My Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Results
Before I talk about the ketogenic diet, I would like to give you a little background about myself. A few years ago I had manage to eat and drink my way up to 280lbs. Even though I have a goofy smile in the picture below, it was a very depressing time in my life. The only thing I was worried about when I got off work was beer and unhealthy foods. I could go to Long John Silver’s and eat eight pieces of fish, eight shrimp, a large box of fries and still look for more food to eat. The last thing on my mind was any type of diet or exercise.
I was about 265lbs in the photo below… Uhggg!!
Fast forward a few years, I went through a separation and ended up homeless. I decided to quit drinking, start working out and of course, find a job… At the time of this next photo I was about 250lbs and had been sober for two months. I had been working out for about a month, doing a total body workout three days a week. When I would workout, I would do three sets of ten reps per body part. That’s all I remembered from high school when I played football…lol
As far as my diet goes, I just did what I was taught in the past about eating healthy. It was basically high carbs, low fats, fruits and veggies. I remembered the old food pyramids back when I was a kid and all I could think of was… “Fat is Bad”… It made sense… Why would I eat fat if I was trying to lose fat?
As you notice at the top of the pyramid, Fats and Oils are to be used sparingly. And from looking at the bottom of the pyramid, I can eat all of the bread, rice, cereal and pasta I wanted. So that’s exactly what I did. I was eating tons of bread from sandwiches because most of the deli slices were low fat. I’m talking loads of spaghetti, lasagna, mac and cheese and potatoes I could handle. I didn’t know anything about good carbs or bad carbs. I stayed away from eggs because I thought they would increase my cholesterol and blood pressure. You can see the direct result of eating this way in the photo below…
245lbs In This photo…
That’s right, I had huge muscles!… But it was buried under a lot of fat…lol
So I started reading a lot of blog posts, joining forums, watching YouTube videos and downloading free reports to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. I was reading blog posts as well as question & answers related to dieting on the Bodybuilding forums. I would stumbled across posts where people were talking about “keto” but there was really no detailed information about it.
So I started a calories deficit eating 1500 – 2000 calories per day. I would bounce from 245lbs down to 235 and then back up to 250lbs. The days I would only eat 1500 calories, would be destroyed with days when I would eat over 3000 calories of mainly carbs. For every day the I ate on a calorie deficit, there would be three to four days straight of nothing but junk food. Then the holidays rolled around and I would just pig-out on everything I could get my hands on. With a job as a furniture mover, working out five days a week at a massive 6’3″ and 245+ pounds, I couldn’t maintain a deficit of 1500 – 2000 calories per day.
Sometime in December I stumbled across a thread on Bodybuilding forums about eating high fats and cutting carbs. It contradicted everything I knew about dieting thus far. But for some reason I was intrigued so I kept on reading. That’s where I first heard the term “low carb diet“. I started noticing the word Keto pop up again and again so I Googled it. I brought me right back to a post on Bodybuilding.com you can find here.
For the next couple of weeks, I read about SKD (Standard Keto Diet), TKD (Targeted Keto Diet) and CKD (Cyclical Keto Diet). For a more complete breakdown of the three, you can check out a post on Ruled.me here. I also give an overview of the three further in this article if you want to skip down and come back…
I decided to go with CKD since it meant I could eat all the carbs I wanted on the weekend and eat low carb during the week (Or so I thought). It turned out to be a disaster because I would suffer all week long anxious for the weekend to eat carbs. When the weekend finally came, you would’ve thought I’d never eaten sweets before. It was a nightmare. Then Monday would come and I felt like crap!… The worst part is that I would have to do it all over again.
Maybe this Ketosis Diet thing Aint For Me!
That’s right, it was an epic fail!… After three weeks of this carb, no-carb diet thing I was trying. I was just about give up on it until I came across a keto expert by the name of Stephanie “keto” Persons on YouTube. It turns out, I didn’t have a clue what being in a state of ketosis really meant. So I decided to grind it out with less than 20 grams of carbs per day until I got it right… In about six weeks I had lost 30lbs!
The Ketogenic Diet Explained
The Ketogenic diet seems to go against most of the mainstream knowledge and recommendations when it comes to dieting. Why is it, then, that this latest trend in dieting and nutrition is gaining traction and has reportedly been adopted by big name athletic franchises, like the Los Angeles Lakers? Breaking all the rules for traditional dieting, the focus of the ketogenic diet is getting the body to burn fat. While other diets focus on the amount of food being consumed and its nutritive value, the keto diet is unique in that it focuses on calorie sources. The main philosophy is that a person can get their body to burn fat efficiently by exercising and eating the right caloric balance of fats, carbohydrates and protein. Keep reading to learn more about the ketogenic diet, how it works, how to set yourself up for success with a ketogenic diet plan and what kinds of fantastic results you can expect.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Starting with the basics, let’s first zero-in on exactly what we mean when we’re talking about a ketogenic diet. The word diet obviously just means “the way we eat” and the word “ketogenic” means “promoting ketosis”; ketosis is an energy consumption pattern, or metabolic state, that your body adopts in response to the diet, and ketosis essentially means “fat burning”. So for our foundation, let’s think of a ketogenic diet as “the way we eat to promote burning fat”. If you’re a little more into the biochemistry of nutrition, basically what we’re doing in a ketogenic diet is getting the body to burn ketones (a component in fats) instead of glucose (sugar) for fuel.
How can we tell our bodies what compounds to use for fuel and which ones to ignore? If it were as simple as saying “Okay muscles, today when we need energy let’s focus on burning fat because I’m feeling a little chubby this week”, we wouldn’t have diet plans at all! Thankfully, we can actually modify our own metabolic processes by controlling the food that we eat. If you’re sharp you may already have guessed a couple of the modifications based on the information above, but I’ll present them below in bullet points for simplicity:
Watch “The Science Behind The Ketogenic Diet Below” Amazing!
- Eliminate simple sugars from the diet
- Consume about 75% of daily calories from fat
- Consume about 20% of daily calories from protein
- Consume about 5% of daily calories from carbohydrates
- Eat sufficient greens to maintain health and micronutrient load
To fully understand how these factors interact to produce the desired result, you’ll need a quick primer in evolutionary metabolic biology, so let’s dive right in.
Humans have always eaten fruits and nuts as a primary energy source, only occasionally supplementing it with meat and grain when those were available. Fruits are full of simple sugars which our bodies readily use for energy. In fact, simple sugars are the easiest energy source for humans because they’re small, break down quickly and are energetically efficient to metabolize. Today, simple sugars are ubiquitous in the diet. They’re found abundantly in pop, juice, milk, beer, sports drinks, fast food, candy, chocolate and numerous other products. Eliminating simple sugars from the diet forces the body to metabolize something else as a primary energy source.
Consuming the bulk of your daily calories from fat may seem like a counter-productive way to try and lose weight. I mean, if you’re trying to lose fat, why on earth would you want to eat more of it? It turns out that a big part of ketogenesis is making fats your primary source of calories. A person on a regular diet consumes enough sugar that their body doesn’t need to tap their fat stores for energy, but someone on a Ketogenesis is always using their fat stores for energy. The result is that the ketogenic person actually burns off more fat than they eat, but the other person does not.
The final three points are a little less important but really serve to balance out the diet and ensure that you stay healthy while in ketogenesis. The protein will help to increase muscle mass along with a regular exercise routine and eating a few carbohydrates is important for long-term glycogen storage which can help with muscular endurance as well as energy levels throughout the day.
These five main components and the reasons that underlie them form the fundamental basis of the ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic Diet Benefits
There are way to many health benefits of being in a state of ketosis to list them all here. So I just listed a few of the important ones to give you a general idea of how amazing this lifestyle is.
Lower Blood Pressure
Increase In Good Cholesterol
Reduce Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
Ketogenic Diet Side Effects
Just to be clear… Your going to go through a phase called “The Keto Flue”. You may or may not experience one or more of the following symptoms when you first start off on the keto diet.
Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss
If you’re used to calorie counting as a method of losing weight, most of what you’re familiar with will go out the window when it comes to using the ketogenic diet for weight loss. Calorie counting models don’t take metabolic factors into account effectively, and the ketogenic diet actually reduces hunger so you’ll be eating fewer calories anyways. If that sounds like a win/win, it certainly is: you get to consume way more fat but you’ll actually eat less in total and lose weight.
One of the main reasons for normal calorie-counting diets is the prevalence of carbohydrate-rich foods in the North American diet. Consider the potatoes used to make French fries, rich dough used in pizza, or the fact that every hamburger or sandwich comes in between a large bun. Carbohydrates have always been the enemy when it comes to fat loss because they take your metabolism in a direction opposite to ketosis; they take so long to burn off that your body never has a chance to burn any fat.
Instead of focusing on a calorie count, shift your focus to your macronutrient percentages and focus on that instead. Here are some guidelines for determining the types of foods that are best suited to your person ketogenic diet plan, as well as how much an average person should be eating:
- Fat has a caloric value of 9 calories per gram of fat. Based on a 2000 calorie diet with 70% of calories from fat, you’d have to scarf down (2000)*(0.7) = 1500 calories / 9 calories =166g of fat per day.
- Protein and Carbohydrates both offer around 4 calories per gram. For a 2000 calorie diet with 400 calories from protein (20%), you’d need 100g of protein daily to hit your goal.
- Carbohydrates comprise a paltry 5% of your basic ketogenic diet. You’ll only need 25g of carbohydrates per day to satisfy your goal of 5%.
If you know a thing or two about food groups, you might make a key observation at this point about how to set up your diet. Carbohydrates are easy to consume on their own without eating protein or fat. Foods like bread, pasta, and rice are high in complex carbs while not being a significant source of either protein or fat.
On the other hand, it’s very likely that you’ll be consuming your protein and fat together, whether it’s in protein bars, lean meats, peanut butter or other foods. Fats and protein often go together in the diet, but with careful planning you can ensure that you’ll getting the right ratio of protein to fat for the optimal results. Eating fat has virtually no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, but too much protein can actually drive up insulin levels in the blood and interfere with the process of burning fatty acids in the body. It’s critical to get the right balance of fats and protein in order to promote ketosis and weight loss.
The Three Types of Keto Diets
I’ll give you a quick overview of the three in case you don’t want to leave this post…
Standard Ketogenic Diet
- SKD – (Standard Keto Diet) The standard keto diet is eating high fats, medium protein and low carbs on a day to day basis. No exceptions!
- As the most common of all types of keto diets. You want to limit your carb intake to 30 grams or less per day.
- For the majority of you that are starting out, this is the one I recommend and also follow myself.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet
- TKD – (Targeted Keto Diet) This is where you eat carbs only before you workout.
- If you want to try this angle, you want to eat your carbs 30 to 60 minutes before exercise. I recommend eating digestible carbs that has a high glycemic index to prevent any stomach issues. Foods that are high in glucose are the way to go to replenish muscle glycogen. Fructose based foods will only replenish your liver glycogen levels which is not a good thing at all.
- With this approach, the carbs you eat before you workout will get used up before it has a chance to kick you out of ketosis. Just make sure to get your quality fats, proteins and veggies when you eat dinner.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
- CKD – (Cyclical Keto Diet) This is where you eat carbs once a week or every two weeks.
- This approach is referred to as carb-loading. You basically remain on the standard keto diet five days out of the week (normally Monday through Friday). And on the weekends (typically 24 – 48 hours), you eat around 500 – 600 grams of carbs to replenish muscle glycogen. This is only recommended for serious bodybuilders who know what they are doing.
- For me this approach was a disaster as I stated earlier as I would literally binge on junk food. But if you think you can handle it, more power to you!
Ketogenic Diet Plan
Now that you’ve built a great understanding of ketogenic dieting, it’s time to get set up on a plan that will help you succeed at losing weight with keto. Remember, this diet doesn’t require special foods delivered to your house or anything fancy, we’re just going to eat regular, healthy, whole foods, cooked at home, and we’re going to balance our macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) to the desired ratios for the results that we want to get. Here’s a sample day plan for a ketogenic diet:
-4 whole eggs (boiled is best)
-2 tbsp pesto
-1 diced onion, fried
-coffee with coconut oil
-1.5oz sharp cheddar cheese
-4 cups leafy greens
-1 cup mushrooms and onions with chilli pepper
-1tbsp peanut or coconut oil
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1 scoop sugar-free whey protein isolate
-3 cups vegetable of choice
-1tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
Let’s work through this meal plan and note some differences from conventional plans for bulking or cutting. Firstly, we’re having eggs for breakfast because we know that have protein in the morning will kick-start the metabolism for the day, and we need to get the body working early to maximize fat burn throughout the day. There’s no particular emphasis on protein consumption here as with most bulking diets, but we do want to get some fats working early. Pesto will help your body start producing ketones. If you’re a coffee drinker, mixing coconut oil into your coffee in place of your typical cream and/or sugar will help you eliminate that simple sugar from your diet as well as giving you an early blast of energy to start off your day.
For the morning snack, it’s significant that we’re not going for a fruit or vegetable or something high in protein. Cheese works well in the ketogenic diet because it provides many calories from fat while being virtually devoid of carbs (check the nutrition label) and relatively low in protein.
At lunch time, it’s important to eat fish instead of a chicken or a steak. Salmon and Tuna steaks are great whole foods – don’t cut corners and buy it in a can. Fish are full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids – healthy fats that break down into a great energy source throughout the rest of the day. Incorporating healthy fats into our preparation of the main foods in the diet helps to balance calorie intake towards fats, so ensure that you’re using either extra virgin olive oil or a coconut oil to prepare that fish and not just baking it in the oven.
For your afternoon snack and post-workout supplement, just double check that everything you want to take is sugar-free and low in carbohydrates. You can also take some whey protein for your post-workout if that’s more normal for you, provided you’re not over-doing your protein intake for the day as a result. You may want to cut back on scoops if you’re normally going for 1g protein per pound of body mass.
Dinner is generally similar to lunch. Learn your go-to foods so you can easily track your nutrition throughout the day and use dinner to make any tweaks that will balance out your macronutrient ratios as best you can. Steak is great because you can get a lot of fat along with a good amount of protein, so you’ll really be upping your calorie count and keeping your ratios solid as well. You may need a piece of toast before bed-time to hit your carbohydrate targets depending on whether your whey protein is made with wheat.
Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Results
Most hardcore fitness buffs and bodybuilders are used to taking protein supplements and can find it difficult to dial back the protein intake when it comes to engaging the keto diet. That being said, the ketogenic diet weight loss results are fantastic, and you can also make strength and even size gains if you’re eating enough calories per day.
Some practitioners say that ketogenic diets can be the absolute best for bodybuilding and maximizing size in the gym. Diets high in fat promote higher levels of growth hormone as well as testosterone in the body, leading to more solid lean muscle gains. There are other ways that you can add-on to the ketogenic diet to actually improve your keto diet results, burn more fat and even gain some muscle as well.
- The Cyclic ketogenic diet is similar to the regular diet, except you actually eat high amounts of carbohydrates on just two days per week, sticking to the keto diet on the other five days. This is great for maintaining your carbohydrate stores for optimal performance in the gym, while keeping your body in ketosis for the vast majority of the time. As a guideline for this modification, stick to the absolute minimum level of carbohydrates you can handle during your keto phase. If you notice your output in the gym declining, you probably need to add more carbohydrates.
- There’s little benefit to consuming carbohydrate right after a workout versus consuming only protein, so stick to protein shakes for your supplement and fit your carbs in later in the day or before. It’s a fact that consuming your carbs right after you work out can spike your insulin and negatively impact your exercise results.
- Keto cookbooks contain some awesome recipes that can diversify your eating if you’re working with a ketogenic diet. Your keto diet results depend on home cooking – fast food contains too much sugar to be eaten in a ketogenic diet. If you’re excited about cooking new meals, learning a few different options can help you keep things fresh and original while sticking to a diet that gets great results.