At the time I am writing this post I am celebrating 50 pounds lost via the ketogenic lifestyle – high fat / low carb. Every time I am asked about “what is keto” and I give them a brief explanation and tell them that you eat mostly dietary fat (think cheesecake, bacon, bacon-covered cheesecake…) they think it’s a dream diet. “Oh, if only…”
It’s biology – eat fat to burn fat. It’s the reason every industrialized nation that celebrates a high-sugar high-carb lifestyle has seen its citizens pack on the pounds – we have to eat a low-carb diet to limit insulin production which inhibits fat burning. If we eat carbs, we burn carbs for fuel and when we run low, we get hungry and binge and start a vicious cycle. When we eat fat, however, we do not create insulin, and we then open the gate to burn our own fat for fuel. Instead of getting hungry when we run out carbs and eat more carbs, we shift from burning the fat we ate to burning the fat throughout our body.
So after losing fifty pounds in five months I am often asked what’s my ‘secret to success’? Actually, there are a few.
Burn your Boats
There is a legend that when Cortez arrived at the New World he burned his boats. This gave his men the incentive that they had to make it in this brave new world. There was no giving up. No turning back.
When I woke up that day weighing 268, something snapped in me saying “Enough is enough.” The first thing I did was empty, and I mean empty my refrigerator. I wasn’t going to leave anything in there that could tempt me. My fridge was now going to be a tool that served me: it would serve me food that was conducive to my choice of food lifestyle. In my case, high-fat low-carb ketogenic eating.
Make Eating an Effortless Routine
As I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, I didn’t want to have to “think” about what I was going to eat each day. Thinking requires energy. Energy requires willpower, and I didn’t want having to think about what I was going to eat derail me.
So I made it simple: I would put servings of cheesecake, pumpkin mousse, cheese & pepperoni, lasagna, and all my other little keto concoctions in the fridge in little Gladware containers and every morning I would take three containers and put them in my cooler when I was going to be on the road that day. Breakfast – lunch – dinner. Breakfast – lunch – dinner. Don’t think, just put it in the cooler. Don’t think, just eat something in the cooler.
Go Public – Join an Accountability Group
I immediately joined the FaceBook 90-Day Low Carb Challenge. It doesn’t matter if you join this group or another but you need to make a public statement that “enough is enough” and you are going to find a way to make this happen, and then… Make it happen! You need to be around people who are going through the same struggles and celebrating the same successes. You can do this on Facebook, on your blog, wherever, but making it public adds a level of commitment you will make to yourself. Speaking of which,…
This is a game of inches (literally!) so you need to create some positive feedback loops to keep you motivated. Every time I lost a pound or half pound, this was my ritual:
- Write my new weight on the bathroom mirror with a dry-erase or wine-glass marker
- Put an ‘X’ across the pound/half pound lost on a spreadsheet I printed and stuck on my shower door
- Update my weight-loss animated circle on my website (which is attached to each of these articles in the sidebar)
- Every 10th pound lost, celebrate on FaceBook by posting a pic of my scale, my pants with a nice waistline gap, or a non-scale victory (NSV). One of my favorites was a post of me wearing a suit jacket I hadn’t put on in 10 years saying “Dang, I look good!”
- I took two bowls and put 70 corks in one bowl designated “Pounds To Lose”. Every time I lost a pound I moved a cork to the “Pounds Lost” bowl. (People have done this with Jelly Beans, marbles, etc.)
Here are some examples:
Have fun with making up a celebration routine of your own.
Embrace (and fight for) Each Inch
One of my favorite speeches in cinema is Al Pacino’s football locker room speech from Any Given Sunday (excuse the language, but hey, it’s Al Pacino). Though it’s a football speech it applies to any goal or achievement, be it weight loss, starting a business, or reinventing yourself after a significant life event. Whether you use this speech to motivate you or something else, use the wisdom of others, especially those you admire, to remind you why you are on the journey you are on.
Make it happen, Cap’n!