Middle Age Keto Adventure

In most adventures, many things go right. And usually there are some things that don’t go quite as right as hoped (in my adventures there are usually several, “Well…(long pause)…shit”). But adventure equals risk, and where there’s risk there’s the real option of screw ups, fall downs, minor crashes, and, the worst, going ass over teakettle. That’s how it is with my current keto adventure. At 59, and a long-time trainer, I’m experimenting with what I thought I knew and seeing if there are better options for the middle-age me.

If you’re like me (you should thank God you’re not), you’ve heard enough about diets, food plans, fads, and Keto. Eat this, that, and the other, don’t eat this, that, and the other, he said, she said, experts say, other experts say, doctors say, other doctors say, Facebook, experts this, experts that; you get the idea. Too many differing opinions. We’re left to sort it out ourselves.

But not venturing in is a 100% sure-fire way to not learn anything new and to remain where we are, so I ventured in. I wish I could report that I’d found Ponce’s youth fountain, but that would be a lie. I have actually learned, and am learning, some pretty cool stuff though, so read on and perhaps it may be of some use to you.

I first started Keto eating when Rachel started it about 2 months ago. She was addressing some joint pain and inflammation issues. She handles most of the meals and cooking in the house, so I thought why not? I’m very food lazy. I could eat the same things 9 times a day and be fine, as long as it’s easy (see why she takes care of all the food?). I’m also a very active man (am strong like bull), lift heavy weights 4-5 times per week (I make noise), add all manner of resistance bands and weight balls (just bought a 30lb Slam Ball – so excited – sorry neighbors), mountain bike, hike, and love lawn and yard work and projects. But it’s probably a safe bet that at 59, eating like I did at 29 is a bad idea.

This year, pre-keto, 202 lbs.

I wasn’t really looking to lose weight per se; I wanted to tighten, tone, and add some definition to my abs. I also wanted to stay strong and have energy to spare.

It took some time to get used to. Keto meals take planning. I was used to eating alot of protein, but it was alot of fat for me. A few of the meals were crossed off the list after I beached myself and Rachel needed to roll me back into the surf. I soon learned that my activity level required a modified keto plan. From what I can tell, alot of keto plans limit carbs to under 20 per day, and that left me feeling a bit flat and thin. But I kept tinkering with it, and started seeing positive change pretty quickly.

After about 30 days, I’m down 9 lbs (193) and am seeing nice changes in my abs. My fat places are getting thinner. I think I’ve got the carbs figured out (I don’t count. I just try to be aware) and have learned tons. I feel good, have tons of energy, and am still strong like bull. My new goal is to get to 190 lbs and see what that looks like. I have to report that so far it’s been pretty easy (because Rachel does all the work and I just eat).

This was me.

It wouldn’t be fair or useful if I didn’t report my, “Well…(long pause)…shit” moments. I was already scheduled for a routine yearly physical with a full set of blood labs. While most indicators checked great, my doc had his own cardiac event when he saw my cholesterol level (245) after it had always been in the healthy range (170’s). His chart note read: strongly recommend reducing saturated fats and cholesterol intake in the diet. I did research on HDL and LDL and VLDL and triglycerides; a fella could get lost in there and never come out. I was a bit discouraged but more curious than anything.

To be fair, I eat alot of food. Like, an enormous amount of food. And I ate some of the meals too fast, and some were too heavy for me. Large amounts of heavy cream and butter can’t be good for me. My body thought I had declared war against it. And, ok, did get a little crazy with the bacon (well?) We have been doing alot of camping, and coffee, bacon, and the campfire is just what to do. I was also eating 4-5 whole eggs every day. With bacon. And these little keto muffins called fatbombs. With peanut butter (well?)

I had neglected to tell my doc I had started keto when we met. I just didn’t think about it. And high cholesterol levels are not something I’m prepared to live with (defib paddles are like $500). His chart reply read: Hard to say it if is adversely affecting your cholesterol, though. You might try increasing your protein intake and reduce your fat intake to see if that helps reduce your cholesterol numbers. As of now, however, your heart disease risk is well-managed and I am not going to push you too much on that. Overall, I think you are taking good care of yourself.

Mm. Not the definitive Mark! You’re a stud! Love keto! Eat more bacon! All is well! I was hoping for. But I had already re-modified my modified keto diet to stay clear of the saturated and animal fats (sniff, sniff) and align more with plant fats: nuts (mmmmm….peanut butter), guacamoles, olive oil, etc.

And here’s maybe the coolest part of my adventure. I’m learning that I was eating a medium sized Uhaul trailer full of carbs, even as I was trying to be smart and make healthy choices, like whole grain pasta or one small cup of Jasmine rice:

40 carbs per serving. It’s easy to eat 2 servings

50 carbs per cup. Sometimes I’d eat 2 a day

Even a banana will find you eating 30 carbs. Carbs convert faster to glucose and create an insulin response in the body. Elevated insulin levels in the body promote increased fat storage. Although I’m not anti-carb, I was unaware how many I was eating per day. By increasing healthy fats while lowering some carb intake, I can help lower insulin response and create the sensation of being really full.

So, here’s my next phase of the Middle Age Modified Keto adventure:
– Be smarter about my selection of fats but maintain an increased level of fats in the diet
– Reduce the carbs but still maintain energy and strength
– Get those carbs largely from the garden
– Stay away from anything man-made
– Stop eating / snacking at night while watching “Alone” (Hey bear! Scary!)
– Get another lipids panel pulled in 30 days
Reach 190 and order the new speedo (Rachel said no)
– Consume 2 fine martinis a night (Gin, of course) (what?)
– Maintain my love of all things fitness and slam my ball (heh heh)

So, “after” pictures are coming! I’m excited, and I find new opportunities and adventures really fun. It’s not about being perfect, or being as good or better than anyone else. It’s about improving, and showing thanks by taking care (a big one for me).

So, if you’ve had any experience in keto, please do add comments. Learning from others is the best way to learn.