Most people I know haven’t heard about Ketosis but today I’d like to share with you how ketosis helps me stay on track when it comes to my weight loss.
I don’t really want to go into all the technical detail about ketosis. There is plenty of information written about it already but to save you time researching you can read below for a short description.
Ketosis – what is it?
Essentially, Ketosis is when your body converts your fat into energy. It does this when there isn’t an available energy source in the body.
When you eat sugar and carbohydrates, your body immediately turns those foods into glycogen. Glycogen is your body’s primary energy source. When glycogen isn’t available your body turns to your fat stores and converts fat into energy and that is ketosis.
The result, you burn fat in Ketosis to give your body and brain the energy they need to function.
I first heard about ketosis when I read Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.
Dr Atkins goes into a lot of detail about ketosis and his low-carb diet in his book. I’d recommend reading it if you haven’t and are planning on dropping weight.
How I use Ketosis to my advantage
If you’re losing weight you’ll probably start weighing yourself on a regular basis.
Each morning, you’ll wake up, go to the toilet then jump on the scales.
If you’ve been in a daily habit of weighing yourself, you might have noticed something unusual. That is, you’ll bounce around 1-2 kilograms in weight. One day you’re 90.4 kilograms then next 91.3 and the next 90.8.
As someone who is trying to lose weight, that can be frustrating and not a good indicator that what you ate the day before was good or bad for your weight loss journey.
Here’s one great thing about Ketosis. You can measure it.
That’s right. If you’re in ketosis (burning away your fat), you can see it.
Every day I wake up and go to the toilet before weighing myself. When I do, I grab one of my keto-diastix and test my urine for ketones. These little sticks show me if I am in ketosis or not. It also shows me if I’m in deep ketosis or not. When the strip changes from a light yellow to a purple colour, I’m in ketosis.
The deeper I’m in ketosis (the darker the purple), the more fat I’m burning and the more weight I’m losing.
But there are days when there is little sign that I’m in ketosis.
As I began this habit of testing, I could see how the foods I ate on the previous day have an effect on me.
I know, as an example, that if I eat 6-10 grapes as an after-dinner stack, it doesn’t take me out of ketosis. But if I eat 15 or more, I’m definitely taking myself out of ketosis.
Taking myself out of ketosis = No fat burning = No weight loss.
It also resets my body and takes me another 24-48 hours before my body will go into ketosis again.
How did I discover my limit on grapes?
Establishing a routine meal plan
Because I’ve chosen to lose weight by changing my diet vs losing weight through exercise, I’m very strict with what I do and don’t eat.
Typically, I have similar type meals each day.
Here’s what my typical menu looks like;
- 1 x 3 egg, cheese and chives omelette
- 2 x strips of bacon
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 x cup of English Breakfast black tea with Stevia
- 1 x medium plate of chicken & salad (no bread)
- Slow cooked stew or chops and vegetables (no potato or sweet potato)
- Fruit (3-4 dates or 6-10 grapes or 5 cherries)
If I stick to that meal plan, I enter ketosis. It always works. My body doesn’t have enough energy from sugar and carbohydrates to meet my energy requirements so my body starts burning off fat.
Foods to test
To stay in ketosis it’s best to reduce carbohydrates and eliminate sugar. Initially, I dropped all carbs from my diet including most vegetables.
Once I entered ketosis, I then added vegetables back into my meals.
- I know that too much pumpkin takes me out of ketosis
- I know 1 x small potato is OK
- I know any bread takes me out of ketosis (yes even one slice of low GI bread)
- I know any pasta takes me out of ketosis
- I know any white rice takes me out of ketosis
- I know small serves of condiments is OK (salad dressings, BBQ sauce)
The testing, over time has allowed me to understand what I can and can’t eat on a daily basis.
This is very specific to my body and the way my body works. Anyone else will have different results because their body and energy needs are different.
As an example, if I was to exercise for 2-4 hours a day, I could easily add more carbohydrates into the mix.
Currently, I’m only doing 20-30 minutes of exercise and that’s not enough to add carbs.
Foods to avoid
When I discover that a particular type of food takes me out of ketosis I realise something very important.
That food gives me an energy supply.
If I don’t use that energy immediately, my body will convert some of that energy and store it as fat.
That’s why my previous eating habits resulted in me gaining 4 kilograms every year. I was storing the energy that I didn’t use.
Now I’m reversing the process.
I’m not giving myself enough energy to store, so my body is taking my stored energy and I’m losing weight (and importantly, I’m losing fat).
So there you have it.
Entering Ketosis can help you understand your body function and help you work out what foods you can or can’t eat if you are losing weight.
It will also help you really understand what foods are OK in moderation when you decide to maintain your weight.
If you have any questions regarding what I’ve written, please post it below.