The keto diet: “It has completely changed my life!”
Tim had been a notorious yo-yo dieter and carb addict for the greater part of his life. Until he finally broke the cycle and started the ketogenic diet, that is.
It has completely transformed his life, and he has now turned into a keto guru who other people turn to for weight-loss advice. He’s devotedly spreading the keto message through various channels, and has even gone back to college to become a registered dietitian.
He agreed to share his inspiring story, along with his top tips for people who want to be as successful.
“I have a long history of yo-yo dieting: I’ve been obese and lost weight three times in my life,” Tim starts off. “The first time, I did it the wrong way.” He refers to the obsessive calorie counting and strenuous exercise required for weight loss on a low-fat diet. It wasn’t sustainable, so he ended up gaining back all the weight.
In 1999, he tried a different approach with the Atkins diet. Without understanding any of the science behind low-carb weight loss, he simply skipped right to the end of the literature and learnt about what foods to eat. And it worked, because within just a year he had dropped 100 pounds (45 kg).
He continued to eat low carb and kept the weight off for over a decade. But then, in 2010, he met a woman who was a Jenny Craig advocate, and he went completely off the low-carb rails. It didn’t take long before the carb addiction came back and he found himself indulging in Snickers bars and ice cream.
The weight piled back on, and continued to do so until he received some bad news during a visit to the doctor in 2013. He had gotten some serious medical consequences for the carb addiction. “It sucks that it had to take a life-threatening diagnosis to flip the switch.”
His blood sugar was in the diabetic range, and the doctor said that he would need to start taking statins. But if he lost weight first that could all be avoided, stated the doctor, who recommended a low-fat diet.Tim knew better than to resort back to the failed low-fat diet. Instead, he started scouring the keto literature. This time, equipped with the science behind a low-carb approach, he had the right tools to keep the weight off. Within a year he went from 215 lbs (98 kg) to 150 lbs (68 kg), and he has maintained that weight ever since.
Other than losing weight, quitting all medications and healing his ailments, one of the great benefits of the keto diet was the enhanced mental clarity and the relief from the depression that he previously took medication for.
Additionally, not having to constantly think about food is a great bonus. “I used to be obsessed with food and constantly think about my next meal, but now I’m free from all of that.”
Losing weight the keto way
When Tim embarked on his weight-loss journey in 2013, he ate three keto meals per day. Delicious meats like ribeye steak, pork shoulder and lamb. Sardines to get some omega 3. Nutrient-dense vegetables like avocado, sauerkraut and kimchi. Butter, cheese and cream. Delicious!“Everyone is obsessed with this myth of moderation and balance. But I don’t feel like I’m missing out. This food is delicious to me. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of bacon and ribeye steak.”
After having lost all the weight, Tim started incorporating intermittent fasting into his lifestyle, even though he was skeptical at first. He gradually increased the lengths of his fasts, and ended up with a very specific regimen.
He eats his last meal on Sunday afternoon, and fasts until Thursday afternoon. During this time he only ingests coffee and a cocktail of water, apple cider vinegar and mineral-enriched salt. It helps keep hunger at bay, while providing electrolytes.
The longer fasts haven’t lead to any additional weight loss, but he swears by the increased productivity and mental clarity: a clear benefit for his super-busy schedule. He’s also interested in the detoxifying properties of longer fasts.
The rest of the week he eats one large meal per day. He’ll make his go-to snack made of full-fat yogurt, heavy whipping cream and stevia or grab some macadamia nuts if he’s still hungry.
I ask Tim if he thinks exercise is necessary on the ketogenic diet. His opinion is that you don’t need to work out to lose weight, but there are other reasons to do it. It is clearly good for your health and fitness. But not having to spend hours in the gym is another keto win. He clearly remembers his obsession with working out when he was overweight. Nowadays he just goes for a run or hits the gym about twice a week.
Tim’s best tips
Because he’s been through the weight-loss journey himself and now helps others do the same, Tim understands a lot about how the keto diet works. Here’s his best advice for anyone who’s just starting out:
- Make sure that you understand the science of keto. Tim emphasises this point several times during our interview. “If you understand the science, figuring out what to eat is easy.” A good place to start is with Dr. Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code.
- Eat three keto meals a day. Don’t try to intermittent fast when you are just new to keto. Aim for macros that are approximately 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs instead.
- Keep your electrolytes in check! Add salt and minerals, because the keto flu is coming during the first 1-2 weeks.
- Avoid the sweet taste. When you’re new to keto, you risk overeating and relapse if you continue to eat sweet keto desserts. “When trying to beat addiction to sugar, it’s like dietary methadone and totally counterproductive.”
Where to learn more about Tim
You can learn more about Tim in the following links:
- Tim’s webpage: Unlearn-Rethink: Confronting the confusing world of nutrition
- Facebook group: Welcome to keto country
- Twitter: UnlearnRethink
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