If you’ve put on weight since becoming a parent, you’re not alone. The New York Times reports that men on average gain about 14 pounds after becoming dads, while the average waist size increases by 2 inches. As for moms, it’s a similar story: nearly 75% of women report being heavier a year after giving birth than they were before they became pregnant, researchers found.
So what’s a stressed-out, sleep-deprived parent to do? One diet that is gaining popularity is called the “Keto” diet, an eating regiment that is a bit like the Caveman Diet crossed with Atkins. What’s great about Keto is you can eat steak, eggs, cheese, nuts, butter, bacon, sausage, bourbon, and many other “guy” foods, and still melt the pounds away.
So how exactly is that possible? Below are 10 guidelines for implementing Keto in your life, so you can learn how to get rid of dadbod for good.
1. Stick To 20 Grams Of Carbs
At its core, Keto is a carb-restricting diet. That means in general, and especially during the first few months, you will need to keep your carbohydrate intake to 20g or under. If you have no idea what “20g of carbs” means, essentially you’re going to have to cut out all sweets and starches at first, including: rice, pasta, juices, sodas, cookies, cakes, crackers and chips. You can still eat a little bit of those things if you want and stay under 20g of carbs. But you don’t get much wiggle room: even fruit, which seems so healthy and good for you, has to be put on hold at first – an average apple has close to 25g of carbs. “Okay,” you might be asking, “So what the hell can I eat?”
2. Hello Fat
On Keto, you increase your fat intake significantly, which means all the following foods are suddenly in play: eggs, coffee (with heavy cream if you want), sausages, bacon, salami, steak, hamburgers, nuts, olive oil, butter, avocado, cheese, ranch dressing, basil pesto sauce… plus a whole litany of other fatty foods that you don’t typically see on most “diets”. (For more details, you can click here to see an amazingly comprehensive list of Keto-friendly foods, including all relevant nutritional information). What’s more, not only can you eat all these foods guilt-free, but you can pretty much eat as much of them as you want. And that’s where Keto really appeals to a lot of men: you’re able to gorge yourself, if you so choose. Unlike many other diets, you should never feel “hungry” on Keto.
3. How Does It Work?
How can eating all this fat result in rapid weight loss? How can you devour a plate of bacon and still shed inches from your waist? Here is the simple science: when you deprive yourself of carbs, your body turns to stored fat as its primary energy source. This process, known as ketosis, literally turns your body into a fat burning machine. It’s like flipping a switch: bring your carbs down low enough (20g to be sure), and the body will start melting fat for energy.
4. Milk Is A High Sugar Drink
The lactose in an 8oz cup of 1% milk yields about 14g of sugar. If you’re on Keto, that’s more than half your allotment for the day, which means you may want to explore a milk alternative. Soy milk is all the rage lately, but many people can’t stomach the taste. However, one product gaining more and more popularity is Almond Milk. Personally, I couldn’t do the Keto diet without this product:
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla, 32-ounce (Pack of 6) is my number one recommend for anyone trying Keto. But if it’s not for you, try some other brands of almond or soy milk, and see if you can find something to replace traditional milk – the sugar content of that American staple is extremely high.
5. Bourbon Is Not A High Sugar Drink
If you want to give Keto a shot, you’re going to have to cut back on beer, which is carb-heavy. That’s the bad news. The good news? Bourbon and Vodka have zero carbs. That’s right, you can sit back with your buds and down all the Bulleit and Maker’s Mark you want. Or go shot for shot from a bottle of Kettle One. Here’s what Ed Sheehan had to say on the matter:
So basically, you’ll want to swap our your beers and mixed drinks for straight liquor. If you want to mix vodka with something, plain or artificially sweetened club sodas with lemons and limes are okay. If you really want to, you can even throw in a splash of tonic, which is roughly 3g of Carbs in 1 oz. For a list of some the best moderately priced whiskeys to help you stay on Keto click here.
6. Bulletproof Coffee
If you haven’t heard of this morning coffee with the kickass name, it’s worth checking out. Basically, bulletproof coffee is a fat-bomb designed to fill up your belly and energize you so that you can avoid heavy-carb consumption first thing in the morning. It was “invented” by a guy named Dave Asprey, an overweight executive who lost a ton of fat by doing a version of the Keto diet. He concluded that by putting butter in his coffee – that’s right, butter – along with some other high-fat oil, he could create a low carb breakfast drink that would satisfy his hunger cravings until lunch time. You can make your own with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon of butter — just make sure to blend that butter. Either shake it up real hard in a covered mug, or use a blender. Otherwise, you will wind up with a curdled layer of buttery fat sitting atop of your coffee.
7. Intermittent Fasting
There are countless studies that promote the health benefits of abstaining from food for 12-24 hours. James Clear has written a great article on the subject which you can find here, but the gist of it is that you don’t really enter a true fat-burning state until 12 hours after your last meal. So if you eat something at 9pm, he recommends not eating again until 9am, at least. Working an occasional fast into you life while doing Keto is a great way to make some extra cuts into your weight loss – just make sure, as with everything regarding your health, you talk to your doctor first about whether fasting is a good idea for you.
8. Protein – The Third Macro
Reducing carbs and raising your fat intake is the crux of Keto, but there is another component as well: protein, aka, the 3rd macro. You have to be sure that your protein intake doesn’t get out of control. Foods like skinless chicken breasts and nuts may be low-carb, but they also have a ton of protein, which can throw you out of Ketosis. In general, you want to keep your protein intake per day in line with your fat intake. But if it’s all too much for you, just start by doing “Lazy Keto”, which means limiting your carbs to around 20grams as instructed above, and not worrying about anything else. Once you’ve lost the initial “easy weight”, and your weight loss starts to plateau, then you can look at protein.
9. Ketone Strips
So how do you know if your body has “flipped the switch” and gone into Ketosis? Turns out, there’s a product for that. Ketone strips like the ones below have been used by health care professionals and nutritionists for years to help determine whether someone is in Ketosis:
They are most effective at the beginning of the diet, after 48 hours of restricting carbs to 20g. If you’re in Ketosis, the strips will turn a dark purple color. That’s how you know you’re on the right track, and your body is burning fat. It’s extremely useful and quite fascinating to know what’s going on inside your body and that the diet is working. Sidenote: once you are in ketosis, and you stay in ketosis, you will see less and less purple on the strips. After the first month on the diet, you won’t really need them anymore.
10. Great, I’m Losing Weight. Will I Die Of High Cholesterol?
Great question. The only responsible answer is to consult your doctor before starting Keto. Get your bloodwork done. Find out your starting cholesterol, then see if it shoots up after doing Keto. For many people, it does not. In fact, there are many testimonies online from Keto practitioners who saw their cholesterol actually drop after going on the diet. Then again, the founder of the Atkins diet died of a heart attack and that was a low-carb, high fat diet too. You can read about different people’s experiences with cholesterol while on Keto here. But in the end, there is only one answer, and it must be stressed: see your doctor before starting Keto and get your bloodwork done periodically so you can monitor your cholesterol.
That whole “Dadbod” thing was fun there for a little bit. It seemed, for the briefest moment in time, that the men of the world had convinced the women of the world it was more attractive to be out of shape than it was to be fit. But like any con, the jig couldn’t last. If you’ve put on 10-15 pounds or more since becoming a father, and you’re serious about getting rid of Dadbod for good, consider implementing the Keto diet in your life to help you lose the weight, fast.