James K.

Feb 16, 2018

Get to know him!

Keto Before and After | Weight Loss | James K.
             6 ft 1 in height
            35 years old
           Keto-ing for 12 months
          Started at 255 lbs
            Lost 77.5 lbs so far
            Wants to hit 175 lbs
            Prefers a "Meat Lover" diet

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Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am a Network Engineer with 4 kids. One 6 year-old boy, twin 11 year-old girls, and a 17 year-old girl (yikes!). My hobbies include gaming, traveling, and until starting keto, brewing beer.

Habits & Mindset

What motivated you to try keto?

I lost some weight with caloric restriction and having a supplement shake for breakfast and lunch with chicken and rice for dinner. This worked OK for a while (got down to 200 lbs) but it definitely wasn’t sustainable in the long run. In fact, within a year I had regained 30 lbs, then 20 lbs more in another year.

One day, someone posted a weight loss picture on a subreddit I subscribe to. They mentioned that they were doing keto, which I had never heard of. I checked out the subreddit, read the FAQ and a bunch of posts, and did quite a bit more research. I spent about a week watching presentation videos on keto and reading as many articles as I could find. Then I decided it was time to go for it, and the rest is history.

How often do you cheat on keto?

Almost never. The only time I ‘cheated’ was within the first month. Four months before starting we had purchased tickets to a craft-beer festival and I didn’t want them to go to waste. We decided that instead of the standard 4oz tasting pour, we’d ask for 1oz pours. We got some strange looks from the vendors, but most complied. All total, I had about 16oz of craft beer that day. While I’m not sure of the total carb count, but it didn’t seem to have affected me.

How do you get (back) into ketosis?

I don’t know that I haven’t been in ketosis since I’ve started, but I always try to stay under 20g of carbs per day.

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

In the beginning, I was using MyFitnessPal to help me track everything. After about 4 months I felt like I knew what I was having everyday and just kind of stopped using it for tracking macros. I never used anything to measure my ketones. I just went by the mantra of if you’re under 20 a day, you’re in ketosis.

How supportive were your friends & family when you started?

I didn’t tell everyone I knew that I was doing this. Just some family and close friends. Everyone I told was super supportive. A lot of questions to answer when I told them though :)

Has your weight loss ever stalled?

Definitely. It starts off just dropping so fast that you can sometimes forget that those results aren’t the norm. I knew to expect some stalls though and always looked at it like ‘if I’m not gaining weight, I’m doing it right’. The longest stall I had was about 3 weeks toward the end of my first goal. I fasted for 72 hours one time to see if I could jump start it. It helped a little, but I feel like I would have regained momentum anyway.

What other benefits have you noticed?

Within the first few days of starting I felt amazing. I had so much energy, was thinking clearer, and just generally felt happier. I’m still pretty groggy in the morning and still don’t like waking up, but once I’m up and going, I feel better than I used to. I love not falling asleep at my desk halfway through the day anymore. I rarely take a nap either. Being in better health has also affected my confidence and I feel more friendly and approachable every day.

Did you encounter any obstacles to pursuing keto?

Cooking for the kids has probably been the hardest part. The kids aren’t doing keto. We decided to MAJORLY cut-back on the amount of sugar and needless carbs the kids have. Sometimes it’s hard to not just let them have pizza or something easy, while we have steak (these crazy kids complain when they have steak for dinner!). Eating out, either due to travel or for a night out, can sometimes be difficult as well. Forgetting to ask for no croutons on a salad was a common mistake I had made. But I’ve found that I can always make it work somehow while traveling.

Have you had any side effects to keto?

I managed to avoid the keto flu when starting. I had done a lot of research before starting and did everything to avoid this. I had magnesium and potassium supplements, broth, lite salt, a ton of water, emergency Powerade Zero, and pickle juice just in case. I never got it, but my girlfriend did. She was miserable until she had a Powerade Zero.

The first couple of months made for some interesting bathroom visits. Without going into too much detail, things are going to work differently for a bit until your body adapts. Be ready for changes to frequency and consistency. I’m not much of an athlete, but with the increased energy, I find myself walking around faster, and sometimes get the urge to jog or run. And not to get too personal, but the best side effect — our sex life has improved quite dramatically. :)

Food & Fun

What’s your typical day of eating look like?

On a typical work day, I start off with a Kirkland protein bar (Costco) and coffee for breakfast. Two hard boiled eggs and cheese sticks for lunch, and whatever we’re having for dinner. Weekends and days off, we’ll have a more traditional breakfast with bacon/sausage and eggs. We cook at home 95% of the time now, which is a huge difference from before. It’s less convenient, but so much better.

What’s your favorite home-cooked keto meal?

My favorite meal has to be a ribeye steak and mushrooms sauteed in butter. I have that about two times a week. There’s no real recipe for it. I just season and grill it or over cook and pan sear in the winter. A close second would be Famous Dave’s-style ribs. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have these again because of the brown sugar. But I recently tried them using a different no-carb rub and substituting erythritol for brown sugar. I also found a low carb BBQ sauce recipe that uses stevia. You can use this recipe, but make substitutions where needed.

BBQ Sauce

Add vinegar and all other ingredients, except the mustard, to a saucepan and heat slowly. Put the mustard in a cup and slowly stir in a couple tablespoons of the sauce until it’s blended. Then add the mustard mixture back into the sauce in the pan. Bring to a boil, and lower heat. Let simmer for a few minutes. Let cool and then refrigerate. This sauce will taste a bit peculiar if you taste it while it’s hot. Don’t worry! Something magical happens when it sits in the fridge. Half an ounce contains 1g carbs and 6 calories.


  • 38 cup vinegar
  • 1 12 cup tomato sauce (one 15oz can). Don’t buy a tomato sauce that has spices or flavorings in it!
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 12 tablespoon yellow hot dog mustard
  • 34 tablespoon Franks Hot Sauce
  • 34 tablespoon salt (optional)
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 12 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 6 teaspoons splenda or 18 drops of liquid stevia

What’s your favorite restaurant meal?

Probably steak. It’s something that the majority of restaurants will make, so that helps. I also enjoy trying bunless burgers from all kinds of places as well.

What’s your biggest non-keto temptation?

I have to smell fresh popcorn from the snack shop at work everyday and that gets a little tough. But I just remind myself that all I really want is the salt and butter and the craving goes away. I do enjoy ice cream as well. I should’ve bought stock in Halo Top. I usually have some every night, but make sure I’m still under 20g of carbs a day when I have it. The one thing I really miss having is beer. I was a big craft beer enthusiast before starting Keto. And while it’s difficult, there have been a few times that I’ve allowed myself to have one. I just make sure to have 0 carbs for the rest of the day.

Anything else you’d like your readers to know?

Keto works! Just stick it out, don’t cheat, and the results will come. I’ve been on it for one year now, but I was down to my original goal weight (180) within 7 months. The longer you’re on it, the easier it gets. Your cravings will subside and then change. I don’t even think about bread anymore. And some substitutions are better than the original (looking at you, fathead pizza). If you stick with it, you’ll see results, feel better, and start to prefer eating this way.