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How to Lose Body Fat Quickly Using a Low Calorie Keto Diet

How do you burn body fat, retain muscle, and do it as quickly as possible without exercise?

There’s only one way, and that’s by switching your body into ketosis.

Ketosis

Ketosis is where the body has run out of glucose-based energy (glycogen) normally stored in the liver and muscles. It then has no choice but to turn to body fat for energy.

That’s why body fat exists in the first place. Your body stores tens if not hundreds of thousands of calories in the form of fat. It’s there for survival reasons in case you run out of food. But the body doesn’t like to dip into that if it doesn’t have to. So you make it have to.

In ketosis, fat is turned into “ketones” which is an alternate form of energy that’s actually more energizing and efficient than glucose. Your brain runs better on ketones than glucose, so once you enter ketosis you will feel clearer and more energized than on a normal diet.

How to Get Into Ketosis

There are two ways to enter ketosis.

1. Not eating carbs at all. No potatoes, rice, oats, fruits, pasta, cookies, cakes, candy, soda, sugar, etc. Just protein and fat. That means meat, eggs, fish, green veggies, nuts, butter, and oil.

2. Fasting (eating nothing) for 1-3 days. That’s what ketosis is really meant for. That’s the fastest and most natural way to induce ketosis.

In either case, it takes about 36 hours on average for glycogen to run out and for ketosis to begin. You can buy keto indicator strips that you pee on and watch the color change on the strips to show you how deep into ketosis you are.

As your glucose levels decrease, insulin drops (insulin is what your pancreas secretes to help the body deal with excessive blood sugar levels). Insulin below a certain point is what triggers ketones to be made from body fat.

So whether you go no carb, or fast, you’ll be running out of glycogen within a day or two and body will switch over to ketosis.

During this “keto induction” phase, you may feel like utter crap — low energy, hungry, tired, cold, mentally losing it. That’s the price of admission to ultra fat burning mode. But a point comes when that all lifts and you feel amazing. The keto indicator strips will show a change of color in proportion to how great you feel.

How Low Calorie?

Now, once you are in ketosis, you can go on a low calorie keto diet.

How low calorie? Take your normal calorie requirement (let’s say 1800 calories for an average sedentary male) and cut that in half. Now you’re looking at 900 calories per day.

Sounds insane, right? But it’s not actually 900, because your body is tapping into another 600-900 from body fat deposits. So energy-wise, you’ll feel like you’re doing a normal 1500-1800 calorie diet even though you’re only consuming 900 of those calories through the mouth. The rest comes from the body, as it should.

You can even go down to 1/3rd of your daily calorie requirements, 600 in this example. That’s about the bottom limit for sustainability.

If you’re of average build, going further down to, say, 300-400 calories will lead to unsustainable side effects such as starry vision, low blood pressure, racing heart, and insomnia. If you’re semi-lean or lean, even 600 might be too low before you run into those side effects. And if you’re quite fat, you might find that you can fast for a whole week before needing a meal.

Generally, 1/3rd to 1/2 of your normal caloric needs is the sweet spot to start with.

For example, with normally an 1800 calorie diet, each day you can have a 700 calorie meal and a 200 calorie snack later on, and keep that up for up to 4 weeks. You’ll easily lose 10 pounds or more that month. You can do this in keto. You cannot do it in non-keto (like a low calorie bread and rice diet) unless you want to look like a concentration camp victim before long.

Aim for 40-60 grams of protein per day. Eat enough fat to meet your calorie goals, typically 60-90 grams of fat per day in addition to the 40-60 grams of protein.

No need to work out during this, other than walking or house chores or yard work if you want (keep heart rate below 120 bpm, as there’s a limit to how fast body fat can be converted into energy).

Protein and Muscle

Ketosis is pretty sparing of the muscles. If you try to do a low calorie diet without ketosis, the body is in glucose-burning mode and when it’s low on glucose from carbs it will break down muscle to turn into glucose to power itself. That’s why a non-ketogenic low calorie low protein diet is the fastest way to lose muscle, even faster than not eating at all because at least when fasting you’re in ketosis which preserves muscle.

The reason ketosis preserves muscle is because the body prefers ketones for energy and has all that body fat to draw from, so the muscles are left alone for the most part. The reason I say “most part” is because certain organs of the body need glucose regardless, even in ketosis, and muscles will break down to feed them unless you eat enough protein. 40-60 grams of protein per day, when not working out, is sufficient.

The issue with protein is that it raises insulin as much as an equal amount of carbs does. That’s why after eating 4-6 oz of meat your insulin goes up and ketone levels go down for several hours. During that time, you may feel not as clear or energized. Fat burning will slow during that time too. But that’s what you have to do if you want to preserve muscles on a low calorie ketogenic diet.

Insulin Resistance and Keto Success

Some people actually go into ketosis very easily, enter it deeply, and can eat more protein without affecting ketones too much.

Other people have a tough time inducing ketosis, and anything beyond 4 oz of meat at a time knocks them out of it for many hours. They have to be ultra careful about what they eat.

Why the difference? It has to do with how insulin sensitive or resistant they are, which depends on genetics and hormones and lifestyle. People who are insulin resistant are diabetic or on their way to being diabetic. Or they might have metabolic disorders, thyroid issues, low testosterone, super high cortisol levels, and so on.

If you accumulate fat easily, especially around the mid section, you may be of the latter category. In that case, you’ll just have to be more strict about avoiding carbs and limiting your protein intake to 4oz or less per meal or snack.

If in doubt, during the first day or two (if you’re not fasting) eat just veggies (lettuce, avocado, celery, cucumber, broccoli, green onions), olive oil, egg yolks, and fatty nuts like walnuts and macadamia nuts.

By limiting protein during the keto induction phase, you won’t screw it up. There’s nothing worse that staying in that limbo state between non-keto and keto and endlessly feeling like crap by keeping yourself from fully flipping over.

Ideal Ketone Range

Now, the keto indicator strips can tell you what ketone range you’re in. You want to aim to be somewhere in the middle of the scale, somewhere between 2.0 and 5.0 — if it’s higher (darker color) feel free to eat more protein to bring it down. If it’s in the none, trace, or small range then cut back on the protein and check that you’re not consuming hidden carbs, or just fast more often. Some veggies like carrots and tomatoes have too many sugars that can add up if overeaten.

Mineral Deficiency

Because you’re eating less and losing stored water (glucose in muscles helps it store water… less glucose = less water in body) you’ll be losing minerals and may become low on sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. You can supplement or create your own electrolyte fluid with this recipe:

Keto Juice Version 1.0

2L of water
1/2 tsp magnesium chloride
1 tsp potassium chloride
1 tsp sodium chloride (table salt)
1 tsp calcium carbonate

This is a modification of the “Snake Juice” recipe given by Cole of Snake Diet fame. Let’s call it “Keto Juice Version 1.0” — It has a better form of magnesium, includes calcium carbonate since increased magnesium absorption can decrease calcium levels, and omits the baking soda since calcium carbonate is a PH buffer already. Or you can just follow Cole’s recipe and take a calcium pill on the side, but just know that magnesium sulfate is not that absorbable and probably functions more as an anti-constipation element.

This is an electrolyte fluid that can be consumed while fasting to prevent muscle cramps and other common mineral-deficiency symptoms. For example, acute calcium deficiency can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities and face, which can happen with the original Snake Juice recipe. Calcium carbonate solves that problem.

Eat Nutritiously

Lastly, because you’re eating less, it’s important to eat more nutritious foods. Specifically, for proteins that would be egg yolks, chicken livers, and salmon. For vegetables that includes asparagus, broccoli, peppers, and green onions. These are just some examples. Be sure to include these among what else you’re eating. You’ll be peeing out sodium more than normal, so feel free to add more salt to your foods.

You can research Keto Diet and Snake Diet for more tips and ideas, but know that what I explained above is not strictly those but has various improvements learned from a lot of experimentation and research.

Protein Muesli

Here’s a breakfast that is low gluten, low glycemic, low sugar, high protein, and easy to make. It’s a minimalist “oats and whey” muesli.

Ingredients

1/2 medium or large apple cut into chunks
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
10 almonds or equivalent amount in walnuts or pumpkin seeds)
2 tbsp half-n-half (optional)
cold water

Mix all the dry ingredients in bowl and add desired amount of water.

Discussion

Why make it yourself? Because you can control the ingredients and assure their quality. Now, the above ingredients were chosen strategically.

Fresh apple has less sugar than dried fruit, especially raisins that you commonly find in commercial mueslis. Mainly it’s fructose you have to keep to a minimum. Raisins are high in fructose; fresh apples not so much.

Protein powder acts as a substitute for milk; I prefer whey, which is derived from milk and has calcium, but delivers far more protein than milk and without the lactose.

Oats are low glycemic calories. They are less inflammatory than wheat, unless you have an avenin sensitivity (avenin is a protein found in oats). Be sure to get organic rolled oats because non-organic oats are typically contaminated with glyphosate, also known as Roundup herbicide. Note that oats are high in phytic acid, but the calcium in whey protein powder offsets it.

Nuts provide some fat and minerals.

Half-n-half or coconut oil is optional, but helps make the protein powder more milk-like.

If you use dried apples and forego the half-n-half, you have yourself a pre-mixed breakfast that is awesome for camping or road trips. Put into individual zip lock bags and add water as needed.

Ghetto Potato Pancakes

Easiest potato pancake recipe ever.

1) Get a carton of hash browns from the freezer section of the grocery store.

2) Get a container of onion powder.

3) Put hash browns in toaster, toast until crispy, then sprinkle with onion powder.

Eat with applesauce (traditional) or strawberry jam (my style).

That is all.

Migraines / Headaches - Potential Causes and Remedies

There are different types and causes of migraine headaches. Below I will discuss several causes.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency brought on by too much calcium and not enough magnesium can produce migraines. This is based on personal experience, anecdotal evidence, and internet research of medical journals. In particular, they can cause aural migraines, which are intense headaches preceded by a flashing pattern in one’s field of vision, which are due to localized seizures in the occipetal lobe. If eating a high-calcium food such as cheese, yogurt, broccoli, or similar produces such migraines, then that would suggest an imbalance in magnesium and calcium ratios.

Magnesium supplements, some are better than others. Avoid aspartate and oxide forms, as the first is an excitotoxin that can trigger headaches and the latter is poorly absorbed. Glycinate, citrate, orotate, and taurate are good. Source Naturals Ultra-Mag (Amazon link) is a decent combination of good forms of magnesium.

Caffeine or Alcohol Hangover

Caffeine blocks the cell receptors that signal your body that it’s tired. As a consequence, you feel energized at the cost of cellular waste products (from being awake) and certain substances building up that normally get reduced or recycled via sleep. One of those is adenosine, and since the body feels like there is little or no adenosine due to receptors of adenosine being blocked, it produces more. Eventually the caffeine wears off and all that adenosine rushes forth, leading to fatigue. Further, adenosine has effects on blood vessels, including those in the brain, and also affects nerve sensitivity. The result is a migraine preceded by fatigue, preceded by a period of being amped up by caffeine.

Alcohol, meanwhile, converts into acetaldehyde in the body, a potent mycotoxin that is normally broken down further by enzymes your body produces for the task. But this detoxification doesn’t happen perfectly or instantly, and in some people with a genetic defect including most Asians, the gene is lacking to neutralize acetaldehyde. Whatever the case, that substance builds up and does damage and that, together with dehydration, is what supposedly causes hangover headaches. It’s a form of chemical trauma.

Food Sensitivities

Certain foods can trigger allergic responses, inflammatory/immune responses, or can act as surrogate caffeine-like substances that block adenosine receptors. The end result is that they too, will cause a migraine after a period of time. What makes them allergy-like is that it doesn’t take much in terms of quantity to trigger a reaction.

In cases where people lack the genes or liver function to detoxify certain hepatoxic (liver-damaging) substances, these can build up and like acetaldehyde lead to headaches. If that process were supported or sped up, then the migraine wouldn’t be as severe.

The only way to know what the food triggers are, is to log what you eat and correlate it with the timing and intensity of a migraine. For example, let’s say you are sensitive to the herb basil. After consuming it, it may induce a caffeine-like reaction within a couple hours, leading to problems sleeping for a period of time as the reaction progresses. Eventually it wears off, and the built-up adenosine floods the receptor sites and an extended migraine follows.

What Literature Recommends

So in addition to magnesium, other mentioned remedies include Sodium-R-Alpha-Lipoic-Acid (Na-R-ALA) and CoQ10, and if you are a woman, then also Milk Thistle extract (female, because it has estrogenic effects which is not good for men).

The latter three act as potent detoxifiers, antioxidants, and protectants according to research, which is easy to find if you investigate each of these supplements. Ubiquinol helps in the production of ATP (adenosine-triphosphate) and thus may help convert existing adenosine back into ATP, clearing what would otherwise be a tsunami effect on the adenosine receptors. This would be especially important on the fatigue stage preceding a migraine.

Na-R-ALA, meanwhile, is a detoxifier that would do its job best during or shortly after eating/consuming something that might have a toxic or sensitivity triggering effect. Avoid the regular alpha lipoic form, and stick to the stabilized Na-R-ALA form because alpha lipoic by itself is extremely unstable and polymerizes (turns into plastic goo) at body temperatures. In fact, what might leave a warehouse in pure alpha lipoic form can become mostly polymer by the time it reaches your mailbox due to temperature degradation. The sodium stabilized version doesn’t have this problem, and studies show it’s way more absorbable (more than 40x).

Milk Thistle Extract, or rather the sylimarin in there, acts as a sacrificial neutralizer of toxins that the liver would otherwise have to make enzymes to break down. So it eases the burden on the liver. But again, in males it will have estrogenic effects so isn’t recommended.

During the Onset of a Migraine

One common trick is to induce a brain-freeze by eating/drinking something ice cold, or sucking on an ice cube, or eating a slushee. The intense cold triggers a change in blood pressure and dilation that often relieves a headache or migraine and can even stop it in its tracks.

It may also help to do deeper breathing, to increase oxygen levels and boost mitochondrial activity. Sometimes migraines are caused by mitochondrial energy deficits.

Conclusion

Many people claim they take the above for general health and vitality reasons too, not just for migraines, and the product reviews speak highly of their efficacy. For instance, there are studies on how lipoic acid (in whatever absorbable form, including sodium stabilized) was effective in diabetics and those with kidney disease. So it’s not just headaches, but other issues that are reportedly attenuated.

There are other less common causes of migraines such as brain injury, growth spurts when the skull is changing shape, nonphysical causes, sodium deficiency, and hormonal issues. Here I just covered some of the more prevalent ones I am familiar with.

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