It has been a week of many discussions and health checks on my clients, each with their own goal in mind when it comes to better health and a smaller waistline. Their primary concern, “IT [- the journey -] is NOT going fast enough AND why bother, chances are I will have to do this again and again!”
Within any journey to health motivation can be a tall ask when the scale does not move and you have had a tough week, the only question left is do you continue or throw in the towel? Our frustration with our journeys clouds our perceptions and emotions and success seems to be unattainable. My job is to concentrate the focus of my client in on the present, lead them to right-mindednessON their journey so that they NEVER have to take on this process again.
Success by any definition is attaining what you set your mind to, taking on achievement after achievement to reach what you see as an accomplishment to be proud of. I find many cross my threshold with absolute conviction of the success at the ‘end’ of their journey. Little do most realize that the ‘end’ is only the beginning and what stands in the way of NOW and THEN is only their PERCEPTION of what is true to them – RIGHT-MINDEDNESS. With every step forward there is a tendency to look back, assess where they came from and bemoan the journey that lies ahead. With this constant reflection on past and continual anxiety and or excitement about the future they miss the instant in which they find themselves in, being present. Now I know there is much talk about mindfulness but I would like more to focus on individual RIGHT MINDEDNESS than mindfulness. At the end of the day we are NOT our bodies, our minds and souls may reside in them temporarily but our sense of worth and value is not based on our bodies and how they look. As I coach people in looking great, feeling healthier and feeling confident every step of the way, this may seem like a contradiction as I DO help them reach their weight goals which ARE about WHAT they look like in the mirror, how they feel and the clothes they adorn. BUT... there is more and always is. No matter the weight we lose and the goals we reach, if we are not dealing with a change of perception and acknowledging our perfection [yes, you heard me right, no matter the size, we are all perfect beings in the present], chances exist that we will need to walk this journey again and again.
Right mindedness leads to success and keeping that success in place. We are beings of patterns, we get up, do our ablutions, brush our teeth, (some get on the scale, just to check…) get dressed, go to work, have family time and sleep, this is day in and day out, familiar patterns. Now we take on a regulated diet, get a coach involved to assist us and then the pattern changes slightly. We lose our weight, reach our goals and step straight back into the old FAMILIAR patterns once again. If right-mindedness is not incorporated into the journey and LEARNT, stepping back into the old pattern may also mean stepping back into the ‘previous’ body – the familiar.
I promised myself after losing 40kgs that that would be the last time I would see that fat, I was officially rid of it… 7 years later I was 40kgs plus more… What had happened? Besides the usual excuses of ill health, stress, anxiety, emotional eating, bad food choices, what had REALLY HAPPENED? I spent a year assessing the situation, trying different regulated diets and only got FATTER AND FRUSTRATED. In this time I realized that it all started with the mind – something I was aware of but never gave much true thought to, and with the understanding that what we think of manifested in our bodies I understood that I really need to pay attention and or change my thoughts. So, surely IT, success will be easy, change my thoughts… not that easy. We all hear this, change how you think and life gets better, then getting better with being present, our actions get better, results get better and just like that your waist gets skinny. If being healthy and skinny was as easy as sticking to a regulated diet and thinking good thoughts we would ALL be ‘there’.
This, the health journey, the weight loss journey is unpacking of the ‘YOU’ you think you are. This is the critical element; if we start by thinking of ourselves as a failure in the weight and health department we start off with a lack of faith in our bodies, in a sense, punishing and blaming ‘IT‘, externalizing the challenge we face, we feel our bodies have ‘let us down’. Punishing our bodies with a fearful thought of failure is never a good place to start. It reinforces littleness within which is so off the mark. And by the way, THIS is the THOUGHT we are supposed to ‘change‘… Let me help you step back, just one step, which will take away any thought of littleness, of failure or of fear – do try it. It will take awareness, it will take nurturing of YOUR right-mindedness, but it CAN happen in an instant if you accept it in an instant.
START HERE… YOU are a wholly powerful perfect human being, beautiful, valuable, loved, forgiven, made perfect by perfect, guiltless, fearless, magnificent, EVERYTHING and MORE… yes, absolute perfection. Start there. From this point onwards know your GREATNESS, allow this light to flicker and grow into a flame, thoughts WILL CHANGE and NOTHING will stop you on your journey. You WILL get the patience to climb every mountain you face, let go of the trivialities that have zero consequences and grow in faith that you are more than capable. We cannot control our thoughts, but if the foundation is shifted to our advantage, thoughts change. This journey IS about discovering all of this within, changing the familiar pattern only changes in changing the foundation on which it rests, not the food we take in, not the company we keep, the self-help books we read, the guru coaches we listen to. Only in starting with the KNOWLEDGE, the TRUTH of WHAT WE ARE do we manage to breed a new thought process. I have on my journey been told to underpin a thought with a strong emotion to add weight to it, to convince my subconscious of my desire for change, the only challenge is the EGO steps in and says “yeah right!“, for example, I would say “I see myself in absolute fantastic health and LOVE the energy I now have in every day!!!“, my ego steps in and whispers with a touch of sarcasm “Sure, you can’t even get out of bed in the morning… hows this working for you???!“. This ego, ‘SHE’ is not my friend and only by dissociating with IT and embracing the truth of WHO I AM do I manage to place it in the naughty corner and KEEP IT THERE. Believing 100% that I AM allows me to BE I AM. With this in mind, the journey becomes the discovery that allows me as an individual to not only succeed at improving health and weight but also in KEEPING IT OFF.
Are you tired of being on diet off diet, ever wondered WHY? Why do you end up back where you started, why the feeling of an eternal struggle? Tired of blaming diets, your boss, your husband or wife and the lack of exercise and time? Losing motivation on your journey, getting frustrated? Start IT differently. It is but one step backward that facilitates a complete shift of foundation which then DOES DRIVE your thoughts, which in turn drives your desire to reach your goal and maintenance thereof. Start with right-mindedness. Flip the switch.
Have you ever felt that you were graciously given more fat cells than your BFF? And if so why? And even when you manage to get rid of the flab, it seems to magically appear again!
We believe that today everyone is getting fatter due to lack of exercise, possibly eating junk including high volumes of sugar-laden treats. But the question remains what is making us fatter and is it possible that some people are just blessed when it comes to being skinny… do they have less fat cells, are they just predisposed to ‘being’ skinny?
The sad fact is that it has been shown that all that happens to fat cells in our bodies is they increase. From birth to adulthood our fat cell number increases stabilizing around adulthood… Now we may work extremely had at ‘burning fat’ through exercise and limited calories but what actually happens to these little critters? Fat cells or as they are fondly scientifically referred to, adipocytes are basically variable. Their size is expanding and contracting based on the volume of donuts finding their way into our pie hole… More donuts, more weight gain, and fewer donuts, possibly weight loss. Now like any cell in your body, fat cells do go through their life span and do die, which got me excited as that may mean I don’t HAVE to replace them, not so, our body loves us and is willingly producing replacement fat cells just to ensure we never run out…
But here comes the scary bit, yes, with fat we can count on there being some part which makes us go “OH dear!“. Whether you have had liposuction, or bariatric surgery or gone on a very low-calorie diet, your fat cells are either removed or shrink in the process, BUT fill out again to get back to the previous ‘balance’ of fat as they were previously, or new fat cells are produced to get all back in equilibrium, hence most people gain the weight back within a year.
Let me not stop the bad news there, there are studies that show that when the do-gooders go on diet on a consistent basis going through a cycle of up and down in weight, there is an INCREASE in the number of FAT CELLS with weight regain making it EVEN TOUGHER to keep weight down and maintain weight loss… my shattered nerves… a double-edged sword of our body working for us and against us at the same time… “But how does that work?” you may cry out in frustration!!? Well, it has been shown that our fat kindly secretes proteins and hormones (yes – fat is like an organ in your body, it HAS A JOB) and these have an impact on energy metabolism. Now go on a diet, or lipo or whatever you decide to do to fight fat and these fat cells do reduce in size, with that there is a train of thought that says that now these fat cells, though slimmer, is in a fair amount of distress as their job may be compromised… red flags go up and they send masses of signals to increase our appetite and leading from that FAT STORAGE!!!! Now, of course, this is not an absolute fact but a hypothesis, but it is enough to make any dieter weak at the knees…. and possibly lead to eating for the 1st team rugby squad again…
What are we to do? We eat ourselves into a bigger frame, clothes become tight and diet becomes our middle name, no matter for how long but with absolute determination we take on a regulated plan in food and exercise or go to the extreme of bariatric surgery. But armed with this knowledge of our fat cells being kind enough to ensure we get back to where we were we HAVE to question weight loss! Basically, we could be working against our natural state of being which gets us back to the beginning over and over again, fighting fat on a cycle of on diet off diet with every journey assisting us in adding more to the stockpile residing on our hips…
In the perfect world, we would say, “Just don’t get fat!!” Yeah right, what happens if we are ALREADY FAT!!!?? There is an old saying that ‘Knowledge is power’, yes, true, but for me applied knowledge is power if we know that yo-yo diets are a massive problem based on our bodies’ drive to an important equilibrium then STOP these. Pick a plan and STICK TO IT. Then make damn sure you do NOT gain the weight back… So the answer lies NOT in the weight loss but rather in MAINTENANCE. Simply put, to prevent reaching Heffalump status we HAVE TO make sure we are aware of every morsel that crosses our lips FOREVER. Get to the weight and measurements you desire and guard it carefully, note not obsessively but carefully. Learn to eat intelligently once the weight is gone and be diligent about reigning in on wrong choices continuously. I have found with many of my clients that they maintain quite well if they have learned to apply 80% to 20% weeks. We all know weekends can be ‘WEAKends’ when it comes to consumption, set a rule that for 2 days of a week you are lenient but for the rest of the week stick too good practice when it comes to food and exercise. So let us say you picked a regulated diet plan that only allows lots of water, black coffee and tea and no cooldrinks for your allowed fluid intake… keep this rule for 5 days out of 7, if you have adapted to it, consider doing so for life. We drink way too many of our calories! If your plan to lose weight included NO refined white starches then keep this rule applicable for your week and let it go over weekends if needs be. You WILL control weight by just applying some basic rules once you are done losing the weight, I am not saying stay strict forever, or not have a life, BUT do not go into the process of being ON DIET and OFF DIET or you will feel you need to catch up for the days of being on diet and soon you will notice the skinny jeans turning into fatty jeans again.
If you are overweight, decide on a plan of action, stick to it, get to goal and then STICK TO THAT to ensure you do not end up fatter than before!
Ask a lot of people out there, “What diet do you think is good to go with?” 8 out of 10 times you will hear “Keto – it is great, AND the food is yum!”, or “high fat, low carbs – you know ‘that one’ where you get to eat the fat on the steak?”…
But is keto a DIET or a PROCESS? In my books, it is only a process, in the billion dollar diet industry it IS A DIET! With so many variables to this regulated ‘diet’, even I learn about a new version nearly every day. Creativity wins in the diet industry no doubt. We just need to look at Google search on diet options to see that.
Now, some may think, this is the ‘current’ fad diet, but not so, this has been around for a very long time, with SUGAR getting the bad-guy status (@billieeilish you do not have sole rights to that title, sugar had it first) , people needed something to make their food taste better. In walks Mr FAT, dressed neatly in only grass fed attire, food never tasted as good and even better the minute it got labelled as a ‘diet’. It is a PROCESS, all sciency types, stand with me on this one please.
My experience with plenty of eager dieters, who have come to sit on my couch before after and during a regulated keto diet plan, has had its impact on my opinion. I am personally not a scientist, dietician, nutritionist or doctor and am happy not to claim the title, I am however someone who packs a punch in experience when coaching people into wellness. Before I share THEIR experience, I would like to add, I have found in my time dealing with diets that humans are incredibly good at relying on EXTERNAL SUPPORT/GRATIFICATION/FIXER UPPERS, they WANT/NEED something OR somebody else to be the magic pill and oh boy, on queue, (do advertisers know that!!!?) in walks the ‘Ketogenic Diet’, aka, the magic fix that tastes FANTASTIC. Back to the dieters on my couch… I have heard amazing success stories, horror stories, and outright lies. In their self-defense, it was for them; self-defense?!
For those who have no clue what regulated keto diets actually entail, I will give the commercially accepted WEIGHT LOSS DRIVEN understanding: It is a VERY low-carb, with a high-fat diet, similar to Atkins and other low-carb diets but just yummier. You basically replace MOST OF YOUR carbs with fats – good fats if you read the fine print (even though most keto goers know this… sadly, a little bad fat always finds its way in, oh and did I mention the sugar leak and the HAVOC that causes on ketosis?). By replacing carbs you put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis where it ‘burns’ fats for fuel/energy. Mmmmm, who was that scientist that said you can transform one energy to another but it does not ‘GO AWAY’… the law of conservation of energy where “energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another”.
So the whole keto idea revolves around the fact that; your body does need energy to ‘do’, to exist. If you do not supply that energy in the form of for example a delicious chocolate cake, a nutritious homemade meal, or an energy drink [sic], IT WILL BE OK, as there is plenty of energy in the form of fat sitting on your rump or muffin top available, to be converted into usable energy – fat be gone. That simple? If only…
Back to my dieters on the couch. One lady specifically I remember. She and hubby, 8 months before seeing me, had decided to go strictly ketogenic. Now both were not actually overweight (in today’s accepted terms, I would like to add), and both were reasonably healthy. She came through the keto self-experiment fairly bruised and battered. At age 38 her hormones had turned upside down 6 months in and no matter how much or how little she ate, post keto, her weight did not budge. I mention this little bit of information purely to once again EMPHASIS that your diet IS PERSONAL, like your fingerprint. NO ONE PERSON IS THE SAME how on earth can we work on averages, which it seems is what is being touted within the variances of keto?
My next question is this, when you are taking on ANY DIET, which with it comes limitations, rules and regulations, bland food, some exercise, lots of water, sometimes supplements and my pet hate, black coffee (and please, I LOVE the IDEA of keto as much as any other individual but my Ma taught me, anything that seems too good, generally is so), COULD there be a possible pitfall in the fine print of the regulated keto diet? Besides the fact that my gallbladder was removed at age 18 – which makes eating 80% fat a challenge for my body, I look at the regulated keto diet as I look at ANY diet, and ask; CAN I DO IT FOREVER?
CAN I DO IT FOREVER?
There is a diet, and there is a regulated diet. Big difference. The regulated diet means you need to be on top of the rules and regulations for the diet you are embracing. Keto diet regulated; high fat, low carb and a bit of protein, basically; an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. Today I heard my friend was told to do 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carb – another version of a keto diet. Now interesting here, relative to WHO is on this diet, your carb intake, to get you INTO ketosis can be a massive variable, from 20grams a day to 100… that is a HUGE difference in my world. And herein lies the sweet point, most ‘get-on-the-keto-diet-wagon’ don’t realize this huge variation, they go to the averages, YOU ARE NOT AVERAGE! That is like serving a coffee, black no sugar, to all my guests because that is my average coffee drinkers preference??!
So, if you are hardcore keto, I know you are GETTING IT RIGHT! But the average [sic] peep out there, (I hope your hair rose in that statement) will not look for or get the sciency bit about this diet – not for any other reason but the feeling of ‘close is good enough’. For those who don’t know, yup the averagers… this regulated diet is ALL SCIENCE. In fact, the reason I was attracted to it was exactly that, the science. But the science makes you very aware that this diet sits on a knife-edge when it comes to getting it right. The carb intake alone, if ‘slightly’ overdone, and I do mean slightly, allows you to skid right out of a ketogenic state of fat burning straight into a glucose burning state and the result is, you stay fat… and frustrated.
Will I be toeing the line between eating fat and getting fat to eating fat and burning fat too often? And will I be able to keep up with eating 80% clean good quality perfect fat for the rest of my life? And am I really able to ‘be regulated’ by a diet which is, in fact, a process?
You see, the reason why the diet industry IS a billion-dollar industry is based on the fact that we BUY INTO ‘regulated’ diets that we have ZERO CHANCE of adapting and living within forever and in that way, we are ON DIET or OFF DIET forever!!!
On a ‘regulated’ diet, GET THIN.
Off a ‘regulated’ diet, GET FAT.
And so we go on, we seem UNABLE to eat according to a non regulated diet without getting FAT simultaneously? What happened to us, we cannot eat based on instinct any more? ( Though I do not think it is our fault entirely, anyone ever looked at where your chicken comes from or the added sugar we get WITHOUT asking for it?)
LET US SPEAK ABOUT THE GOOD – THERE IS PLENTY
I love this regulated diet to such an extent that I do believe a large portion of our population could eat this as a non-regulated diet with ease – so rather a lifestyle approach. I do also believe that the extreme 80% fat go-into-ketosis approach is not the only way IN. There is a well balanced intermittent fasting approach which people like myself can use to get into ketosis without fat loading.
For sportspeople, this keto process, in my opinion, is THE BEST option to maximize performance. I dealt with a gent who went on a regulated ketogenic diet and over 6 weeks got keto-adapted and I watched as his body burnt fat beautifully for fuel. This diet allows energy levels to explode, the reason being that your body LOVES using ketones for energy!! Once you are keto-adapted, there is a far greater drive to be active – win-win for sure.
Coming back to the Law of the Conservation of Energy, and how amazing the keto process is for sportspeople, (note that the ‘average’ [sic there it is, again] person, most likely is not training for Iron man BUT most likely IS trying to get to at least 150min of exercise a week,) THE KETO PROCESS works beautifully if you are a sports buff. You become keto-adapted and literally turn into a machine. Can you imagine, carbo-loading be gone… and… your endurance and recuperation is on a different level. If you are driven to improve your performance and endurance, or would just like to increase your understanding of keto, please read the amazing book by Stephen Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity LLC. Why this book, Stephen Phinney explains why keto-adaption is key especially as a sportsperson, on the regulated keto diet: 70 – 110 grams of fat may be burned per hour, 50% greater fat usage versus the average [sic] diet which uses 20 to 60grams of fat!
HEALTH ASPECT OF THE KETO PROCESS
Besides burning fat which is a REAL ADVANTAGE if you on the overweight or obese category in life, the keto process is used to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy. Now, this is an interesting one, the emotions attached with epilepsy can prevent any caring mother to listen patiently when someone (that would be me) tries to explain how ‘food’ will solve her child’s epilepsy… We have such faith and belief in our doctors that we are blindsided by the simplest of answers. We, mere mortals, could not possibly solve it purely through the use of food? The science in the bag on this one, ‘keto diets’ are used to treat people with epilepsy, not to say that their epilepsy always disappears, but it does improve quite drastically. What a ketogenic state does: it alters genes involved in energy metabolism in the brain, which then helps stabilize neurons resulting in less epileptic seizures.
Your brain runs on KETONES or GLUCOSE not fat, in fact, its favorite fuel is ketones, it is pure and it is wholesome. Brain clarity is a great advantage of the Keto process. When your body burns ketones for fuel, it produces less oxidative stress vs carbs burning for fuel. Yes, you may get younger too! And not only that, in certain situations, it has been reported to reduce your body inflammation. However, I may add, I have read reports that are contrary to this last statement.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS
I found my clients going into ketosis, realized it was so firstly by physically tasting it on their breath, it can also be tested with test strips with urine. Other realizations as they were going into a ketogenic state were moodiness (that sugary wench needs to come out!) tiredness day 3 to 4 and sinus. This is the first point of going into ketosis, it is NOT YET keto-adapted. That takes at least 3 to 4 weeks of perfection, for some it takes months. Just for clarity purposes, my clients managed to go into ketosis on a regulated VLCD which split was 40% Protein, 40% Carb and 20% Fats but that said, ketosis is ketosis. Many think ketosis is 80% fat, 70, or 60%. There are variations. Ketosis or ketogenic state is what happens in your body, and there are various ways of getting INTO ketosis.
To be able to help you get into ketosis, chose the method you would prefer to use based on the fat content and calorie load, then get a good food tracking app, like MyFitnessPal. This allows you to log just about everything (except your children’s school extra murals) to enable the tweaking of your macronutrients to achieve desired results faster.
WHAT SITS IN THE FINE PRINT?
Besides the halitosis, what else should I be aware of? Firstly, you may not lose weight at all… despite loving your food and enjoying every meal and the fact that you are really trying… but still, no weight moves. The reasons are as follows; you could not be in ketosis due to too many carbs, too much protein, not ENOUGH calories (this is not starvation, in fact, it is extremely filling). You could be allergic or intolerant to some of the primary ingredients such as nuts, eggs, shellfish which all cause inflammation and then weight gain. You could also be leptin resistant (oh dear…). Leptin resistance is caused by stress (who doesn’t have that problem??) lack of sleep (ditto) and yo-yo dieting (50% of people on this planet).
Then there is the possibility of nutrient deficiency, people get so wrapped up in the yummy fats they forget about the fruits and vegetables we need to ensure we don’t run out of micronutrients…
Liver and kidney problems, if you already have a delicate liver and/or kidney, possibly well used, this diet may exasperate the problem ever so slightly.
Mood swings… this happens regardless of being on a ‘keto diet’. Sorry.
And last but by no means least, constipation due to lack of fiber for some people who do not eat enough of the vegetables. Personally, I never came across this one especially in people who ate large amounts of good fats.
WHAT FOOD TO EAT ON THE REGULATED KETO DIET?
Warning: the quality of fats you put into your body is extremely important. Junk fats are not deemed as good quality fats in your body. So too, Do talk to an advisor of choice, be it a doctor or registered dietitian before attempting a REGULATED ketogenic diet or ANY regulated diet.
LOW CARB VEG: Arugula, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, fennel, cabbage, celery, Brussels sprouts, kale. Starchy veggies such as carrots, yams, beets, turnips, sweet and regular potatoes should be avoided.
LOW SUGAR FRUITS: Tomatoes, avocado, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, coconut, lemon, and limes. Off-limits are apples, pears, bananas, pineapples, papayas, grapes, and fruit juices in general (after all, fruit juice is equal to a fizzy drink, it just comes without the bubbles!!!).
CONDIMENTS: Olive oil mayonnaise, mustard, unsweetened ketchup (maybe just eat a tomato?), oil-based salad dressings.
EXTRA: Coffee, tea, dark chocolate.
IS IT REALLY ‘THE’ DIET?
Well, unless they (whoever they are these days) now decide, we as a population should get healthy by adding another classification of KETOVORE to our eating groups of omnivore, carnivore, an herbivore, I really don’t think so. Firstly, the REGULATED keto diet is NOT ONLY an 80% fat loaded diet (which can happen instantaneously apparently if you add some glup to this diet – someone would have figured out an additive to super-boost going into ketosis by now for sure…) You can go into ketosis without A HIGH fat diet. Secondly, it is not a diet, it is a state in which your body burns ketones for ENERGY, A PROCESS, a by-product is weight loss if you get it right, and yes many do.
‘THE’ diet, should rather be based on YOU. What you eat, how you live, YOUR health condition, YOUR emotional condition, your STRESS condition… all your CONDITIONS equate to you NOT BEING AVERAGE. Chew on that BEFORE you take on the keto PROCESS, as good as it is, YOU ARE BETTER.
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