My Journey: Paleo, Weight Loss, & Ketosis

I know, I know. There is a strange word in the title: ketosis. Please don’t be intimidated. Because if you have been on the paleo diet for more than a week or two, then rejoice my friend… because your body is likely in a state of “nutritional ketosis”. Now this is highly dependent on how much you’ve cheated on your diet, but I will dive into that topic later. For now I will just explain what ketosis actually is.

I am all about making myself look smart by using big words, and in order to explain ketosis I will have to use a few big words. But I promise I will keep this as simple as possible for you. Do you remember how I talked about the main reasons that paleo works? One of the main reason is because it teaches your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs (glucose). Because of that, your body will burn the excess fat on your belly and thighs when it needs energy. And that is what ketosis does. This is how it starts: As you reduce your carb intake, eventually you will get to a point where your body no longer has access to enough carbs to produce enough energy for your daily functions. But your body isn’t stupid, and it has alternate avenues to create energy, and ketosis is one of those avenues. So with the lack of carbs to convert into glucose, your liver begins to manufacture ketones from the fats you eat and… (here is the best part)… the fat that is stored in your body. Eventually your body will “reset” its metabolic process and learn to use fat for its main energy source. This will obviously benefit you as the your love handles will melt off. That is as simply as I can explain ketosis. And that brings me to the main point of this post, which is my journey.

Tomorrow I am starting my experiment with ketosis. My goal is to continue the same paleo diet I know and love… but without the random cheating I have gotten used to. That means no liquor, no bread/wheat, and nothing else that paleo restricts.

There is a very important reason that I can’t cheat during this process, and that has to do with the effect carbs have on metabolism. It’s unclear how long it will take my body to get onto ketosis, but my best guess is within 2 weeks, as long as I stay strict. Once I am burning fat for fuel instead of carbs, I need to make sure I don’t cheat for the following reason. Your body’s absolute first source of fuel is glucose. This is because an excess amount of glucose in your body is fatal, so it must be eliminated first. Glucose is also essential for your brain; the brain cannot run exclusively on ketones, so your body creates the glucose instead since you are not eating enough carbs. Because of this fact, your body will continue to manufacture glucose during the paleo diet, even when in ketosis, during a process called gluconeogenesis. Your body will manufacture glucose from protein instead of carbs. Anyways… since my body will use glucose first as fuel, if I eat too many carbs at one point (ie cheat), then my body will “fall out” of ketosis until that glucose is used up. By the way, that is the main reason, in my opinion, that eating tons of carbs before a workout screws up fat burning. Your body has to burn the carbs before it can start burning the fat. So… if I decide to cheat, I will pay the price by pausing ketosis until the carbs are gone. And if my body hasn’t fully adapted to burning fat for fuel, I might even reset the whole process. Boooo! So I have to ensure I am very strict for the first little bit.

 

So. Here is the whole point of this post. I am going to be continually documenting my experiences with this process, down to extreme details. I bought a blood-glucose monitor that also measures ketones. I know… that seems a bit extreme, but I want to make sure I am doing this correctly. Every body is different, and I know that achieving ketosis isn’t going to be a simple formula for me. So it will be a trial and error, and the ketone tester is important. My goal is to be between 1 and 3 mmol/L of ketones (I can explain more on that measurement later). I am going to be writing on how I feel, what I’ve been eating, and my progress as far as weight loss. As long as you don’t think I’m crazy, I hope you stay tuned. It’s going to be an interesting ride 🙂

Craig

“This is not about looking good. It’s not about being skinny. This is about living as long and healthy a life as possible, for yourself and your family. This life is short. Stay here for as long as you can”.

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