Diet and Exercise

My LCHF Lifestyle

LCHF = Low Carb, High Fat

I have gotten a couple of PMs about getting into LCHF and thought I would share with everyone.  Getting into the the LCHF lifestyle has been simultaneously extremely difficult and rewarding at the same time.  It took me at least half a dozen attempts to get into this way of eating before it actually “stuck.”  I would get to day 3 or 4, get a screaming headache +/- monster cravings and cave in…usually with either a snickers bar (or 3) or a slice of cake (or 2).  Finally, I decided I had to get through this when I stepped on a scale that read 146lbs, which is the heaviest I have been outside of pregnancy.  My BMI technically placed me in the overweight category.  And it was the final impetus I needed to kick off The OFF Project.  I want to hit 40 and be, well…fabulous.

I had to take away any chance of failure, so I ate the same thing everyday for the first 7 days, to kick in the process of ketosis. For breakfast, I drank a Venti Americano with Half & Half and no sugar.  Lunch was a romaine lettuce salad with grilled chicken, red cabbage, shredded cheddar cheese, one boiled egg, walnut pieces, cucumbers and ranch dressing.  Dinner was salmon (baked with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the top, and lemon pepper seasoning) along with broccoli or cauliflower and another salad.  Twice, I substituted seared tuna steak for salmon.  I got into ketosis around day 5 and was in deep ketosis (the dark, dark purple reading) by the end of the week.  My goal was to eat no more than 20g of net carbs per day (Total carbohydrates minus fiber).  Depending on the contents of my salad, staying below 20 wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

That being said, my energy level was crap in the beginning.  I didn’t understand why, so I researched, read and stalked just about every LCHF blog and forum out there.  The reason I always felt like I was getting run over by a truck everyday?  I wasn’t getting enough fat.  The key to weight loss on any ketogenic diet is making sure you are getting enough quality, healthy fat.  You have to eat fat to burn fat in the absence of carbohydrates and moderate protein.  Another key: moderate protein.  If you do low carb with high protein, you might as well be eating the very carbs you are trying to avoid.  And if you eat too little protein, the body will start to break down lean muscle which is far worse, in my opinion.  I currently keep my protein intake to around 75g per day.  I drink my own version of bulletproof coffee (made with grassed butter, coconut oil and a tad bit of vanilla extract) which has helped with my fat intake (along with some yummy bacon for breakfast from time-to-time).

I wasn’t going to do this, but I feel like transparency is a great tool to understanding.  So…here are my before and after stats.  Keep in mind that I am 5’4″ (64 inches) tall:

  • Weight: 146 –> 129
  • BMI: 25.1 (Overweight) –>22.1 (Normal)
  • Chest: 34.5 –> 32
  • Hips: 38 –> 35
  • Waist: 31 –> 28
  • Arm: 11.5 –> 10.8
  • Leg: 23 –> 21.5

I am at a point where I don’t necessarily want to lose any more weight – I just want to minimize my body fat % and build lean muscle which, in reality, will likely lead to weight gain.  I don’t have the courage (yet!) to post pictures, but I will…in my own time.  This journey has been just as much about building self-esteem and confidence as it has been about “hitting numbers”.  Let me know if you have any further questions!  I am happy to answer what I can, and point you in the direction of all the resources I have used to this point!

Because Nutrition Should be Daring, not Dull

2 things might be leading me to fall in love with Stephanie Eusebi:

  1. She has quite a few gluten-free, paleo friendly recipes that might allow me to spice up my ketogenic lifestyle.
  2. She says AMAZEBALLS.  Only awesome people say amaze balls.

I have not gotten the chance to speak with her personally, but she is a certified nutritionist, with a published food journal.  The thing that stands out (for me at least) is that she is also willing to publish recipes for the general public.  You do not see that often.  This might be my new favorite nutrition blog.  Her recipes cover some pretty yummy sounding delectables, including Coffee Cheesecake and Homemade Gatorade (word?!?!).

This is the kind of thing that is made for me.  While I am fully dedicated (for maybe the first time in my life!) to eating keto, my creative juices have not begun to flow yet.  Variety has not been the name of the game for me and I need to introduce it pronto before I get bored, which will surely lead to temptation!  The other issue I currently have is getting in the amount of fat that I need.  It’s hard taking in a ton of (good!) fat without sipping on a cup of coconut oil.  And, while I love bacon, I’m not trying to eat 50 pieces on a daily basis.  But I am digressing…

I really just wanted to express my thanks to Stephanie for starting such an awesome blog for some little old common keto folks like me.  If you ever come up with some fat bomb recipes, I will gladly be a guinea pig!

Eradicating the Dieting Mindset

I was a fad dieter in a former life.  You name it, I’ve probably tried it.  Cabbage Soup, Lemonade, Fruit Fasting, Fat Flush, Paleo…Most of the time, I did lose weight, but it always came back like a boomerang with a vengeance.  And I would always end up weighing more than when I started, with lower self-esteem than a self-proclaimed “confident-in-my-skin” person should have.

And then I found the ketogenic lifestyle.  This is a lifestyle for sure.  This is not some fad diet or quick weight loss scheme.  It requires dedication, willpower and strength.  And, if done right, your body will thank you for it.

Q: So, why the switch?

A: I was a major sugar addict.  Plain and simple.  If sugar was in the first three ingredients, then it was more than likely mine to devour.  At the end of my 3rd year in pharmacy school, I found myself 12 lbs heavier than when I started, with a bloated mid-section, and a very boxy shape…neither of which are super sexy.

The first thing I did was work out.  And I got stronger.  And it was awesome.  But I was still heavier than I wanted to be.  And I couldn’t understand why…then something clicked.  It’s funny I’ve been in school for YEARS, but often only apply that knowledge to others.  And then my internal voice started screaming at me what we all know, “You workout to build muscle, to get stronger.  You eat to lose weight.”  But I was through with dieting, since it never worked permanently for me.  So, the only thing I could do was work on changing me…and that’s how I got to ketosis.  I needed something that was going to lend itself to a different way of life, break the cycle of sugar addiction and reliance on processed foods for false satisfaction.

I am not going to expand via diatribe about what ketosis actually is…I will leave that to these links: Ketogenic Diet Resource and The Paleo Guide to Ketosis.  I personally believe these do a great job of providing objective information about ketosis.  But in a nutshell, the focus is high (good) fat, moderate (not high) protein and very low carb.

I used this Ketogenic Calculator to get a customizable breakdown of my daily, targeted macronutrients.  For me, I set my attributes to lightly active, with 25% body fat.  I also set my target carb intake to less than 25g/day (net or minus fiber).  For most people, eating less than 50g/day seems to be enough to enter ketosis.  The calculator let’s you know the minimum and maximum amount of daily protein based on your individual parameters, and you can select within that range.  The calculator then lets you know your target fat intake.  For me, I am around 70% Fat, 20% protein, 10% carb.

It has only been a couple of weeks (I’ll have to put another post about those first few days), but it seems to be working.  My stomach is flatter than it’s been in the last 4 years.  I do not crave sweets like I did in the past.  I have increased my water in-take.  And the foods I chose to ingest have little to no processing.  I started this part of my “natural” journey looking for [yet another] weight loss alternative.  My goals and priorities have no changed…I want to hit 40 and be in the best shape of my life!  2 more years to get there!  Wish me luck 🙂