Time to make a stand….
The holidays are over…. New Year’s resolution has been made & broken in world record time…warmer weather is coming and every day that passes brings that nagging reminder that you promised yourself that THIS was going to be the year that you turned your life around, lost weight and felt better about yourself.
What to do?
There are endless programs, diets, supplements, videos, blogs ad nauseam…and you’ve honed in on “the ketogenic diet”. Great! It’s wildly popular these days and a friend or two that you know of has had some success, but how exactly do you go about getting started on the keto diet?
On your marks….
This could be uncomfortable, but essential to getting started on the keto diet…or any other plan for that matter and that’s to get all the ugly truth about yourself out and record it….everything…photos too. Saying that you should consult a physician might sound so corporate cliche, but that’s a great idea, getting full blood work done too…. I regret not doing this.
Record it all….weight, meaning jumping on that scale in the bathroom that you’ve been avoiding like that damned mirror. Grab the tape measure from the sewing kit that you’ve never opened and measure neck, waist, hips and record it all. There are several excellent apps that you can use like MyFitnessPal to record your measurements. Don’t forget the pictures….(oh the bloody camera, along with that bathroom scale and the friggin’ mirror…these are not my friends!). Make sure that you take a picture of yourself…without clothing…PG13 rated photos make the most sense…the idea is that you want the whole truth….the ugly truth that you’ve been hiding from…but it’s OK because it’s going to get better
Then the journey begins…..
OK so Keto….just eggs, cheese and bacon every day and I’m all set, but eat a banana and I’m doomed? Huh…how does this actually work. While eating eggs, cheese & bacon are OK on the Keto diet and bananas are certainly frowned upon, this is going to require that you make some specific and measured choices…you’re going to need to educate yourself…you’re going to need some help.
Fortunately, there are tons of great free apps & online resources available to help you getting started in the Keto Diet. On a basic level you essentially want to monitor Macros (Fats, Protein & Carbohydrates), typically the breakdown of food that you intake should be made up of 70% Fat, 25% Protein, 5% Carbs…or thereabouts give or take a few points between Fats/Protein….almost everyone agrees that carbs need to be kept to 5%.
This is where your smartphone can become your friend (even if you’re still not happy about the bloody camera). Download an app (MyFitnessPal , Carb Manager, Loseit etc choose one…) to record your food…all of it….don’t make that face…this is crucial. In order to know what foods you can and can’t have you need to know immediately and keeping score is the only way to stay dialed in. Eventually you’ll get the hang of what you can & can’t have without recording every item, but when you’re getting started on Keto….you have to record.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Challenge yourself. Make a commitment to yourself to go 30 days….30 days when you will stay with the macros of 70% Fat, 25% Protein, 5% Carbs….all the food that you take in must be recorded and the food must stay with in those macros….for one month. Who can’t do something for one month? Anything? Heck I endured a month of power watching “Sabrina” because my wife loves that show…who can’t avoid bread, rice pasta for one month?
Gameifcation…make this challenge into a game…what can you eat while staying low carb? Well we already said bacon, eggs & cheese…check.
- Steak… I like steak
- Chicken who doesn’t eat chicken…(vegans I suppose, but that’s another post)
- Cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, cauliflower (This is where the MyFitnessPal app comes in handy)
It’s not that hard to do even if you out and about with friends going out to dinner and such. Ordering a steak with vegetable sides and side salad in place of the potato or pasta side is completely acceptable in social situations. And although I personally recommend abstaining from alcohol during the challenge (lowers your resolve), certain alcohols in moderation can fit into your daily macros….(Vodka, club with a twist of lime comes to mind for me).
Every day will be different and some days better than others but for 30 days…. I’ve endured construction on the Belt Parkway for 30 years and somehow managed to survive…staying Keto for 30 days…piece of cake…well, Keto mug cake that is 🙂
That’s another part of the “Gameification” can you replace the staples of your former eating habits with new “Keto Friendly” versions? Keto Mug cakes, Bulletproof coffees, Fat Bombs and other hacks can get you thru the challenge when you feel yourself struggling…you’ll have fun making them and feel great that you stayed on target despite feeling like you’ve cheated.
At the end of that month…if you’ve been diligent go back and take all of those measurements again…look for that tape measure from the sewing kit that you crumpled up in disgust and tossed in a drawer a month ago…step on that bathroom scale again…look into that damned mirror…take another semi naked PG rated selfie. At the end of my 30 day self -imposed Keto challenge I had lost 12.5lbs…that was proof of concept for me and a light bulb went off in my head….not just about losing weight and eating low carbs. The light bulb that went off was that I had a strategy to take control back…what else could I apply this strategy to? Not to mention that If I can lose nearly 13 lbs in a month…what if I could do this for 2 months or 3?
There’s an old diet cliche that goes like this….“the best diet you can go on is the diet that you can stick to”….boy is that the truth. Simon Sinek is one of my favorite authors and in his best-selling book The Infinite game he describes the differences between finite games like football or basketball where there are agreed upon rules, time limits and en eventual winner based on the rules…and infinite games like business or marriages where there are no rules or time limits and there are no winners/losers…the goal of the infinite game is to continue to play. Diets or nutrition are infinite games, you don’t win at a Keto Diet or Paleo Diet…you continue to eat natural whole foods and limit intake of processed foods and sugars.
So that’s the ticket…my strategy for getting started in the Keto diet…it’s evolved into a lifestyle change and the best part of my journey (which ain’t nearly over, Jack!) is the feeling of taking back control. Sticking to my challenge for the 30 days and seeing tangible results gave me the resolve to continue today and the courage to try other challenges and a strategy to help me achieve.
Go ahead…nobody is watching…challenge yourself to do something great!