Years ago in my early twenties, out of interest and curiosity I read Dr Atkin’s book New Diet Revolution. It’s only worth mentioning because Dr Atkins explained the metabolic shift (that takes place when you eliminate carbs) exceptionally well to my young, inquisitive mind.
While both Atkin’s and Keto are low-carb diets, The Atkins diet differs from keto in that it advocates high protein, while keto advocates high-fat (and moderate protein).The Atkin’s diet is also outlined in different phases where after an induction phase of extremely low-carb, you gradually increase your carb intake over time. On Keto, you never re-introduce carbs: it’s a lifestyle not a ‘diet’.
After applying the knowledge Atkins shared, I pretty much tried to live low-carb most of my adult-life. However, with not being dedicated enough, and not even knowing about ‘macros’, I gradually gained weight and bid farewell to my skinny jeans. It was just like I was warned…. Sometime in my thirties, I realised Santa didn’t leave me Nigella’s latest cookbook for Christmas, he left a lard-ass in my stocking and another chin under my tree. He didn’t take the cookies and beer I left him either – the bastard took my youthful metabolism instead!
I tried several ways to shift the weight, yo-yo dieting my way into misery. Switching from low-carb diets to low-fat diets, back and forth (I even tried doing low-carb and low-fat at the same time! If you are even considering this, I can tell you how it ends: Not Great, its completely unsustainable!) … it was just losing, gaining, losing, gaining. The flabby ass always came back and it brought another belly-fat roll for company.
By May of 2018, I was crying myself to sleep because I had to Amazon-order a pair of size 14 UK jeans (US 12; Europe 42). It might not seem big to you, but it was to me. My bingo arms were embarrassing and I spent Monday mornings un-tagging myself from Facebook pics. It was time to make a change.
Still following the news back home (I am originally from Cape Town), I learnt of the controversial South African Prof Tim Noakes who had made waves about a Low-carb, High-Fat lifestyle / LCHF (dubbed the Banting Diet in South Africa). It was like a light-bulb moment for me. I recalled everything Dr A taught me about low-carb but was intrigued by the high-fat element Noakes was advocating. I researched further and I liked what I was learning…
On a recommendation, I watched the documentary THE MAGIC PILL (and I highly advise that you do too.) It was what I needed to hear: Keto results in fantastic weight-loss, but it is also about overall health. Pushing 40, this was a sobering thing to consider.
I begged Funnyman to watch it. At the time, he was going through much the same thing: he was sporting a hefty gut and a low self-esteem in the lead up to his 44th birthday. The documentary had the same effect on him as it did with me. He wasn’t even reluctant – he firmly said he was On Board. (I suspect it was partly because I promised his sweet tooth would be satisfied, and partly because I think he was intrigued that he could still eat steak and bacon on his wife’s new suggested ‘diet’… and bless that man , he has ‘juiced’ with me, drank ‘shakes’ with me, went ‘vegan’ for a month with me and eaten dry chicken breasts+iceberg salads with me…)
We committed to start the journey together around the last week of May in 2018.
We took pics of our flabby guts, took measurements of our giant asses and threw away all non-keto food in our house. We stocked up on keto-friendly ingredients and bought Fitbits to track our physical activity (yes, exercise is wonderful and highly encouraged. You should continue to exercise!) On keto, you will have so much energy you will WANT to exercise.
Two weeks in, we were still committed. Our keto sticks were showing we were in ketosis and the scales were dropping. (Most of it was probably water loss, but we knew that it might be. It was still encouraging and that is all that counts.)
After two months, we were still going strong! After three months, we were blown away.
We are now almost a year in and have never looked back…
We are almost 25kg (4st / 55 lb) down between the two of us! Our body fat is down and muscle is up. We are stronger, fitter and have improved energy and mental clarity.
We limit our carb intake to no more than 20g carbs per day and enjoy a lifestyle feasting on fatty biltong, salmon, steak, chicken, avocado, bacon and coconut oil – along with plenty of high-fibre, nutritious vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and spinach. We have fry-up breakfasts on the weekend – but skip the toast. If we go out to eat, we ask for no fries. Burgers? Double-patty-with-cheese, please – hold the bun.
What’s not to love?
Inflammatory foods (that may be very low in carbs) are still consumed in very small amounts and only occasionally. For example, strict ketoers may steer clear of soy sauce or store-bought reduced-sugar ketchup. We do too, but won’t kill ourselves if there is a trace amount of potato starch in our pork sausages. Get what I am saying? Some may call this dirty keto, we say DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
Do we still drink alcohol on Keto? Of course we do. We simply switched beer and cider for spirits and sugar-free mixes, or the occasional red wine or dry Proseco. Its important to remember however, that even though a Scotch-and-soda or Gin-and-sugarfree-T will be zero carbs, alcohol is metabolised differently. Immediately, actually. Consuming alcohol on a low-carb diet will therefore slow down your weight-loss journey, so its best to limit it to special occasions. More importantly, we must remember that the liver is a very important, hard-working organ: don’t make it work too hard, it has plenty of other more important things to metabolise than alcohol. Take care of your liver. This is a great article on Alcohol on low-carb diets on the (brilliant) Diet Doctor website.
Don’t just take my word for it, see these other SUCCESS STORIES.
We hope you enjoy your journey as much as we have enjoyed ours!
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