Calculate my ketogenic macros! Is calorie counting still necessary to lose weight?
3 more days until I deliver my baby boy, and I am already planning my post partem recovery when I get out of the hospital. 3 main goals:
- Recover from surgery as fast as possible while staying fit coping with a newborn!
- Get back in shape as fast as possible! Not that I am back to Ms. Chubby but I want to fit in my old clothes!
- …. but take in sufficient nutrients in order to produce the healthiest breastmilk for my baby!
As far as the first point is concerned, I intend to start moving as early as I can in order to speed up the healing. I will continue with my high fat/moderate protein/low-moderate carbohydrate diet, which should support this process. The doctor says I need 5 weeks of rest, but I don’t think that is necessary. I will be at the hospital for 4 days so let’s see if I can start walking around the ward a bit already (or I will be crying in bed!).
For the breastmilk, I want to follow the instruction by Dr Lana Asprey, who has written a book ‘the better baby book.’ She recommends eating lots of healthy fats breast milk is 50% fat by calorie, with half of that being saturated fat. Approximately 18% of the saturated fats are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which is what I have been taking in my Bulletproof Matcha/Coffee. So here is the daily list of food I should eat to make me into a milk making machine!
- Two raw egg yolks
- One serving of krill oil capsules
- 2 TBSP of cold-pressed walnut, almond, or nut oil for omega-3
- 3-4 TBSP of coconut cream, meat, or oil, or a MCT oil
- Plenty of full-fat butter produced exclusively from 100% grass-fed cows
- 5 TBSP of cold-pressed olive oil (for no more than 7g of omega-6)
At first I was a bit disgusted but then I realised, apart from 2 raw egg yolks, I have been eating this much fat every day so it should not be a problem. I am a bit scared of eating raw egg yolks but if I eat it with grape seeds extract, it should disinfect that I guess! May be I can eat on top of white rice like I used to LOVE at my grandmother’s. With a bit of soy sauce….. yum!!!!
So…. the hardest bits. How much can I eat to lose body fat efficiently so that I can be lean again? I want my abs to be ripped!!!! and my butt to to look lifted and tight! Yeah!!! But it is challenging because I never worked on reducing body fat using the ketogenic approach. The first two months I will only be able to do light to moderate intensity of workouts because of the C-section so I need to rely on the nutrition quite heavily.
The key to success seems to depend on 3 factors factors:
- To find the optimal amount of fat to eat
- To find the optimal amount of carbohydrate to eat
- To find out the optimal frequency of carb refeed to maintain a good hormonal balance
Yeah yeah I know, some of the Bulletproof believers say calorie counting is a waste of time but I think it is still a great thing to do if you are serious about looking better than average and become physically stronger. I remember reading something about the ideal body fat % for women and men…. it must be Dave Asprey himself in his blog or in his book…. he said, 15% for men and 27% (or 25%?) for women would be optimal. Excuse me, but even 25% – jesus, for me that is too much. I’ve had that kind of body fat for many years and it made me feel horrible. 15% for men is fine, he is not ripped but he would look good. But above 25% – size 42 may be, is too much for me.
Please do not get me wrong, Beyonce looks amazing and I love her curve. Many women look incredible with rounded shapes. I just enjoyed being a better athlete, and for this, I’d rather have more muscle mass than fat. Again, it is all up to what people are looking for in their life.
I still do not know exactly how my body composition has changed during the pregnancy, but I think I would like to wait for a month until my body has eliminated all the excess water and the level of blood has returned to normal. Then I would love to go under the DEXA Scan and find out the exact body fat % and take it from there. I have also ordered the second generation Skulpt, a portable device for measuring body fat % & muscle quality on many parts of your body. It should give me some idea of where I will be. Oh god, I wonder how much muscles I have lost!
I guess the first step is to get my body to be keto-adapted, i.e. my body can use fat as a fuel. This is easy, just keep the carb level relatively low. I can use a ketostix every day to see if my body is producing excess ketones. I could introduce the cyclic routine where I would re-feed carb every 3 days or so. But one thing I was never sure about was the macronutrients of the ketogenic diet. Then I saw this chart and made a perfect sense to me. You have to consider your own fat to be burnt as part of the daily calorie intake if you want to loose fat!!!
I see many people complaining that they have reached their plateau with the ketogenic diet and cannot shake off the last pounds. Dave Asprey says, when you follow his Bulletproof Diet, you can eat as much as you want and you will lose weight and get six packs. He even says exercise is overrated and there is no need to do it every day – many people just assume that oh that is great, I do that and I will get a six like Dave does.
If you read the book carefully, he talks about 1-3 times a week of weight lifting on top of the interval training. But each workout, even if it is done within 20 minutes, must be EXTREMELY HIGH INTENSITY workout. I wonder how many people really do that. This means, each movement up to the point of muscle failure. You should be sweating a lot, your muscles are shaking. All your glycogens are used up in these exercises.
So, if you are doing quasi workouts which only require a little energy, and you are filling yourself up, then of course you don’t lose weight beyond certain point. eating too much than the body is burning, i.e. not losing weight or fat. Or you are somehow settling into the comfort zone but in their mind, they need to lose more weight – by still eating as much as they feel like it.
I’ve only done the moderate, not too strict high fat / low-moderate carb diet during the pregnancy but one thing I can say is this. I never had to intentionally add SO MUCH FAT to my diet. I still consumed high amount of fat without going crazy by drinking fat water and stuff like that. I prefer eating whole food which contains good fat rather than pouring fat all over my meal. Once I made cupcakes based on the recipe suggested by Dave Asprey in his book, they just made me sick. The muffins were literally swimming in the ocean of butter. Yikes.
In any case, during the first stage of losing body fat, you need to make sure that your fat is part of the energy ‘intake’ – I think this is where people misunderstand. To better illustrate this point, Dr Steve Phinney made a great slide in his recent presentation.
So I just need to figure out how much of fat I could take in…. I really don’t know how much body fat my body is able to burn. I guess you just have to observe carefully every week and make adjustments.
There are many ketogenic macro calculator on the net so I was playing around with it. Assuming that my post partem weight is 62kg and body fat % is 20% (I probably have less but better to assume more!), with daily ‘exercise’ (expressing breastmilk and very light exercises), I would probably burn 600 kcal a day. My BMR (basal metabolic rate) + Thermic Effect of Food would be 1585 kcal a day.
So the total energy expenditure of this weight is 2661 kcal. Considering 20% calorie deficit to achieve the weight loss, 2129 kcal a day would help me to lose weight.
So my provisional macro should be:
|2129||kcal Daily Calorie Intake|
|50||g Net Carbs (9%, 200 kcal)|
|87||g Protein (16%, 350 kcal)|
|175||g Fat (74%, 1579 kcal)|
But I would like to break down the fat a bit more:
175g fat: may be 5-10% should come from my own fat. 9-18g. Let’s say I will start by ‘donating’ 10g of my own fat to be fed to myself (!?!?!?)
This would leave: 165g fat to be divided into whole food fat and added fat. Hmmm I hate details. Let’s say:
- Whole food fat: 125 g
- Added fat: 40g
By the way, added fat means fat which comes from things like NUTS, DAIRY and OIL. Oh damn. This means I need to refrain myself from eating my favourite pili nuts? Fat contents of my favourite non whole food fat include:
- Grass-fed milk kefir home made with strained whey (120g): 11.3g
- Home made bean-to-bar chocolate (20g): 5.8g
- Pili nuts (30g): 11.6g
- Ghee (2 TBSP): 15g – from Bulletproof matcha/coffee
Oooooopsie, that’s already over 40g! I did not add MCT oil to this but if it is metabolised immediately as an energy…. then may be I could ignore that!
But eating 125g of whole food fat is pretty demanding though. My typical daily intake of whole food fat has been something like:
- 200g grass fed ribeye steak: 30g fat
- 200g wild salmon: 12.7g fat
- egg yolk: 4.5g fat
So even if I eat 2 egg yolks, that is totally 51.7g!!! If I increase the amount of steak to 400g, then I am reaching this limit a bit more. I could manage 300g of salmon… but egg yolk, not really. May be in the form of mayonnaise, custard pudding, ice cream… This is a bit impossible for me 🙁
This means I need to make an adjustment with this a bit. The more whole food fat I can eat, the better. But if not, just take it from things like kefir or nuts. It won’t kill me for sure!
Oh well. This is just some details. Let’s see how it goes!!!