Another epic week and looking at the pictures from day 1 and from today side by side, it’s starting to get pretty noticeable that things are changing, or should I say, shrinking.

This week, Alex and I grappled with getting to know our bodies better, on a psychological and a physical level.  We’ll hear from Alex about what he’s learned from falling off the wagon, and I’ll give you my take on CICO after witnessing keto weight-loss for myself.

Alex: Keto doesn’t work as a diet

Alex’s Keto RecordsWeek 1Week 2Week 3
Weight in lbs222216.5211
Waist in inches4140.540

Weight lost so far: 11lbs

Alex: Week 3

I’ve tried to “do the keto diet” once before, but I unknowingly sabotaged my weight-loss success before I even started getting fat-adapted.  The problems began in my fatal misunderstanding of what being in keto means.

There was a time when I looked at “keto” as just another fad-diet, some mysterious and restrictive formula that promises better results using the same philosophy as its rivals.

The truth is that keto is not a diet, and if you think about it as a diet, you will probably fail.  I learned that much during my first attempt, anyway.  Instead, you need to think more holistically.

Think of your body as an expression of your life.  Instead of trying to force your keto habits into an already rigid routine, consider taking a step back and craft your lifestyle around your goals instead.

Welcome the ketogenic diet into your life as a paradigm shift, rather than an add-on.  That way, you change the way you look at nutrition and food, and how they relate to health and happiness.

Three weeks in, and I’ve been working hard to adapt to every situation I find myself in with an ambitious, adaptive, pro-active keto attitude (ketotude?).

Although my cravings for sugary, naughty things did a brief surge in this third week, I fasted to give my metabolism a rev up and stabilize my blood sugar.  It’s pretty astounding how effective intermittent fasting is for getting rid of cravings.

You would think that the longer you go without eating, the hungrier you’d get, but the opposite seems to be true, from what I’ve experienced.  After 6 – 8 hours into a fast, I stop thinking about food and just don’t feel that emptiness in my stomach.

Check out the article I posted for you guys about intermittent fasting on keto.  Is it just me or does fasting really help with cravings?  Let me know in the comments!

Chelsea: Keto or CICO?

Chelsea’s Keto RecordsWeek 1Week 2Week 3
Weight in lbs238230224
Waist in inches434241.5

Weight lost so far: 14lbs

Chelsea: Week 3

In the past, I’ve been a big believer in the CICO model, or the “calories in, calories out” approach to weight loss.  It relies on the assumption that the basic principles of thermodynamics can completely explain how much fat you store and how much you oxidize, or “burn”.  It sounds logical at first, let’s look at an example:

As a sedentary twenty-something female (I’m working on it I swear!), I would need no more than about 2000 calories to adequately energize my body and mind for the day.

Exceeding this total daily energy expenditure, or “TDEE”, would mean extra dietary glucose and fats unused by the body are floating around in the bloodstream.  They would then be stored as body fat, glycogen in the liver and muscles and even as visceral fat between our organs.

Naturally, the opposite also applies: If I eat a 1200 calorie per day diet, my body would be in a calorie deficit of about 800 calories, which isn’t enough dietary energy to fuel a day’s moving and thinking.

Its only option? Tap into the stored glycogen in the muscles and liver.  But these carbohydrates are not in abundance and the body soon has to resort to burning body fat for fuel.

If CICO is accurate, I should lose 800 kcal worth of body fat each day if I maintain at the same TDEE.  But anyone who’s dieted before knows that things aren’t so cut and dried.

One thing CICO fails to take into account is the complexity of the metabolism.  Our metabolic process does not run like a coal-fed steam engine, but rather like an eco-system, different biological systems growing and working in tandem for the best result possible.

The human body itself is an expressionistic masterpiece of hormones, genetic predispositions, and mutations, so how can I chalk up weight gain and weight loss to simple math when the list of variables I can neither control nor fully understand is so long?  This lightbulb moment was one of the main reasons I actually decided to go keto.

Chelsea, what’s the point of this TED talk?

The point is, I lost a ridiculously amazing amount of weight so far on my ketogenic journey with you guys, but I have a guilty secret… I have not been restricting calories at all!

I wanted to use this 28-week challenge to test my theory that eating 1500 calories of take-out and waffles per day is not equivalent to 1500 calories of healthy fats in ketosis.

So far, I’ve continued eating my normal 2 meals a day and an evening snack, just healthy ketogenic foods of course.  Losing nearly 15lbs in less than 3 weeks with CICO alone? I really don’t think it would have yielded the same results.

But hey, let’s keto-on and find out!

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