How to use keto for your amazing wedding
This is a write up of my go at the keto diet to get slimmer for my wedding in 2017. I lost 7 kilograms in 90 days whilst getting stronger on my lifting program. The best part about it is that I still enjoyed myself on the weekends as I had earned the right during the work week leading up to it.
My wife and I have been trying several different approaches to diet from slimming world to Atkins and weight watchers. We also had our go at Paleo for a while. All in
all keto has been the diet we found easiest for us to stay on.
The keto diet allows for fat in all forms, ideally non-processed. The main idea in keto is to control your carbohydrate intake to a very low level. You will find a lot of carbohydrates in anything with starch and/or sugar. Bread, Pasta, corn flakes, jam, Nutella, cake and most products from the bakery are therefore a Nono when on keto. While this is the bad news the good news that fatty ingredients like cream, milk, bacon, and butter are allowed.
On most other diets I followed you make sacrifices on the carbohydrate and fat side of things, which we found to be hard to sustain. On Keto, you can have a fatty Irish/English breakfast no problem whatsoever without the hash browns as they are made of potatoes.
The goal with keto is to activate the ketones in your body. In a simplified way, they are a form of the natural factory which will burn fat for energy instead of sugar (carbohydrates). In its natural state, your body will use sugar to burn for immediate energy consumption and fat will be used to store energy long term. Think of Usain Bolt who drinks an energy drink in terms of short term bursts based on sugar and bears who eat salmon in terms of long term energy conservation based on fat. The keto diet assumes that if you keep your sugar intake under 50g a day, ideally under 30g a day, you will force your body to turn to fat instead of sugar as the primary source for your metabolism. I am no expert in biochemistry and this is how it is supposed to work.
So in short, keto is about reprogramming your body to burn fat instead of sugar to lose weight.
Here are three recipes which worked for me when I was on keto. If you are as fortunate as I was and have a wife who is on the same diet and willing to do the dinners you do not have to worry as much. We liked the recipes from
bikinibodymommy and Dr. Diet. Anything with bacon and eggs is usually less complex to do. Keep it simple. If you want to live off the same three things each day for 90 days you will get results and simplify your shopping and cooking immensely. This is probably only an option if you are single or have a very committed partner. Here are my three favorites:
- Bulletproof coffee for breakfast
- Yum salad for lunch
- Oven baked chicken for Dinner
Bulletproof coffee seems to be the not so new hype from Australia or overworked Silicon Valley programmer who went to the Himalaya depending on your source. For
me it worked to have one in the morning to make it to lunch without eating.
This combines keto with intermittent fasting. Simply put you enhance the effect of forcing your body to burn fat by starving yourself for eight hours. You have your last meal at nine o clock in the evening and the next one at 1 pm. To make it through the morning hours bulletproof coffee was the best weapon in my arsenal.
You put one tablespoon of butter and coconut oil into coffee and stir it up until it is foamy. Then drink it. This will keep you going as you gather the fat from the oil and dairy.
For lunch, the yum salad was my trusted companion. This is a more exciting salad which I found palatable and still has all the good things you need on keto:
- goats cheese
- fried egg
Is the basis of this excellent salad. You can serve it like this or add other ingredients which are keto friendly to your hearts contempt. Heat up a pan. While the pan is heating up mix the oil, rocket, and Balsamico in a bowl. Cut the avocado and add to the mix. By now the pan should be hot enough. Chop half a chorizo or an entire one into cubes depending on how big a serving you want. Fry the chorizo first, followed by the egg. Lastly, add the goat's cheese to the pan to slightly melt it and transfer everything to the bowl when done. Add other ingredients like nuts at this point if you want to mix things up.
You will have to experiment a little with the ingredients to find. The right mix for you. Sometimes I would take two eggs, other times fewer goats cheese. All depends on what is available and how you feel. The main thing is that this lunch is easy to make and not as heavy to digest and boring as a regular Caesar's salad with lettuce and chicken.
Chicken is your friend whenever you want to lose weight. When I was on keto I was lucky enough to have my dinners made. However following recipe is nice. I made it many times when I studied and it meets the keto standards:
- Tray of Chicken Breast
- Grated cheese
- Bacon rashers
- Creme fraiche
Turn on the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Unpack the chicken breasts and wash them to be set aside. Chop the onions and garlic and put in a cup. Take Creme fraiche, cream and mix with the seasoning of choice in another cup( i like rosemary and thyme, but if you are a curry person that also works).
Heat up the pan to a high setting. Roll chicken breasts in rashers while the pan heats up and add salt and pepper in the process. Fry chicken covered with bacon shortly until bacon sticks to the breasts. Remove the breasts from the pan. Fry the chopped onions and garlic in the juice. While this happens slice tomatoes thick.
Get out a tray. Put onions and garlic as a first layer the tray. Chicken breasts come on top. Cover the chicken with the tomato slices. When done, add a layer of grated cheese on top. The last thing to prepare is to pour the mixture of creme fraiche, cream, and seasoning into the tray.
In the meantime, the oven should be done with heating up. Put the tray into the oven and set a timer
to 30 - 45 minutes depending on how crisp you want the cheese. Wait until you hear the bell and enjoy.
This recipe is absolutely foolproof and very forgiving. You can feed a horde
if people with it with relatively low effort. It can also be used to pre-cook dinners for the week or to be frozen. If you now combine this with shopping in time at your local butchers you have a delicious, cheap keto meal which can be stored to save time.
If you stick to these three meals a day you will lose weight and get stronger. I promise. I was successful with my plan and was not nearly as strict.
A good keto diet is a fatty breakfast in the morning, a robust salad for lunch and some kind of dead animal with leaves on the side for dinner. Dessert is a cheese board. Snacks consist of nuts and yogurt variations.
Supplements are a hot topic and everybody seems to have a say on them. After doing an extensive read up on them I came to the conclusion that I will avoid them mainly. More often than not you the products you will consume are mislabelled, poorly regulated and produced from leftovers from other industrial processes.
On the other hand, it is also hard to keep your protein intake up to the standards which are recommended. You will have to eat two chicken breasts with every meal if you want to meet your prescribed protein on some plans. If you want to stick to your program by the letter, which I did not for my results, a bit of whey protein will go a long way. The main brands I would recommend or optimum nutrition and Myprotein. You can read the match up of the whey supplements here on my blog.
Another powder which made it on my kitchen shelf is Maca powder as recommended in Pavel Tsatsoulins book. This has the aim to bring your testosterone intake up in a more natural way than Injecting it directly in your butt.
I tried CLAs for weight loss before which turned out to be rubbish for me. I have seen good results by people on anything which flushes water out of your system. This is usually unhealthy and unsustainable long term. It can work if you want to look your best for the wedding. I would not pay the price but the review would be incomplete without mentioning it.
Creatine also worked for me but not for the purpose of weight loss. This is your go to powder for weight gain as it is cheap as chips and works. Especially if you have not taken it before.
Get some protein powder as you are most likely to fall short on this macro on keto.
Calorie intake is the most important component of healthy living and weight loss in my opinion.
You can not outrun an overly rich diet
The actual quote is that you can not outrun a bad diet. Bad and good are very relative terms depending on lifestyle, body-shape, genetics, age, medical history, and goals. Therefore I try to avoid them.
If your goal is to break the record in eating the most kilograms of chocolate in ten years as a single individual a 10000 calorie a day diet derived from chocolate is good for you. Irresponsible in terms of health, but flawlessly executed against your goal of breaking that goal and meeting your maker after you have fulfilled your purpose.
When the goal set becomes weight loss the way to look at your diet becomes:
Calories eaten - Calories burnt = Weight
Calories eaten < calories burnt = you Shrink
Calories eaten > calories burnt = you grow
And this happens in sometimes very unexpected ways. So don't freak out when you step on the weighing scale. Going in and out of keto is usually followed by a rapid drop or gain of 2 to 3 kilograms solely because your bodies capability to retain water changes.
I personally find that the keto diet is one of the most sustainable diets I have come across.
Paleo can get annoying as you are not always able to get your hands on unprocessed ingredients if you want to stick strictly to the plan.
Atkins and slimming world can become tricky as you start banking points over longer time periods and come up with all kinds of accounting tricks to justify eating whatever you want. It can happen on keto, but for me, it was less likely to happen as the rules are not as complex.
Other options like vegetarian, vegan and juice based diets deprive you of entire food groups. While these diets have their place for sprints to lose weight rapidly and then switch to something less drastic or for people with medical intolerances to certain foods they are too extreme to be done long term in my opinion. I tip my hat to all vegans who go through the trouble of sourcing and preparing the supplements needed as a consequence of this life style. I find it hard to believe that this is really sustainable if you have a job and family and no underlings to prepare your meals for you. Please enlighten me in the comments if you happen to be a person who manages to have a family, train, work full time and maintaining a vegan diet. Look into Frank Medrano if you want to learn more about this type of eating. Impressive specimen.
The keto diet is sustainable as it uses normal household ingredients and only changes the emphasis of food intake without depriving you completely from tasty food or being too complex.
If you want to go super professional about your intake please consult a nutritionist or doctor about diet changes. If you have any doubts about your health record, allergies and other factors that can impact your regime do likewise. Here are my specifics:
- Age when doing diet: 32
- Height: 185cm
- Start weight: 89kg
- Exercise level: three to five times a week weightlifting, no cardio
With these specifics, I went to an online calendar to prepare for my daily intake. I went to the lower extreme as I already knew that I would go over and wanted to set the bar lower on calorie intake to ensure success. All in all, I ended up with
- 1820 daily calorie goal
- 197g of Protein a day
- 25g of carbohydrates
- 120g of fat
I tried to stick to these specs as best I could during the lead up to my wedding. The hardest number to hit was the protein. This is a very high intake which I barely, if ever, hit. You will have to eat a lot of chicken breasts or have protein powder in everything you drink to make this target.
The fat intake was easy to accomplish, especially by utilizing bulletproof coffee to up the intake. In addition, my wife swapped margarine and oil for butter for frying up bacon which further paid into this. Once you allow yourself to have fat, it is not really to take it in and keep track of it.
The 25g of carbohydrates was hard to stomach but doable. As long as I stayed away from bread, beer and other products which contain grains or high amount of sugars I was fine. You will always be able to track down that one meal which pushed you out of ketosis. I went out of boundaries quite a bit and still managed to get results.
The 26.05.2017 is a great example for a very good day on keto. I got up at 5.30am, meditated, fed the dogs and had my bulletproof coffee for breakfast. After that, I hit the gym at 6.30 for an hour. When I came back I ended with another bulletproof coffee and a protein shake with My Protein Whey to then retire to the office for my intermittent fasting window until 1 pm.
For lunch I just grabbed the tuna in brine which we had in the cupboards, fried up two eggs and topped it off with grated cheese. Quick, nice and healthy lunch, which is very easy to make in case you do not like the Yum salad I provided earlier in this post.
For dinner, my wife made a salad with everything we had left in the fridge as we were too lazy to cook because she had done a long day at work herself and I had dug into getting some
salesforce and order processing work done. This left us with a dinner that was low in calories and I we both treated us to 3 mini cornettos we had in the fridge. Surprisingly enough these brought me only slightly over my sugar intake. Of course, preferably, we would not have eaten the ice cream. You only live once I guess.
The detailed break down of the day is attached.
The weekends are generally not your friends when it comes to diets. You will meet people and they will have fun. You will want to join in and also have
less things to do to distract you from getting the munchies at home. An active lifestyle on weekends helps towards sticking to your diet. The more you slouch around, the more likely your discipline will wane.
Saturday, June 17 was exactly one month before we got married. My wife and I had huge troubles with our paperwork as she is Irish and I am from Germany and for reasons too long to be explained I had been deregistered from Germany without my knowledge. One month before the wedding was the deadline to get the paperwork to the Malta authorities to register that we want to get married.
The worst case scenario that we would only have a mock wedding with no official status stage had been looming over us for a long time. Fortunately, our wedding planners from Dream Days Malta helped us out on site and we got the confirmation on the morning of this Saturday that our papers were approved.
This was followed by carbohydrate binge by me and my wife to celebrate. We drove to McDonald's and I had a large meal. At least I disciplined myself to not have the vanilla shake, otherwise, this day would have been even worse in terms of calories. We finished the day with beer and toast. Very naughty. The full whopping 3672 calories in all its glory for you below.
For me, desserts of all sorts and social occasions were the biggest pitfalls as with most diets.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Has a saying that you should resist dessert when you want to progress with your bodily aspirations and he is right.
One of my biggest enemies is jam and butter toast. Whenever I get the munchies this is my go to option. Four slices of toast with jam and butter later I feel great but also have catapulted myself out of keto for the next two days.
If you have some similar frenemies here are some tips to avoid shooting yourself in the food:
- Don't buy them
- If you buy them, keep them out of sight
- Make it hard to make access them
- Make it hard to cook them
- Establish other routines which kick in
- Have good reasons to say no
- Have interesting goals to remind you of
When it comes to social drink there also tactics you can use:
- Be the designated driver
- Get one drink and take forever to drink it
- Get drinks for others to avoid that someone brings you something alcoholic
- Invite people to your house instead of going to a bar
- Go to restaurants and the cinema instead of clubs and pubs
- Book the babysitter until twelve and not for the night
- Let your partner call you at the time you want to leave
- Swap beer for gin and tonic or wine
Especially when you prepare for a wedding there will be your stag and hen which everyone can look forward to and hype it up. For all other occasions try to stay alcohol-free for 90 days before the wedding as that will get results.
I lost 7 kilograms going down from 89 to 82 kg on the keto diet before taking off to my wedding in Malta in July 2017.
During the three months I was on the program I did not even stick to it religiously. Every week I would at least have one carb binge day on the weekend. In addition, I had to travel for business and met up with friends along the way.
I got stronger in the gym and had fun doing it. For my family, this way of eating is definitely going to stay.
I am very active and do not like diets which are too complex to follow or put me on salads only so that I feel like a rabbit. It helped me to get a size down and enjoy myself at the wedding looking good in my suit and on the boat cruise. It payed too look into the details of calorie tracking and which foods helped rather than distracted from my goals.