Say whatever you want but keeping yourself in shape is probably everyone’s goal every single New Year’s Day. Whether it’s losing some pounds or adding 5 packs to your 1 pack or even as simple as being able to run to catch a bus without getting a heart attack, we all try to improve ourselves a little bit.
Here’s some story about me doing that… well… my whole life. I come from a family of fat people and I’m not ashamed of it. I mean sorry, I am ashamed of it but I am not ashamed of admitting it. That sounds better. Let’s start with physical facts. I’m 192cm tall (or roughly 6’3″). Considering that I’m in my mid-thirties, my ideal weight would be somewhere around 90kg. To give you a perspective, being a teenager and swimming a lot I was anywhere between 85-88kg. My personal “best” is also 110kg. That should give you some perspective on my personal weight wave.
My first spike was when I got my first job in a corporation. Corpo makes people happy in a way that they feel better at work than at home. So they gave us discounted food. Very good and very discounted food. And stress. That was for free. The combination worked well so coming out of my “teenage” years I quickly spiked to the high 90s and stayed there for a while. I then, in my mid-twenties, moved to New Zealand and my first goal was to change my life. So I started running and exercising often. I believe I dropped to roughly 95 to find a comfy job and go the back to the high 90s.
Then there was creating my own business. If you have experience about creating a brand new business out of nowhere you realise that for the first couple of years you earn the least out of everyone – if you get paid at all (hello fellow startuppers). Funnily enough, you’ll learn very quickly that the cheapest food is… well, processed food. Who loves noodles :-D! That was my personal best, low 110s. So when I finally decided to do something about it with quite strong motivation from my wife, I was finally 102kg on day 1.
What worked for me
Really? Just doing something about it. I’ll tell you exactly what worked for me but if you want to do anything about yourself, please read carefully the entire post.
Keto diet. This what dropped 10kg of my weight with a very little change of a lifestyle. But it wasn’t easy. Oh no. Let me start with what is keto. Keto is a diet where you aim to drop all the carbs. And I mean the goal is as low as possible. So no pasta, potatoes, bread, rice, most processed food, most root vegetables, onions, beetroots, carrots etc. It’s hard and if you already think it’s hard, let me make it harder for you. When you start keto your body stops processing sugars and drops a lot of minerals (mostly sodium but let me state that I’m not a doctor so this is no scientific advice). Rather than from sugars, it starts getting the energy from ketones that are produced from fats. This is good because eventually, your body starts eating your own fat, however, before we get there your body sends a small WTF signal to you in a shape of something called “keto flu”. On the day 3-5 of keto you feel like a piece of s#&t because you really do need sugars. You have symptoms of the flu without having the flu. When you pass that point you’re all good but let me tell you – passing that point ain’t easy!
So keto was a magic bullet for me. Does it last? Yes and no. My doctor didn’t recommend keto for long for me because apparently it can have bad effects on kidneys (again not medical advice). But she did recommend keeping low carbs forever. So here I am, month 9 we’re still low carbs (except Christmas, yup I put on 1kg too) and I feel great. I’m currently in 92-94kg range but I still want to get below 90kg and improve my physical appearance (yup, I do want to look like Ken 😉 ). But is the keto magic bullet?
The magic bullet
You see, the magic bullet for everyone is… a diet. It’s not keto or any other diet. It’s “a diet”. I watched this documentary on Netflix about diets and they had this conclusion that I think summarises my feelings about it. They say something like “there’s no perfect diet, but the fact that you do any diet makes you think about your food and what you consume.” That itself is a great improvement for anyone.
It is not easy to be on a keto diet, believe me. But you make amazing discoveries while you do it. Before, we would just go shopping and we would buy some groceries that make a meal so we can eat. Now, we go to the supermarket and the first thing we do is we check the nutrition label. I challenge you, do it yourself. You wouldn’t believe that pickled gherkins can have added sugar. Added sugar! Pickled! Gherkins! On our first shopping for our keto, we barely got anything out of the supermarket other than canned tuna in water. The rest was out of the veggie store and butcher (something I want to try to reduce this year – meat). Let me give you a perspective – for keto, ideally, you have less than 20g of carbs a day. That, according to nutrition labels, is about a teaspoon of Nutella. For the entire day. But also half a can of “healthy” pumpkin soup you get in the supermarket. Yes, half portion of one meal is more than you can have a day.
So if your New Year’s resolution is to improve your health, go shopping, pick an item you love whether it’s an unhealthy pack of Doritos or a healthy pack of rice crackers and check their nutrition label. Compare it to any diet you want and see how hard it is because in our society we got so used to processed food that we forgot how good it is to eat just simple vegetables and meat or fish. As I mentioned, there was merely anything in the supermarket for us that we could eat. All we pump in ourselves now is junk food, even if it’s called “healthy” because healthy is simple broccoli or a potato (despite it’s not keto-friendly). As someone smart said – we are what we eat. So start thinking about what you eat and improving it will become so much easier.