Over 10 weeks, I’ve lost 10kg and seen my waistline drop through the floor. It’s gone down by two whole inches, which is staggering to me. I thought I’d found my lowest point at 30 inches, but here I am now at a slender 28. At this rate, there won’t be a weight class for me when I finally step on stage.
So while the lack of a squat rack has barred me from attempting any performance bests, I can comfortably say I’m at my leanest ever.
Why Stress Kills Fat Loss
The difference makers have been the transition to keto, and making sure everything hinges around recovery. Essentially, I’ve just been making sure I don’t get stressed. Losing weight doesn’t inherently have to be stressful, but there’s a line that has to be crossed at some point.
Go past that, and the body decides that it’s losing too much insulation, and programs the hormones to start battling for survival. This is the sort of primal stress that drives you to go out there and hunt down some food before it’s too late. And all the while, ensuring that you can hold on to the precious fat stores that you have left. This worked out great for us in the past, going back tens of thousands of years ago. Now it’s less of an advantage.
The stress reflex is the second breaking point in many diets, the one that comes after the point where you want to drop it out of boredom. Different kinds of pain. Since I don’t mind a bit of repetition, I’ve always safely made it past the initial test. But I happen to be a sucker for stress, so the second wall tended to stop me in my tracks. Even fasting wasn’t quite enough on its own.
Keto – The Calming Diet
Keto isn’t for everyone, but it was perfectly suited for my situation. It’s sedative, without actually making the body lethargic. You basically miss out on some of the highs and lows that spike you over the day. Instead, the mood flattens out, and that’s the sweet spot. For me at least, I’m happy to miss out on the rollercoaster of emotions. This is why I’ve been practicing meditation every morning for more than a year.
Meditation calms me down and enables me to think positively and not freak out when I get a call from an unknown number. Keto hits similar notes, but it goes further. With an optimal diet, there’s a chance to change your biology. Effectively, you are what you eat.
There’s often a drop in energy at the beginning of a keto diet, but that goes away after a few weeks of sticking to the carb rules, Ketones gradually emerge to become the primary energy substrate, and they’re more than just fuel sources waiting to get burnt up. They’re very much alive, and send out signals that change the way cells work. One such signal being to balance out the neurotransmitters and reduce the fight-or-flight response.
It’s the kind of effect that people seek out in yoga, meditation, exercise, therapy, medication, and it’s easily produced just by adjusting your food a little. It’s a mechanism that doesn’t get brought up when people get up in arms to compare and debunk fad diets.
Why Calories In Vs Calories Out Is Old News
Since the objective of entering a new diet is most often fat loss, people scan for direct effects. This inevitably just leads them circling back to calories in vs calories out, the measuring stick which tends to cancel out the extra benefits found in different diets. It’s technically on point most of the time, but it’s also incredibly basic.
You can’t use the calorie rule to find your optimal diet. The one that matches your genetics and personal problems, while enhancing fat loss both directly and more subtly. Stress is a perfect example of that. It’s a perfectly natural phenomenon, but it can reach chronic levels that produce systemic inflammation, blunting fat loss amongst many other things.
Play the calorie rule and drop your intake further to force fat loss, and you’re likely to raise stress to the point where metabolism slows to a crawl. Looking purely through the lens of energy balance is ignoring causes for weight gain and just treating the backend instead.
Keto Isn’t Going To Be The Perfect Fix
Not everyone is going to be susceptible to the damaging effects of chronic stress. But for those that are, the optimal diet is going to have to act as a buffer, even reversing stress.
Keto fit me like a glove for that reason. Ketones produced anti-excitatory effects, while the huge reduction in carbs took a big stressor out of the game. This alone helped me to feel better, clearer, and drop down in waist size.
I added to those effects with a big emphasis on sleep, buying an oura ring that tracked all the details and motivated me to sleep harder. My diet is near enough optimal now, but I’m using this summer to trial and test out all the best weight loss strategies. So there’s one more stop to make. Carnivore.
Jumping Ship To My Next Diet
For anyone who’s not familiar with this new hot topic diet, it’s the complete elimination of plants and a complete reliance on animal products. Which boils the palette down to meat and eggs, with only so much dairy as one can tolerate.
Now normally, switching diets right at the last stage seems a bit funky. Am I not committed enough keto? I totally am, not as a fanatic, but as someone who wants to have the optimal body and seeks out the foods that can charge it up. Keto is very much that diet for me. I love how I feel while in ketosis.
The thing is, carnivore isn’t that different. There are going to be some changes, but there’s still a state of ketosis. That might seem dubious for some people, but don’t worry, I’m going to cover the differences in my next article. Does high protein kick you out of ketosis? That’s the sort of juicy topic that my blog lives for.
Hey, I’m Sama, a natural bodybuilder who’s bought into the perks of keto and intermittent fasting. Why? When combined, the boosting effect on mental energy is unrivalled on any other diet. And the fat loss isn’t bad either.
I’ve got a ton of recipes, guides and insights covering both diets, and you check them all out on my blog.
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Carnivore Diet Coach And Personal Trainer