As the middle-age spread creeps in, the keto diet is one way to fight the fat.
Bob Melvin is on the Kato Diet.
Kato, not keto.
“Whenever I’m out to eat with my buddies and they’re waving slices of pizza at me, which I can’t have on the diet, I want to kick them, like Kato, the karate guy from the old Green Hornet TV show,” Melvin joked as we chatted at Weis Markets in Doylestown the other day.
I struck up a conversation with the Furlong resident after he overheard me ask a store employee if they carried any keto-friendly snacks.
“Try the pork rinds,” Melvin suggested. “They’re not Doritos, but they’re pretty good.”
“Have you tried the baked Parmesan crisps?” I asked. “They’re these crispy disks about the size of a quarter. Very low carb. Delicious.”
“Have you tried mixing avocados in with your salad?” he asked.
“Yep,” I said. “I go through a lot of avocados now. Very filling.”
“And who would’ve imagined a diet where you can eat Buffalo wings,” he said.
“And lots of cheese,” I added.
There we were, two 60-somethings talking keto like two old Italian ladies comparing sauce recipes. All that was missing were hair nets, stained aprons, and Jerry Vale on the sound system.
Melvin has followed the popular low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet since the summer. On the keto diet, the absence of carbohydrates and sugar causes the body to go into ketosis, a metabolic state in which it begins using ketones, or fat, as its primary source of energy, burning fat in an incredibly efficient way. The diet also can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Melvin has lost 35 pounds since July. Bad knees and, mostly, middle-age laziness, he confessed, had caused him to become sedentary. He ate pizza, ice cream, potato chips, and Hershey’s kisses routinely at night while watching TV. The pounds packed on. His frustration and waistline grew in lockstep.
“I’m only 61, but I started to feel 81,” he said. “I was tired and sluggish. I was going down a dangerous road. I had to do something. My wife suggested keto.”
Melvin ran a palm down his flattened stomach.
“It’s working,” he said, proudly.
He ran a hand across his hairless scalp.
“Now, if only there was a keto diet to bring this back,” he said, laughing.
Melvin’s middle-age story is a common one and sounded much like mine. As my wife trained for and eventually completed a sprint triathlon, I saluted her achievement by raising a fork full of cheesecake. And lifted spoonfuls of ice cream and lifted slices of pizza as though toasting the comfort food gods. The M&Ms? They stood for more & more. The pounds packed on.
The end of August marked the beginning of keto. I thought of my childhood friend, Rocky, who goes on keto for several months the day after the Super Bowl each year and drops about 35 pounds. Why not, I thought.
Seven weeks later, I’m 17 pounds lighter, and with a bit more to go. My energy level has increased. Clothes are loosening. The additional benefits are almost beyond description.
I returned home from work the other day and peeked into my daughter’s bedroom. She looked me up and down and smiled. “You’re looking great, Dad!” she said. As I was scrambling eggs with sausage and cheese for breakfast this week, our 18-year-old son, who has lost 35 pounds this year by eating smarter and exercising more, put his arm across my shoulders and said, “I’m proud of you, Dad.”
When a father hears such things, he learns something more:
Kleenex is keto friendly.
Columnist Phil Gianficaro can be reached at 215-345-3078, [email protected], and @philgianficaro on Twitter.