Back in 1996 I told a bodybuilder friend/mentor whom I really looked up to about this new diet I was following.
“You eat zero carbs but lots of fat and it tricks your body into surrendering bodyfat while sparing muscle.”
My mentor wasn’t too impressed.
“Oh yeah, THAT diet. Again.”
“No, this diet is NEW and totally cutting edge. You also get to stuff your face with carbs on the weekend, and your body is so insulin sensitive and depleted it soaks up all those carbs like a sponge.
So you like, get lean throughout the week and then get full and vascular on the weekend.
You even get to pee on keto strips. So it’s fun too!”
But he had already lost interest, while I became obsessed.
I bought every book I could related to what we now call “ketogenic dieting.”
I looked for everything I could about The Metabolic Diet, and it’s earlier permutation The Anabolic Diet, and everything I could find (this was pre-internet) on Dr. Walter Bloom and the “fish & water” diet. And of course, the classic BodyOpus by Dan Duchaine.
But I didn’t just read, I applied it. For years I experimented with different tweaks and techniques and potential “hacks” to lower my insulin signal and then trigger a massive anabolic rebound.
I might’ve been natural, 170 pounds, and woefully ignorant… but I KNEW from the magazines that “anabolic” meant stupid dope gains with a capital G.
And… I made next to no progress. Lean, yes, but also small and soft and totally unsatisfied.
By the time 2000 came around I finally realized that there was a reason most experienced bodybuilders abandoned this plan (unless they were very experienced and/or had a near impossible deadline) and instead ate, well… normally: lots of lean protein and veggies and plenty of carbs to support training and actually build mass.
I fell for a cutting edge gimmick. Lesson learned.
Since then, I’ve seen keto dieting come and go at least three times and it’s always the same sales schtick: a physiological trick that doctors don’t want you to know about because they want you to be sick and fat and on a litany of medications.
In hindsight, I can see how moronic it is AND how gullible I was. But it was something I had to try—and fall for—before I could really grasp how dumb it is for 99% of the population.
That’s why I don’t attack people who try fad diets or bounce from gimmick to gimmick.
I know what they’re going through because I’ve been there. The right way is boring and tedious and not very easy. It also seems to take forever. Who wouldn’t want a shortcut?
Even if we ALL know, in the back of our mind, that if there really was a magical diet that made fat loss quick and easy, the best athletes and coaches in the world would already be following it.
The well-known saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” gets forgotten in the fitness matrix.
And perhaps it always will. Maybe avoiding gimmick diets is one of those painful lessons we all need to learn for ourselves?
So go for it. Enjoy the gimmick diet merry-go-round. I won’t judge.
I’ll be here when you’ve had enough of moving in circles.