Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any kind of medical or healthcare practitioner. Please do not take this post as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before getting into any kind of diet or lifestyle change.
What better time to dramatically change your lifestyle and habits than during a time when you will not be interacting with the people you usually spend a lot of time with? I knew I wouldn’t be seeing my friends for at least a month, so I thought it was then or never. I love my friends, but heaven knows that if you want to try something that the people surrounding you are not supportive of, or at best not enthusiastic about, that could dampen your own enthusiasm as well, and maybe even prevent you from fully integrating the changes into your life.
I have been interested in the ketogenic diet since 2018. I was regularly working out at a small calisthenics gym at that time. While I was not overweight, I had a lot of excess flab in my body covering the muscles that I have built up over the years from doing pole and aerial arts three years prior, and at that time from doing calisthenics for several weeks. Calisthenics built muscle faster than pole and the aerial arts did, and I looked more bulky after changing my fitness activities. But even with all the intense exercises I was doing, I did not have a lot of muscle definition because of the thick enough layer of fat covering my muscles. One of the coaches at the gym recommended that I try intermittent fasting. I have never heard of intermittent fasting before, so I did a bit of research on it, and it led me to material on the ketogenic diet as well. It is now quite well known that those who are into keto are also into IF. While I did not yet get into keto at that time because I felt that it was too drastic a change in my diet, I thought that intermittent fasting was easy enough for me to implement. True enough, it became effortless for me in a short time, and I still do it up to now. I am not as strict as I was before, but I don’t even have to think about restricting my eating window now. It just happens naturally. I currently have an eating window of one to eight hours. I only have to extend my eating window to eight hours if I have to meet with someone. I don’t see the point of extending my window beyond that because I never get hungry for the rest of the day, except if my protein or fat intake was insufficient.
It would even have been more effortless if all of my friends were supportive. I did have some friends who were, but I had others who I hung out with more and who would try to test my discipline when it comes to keeping my IF schedule. Luckily, I was determined not to stray from my plans. While their efforts never tempted me–yes, even if they were shoving food right under my nose–I found their antics annoying. So for the good part of the past two years, I stopped at reading about the ketogenic diet and its benefits, hoping that the more information on it that I glean the easier it would be for me to transition into keto once I got the chance. Don’t get me wrong, though. My friends were overall great. I just strongly disliked their lack of support for my dietary choices. I do understand that diet and health can be quite sensitive topics, especially if the people around you are the kind who think that eating a diet made up of more than 90% junk is normal or even healthy.
I did not plan on getting into keto this year, but then the pandemic was also unplanned. Isn’t it? Conspiracy theories aside, the announcement of a region-wide lockdown made me panic because unwanted drastic changes in my everyday life were incoming. When I finally calmed down a bit after a few weeks, I realized that I could capitalize on this change by using it to fuel those other changes that I actually wanted to happen. And so I started with my keto diet by giving up on sugar, processed flour, rice, and high-carb fruits and veggies. I started on March 24. I will forever remember the date.
Around three to four weeks ago, I realized that the recommended moderate protein intake for keto was not keeping me as satiated as I wanted until the next day. I would feel a slight hunger late at night. While it was largely negligible, I didn’t want to be feeling that way for an extended period of time. That was when I decided to increase my animal protein and fat intake, and I found out a few days later that my new diet parameters made my diet not just keto anymore, but keto carnivore. I have been researching more on carnivore at that time, and was quite interested in its added benefits. Right now, I am seriously considering transitioning to relaxed carnivore, which is a carnivore diet subset that consists of animal products including dairy and eggs, with herbs and spices other than salt allowed. Coffee and tea are also allowed, but I am not a coffee person. I like tea, but I limit my tea consumption right now because I have to be careful with my electrolyte balance since Metro Manila, and possibly the whole Philippines, since it looks like it’s the same case in the provinces as well, feels like a big freaking furnace right now, and I easily get cramps and twitching in my hands if it gets too hot. I have to say, though, that I am in no way rushing this transition right now because I am still enjoying my chocolate fat bombs a lot. I will miss them when I decide to finally let them go.
I think I can say that my diet is presently about 80% carnivore. I don’t miss vegetables. I don’t miss fruits. I don’t miss fast food. I don’t miss chips. I don’t miss anything that I have given up. I replaced my soda with flavored unsweetened sparkling water like La Croix. The chocolates I eat are sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol, and they are not as sweet as the candy bars I used to eat. My diet at this point is not as clean as I would like it to be, but I am taking small steps because I want this to be sustainable. Eventually, I know I will be giving them up, too, when I transition to relaxed carnivore, so I am enjoying them as much as I can right now. That said, the plant products I consume are limited to those “cleaner” processed food items I currently have in my diet. I also drink protein smoothies and eat keto ice cream, but that’s about it.
I rapidly lost excess fat when I started, and it seems that I am still burning off fat at a significant rate right now, three months after. I was a Cotton On size S (let’s use Cotton On sizing for consistency. I am not that familiar with standard clothing sizes, and size varies from brand to brand as far as I know) before I had a diet and lifestyle overhaul, so I thought that I did not really have a lot of weight to lose. Now, I am a Cotton On XXS–that’s three sizes dropped in a matter of three months. I did not do any intense workouts. Most of the physical activity I had was walking, and I did not get a lot of it during the Enhanced Community Quarantine when more than 90% of business establishments were closed. I now also have better focus, sustained better energy levels and mood, and it also seems that I build muscle faster and easier. For reference, I stand 5’4″ and weigh 107 lbs. the last time I weighed myself a month ago. That’s not the lightest I have been. Several years back, I was severely underweight and skinny, weighing only 98 lbs., yet my belly pooch was big. Now my abdomen is almost completely flat. I still have a little bit of excess fat on my lower abdomen, but it is probably only a fifth of the size of my belly pooch when I weighed 98 lbs. And I am not yet done. My weight loss hasn’t yet plateaued, it seems. I have decided to ease myself back into a bit of resistance training because I got worried that I will lose so much weight that I will look like a squid ball on a stick. What can I say? I was skinny as a kid, and my somatotype is ecto-meso–way more ectomorph than mesomorph.
Something I love about my diet right now is that I have lost almost all of my cravings. I eat one huge meal a day, making sure that I get around 100 g of protein and around the same amount of fat, and I don’t have to eat anymore later in the day. I stay satiated for the rest of the day. I can focus on work or research because I don’t worry about hunger. And while I have greatly limited my meal options, the food I eat taste really good to me that I don’t crave more variety at all. I am content with rotating a few foods during the week, like roasted pork belly, a huge omelette, chicken liver, sausages, and roast chicken. I sometimes eat cheese, and I supplement with lots of grass-fed butter or coconut oil every now and then if I feel that I need more fat.
Keto and keto carnivore has so far given me overwhelmingly positive experiences, and I will continue with my diet into the foreseeable future. Needless to say, I will also keep on doing research on the keto and carnivore diets for as long as I am eating this way.