Kyle vs Keto Part I

Kyle vs Keto Part I
A very very long time ago I tried out the "paleo diet." It ended up having a huge positive effect for a number of reasons that you can find out more about here if you so choose. It's been a long time since then, and over time my diet sort of drifted back into what it was before paleo.

About a year and a half ago I moved to Denver, and ended up in a spot that is pretty much in the heart of the city. It was definitely a culture shock to me as now I'm living in a place where I can walk everywhere, there's always stuff going on, I hardly ever drive my car, and there are amazing places to get food on every corner. This is great! But also dangerous in terms of dieting.

A few years back I had learned about this "keto" diet that people were doing to destroy all of the excess fat on their bodies. I decided to get into paleo since that's what everyone around me was doing, but still I had always been curious about keto since I knew a few people that used it to lose a lot of weight. Right before I moved to Denver I was curious, but with the move, and ending up in an area with amazing places to eat everywhere, my experiment got severely delayed. On top of all that it seems like I am constantly traveling for games or family related stuff, and everyone knows that dieting while traveling is absolute nightmare difficulty.

So after all of that I finally had a huge stretch of time without major travel events, and this was a huge opportunity to finally give it a go. I eased myself into the diet over a few weeks, and I'm now in the middle of a strict keto streak of 3 weeks with plans to continue it indefinitely (until my next trip essentially.)

(Note: I actually wrote this initially about a month ago but forgot to post it. I'll be writing up an update on my current progress as Part II soon.)

My experience with paleo I think made keto a lot easier than it might be for some people. The big thing with keto is reducing carb intake by a somewhat huge margin depending on what your diet is currently. For a lot of people this means giving up bread entirely. That's usually the first question I get: "How do you live without bread?!" To be honest I don't have a strong attachment to bread in the first place. When left without any sort of diet I eat a lot of sandwiches, and maybe pizza, but I don't go out of my way to eat bread or find it that amazing in the first place.

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I can get away with eating the same thing pretty much all the time and never getting sick of it which is another big benefit with making these diets work. Keto and paleo do have a lot of variety but only after you dig into them a lot and learn a lot of recipes. I'm usually set with just knowing how to eat like 5 or 6 different things total, because when I'm not on a diet that's usually my variety level anyway. Also not drinking any alcohol at all is a huge plus since I don't have to give it up.

I also get the "you don't at any fruits?!" question a lot. I don't! In fact I think the only fruit I have going right now is avocado. I think keto would allow for some kind of berries in moderation like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc, but honestly I am trying to avoid sweet things in general as part of this diet. I get really addicted to sweet stuff, even "natural" sugars, so I'm making the choice to pretty much eliminate any sugars as well as carbs.

Another thing that benefits me is that once I start building up a streak of successful days of keto I get a strong reinforcement to keep going. I'm now 21 days into a streak, and I know that if I choose to slip up and eat carbs or a bunch of sugar, I'll be throwing away those 21 days of progress. My min-maxer attitude when it comes to games helps a lot with this. I want to get the absolute most out of this diet as I can, so I'm incredibly motivated to get the longest streak I can.

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A huge help with motivation is also the fact that keto has been incredibly effective for me. I eased into it a little bit and instantly lost about 8 pounds. After that I had a trip, and my birthday, and I pigged out like an idiot and shot back up to a weight of 174. I considered the pigging out week my last hurrah before doing a hard streak. Currently just 21 days into this streak my weight is 158 pounds! Fat just seems to be melting off and it makes no sense to me as I'm able to eat stuff like cheese and super fatty foods. Knowing that the effects are real and observable keeps me on track.

The last pro tip for any diet I've tried is to never let my kitchen run dry. I always make sure to stock things that I can snack on if I get desperate because that is when the diet is most at risk. Extreme hunger can be horrible and can win out against any argument in my brain about not breaking my streak, or how effective the diet has been for fat loss. If I let myself become super hungry that is when I'm at the most risk of ordering a pizza or going to get fast food. I try to cook and get groceries whenever I can to make sure I have emergency rations on reserve.

Of course like all diets keto has some criticisms to keep in mind if you're interested in trying it out yourself. Before diving into it I tried to do as much research as I reasonably could, and also made sure to have a handful of recipes and snack foods in my brain so that I could easily keep up with the restrictions.

Overall my keto experiment has been really successful! I'm way lighter than I've been in a super long time, and my ability for physical activities has increased a whole bunch. On top of the dieting I've been walking at least one mile a day, and doing 2 mile rows on a little rowing machine from Amazon, and all that combined has me feeling really good lately! Also the flexing of will power to stay on a diet helps with my mental health in general which if you read my blog you know that I need ha haaa.

I'm going to keep pushing the streak as long as I can. My original goal was to be under 160 pounds, and I got there in just 18 days of strict keto. I think I can hit my next goal of 155 pretty soon, and my ultimate dream goal is to be below 150. I weighed 145 at one point in my adult life and getting back to that weight would be bananas (but not bananas because those are totally not keto friendly.)

Most people ask what I'm eating so I'll try to go through that real quick here.

Some kind of meat chili thing: This is where I just take a big pot and put it on the stove with ground turkey or pork and minced garlic. I throw some butter in there too. After its cooked I add jalapeno (a lot) and half a yellow onion. When those two are cooked enough I toss in a can of fire roasted tomatos, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. This mixes into a pretty dang yummy concoction, but then I spice the hell out of it. Salt, black pepper, and red pepper, and sometimes a touch of cinnamon. I can eat this all day every day and it usually lasts me a week in the fridge.

Baked salmon: Just get a whole bunch of salmon from the grocery store and throw it in the oven with a bunch of salt, pepper, and lemon slices on it. Set the temperature to 400 something I guess and just watch for when the inside of it isn't all gross and transparent anymore.

Trail mix or cereal type stuff: I buy a whole bunch of coconut flakes, pecan pieces, almond slices, and macadamia nuts. Then I microwave a whole bowl with some butter in it to make some melted butter juice. I then dump in all of the aforementioned things and swish them around and mix them up with a truckload of cinnamon. After that I lay them all down on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven until they're roasted but not burned. This requires mixing them around on the sheet a few times during the broiling process so that they end up evenly toasted-ish.

Full fat yogurt: Fage yogurt is above all the best tasting yogurt ever and this saves my butt when it comes to snacking. Take some of this yogurt and dump in the trail mix cereal stuff and it is amazing.

Scrambled eggs: I still would be eating these every day if I didn't get sick of eggs so easily. I take four eggs and a LOT of butter and scramble them in a pan on low heat. I mix the eggs continuously and remove the pan from the heat every so often. Eventually I end up with some super creamy just done enough scrambled eggs. If you like your eggs super well done then I don't recommend this method. Otherwise you should check out this video for more tips. Also you can add hot sauce that doesn't have any carbs or sugar which is pretty easy to come by! (Tapatio.)

Straight up cheese: Keto lets me eat most cheeses and I take full advantage of that but mostly I stick to sticks of string cheese and sharp cheddar. I also recently learned that cream cheese is totally on the menu and is amazing to eat just on it's own.

Pepperoni: Goes really well with cheese. Trader Joe's has really good pepperoni.

Cucumbers: Holy crap I eat so many cucumbers on keto. I cut them in half and then cut them lengthwise so I get 8 sticks of cucumber per cucumber. I salt the hell out of them because apparently getting not enough sodium can be an issue on keto.

Avocado: A staple for me since they are so yummy and so filling. Not every area has easy access to good avocados though. It is the summer and I think that makes avocados better, but I didn't really start buying them so much in Denver until recently so I'm not sure. They're also expensive.

Bunless cheeseburgers: Just make a burger and disregard all of the toppings that have sugar and you should be good to go. Wrap it in lettuce or just eat it without the bread.

Almond Butter: Eating straight up almond butter from the jar is delicious and filling, and usually has a pretty low amount of carbs, but be careful with the brands that use a lot of sugar! I think peanut butter also works.

Deli meats: A lot of meats like turkey or chicken that you can get by the slice at a deli is super good. I'm actually getting a little sick of meat, but if you eat sandwiches this can be a good replacement.

Beyond any of these I try the occasional "quick keto recipe" on google and try out something, but the above have been my main stays.

Okay that's all!
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