Almost two weeks ago I wrote this — the start of my journey into a strict and monitored 90 day (minimum) ketogenic diet. I also promised regular and public updates. I’ve been semi-true to that goal — I’ve been doing regular updates over on twitter https://twitter.com/adriancantrill and I’ve even made my measurements spreadsheet public. What I haven’t done is blog; because blogging is hard and I really haven’t felt like doing it for a few weeks.
Weight And Fat
As it stands right now after 12 days, Ive dropped 3.3 Kg & 0.3% of fat — although at this stage since i’m using a connected scale to measure you have to assume a 2% margin of error — lets talk again in 2 additional weeks.
Let’s be clear — I’m aware not all of that weight is real, some of it will be ‘water weight’ — the body using its carb stores and dumping water as that process happens. If you look at my spreadsheet, that clearly explains the initial rapid 2KG drop; but the next 1.3 seems genuine.
What’s also interesting is that my initial measurements have improved; at the 1-week mark this could be down to bloating, so I can’t wait to compare to this coming Mondays when we should see a more realistic change.
I wanted to get the weight and measurements out of the way first — because that’s actually the least interesting part for me. If you read my initial article you’ll understand that for me, this is more about a long term lifestyle change than short term weight/fat loss — although they are of-course related.
Sleep — Quality and Duration
My spreadsheet suggests my quality of sleep remains unchanged, both the duration and quality. The way I ‘feel’ doesn’t agree, so for the remainder of the 90-day period I’m going to focus a LOT more on the length and quality of sleep. I feel much better in terms of my level of tiredness. I still feel tired when I wake up; but less so. I still yawn during the day, but with reduced frequency. There are definite improvements in this area even if the measurements don’t agree. I made the switch from a Fitbit tracker, to an Apple Watch — which could explain the feeling v’s measured changes — going forward i’ll be sticking to the Apple Watch so even if inaccurate I should be able to monitor trending over the remaining 78 days. Sleep is critical to the rest of the process and I need to ensure I’m getting a good amount of good quality sleep — otherwise any body recomposition & general health results could be impacted.
Blood — Ketones and Glucose
I’ve also made a point (no pun intended) of checking my blood ketone and glucose at least once a day. At a minimum in a morning, before I’ve consumed anything (which is generally 12 hours since my last meal, and 10 or so hours since my last liquid).
The above image gives a good impression of what levels are normal for those looking to force dietary ketosis — what I’m doing. Anything from 0.0 to 0.3 is normal — and suggests a normal diet, or someone who isn’t ‘in ketosis’. 0.5 is where ketosis begins. anything above 1.0 and below 3.0 is viewed as ‘normal’ if you are working to achieve and maintain a ketogenic state.
It’s also important to realise that this figure changes on a constant basis — it’s an indicator of a bio chemical process in the body — and this is impacted by the calories you ingest, the carbs/sugar component of those, your protein levels, hydration, exercise done and a million other factors. Small deviations are unimportant — the trend is to aim for above 1.0 for as much of the ketogenic diet as possible, while ensuring you take in the nutrients you need.
I’ve peaked at 1.6 on days after I did 10km of indoor stationary rowing, and I’ve been hovering just below 1 for the remainder (0.9/0.8/0.7/0.6). So this isn’t ideal so far — but I’ve skipped a day or two of rowing and haven’t been eating ideally (since the food on those days assumed exercise, and I didn't plan to skip it).
Actual figures aside — I AM in ketosis, and do feel that I’m starting the fat adaption switch. Even though my carbs have been low my energy levels feel high and more importantly consistent — and that means I’m using fat as fuel.
If you are interested in delving deeper into this — I found this excellent article on the relationship between ketones and glucose https://optimisingnutrition.com/2015/07/20/the-glucose-ketone-relationship/ it defines the concept of a GKI or glucose ketone index.
Scroll down on the article, and you can find this table which gives a good visual guide to what GKI values mean. A GKI of less than 10 is what people on a ketogenic diet should aim for .. and with my levels I’m ‘in that area’. Room for improvement, but I’m not in a different league — which is a good start.
What I hoped would happen is that my general wellbeing would increase. There was the obvious concern of the carb-flu.. the reaction to removal of the removal of carbs but I planned to mitigate this by supplementing magnesium, drinking plenty of water and adding salt to everything.
I didn’t have the immediate hell at day-3 as expected, but at the end of the first week, until the middle of this week I had close to zero energy. It’s one of the reasons my workouts have been sporadic and massively contributed to the lack of blog posts — because it’s hard.
After that though, I feel great, It’s too early to tell for sure — or to put this in my spreadsheet but I really do ‘feel’ better. I’ll keep watching this one for sure.
So Whats next ?
Continue doing what I’m doing. More consistent training (rowing, resistance and walking) combined with a good ketogenic diet. I want to try and get my GKI below 10.. and see a consistent 1+ ketone reading in addition to a reduction in my fasted blood glucose.
As a secondary.. continuing to drop fat percentage would be nice. I care less about my weight, and more about the percentage of that weight which is fat. Focussing on that should bring appropriate reductions in waste and belly size — good for when its time to put on my bikini.
If you do find this useful I’d really appreciate a share, like, recommend, link or whatever thing your social media thing has. Help me spread the word.