What I've learned after 5 years, 80 pounds of fat loss and 20 pounds of muscle gain

(Steak and iron) #1

Hi, I’m Stupidrobots and I started my ketogenic journey sometime in early 2012. I began with a low-carb approach in general, sort of afraid of fats and basically under the assumption that yes low carb will make you lose weight but it’s not for long term use because it’ll clog your arteries. I eventually read the science and I’m keto most of the time except for special occasions. I’ve gone from a 42 inch waist to a 32 and a peak weight of 230 pounds to 170. Here’s what I’ve learned after years of living in ketosis as well as shifting back and forth between ketosis and a standard diet.

  1. If at all possible, rid your home of carby treats. Don’t keep them around in case company arrives, don’t keep them around for later or because you don’t want to waste food or whatever. You are overweight because you do not tolerate carbs well, in the same way that an alcoholic does not tolerate alcohol well. They are a temptation and a hinderance that will keep you from your goals. Rest assured you WILL feel sad and feel like you need a treat, feel angry and want something to calm your nerves, or feel happy and want something to celebrate. If you’re a carb addict (as I suspect most of us are), you will eat the junk food. And then you’ll feel bad. And you’ll feel like you’ve set yourself back or this day is in the toilet now for the diet so might as well just have carbs all weekend, or all week, or maybe we start up again at the beginning of the month! DON’T DO IT! Its a trap! If you have a lot of Carbage in your cabinets, donate it to a food shelter, bring it to work and let them enjoy it, or throw it all in the bin. Out of sight out of mind.

  2. The first week is the hardest. Make it through that first week and it’s all downhill from there. Your body burns through all of its sugar and glycogen then is suddenly starved for fuel. Carb dreams will probably happen. You will feel tired, you may get a headache. Some people report flu-like symptoms. Treat this in the same way as you might treat a hangover. Drink lots of fluids, get electrolytes (primarily sodium) and take it easy. Generally I don’t recommend people exercise during the first 2-4 weeks on a ketogenic diet because that can be a tremendous stress on the system. One step at a time. Detoxing from any poison is painful. Ask an alcoholic, smoker, or drug user how hard it is to come off of their intoxicant. Yours is sugar, and it might seem easier to just lean on your addiction as a crutch and say it’s not that bad. It is that bad, and it is killing you. Getting past the adaptation phase is absolutely worth it.

  3. If you aren’t measuring then you aren’t putting in any effort to make this work. If you aren’t tracking your food then you aren’t putting in the effort either. It’s easy to have a few spoonfuls of peanut butter or handfuls of almonds before you realize that’s 40 carbs right there, plus a thousand calories or more. Measure and track until eating this way is second nature.

  4. If this is really truly difficult or painful, you are doing it wrong. Keto done right should feel like the burden of food cravings has been lifted from your shoulders. Start by hitting your protein and eating fat until you’re not hungry anymore, measuring of course to see what that actually is for you. If you’re hungry, you need to eat more fat. Your body will come online and help you burn your own fat stores naturally but if your body has been storing fat for 30 years and never burnt it, it may take a while for everything to regulate itself.

  5. Avoid replacing traditional junk food with keto junk food. The extreme majority of your food intake should be real whole foods. Meats, eggs, oils, and above-ground leafy green vegetables. Get fancy and throw on an avocado if you want. A cake doesn’t magically become a health food because you made it with almond flour and stevia. One goal of keto, I feel, is to re-establish a relationship with food that’s closer to the way things were once upon a time. Treats were just that: Treats. You got them once in a while. Maybe a keto cookie or something with tea on sunday, maybe some keto fudge with a cup of coffee. Don’t make them the backbone of your diet, that keeps you a slave to your sweet tooth.

  6. There’s no such thing as a stall. Ok the scale might not be moving, but other things are happening. It’s my experience that the body doesn’t like to do more than one thing at a time unless it absolutely has to. It’s losing fat on your waistline, it’s gaining muscle in your legs, it’s fixing your organ damage, it’s regulating your hormones. Take measurements, take photographs, and weigh yourself last.

Again this is just one man’s experience but I hope you find it helpful. Good luck to you all out there!

Stuck at weight
New beginnings
(Elis Diaz) #2

Great write up, especially the below. :slight_smile:

(Pye) #3

I enjoyed reading and agree.

Reading it will spark resolve in the struggling ketonion reader.
Well done on a good motivational piece

(Jessica K) #4

I’ve seen this explained a thousand times, but for some reason the way you put it really spoke to me. Thank you!

(Guardian of the bacon) #5

Great write up.

I would suggest one small addition to step #4
You mention meeting protein and eating fat to satiety but you really don’t mention the importance of cutting carbs to a certain level.

(Christian Peters) #6

Could you talk about some of the times you went off keto and how easy or difficult it was the start up again?

(Tom Seest) #7

Good stuff.

(Steak and iron) #8

That’s sort of assumed here. I figured nobody here is eating French bread and wondering why their ketone levels were low

(Guardian of the bacon) #9

you’d be surprised,

(Steak and iron) #10

Any kind of special event I will typically not be neurotic about keto. Weddings, birthdays, vacations, that sort of thing.

I find that one carb heavy meal for me doesn’t seem to cause cravings and getting back to reality is easy. If I take an extended break, like a week vacation with food debauchery I develop a carb momentum. I’ve also noticed that sugar specifically results in harder cravings than grains or potatoes. In fact I do not seem to have any satiety signals at all if I have sugar in my diet.

I’ve also played with targeted ketogenic diets and cyclic ketogenic diets. Others may have had other experiences but I have found I recover faster and gain muscle more rapidly on a targeted ketogenic diet where I work out fasted and back load about 50 grams of carbs in the form of honey immediately post workout. This is all heavy lifting, not cardio. Cardio performance is FAR better I ketosis than off.

(Jay Morris) #11

Great post…5 an 6 are spot on!


Very well expressed. It means a lot from someone who has achieved 60 lb weight loss. This motivates me.

(Cara) #13

Would you consider sugar free syrup in coffee to be a junk food? I use whole cream and DaVinci sugar free almond syrup. Would that keep me from going into Ketosis?

(Steak and iron) #14

It won’t prevent you from getting into ketosis. A bit of junk here and there isn’t the end if the world if it keeps the other 95% of your food pointed in the right direction. I have diet cokes and keto treat-Os every so often. The thing is to do what you need to do to continue making healthy choices. Some people are perfectly content to dive in face first and eat nothing but steak and broccoli for a year. Others need transitional foods to move them away from the foodlike disease agents we were all raised on.

(softail925) #15

Awesome posti for us newbies. Ty! (Keto here for 3 months + and luvin it)

(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #16

That photographing thing was the hardest for me to do.

I eventually decided it was worth it, and grasped the nettle.
I decided I’d do one at every “milestone”. I write my weight and waist size & the date on a large piece of paper and photograph myself in my underpants (these photos are for my eyes only! :slight_smile: ) from the front and from the side (that’s the one I hate…).

As we use stones (14 lbs) in the UK, I decided to make losing a stone a milestone. I’ve, er, only had one milestone so far therefore, but it’s comparatively early days. I now regret not taking a picture at the beginning, but I was not mentally ready at that point.

If and when I reach my target weight (especially if it’s my fantasy target weight, i.e. my 21-year old weight (unlikely) ), then I might oil up, wear something decent, but suitably tight, and take a photo that I might not be too unhappy about if it should accidentally fall into the public domain …
…but that’s a long, long way off…



Just joined, and this is the first post I’ve read. Could you direct me to what I need to know to start? I don’t want to ask stupid questions and bother people, but I find with so many forums, and posts, I can’t tell where to start.

(Jamie Hayes) #18

This is a great post. Many thanks!

(Steak and iron) #19

Start with the pinned post here. I’m a fan of Jimmy Moore’s books for beginners. Eat fats and meats. Eat green vegetables. Don’t eat other things. Track everything and listen to your body. Welcome!


Thanks so much!