I started Keto on October 20, 2014 and started posting my experiences on November 4, 2014. A lot has happened in a year, I’m 77% the man I used to be; so let’s do a retrospective.
I initially started keto without having done the right research and didn’t know what “keto flu” was or how to avoid it; but I did know that I needed to get my weight under control and get healthy. I never got tested but based on how my body was acting, I was pre-diabetic or at least insulin resistant. Keto was exactly what I needed. I feel this burning desire to make little business cards and hand them out to teenagers that… well, look like I did at that age:
The changes go beyond just weight loss. For the first time in years the cells in my body have adequate fuel since it’s not being shoved into fat cells by insulin. I go to a class and don’t fall into a “carb coma” after lunch. My blood tests are awesome and my blood sugar is normalized.
Anyway. I started doing Keto using a recipe of ketogenic “soylent” called KetoFood. Initially with the “induction phase” one and quickly switching over to the “ongoing phase” recipe because the induction one was really, really gross. KetoFood served me well for the time but still wasn’t very pleasant and had a horrible texture since it’s primarily coconut flour, chia seeds and raw cocoa powder (with a bunch or oil). To this day I still gag when I smell chia seeds. In early December after I had been choking down KetoFood for about 6 weeks I was sent a sample of KetoSoy by Ted Tieken. It was far and away so much better than KetoFood I couldn’t believe it – MIND BLOWN. See, most people do a ketogenic diet using “real food” (instead of “fake hippie garbage“) but I have an unhealthy relationship with food and on top of that, doing food replacement shakes is really convenient – and that convenience and the results I was already getting had me resigned to the notion that ketogenic soylent was going to be barely palatable.
Around the same time a new keto soylent recipe was published by Kenneth Swanson. Instead of copious amounts of oils for the calories, Ken’s recipe used heavy cream. It was far smoother than anything else I had tried at that point too which was a nice respite for my “gritted-out” palate. I had enough supplies to make roughly 10 days of this recipe and ordered more of the protein powder too late for it to arrive in time for a second batch before I ran out. So I was forced to go back on KetoFood for a week. It was at that point I decided I was going to kill off my KetoFood and create a new recipe. I was still selling People Chow pre-mixed for people but didn’t have my heart in it. I eventually abandoned all of the other recipes in favor of the new one I was working on. January 1, 2015 I posted for the first time about what would become Keto Chow. I had finally worked out a suitable protein powder and over the next month or so I messed around with the recipe ingredients to further cut down on gritty texture and simplify the ingredient list. I posted the recipe for Keto Chow 0.7 for anyone to use and abuse. Not opening the recipe didn’t even occur to me: we’re all in this together and frankly there’s no way I could mix up enough Keto Chow for all the people that are mixing their own (plus it would be kinda a jerk-move since I was pulling ingredients and concepts from Ken’s Recipe, KetoFood and even People Chow).
Oddly enough, right about the time I was launching Keto Chow, I participated in a community weight loss challenge and to prepare for it I indulged in my very first “cheat” (week). The thing with ketogenic diets is it’s kinda binary: you’re either under your carb goal and in ketosis… or you’re not. If you “cheat” and eat food with sugar or the like (including fruit) then you won’t be in ketosis. Anyhow I ate carbs with reckless abandon, gained a ton of water weight thanks to glycogen and ultimately ended up getting second place. Fortunately that was the last time time I did that and I’m not planning on doing it again. The longer I go without eating carbs, the less appealing to me they become. Nothing tastes as good as I remember it and the few things I have tasted I usually end up spitting out without swallowing and eat some bacon instead.
Speaking of bacon, I don’t exclusively live off keto chow, far from it; but I do stick to keto. With my wife doing keto too now (along with a growing list of family and friends) my kids are even getting less carbs. Nobody ever complains when I make sausage, bacon or eggs and cover everything with liberal amounts of cheese. This Saturday we’re doing a neighborhood Haloween party with a chili cook off and I’ll be bringing a giant batch of Caveman Keto Chili (though I use sausage instead of ground pork). The one thing I do need to cut back on though is sugar alcohol treats – stuff like Quest Bars and the like. You can see on my weight graph from the beginning of this post the plateaus where I’ve stopped losing weight (like the last 2 weeks). If I knuckle down and stick to eating only Keto Chow and ultra low carb foods then it picks back up.
One thing I have noticed over the past month or so is that I’m losing fat in my arms and legs. My quadriceps are getting pretty crazy looking and I’m starting to get veins popping out on my biceps. This is especially interesting because I stopped exercising when I tried to drill a hole in my leg back in June. Before I started keto I was exercising 1-2 times a day, either on the elliptical or running yet I was still gaining weight. The big change was stopping eating carbohydrates. Exercise just makes me hungry (unless I have excess energy).
So here are shirtless before and after pics. You’ve been warned. I’m 258lbs in the one on the left (November 2014), 210 in the middle (April 2015) and just barely under 200 on the right (October 2015)
In the end, I’m 77% the man I used to be but my wife still likes me =)
If you’re interested, here is the body fat percentage graph for the last 11 months or so since I got a withings scale that tracks that.
…and if you’re really interested, here is my weight history going all the way back to October 2006.
The first dip was doing the “Shangri-La diet” The second big dip was when my wife and I did a program where we removed sugar, flour and other foods from our diet. As obvious as it is now I didn’t make the connection then. The second to the last small dip right before keto was the 9 months I was doing People Chow.