Keto diet and Exercise….
OK so you’ve decided to give the Keto Diet a go with a goal of losing weight or fat loss, but no one mentioned anything about exercise…. Work out is a four letter word, sort of…at least the W-O-R-K part of it is. Eating sensibly and exercise…that’s the mantra we’ve all heard since…well since forever. Hell if I could eat sensibly and exercise I wouldn’t be here…that’s why I’m looking at the Keto diet. I’m on the run, eating whenever I can and what’s most readily available and I’m too busy…tired…exhausted…sleepy…over-worked (choose one, most of us already have one served up in our minds) to work out
Can You Lose Weight Without Dieting just exercise?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Exercise while ignoring your diet just isn’t a good weight-loss strategy. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume or eat fewer calories than your body uses each day. If you don’t have a caloric deficit, you will not lose weight.
Think of it like this….if your basement is taking on water and you run down to the basement and pail out the water with a bucket, a water vac or pump while you’re actively removing water you’re keeping your basement dry. When you stop actively removing water, the basement begins to flood again…until you deal with the cause, your efforts can keep the water at bay, but you haven’t solved the problem.
Exercise alone as a weight loss strategy is flawed….how many times have we seen athletes that retire from professional sports literally blow up after they’ve stopped competing? The regimen of training and competing on a world-class level is gone, but the eating habits remain the same.
We see a similar phenomena with teenagers that leave home for the 1st time and head for college….The Freshman 15 is another perfect example. Living with mom & dad in grade school, kids typically have activities, clubs, sports that they are involved in…but aren’t necessarily proficient enough at to play at the collegiate level. Plus…at least part of the time mom is making a balance meal for the family…and she won’t let you pass on the veggies. At the dorm, making their own decisions Freshman tend to eat more junk food, sleep less, sprinkle in some beer pong here and there and presto…15 lbs.
Can you lose weight with just dieting?
The short answer is …yes, you can lose weight with diet alone. Heck if you sat in a room and dry fasted for 5 days you could lose 10 – 15lbs…that’s a radical dietary change…not easy to do or recommended, but you can certainly lose weight and lose fat by diet alone. The challenge is to find a sensible (oh crap here’s that word again) diet that works for you….and while I focus on the Keto (…and exercise) in this blog, I want to drive this point home…the best diet is the one that you can stick to!
For me, I’ve been able to stick to the Keto Diet for close to 2 years now…to the point that it’s not really a diet for me anymore. It’s the way that I eat… I don’t eat bread, rice, or pasta, I limit my sugar intake, I avoid highly processed foods at all costs, I don’t eat anything that has a mascot or cartoon character on the box… Tony the Tiger is not my friend. When I go to the grocery store I tend to stay along the edges of the store….where they keep the vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, dairy. I try to stay away from the center of the store where you’ll find highly processed, sugar laden, carbohydrate rich foods…think about this the next time you walk into your local grocery store
Keto and Exercise…damn, I knew this was coming
So now we’re back to this…eating sensibly and exercising, didn’t we already say that I wouldn’t be in this situation if I could eat sensibly and exercise!
First things first…what are the images that come to mind when we think about exercise for weight loss? Visions of my days at boot camp in the Marine Corp with the drill instructor in my face, veins in his neck bulging, screaming at me to catch up to the platoon on a morning run. Or years later, working out in the local gym….the dread…driving to the gym…parking the car…changing into gym clothes, jumping on the treadmill gasping for air & sweating profusely while everyone else seemed so dialed in…the soreness…and what about the results.? Slow, never felt commensurate with the efforts… I’m literally dying here and the scale would sit there and mock me…damn thing must be broken!
What about diet? What are the images that come to mind when you think about diets that you’ve been on? Right off the bat I get images of restriction and having less when there’s abundance available. I get images of denying myself…almost like a punishment for the years of over-indulgence… I’m paying penance and I deserve it because I’ve let myself go. I’ve been there too…many times and the scale…goddamn bathroom scale is still mocking me! Everyone else wolfed down chili cheese fries and burgers while I had a freaking salad and that bloody bathroom scale hasn’t given me back an ounce.
So what’s different this time….
Baby steps… I started with one change…no bread, rice or pasta. No small feat, especially for a Hispanic male married to an Italian gal living in NYC where Chinese takeout will deliver during the biblical end of days…by bicycle. Baby steps… I cut out sugars…replaced with sugar free sweeteners. Baby steps… I cut out beer…in fact, I cut out ALL alcohol consumption for a period because I was gaining momentum with the Keto diet and alcohol lowered my resolve.
What about exercise…same principle…baby steps… I bought a fitness tracker… Baby steps… I decided on a goal 10,000 steps. One way or another, by the end of the day I wanted log in 10,000 steps. Did I get there every day? Hell no…but I was tracking and it was part of my focus every day.
Momentum….I can’t say enough about momentum and the powerful effects it had and still has on my journey. As I would see results (maybe that damn bathroom scale isn’t broken) I would add another baby step to my routine or experiment with other strategies & techniques. Intermittent fasting…hiking with my kids…creating different Keto recipes to replace foods that I crave….push up challenge. I don’t obsess, I experiment…some things I keep in my repertoire….some things I discard. My goals are to live longer, healthier, happier and spend as much time with the people that mean the most to me in my life…and I use Keto and exercise to help me realize some of those goals
Keto an exercise are strategies…do they work better if you do them together? Well if weight loss & fat loss are the goals, then the answer is yes and you can say that about any weight loss program…Diet & exercise work better together, like rum & coke, like bacon & eggs, like peanut butter & jelly….each of those is great by itself, but when paired together they take the game to a different level.
What are some strategies pairings that work for you? Feel free to leave comments on tips and strategies that work for you….hell, I might try one or two if they make sense