Thursday, June 7, 2007

Ketosis: Three Ways to Jump Start Your Diet

It's interesting to read about all the various theories, ideas, beliefs, and suggestions in regards to weight-loss diets, but it can certainly get pretty confusing with so many conflicting paths out there:

  • Should I eat more calories, less calories, or stay about the same?
  • Should I eat more fat, less fat, or stay about the same?
  • Should I eat more veggies, less veggies, or stay about the same?

No one agrees. So despite all of the research, eventually you come to realize that you are basically on your own. It is you who decides what you are going to put into your mouth, and what you are not. And what you choose to do is generally based on what is most important to you at the moment.

Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself


Do you want "fast" weight loss? Or are you comfortable and happy with greater food choices, more variety, an occasional treat -- even if that means losing weight at a slower pace. Do you have health issues such as gall bladder or liver problems that require you to eat less fat than the average low-carb dieter would recommend? Do you believe in and/or fear starvation mode? Do you believe in and/or fear the calorie theory? Do you enjoy fatty meats? Lean meats? Vegetables? Butter and Mayo?

All of these and more, are questions that each of us have to personally address in order to make the best choices for ourselves. Because we need to find a path we can live with for the rest of our lives. The truth is, that no matter which plan or path we choose to enter, maintenance isn't going to be a whole lot more. So whatever we choose, we need to be able to live with it for the rest of our lives.

But before we can make that choice, we need to seriously consider a couple of things.

Hunger and Deprivation


The biggest problem with diets is the hunger. Can you live with being hungry for the rest of your life? Few people have that kind of strength. I know I certainly don't. So for me, the path of Ketosis is the most sensible of all of the options available to me.

The second biggest problem with diets is the deprivation, otherwise known as eating for emotional reasons. Do you crave sugar or carbohydrates? Can you stand being in a room where someone else is eating something yummie and you not indulge? Do you lack the willpower required to abstain from foods that are poisoning you?

How badly do you want to lose the weight? More than that chocolate cupcake? More than that bag of bbq potato chips? More than that loaf of piping hot, home-made bread?

The beauty of real Ketosis is that it goes a long way in helping us deal with all of these types of problems, concerns, and more. But there isn't just one single way to get ourselves into that metabolic pathway. What we want to do is clear out the glycogen that has been stored in our liver, so we force our bodies to turn to our body fat for sustenance. That will change our defective carbohydrate metabolisms into fat-burning machines. That requires us to cut our carbohydrate consumption to biologically zero, but other than that, there are several ways to go about getting into Ketosis.

How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly


Here are three quick ways to enter the state of Ketosis, but I'm sure there are others. These are just the ones I am currently aware of. Each method is designed to get you into a fat burning metabolism within 3 to 5 days, after which you can then choose (with the help of your doctor) which low-carb Plan or Path you are going to follow:

(The diets listed here are NOT meant to be medical advice. The state of dietary Ketosis is not safe for everyone. These introductory low-carb diets are posted here for informational purposes only. They are an accumulation of the information I have collected from reading hundreds of posts about them over at Low Carb Friends.)

Kimmer's Experiment (K/E)
Eat as much lean protein as needed to satisfy hunger (lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs)
Basic condiments and spices are okay
Diet beverages, coffee and tea as desired, w/o cream, but a bit of sugar sub okay
Diet gelatin limited to 1 cup per day
Chicken and Beef broth okay, homemade prefered
No alcohol, no cheese

Meat and Egg Fast (M/E)

Eat as much protein as needed to satisfy hunger (meats, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese)
Fats are allowed in reasonable portions (including cream, and poultry skin)
Diet beverages, coffee and tea as desired
Sugar substitutes okay
Spices and Herbs w/o sugar, Extracts, Mustard, Horseradish, Vinegar okay

Atkins 72 Induction
Everything on the M/E list plus:
2 cups of loosely packed mixed greens with celery, cucumber, and radishes
Salad Dressings without added sugar are okay (moderate portions)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Chicken or Beef broth okay
Diet gelatin okay
Cheese, up to 4 oz per day of hard aged cheese (no cream cheese or spreads)
Heavy Cream, up to 4 tsp per day

Don't Be Afraid to Eat


Eat in accordance with your appetite. Do not go hungry. If you are hungry, EAT. Don't worry about calories. These Ketosis-inducing diets are not about weight loss. They are about ridding your body of glycogen and switching your metabolisms from burning sugar to burning fat. Once Ketosis is entered, your appetite will take care of its own calorie reduction.

However, you are not required to force yourself to eat either. Ketosis is self-regulating. Let your hunger be your guide.

Cautions and Advice


How long it takes you to enter into the state of Ketosis or how much weight you will lose during this initial period will depend upon how badly you were overeating carbs before you begin one of these low-carb diets. Also be aware that the Atkin's Flu (also known as the Induction Flu) will be a lot more pronounced. The more heavily you were over-indulging in carbs, the more pronounced that flu will be, so take it easy and get lots of rest. In addition, these flu symptoms are a sign that your electrolytes have become unbalanced, so don't cut down on salt. Eat more salt to help your body readjust quicker.

You will know when you have entered this blessed state because your appetite will become suppressed. You don't really need Ketostix to tell you that.

9 comments:

nora moran said...

This is an excellent blog. I love your writing style and agree with everything you've written.

I've been M/E for about a year and starting to question if perhaps a K/E program is more healthy (lower fat being more healthy, I mean). Just some things I'm tossing around lately after reading about Kimkins.

I've bookmarked your blog and will enjoy reading past posts. Thanks again.

Ken said...

I love your article and hope to see more.

Christine said...

I am currently on my 4th day of nothing but protein intake. I am already in ketosis. According to the ketostix, at large amounts (80). The chart only goes up one more color. I drinks LOTS of water, so I am hoping this keeps my kidneys healthy. Having high blood pressure since I was 16, and I am now 44, I had enough stress on my kidneys. Is it healthy to stay in ketosis for the sake of losing weight? As my 5th day approaches, I will be adding in green vegetables. I have already lost 10 lbs in 4 days. I just want to lose weight...I don't want to die trying!! Thanks!

Vickie Ewell said...

A low carb diet is healthy. I have had surgeons and cardiologists assure me that Atkins is SAFE.

Ketostix measure how many ketones your body is getting rid of, without using them completely. Drinking lots of water helps the liver process body fat.

The weight you lose initially is mostly glycogen and the water the body stores to process that glycogen when needed. Lowering carbs causes the body to use that glycogen. When it gets half depleted or so, (which only takes a day or two), the body starts breaking down fat to create glucose for your organs that need glucose. Most organs can use fatty acids for fuel. The brain, heart, and some kidney cells can use ketones.

As your body gets more efficient at using ketones, your sticks will get lighter. That doesn't mean "less" ketosis, it just means your body is burning the ketones.

Anonymous said...

Im in ketosis light then dark then light...I'm trying to stay in the 20-25 carb range. I lost 8lbs the first 3 weeks, now I just want too know, will I continue too loose if only in ketosis or will I loose by keeping carb intake at 25

Vickie Ewell said...

Most people are able to eat about 35 to 40 carbs per day and still lose. It all depends on how insulin resistant you are. You'll have to experiment to find out for sure. But in general, as long as you're in ketosis, you should lose. But you won't lose every single week. It varies.

Mari Kia said...

I have enjoyed reading your posts for over a year. You give great information. I started on a ketosis diet in September 2012 at 290 lbs today I'm at 230. I have taken a break for the past 3 months and started up again, my problem is I cant seem to get back into Ketosis. I keep my carbs at around 20 grams per day my protein is around 6 to 8 oz per meal. I can only eat twice a day. I am not as active as I was trying to improve that any suggestions would be appreciated.

Mari Kia said...

oh I was recently diagnosed as pre diabetic although I do not take any medication, not sure if that has any effect...thank you again

Vickie Ewell said...

Hi Mari,
Are you measuring ketosis through using urine test strips? If so, you might not be spilling ketones at the exact moment you're checking. We don't spill ketones consistently. Only when the body wants to get rid of them.

How is your appetite? Has it gone down? Is that why you're only eating twice a day? Or is that more of a time factor? Lowered appetite is a far better gauge of being in ketosis than the sticks are.

Are you losing weight? What happens sometimes when you take a break is that you go back to dieting, the body sees dieting as a temporary problem. So it begins filling your fat cells with water as it uses up the fat. It believes (or hopes) that you're going to take a break soon, and a higher amount of carbs will be coming in.

The body doesn't like to shrink its fat cells unless it has to. Sometimes, you have to just wait things out. If you're only eating 20 carbs per day and it's been more than 3 to 5 days, you "have" to be in Ketosis, even if you're aren't spilling ketones into the urine or losing weight.

The longer you follow a low-carb diet, the more efficient your body gets at burning ketones. You won't spill as many. I don't change the urine test strips at all - ever - anymore, even during Induction.

Being pre-diabetic means you're insulin resistant. That could be a factor, but that depends on what you ate (how many carbs or sugars) during your break. Most people who do well on a low carb diet are pre-diabetic.

If you were eating a lot more carbs, your insulin level might currently be too high. But that's just a waiting game too. 20 carbs per day will drop your levels fairly quickly. Once the insulin normalizes, weight loss speed picks up.

How tall are you? Your protein amount sounds fine, unless you're really tall. How much fat are you eating? Not everyone can eat a lot of fat and still lose. Calories are also important, the more weight you lose. Generally, the body needs at least 10 times your current weight in calories just to maintain standard body functions. However, I never ate to that level myself.