Tag Archives: muscle

My keto transformation

One of the reasons I started living a ketogenic lifestyle was because I was tired of being ashamed of the textbook picture of medication-induced gynecomastia that my chest had morphed into since being diagnosed with heart disease.  I was also very disturbed by the science and data on the effects/progression of hormonal imbalances and how this relates to fat depsosition and how it affects the progression of heart disease. Being a pretty heavy guy before my heart failure diagnosis, (6’2” 240#), I carried a solid/strong chest with only a small amount of flab on it. However, in the years following that heart failure diagnosis, the ratio of muscle to flab drastically upended, replacing most of the muscle with toxic visceral/subcutaneous adipose tissue, effecivly taking away my manly looking chest and leaving me instead with breasts that resembled more of a woman than a man. Some of the heart medication(s) I had been prescribed, coupled with the inactivity brought about by my failing heart and the advice I had been given by the doctors had set the up the perfect hormonal storm and ultimately transformed my chest into something I was embarrassed about.

Fatty/flabby male breast tissue and fatty abdominal tissue is a sure sign of metabolic/hormonal problems/distress, and is not just a sign of normal aging like so many men my age want to believe. For someone like myself who is diagnosed with heart failure, shedding that fat is one of the biggest things within my personal power to accomplish that will result in better chances of living a long, healthy life…

Interestingly, 5 years of rigorously following a plant-based diet did not produce favorable results in this area despite all the anecdotal data I had read saying otherwise. I did, in fact, lose a ton of weight after switching to a plant-based diet. In fact. I lost over 100 pounds, going from 280 pounds at my heaviest, (this was what I maxed out at while being conventionally treated for heart disease with 13 medications by the doctor), all the way down to 169 pounds. But guess what…? That abdominal fat didn’t budge an inch, so at the end of that weight loss journey, I ended up a 169 pound “skinny fat” weakling that still had the breasts of a girl. I worked out with a personal trainer for the better part of a year at one point, working in the gym really hard, but fighting for every small gain made. I did get stronger, but nowhere near my pre-heart attack strength levels and the toxic fat remained. So much for a hard chiseled looking body from eating a plant-based diet…

During that 5-year plant-based diet experiment I also got very busy getting some cardio in. According to mainstream dogma at the time, if I ran far enough, I would lose that toxic abdominal/breast fat no matter my diet. So, I got busy and made running my life.  At first, I couldn’t even get through a mile without stopping to rest, but I was determined to stick with it, and in a matter of a few years I had worked my way up to running 26.2 miles, even stepping up to the 50K distance on rugged/steep trails a few times. I ran every chance I had and even went as far as hiring a running coach and nutritionist to see my goals through, but despite running well over 1000 miles a year throughout a five year period along with eatingonly so-called healthy plant food choices, the fat not only remained, it was getting worst.

Thankfully for me, during that time I never stopped researching/reading about heart-healthy lifestyles and the keto science that was slowly emerging on the scene kept my interest peaked, but it wasn’t until after I had been following an organic whole foods plant-based diet for the better part of 5 years before I decided enough was enough and followed suit. So after 5 years of following a plant-based diet, I took the keto plunge… From a low-fat high carb diet, to a high-fat low carb diet, I got busy changing my life again…

The 1.5 years that have passed since making the keto transition have been very rewarding. My results speak for themselves and are nothing short of astonishing, surpassing anything I previously would have even thought possible for this well used 52-year-old body and the results just keep coming. At the start of keto, I weighed 210 pounds, and wore a 34-inch waist pant snuggly. One look at my chest at that point and gynecomastia would have come to mind. My chest contained breasts that were saggy/pointy and frankly probably should have been in a bra at that point. My overall body composition despite all the running and plant food, was slowly becoming that of a marshmallow. Within a few months of switching to a keto diet all that started to change… Slowly at first, but accelerating as I went along, to the point of where I am today, and the results keep rolling in.

Today I need a belt to keep my size 32-inch pants from revealing any “plumbers crack” despite the fact my weight has increased to 215. The amount of physical strength I have gained this past year is incredible and nowhere is this more evident than my work in construction or the gym. At this point, my strength is the strongest its been in this lifetime. Those once embarrassing saggy/flabby breasts no longer resemble that of a woman, and the dangerous/toxic fat around my midsection has regressed to the level it was in my 20’s, as it continues melting away leaving a hard lean body composition in its place.

While my body has been changing to a much harder composition, my mind has gone from a semi-depressed state living in a perpetual fog, to one that’s highly focused with the brightest of clarity.  Positive emotions sometimes bordering on euphoric is now my brain’s default, completely replacing the anxiety and depression that once completely consumed me.  A plant-based diet did not have this effect on my mental health. In no time during my life have I experienced mental sharpness/clarity/focus like what I am experiencing today on keto. At this point, depression and anxiety are just bad memories. Keto is better then any of the anti-depressants I was once prescribed.

So many good things have happened since I took the keto plunge. I will be writing about more realized benefits soon, so stay tuned, but before signing off, let me leave you with one more keto benefit I am enjoying… NO HUNGER… That’s right… No longer hungry/hangry if I miss a meal. Going all day without eating is now very easy… No crash or bad cravings required. Just steady focus and energy that remains constant throughout a busy day. The benefits of intermittent fasting are numerous and discussed in-depth throughout the scientific literature.  Intermittent fasting feels easy and natural when in ketosis. Who wouldn’t like to eat less and workout less, while gaining a harder, more muscular body composition without being hungry/hangry or tired…? Keto makes it easy…