It’s very likely that you’ve heard some, if not all, of the terms ketogenic diet, low carb diet, paleo, atkins, etc. Today I will be telling you what my own diet is, and a little bit of my journey. I won’t be giving you a whole bunch of links to studies that have been conducted for two reasons.
- You can Google them yourselves.
- You’ll always find that one study contradicts another one.
I’ve read tons of studies and articles. The only way to find out what works is by trying it out. Since i’m not any kind of doctor or dietitian, all I can give you is my own personal experience. Some of the things I state may not have all the support you would like, but it works for me, and that’s all I can give you.
Now that I’m finished with my brief introduction/advisory statement, I will go into my top three diet strategies.
Strategy 1: Low Carb/Low Calorie/Ketogenic
This is the top strategy that I recommend for people looking to lose weight quickly and efficiently. Obviously from the title you can see that this is pretty much a combination of diets. When I first started, I was Atkins all the way. I had a buddy of mine in high school that had lost a decent amount of weight eating meat and cheese, so I figured it would work for me. I also love eating meat and cheese.
I figured that if people were always advocating low carb and low calorie, then combining them would give me a double whammy of fat burning power, and it did.
To begin with I got a bunch of those Atkins Bars, which weren’t too bad. A little bit pricey, but they were convenient and simple. They also had a wide variety of flavors. I would eat one of their breakfast bars for breakfast with a cup of coffee, a meal bar for lunch with a diet soda, and then I would make some kind of protein for dinner. Sticking to this diet for my first few months, I lost probably 30-40 pounds or so.
These bars allowed me to stay under 20 grams of carbs so I could get into ketosis. They also let me stay around 1500 calories per day, which is a great number for men to be at when trying to lose weight (of course according to articles I read).
Now, one warning about this type of diet is that these bars are meant to be a FULL MEAL. That meant that an Atkins bar was all I would eat for breakfast and lunch. This kind of dieting did allow me to lose some serious weight, but it did take quite a bit of discipline and willpower. I also rarely felt full.
It is also completely possible to do this diet without the bars and with real food, which is what I pretty much do today. To give an example of what a day would be like when on this diet:
Breakfast: Breakfast Wrap
2 Whole eggs scrambled with butter
1/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Slices of Tomato
1 Mission Whole Wheat Carb Balance Wrap
Lunch: Chicken, Bacon, Caesar Wrap
1 Mission Whole Wheat Carb Balance Wrap
1/2 Chicken Breast
2 Slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
Dinner: Burger and a Sesame Ginger Salad
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 Slice of Pepper Jack Cheese
1 cup of Lettuce
2 Slices of Tomato
This is an example of a typical day that would qualify for both the ketogenic/low calorie diet. The total net effective carbs for this day would have been about 16 carbs (32 total – 16 Fiber). The total calories (as put into CalorieCount) would be about 1471. As you can see, it is definitely possible to have a low carb,/low calorie day, while eating satisfying meals throughout the day.
This diet is what I used to lose the majority of the 100 pounds of my initial weight loss. Atkins just didn’t cut it for too long.
Strategy 2: Ketogenic Diet
A straight ketogenic diet is the diet that I stay on. I don’t lose weight/fat quite as fast as I did when I was on the low calorie/low carb/ketogenic diet, but I also don’t gain any. This diet is great for when you are at a reasonable weight and you still want to lose some fat, albeit a little slower than the above diet.
For this diet, every day you stay under 20 grams of carbs. At least that’s what I do. This differs from other diets like Atkins and Low carb (which I will get into later), in that it does not reincorporate carbs over time. The goal of this is to stay in ketosis for the majority of your days.
Now, with this diet, the way I follow it, there is no counting calories. I eat meat, cheese, eggs, and other things. I still eat my low carb wraps, but I always keep an eye on how many I eat. I can pretty much guarantee that any day I use a Ketone Testing Strip, I will get some color on it. This would indicate that I am in ketosis, and that I am utilizing my fat stores for energy, rather than any carbohydrates.
With this diet, like I stated before, I don’t count calories. My meal plan does stay pretty similar to what was above for the combination diet. For example, each of those Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Wraps has about 4 grams effective carbs in them. I will usually eat one for breakfast, maybe one for lunch, and one for dinner.
The breakfast one is usually in the form of some type of breakfast wrap. The lunch one is probably some kind of wrap too, if I choose to have one. The one for dinner may be a wrap of some sort, or I will make some type of a quesadilla with it (one of Rae’s favorites). If I don’t have a wrap, I will eat meat with some kind of veggie (like a salad or a steamer bag). With this, I still stay under 20 grams of carbs for the day.
While on this diet, my weight will drop slowly but surely, and I don’t lose muscle mass (as indicated by my body composition scale). I find this diet is great for maintenance and if I don’t mind losing fat a little slower.
Strategy 3: Straight Low Carb
Low carb is a pretty vague term. I view low carb as being under 50 grams of carbs a day. Some may see that as too low, while others may see that as too high. On a straight low carb diet, I believe, weight is lost at a very slow rate. Although, if you have been eating extraordinarily high carbs and calories (like over 200 carbs a day and thousands of calories), then I am just about positive that weight loss will definitely occur.
To start on this, I still recommend going down to the 20 grams and under phase for ketosis. Stay in that phase for about 3 weeks. Then slowly start incorporating some carbs here and there. This is similar to what Atkins says to do. It works for some. For me, however, whenever I started incorporating the carbs again, the weight would come back, regardless of the type. So, if you go for low carb, I recommend trying to stay under 50.
This diet is perfectly fine for someone that is just starting out and wants to see how this kind of lifestyle works out for them. I always recommend anything low carb, and I think that being on just a low carb diet is a great way to lose a little bit of weight here and there. However, I also see this kind of diet as plateauing rather quickly, making it frustrating if numbers don’t move lower on the scale. When that happens, it may be time to shift into one of the other above mentioned strategies for this kind of lifestyle change.
To conclude this post, I would like to point out a caveat to any and all diet strategies. Every single human being on this great blue planet of ours is different. This also means that no one diet can be a miracle cure for everyone. If you’ve done any kind of research on diets, then you know that there are always going to be thousands of conflicting opinions and studies out there.
What’s even crazier is that some people can be in ketosis and eat up to 100 grams of carbs a day. Other people (and I know you’ve seen them too) can be as skinny as a rail, yet they can out eat a sumo wrestler. I know, it’s not fair!
What I can recommend to you is what has worked for me, and how I did it. The one thing I do know is that the idea of this being a “diet” needs to change. Although it is a diet, it is meant to be a lifestyle change. Always remember that if it can be lost, it can also be found.
Leave any comments or questions below, and GOOD LUCK!!