Since 2011 I’d struggled with my weight. Putting on a few extra pounds after getting married didn’t help the situation. I wasn’t obese per se, but I was definitely overweight. I wasn’t sick and didn’t feel “unhealthy,” in fact, I trained for and raced in a sprint triathlon. But buying bigger clothes and generally getting bigger and bigger had a toll on my mind. My wife and I had tried several different diets, including the raw food diet, a juice diet, slow-carb diet, etc. We even tried keto, but nothing seemed to work…
The straw that broke the camel’s back was my double chin. I got so tired of seeing it day in and day out, looking in the mirror. Looking at photos of myself. It was around Thanksgiving of 2015 when I decided something had to change. I started lifting weights and doing more tracking of my macros. I saw a little bit of progress, but not a lot.
Fast forward to the summer of 2017. I’d just ran my very first half marathon and had plans to race a 70.3 Half Ironman. I was worried about compatibility between endurance sports and ketogenic eating. Endurance is typically very carb dependent, and I wasn’t sure if they could work together. Reaching out on a Reddit thread, someone recommended I read “Primal Endurance” by Mark Sisson. This book is what changed my life forever. I changed to a ketogenic diet and saw the pound fly off. I raced my first 70.3 as a fat-adapted athlete and haven’t looked back.
Currently, I’m training for my very first marathon and will race another 70.3 this year. I’m targeting to race the full Ironman Tucson in 2019. Being fat adapted gives me a huge advantage in my athletics, and I have no plans on going back to carb dependency any time soon. On rare and occasional cheat days I feel bloated, tired, and cranky when overindulging in carbs.
I’ve attached a photo of my face gains, as that was the big trigger for me. I hope my story can inspire others to achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.
1. What tactics did you employ to help you get to your goal? What did you find helped you get to your goals best?
I’m a compliance type personality, so I didn’t see much success until I actually started planning out my meals a week in advance and buying groceries for the whole week. I use a tool called EatThisMuch and it helps me set up my calories and macros into good meals.
It was also very important for me to measure not only my weight but my body fat. I use a bioimpedance scale and measure at least weekly, and track the changes to my lean body mass and fat mass in a spreadsheet.
2. What is the most impactful change you’ve made to your diet and why do you feel it’s been the most important?
The biggest change has probably been limiting carbs. A lot of people might be anxious to limit carbs to keto levels, but I believe pretty much anyone will see an improvement in their weight and general health by limiting to 100g of carbs per day or less. I subscribe to the insulin control theory, which is why it’s so important to regulate carbs.
When you’re no longer bathing in insulin, your body can take a break packing fat away and actually use it for fuel. Becoming fat-adapted has been crucial for me as an athlete as well.
3. What is the best single piece of advice you can give to someone that is just starting out?
Find the foods/recipes you like the most and eat them frequently. Work into it. First, try cutting down to 100g carbs/day, then 50g, then 25g and less.
4. How do you feel your life is now that you’re at your goal?
Life is great! I feel full of energy and even though I’m not strict keto anymore, I’m still limiting carbs and loving the benefits that come from it.
5. What do you consider the biggest change in your day-to-day life?
The biggest change was just having a plan and cooking a lot more. I used to eat out a lot, and now I spend much more time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning (ugh…) I also have the energy to exercise pretty much every day.
6. What did you do to find support throughout your journey?
I lurk on the keto subreddit forums (in Reddit). I also post in primal/fat-adapted groups on facebook. Seeing friends and family members is also great because they always comment on my progress and it feels SO GOOD.
7. What do you currently do to manage your day-to-day diet?
Still using EatThisMuch to plan my meals.
8. What is your favorite keto recipe from www.ruled.me that’s become a staple?
That would have to be the Chocolate Mug Cake. It’s perfection! (Though I do add a bit more erythritol than the recipe calls for…hehe)
9. If there is one thing that you could do differently during your journey, what would it be and why?
I wish I would have understood earlier that there is no “us” in food. Being married, it’s hard to take control of your own food choices, but it’s what I had to do. I just wish I could have done it sooner.