After a lot of stressful events over the last year, I completely stopped working out and gained around 35 lbs. I was already a little overweight even a year ago and so it just made things worse. I've been in excellent shape for MOST of my life with a few bad years scattered around when I just couldn't get control of my life. Now that the stresses are out of the way again, I've started working out and eating on the Keto plan. I started at about 244lbs and I'm now down to 228.2. That's close to 16lbs in 12 days. I did VERY LITTLE working out during this time because starting Keto can make you have less energy while you transition over to this new way of eating and living. Once I hit 15 days, I will start working out pretty hard core to reduce the time it takes to hit my target of the way I look, feel and my bodyfat %. Btw, that picture on the top is the Keto pyramid. It shows how the diet is different for Keto.
- Lingo Time:
- LCHF: Low Carb High Fat
- Diet - The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. (diet doesn't mean fad or bad or anything else although it can be applied to those things)
- Glycogen - A substance deposited in bodily tissues as a store of carbohydrates. This is basically your fuel/energy.
- Keto - Short for Ketogenesis (or ketogenic) which refers to the process of ketone bodies being produced primarily by the mitochondria of liver cells as a result of fatty acid breakdown.
- Here's how Ketogenesis works:
Ketone bodies are produced in response to unavailability of blood glucose. This means if you have low glucose levels in the blood, after you exhaust your cellular levels of carbohydrate stores such as glycogen, ketones can be produced. Ketone bodies are created at moderate levels in everyone's bodies, such as during sleep and other times when no carbs are available. However, when ketogenesis is happening at higher than normal rates, the body is said to be in a state of ketosis. The goal here is to cut carbohydrates almost completely so that you burn up your glycogen/carb stores (energy) and transition into ketogenesis. Once you transition into ketogenesis, you will start burning Fat and Fat stores to produce ketone bodies which will now be your new energy source. Some science has shown that burning ketones instead of glycogen can be upwards of 28% more efficient. This is something you CAN do forever if you are doing it appropriately, healthily and seeing your doctor when you're supposed to. (just like any diet and remember what diet actually means in this sense).
- Here's what I am personally doing:
I don't advocate doing anything without consulting your doctor first if you have any kind of condition or you just haven't been in a while. I don't want to responsible for anyone hurting themselves.
A couple of things to note; if you have type 1 diabetes, do not do this diet. If you have type 2 diabetes, this diet can help you immensely but you should NOT attempt it without your doctor being involved first. If you don't know or haven't been to a doctor in a while, this is one of the dangers that CAN KILL YOU. If you are overweight and not sure. Please see a doctor first to make sure you know whether you're fit for this diet.
If you want to LOSE weight. This diet plan WILL work if you follow it.
- Figuring out what your Caloric deficit should be:
There are lots of calculators out there to figure this out. Basically the gist of it is figuring out your current maintenance calories. That's how many calories it takes every day to keep you at your current weight/fatty tissues levels. This calculator is perfect for Keto because of the other things built in. Keto Calculator.
Most of this calculator is pretty self explanatory but let's walk through it together.
- Please enter data about yourself - Easy
- Ignore this one for now (mine is around 2000 calories)
- This is where you put any kind of working out you plan to do. It's going to estimate a caloric intake for you. Do NOT cheat on this. If you don't plan to work out (I suggest light working out for the first 15 to 20 days such as walks and some light weight lifting), then put Little to no Exercise. Exercise will make your target calories easier to hit cause you'll actually get to eat a little more if you do some exercise. This step is very important so don't cheat yourself here. (mine is moderate exercise until I hit 15 to 20 days then I will move to heavy exercise and re-calculate this form. by selecting moderate exercise, my calorie expenditure goes up to 3031)
- Minimum intake recommended for my bodyfat percentage. This is something that's difficult to do at home so you have to estimate as well as you can. Here are a couple of methods. Comparison - Page 1, Page 2,. Measure yourself - Here. Measuring yourself is by no means really accurate but we can get a good enough estimate for this plan by doing so.
- Leave the daily carbs at 25g. We're going to make DAMN sure we get into Ketosis.
- Now we choose our protein intake. This will be much different between us all depending on your goals, your size and how much work out. If you are not going to work out at all, I would suggest going about 10% more than the minimum shows which is 99 for me. so that would be around 110'ish. If you plan to work out, you need to increase this. For the medium activity I'm doing now, I'm at 145g of protein. So choose your amount appropriately.
- Now here's another extremely important category. The lowest intake is basically how much you need to survive. Don't go lower than that. The maximum amount will keep you at your current weight. The lower you make this number under your maintenance intake, the faster you will lose weight until diminishing returns. My range is 997 - 3031. I set mine at 1600 which is pretty drastic. Keep in mind this takes into account all your statistics INCLUDING how much you said you would work out. So if you don't workout but you said you did, you'll screw yourself here and lose no weight. Be honest with yourself. I'm basically cutting 1500 calories a day. That's my Caloric Deficit. I can't suggest what to put this at because everyone's statistics up to this point are quite different. I can help you pick something if you e-mail me your stats though at email@example.com. First come first serve. I tried to make sure that I was at least 300 calories below my Kcal BMR listed in step 2. That means even if I don't work out on 1 day, I'm still in a caloric deficit at the end of the day and on the days I do workout, I'm in a HUGE caloric deficit.
That's it! Now you can see what you should be getting on a Keto diet. For me it's, 1600 kcal daily intake, 25g carbs, 145g protein, 102g fat. Now, do NOT stress out if you don't hit these exact numbers every day. What's important is the calories and the percentages. You want your Fats to be 60 to 65% of your intake in calories, your Protein to be 30 to 35% (35% if you're working out more) and your Carbohydrates to be around 5% of your daily intake. The reason my Fats can be 102g/60% and my protein is higher at 145g but lower percentage at 35%, is because 1 gram of fat is 8 calories and 1 gram of protein is only 4 calories.
Now for something really neat. On number 10, click the measurement type you used, kg or lbs. Now you can see a fairly accurate projection of your weight loss based on the statistics you entered. If you continue to do everything the way your statistics show, this will be you. Where you see that letter C on the scale is the point where you have to increase your calorie intake to keep from starting to lose muscle. This is based on your bodyfat % and your caloric intake percentages. You will want to redo all of this calculator at least every month because YOU will change and you can get updated, more accurate results here. For me, very soon, when I hit 196lbs, if I don't increase my caloric intake, I'll be burning off my muscle. You do NOT want that. Muscle is good. It helps you burn calories.
- My Diet
I shop for and cook all my meals for 6 days on Sunday. The reason I do this is because this helps me keep to a strict diet where I don't have to go out and get junk because I'm too lazy to make something today or I don't have anything in the house. You can do this meal plan on about $35 a week if you shop sales. (not counting whatever keto friendly snacks you might purchase and size/caloric needs differences you may have from me). I'm also a person who can eat exactly the same thing every day for quite a long time and I don't really care. For you, you may want to mix it up a bit but this plan provides for a little variation and later I'll show you where you can get a million Keto plans/recipes.
This diet hits about 1500 - 1650 calories a day. That's what I do. You may need to adjust by adding an extra egg or extra cheese or whatever but it's easy to do.
I suggest purchasing around 14 plastic containers like the ziploc hard plastic containers. You can even get cheap, divided containers that are relatively flat and will fit in your fridge now for about a dollar per 3. Also make sure you have some Ziploc bags (sandwich sized) and possibly some brown paper bags to take with you to work if you don't have time for your breakfast at home in the mornings.
- 18 eggs.
- 1 package of your favorite bacon. (For my intake level I do 3 pieces of bacon a day so I buy a package that usually has 18 or 19 slices in it). Coffee (black coffee ONLY or BulletProof coffee but this will add calories. I use black)
- Hard boil your eggs.
- 18 eggs in a pot, fill with water.
- Bring it to a rolling boil. Once you have a good, rolling boil, remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid.
- Give it 15 to 18 minutes to sit. You can peel them later or, you can poor them into a bowl with cold water from tap and peel them now. I peel them immediately.
- Cook your bacon.
- Preheat your oven at 400 degrees F.
- I do this on a cookie sheet in the oven. Cover the cookie sheet in foil, line up your bacon.
- When the oven is ready, slide it in for 15 minutes. (time might vary by a minute or two. don't char it.)
- Take 6 plastic sandwich bags and put 3 eggs in each.
- Take 6 plastic sandwich bags and put 3 pieces of bacon in each.
- If you're numbers of eggs/bacon differ, divide it evenly over 6 days.
- Now you can put these in 6 brown bags for taking with you or just stick them in your fridge. That's breakfast for 6 days. Doesn't sound like much but the Fat and Protein will fill you up.
Juicy Garlic Chicken Thighs served with Broccoli and Cheese
- A 12 pack of boneless chicken thighs. Ideally WITH skin but without will work as well.
- A bulb of garlic.
- Frozen Broccoli, 20oz.
- A 16oz bag of Shredded Cheese. I stick with variations of cheddar because it has slightly less carbs in it.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f.
- Place 12 chicken thighs in an oven pan that you can cover. I used a glass pyrex dish and covered it with foil.
- Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the garlic cloves from each other. You can peel the skin off of the individual cloves now or you can just eat it later or spit it out later lol... Your choice!
- Spread the cloves around in the pan.
- Cover and let cook for approximately 2 hours.
- Grab 6 containers (like the ziploc plastic containers we mentioned above).
- Put two chicken thighs in each and divide the garlic cloves evenly among the 6.
- You can also poor a little of the chicken fat/juice evenly into each container. This will keep it from being dried out when you re-heat it. Let it cool.
- Now evenly distribute the 20oz of broccoli across the 6 containers.
- Top the broccoli with shredded cheese. About 1/4 cup for each container.
- Seal em up and into the fridge.
Carne Picada w/Onion and Peppers Served w/Vegetables
- 2lbs of Carne picada (minced beef, made for fajitas typically)
- 1 onion
- 1 bell pepper of any color
- 1 bulb of garlic (optional)
- 6 Cups of frozen Bird's Eye Normandy blend vegetables. It's a mixture of zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. If you don't like those, just pick another mixed bag of vegetables that's keto friendly. I will have a list on here for you of Keto friendly veggies.
- 1/4 stick of REAL BUTTER UNSALTED. No margarine or any of that nonsense. You want the fats.
- 1 bottle of Herdez Salsa or any other Keto friendly salsa. This means no carbs.
- Slice up your pepper.
- Cut the onion in half and save the other half for next week.
- Get a large enough pan for all the ingredients.
- Melt the butter in the pan and saute your onions and peppers.
- Add the meat and fry it up until it's thoroughly cooked.
- Grab 6 more ziploc containers (not baggies).
- Divide what you cooked evenly between the 6 containers.
- Let it cool a bit before adding the rest.
- Now put 1 cup of the veggie mix you purchased into each container. If you are using carrots, they have carbs so be careful how much you use.
- Seal it up and put the containers in the fridge.
No Shell Tacos
- 2lbs of Ground Beef (do NOT get lean beef. this defeats the purpose. get a higher fat content. at least 80/20.)
- 2 bottles of keto friendly taco sauce. Check the labels. Taco Bell's Mild sauce in a bottle has 0 carbs and tastes pretty decent. Get a taco sauce with NO carbs.
- 1 bottle of keto friendly hot sauce. I use Chalula which is flippin good mun.
- 1 carton/container of sour cream. Do NOT get light. You want the fats and stuff.
- 1 bag of shredded lettuce. I personally hate iceberg lettuce so I use Mixed greens or baby lettuces with Romaine, Spinach etc...
- 3 medium sized tomatoes
- Half an onion (optional)
- Brown your ground beef in a skillet or pan on the stove.
- Add in 1 bottle of taco sauce and mix it up. Dats-a-Tacomeat.
- Dice up your onion and seal it up in it's own baggie or container and put it in the fridge.
- Get 6 ziploc containers
- Divide your beef evenly among them
- Seal em up and toss em into the fridge
- Heat up the taco meat in the microwave
- Dice up half of a tomato
- Add some onion
- Toss in the shredded lettuce or greens you have (I do around 2 cups but 1 cup is probably plenty)
- Add 2 tbsp. of Sour Cream.
- Add more Taco Sauce or Hot Sauce and you're good to go. I personally add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to mine also for the extra calories to boost me up around 1600+.
- 2lbs of ground beef (again go for 80/20 at least. do NOT get lean meat)
- 2 or 3 different bags of your favorite, keto friendly, frozen vegetables
- Any or all of the following sauces
1. Taco Sauce
2. Frank's Hot Sauce 3. Herdez Salsa 4. Classico Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce (carbs to account for) 5. Patak's Original Concentrated Curry Paste (mild) (also some carbs) 6. Or your favorite sauces (that are preferably carb free or have 2 carbs or less per serving)
- Brown your ground beef in a skillet or pan on the stove top
- Grab 6 ziploc containers and divide your beef evenly between them
- Seal em up and toss em in the fridge
- You choose your sauce and veggies the night you eat the meal so that this meal is more flexible but still easy
- Grab a container of your beef
- Add in 1 cup of your preferred veggies
- Microwave covered for approximately 3 minutes
- Add your preferred sauce and mix it up
On snacks I usually check where I'm at for the day on my calories and totals and see if I need or want to throw any in. Some days I do and some days I don't. I haven't ever been hungry on this diet so far so it's easy to completely forget about them sometimes. Here's what I do for snacks.
- String Cheese - MORE CHEESE PLEASE!
- Pork Rinds - I like the spicy ones. NO CARBS! I only eat ONE serving if I eat them. That's about 9 pieces.
- Almonds - Almonds have a lot of carbs but very good fats too. As long as you're staying under your target of 25g of carbs a day, you can fit almonds in. A serving is about 24 nuts. I eat about 15 and then drink a bunch of water.
- Tracking your Progress and Final Thoughts
- It's very important to track your progress because it helps you know where you stand and keeps you motivated when you see the numbers changing. It also helps you learn how to fine tune your diet.
- I track EVERY single thing I eat by plugging it into MyFitnessPal on my phone. Free on the Android market and probably free on I-stuff as well. You can search the brand, type, name of any food out there and it has them. Then you set your serving size and add it to your meal. At the end of the day you can look at a list that shows how many carbs, protein, fat and calories you got that day. This is very important to know for the next step.
- Next you need to plot your progress every day. I use this awesome google doc that I found on /r/keto. Progress Chart.
- Down on the right side of the form there are instructions for copying it to your own google docs and setting it up for use (resetting it). You can just change the date in the top left date entry and it will auto-update the rest of the dates. You can then right click on the letter at the top of the WHITE columns ONLY, B, C, D and E ONLY and click "Delete Column." Now you're set! Enter these stats every day and give it a couple of days of entries and the pie chart will show up and start working.
- The main thing to remember is that you MUST stay in ketosis or this won't work. You will know when you hit Ketosis. It is normal to feel less energy and even very light flu-like symptoms for the first few days. It's a big change over to this way of eating for some people and the body has to undergo a transition. Do not be deterred. You will know when you hit Ketosis because you will get a weird, sweet and acrid smell to your breath and your pee will start smelling weird. To combat the pee thing, just drink more water. To combat the breath, normal hygiene will fix it.
- If you binge or go over your carb limits on intake, you will drop out of Ketosis quick. I'm talking within 30 minutes to 2 hours and then it can take you many days to get it back as well as going through some of the Keto Flu symptoms again. Don't drop out of keto if you're serious about this.
- I will post some links below and there will be some talking about the safety of keto and how it is NOT bad for you as well.
- Now you're set!
-Important Links -
Here's the juicy links and where I got most of my information. Reddit is good for some things! Take some time to educate yourself further as well as find some great Keto friendly recipes and inspiring stories of life change.
- /r/KetoGains (building muscle on Keto)
- Carb Counts (a bunch of foods with their carb counts)
- Keto Calculator
- LCHF for beginners
- A Guide to Ketosis - Excellent. Do NOT pass up looking through this one.
- Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes
- Low Carb Recipes
- Is Ketosis unhealthy or unnatural?
This blog is around 3600 words at this point so I'm going to let you get started on your Keto plans here and I'm going to write up my workout plans for next weekend. In the mean time, if you are just starting Keto or plan to start this week, you don't want to exercise too much right away anyway. I would suggest going for a nice walk every day and drinking plenty of water. We're talking 64oz is rarely enough water. I typically get around 128oz a day myself. Your body can use it!
Feel free to leave your comments below and let the Romantics family know if you're planning on starting this journey along with me. We would all love to hear progress, struggles and anything else you might want to say or ask. As always, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need some help. The whole Romantics family has been and extremely supportive one and I thank you guys for that.
Love you all!
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