I wish that the concept of the ketogenic diet for weight loss would just go away. Here’s the deal, if you like to eat the same 7 foods everyday and figure out how to get all of your fiber in while getting some micronutrients (vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin A for example), go for it. Otherwise, leave it alone and do something else…because here’s the big secret. Most of you all are doing it wrong anyway – you’re eating way too much protein. And then you wonder why you have to keep going back for more “rounds of keto”.
Now, to lose weight, you have to cut back somewhere. Whether you call it a “diet” or you call it healthy eating, you want the end result to be pretty similar. You eat the right types of foods to fuel your body in the correct amounts.
Let’s set nutrition aside for a second. When people talk about losing weight, they don’t often talk about losing fat, that’s the goal right? Here’s the deal, if you’re only looking at a number on a scale and it starts to go down, you could be losing water, fat, and/or muscle. And you don’t want to lose muscle – that’s your lean mass.
The goal is to lose fat.
Here’s how you can burn fat without doing keto:
- Build more muscle mass (lean mass).
Why is lean mass important? It’s the calorie burning part of your body. It’s more metabolically active than fat, so if you maintain, or build, your lean muscle, you are naturally burning more calories at rest.
And no, muscle does not weigh less than fat — 1 pound of fat weighs the same as one pound of muscle. Muscle just takes up less space – this is also to your benefit.
If you decrease the amount of total calories in your diet, you need to maintain or increase the amount of protein. Being negligent on your protein means that your body may not be getting enough.
When you eat protein, it is broken down into individual amino acids in the body. When you are working to build muscles, it’s the amino acids in proteins that stimulate and help build muscle.
Animal and plant proteins both work, but you want to make sure you are eating a food with leucine (an amino acid) to start that muscle building and help you burn more calories.
Here is a list of foods with the amino acid leucine (among many other AA):
- Meats (beef, chicken, lamb, etc)
- Dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc)
- Pea protein
If you’re thinking that you could just pop a leucine supplement and call it a day, that’s not wise. Amino acids work together to build muscles, so a combination is your best bet.
2. Activate your fat burning during cardio
What if I told you that you didn’t have to workout hard to burn fat, you just needed to workout longer?
The body is extremely efficient at using energy. It can burn carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Just a reminder, we don’t want the body burning protein – let’s save all we can on that one.
Think about this, when you start sprinting on your run, because you think you are super fast and getting it done faster is the goal – you are burning carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose – you store glucose in your muscles, liver, and then of course, your blood.
As you start to slow down, because there is no way you can maintain your prior pace, your heart starts to slow down and you finally feel like you can run a little further. As your heart rate goes down into about 60% of your max heart rate, you start burning more fat, along with those carbohydrates.
Bottom line: lower your intensity and increase your time to burn more fat.