To start, my weight loss journey is currently not as smooth, as it could be! Things have to be much better, if I like to make my goal by end of July 2018. Therefore, I tried to better understand why I am not losing as good as before and what are the reasons.
Let's start easy. My ketones level is in average between 05. & 0.9 mmol/l regardless of the time of day (leaving measurements after my long runs out here). That is by default a light ketones level which would be in average enough to lose weight. So where is the problem? I am constantly hungry these days, especially after my runs, so I eat, nothing bad, but I get more calories in, so I am around at 1800 kcal to 2000 kcal by burning in average 3000+ kcal daily. So in terms of math, I should lose, but I do not. Once a while a pound here and there, but not like before (even if it would be a small constant weight loss weekly, the discussion would be different). I will not accept the fact of plateauing or it is "normal" as you starting losing less after a while. As it is known that these facts are mainly related to changes in your diet, rather then a real long term facts. So, I went on week of testing and there you go:
First, I wanted to understand my ketones level, so I measured my glucose & b-ketones level and linked them via the glucose ketone index (GKI) to have my correct ketones level. The GKI is a single number that gives you a way to monitor the state of your metabolic health. Dr. Thomas Seyfried suggests to try to keep your GKI between 2 and 0.7, preferably shooting for 1, as cancer patient. His findings shows that reducing a person’s GKI does also reduce tumor weight and metabolism greatly. Furthermore, a combination of a lower GKI level and radiation treatment shows a reduction in the tumor and as survival time by 5 times! So, if that is possible, it will be for sure the right way forward for my diet. In general, anything below a 3 is a high level of ketosis and perfect for disease treatment, 3-6 means moderate ketosis (optimal for obesity treatment), and 6-9 is a low level of ketosis (weight loss treatment). Remember, usually the lower the better. So perfect would be between 3 & 7 in my case.
How to define your GKI:
Measure with your blood meter your glucose and b-ketone level.
Divide the glucose number by 18, if you reading it in mg/dl, if you have it already in mmol/L, no need to divide it.
Your Glucose (mmol/L) : Your Ketones Level = Your Glucose Ketone Index
Or you simply go here and enter your data, love this one!
I tested my levels 4 to 5 times a day over the course of seven days and guess what, it was a real eye opener. Well, I realized that I kicked myself (based on serval factors) day in and out out of ketosis, most of the time not longer then 3 to 4 hours, but exactly that is the issue. Every time this happened, my body started burning glucose instead of fat! After 2 to 6 hours it shifted then again back to fat, but when it started to do so, I kicked myself out again. The conclusion, I feel hungry, as I am not in a proper ketosis and it makes it harder to keep my calorie intake low, which is the key to lose weight. Beside this, I store every time water, as switching between ketosis and not ketosis binds water to each carb, to be exact each gram of glycogen is bound to 3-4 hefty grams of water!
So, what kicked me out of ketosis? Since the beginning of my diet, I have been a rather "dirty ketosis girl", but always tried to kept my daily carbs around 10 to 15 g daily. After Xmas, I started to be more relaxed about my diet and thought that 20g is also okay and then I even started dealing with the devil of net carbs. So at the beginning that all worked out quite okay, as I was still keto adapted, but logically that benefit was gone at one point of time....
Here my list of products, which spikes my glucose level so that I go off, even it is in my daily carbs allowance of 20g or 10 net carbs. Note, that I buy almost everything organic & as natural as possible, with some exceptions as you can see below:
Stevia or any other artificial sugar - have them in some of my "low carbs" products; oh body I will not touch that stuff anymore
Almost any kind of net carbs or low carb products
Dark Chocolate, even it was 99% and has a low carb per 100 g
Nuts - wow.... they are really bad!
More than 100g of any cheese in one go - hello my dear Raclette problem
Almond flour - kind of logical if you look at my nut problem
What should kick me out, but does not:
Low Carb bread (actually the only net carb products which is okay for me)
Unsweetened Soy Yoghurt (update....only if you are on zero carbs or very low carbs)
Unsweetened Almond milk in rather big quantities
Coke Zero - as I had a bad stomach one day (otherwise I really do not touch it anymore)
Now, cutting the bad food out is one thing, but what helps me to get back into ketosis fast? I need to run or do a cardio workout of at least 80 minutes, as I otherwise would not burn enough of my carb storage. As I did not got positive results on days, when I moved a lot, did only an anaerobic training or had only a short cardio workout (around 45 minutes)!
Fasting or eating only zero carb products for a time frames of at least 6 hours or longer, helps, however it does not do the trick, if you are really high off, lets say above 11 or higher (that happened to me when I had artificial sugar....nothing more to add, right?).
Take away. yes these factors might be obvious, but seeing them in real and testing them daily, changes my personal point of view. Therefore I will adapt my diet as following until I have reached my personal goal:
Going back into a proper ketosis
This is reached by being at least for 3-days in a row on a 3 to 6 GKI level , as your body needs 72 hours to adapt to a new diet
To get there, I will go on a max 10g carbs diet, by only eating unprocessed, clean products. Hence, a strict keto diet approach without counting calories during this phase, to make things easier:
Fats & Oils: Coconut oil, butter, ghee and olive oil.
Protein: Organic and grass-fed meat , eggs and chicken whenever possible
Vegetables: Only green and some cauliflower to make it simple
Dairy / Vegan replacements: All sorts of hard cheeses, but no cream cheese (also no whipped cream) or white cheese, greek or soya joghurt. Note, never go for more then 50 g of cheese in one portion/meal
Beverage: Coffee, Water, Tea and some unsweeted almond milk for my coffee
Do daily a cardio unit of at least 80 minutes (that is for me). You need to find your sweet spot for yourself. To find it, you can go for an easy trick. Measure your weight before & after your sport. The perfect spot is where you have lost 1+ kg of water after your sport unit. So, if you are untrained and reach this already with 30 minutes of cardio or by an intensive 30 minutes HITT then that is your sweet spot! If you doing anaerobic training you have to test your ketones level, here is the rule to have a 1.0 mmol/L increase. So the training you should bring you from e.g. 0.6 to 1.6 mmol/L to reach your sweet spot. But that needs some testing, as we often overestimate our workout effort, that is why I am aiming for these numbers.
2. Maintaining my improved ketosis by staying in a range of 3 to 8 GKI level.
In that phase I will adapt my carbs intake up to 15g, still eating unprocessed, clean products. However, I will start counting my calories again with the aim of being at 1200 to 1500 kcal daily.
My food intake will change a bit by allowing the following food now:
Fats & Oils: Coconut oil, butter, ghee and olive oil, almond putter
Protein: Organic and grass-fed meat , eggs and chicken whenever possible
Vegetables: Only greens and some cauliflower
Fruits: Berries only
Dairy / Vegan replacements: All sorts of hard cheeses, cream cheeses, whipped cream, greek or soya yoghurt, coconut milk. Note, never have more then 75 g of cheese in one portion
Seeds: Mainly Chia & Pumpkin Seeds as they are my favorites
Beverage: Coffee, Water, Tea and some unsweetned almond milk for my coffee, Vodka (only for social events)
My sport units will be weekly 4 cardio units with one or two anaerobic units of my choice
I will write an update post about my progress to keep you posted how things are going. But for the time being, the biggest effort is to get back on track in the right way! Don't hesitate to contact me, if you have any questions or if I can help you to go back no track as well :-)