How My Diet is Different
Nic’s Keto Diet (NKD) was developed in the light of a growing trend for keto dieting, for which there is now a multi-billion-dollar market in the United States alone. It is a simplified version of the original Keto Diet that still produces incredible results. It involves a combination of intermittent fasting, mindful eating and an emphasis on organic products.
The key features which distinguish my approach from other keto diets are:
• Its simplification of the process.
• The integration of intermittent fasting and exercise.
• The integration of Mindful eating.
• Much more emphasis on greens and vegetables ( Inspired by Dr. Berg* another inspirational keto and Intermittent fasting speaker).
Aside from keeping you healthy and adding variety, these foods help prevent constipation, which is often a problem with the Atkins and other low carb diets.
Mindfulness – focusing the attention on the present moment – is all the rage nowadays. It can be applied as much to eating and drinking as to anything else.
Mindful eating involves:
• Eating slowly, without distraction.
• Paying close attention to the sensory qualities of your food: colour, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and texture. This makes eating a much more satisfying experience.
• Learning to distinguish between genuine hunger and ‘conditioned’ triggers for eating (e.g. “It’s 1pm so I must be hungry”).
• Stopping eating when you are full.
• Learning to deal with anxiety and guilt about food.
• Being aware of the effects different foods have on your feelings and well-being.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an important element of my diet. It’s not compulsory but it is hugely beneficial.
Before I go any further, DO NOT GET INTO A PANIC ABOUT THE WORD ‘FASTING’! I’m not suggesting that you ever go as much as a full day without eating. It’s just a matter of learning to leave a long period between your last meal of the day and your first meal of the next one. Once you are in ketosis, this will be easy, as you won’t experience hunger pangs. The fact that you are fasting will also make it much easier for you to go into and stay in ketosis. It’s a virtuous circle.
In a nutshell, Intermittent Fasting is all about lengthening the proportion of the day when you don’t eat anything at all. I didn’t do it on purpose in the beginning. It happened naturally because I didn’t feel hungry. But then I did some research – Dr Jason Fung MD was a major inspiration — and found that the benefits were enormous. Above all, IF helps you achieve ketosis much faster than you otherwise would. And, because you are relying less on the food you have eaten, particularly towards the end of the fasting period, IF encourages your system to start using body fat as a fuel. The result is faster weight loss.
Some people advocate eating only one meal per day but I prefer to eat two. Initially, I left 12 hours between them but now the gap is down to four. I realise, however, that this won’t appeal to everybody. So I recommend the 16/8 method as a good starting point. This involves splitting your day into a 16 hour period of fasting and an 8 hour eating window. You could, for instance, have your first meal of the day at 11am and your second at 7pm. An 18/6 ratio would be even better.
People tend to get very nervous when confronted with the idea of not eating for a period. “But you’ll die!” they say, “or at least become weak and unhealthy”. In fact, the opposite is true, at least for the kind of fasting I’m advocating, which is for very short periods.
If you’re in any doubt about this, consider the case of Angus Barbieri. During 1965 and 1966, this 27year old Scotsman went 382 days without eating any food at all, although he did take vitamin supplements. He did it under the supervision of the University Department of Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Dundee. The doctors there initially advised him to fast for just a few days but when he decided to prolong the process, they supported him and said they’d keep an eye on him. His weight fell from 207kg/456lbs to 82kg/180lbs and he stayed healthy throughout. His system was able to find all the resources it needed from his stores of body fat.
Our ancestors often hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. In that condition, they needed to be even better at hunting than usual. So our systems are actually designed to give us more energy when we haven’t eaten for a period.
Paradoxically, intermittent fasting helps you to avoid hunger pangs. This is connected to a hormone called ghrelin, which is produced by the stomach to stimulate appetite. The levels of ghrelin in the blood rise just before we are accustomed to eating. If we fast, this continues to happen for about 3 days, but then the ghrelin spikes stop. For this reason, people who are fasting tend to stop feeling hungry after three or four days. The same is true of people who fast intermittently, although the effect is less pronounced and takes a bit longer to kick in.
Like intermittent fasting, exercise is a very desirable aspect of my diet but not absolutely essential. Don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook though!
The great virtue of exercise for people on a keto diet is that it speeds up the rate at which you burn body fat. When I’ve finished a session at the gym, I go on a machine that measures this. It also gives a ‘metabolic age’. In eighteen months, mine has gone down from 56 to 32.
If you really can’t face going to the gym, the good news is that the extra energy and weight loss that keto brings will make you want to move around more than you used to anyway.
One thing you should be aware of is that exercise builds muscle. This will slow down your weight loss, but the goal of my diet is improved health and reduced body fat, not weight loss per se. Reshaping your body is the priority and it’s also the most difficult thing to do. Measure the body fat on your belly and thighs from time to time.
Almost needless to say, steroids are very bad for keto. People who are using them for medical reasons rather than body building often find that the diet renders them unnecessary, or at least reduces the need for them.