Jonathan J.

Get to know him!

Keto Before and After | Weight Loss | Jonathan J.
  •      5 ft 10 in height
  •      Male
  •      25 years old
  •      Keto-ing for 26 months
  •      Started at 317 lbs
  •      Lost 91 lbs so far
  •      Wants to hit 180 lbs
  •      Prefers a “Meat Lover” diet

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m a beach-loving gamer, who enjoys spending time with a controller in my hand, taking walks and dancing/singing. I’m a software engineer by day and a professional car dancer/singer anytime music is playing in the car.
Habits & Mindset

What motivated you to try keto?

I’ve been obsese for most of my life. It was easier to get away with this in high school because I played football. But once I graduated and had a desk job, the lack of activity only made things worse.

I was 23 when I started to want to make a change. I thought that if, perhaps, I started to exercise I could work the weight off but that didn’t work. I was taking 3 mile walks or doing 2AM gym sessions and still going up a pound the next day, nothing could be more demotivating.

I then tried a shake diet, which was recommended by a family member and was able to lose 10 lbs initially. But it was counter to how I naturally eat. I joke that I would drink my protein shake and want to chase it with a burger because I was still hungry.

The tipping point was when I was 25 years old, just moved into a new apartment and laying in bed. I hadn’t told my family, but I’d felt a sharp pain in my heart once or twice recently. I laid in bed and my hip was aching from the pressure of my weight. When I’d exercise, my feet and legs would ache for days. I was so heavy that my body was hurting just from basic day-to-day things. I knew I had to make a change.

A few friends had a lot of diet advice and success. I first looked at paleo, which sounded great until I read a post on keto. Once I found the keto subreddit and read about a bacon burger cooked in butter possibly contributing to weight loss, I was sold.

How often do you cheat on keto?

I’ve come to the conclusion that success with keto doesn’t mean never saying no to cheat days. It just means saying no to cheat days a good bit more than you say yes to them.

I go through phases. I can go a month without cheating, then have a cheat day or two and then go for another month. With that said, I have found that the summer is great for weight loss for me as it’s warmer outside and meat is classic BBQ food. The winter is when I really struggle with cheating. Last year I put on 25 lbs before losing it again in the spring.

My general rule of thumb is if I can go three weeks without cheating, then I give myself a cheat day. You naturally develop a rhythym once you see progress.

I also do more caloric cheat days versus eat-whatever-I-want carby cheat days. My point is that you should learn your body. I can attest that it’s not one carby meal that gets you to 300+ lbs. It’s not even a week of them. It’s lots of consecutive calorie-dense meals that took me there.

How do you get (back) into ketosis?

Whenever I re-enter ketosis, I do a grocery trip. Originally, I was cooking all my meals, but when I get home from work I’m typically pretty tired. So I began purchasing Atkins meals and eat them within general keto guidelines. I’ll grab a week’s worth of meals and Atkins treats and will only eat what I have in my fridge. Sometimes I eat fast food keto-acceptable meals I’ve discovered. I do intermittent fasting twice a week as well, which has helped my progress significantly.

Do you track your weight/ketones/blood glucose/macros or anything else?

I’ve been tracking my weight using Happy Scale for the past 2 years and wrote to the developer at one point to which he responded and I really appreciated that. Weighing myself every day has its up and downs, but the app does a great job of displaying the trends and projections.

I don’t track ketones or blood glucose, but I do watch my carb intake. I’m casually aware of my protein. I have a hard limit of 30 grams net carbs during my first two weeks, and then increase it to 50 grams after that. I rarely approach this limit.

How supportive were your friends & family when you started?

Everyone was really supportive, mainly because I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I didn’t want the shame of not losing weight if Keto didn’t work. The first 30 lbs I lost, I didn’t feel like I could see until the owner of the company (a funny, but critical Canadian) said to me, ‘So you’ve lost like a ton of weight, eh?’. That’s how I knew I was on the right track.

My family is generally pretty supportive except during the holidays. Otherwise, they’ve all been really positive. In fact, two of my sisters began their own weight loss journeys since I began mine. My youngest sister is actually exploring keto herself and has lost about 30 lbs.

Has your weight loss ever stalled?

Absolutely. Plateaus happen. They happen when you do things wrong, they happen when you do things right. I’ve had cheat days and seen the scale drop the next day. I’ve had textbook keto days where I felt I should win a low carb trophy and seen my scale go up. Plateaus are just a part of weight loss.

I’ve broken stalls a few ways. One stall was caused when I first started keto and was eating a lot of carrots. I removed carrots from my diet and the weight loss resumed. I’ve also had times where I wasn’t drinking enough water and so my insides weren’t being flushed properly. Increasing my water intake fixed that. Lastly, I’ve had a week or two where the scale didn’t budge and I decided to have a cheat day pizza or burrito, after which I immediately began inducing ketosis. Once the water weight came back and dissipated, my progress resumed.

Again, plateaus will happen. They are possibly the most demoralizing part of weight loss. But if you can embrace the laws of calories-in/calories-out on top of your keto knowledge, you know that your body is working on getting rid of that weight. It’s just not showing up on the scale quite yet.

What other benefits have you noticed?

I feel like I took the drug from [Limitless]( when in ketosis. I am just ever so slightly sharper and more decisive in everything, especially work. When I was eating a carb-rich diet, I had an eternal brain fog and that’s all but gone now.

The worst side effect of keto is that I no longer need naps. I used to cycle between work, eating and sleep, always feeling like I didn’t have enough time in the day. When I’m in ketosis, I’m either on and awake, or completely off and asleep. I had a really hard time getting up for work before, but now I can beat my alarm. My body seems to react more quickly to any changes I make.

I hate to say that keto is magic, but sometimes it feels like it.

Did you encounter any obstacles to pursuing keto?

The biggest obstacle for me is that if I’m going to maintain my ketosis, I have to pre-plan everything. The moment I give myself too much space to waver, is the moment I end up cheating unintentionally and halting my weight loss progress. So pre-planning what I’m eating is an every morning thing. The Atkins meals make it a bit easier. Between work and home I pass dozens of carby restaurants, so the less wiggle room I have, the better.

Have you had any side effects to keto?

I now have the bladder of a six year old. I use the restroom a lot and the one bad thing about the Atkins treats is the way they act like laxatives for me. I use the restroom much more now.

Initially, I had keto breath but either it’s improved or I’ve gotten used to it and anyone I’ve recently kissed is being very polite about my breath.
Food & Fun

What’s your typical day of eating look like?

I typically start with an Atkins bacon or sausage scramble and two sugar free jello cups. For lunch, I usually have an Atkins lunch, two more jello cups, and an Atkins treat. For dinner, I usually have an Atkins dinner, an Atkins treat. Or I’ll have of my regular keto fast food places like Wingstop.

I drink water constantly. My coworkers laugh at the mini-jug I lug around all day to sip from. I’ll occasionally buy Perrier water as well.

What’s your favorite home-cooked keto meal?

I’m a sucker for a good burger. So give me a good half pound of ground beef, romaine lettuce, cheese, mustard, & mayo and I’m in my happy place for a while. Not quite enough to qualify for the beef and butter fast diet, but the condiments give it a bit more flavour!

What’s your favorite restaurant meal?

My go-to meal is the traditional garlic parmesan wings (bone-in) at Wingstop. Sometimes I also get lemon pepper or mild sauce, but garlic parmesan is my staple.

What’s your biggest non-keto temptation?

Pizza and I are good friends and it was by far the hardest thing for me to adjust to on Keto. It’s my favorite cheatday food outside of an In-N-Out burger.

Anything else you’d like your readers to know?

Be persistent and know that discipline will carry you when your motivation fails you. The number of days I didn’t want to stick to low carb, yet I stuck to it, are numerous. One of my favorite quotes is ‘It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it’.