Running on Fat: 2 Week Update

I am now two weeks into this experiment where I have changed my diet so that I aim to eat around 70% of my daily calories from fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. So how is it going? 

It has been difficult, very difficult, for a lot of reasons. I started with a bang, and probably went too hard on the fats too early. In the first 24 hours I consumed a similar quantity of food as I normally would, but with most of it being fat. It was Friday night and we were going out for dinner with friends, which was going to be a challenge in itself. I had not had many carbs that day, so decided 1 beer would be fine. Half way through the beer I started feeling nauseous, then I vomited. I was sweating and felt awful. It's hard to know whether it was fat overload or perhaps bad salmon from lunch, but I was a bit shaken up a bit by the experience. Maybe this much fat is not for me? 

I woke up the next day after a good rest and felt ok, I decided to continue. Eggs, avocado, and a coffee with butter. I felt quite strange the first few days, I was craving sugar, craving carbohydrates, and almost felt hungover with a bit of a clouded head. I definitely felt low on "energy". But I had read that all these are quite common when you start changing your diet in this way so I pushed forward. I downloaded My Keto and made sure I recorded what I ate so I could see that I was eating enough calories not to lose weight.

I have never been one to obsess with food so this felt pretty strange, but it is interesting paying more attention to what I am putting in my mouth. Shopping was a challenging experience, there is not that much you can eat if you want to restrict yourself to 50 g net carbohydrates per day. It's boring as hell. I eat some nuts, seeds, eggs, avocado, tuna or salmon, and leafy greens (broccoli and kale), not much else. I can eat a little bit of fruit in the form of berries, & a few other low carbohydrate veggies, but it's super restrictive. As anticipated the lack of variety in the food is not very fun. I also got myself some Keto staples like MCT oil and coconut fat.

This was a good day...

This was a good day...

In terms of physical effects, quickly I noticed that the hunger pangs I normally experienced 3-4 times a day were subsiding. This was great to allow me to eat with more flexibility, and stopped me purchasing so much chocolate and bread-based products throughout the day, but I had to remind myself to keep eating even when I didn't feel that hungry, it was the only way I could keep up my calories.

Otherwise I haven't noticed a huge amount of difference in my physical health. If anything I am probably finding training a bit more difficult. The effort level required per run is a bit higher and my heart rate seems to be up slightly compared to normal. I have also read this is quite common, to experience an initial decline in performance. And my pushups have stayed the same or gone down, I started with 30, but some days I have only been hitting 27 or 28 max. Not much difference but still, if anything I should be getting stronger if I do these everyday and I am going ever so slightly backwards.

Some other observations so far:

  • According to my girlfriend this diet seems to be really bad for my breath. Which might also be related to the amount of tuna I am eating... I am using a lot of chewing gum and brushing my teeth more regularly to try and counter that. Sorry girlfriend and friends.
  • Carbohydrates are absolutely everywhere, it sounds stupid but I never realised. All easy to consume things are just carbs. Cheap, filling, delicious carbs. Oh, and sugar.
  • This diet is basically impossible if you want to drink beer. I have had one "blow out" day so far, and that was because I wanted to drink at my friend's 30th. Yes I could have stuck to white spirits or wine but I decided to just let it go for a night. 
  • I have not lost weight. Yay. I am still 60 kgs. Although a colleague at work told me I looked skinny. Coincidence?
  • After reading and listening some more I think I am unlikely to get myself into nutritional ketosis with my current diet, so I might need to fast at some point to get those ketones flowing

One final thing is I wanted to do is have my blood work done. I have heard about these spikes in LDL and total cholesterol so thought it would be interesting to see where I am at now and how things change over time. Plus this is something I have not had done before, so I thought it would be interesting anyway. I just got my results, from my self-evaluation everything looks pretty good and is within the normal range. Seems I am borderline anaemic though so I need to get some more iron into my diet. I have been taking magnesium supplements and a vegetarian multi-vitamin pill, as well as adding sea salt to my drinks to keep up my salts, but I might need to add iron to the list.

I'll do a separate post on my blood tests as I think that is pretty interesting... but I want to wait until I get the Doctor's report to see how they interpret things. 

Tomorrow I go to Portugal for one week to do some running coaching with Embrace Sports. I have decided to be flexible with my eating while I am there as this is a new things and I do not want to be a nuisance! 

Happy running,

Dan