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3 Weeks in...The Ketogenic Diet (My personal experience)

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3 Weeks in...The Ketogenic Diet (My personal experience)

Have you ever met somebody that does Crossfit that doesn’t have a bad shoulder, knee, hip, or back? Yeah, me neither.

Crossfit is a good idea that fell into the hands of cult leaders, that found blind followers to do whatever they say…often times at their own peril.

A have found a similar reaction to the Ketogenic Diet. It is solid science that has attracted every crackpot on the planet, trying to find a way to monetize it.

There is a TON of misinformation out there. There is no short supply of ‘experts’ who claim to have their own spin on the diet that contains secrets that others don’t have. Many of these ‘experts’ contradict each other.

There is the ‘Low Carb’ diet, the ‘Slow Carb’ diet, and a multitude of other spin-offs.

All that said, I was intrigued by the science, and decided to give the diet a try.

Obviously, my experience isn’t necessarily going to reflect YOUR experience, but I want to offer an unbiased review of my experiences thus far.

Mind you, I am three weeks into the diet, so I wouldn’t exactly say that I am anywhere near an expert…but I AM and expert in me.

Let me start by saying, I think most Keto dieters exaggerate their results. I see you out there…you are still pretty fat, yet you claim to have dropped a ton of lb’s.

I should also note that I have seen some pretty remarkable results as well.

What I have found to be the difference in the latter group vs the fatty’s is dedication to the letter of the diet.

Cheat days, and making exceptions, excuses, and rationalizing mis-steps is a recipe for failure with this diet.

As much as it pains me to say it, you almost HAVE to become a cult member of the Ketogenic Diet for it to work. This is perhaps the thing I despise most about Crossfit. The people who do it, develop their own slang, and act like they are in a gang.  A funny story to illustrate this was when my son and I were walking on the pier in San Francisco, and some stranger came up to him, and acted like they were long-lost buddies. I initially thought it was a ‘San Francisco’ friendly guy, if you know what I mean. It turns out my son was, unbeknownst to him, wearing Crossfit shoes. The dude wanted to compare personal best scores, not personal information.

This is the same reason I was against trying this diet sooner. I was annoyed at the way anyone who was on the diet would only talk about the diet....and NOTHING else. It was like they have joined a cult, and felt like they needed to recruit others in order to gain favor of the Keto Gods.

It was the science that got me. I found myself at a student of mine’s graduation. Being that we were the only two people that were at or near the age of 50, I found myself chatting it up with her dad. This guy is close to my age, and is an absolute beast. He is huge, and lean as hell. I have seen him at the gym, and he was always big, but his body has completely transformed. I know how hard it is to maintain any semblance of a fit looking physique at our age, so I asked him what his secret was. He admitted that he gets that question a lot, and that it annoys him. Most people assume he is doing steroids, and that bothered him. He went off on a detailed description of what his ‘secret’ really was. When he started, I thought to myself, ‘Oh man…what have you gotten yourself into??? Here goes another ‘Keto guy’ talking about his cult.’ I could not have been more wrong. He actually broke down the science of it, without sounding completely douchey like the others I had spoken with about it. He wasn’t trying to sell me on the idea. In fact, he told me what a complete lifestyle change it takes, and how situations like the graduation party we were at can be tough because there is so much sugar in all the food that was being served. It sounded like he was trying to talk me out of it. Well that only made me more intrigued.


I spent the next 3 days, reading everything I could get my hands on about the Ketogenic Diet. I watched Youtube videos. I started reading labels of all the food in my house. I started reading labels at the grocery store. I came to the conclusion that I would try this diet. And, when I said I would ‘try’ it, that meant that I would 100%, whole-heartedly TRY this diet.

I went through my cupboards and threw out vegetable oil, pasta, breads, milk, and anything else with a substantial amount of sugar in it. If there is one takeaway from this entire experience that I found is that SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE. I was SHOCKED to learn many of the places that sugar is found in what used to be my everyday diet. MILK has sugar in it?!? WTF???

Digging a little deeper, I found that MOST of the things that are suggested in the diet, also contain sugar, unless you seek and find the types of them that don’t. For example, bacon is a great source of fat, but MOST of it found in the grocery store is cured with sugar or honey. Peanut Butter is also said to be part of the Keto Diet, but unless you find REAL Peanut Butter (Which is not available in most stores), the second ingredient on the label is…SUGAR.

I learned that MOST restaurants cook with vegetable oil, and serve food that has an abundance of sugar in them (Bacon being a prime example).

After purging my pantry, and shopping for food that I felt was conducive to the diet, I recruited my wife to accompany me on this journey. WE were going to give this diet a try. She is trying to lose some weight for an upcoming Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition, and wanted to do it in a healthy way. I am just trying to lose some weight, and get back into shape. I have a goal of going back to Thailand and competing in Muay Thai again, and wanted to drop about 20 lbs. before going back in the fall.

My wife lasted half a day. She, too, was shocked at how many of her favorite foods contain carbs, and sugar. She loves her snacks, and I kept finding her hidden snacks that she claimed to have been shocked by learning that those pretzels have carbs. Lol. Dieting is not her thing…she is lucky and doesn’t really need it though.

I have been religious about this diet for three weeks now. Let me tell you how it has affected me;

Week 1:

It was a struggle. MOSTLY just making the adjustment to the diet. Having to cut out foods that I am used to eating, and transitioning into the foods that are allowed. Frankly, I don’t like greasy food. I feel like I ate pretty healthy before, save for a few guilty pleasures (Ben & Jerry’s once a week, and BEER).

I am a guy that drinks fairly regularly, and giving up alcohol was pretty tough that first week. Other than that, I don’t really eat a lot of sugar either…at least I didn’t think I did. When I say that, I meant candy and sweets. Come to find out, I was eating a ton of sugar in fruit, milk, and hidden sugars in things I had no idea contained it.

Week 1, I actually gained 3 lbs. While I wasn’t expected miraculous results, I didn’t expect to GAIN weight. I thought not having a 12 pack of beer every night, if nothing else would make me drop a few pounds with that alone…NOPE.

Week 1 was more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. I did feel a bit sluggish, and lacked energy. I didn’t get the ‘Keto Flu’ that I had heard so much about. Those in the ‘Keto Cult’ always talk about how horrible this Keto Flu is. It is just your body transitioning from sugars to fat for fuel. I stayed hydrated, and suffered no ill side-effects.

Week 2:

I have gotten into a routine, and am finding the diet is something that is not difficult to maintain. The hardest thing for me is to eat enough fat. I am still trying to wrap my head around the theory that eating FAT will make you SKINNY. I have been brainwashed to think one way for 50 years, and now all of a sudden by body is supposed to accept the fact that everything I have been avoiding in my diet, is now supposed to be consumed. I am still learning about good fats vs bad fats, but I still find it difficult to make 75-80% of my entire intake…FAT.

I lost the three lbs that I had gained, and have lost 4 more, so there seems to be some positive net results, but I am really struggling in my workout. I lose energy way faster than I was before starting the diet, and really have to challenge myself even to go to the gym at all. I am committed to this, and am stubborn as hell, and THAT is the only thing keeping me on track. (I knew this hard head of mine would come in handy eventually).

Week 3:

I am still sitting at -4 lbs, so no gain there. My body is starting to feel stronger though. I am able to push myself harder, and am getting better workouts, but I still lack energy between them. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, but am going to meet with a guy who is said to know a lot about this stuff this afternoon. Hopefully, I will get some clarity on what I need to do to better my results. I will keep you all posted. Thanks for reading.

The Author, Mike Stidham, is the Owner of Ultimate Combat Training Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. UCTC specializes in Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Yoga, and Fitness Kickboxing.

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