How difficult is it to dine out on Keto?

Sherry and I have dined out about half a dozen times in the past two weeks after adopting the Ketogenic diet, and I have to say, it’s been pretty darned easy. I might say it’s even been easier than trying to eat Paleo (which we were, admittedly, pretty much always able to do without too much difficulty)

Mediterranean, Mexican, seafood, steak, wings: we’ve eaten all of these with ease, and so far, no matter where we go, we’ve been finding it pretty easy to find keto-friendly foods. All restaurants have butter, so asking them for some melted butter to serve with things like broccoli, fish, shrimp, and even steak has been very simple. Sticking to green leafy vegetables as well as squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans has also caused us no issues.

We do get the crazy looks when we turn down nacho chips at Mexican restaurants, but at our favorite Mexican restaurant, they know not to even ask. With over 70 visits there in the past few years, they know us well.

As long as you stick to meat and vegetables, add some butter or hard cheeses (swiss, provolone, etc) to your food, it’s easy to keep your dining out keto-friendly.

Daily Food Logs on Keto

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My weekend was very long, very busy, and kept me from blogging about my food.

I’ve been asked by a few people to post my keto meals on the blog to help people get a sense of what I’m eating. The problem is that I don’t weigh my food, so knowing exact carb content is difficult. I guess, and I try to err on the side of caution by over-estimating the carb content of my foods to try to stay under 20g net carbs a day, but I’m sure I go past that every now and then. I do use ketostix to gauge my ketosis, but as my body adapts to using ketones for energy, the levels in my urine decrease. I’ve started to see the levels decreasing on the stix starting this week although my food has been every bit as keto-friendly as the first three weeks.

I most definitely will begin posting my daily food logs. I just need to find a way to make it actually worthy of posting by being valuable in showing not just what I eat, but perhaps the macro content of the foods. I am actively working to figure this out, and as soon as I do, I will start posting them. I’m hoping to get a good start on that this week!

I do apologize for the delay, and please don’t think I’m shirking my responsibilities or ignoring your request. I just want to do it right, and I want to make it worthwhile. I also had drill with the National Guard this past weekend, and my days were very long: 14-16 hours of solid work each day. I was lucky to be able to eat keto-friendly foods during drill, and I’ll be discussing how I was able to accomplish that as well in a later blog post.

It’s not easy; it’s worth it

People are always looking for the easiest way to lose weight. These people are like everyone else (me included); work smarter, not harder. For me, Whole30, Paleo, and Keto have been the “Working smarter” way to lose weight. I found it to be far easier than any other method I’ve tried in the past (I’ve tried many!) and led me to the greatest success with the least amount of pain. Pain to me were things like always being hungry, having headaches and low levels of energy, and feeling like I was tempted at every morsel of food I laid eyes upon.

What I learned after my first week of Whole30 is that even when it didn’t feel easy, it was worth it. Weight was dropping, inches were melting, and I felt better all while eating foods that were delicious and kept me feeling full. Most importantly, I didn’t suffer the whole time. Sure, the first week was tough, but once I got used to the low-carb life, it got easier. I didn’t say it got easy; just easier.

Then, the craziest thing happened. After the first Whole30 was in the books, so to speak, we transitioned to Paleo, and it did become easy. I can’t say enough good things about how amazing the foods were (and how amazing my wife is for having made such delicious, filling, and most importantly, healthy food. I felt like I was cheating my way through weight loss as I watched my weight drop around 10 lbs per month.

Not everyone has the same experience I had, and that’s because our bodies are all different. Insulin dependence and how insulin resistant you are has a lot to do with this. Fortunately for me, my body was not insulin resistant, and I was able to get into ketosis a few times rather easily, and my body responded very well. Now that I’ve gone keto again, after being Paleo for nearly two and a half years, using exogenous ketones, I was able to get back into ketosis within a week, and I’ve been dropping weight like I was back in the early days of my first LCHF experience. I’m on-track for 10 lbs lost this month (at a minimum).

With that said, it’s not easy tracking macros, eating more fat, and balancing it all. I’ve had to re-learn food rules, as Paleo is similar to Keto, but Keto is far more science-based and utilizes food measurements by weight. I have to keep reminding myself of the Art Williams quote: It’s not easy; it’s worth it.

The main takeaway here is something I’ve repeated on this blog for the past two years: YOU are worth it. Your spouse is worth it. Your kids are worth it. Your friends are worth it. Your feeling more energetic is worth it. Your being more physically able to do day-to-day things is worth it. Your overall health is worth it. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.

Stop eating like a kid!

I heard this today and had to laugh because it hits so to the core of the problem our society has. Eating junk food, fast food, pre-prepared foods, packaged snack food, etc. This is all stuff you eat when you’re young and your body doesn’t care. You are still growing, and your body is expending tons of calories to grow. But then that growing stops and your body starts storing all the excess calories, and before you know it, you’re overweight or worse, obese.

That happened to me. I never thought about it until today, but sure enough, I never started eating like an adult. What is that, you ask? It’s eating food prepared from whole ingredients. Actually taking the time to cook the food properly. Eating good, healthy, delicious meals. The kind of stuff you would usually make to impress a date with. That’s adult food, and unless you were making pasta or some calzones, it’s typically healthier than the kid food.

If you’re an adult, start eating like one if you haven’t already. If you want to be healthy and lose weight, eating like an adult will go a long way toward getting you to where you want to be!

Getting older doesn’t excuse the dad bod

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At this point, I’d lost about 80 lbs but was still rocking the “Dad Bod.” I lost another 70 lbs after this.

I’ve heard it many times: “I’m older and I have a dad bod, and there’s nothing wrong with that.” From a pure judgmental standpoint, that’s absolutely correct. I don’t judge anyone for being overweight or having a dad bod, and nobody else should, either. I know many warm, kind, brilliant people who have the dad bod. I’m not taking anything from them. BUT, I would much prefer that these amazing people I know were healthy, and that they didn’t assume that being older means having to accept the dad bod as a norm.

I just got done talking to someone who pointed out to me that they are no longer in good shape like me because they’re older. The irony is that they are younger than me by a good 10-15 years. I didn’t ask them this question, but I was thinking it: “When did it become acceptable to you to gain the weight?” I would assume that many people would answer “After I got married.” If this is you, then you’re doing your spouse and yourself a disservice.

That stomach fat is being recognized more and more of not just a symptom of poor health, but actually a source of declining health and many weight-related issues. I took control of my health and my weight because I want to be around longer for my wife and kids. I want to live a longer life free of weight-related health issues, and I don’t want to be a burden on my wife and kids as they care for me due to any health issue I could have avoided by taking care of myself.

Don’t accept the tire around your waist as being okay just because you are over a certain age. You have the power the get rid of it, and you can do so without a whole lot of exercise. All you have to do is change your diet to something with fewer carbs and your body will sort itself out. How do I know? I went from 312 lbs to 200 lbs with diet alone. I went from 190 lbs to 160 lbs with diet and exercise. You can’t tell me it’s impossible.

This Keto Experiment is Winning

Wow.

Yesterday, I lost 3 lbs. The day before, I lost 3 lbs. I feel amazing with none of the flu-like symptoms some people experience, and my stomach is looking as good as it was prior to Christmas. It’s taken long enough, but it’s nice to be back here again.

The part I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around is that I’m eating lots of fatty food and even lactose-free cheese, and the weight is coming off. I know: science is the answer. Ketosis is the reason, and it all makes sense, but it’s still amazing to me. After a life of hearing, “Low-fat is healthy!” it’s hard to think otherwise.

While I was eating my two eggs sunny-side up with three slices of bacon coupled with drinking chocolate by Lakanto (with a scoop of Perfect Keto exogenous ketones in it), I thought about my dinner last night: 1/3 lbs beef hamburger with sliced bacon in the meat and two slices of bacon on it with a fried egg. Sherry made some fathead bread buns for the burger, and I was certain my weight would be up a pound or two this morning. But, something crazy happened. Well, two crazy things. First, I felt full. Incredibly full. That’s probably why I was so certain I was going to weight more the next morning. Second, I actually LOST weight in the process.

Am I in ketosis? Most likely. I have ketostix, and they show I was in mild ketosis yesterday, but I didn’t use the sticks this morning. Why? Because I’ve read that the sticks are only helpful early on and then they stop being effective after your body becomes more efficient and ketoadapted. I may check my levels tomorrow, but I might not check them with ketostix anymore after that. I will use what I learned while on Paleo in regards to my body health: how do I feel. If I feel great, my clothes continue to get looser, and I see movement on the scale, chances are I’m in ketosis. If all of these factors point to plateau, then I will adjust and carry on.

I’m pretty pleased with my results, with how I feel, and I’m optimistic for the future of this way of eating. I’m finding more and more information about keto that is really appealing to me, and the more I read, the more I’m seeing how solid the science is. It’s more science-based than a belief system which has always been one of my criticisms of Paleo.

Does this mean the site (and I) will change names? Not yet. But I don’t count it out. It all depends on how long-term I can handle this. If my past few meals have been any indication, however, I can probably do this long-term. The food has been amazing, and the way I feel is better than I thought possible. I dare say I am (in Charlie Sheen’s voice) “WINNING!”

Knowledge brings a desire for deeper learning

When Sherry and I began our journey to better health, weight loss, and fitness, I never thought it would take us to where we are today. It seems that Whole30 opened the door to a life of much better health, fitness, and adventure. It even took us to new diets: first Paleo, and currently Keto.

I find myself fascinated by nutrition science, and I read about it, listen to podcasts, and I even attend Paleo|fx every year. I enjoy learning about new concepts, study findings, and new foods that help me stay healthy.

As I drove into work today, I was thinking about this as I listened to a Keto podcast. I thought about many people I know who are into Paleo, Keto, or LCHF lifestyle. They all follow many of the same habits I’ve formed: a love for learning as much as we can to ensure we’re optimizing our health.

Health habits are not unlike any habit; they grow as you dig deeper. My son was into cars, but now his life revolves around his project cars, the repairs, enhancements, wheels, etc. As his level of experience and expertise rises, so does his desire to learn more. The same has held true for me and nutrition.

You may not be that interested now, but as you continue to dig deeper and take on the LCHF lifestyle, you may find yourself wanting to optimize your diet to get the most out of your food for your health. Good habits bring about more good habits. Keep on seeking that knowledge!

Diet and Self Defense

simplyhdr56141990-1A thought occurred to me today. Being healthier has allowed me to be more agile, given me better mental acuity, and has allowed me to get fit. Weighing less has made my joints hurt less, I’m able to exercise, and I can bend, twist, and turn more easily. These are all things necessary for self defense.

Being aware of your surroundings is the first step to successful self defense, but at some point, a decision has to be made: fight or flight. When I weighed 312 lbs, flight was not an option. I couldn’t ever get away from a bad situation by simply turning and running. I was locked into any situation I found myself in, for better or for worse. Now, I have options.

Not only do I have the option of running, if that option is untenable, I am more physically able to defend myself or my loved ones if necessary. Training goes a long way here, but just from a pure health and ability standpoint, I’m far stronger, more agile, and quicker than I was just two years ago. I feel that my physical abilities eclipse my former self, and that is something that would-be wrongdoers take notice of: physical abilities of their victims. I no longer look like the soft, easy target. I look like I can take the fight back to them if necessary.

There are always new angles to take when thinking about health, diet, and fitness. I know many people who are always looking for that “Perfect holster” that fits into their waistband for easy concealment that doesn’t interfere with or isn’t affected by their fat bellies. Here’s an idea: get rid of the belly! My holsters all fit as-designed and are comfortable.

Revisiting bodily functions

mehThis is a subject that is taboo in polite company, but it’s something that bears talking about when we discuss diet. When you change what goes into your body, you are changing what’s inside of it, and that includes the biome of gut flora. Gut flora consists of the bacteria and enzymes that help you digest and process your food and it also helps you get rid of waste. Changing the food you eat changes the biome because different bacteria and enzymes flourish with different food sources. The food you eat is the food they eat, too.

Going from the American Diet to the Paleo Diet caused changes in my regularity. I went from using the restroom a few times a day to using it a few times a week. There are a few reasons for this outside of the change in gut flora, as far as I understand. One additional reason is that I haven’t introduced any probiotics into my diet to help restore my gut flora, and second, it’s possible that I haven’t been eating enough fat. Even though I do not try to eat a low-fat diet, there are times when my food is overwhelmingly lean.

In the past week on Keto, my bodily functions have returned to what I would consider mostly normal; going to the restroom at least once a day and sometimes twice. The experiences have been pretty darned normal as compared to before which was usually like giving birth to walnuts (as I can only imagine what giving birth is like; I’m sure that’s FAR worse, but this is the closest I can imagine). I attribute this return to regularity to two things: First, an increase of fat in my diet, and second, I’ve begun drinking Lakanto Drinking Chocolate that has probiotics in it. I drink 6 oz of this drink every morning with breakfast before I drink my exogenous ketones. I am not sure which of these has helped me more, but I’m not going to change either for the time being. It’s nice not feeling weighed down by waste.

Don’t overlook the importance of regularity when making your dietary decisions. Plan ahead with probiotics to ensure you remain regular. There are few worse feelings than feeling bloated with waste and being unable to rid yourself of it.

We Have to Eat

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To eat Portillo’s hot dogs or to not eat them? The decision is yours.

People mistakenly assume that my incredible weight loss is due to a lot of exercise, and nothing could be further from the truth. I did begin running in September 2016, but I lost less than a quarter of the amount of weight in the following year than I did in the year previous. While the amount of weight lost as a ratio was still pretty good as compared to my total weight, it’s harder to lose weight when you are thinner than when you are storing a bunch of fat. I’ve been unable to run due to a viral respiratory infection for nearly three weeks now, yet I’ve still managed to lose some weight through diet. And I don’t mean a short-term diet. I have been eating Paleo for nearly two and a half years, and I’ve been eating Keto for the past few days.

The reason why nutrition is so important is because we all have to eat. We don’t have to exercise to get through our day. This is a fact. While I prefer running over not running, I can survive the day, the week, and the month without running, but I couldn’t do that without eating. None of us could. So, we eat. But rarely do enough of us really consider the long-term implications of our nutritional decisions when we eat. The American Diet, so-called because of its high carb content, is horrible for us. Visceral fat abounds, and people autopsied or dissected after death who ate the American Diet exhibit lots of visceral fat. Even thin people show fat on organs. These are the “Fat Inside/Skinny Outside” (FISO) people. I was not one of these: I was a “Fat Everywhere” people. But I digress.

I eat healthy because everything my body takes in as nutrients, calories, or anti-nutrients all enters through my mouth by way of decisions I make and actions I take. I can eat grilled shrimp or a hamburger. The result on my health will be very different based on that very simple decision. Multiply that decision daily for each meal, and then weekly, and then monthly. It all adds up to making a lot of healthy decisions. Fortunately for me, it’s been pretty easy to make the healthy decisions on Paleo, and honestly, so far on Keto, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

We all have to eat. We don’t have to exercise. If you want to lose weight or be healthy, eat right. It’s a simple answer to a very complex problem. It definitely sounds easier than it is, and it requires a lot of effort, research, and dedication to follow it through. But at its most basic level, if you eat right, your body will be healthier.