Even though this has been laid out in somewhat simple terms, it’s important to remember that bodies are complex systems. Each one of us has different genetics and tolerance. Some of us may get away with two or three cheat days a week while others may need less. I would urge you to follow the principals and at the same time figure out what works best for you.
One important thing to remember is fat loss takes time. If you were to cut back your calorie intake by 250 calories a day, it would take you 14 days to lose a pound of fat. Losing a 1/2 lb to 2 lbs a week is realistic. More than that, like on the biggest loser, is not reasonable. As you lose weight, you may be losing water weight at first. Carbohydrates actually require more water storage, so as you eat less you may get rid of some of the excess water. Too much sodium can also keep water in your body. Also, depending on when your bowel movements happen and how much you are drinking, your weight can fluctuate +/- 5 lbs during the day. That said, tracking your progress is important to give you confidence that it’s working. Here are some tips:
Take your weight first thing in the morning after you have gone to the bathroom. Use that as the baseline. Try and weigh yourself on that same day every week. I know it sounds crazy to only weigh yourself once a week, but this important for a few reasons. For one, it takes time to lose weight. You don’t want the numbers to scare you back into bad habits. If after three days you weigh yourself and you are 2 lbs heavier (possibly because of water weight) you’re going to feel frustrated, think this isn’t working and start binging again. Make sure you weigh yourself naked as well, as different clothes can change your weight.
A better way to track your progress is how you look and how your clothes fit. If you have a pair of jeans you are hoping to fit into, try those on from time to time and see if you are getting closer. The trouble with just tracking by weight too, is if you are doing intensive muscle-training, you might be gaining muscle, meaning weight. There are weeks when I gain a pound, but my shorts fit better. It’s because fat came off my wasteline but I added muscle too. Your scale is just a compass… it’s not the absolute source of truth.
Another thing that helps is to find a buddy that’s doing it too. One thing that helped me is my brother and I both used MyFitnessPal to track calories for a while. The app allows you to see each other’s food diary. By looking at what he ate and the calories he consumed, and seeing his progress and weight dropping, it motivated me to do the same. Also, I didn’t want to get a text from him calling me out on eating something against the plan.
Research recipes. Remember, this shouldn’t be considered a short term diet. This is a new way of life. It’s important to be enjoying your food. There are tons of great low-carb or ketogenic recipes out there. Take some time once a week to seek out a few new recipes to try. Or, start replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with better alternatives. Stevia for sugar. Coconut flour for wheat flour. Grass-fed butter for margarine etc. I’ve been able to turn many of the recipes my mom made growing up into low-carb, healthier alternatives.
If you are wondering about other things that I may have left out like supplements, recipes, allergies, vitamins etc, it’s because I don’t want to overwhelm you. It’s important to start somewhere and what I listed out in this book will get you where you want to go. If you are looking to take it a step further, and become a bit psycho, feel free to seek out books that cover these subjects in greater detail.
Once you’ve been eating like this for a few weeks, you’ll bring more balance to your system. This will allow you to be much more sensitive to what’s going on in your body. After living this way for a month or so, be careful about binging on sugar or processed food. It will be like putting 85 gasoline into a Ferrari. You are becoming a fine-tuned machine and added sugar or other forms of carbs could make you feel pretty crappy.
Another thing to be aware of is food allergies and sensitivities. For example, many people have slight reactions to dairy. If I eat too much dairy, I will wake up with very noticeable stiff joints, mainly my fingers and ankles. If my wife eats arugula in her salad, she gets a stomach ache because of an allergic reaction.
If after a month on this diet you have times of the day where you don’t feel good, ie headaches or stomachaches etc, you may want to consider an extensive allergy test to see if you have reactions to gluten, gelatin, yeast, certain fruits or vegetables, preservatives or additives. With that knowledge you can cut them out and feel so much better.
Another thing to consider is your energy levels. Although this diet will help with energy there are other factors to consider. Now that you’ve balanced your diet, focus on getting enough rest, de-stressing and being active.