After close to 7 years of low carb living (with some time off the wagon for bad behaviour), I arrived at a point of some fat gain through carb creep and justifying it by the fact I have a physically strenuous day job. The Primal "80/20 Rule" can be a good one, but easily abused when one can justify things like eating a banana several times a week because, "well, I'm still under 100 carbs today (so much better than a SAD diet!), maintaining weight, 80/20 rule!" These little divergences accumulate and before you know it you're not in ketosis anymore. So that's my deal, but having the desire to get back on track and be better than ever before, physically and mentally, I needed to change my ways. Being in plain old ketosis is awesome and has so many benefits, but with my goals it's not quite enough.

In a little more than 10 months I will have lived on this earth for half a century. I don't know where the time has gone, and I certainly don't feel nearly 50, but there it is. My goal, by the time I hit 50, is to be more lean, and to be as ripped as I possibly can. Basically, to be in the best shape I have ever been in my life. This last month I've been eating a strict Ketogenic diet. The macro ratios I've worked out have me under 20 carbs a day, but most days I'm at zero or under 5. (Work out your macros here: Keto Calculator). Very high fat meals, moderate to low protein, and very low carbohydrates have left me without much of an appetite most of the time. I eat, and I'm satisfied quickly. I have been logging my food intake daily to make sure I am hitting my macros on MyFitnessPal. It is a very good site for tracking, and user written scripts allow for tracking of net carbs. So far I've gone down two pants sizes. I don't own a scale, I don't really care about weight as it doesn't tell the whole story, but this is where I started:

My totally TMI "before" pic.
Soft-ish and curvy, hoping to turn it into harder and ripped.
Can it be done close to age 50?
I had considered doing a Cyclical Ketogenic diet while doing Tabata/HIIT, but as sensitive to carbs as I seem to be, I'm sticking with Keto all the way for now to see how that goes. According to some, carb cycling is not necessary as long as one is Keto-adapted.

Ketosis and Keto-adaptation: What's The Difference?

Ketosis is the state of the body where one is burning fat for energy. It can be achieved through eating a low carbohydrate diet. If one is overweight the obvious benefit is your body starts using your excess fat stores as fuel, even if one does no exercise to at all. Everyone is different, and the level of carbohydrate restriction varies from person to person in achieving ketosis, which is typically measured using Ketostix.

Keto-adaptation, also referred to as Nutritional Ketosis, is also a state of ketosis, but by sustaining a state of strict ketosis over a prolonged period of time (very high fat, low to moderate protein, very low carb) the body not only shifts its fuel source to fat burning, it becomes optimized to use ketones as fuel and "skeletal muscle can directly and readily burn fatty acids as a primary fuel."  The length of time it takes to achieve Keto-adaptation will vary from person to person, some taking as little as three weeks, others a month or more. The key thing that happens in the body in ramping up to Keto-adaptation is the formation of new and more abundant Mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. Obviously this process takes time. Achieving keto adaptation can be measured with a blood ketone testing meter, and much less reliably with Ketostix. The sweet spot on the meter reading will be between 1.5 – 3 mmol/L for optimal weight loss and performance. Becoming Keto-adapted can benefit those who are simply trying to lose weight, and those who wish to maximize their results from intense workouts.

If you've hit a barrier or stall in your weight loss or workout, try this. It may be just what you've been looking for to break a stall or help with your physical performance. It can't hurt. Heck, even professional athletes are jumping on board, with fabulous results.

I will be updating about my progress as time goes on, and sharing any tweaks, triumphs or troubles along the way. Let me know if you have any questions, and if I don't know the answer I will direct you to someone who does, as best as I am able. There is a lot of good information on the Internet about all of this, along with some bad. Sometimes it's hard to suss out the bad from good, but those who have accomplished their goals via this lifestyle will always have my respect and my ear. If you want to try this yourself, a good place for information and support is the Keto forum on Reddit, along with the Ketogains forum there. Stay tuned...