My Keto Experiment. Starting the 30 days.
I promised before we left that I would start this 30 day test when we got back. I think enough time has passed to make it viable now. I have been sticking to the macros and calories pretty well and by now I have at least one workout for each body part done. Some days I feel like I am losing fat, other days not so much, it will be interesting to see what actually happens.
In the tradition of sharing my progress and experiments, I posted this to a forum in which I participate. My apologies for the wall of text, it’s mostly stuff I already posted here.
I was very taken by the 21 day overfeeding vlog and experiment that Jason Wittrock did and it inspired me to do some of the same. My purpose was not necessarily to overfeed purposefully but rather to see if the average person who is not a physique model or competitive lifter with sponsorships could garner the same kind of results. A lot of the comments about Jason’s results centered around his potential use of steroids and his questionable level of activity so I thought for the average old guy I would step up and see what happens.
The problem was that I was heading to Australia for almost 3 weeks and the effects of jet lag and travel would confuse the results. I decided to start anyway, since I have been doing Paleo / targeted keto for around 8 years already. My goal personally was to drop my protein intake because I had a sneaking feeling that my issues with not losing weight, or not being in control of my weight loss and gain was due to eating too much protein. So I set my goal at 75% fat 20% protein and 5% carbs. I would still hit my 1g per kg of protein which is the level I am comfortable with and keep my carbs below about 25g.
So who am I? Here is what you need to know going forward.
I am 6ft 240lbs and 49 years old. My body impedence scale calls me around 21% fat and although it’s probably not emprically accurate it is relatively accurate to itself. So good for comparison, not good for claiming my actual % I am sure. I do have pictures that I will post with the full writeup when I get a chance probably in a few days time once things have settled down again.
I have a day job that forces me to work at a desk much of the day. I go to the gym 4 days a week and the days I don’t go to the gym I coach 4 hours in the evening. My history of weight lifting is relevant I played rugby to a high level when I was younger and since then have always lifted weights so I have about 35 years experience behind me. I also have 2 back surgeries behind me in 2001 and more recently in 2012 so I am restricted with the amount of work I can do. 3 years ago I managed to get back to a 1000lb total for my lifts, but I think those days are behind me now.
As far as the eating went, I immediately ran into the same issues that Jason mentions in his vlog. I had a really hard time getting enough food in me. The diet is very satiating as we all know but when you go this route it’s actually to the point of turning you off from eating at all. Over the course of the 21 days I never managed to hit 4000 calories and rarely was able to manage 3000. I did keep track with MFP making sure I was hitting my macros every day and was actually impressively consistent. The problem was that while I was away my workouts were vastly different, as was my activity level. I went from Canadian winter to Australian fall (hot) and that also messed with me a little bit so the fact that I ended up losing about 8lbs was misleading. I realized as I got back that the point of the trip was really just to get comfortable with the eating pattern so that when I resumed my lifestyle at home I would be ready to go.
My “results” were interesting. I managed to drop around 8lbs but weighed myself a day after getting off a 20 hour flight so have no idea what that effect was. The % fat was up about 1% which was discouraging but again with not doing my weight training this is hard to accept as a real result. What I did notice was that I was performing mentally on a whole new level. My attention span was better, my retention of technical information was better (I was reading some technical performance literature while I was away) my dreams were far more lucid and enjoyable and in general I felt mentally far more on point. Oddly I feel like my testicles were bigger… Anecdotal only I have no idea if relevant and I found certain days when I only had keto coffee for breakfast I had some slight indigestion issues which was fixed by slightly weaker coffee and a bit of extra cream. My energy levels were not bad at all, given the time change was 15 hours and I have no idea of the effect of the jet lag I will have to wait for the next 30 days to comment accurately on how this strict keto has affected my energy levels day to day.
We have been back for about a week now and I have kept up with the diet. My plan was to start April 1 and go the whole of April to see if I could compare results to Jason but in retrospect it seems a bit pointless and I will tell you why. Most people want to know the efficacy of a diet. How easy is it to stick to and will I see results? The simple fact of this kind of keto (75/20/5) seems to be that there is no need to overfeed to see what happens because most of the time you won’t be able to stomach the amount of calories it would take to go over your limit on a day to day basis. My TDEE is around 2500 calories which, if I compare myself to an average 160lb dude is quite a lot I know but I think it would scale the same way and as Jason found, they would have a hard time managing to hit their goal.
So my goal for April will be to hit my TDEE or slightly over and see if I can lose some body fat with my largely sedentary lifestyle and advanced age. I am no Jason Wittrock or Rich Piana so I am interested to see just what an adapted keto lifestyle will bring to your average guy.