The rainy days of April have subsided, and with the summer sun lurking around the corner, people have one thing in mind: It is time to get their ‘summer body.’
The reason for this mentality is clear: Summer means heat, and heat means fewer clothes and more skin. Every year, people feel empowered to change their bodies and commit themselves to following every step necessary to reach their fitness goals.
I have a feeling that the cyclical pattern of a torrential downpour and flickering sunshine at the end of April transmits a sense of pseudo-confidence that’s only intensified by a quickly creeping deadline of the long summer days of July.
As always, the summer brings nights out, drinking, family gatherings and other activities that are going to take you away from reaching your fitness goals.
This does not have to be the case. The first step to reaching your goals is to not only understand them, but to manifest them in your mind in such a way that every possible obstacle is accounted for and a plan has been made to deal with anything that may arise.
I wish that in the past, I had known what I know now. If I had, my journey would have been less strenuous. That is one of the many interesting aspects of life: People always wish they had known the things they know now, because that information would have been helpful in the past.
A day after I signed up for the gym, I got a call from a fitness trainer for a free session. Despite his obvious attempt to sell me the idea that I needed a personal trainer, he introduced me to the keto diet.
Simply put, it’s a diet where you limit your carbohydrates to 50 grams per day. This way, your body will begin to burn fat from your foods (and eventually, fat from your body) as its primary energy source. To replace carbs as your previous primary energy source, you substitute fats and proteins—giving you a split of about 65 percent fat, 35 percent protein and 10 percent carbs.
With nothing to lose except some weight, and the summer around the corner, I decided to give it a shot. To make things easy, I Googled the carb content of whatever I ate to see if I was in my daily range of 50 grams of net carbs.
In the morning, I ate eggs and bacon. For lunch, I ate at either Burrito Boyz, A&W or any shawarma restaurant. My choices were a burrito bowl without rice, along with beans and corn; an A&W grilled chicken or beef burger without a bun and, at any Middle Eastern restaurant, a chicken salad. My favourite was Osmow’s, because there would be a salad covered with their juicy chicken, topped off with their amazing fatty garlic sauce. With keto, fat is good.
For dinner, I would have either grilled chicken, wings or ribs with a side of salad and fruit such as strawberries and blueberries. I did not plan any of my meals. All I told myself was that I was going to eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day, and if I was not sure about the carb content of anything, I would just Google it.
During this whole process, I did not feel that I was on a diet. That was because I wasn’t starving myself. I was eating three regular meals a day, and every time I ate, my plate was full of things with low-carb content.
This trick really helped me. With a full plate, I wasn’t tempted to have a snack to compensate for the empty space that would have been left on my plate on a traditional diet.
After about 10 days, I noticed that I felt drowsy, as well as being exhausted when I woke up, and I had constant diarrhea or constipation. After some basic research, I concluded that I had the keto flu. It is the result of a drastic change in one’s diet caused by the transition from carbs to fat as the primary energy source.
Limiting carbohydrates in my diet allowed me to have a sense of mental clarity that I’d never had under any other diet.
I avoided rigorous exercise and drank lots of water to help ease the symptoms of the keto flu. After about a week, they went away, and I was left with a sense of clarity in my mind. Limiting carbohydrates in my diet allowed me to have a sense of mental clarity that I’d never had under any other diet.
After about a month and a half, I’d lost 10 pounds. The following month, I incorporated exercise into my keto diet, and I lost another 10 pounds. I lost about 20 pounds in the span of almost three months.
It is important to note that, if you are planning to exercise on keto, you should have a snack such as a banana or an apple 30 minutes before your workout. Even though a banana has 26 grams of carbs, your body will break down the simple carbs first, which will provide you with enough energy for your workout.
Most importantly, a diet plan should not be a damn prison. You control what you eat. Don’t let your diet get in the way of the most important things in life. During this diet, I frequently went drinking and had three- to four-day spans during which I did not go to the gym. However, when I drank, I mostly drank spirits, which have 0 carbs.
The summer is a time of fun and adventure, and your diet plan should complement your summer—not control your summer!