BEFORE YOU TRY KETO
Do you struggle with your weight? Have you considered trying one of the more EXTREME weight loss protocols such as KETO, IMF, ADKINS or PALEO?
I often see people hopping on a diet such as KETO, IMF PALEO, ADKINS etc. only to see short term success and then gain all the weight back.
The reason for this is that there is not really anything magical about any of these protocols in terms of losing weight.
With Keto or Adkins for example you may lose weight initially because your body is used to running on carbohydrates for energy and while it is transitioning to burning fat you are essentially starving yourself even though you are still eating, hence the weight loss.
Once your body enters KETOSIS you will need to also watch how much fat you are eating. Eating Fat does not get you into KETOSIS. It is Carbohydrate depletion that does this. Increasing fat intake initially can help you feel full and decrease cravings for carbohydrates however eating too much fat means that although your body is in KETOSIS you will be burning dietary fat for fuel instead of body fat.
NOTE: I am not saying that these diets are not VIABLE OPTIONS. There are benefits to all of these protocols as well as drawbacks.
The KEY to success with any weight loss plan is to be able to remain in a calorie deficit long enough to see results. If a KETO, ADKINS, VEGAN or PALEO diet helps you accomplish this great. However, you also have to consider the transition out of your WEIGHT LOSS phase.
Will you stay in KETOSIS indefinitely? If you can great. However, many people soon tire of the limited variety in their diet. Additionally, your performance in the gym may suffer. Fat is great for low intensity exercise such as WALKING or CYCLING however for resistance training or sports your body relies more on CARBHOHYDRATES for energy.
As with other goals in life weight loss requires a DISCIPLINED, SYSTEMATIC approach for long term success.
Which diet you choose comes down to the one that allows you to MAINTAIN a CALORIE DEFICIT and manage the following.
Does the diet allow you to keep your hunger at a reasonable level so that you do not cave and undo all of your progress?
Does your diet allow you to have enough energy to get through the day and HOPEFULLY get some exercise in as well?
This is a big one on things like KETO and other diets where you eliminate whole food groups from your diet. Does your diet help to manage your cravings?
If you SAY NO to any of the above questions, then the diet you are on is probably not the best fit for you to achieve and maintain your weight loss goals.
SO, WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
As humans our natural tendency is want to achieve success as quickly and painlessly as possible.
This leads to people setting lofty goals and/or following extreme diet and exercise programs. For a while the results come quickly. However after a few months most of us realize that this way of living is not sustainable. Without clear direction and well thought out goals we begin to ease up on our workouts and diet.
We start to see our progress unravelling which leads to discouragement and ultimately we end up ditching the program all together.
A couple of months later we are back to where we started. Now that we are rested up we again get inspired and the cycle continues.
I am no different, however what I have learned over the years is that CONSISTENCY, trumps sporadic bursts or EXTREME EFFORT every time.
I am extremely passionate about the work that I do as a fitness trainer. I have so many goals and aspirations for where I want to go with my business. However, I have learned after many failed attempts at outsmarting nature that the key to consistent improvement whether it be in fitness, business, health or otherwise is to push yourself each day to the degree that you can come back and REPEATE your performance the next day.
Each time I ignore this and think, “Hey, I am on a role. I am tired but I am going to see if I can push the envelope and stay up a little bit longer to get a little more work in.” I ultimately end up getting a couple hours less work done the next day from pushing too hard the previous day.
“DO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WHILE BEING ABLE TO COME BACK AND REPEAT THAT PERFORMANCE TOMORROW.”
Here are a couple of things that can help you see sustainable progress towards your fitness goals.
1.Set Clear Goals.
What exactly do you wish to achieve? Saying things like “I want to be healthier, stronger or lose weight” are TOO VAGUE. Instead define exactly what the healthier version of you will look like, feel like and the things you will be doing. Exactly HOW much weight will you lose? Define stronger. Bench Press 25% more? Do your first Pull-up? Run for 20 minutes without stopping? Etc.
2.Define WHY you want to achieve that particular goal.
Why is this important to you? How will your life be different once you achieve the goal? ADDITONALLY ask yourself what are the consequences if I do not achieve my goal? A wise man once said “It is easier to RUN AWAY from something than to RUN TOWARDS IT.” meaning that averting an unhappy ending is often more motivating than moving towards a brighter future. Comfort is the enemy of progress.
3.Set a Deadline for achieving that goal.
Now that you have DEFINED your goal figure out what a feasible time frame is for achieving your goal.
4.Create a plan
Now that you have a timeframe in mind figure out the steps you must take each day to hit your goal on time. DON’T beat yourself up if life happens and you do not stick to your schedule. We do not live in a BUBBLE. However, when making decisions each day ask yourself. “Is this decision helping or hindering my goals.” The worst feeling is to fail because of poor choices.
5.Implement the plan.
6.Assess Progress and Adjust as Needed
Is the plan working? If the answer is YES. GREAT! Continue doing what you are doing. If not, ask yourself why not? Is it a lack of discipline, is life getting in the way, is the plan potentially not the right one for you i.e. too hard to stick to?
If you are consistently falling short of your goals with either your diet or exercise program assess the variables involved. What obstacles are reoccurring themes? Can you restructure your life to eliminate them? If needed revaluate your goals and set more realistic goals that you can follow through on consistently.
I SUGGEST that before anyone try a more EXTREME dietary protocol that they first learn to be consistent and adopt other healthy behaviors such as
- MANAGING STRESS
- DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
- GETTING ADEQUATE SLEEP
- EXERCISING REGULARLY
- EATING MORE WHOLE FOOD AS OPPOSED TO PROCESSED FOOD.
- FOCUSING ON EATING BALANCED MEALS. (Check out my Video “Diet – No One Size Fits All” on Facebook for more information on how to determine a BALANCED DIET that is the right fit for you.”
- EXERCISE TO PERFORM BETTER NOT BURN CALORIES i.e. get fit first then worry about weight loss if necessary. If you are fit weight loss will be much easier.
Once you are doing all of these on a consistent basis you can then turn your attention towards more AESTHETICS PURSUITS i.e. LOSING WEIGHT/FAT.
One SIMPLE and yet HIGHLY effective strategy I have used in the past to STAY LEAN year-round while also OPTIMIZEING my performance inside and outside the GYM is a DIETARY STRATEGY called CARBOHYDRATE CYCLING.
NOTE: If you are already on a low carb diet you can do a REVERSE DIET i.e. decrease total calories for 5-6 days and then bring them back up to baseline. And repeat.
The reason it is important to adopt the above healthy behaviors first is that you will then have a solid base from which to start.
If you have no idea what you typically eat or how much it is much harder to structure a weight loss plan.
If you are already eating well balanced meals, you can simply cut 15-20% of your total daily calorie intake to put yourself in a calorie deficit.
If you are eating a HIGHER CARBOHYDRATE DIET or a BALANCED DIET, you simply cut back on or ELIMINATE the carbohydrates at a couple of meals to achieve this 15-20% DECREASE in calories.
Doing this will gradually DEPLEATE your GLYCOGEN STORES i.e. carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver.
Depending on your activity level this can take anywhere from 4 – 10 days to achieve.
For this reason, I recommend reducing carbs for 5-6 days or until you feel your performance begin to decline and then bringing your carbohydrates back up to baseline for one day before reducing them again.
In this way you never get into KETOSIS. You keep your energy levels HIGH and your cravings at bay while still dropping BODY FAT because of the calorie deficit.
Another ADDED BONUS is that you can follow this plan indefinitely.
I recommend calculating your calories and macros initially to give you an idea of what you are shooting for. HOWEVER, in my experience I find that by structuring your meals such that you begin each meal with the protein and fat portion followed by vegetables you can ALMOST effortlessly hit the appropriate calorie amounts each day.
ONE REASON I really like this approach is that like I said earlier we do not live in a BUBBLE.
Calorie expenditure and energy requirements will vary from day to day. I have found that trying to count calories is a losing battle.
By eating the RIGHT food in the RIGHT ORDER our hormones will naturally dictate the appropriate amount of food that we should be eating each day.
Some days you may be satisfied with only eating FAT, PROTEIN and VEGETABLES. However, other days you will find that after eating your PROTEIN, FAT and VEGGIES you are still hungry.
In this case you can use your judgement to determine if you want to add a serving of starch or fruit or have some more protein.
This is another BENEFIT of getting active before trying to diet. EXERCISE is a great way to INCREASE awareness of how much and what kind of food you should be eating.
So that’s it! EAT A BALANCED DIET comprised mainly of WHOLE FOODS, MOVE REGULARLY, DRINK WATER, STRESS LESS, GET ENOUGH SLEEP, EAT INTUITIVELY.
If you have any other questions or would like guidance in putting together an EXERCISE and NUTRITION STRATEGY for you reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Health and Fitness
Aaron Kubetz – PT, CES – Functional Aesthetics E.C.