Three whole weeks! Jason and I have survived the Keto diet for three whole weeks! I have to be totally honest: I’m genuinely surprised. Though we’ve worked hard to get in shape in the past (for our wedding), neither of us has ever been much for dieting. So, yeah, I’m actually really impressed! Is it all willpower? Or is the diet just not that big a deal to begin with? I’ll talk about that a little later. But for now:
Time for the Week 3 Update!
Let’s start out with the information I know most people are looking for: did we have any success with the diet in week 3? The answer, I’m happy to say, is an emphatic yes! In week 2 we unfortunately stalled, and even gained back a little of what we’d lost in week 1. In week 3, however, we started seeing those results again! We both went down steadily a little bit per day, and as of this morning we have some lovely numbers to share. I’ve lost a total of 9 pounds over these three weeks, and Jason is sitting pretty on a loss of 12 pounds! In three weeks, you guys! I’ve previously struggled to lose half a pound per week, so that’s amazing to me.
Never mind pounds; what about inches?
Of course, if you’ve dieted before you know that poundage isn’t necessarily the be-all end-all. What’s also very important is physical body measurements. I won’t share our exact measurements, but suffice it to say that I measured several different places on each of us prior to starting the diet. I told Jason I’d remeasure after three weeks, and so now I can report that there’s been movement there as well! Jason lost about 1.5″ on his waist, 2″ on the hips, 1″ on the waist, 1″ on the thigh, and 0.5″ around the neck. Myself, I’ve lost 1″ each from the waist and thigh, and 1.5″ around the chest (shhh….don’t tell Jason…lol).
To be perfectly honest and blunt, neither of us has a huge amount to lose when it comes to physical body dimensions. What it’s really about for us is the amount of fat that’s on our bodies, and these results show that we’re losing that. Along with the weight loss, the places we’ve lost inches are where the most fat is hanging around on us, so seeing that reduction is very encouraging!
How are the dinners/cravings/etc progressing?
There have been no more moments of extreme psychological breakdown (that I can recall), but that doesn’t mean that things are all sunshine and rainbows. Cravings are still popping up, although they’re still humorously not the types of junk we used to eat. Jason’s been dying for some cereal. He was practically drooling over the idea of Shreddies the other night, and he’s not even the biggest fan of Shreddies. I’m still mostly all about the fruit. I would happily sit down and eat an entire flat of strawberries without breathing right now.
Dinners have also been a little more difficult recently. I don’t want to make the same few things over and over, but I’m also finding it difficult to find different ideas now that we’ve been on the diet for a while. A couple of the more recent concoctions I’ve tried weren’t to Jason’s taste at all, and the little one keeps impressing upon me how “gross” everything looks. There were a couple of definite wins in week 3, however, and this was one of them:
Yes, Hot Wings are Keto-Friendly!!!
I’d been craving wings since well before we started the Keto diet, if I’m being honest. We regularly get wings at our local Superstore when they’re on a good sale, but they hadn’t been for a while. Of course, they did go on right after we started the diet, and we couldn’t get them because they’re massively breaded. So we suffered, especially that first weekend with Jason’s family, because guess what? They had those exact wings. *whimper*
Eventually I bit the bullet and decided to buy a pack of fresh wings (massively overpriced, let me tell you) and cook them myself. I went the simplest route, tossing them in a little bit of oil and baking them in the stove, then dousing them in Frank’s hot sauce, which is carb-free. Paired with a “fathead” garlic bread recipe Jason’s cousin shared with us, and I was in pub food heaven. Frank’s hot sauce is not my favorite – I prefer Dave’s which, unfortunately, has a fair few carbs in it – but after being without wings for ages, it was damn delicious.
Okay, enough going on about hot wings. What else have we learned about the Keto diet in the past week?
In my last update I mentioned that we’d been learning a thing here and there about how to better optimize the diet. For example, I’d been abusing the ability to make Keto “sweets” with artificial sweeteners, which were likely messing with our systems a bit. Since then we’ve done some extra research (I particularly like Thomas DeLauer’s YouTube channel) and put together a few more habits that we believe are ultimately helping with the diet and our results.
Coffee: The Elixer of Life
Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but the truth is that coffee can be a huge boon to a diet for a number of reasons. Coffee is known to both promote fat burning and to help suppress appetite, making it an excellent beverage to sneak into your system throughout the day. It also may help produce extra ketones, as well as help even out insulin spikes. Basically, aside from water, it’s the perfect thing to be drinking while on a Keto diet. Don’t overdo it though, of course. Too much of anything is a bad thing, and you’ll get the best results by drinking a few cups of weaker coffee throughout the day than a large cup of ultra-espresso all at once.
Intermittent Fasting Can Make a Huge Difference
I won’t get into the science behind intermittent fasting because, to be blunt, I can’t explain it half as well as someone like Thomas DeLauer. But I’ll give the TL:DR version.
There are two types of intermittent fasting. The all-day version is exactly how it sounds; you choose a day and fast for the entire 24 hours, consuming nothing but water. The daily version is a little less extreme, and as the name implies can be done daily. This is when you consume all your calories in a 8-10 hour period (say, 10 am until 6 pm) and then fast until the following day’s period arrives.
Whichever version you choose, there can be a host of benefits. Again, I can’t really explain the science, but it has a lot to do with the pituitary gland releasing growth hormone and the body’s reaction of burning stored calories (hopefully fat) while waiting for new ones to come in. The all-day fast apparently has the added bonus of giving the body a “rest” – digestion is apparently very hard work! – which can help reset some fat-burning systems. Fasting for a full 24 hours, however, is obviously going to be more difficult to endure than the daily version in which you’re asleep for most of the time that you’re fasting.
Jason and I have been doing the daily fast version for about a week now, breaking on one day when we decided to spread the calories out and see if there was a difference. It seems to have helped, as we steadily lost at least a little every day of week 3. At the same time it’s helping us kick the habit of snacking, which is something we did relentlessly for years, whether hungry or not.
Activity is Necessary!
It’s been difficult getting into the habit, for sure. As I mentioned in my first Keto diet post, we simply don’t have the spare time required to dedicate to a real, quantifiable level of exercise. But some level of activity is definitely very helpful in burning calories, keeping your mind and body energized, and letting your body know that muscle is something that is still required.
Something a lot of people likely don’t take into account when thinking about trying the Keto diet is that it won’t necessarily build any muscle. The whole idea behind it is to condition your body to burn mostly fat. There are tips and tricks you can incorporate that may also help your body gain muscle at the same time, but the only way to actually guarantee that is to do it manually.
For example, one of my “trouble” spots that I want to work on is my arms. The problem though is less that they’re “fat” and more just…flabby. The Keto diet – or any diet really – isn’t going to help with that. If I want to get rid of the flab I’m going to have to try to build muscle and/or tone what’s there.
Taking a Break is NOT Setting Yourself Up to Blow Back Up…
A big problem with pretty much every fad diet out there is that once you go off it, you inevitably blow up to an even higher weight than you started at. Generally this is the result of reintroducing a ton of extra calories after you’ve been all but starving your body. It sees it’s chance and seizes it, storing up all the fat it can in case you decide to start starving it again.
Keto is a little different. For one thing, you’re not necessarily starving yourself like you do with a lot of other fad diets. Yes, lowering your calories may be a symptom of the diet (and a helpful one), but you’re still eating plenty. Keto does not encourage cutting massive amounts of calories, and since you’re eating plenty of fats your body isn’t crying for something to run off of.
…Because it’s a Lifestyle
For another thing, the whole system is more of a healthy lifestyle change than necessarily a “diet”. It’s designed to reprogram your body to burn fats instead of carbs, so that those fats don’t attach themselves to you and cause you to gain weight. If you do the diet properly, and for a significant length of time, your body learns to prefer burning those fats.
Additionally, it’s been shown that once your body adapts to ketosis, it happily returns to ketosis much faster and easier than the first time around. What this all comes down to is that you can decide to start reintroducing carbs (without going crazy, of course!) without totally ruining your progress. AND, should you find that you’ve started to move back up the scale and want to go back to Keto, your body will (most likely) happily return to ketosis as soon as it gets the opportunity.
In other words, this is a diet that your body likes and wants to stay on, if at all possible.
Week 3 Conclusion:
Things have been going well! We’re both down a significant bit of weight from our starting points. We’ve also both lost inches in the fattier parts of our bodies. Hunger has rarely been an issue (generally only on days when supper wasn’t hearty enough). Activity is definitely necessary, but we’re working on that bit. All in all, we’re having success, and that feels amazing after years of failure.
We plan to reassess after week 4, as a month seems like an excellent point to do so. Likely we’ll take our newfound knowledge and begin reintegrating carbs to see how it works out for us. We may return to the Keto diet afterward depending on the results, but we definitely want to see what the reaction will be should we decide to eat more normally moving forward. But until we hit that day #28, low-carb, high-fat it is! Let’s see what we can accomplish by the end of the week!