Well, well, well….where to begin? I WAS FAT. That is where this journey begins. I had No regard for my healthy, happiness, or my quality of life. This was back in 2011, so a couple years back. I was at a family function and my grandpa (who has always been known for speaking his mind) said to a group of us, “I remember when Robert graduated high school (2007) it looked like he was getting ready to ship out to the military…now it looks like he got kicked out”. His words hurt me so bad, but as I thought about it more and more I realized he was right. I will forever look back at that moment as the turning point. I was in a committed relationship at the time and was just eating whatever I wanted and not caring about my health at all. I weighed 240+ pounds and was almost unrecognizable from what I looked at high school graduation. That’s when I decided to make a change, even though it was the wrong one at the time…I started DIETING. Back then I wasn’t as educated as I am now. I started a super unhealthy calorie restriction diet, paired with a rather ridiculous running regimen. I was eating 1200 calories of snacks essentially. Now I am not sure if you guys realize how terrible that is for you, but looking back now I cannot believe I ate that little paired with LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio. I was wrecking my metabolism and was losing what little muscle I had at the time. After doing that to some "success" (which I gauged by what the scale said and had no regard for body composition) I had gotten down to what I considered a “healthy” weight. At that time I was down to around 175 pounds, which for me is ridiculously low. Then after having been fed up with the crazy restrictions of that I had a rebound of about 30 pounds. Which we all knows is what happens after crazy restrictive dieting. At this time in my life (2012), I had been contemplating joining the Air Force, so I started working out and eating better. It was then when I received a phone call from my best friend who opened my eyes to this weird thing called KETO. Upon hearing about how I should be eating more fat and less carbs is when I replied with, “thats just going to make me get fat!”. He then proceeded to tell me about how carbs are what actually make you fat. Having some very heavy skepticism about his “ridiculous” accusations I decided I would go ahead and give it a shot, knowing that my best friend wouldn’t steer me towards something that was unhealthy. That is where the struggle began. Shifting your bodies thought process from using carbs as an energy source to using fat is quite the recalibration. It takes some getting used to, paired with a little bit of growing pains (which I was informed about). So, armed with that knowledge I dove in head first. Dealing with the “keto flu” and the initial side effects (being tired, hungry, and worn out) I pushed through it. Once that wall came down and I adapted, my eyes were open to a way of living that I could never have imagined was possible. I had energy levels that even my teenage self never had. I was seeing myself get leaner than ever before, having mental clarity that I had never had before, and eating more than I ever had before.
Now there are some things that I experienced over the course or my journey that I wish I had known when I began:
Watch out for almonds, in correct portions they are great but once you start snacking on them they can add up
Cheese is a great food for keto, just try not to consume too much of it as it can cause some digestion issues
Pork rinds are the best road trip snack in the world
Quest bars, while seeming like such a great thing are just candy bars and having them on a regular basis might not be the best idea
Eat Whole Foods. You can go crazy with making all of your “Carb favorites” in a keto style, but I like to save time when I cook…so I keep it simple
Here are they foods I eat: Eggs, cheese, spinach, breakfast sausage, chicken, bacon, broccoli, almonds (no more than two servings), ground beef, green peppers, pickles, oh and don’t forget the heavy whipping cream for my coffee.
Instead of making all those crazy alternatives to your favorites, maybe take a night every once in a while to go indulge in the real thing. It won’t set you back in your progress, if anything it will keep you sane.
Sometimes life is about memories over macros, don’t be afraid to deviate. Like they say, one cheat meal won’t make you fat, just like one workout won’t make you fit.
“Dieting” is hard, being fat is hard - choose your hard
Currently I am eating around 2,200 calories a day, working out 6-7 times a week, and still having the energy to do all the other fun stuff in life. If you had told me back in 2011 that I could have been eating another 1,000 calories and continue to lose fat I would have laughed in your face because I was so brain washed by society. Eat way less, and lose more weight. What they don’t tell you is that when you do that you lose the wrong weight. I know now that yes the scale was going down, however it was going down because my body was literally eating itself, muscle and all. I was definitely not a healthy 175 pounds. Now I am sitting comfortably at 200 pounds and about 10% body fat all while eating 200g of protein and 135g of fat a day. I am never hungry, always have energy (like the energizer bunny), and I think that eating in a ketogenic fashion is pretty dang easy. I know at this time you are thinking to yourself that there is no way all that comes with just not eating carbs. But I can sit here today and confidently tell that yes, it is in fact a reality. The lack of carbs as an energy source (thus meaning all of your energy comes from your stored fat) allows a constant steady stream of energy. One that is so even you forget what its like to have a “crash”. You forget what being worn down feels like. It is simply the best way to live. I felt like I was living in black and white before finding the keto lifestyle, and now I see life in full color. It has been a game changer. Complete 180 degree change in how I live life. I am 28 years old now, and I can confidently say that I am my healthiest self. I workout 6-7 times a week, am in the best shape that I have ever been, and the happiest I have ever been. Live the best life you can…no carbs required.