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I have gone through multiple transformations from fat to fit to fat to fit to fat. I did many things until I found the ketogenic diet which worked great for me.

When I am on a ketogenic diet, I am extremely dedicated. Workout 5 days a week, drink no alcohol, extremely disciplined about my food, literally no cheating. Sleep on time, wake up early, drink plenty of water, socialise less, or even when I do hang out with friends, I eat clean.

I switch back to a normal diet after achieving my target weight because of family and cultural reasons with a view that I will maintain my weight with exercise and clean eating habits in a normal diet.

However when I am on a normal diet, where the expectation is to do everything in moderation, it clearly doesn't seem to work for me. I socialise as normal which is largely around drinking and eating the good food.

When I do that I don't feel motivated to work out as I am not eating clean anyway and then this goes on for months and slowly I have gained all my lost weight back again and the only way to discipline myself is to go back on a ketogenic diet.

The weight gain greatly affects my moods and my moods greatly affect my motivation to workout or do anything and I resort to eating junk. And it's a vicious cycle!

I need something that I can do long term and not have to struggle with this.

My near and dear ones tell me it is self discipline and will power, but I know it's not that there is something more. Why when I can stay disciplined for over 8 months at a time on a ketogenic diet, can't do it in a normal diet?

Are there others who have gone through the same? How do you guys do it?

  • Thanks for reading and taking the time to write back ddinchev. I will get my hands on both the books and start reading them. – user21622 Jun 13 '16 at 21:48
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In order to stay on track - you must set proper measurable goals. Define your goal as specifically as possible and write them down - weight, body fat, circumstances of different parts. Calculate your caloric needs and start keeping a food diary. And plan your days accordingly. If you don't plan, it's easy to lose focus and do things you regret.

I could recommend you two books on the topic of setting proper goals. One is "Burn the Fat Feed The Muscle" that has a section specific on how to do it for weight loss / muscle gain and also has tons of other proper advice. Other is "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz which is more general.

You asked for my opinion on Ketogenic diets. I actually like them quite a lot. Well, not exactly Ketogenic - when I'm losing fat, I'm going on very low carb diet but probably not Ketogenic as I try to eat lot's of vegetables and some low-carb fruit (like some berries or a piece of apple).

  1. As your body tries to use as primary energy source the type of macronutrients you are consuming most. So when you are on low-carb diet, that is fat and it starts using fat (including your own) more enthusiastically. This is part of the reason you are not as hungry - your body just uses more of the fat as it now does 24/7 instead of "asking you" for more carbs. When you are on moderate/high carb diet, the primary energy source is carbs, and they are just so easy to process - who would bother breaking down fat if you have sugar around!
  2. Your blood sugar is stable. You are not as moody which further helps you control appetite. Also helps you stay on track. You have noticed yourself it's harded to staying focused and training almost every day when on higher carb diet.
  3. Your insulin sensitivity improves a lot (which is a major problem when you have excess fat). This makes you more effective on handling more calories even if you overeat. If however you overeat with carbs, combined with the low insulin sensitivity, it is a recipe for storing that whole huge meal as fat. Insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons fat people get fatter easier and eventually develop diabetes.
  4. Low carb diets make food choices quite simple. Your main problem becomes "what should I have as with my steak/sausage/burger patty/eggs". Which ideally ends up being some vegies and a bit of sauce like mustard/ketchup :)

The main concern with low carb diets is if you consume too much processed meats, which are not healthy at all. I'd strongly advice you to stick to less processed food most of the time and eat lots of fish. Try to get free-range eggs and higher quality food if you can afford it. Also, it could be a concern if you completely cut out veggies and fruit from it. And I personally have a training high-carb day in the week where I try to match my calories to be a bit higher than the average of my total daily expenditure. Out of 4-5 meals on that day, I have one that I could eat some cheat food if I really crave (pizza/beer/ice-cream) but generally it's just enough to have some fruit, some nice bread and other foods I generally miss. So this makes it quite impossible to stay in ketogenic state, but the fact that it's all planned makes it really hard to get out of track.

I hope this helps.

  • What are your thoughts on Ketogenic diet vs a normal carbohydrate rich diet ? Cheers. – user21622 Jun 13 '16 at 21:49
  • @user21622 I edited my answer! – ddinchev Jun 14 '16 at 6:44
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Not a popular answer but you have found the problem with "dieting" by putting yourself into a state where you perceive it as "less fun" or "different from the norm" you are bending your will and having to try hard to maintain it.

A good diet doesn't need to be maintained. You need to adjust your diet to meet your lifestyle goals and then accept those portion sizes and those foods as the norm. For the rest of your life.

I'm not implying you should never go out and eat a whole portion of fried chicken. Everyone needs to binge in moderation once in a while. But, the majority of your diet should be clean.

If you are using a cut/bulk cycle like a lot of weightlifters/powerlifters do then a keto diet is great! You significantly lower your body fat percentage faster when using a keto diet compared to a conventional diet (for all the reasons ddinchev pointed out in his answer). Again, this is a lifestyle choice and requires strict control of calorie intake and potentially you having to use a calorie tracker for a significant part of your future to help.

There is a psychological aspect in this that is clear but I am not experaicend enough to explain beyond this: A known-good diet that has strict structure (like keto) is easier to maintain as a routine than a more "open-plan" diet where you can pick and choose what you eat. It's a simple question of what is/is not allowed and in what volume. Keto usually limits calorie intake well and conventional diets can have a lot of hidden calories.

Final note on eating 'clean': You can put on muscle if you are not eating clean. Is it optimal? No. Is it healthy? Not really. Does it happen? Yes. Its a simple as calories in vs calories out. You take in more than usually and work out to spend those extra calories and your body will grow and develop using the food as fuel.

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Here is what my long life experience and lots of my own research show. As soon as person overweight it means there is a problem, health issue. Mostly it linked to sweets - all kinds of sugars. The bad news is that sugar is more addictive than anything else. The serpent tempted Eve with apple. It means being addicted we need to stay clean of it all our life and it never gets easier. So the thing is to find your own lifestyle and keep it. How to find and keep - its another story.

  • I appreciate the anecdote, but can you elaborate on "your own research"? This is a remarkably poor answer without any support other than "Hey, believe me!" – JohnP Apr 6 '17 at 21:21
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    @JohnP - Trust me, I'm the Internet. – Alec Apr 7 '17 at 17:24

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