Ketogenic Dieting: Is It For You?

I loathe the word diet. It has such a negative feeling attached to it. If someone tells me they are on a diet, I immediately think they must be miserable. Diets blow. Do they work? Absolutely. Most any diet done with consistency will yield a fantastic result. However, being on a diet implies that at some point you’re going to go off the diet. And that probably means reverting back to bad food habits and likely a regain of weight, which totally defeats the purpose.

Diets do have a role though, and I’ve certainly been known to be on one from time to time. All physique competitors go on an extremely restrictive diet before a competition. And of course, competitive athletes at the top levels certainly have a regimented protocol they follow, not particularly for losing weight but for optimal performance. Many people see eating right as merely a weight loss tool, when in fact, it serves many other purposes, such as aiding in strength and endurance, balancing hormones and increasing mental clarity, just to name a few.

I like going on a diet at certain times because it jumpstarts my body and makes me feel like I’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. When I’ve fallen off the wagon for longer than usual or the holidays have just passed, getting back on the train can be difficult. Like many of you, I don’t have much patience and want to see results fast.

Putting myself on a restrictive diet for a couple of weeks can give me the results I want and give the motivation back that sometimes get lost in the every day tasks of life.

A ketogenic diet by definition is a nutritional plan that is made up of moderate protein, high fats and very low carbs.   The basic premise is that without carbohydrates, your body is forced to use fats for fuel, thus your body can shed body fat quickly. There’s also been significant research about the effects of low carb dieting on improved adrenal function and overall hormonal efficiency.

Dave Palumbo’s Cutting Diet is what many consider a keto diet for competitors. Dave Palumbo is a former competitive bodybuilder who created this diet based on his belief that eating a diet high in fats, rather than carbohydrates, was the best way to shed body fat. Dave’s diet suggests high amounts of protein, moderate levels of fat and very low carbohydrates (less than 30 grams), which differs from a standard keto diet because of the ratios of fats and protein. It also differs because he has very specific foods that are included in his diet. His diet for a 155-pound woman looks like this:

 

  • Meal 1: 2 eggs and 6 egg whites
  • Meal 2: 35 gram low carb protein shake/1 tbsp. all natural peanut butter
  • Meal 3: 6 oz. of chicken/Quarter cup of cashews, almonds or walnuts (vary it)334551443_1521706478_z
  • Meal 4: 6 oz. of salmon, swordfish or red meat/green salad (no tomatoes, red peppers, carrots)/1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Meal 5: 35-gram low carb protein shake/1 tbsp. all natural peanut butter OR 2 eggs with 6 egg whites

 

For added accelerated weight loss, he suggests alternating this diet with a day of more veggies and less fats. Two days on diet one and one day on diet two. Repeat. Diet two looks like this:

 

  • Meal 1: 12 egg whites7384822532_fe2afc9b4a_z
  • Meal 2: 40-gram protein shake
  • Meal 3: 6 oz. chicken/cup of asparagus or green beans
  • Meal 4: 6 oz. white fish/green salad
  • Meal 5: 35-gram protein shake or 12 egg whites

 

Diet one is not that difficult. Or at least, it has not been for me. I love the simplicity of it. I love how little time I spend in the kitchen and in the grocery store and prepping meals. A regular treat meal is also a part of this plan, which is always nice. I have however tried to implement the low fat days, and have been moderately successful. The low fat days are much harder and vastly more calorie restrictive. You can read more information and some Q an A’s from Dave here.

A standard keto diet does not restrict the type of foods you eat or even your caloric intake. For this reason, it can be a quite fun way to eat. You want bacon for breakfast? Knock yourself out.

There are recipes galore for everything from cake to ice cream to pizza that will fit into a keto lifestyle.

But these are also the reasons why I don’t like a standard version. First, I’m not that into cooking. And secondly, I think that good ole calorie restriction is essential to losing weight. I remember trying the Atkins diet, way back when, and finally figuring out that the reason I couldn’t lose any weight was because even though I was eating almost zero carbs, I was still taking in ridiculous amounts of calories because of all the high fat foods. It would be easy to get carried way with this diet and allow yourself to eat anything in any amount, as long as it didn’t have a carbohydrate in it.

However, another extraordinary positive of a keto diet is its ability to suppress your appetite. Sometimes the hardest part of staying on track with a meal plan is feeling hungry all the time. With a keto diet, you won’t experience this. You might possibly experience extreme fatigue, headaches and dizziness, but it will only last a couple of days until your body figures out to switch to fat stores to burn as fuel.

I have two friends who started a keto diet many months ago, have shed many pounds, and continue to do it and absolutely love it.

For me, I love carbohydrates too much to eat a no carb diet year round, especially when it’s completely unnecessary. I can lose weight and stay lean on a nutritional plan that that doesn’t exclude any food group, much less an entire macronutrient.

I recommend trying this diet out for a brief period and see how you feel about it. Maybe you will want to take this on as your every day way of eating. Or maybe it will serve as the jumpstart you need. If it’s the latter, remember to slowly incorporate carbs back into your daily regimen to avoid a rapid weight gain. If you want to try this way of eating, I suggest using this calculator to determine your exact macronutrients and following it exactly!

As with any program, consistency is key.

Photo credit: cookbookman17Cowbell SoloBritish Embassy Lebanon

Lea Waide

Lea is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of BeyondThirty.net.  She is a former professional dancer and IFBB fitness competitor, triathlete and all around fitness and beauty aficionado. Her passion is sharing her knowledge with women beyond the age of thirty, who are looking to continue to feel beautiful and fabulous.

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