The Exact Methods I Used to Lose 40+ Lbs (and how you can, too!)
As a coach, people tell me all the time: I want to lose weight! They’ve heard my story, they’ve seen my results, and they have to know, “How did you do it?” “Teach me your ways!”
My response is always the same: keto and interval training. It’s the foundation I’ve built my business on—my life, really—and for a cut and dry person like myself, it seems like a pretty simple question, and I give a pretty simple answer.
However, it’s not so simple, is it? I see people getting on the keto wagon all the time; some see success, some don’t. Most go back to their old ways, discouraged and assuming that keto just doesn’t work for them.
The thing is, keto itself is simple: cut the carbs, increase the fats, dassit. But losing weight...and then keeping it off? That sh*t is hard.
So I stopped and took a look at why keto and exercise has been so successful for me, but not for others. What I realized was that there were several factors that went into my weight loss. The journey might have started with diet and exercise, but there were a few other steps in my journey to success. Some happened quickly, like changing my diet, but others were developed over time.
Today, I’m going to share exactly what enabled a self-professed 190 lb couch potato to lose over 40 lbs and completely transform my life in the process.
PRIORITIZING REAL FOODS
Today, the grocery store and internet are keto wonderlands. You have snack subscriptions like Keto Krate, low carb ice creams like Halo Top and Enlightened, labels on items that scream “Only 3 net carbs!” and keto gurus aplenty who have developed recipes for every conceivable keto food replacement you can dream of.
In 2014, keto was like the Wild Wild West, and I felt like a pioneer on the Oregon Trail.
Most of the above had yet to exist, which meant my options for low carb were the real, whole foods found at the grocery store and farmer’s market: meats, low carb veggies, oils, dairy, and nuts. I learned how to make my own mayonnaise and salad dressings from scratch (I hadn’t even known you could do that!) and I got really familiar with my spice cabinet as I made most of my meals at home. My palate began to change as a result of ditching the processed foods and all my meals were even more delicious when they started with real ingredients.
I realize now that that reset—eating real, whole foods almost exclusively—was a blessing and a huge boost to my keto success, and I wouldn’t change a thing. While I’m not knocking all the cool new keto products on the market (and I do indulge!), I do appreciate that to this day, the core of my diet is still real foods.
When you eat carbs, they tend to make up the bulk of your meal and fill you up pretty fast. Don’t believe me? Go to a Subway, order a sandwich, and eat just the little bit of meat they slapped on there.
People trying to do things the way they’ve always done them, just with less carbs, are going to be put off of keto because they’re going to be hungry all the time. There are two ways to combat this. One is by eating more protein—instead of getting a sandwich and taking off the bread, ask for a portion of double meat—and the other is by crowding out, which means loading your plate with low carb veggies and eating them first. You’ll get full faster and not have time to miss the carbs.
And you’ll also be satisfied, because you’re...
FINDING WAYS TO INCORPORATE MORE FATS
We were raised to believe fat was the enemy, and that’s a hard concept to overcome. So what’s a person on a high fat diet to do? While some people have no problem slathering their steak with butter, others need to “sneak” it in through other methods.
There are a few great ways to sneak more fats in: generously coat veggies with oil before roasting them, make your own salad dressing with olive or avocado oil, eat higher fat meats like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts (admit it, they taste better anyway), and of course, drink bulletproof coffee.
DRINKING LOTS OF WATER
Water: most of us don’t drink enough! Although it seems people can guzzle sodas all day, most of us don’t know how to drink more water. You should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. There are a few apps out there that will remind you to drink water, but here is what I always do that helps me get my intake in line: 8-16 oz of water upon waking, 8-16 oz before each meal, 8-16 oz before bed, and of course, during and after exercise. Keep that schedule each day and it’ll become second nature.
Bonus: Because your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, you’re a lot less likely to overeat at mealtime!
KNOWING MY OPTIONS
When it comes to being away from home, you gotta know before you go. For new keto-ers especially, mealtime can cause panic if they don’t have their meals prepped and ready to go. There are a couple of things you can do to prepare to eat keto in the real world:
Check the menu beforehand to scout what foods are keto-friendly.
If going to a party, bring a keto-friendly dish you can eat without worries.
When in doubt, stick to meat and veggies—buffalo wings, steak, bunless burgers are all great keto options.
Choose to go off-keto. You weren’t expecting that one, were you? I don’t advocate it often, but there are times when you just wanna eat the damn cake. Have yourself a piece (ONE piece!), enjoy yourself, and get right back on track tomorrow.
COMMITTING TO A FITNESS ACTIVITY I ENJOYED
Listen, I hated exercise. It sounds crazy to say, but if it was a physical pursuit, I wasn’t interested. That’s because I thought of exercise as running on a treadmill for hours or something else equally as boring or unpleasant. Things changed for me when a former coworker gave me her old bike and I remembered how much I loved riding. Going for a cruise around the neighborhood didn’t seem like exercise...it was a fun activity that allowed me to get some fresh air. After awhile, I started venturing outside the neighborhood and riding faster, and that snowballed into getting comfortable with movement in general and branching out.
But it all started with that free bike.
Biking might not be your thing, but maybe kickball is, or bikram yoga. Maybe you were born to be a powerlifter, and the weights are just waiting on you to pick them up. If you’re trying to get more movement in, commit to finding a fitness activity you like—or, pick up one you used to enjoy—and go from there.
STARTING WHERE I WAS
Looking up, a mountain seems impossible to climb. You know what else feels impossible? Losing almost 50 lbs. In this social media-centric world, comparison truly is the thief of joy. In order to not get discouraged before you start, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and trust that your steps will get you to where you want to be.
I remember shortly after I got my new (old) bike, I decided to ride it to the grocery store. It was one mile away, tops. I barely made it back home, and when I stumbled through the door, I collapsed on the living room carpet, gasping for air. A few months later, I excitedly texted my friend that I had ridden SIX WHOLE MILES! Last week? Last week, I rode 45 miles, just as routine Saturday morning exercise.
You will never know how far you can go until you start where you are.
If you didn't take a sweaty selfie, did you really work out?
Okay guys, this is where it really gets real. Keto helped me to lose weight, and cycling certainly helped. I had a steady weight loss of 0.5 to 1 lb per week over several months and was happy to see the scale moving down.
But when I started doing interval training? Fat began dripping off me! It was like I put my glow up on overdrive, and I lost 20 lbs in 3 months. Keep in mind, I wasn’t inactive before—I was already a Spin instructor at this point, rode my bike between 50-75 miles per week, and did circuit training at my work gym with some weights. But God bless Shaun T, Insanity was the key I didn’t know I needed. After I finished the program, I integrated interval training into my workouts, and the results continued.
If you want to get results fast, start interval training today!
Whew! That was already a lot to unpack, but there’s still more that went into my weight loss—possibly the most important part: mindset! Want to hear about the mental changes I had to go through to be able to drop the weight? Check out Part 2!