This, by far, this is the most common response I get when I tell people about how I lost weight doing Keto. (Disclaimer: most of my friends are Asian, lol.)
I'm one month into my post-Keto experiment, back to eating carbs on the daily basis…and as much as I've loved eating bagels, cereal, pizza, and sandwiches again on the regular, I simply have zero cravings for white rice now.
I just don't see the point anymore! White rice has no flavor. Keto has burned into my head that carbs are just a vehicle for all the flavorful stuff. Seriously, all the flavor comes from everything else that's on your plate. If I'm gonna eat too much of anything, I'd much rather eat more chicken, beef, or veggies than put meaningless (and high-glycemic) carbs to my body.
It took me a long time to get here. Pre-Keto Mel never would've thought of giving up rice completely. But here I am today, living proof that even as an Asian, giving up rice is totally doable.
Keto is about managing your hormones, not counting calories. Keep your insulin low so your body goes into fat-burning mode. Don't worry about your metabolism; that will take care of itself. It doesn't matter if you're on pace to lose 1 lb per week or 1 lb per month…you want your body burning fat.
In light of my recent blood test results after doing cheat days with Keto, it's time to try something new.
Game Plan for 2+ Months:
- strict Keto until I get back down to 195 lbs
- replace breakfast with healthy slow-carb snacks
- replace lunch with prepped meals from Macrobox Meals (weekdays only)
- continue with Keto Chow for dinner but switch from heavy cream to skim milk (so a little more carbs but significantly less fat)
- keep up with cardio three times per week
The Thought Process
Once I hit my goal weight (again), I can focus on maintenance. If I want to lower my cholesterol while still eating carbs, I have no choice but to get off required fat intake of the Ketogenic Diet and replace it with high protein.
I think it's the South Beach Diet takes a similar approach: strict carbs for a certain phase and then slowly introduce good carbs once you hit your target weight. I'm hoping to find a healthy balance between Keto and enjoying carbs again.
A few years ago I found some success with meal prep subscription plan from My Fit Foods...but it wasn't sustainable as it costed me about $35/day. If I continue to replace a meal or two with a meal replacement shake, I can totally afford one prepped meal per day. It works out nicely for me because there are a bunch of meal prep services around my office in OC.
Replacing breakfast with my own healthy snacks (e.g nuts and popcorn) will help me manage the me-too temptation to snack on chips when I see my coworkers grabbing chips from the kitchen.
I was originally thinking of switching back from Keto Chow to Soylent, but a friend brought up the (controversial) concern about soy content causing male boobage. Also, a bottle of Soylent includes about 30 grams of carbs, which is much higher than Keto Chow. The owner of Keto Chow suggested that I could simply switch the liquid base from heavy cream to skim milk.
I definitely expect to gain some weight back. Hopefully no more than 10 lbs…
If my weight rebounds back up to 210+, I'll immediately change my diet, most likely back to Strict Keto.
I'll ask my doctor for another blood test in a few months so I can monitor the changes in my body.
Why I Cheated
Back in November, I had hit my goal weight, I had just been recruited by an awesome company, and the holidays were right around the corner.
I was happy. And if there was ever a time for me to start celebrating with food, it was that moment.
Even at the first day of the job, we celebrated the hirings of me and two others with a pizza party. A few days later, my boss brought in doughnuts. A week later, we celebrated with birthday cake.
Previously I've said the hardest part of Keto was cutting back on my favorite condiments and sauces. I was wrong.
The hardest part was being surrounded by good people, enjoying good (FREE) food, and having a good time. How the hell am I supposed to resist all that??
So I decided it was time to experiment.
The original plan was to continue to do Keto, but do Cyclical Keto, which basically adds a "Carb Refeed" about once a week. I felt like I could resist carbs for most of the week and I could plan my carb days around whatever food-related event we celebrate at the office.
What actually happened was…I just straight up cheated, lol. For 24-48 hours, Vintage Mel came out to demolish any delicious carb in sight.
So I did this for several months, from November to now.
On March 20th, I cheated all weekend in celebration of my birthday. For the next ten days, I committed to Strict Keto before I went in for a blood test. I felt ten days was the perfect amount of time to see what I how well or how poorly my body would recover from a cheat weekend.
Here are my results, in addition to previous blood tests taken in 2015 (pre-Keto) and summer 2016 (mid-Keto):
|Glucose||98||87||99||65 to 99|
|Total Cholesterol||203||180||204||125 to 200|
|LDL "Bad" Cholesterol||126||122||137||Less than 130|
|A1C||6.1||5.5||5.7||Less than 5.7|
|Triglycerides||169||69||73||Less than 150|
Glucose back up. Cholesterol back up. "Bad" Cholesterol significantly higher. A1C (the determining measurement of diabetes) is back up to borderline. Triglycerides — something that doctors kept telling me was a concern — is thankfully holding steady.
What I Learned
I'm no doctor but it's clear that with my cheat weekends, I've been damaging my body. Not even 10 days of Strict Keto following my birthday was enough to recover.
What's happening is my cheat days cause my body to produce insulin, which tells my body, "STORE FAT". And because I'm consuming so much fat — for however many days it takes to get my body back into ketosis — my body is storing that fat. Hence, the high cholesterol.
It became clear to me why Carb Refeeds and Cyclical Keto are so controversial:
Cyclical Keto a very advanced, disciplined diet that involves a controlled amount of good carbs, but it's rarely recommended because it's too easy for guys like me to completely go off the rails.
And that's exactly what happened.
So now it's time to try something new. I've found success with Strict Keto and I've found failure with Cyclical Keto. I need find something in the middle.
I'm pretty happy with going low carb for most of the week…but I'd like to be able to enjoy carbs — like an occasional bagel or doughnut — here and there. I need something cost-effective and I'm perfectly content with limiting my solid meals to just one per day (and a shake for dinner).
Here are some variations of Keto that I'm considering:
- cook Keto meals at home at night and bring them to the office for lunch (time-consuming…)
- do Keto Chow full-time, every single meal of almost every single day (might get tiresome…)
- dial back the amount of binge eating on my cheat days; maybe just one cheat meal on occasion?
- do more Intermittent Fasting
- do proper Carb Refeeds once in a while with a controlled amount of good carbs
- do more intense workouts (ugh)
- work out more frequently (ugh)
But I'm also considering alternative diets:
- switch to Paleo or another low-carb diet that will allow me to have carbs again
- switch to doing a combination of Intermittent Fasting, healthy snacks at work instead of breakfast, Soylent, and subscribe to a local meal prep service
So I have a lot of options to consider, lots of research to do, and lots of Keto Chow in my pantry to finish…but overall, I'm grateful that I'm fairly healthy and have the flexibility to experiment with my body like this.
These days, I'm having occasional cheat days (usually work-related) and I've noticed that certain carbs trigger varying levels of cravings for me.
Carbs I really miss:
- deep dish pizza
- freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies
Carbs I don't miss but get me jealous when everyone around me is eating:
Carbs I don't miss at all:
- rice — replaced with cauliflower rice
- tortillas — replaced with low-carb tortillas
- ice cream — replaced with Halo Top
- hamburger buns
I've been doing keto for almost a year and never fully understood the science behind it. Here's a great explainer on the science behind the ketogenic diet.
LOVE THIS. When I started my little 21-day Keto challenge, I questioned myself if I could really give up carbs. But after trying out this recipe, for the first time ever, I thought to myself, "Maybe I can do this Keto thing."
Now I make this at least twice a week. And when I do, it's usually when I'm treating myself to a nice, juicy steak or my dad's Spicy Sweet & Sour Chicken. I get to spoil myself 100% guilt-free!