It’s been a few days. How do I like Keto as compared to Paleo?

Well, it’s interesting. I feel like my energy levels are a bit elevated. I do feel different, although Sherry hasn’t felt anything different yet. I’ve avoided the Keto Flu, though, and I’m sure that’s due in large part to the exogenic ketones I’ve been taking as part of my transition into ketosis. Note: this is NOT ketoacidosis. That’s something completely different.

As for the food, I find it refreshing. There are foods we are able to eat now that we’ve been avoiding for over two years, but there are now foods we’ve grown accustomed to eating that we now avoid, namely fruits. Sherry has been doing a great job of finding all kinds of amazing recipes for us, and the food has been nothing short of stellar. Sherry has taken her experience with undertaking Paleo cooking and applied it to Keto cooking, and the results have been extremely positive. Everything is tasting great!!!

Sherry has been getting excited after an initial general unhappiness about transitioning to Keto based on her past experience with it while I was on my National Guard annual training. She suffered pretty badly from what is known as the “Keto Flu,” and it’s the reason she’s had a lot of trepidation about going Keto with me. After I found exogenous ketos which are supposed to alleviate the symptoms during transition from glycolysis to ketosis, she decided she’d give it a try. After our first few days, it seems that the exogenous ketos are doing their job and are making our transition pretty painless. Better yet: I feel more energetic, and I got back into ketosis pretty quickly and easily!

Back to the food: do I think I could do this long-term? Perhaps. It definitely takes more work to stay in ketosis, but the way I feel and the food I can eat are pretty darned good. Time will tell how long we stay on it. One thing’s for sure; when we go on our vacation to Ireland and Scotland, we will not be following either Paleo or Keto. We generally like to experience cultures through not only the sights and sounds, but also through the food and drink. But that’s a long time from now. For the time being, we’re keeping calm and keto-ing on!

Weight-Related Illnesses

IMG_8505I am both a veteran and a current National Guard soldier. I am a member of many different Facebook groups and lists, and I see daily the ravages of excess weight on former members of the military. It truly is an epidemic that is being left untreated. The VA makes attempts to “Help” these veterans by prescribing medicines to them to treat the symptoms, but they never do anything meaningful to try to get to the cause of the problems: unhealthy diets.

I’ve heard that the VA sometimes does try to give advice to veterans in regards to diet: low-fat. They are still pushing low-fat diets, CICO, and moderation. The only one of these that has any real chance of working is CICO, but it is a lot of work, and unless the person has an exceedingly high level of discipline, CICO is very hard to maintain long-term.

I have reached out to many veterans groups to try to help their members lose weight, but it seems my biggest enemies are the VA, the education system that taught us the “Four Food Groups,” and the media that persists in telling people that low-carb/high-fat diets are bad for us. All the while, veterans are dying, living overweight, and continuing to damage their health.

I will continue, in the face of criticism and bad information, to try to bring some sanity to a group that deserves better. A group that has given so much for so little, and is being left behind when it comes to health. These men and women, who were once the picture of health and fitness, are now battling our horrible diet without ammo. I hope to give them the strength they need to overcome this last enemy so they can live out their days in good health and better fitness.

Bacon from Eggplant?

IMG_2795
This picture is pretty old; I was about 40 lbs heavier then.

Why?

I keep seeing posts on Facebook that keep touting low-fat as the way to be healthy and lose weight. It drives me nuts. I can’t believe people still believe this poorly-conceived diet as being actually good for you.

I’ve been living low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) for over two and a half years now, and I’m healthier than I’ve been in the past 30 years. Seriously. My blood test results are the best they’ve been in decades, and I’ve reversed some pretty serious weight-related health issues just by changing my diet. I will say that again for those who didn’t let that sink in the first time: To get healthy and lose weight, all I did was change my diet.

The diet I chose is low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) in the forms of Whole30, Paleo, and now Keto. These diets have led me to be not only healthy, but able to sustain that health in a way that allows me to eat delicious foods, to remain sated and avoid snacks between meals, and to keep my body healthy in a way that is verifiable through blood tests, stress tests, and my appearance.

Low-fat was the worst thing I ever tried, and I was never able to keep any weight off. I was constantly hungry, constantly unhappy with the food I was eating, and eventually broke the diet and ate so much that I gained back any weight I lost plus at least 5-15 lbs. Every single time, and without exception, every low-fat diet I undertook ended in miserable failure.

There are many diets out there, and people have shown success with just about all of them, but in the long-term, in my personal opinion, LCHF diets are the easiest to maintain, sustain, and stick with as a lifestyle. If the experience my wife and I have had with them is any indication, it’s a lifestyle that opens the door to good health, low weight, and even just generally feeling better overall. Even sleep is better on a LCHF diet.

Stop trying to do low-fat. It’s bad for you, and it doesn’t work. There are people who lose weight despite doing low-fat diets, but I’m fairly certain they had to do something other than just low-fat to succeed; either Calories-in/Calories-out (CICO) or some other form of deprivation. I didn’t have to deprive myself of anything, and on Paleo, I eat until I’m full. On Keto, I have to count macros and be more careful, but the food has been incredibly filling, and I’m never hungry between meals. Oh, and I’m losing weight daily without suffering. Try that on low-fat. If you dare.

In case I had any doubts…

I am most definitely in Ketosis! Well, at least there are ketones in my urine which is a good indicator that my body is producing them and getting adapted to use ketogens as energy. In another month or so, it will be harder to test via urine for ketones as my body gets more keto adapted, but at least now, not only can I feel it, but I can see it in a tangible test. I saw the lower amounts on Monday, but the test results have been getting darker almost daily. 1.5 is decent. I’m happy with that. If I can get it higher, even better, but for now, I’m losing weight steadily and I’m feeling great.

Yay!!!

Life v2.0

On our way home from our Valentine’s Dinner, Sherry and I were talking about how much our lives have changed since doing our first Whole30. Living after Whole30 is like living a life where anything and everything is possible. I see my life in different phases now: childhood, Marines, post-Marines, and post-Whole30. The post-Marines/pre-Whole30 period of my life was marked with difficulty, poor health, and poor fitness. I wasn’t able to do all the fun things I always wanted to do, and I wasn’t able to be as active as I liked to be. I couldn’t plan anything that required a lot of physical agility or stamina, and some things were completely off the list for me due to my excessive weight. Once I lost the weight, everything became a possibility. Once I got fit, everything became a probability.

We have been able to accomplish so much not only in terms of fun and adventures, but even professionally since losing weight and getting fit. Sherry and I have both been able to make progress in our careers since losing weight. I don’t agree with it, but opportunities are greater for those who are average or thin versus obese. I experienced this first-hand, and I can honestly say that things are easier for me now in certain ways professionally. The biggest opportunity I was able to take advantage of was going into the National Guard to resume my military career. This is something that could never have happened when I was obese as I didn’t conform to the height and weight standards, nor could I pass a physical fitness test. Now, I can pass both easily.

I can’t see myself going back to my post-Marines/pre-Whole30 days. I never want to feel like that again. It’s why I’m doing Keto right now: because I am looking to get more weight loss and make some physical gains that Keto seems to be really good at promoting. I’ll go back to Paleo at some point, but for now, I’m hitting Keto hard and I’m also getting back to my running and push-ups. Sherry and I are also doing swing dancing now, and between the lessons and the practice, it’s very physical and demanding. I’m also looking into some other workouts to do on my non-running days. All of these would have been impossible pre-Whole30, but now I’m only limited by time and my motivation, and I have lots and lots of motivation!

Keto Dry Run

IMG_8609Well, we started the Keto diet a few days ago, but I started eating Keto a few days earlier to get ready for it. I started taking some exogenic ketones to help my body get ready, and I felt the positive effects of them early on. I was hoping to be able to transition into ketosis quickly so that I could get as much as I could out of this experiment, and it seemed to have worked quite well; I actually got into mild ketosis on the third day and lost about 4 lbs for the week.

The foods are a bit different, and Sherry and I are having to learn new rules. The biggest change for us: not a lot of fruits, and cheeses are okay. Heck, cheeses play a big part in Keto. This means that there are a whole lot of foods that Sherry and I have been unable to eat that we can now eat again. I’m not sure how this is going to affect my G-I tract, so I’ll be taking things slowly.

Everything from snacks to lunches and dinners need to be re-imagined. Sherry and I have a pizza planned for later this week using a Keto crust made with cheese, cauliflower, and eggs. I’m also making sure I have nuts and Epic bars on-hand in case I need to eat something keto-friendly in the event of a non-keto meal situation (at work, etc).

The biggest part of our work-up toward starting Keto has been the research. Sherry and I have been reading as much as we could to get our heads around the different rules and to ensure we are giving ourselves the greatest chance for success. Like I’ve said in the past, I’m looking to get some good weight loss out of this. Sherry and I haven’t yet decided how long we will be Keto, but I want at least 10-15 lbs out of it. I’m sure she’d be pleased with the same amount.

Seeing Failure as Feedback

In the past, I failed repeatedly whenever I tried to lose weight and get healthy. Regardless of the method, the plan, or the diet, my attempts always ended in failure. Fortunately, I never tried the same bad plan twice and kept trying.

Dr. Andrea Dinardo has a wonderful blog I’ve been following for years, and this post of hers really resonates with me. Embracing failure has allowed me to succeed where I never thought I could. Be willing to see failure as feedback.