Bye bye carbs! Day 1 of my Keto experiment

Disclaimer: this is not me :) 

Disclaimer: this is not me :) 

Thing #1 I know about myself: I hate diets

If you know me by now, you know that I'm the anti-diet nutrition coach.  I've never counted calories or grams of anything because I just don't believe that's a natural way to eat.

I also know that whenever I've started a "diet", I've rebelled within the first week. Being 100% strict never worked for me.

My health coaching clients have heard me talk often about my 80-20 rule: 80% of the time, be very intentional with food choices, and 20% do whatever you want and enjoy it. Zero guilt.

Thing #2 I know about myself: I do FAR better when I have an accountability buddy or group

Whenever I set myself to accomplish a goal I ALWAYS do better when I'm either accountable to someone or participating in some type of group challenge. 

For the past couple of months, I'd been wanting to step up my fitness. I bought a new bike and told a friend about perhaps doing a biking adventure together in September. We're both excited.

But... I was still not getting as active as I'd like, or should be getting...

Enter the 6-week challenge + a Spartan invite

Then (as if the universe had heard me) I saw a Facebook ad for a "free" 6-week challenge hosted by my favorite gym in town, Body Resolution. It's "free" because if you meet your goal within the 6 weeks, they will reimburse your full deposit. Talk about motivation! ;-)

Right around the same time, a dear friend and ally asked if I might be interested in joining him for the Spartan Sprint on September 16th. Yeah, I am! 

You see, I LOVE these sorts of challenges and adventures.

But here's the catch: I'm supposed to lose 6% body fat in 6 weeks

The gym lets you chose one of three possible goals:  (1) Lose 20 lbs, (2) gain 10 lbs, or (3) lose 6% body fat. 

Well, I neither have 20 lbs to lose nor want 10 of muscle, so that leaves me with option 3. 

At first, I wasn't even sure it was realistic or safe to aim for that, but it turns out that based on where I am and where I could get to in 6 weeks, it's not completely out of the question.

BUT... it won't be as simple as following my 80-20% rule. It's going to take working out at high intensity 5 days per week, AND being super mindful about everything I eat. 

So the best likely option for me is to do a keto program

I have been a quiet ketogenic lifestyle supporter for a number of years. I just don't call it that, nor do I push the strictness of the ketogenic diet.

For the past 8 years (or so) I've maintained and promoted an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, where the bulk of your foods come from what I call the "A" list. And what's on the "A" list? Essentially everything that would be OK in a ketogenic diet. 

If you haven't heard of it, a ketogenic diet is one where you reduce carbohydrates to a bare minimum (pretty much only eating greens, broccoli, etc.), control the amount of protein you eat, AND get 65-70% of your dietary requirements from healthy fat sources.

What this does is that it shifts the body out of primarily relying on carbs for fuel and instead adjust to burn fat for fuel. These two states are complete opposites in how they work hormonally.  When you're eating and burning carbs, the dominant hormone is insulin. But in order to burn fat, insulin needs to drop out of the picture so that the hormone glucagon can be secreted in order to metabolize fat.

When someone is burning fat for fuel exclusively they are said to be in ketosis. And when you fuel your body with primarily fats, you keep insulin levels low and therefore can burn fat effectively, rather than losing muscle mass. 

As I said, I don't ever advocate for a diet-like approach to eating, but sometimes a little challenge can give us a nice little jump start. 

So today I find myself, for the first time in my life counting grams of fat, grams of carbs and grams of protein. And quite frankly, it's a pain in the butt!  

I'll likely only do it for a couple of days until I have a sense for what's within the 'keto' range and then take a bit more gently from there.

Did I say that rigidity makes me want to run in the opposite direction?

Yeah... so I'm trying to use the guidelines as softly as I can and see how it goes.

I'll keep you posted on my progress and whether I rebel or am able to stick to it.