Veterans tend to fall off the wagon pretty hard when it comes to fitness. That isn't to say we are universally fat or unfit, it's actually quite the opposite. Most veterans have a level of fitness and capability from our days of service that doesn't quickly fade away.
But many veterans do tend to relax from once-stringent standards once we walk away from the uniform. Relaxing on those standards is often a slippery slope that leads us further and further away from our formerly steel-cut, active-duty body and closer to health problems.
If you're one of the many who have gone from fit to sh*t and you're looking to rebound quickly, don't fret! There's a new kid on the block and he's showing lots of promise. Below, you'll find a few of the absolute best reasons you should give the ketogenic diet a try sooner rather than later.
Also Read: 10 top fitness YouTubers who are Veterans
But first, what is Keto?
The ketogenic diet, at its core, is a high-fat, low-carb diet. That's it. The idea is that by restricting the amount of carbohydrates you consume, you force your body to look for other sources of fuel to burn for energy. This scouring results in your body attacking your stored fat, eventually causing you to drop the pounds.
All the food is the same... but different.
4. You'll get results fast.
Since your body will not have its normal and preferred source of fuel (carbs), you'll drop a considerable amount of water weight very quickly. It isn't uncommon for new keto practitioners to drop six to nine pounds in the first week or two.
Even though most of this drop is pure water weight, you can expect to have a generally slimmer look. All the places that hold water will appear less bloated. Now, don't expect to go from 30 percent body fat to a six pack in a week, but you can definitely expect your clothes to fit better.
Air Force Master Sgt. Lajuan P. Fuller amidst killing another workout.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward)
3. High-fat diets can actually make you much healthier.
When I was first introduced to the keto diet, my knee-jerk reaction was to question how a high-fat diet could actually lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
A ketogenic diet encourages the consumption of healthy fats, otherwise known as high-density lipoproteins. HDL transports cholesterol around the body while simultaneously collecting unused cholesterol and delivering it to the liver for disposal.
HDL is, essentially, the neighborhood watch of your bloodstream.
Unleash the power within.
2. Fat adaptation.
There are a couple of terms you will hear tossed around in the world of keto. Those terms are 'ketosis' and 'fat-adapted.'
Being "in ketosis" means your body is breaking down fatty acids and producing acetoacetate. When you use one of the many tools available to check and see if you're in a ketogenic state, it's looking for acetoacetate in your urine. Your body is looking for alternative fuel sources and, most times, this is when people experience what some call a "ketogenic flu."
Being fat-adapted, on the other hand, means your body has gone without excess carbohydrates long enough to become an efficient machine at using fat as fuel instead of carbs. This is when you no longer feel the adverse affects of a ketogenic diet and your body is ready to use up this new type of fuel. There may times in which you take in enough carbs to exit ketosis (it happens), but it takes more than a single cheat day to undo being fat-adapted.
It sounds similar and, truthfully, it is. The key difference is the efficiency of fat-adaptation over ketosis.
1. Get your best body — and your life — back.
As a veteran, you've been through some sh*t. You've seen some things and experienced some things that have made you forever different. For many of us, it just takes the right motivation to get you rolling — and once you're going, nothing will stop you.
This diet could get you back in the health and fitness game — and that alone makes it worth a look!
Never too late to get that military body back.
(Photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel)