Since the last update and huge rant 3 months ago, I have changed my workout and food intake. I mentioned I wanted to be more strict to beat the plateau and I’ve been successful. I messed around with running and confirmed I hate it. I binged a little more then decided enough is enough. I started going on a ketogenic diet little more than 4 weeks ago. Let me just briefly answer some very commonly asked questions, based on what I know, and based on my personal experience. There are many sources online and there’s a whole keto community on Reddit with very useful information.
What is a ketogenic diet?
It’s basically a very low carb diet with moderate protein and high fat to force our body into ketosis, to burn fat as energy source. I’m not qualified to tell you more about the science of it, but there are many articles online that are helpful. Bodybuilding dot com has interviews with experts on this subject so you can watch it if you like. I find that very informative and most importantly, you’re getting the right info from the right people. On YouTube, I go to Jason Wittrock for reliable info and KetoConnect for recipe ideas. Rachel Aust shares her keto journey through her PCOS vlogs as well.
Just a note, there are differing views on how to go about it, and the long term benefits of a keto diet, and the more I read / watch, the more I realize I need to form my own opinion. In other words, it can get confusing. While I enjoy people sharing personal experiences (to get a general idea of what actually happens to our body), I go to experts / academic researches for science. That’s what you should do too. Experiences are very personal so what I go through might not be the same for you.
Do I track macros?
Of course I do. I’m taking only 20g of net carbs every day, and that’s mostly from vegetables. I take about 1g to 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight and I change it as my weight drops. Too much protein might not be good as it can be converted into glucose as well. Then I make up the rest of the calories in fats. I use My Fitness Pal to track so that I don’t exceed my daily carb limit. I want to keep my body in ketosis to burn as much fat as possible.
Why am I doing this?
For the past 2 years, I worked out hard. I lifted heavy to build and develop muscle mass. I portioned my macros in a balanced way. I’ve always managed my caloric intake. I was also slack with my food intake when I fell off the band wagon multiple times. I incorporated HIIT and slow steady cardio into my routine for more fat loss. Undeniably, there was progress, but it’s always been slow. I want to know what makes my body respond faster. In the end, while I’ve always known my body is sensitive to carbs, I’ve given in and just eliminate it from my diet just to see how my body reacts.
So what happened to my body the last 4 weeks?
I’m a carb addict. I friggin love my rice and noodles. I’m Chinese! So naturally, when I had to eliminate these and all other carb sources from my diet, I felt like shit. I was motivated so I stuck to it but I didn’t feel good the first few days. I had headaches and I felt light headed. They call it the keto flu. I felt symptoms of having fever, but without fever. After about 4 days, those symptoms disappeared. I felt normal again, less hungry but with low energy level for about 2 weeks.
The first few days, my body lost a lot of water weight. Bloating? Gone. It felt good. May I stress, it’s just water weight. When people tell you they lost shite loads of weight in just 7 days, LOL, it’s just water. Please don’t kid anyone. Then again, it’s motivating to see the drop in numbers and to see the bloat disappear.
After 20 days, I went on holiday. I tried to stick to it as much as I could, but I did cheat a little. It was my friend’s birthday, and there were homemade dinners which would be rude of me to refuse, so I ate. Small amounts. When I reintroduced carbs into my diet, rice and noodles, I was fine. But when I had the cake I made for my friend, I literally felt sick. Probably too much refined sugar. I then had migraine which lasted for 2 days.
I’m into my 5th week of keto now, I feel good. No more feeling woozy and I have lost a total of 4kgs. That’s close to 9 pounds. EVERYBODY notices I’ve shrunk. My body responds very well to this way of eating.
Ah, also, due to the shocking change to the body, I only pooped once the first week and once the second week. I panicked and started researching like crazy to find that it’s common. I’m quite regular now so everything’s OK.
How long will I do this for?
I will go full on keto until I reach my goal size. Actually, I don’t have a goal size but you know, I’ll just keep going until I feel that it’s enough… or maybe until I hit a plateau I can’t get over. I don’t plan to do this for life and I plan to introduce carbs back into my life. I will increase the carb intake slowly, eg from 20g to 50g to 70g etc and see how my body responds yet again. Once bloating occurs and once I start putting on weight again, it means I’ve exceeded my level of tolerance (if that makes sense to you?). When I re-introduce carb sources into my diet, I can also check for reactions. Example, I may be able to eat sweet potatoes without bloating, or I might get headache again if I had cake, etc.
How do I work out now?
Due to the low energy levels at first, I rested the first week. I tried circuits again, but boy, I lacked energy. I couldn’t complete the simplest workout and I felt light headed. No joke. So I just did stretches. Then I went on a holiday, walked lots and came back. I have more energy now and I went back to gym last week. I definitely have more stamina and strength compared to when I first started. My stamina suffered from not exercising and lifting for so long, but that’s a given. I guess I’m keto adapted now.
Basically, my weights circuit is done with lower weights, higher reps. Next week, I’ll add HIIT at the end of my circuit session. After about a week or 2, I will try lifting heavier, less reps, to see how my body feels. It’s all about trial and error and reintroducing things I used to do slowly.
I have been losing fat without exercising much, but I miss being strong. I really enjoy lifting (again, hate running!) so I know this has become a lifestyle I enjoy and want to continue for a long time. That’s why I am approaching it again slowly.
So what now?
I continue with what I’m doing of course! I plan to be strict, with no cheat days until my birthday that is 4th August. I’ll have my birthday cake then (hopefully without the headache!). If you’re interested or curious, please ask me questions, and I’ll do my best to answer. Would you want to know what I eat in a day? Or what my circuit looks like?
I’ll update again in a month or two or if there are any changes. Right now, while I sometimes miss my assam laksa, curry noodles, and a bowl of piping hot white rice, I’m really happy with the progress and it’s keeping me motivated.
Low carb for the win, I guess.