The Ketogenic Lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle. It is not a diet plan. The problem with diets, is that we are so used to “trying” a diet, or “going on’ a diet. They are not something that we stay on or adapt into a lifestyle. In order for the Keto plan to work for you, it needs to be sustainable for the long term. Throughout this article, I will show you how you can change your eating habits, enjoy most of the foods you love to eat, and still lose weight and maintain that weight loss. I will simplify the ideas to get us started. Further posts will have more details.
Let’s get started.
The Basics – My Energy Sources
We all need energy to complete our daily tasks. The energy we need comes from the calories we consume. Our body then converts the calories we consume into the energy we need to carry out the daily tasks of life. Simple. Calories in – energy created. The issue is that not all calories are created equally.
There are three sources of energy (caloric intake) for our body uses to create energy. The three sources are carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
If we consume carbohydrates, our bodies break them down into glucose, which is then used for energy.
The protein we eat helps repair our bodies and any excess protein we consume will also be converted into energy.
Fats are a major source of energy for our bodies. Fats occur naturally in many foods such as dairy and meat and are also present in other foods such as avocado, nuts, and olives. We also add fat to our foods when we cook in oil or butter.
The proportion of these three potential sources of energy is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
You Are What You Eat
The Ketogenic lifestyle will differ from what you were raised to understand as healthy eating habits. We were all raised to believe that to be healthy, we needed to eat a “well-balanced” diet, based on the food pyramid. We were also told, in fact it was ingrained in our minds, that if we ate fat, we would become fat. Therefore, we all ate accordingly.
A good breakfast was toast, juice, milk, and cereal. Perhaps with some jam. Or peanut butter. Or perhaps a bagel with cream cheese, or an english muffin with jam. And an egg, every once in a while. Not too many eggs as they increased your cholesterol. No bacon since it had too much fat.
Lunch was a sandwich with meat and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly. Or macaroni and cheese followed by a piece of fruit and a prepackaged dessert.
Dinner comprised of the aforementioned meat, potato, and vegetable. Perhaps some pie and ice cream for dessert.
What we didn’t know then and what research has shown over the years, is that when we consume too many carbohydrates (bread, vegetable, fruit, and starchy foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta) our bodies convert them into glucose (sugar) and store that excess sugar in our bodies as fat. Our bodies use carbohydrates to create glucose, which is then burned for energy. Carbohydrates produce, in our bodies, the same substance as eating sugar – glucose. A point in fact is that one bagel has about 70grams of carbohydrates. That’s about three times the recommended daily intake.
The body can then use that stored fat for energy, which would be a good thing. The problem is, we keep giving the body more carbohydrates, it converts it to glucose, uses today’s source of calories for energy, and stores the rest as fat. The cycle continues, and our bodies store all the extra calories, every day, as fat. We never give our bodies the chance to use the stored fat for energy.
Protein, on the other hand, is generally all used up to help keep our bodies healthy and to restore any tissues that may have been “broken down” if we are exercising. And then there is fat. Fat has sure gotten a bad rap over the years. And truth be told, there are good fats and bad fats. We need to avoid the bad fats (trans fats) and consume the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Then our bodies can convert that good fat into energy, and not only that, when we are in a state of ketosis (burning fat for energy), our bodies will start to burn the stored fat as energy! Eureka!
When we achieve ketosis, we are now burning fat for energy. Please understand, our bodies need fat to survive. Without fat, our bodies cannot function. But as was mentioned, it needs to be good fat. The bad fats will increase your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease our levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
When we change the proportions of caloric intake (65-70% from good fats, 15 – 20% from protien, 10-20% from carbohydrates) to a majority of good fats, with a decent level of protein, and a small amount of carbohydrates, it allows our bodies to enter that magical state of ketosis, and start burning our stored fat for energy. The result will be a loss of weight. That loss of weight will be sustainable as our change in eating becomes a habit. A yummy habit that is infused with eggs and bacon. Meat and cheese. Cream in your coffee. Meat and vegetables for dinner. Chicken or salmon on your salad. Lots of yummy food!
Remember, the goal is ketosis: your body burning fat for energy.
Can I Sustain The Lifestyle?
You may be wondering what types of food you will need to give up. Well, that is the good part. There isn’t a lot of sacrifice. There is some. But not a lot. You will need to drastically reduce your intake of carbohydrates. Things like bagels, and bread, pasta and rice; even potatoes. Your body just takes these carbs and turns them into glucose and stores them as fat.
It doesn’t mean you have to give them up completely. Just reduce the consumption. Have a bagel every once in a while. Have potatoes if you want. Just remember that it is what you do most of the time that matters. Have a “cheat meal” once a week. Eat the things you love now.
You will find that your tastes for foods change as you see the changes in your body. You will find that you love different foods. I never thought I could love brussel sprouts, but I do. Especially when they are prepared with bacon. Bacon. I love bacon. I eat bacon a few times a week. And eggs. Lots of eggs. They are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Research has shown that eggs do not raise your bad cholesterol. They increase your good cholesterol.
This type of eating lifestyle is very sustainable. We have been eating this way for almost a year at this point. I do not miss the chips and pop that I had daily before this change. At first, I did, but it wasn’t long before the weight started coming off and I was hooked on eating for a healthy body.
You too will enjoy eating a ketogenic lifestyle. Your body will thank you
The choice is a simple one. You can continue to try diets. You will lose weight if you only eat grapefruit for two weeks. Or if you only have cabbage soup for a month. My question is: Can you maintain that lifestyle? Or will you just fall back into old habits and start eating the same way you did before? Your body will fall back into it’s old routine of storing the excess calories (energy) as fat. The cycle will continue.
Your other option is to change your mindset, and focus on letting your body run the way it was meant to run. Give your body the correct sources of energy, in the correct proportions, and you well be rewarded with a body that looks great, feels great, and is full of energy.
Stay tuned for details on exactly how to get into ketosis and stay there.
Have a great day!