’t throw it away for 15 seconds of mouth pleasure. I promise you this will go away over time.
If you have an uncontrollable urge for something sweet or chocolaty. Try some dark chocolate. Look for brands with more than 70% cocoa. A couple of little squares of dark chocolate is a quick fix for the chocolate cravings, tastes good, and is full of healthy flavanols. Avoid any type that says “processed with alkali” on the nutrition label. That process removes some flavanols.
If you happen to find that you’re not hungry as often, especially when meal time comes around, consider intermittent fasting. There are several methods. I plan on doing a full post on fasting in the future. It’s completely safe, natural, and has several health benefits.
If you’re around the 7th month mark, or beyond, are losing weight, and feeling great, keep doing what you’re doing, but allow yourself to evolve if you feel the need. The only thing that should remain constant is never exceeding your carb threshold.
Experiment and find what feels best for you. Every “body” is unique. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to weight loss. That’s where the “experts” have hoaxed and failed us all these years! (But, it would take some really strong evidence to convince me that weight loss, or gain, isn’t about hormones.)
Find what is comfortable for you and makes you feel your best.
If you’re not losing weight, track everything that goes in your mouth with MyFitnessPal. This can help you find out why and then adjust.
At the end of my first year, I had lost 115 pounds! I was absolutely amazed at the changes, not only in my body, but in my mind, my health, and my spirit! Keto diet fat loss is real, and basically effortless.
I was able to lose all this weight without eating less and moving more, without eating low fat, without counting calories, without memberships and fees, and without huge lifestyle changes. I just changed what I put in my mouth and when.
I feel fantastic. I think more clearly. My mental focus has increased. My memory has improved.
I have an energy level that I’ve never felt in my entire life, and I’m 58 years old! I don’t have to take any medications anymore. The symptoms associated with my diagnosis of metabolic syndrome are reversing, which means I am no longer pre-diabetic. I sleep well at night and barely snore anymore.(my wife loves that!)
My family is impressed with my weight loss. My wife is impressed with my weight loss. My doctor is impressed with my weight loss.
Hell, even I’m a little impressed, but I’m more impressed by the process!
I was able to accomplish all of these awesome results while eating delicious foods.
It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that all of this was brought about just by changing what I eat and when I eat. You can do it too!
At this point of my low carb experience, I’m a pretty happy guy. I’ve lost nearly 33% of my starting body weight.
Wow, I’m almost ⅓ smaller than I used to be!
But I still have some weight to lose and remained focus on my goals.
If this helps just one person, I’ve fulfilled my mission.
I hope that person was you!
If I can help in any way, please leave me a comment!
What you do today is who you’ll be tomorrow. You are capable of great things!
If I can do this … so can you!