A plate of salad and meat, the perfect ketogenic meal

 

Interview with Tim About His Successful Keto Way of Life

 

The Keto Way of Life Is My Lifestyle

 

 

In my previous article «What Is the Ketogenic Diet and How Does It Work» you learned about how this diet works and its wonderful health benefits.

This week, I have had the opportunity to talk to Tim Frese, Switzerland, a passionate keto enthusiast. In this interview, he shares his experiences following the keto diet in daily life.

 

 

 

Pernilla: What was your motivation to start with the keto diet?

Tim: I wanted to lose weight because I didn’t feel well with my 10 kilos (22 pounds) too much. As I’m a tall person, most people didn’t notice these extra kilos, but I felt them and noticed them every time I looked in the mirror. I always worked out and I was always careful with what I ate and restricting myself from eating desserts etc;  still, I wasn’t losing weight. I had had enough and also wanted to get rid of the bloating in my stomach and for instance, the blood sugar dips after lunch.

 

Pernilla: Have you tried other diets before? If yes, which ones?

Tim: About 10 years ago I tried the Atkins Diet, which is very similar to the Keto Diet. You pretty much follow the same principles as in the initial phase. While the keto diet stays the same, the Atkins diet gradually allows more and more carbohydrates in the following phases.

With Atkins diet, I also lost around 10 kilos (22 pounds), but when adding carbohydrates gradually, the weight loss slowed down. At that time I was young and wanted to fit in. For that reason, it was rather difficult to say no when my friends drank beer or went out to eat pizza. In the end, this stopped me following the diet.

Some years later I tried the calorie counting method. With this diet, you can eat all kinds of food, but you may not exceed a certain amount of calories per day, and you should avoid sweets and fat. It was initially successful in that I lost weight, however, it wasn’t sustainable for a longer period of time. As soon as I started eating ‘normally’ again, I slowly gained the weight back.

 

Pernilla: What convinced you to choose the keto diet?

Tim: Last year, 2017, I decided to do something about my weight. I first thought about following the Atkins Diet again. While doing some research on the internet I came upon the keto diet. It sounded really good as it was similar to the Atkins diet, where I had achieved a great weight loss, but even better as a long-term sustainable solution.

 

Pernilla: For how long have you been following the keto diet now?

Tim: I started the diet in August 2017, so I have been following this way of eating consequently for about 9 months now. It feels really good, I’m very satisfied with the result and I, for now, I can’t imagine giving up the keto lifestyle.

A scale and tape measure, the perfect tools for checking weight loss

 

Pernilla: How do you feel now after having lived on the Keto Diet for some time? Have you noticed any physical and/or mental changes?

Tim: I have lost 9 kilos (20 pounds) overweight and I feel so much more energized compared with before starting the keto diet.
My blood sugar level is stabilized and therefore I don’t have the typical tiredness I used to have before after having a meal.
My sleep has always been good, but I’ve noticed that I’ve got a healthier sleep rhythm now – I wake up earlier and I get tired earlier in the evening.
The mental clarity has improved significantly. I can stay concentrated on my tasks much better and don’t feel foggy in my brain anymore.

 

Pernilla: Do you strictly follow the keto diet, or do you do any exceptions?

Tim: Yes, I do follow the diet strictly at all times, because then my blood sugar level stays stable and I don’t risk getting the food cravings again. If I would do exceptions and eat food containing sugar, wheat or grains then my body would turn off the fat burning mode and get unbalanced, while suddenly getting the fast energy out of sugar. Going in and out of Keto would only produce stress for body and mind.

There is the possibility of doing a vegetarian or a vegan variation of the keto diet, but I like meat an eggs too much to do that.

 

Pernilla: What about your family? Do they also follow the Keto Diet? How about the children?

Tim: My wife and our two small children, 1 and 3 years old, also eat the keto food, but they do not follow it as strictly as I do. They still eat bread, pasta, rice, all kinds of vegetables and fruits.
Both my wife and I find it very important to eat natural foods and we do avoid all kind of processed food and sweets. We never eat non-fat or low-fat products because these contain too much sugar, which makes the blood sugar level go up and down and promotes sugar cravings.

Children can follow the keto diet because it is a very nutritious and healthy diet. But, since it also suppresses hunger, it might be difficult for them to eat enough. Because children need to grow, they should not eat at a calorie deficiency. For this reason, we also give our children bread, pasta, honey and fruits as these foods still are healthy eaten in moderate amounts.

 

Pernilla: Is it difficult to be the only one in the family to follow the strict keto diet?

Tim: No, it is not. I feel very well eating this way, and I don’t get cravings when seeing my family eating bread, spaghetti or bananas. I just leave the side dishes be and eat the keto friendly food like meat and vegetables.

 

Pernilla: How did you do the diet change? Did you put it into practice step by step or did you let go of all your old eating habits at once?

Tim: I did let go of my old eating habits at once and started eating low carb. Seeing the numbers on the scales (in the beginning, you tend to lose a lot of water weight) were very motivating.

 

Pernilla: How long did it take for you to adjust to the Keto Diet?

Tim: It took about 2 weeks for me to adjust to the strict keto diet. The body has to get used to not getting the fast energy out of sugar and instead out of burning fat.
It does need some willpower to overcome this period, but as I lost 2 kilos already within the first week I got very motivated and kept going with the diet despite the side effects.

 

Pernilla: You mentioned that you experienced some side effects during the initial phase. What kind of side effects and how did you feel?

Tim: Yes, I got the so-called keto-flu. It is not the real flu, but it feels like that. I got headaches, and I felt weak and tired. During this time I also had a craving for carbs, like bread, potatoes, and fruits. But as I just said I could handle it as I saw the quick result on the scales. It also helped that I knew about the keto-flu before I started the diet and was mentally prepared for what may come.

The keto-flu feels like having the real flu

 

Pernilla: What did you do to overcome the keto-flu?

Tim: At the time I didn’t really do anything special except just soldiering on. What I know now is that electrolytes are very important. The keto diet changes the way the body handles electrolytes and water. Because of this, it can be very easy to experience electrolyte imbalances, especially in the beginning. This might mean that you need to eat foods that are high in magnesium like chocolate (100% cacao) or potassium (avocado) or that one would need to take some supplements. Sodium is also very important. I want to mention that it is very important to eat enough salt when doing the keto diet, not only in the initial phase. Eating keto means eating natural foods and there is no added salt in natural foods like it is in processed food. Depending on your activity level etc, it can be recommended to have a daily intake of 3 to 4 teaspoons of salt.

 

Pernilla: Do you have to take any supplements? If yes, why and what kind of supplements?

Tim: I only take a magnesium supplement. Although magnesium can be found in a lot of keto-friendly foods like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish etc, I still find that I don’t get enough of it.

 

Pernilla: So when on keto diet the body gets the energy from fat instead of sugar – this state is called being in ketosis. Do you have to do something special to reach ketosis, to make the body change its way of getting energy?

Tim: No, the only thing you have to do is to eat the recommended keto food. Simply put: when we stop eating carbs and we get our main fuel from fat, the liver starts producing ketones out of the fat automatically.

 

Olive oil is a healthy fat - perfect ketogenic food
Avocado is a healthy fat - perfect ketogenic food
Real butter, the perfect ketogenic food

 

Pernilla: I’ve heard there are measuring devices for checking the ketosis level? Do you use such a device?

Tim: No, for me it isn’t necessary. When eating the right food, the body automatically gets in the state of ketosis. It might be good for some people that are insecure if they are doing it ‘the right way’ to measure their ketone levels in the beginning. But it’s not a necessity and I believe it’s just a way to make money for some people.

 

Pernilla: What do you eat when following the Keto Diet?

Tim: I basically eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, salads, nuts and seeds and added fats like butter, olive, and coconut oil.

Eggs are very healthy and you may eat as many as you want, that’s good because I love eggs. There is this common question I get asked a lot – don’t eggs increase your cholesterol level. First cholesterol is a very important part of the body. When we eat cholesterol-rich foods, the body regulates the cholesterol level – the liver starts to reduce its own cholesterol production.

 

Pernilla: Can you make some examples of what dishes you eat? 

Tim:

Breakfast
4 Eggs fried in butter with bacon or salmon
or chia pudding

Lunch
Meat and a salad

Dinner
Fish and grilled vegetables

 

Eggs are the ideal ketogenic food
Meat and vegetables, excellent ketogenic food
Salmon is very healthy, the perfect fat source

 

 

Pernilla: Wasn’t it hard stop eating carbohydrates like pasta, rice, and bread?

Tim: No, it wasn’t as I anyhow don’t like pasta and rice that much. The hardest thing for me was to do without bread and to make sure I plan on going out since just grabbing a sandwich at a gas station is no longer an option.

When eating enough proteins like meat and eggs, and enough fat, like olive oil, butter, and cream, I feel satisfied and I can control myself and don’t get any cravings for carbs.

 

Pernilla: Don’t you miss eating fruit?

Tim: No, I really don’t miss eating fruit. When eating keto, you also stop craving other types of foods. I do eat berries like for example blackberries and raspberries. That’s OK as these are very low-carb.

 

Pernilla: How long did it take until you lost cravings for sugar?

Tim: Already in the initial phase. After the first two weeks on keto, I didn’t feel like eating foods containing sugar. The desire to eat sugar can be aroused by only eating a tiny piece of cake. Therefore I rather leave it be.

 

Pernilla: Can you use sweeteners, like stevia, erythritol or artificial sweeteners when on a keto diet?

Tim: Yes, you can. Stevia and erythritol are the best ones to use. I personally like erythritol the best because of the taste and the sugar like consistency.

Sweets are a no-go in the ketogenic diet

 

Pernilla: Do you eat desserts and if yes, what kind of dessert and how often?

Tim: Yes, I do eat desserts like for example keto friendly cakes or cookies on the weekends.

They may not contain any wheat, grain or sugar. I use coconut flour and almond flour instead of wheat flour and erythritol as a sweetener instead of sugar or honey. The internet and especially youtube are a real help when looking for keto recipes.

 

Pernilla: How many meals per day do you eat now on the keto diet? Do you eat fewer meals compared to before?

Tim: Before I used to snack between the meals. Now I have enough when eating the 3 main meals per day.

Many people who do the keto diet, eat only 2 meals or even 1 meal a day. For the moment it is not an option for me because I would miss the time eating together with my family and work colleagues and it would give me more stress than it would do me good.

 

Pernilla: Do you eat smaller portions of food with the keto diet?

Tim: I eat more meat than before, but generally, I eat fewer calories because protein and fat make me feel more sated and I don’t need to snack in between anymore.

 

Pernilla: How long did it take to get used to the planning and the cooking of keto diet meals? To learn what to eat?

Tim: It didn’t take long at all as we used to eat natural foods already before I started the diet. Now I leave the carbs be and eat more meat or fish and vegetables instead.

 

Pernilla: When following the strict keto diet you should not eat too much protein as the excess protein in the body converts to glucose. That means that you should not eat more than 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Do you check exactly how much meat, fish or eggs you can eat per day?

Tim: That’s a generalization. The amount of protein someone needs to eat depends on their activity level and on what their goals are (could be weight loss, but also muscle gain). I do track my macros with an app on my cell phone. Not daily but every now and then to get an idea what I should and can eat.

 

Pernilla: How do you plan the meals throughout the week? Do you go grocery shopping once a week?

Tim: No, I don’t plan that very much. Once a week we go to the groceries and we just buy enough natural foods for the whole family. We buy lots of fresh vegetables, fresh meat and fish, eggs and high-fat dairy products.

 

At the workplace
At the restaurant
Vacation at the beach

 

Pernilla: How do you do at your workplace?

Tim: Sometimes I take something with me from home, but mostly I go to the shopping center nearby and buy a meal at a Take-Away counter. I ask them to leave out the rice or pasta and to give me some more vegetables. Another thing I do is to buy a salad and maybe add an avocado for instance.

 

Pernilla: What do you do when visiting a restaurant?

Tim: That’s not a problem at all. At restaurants, I can have a good piece of meat or fish and add a side of spinach for instance. If there are set menus, I can always ask to leave out the carbs and give me some salad or more vegetables.

 

Pernilla: If you are invited to a birthday party, with dinner and cake, what do you do?

Tim: It’s a bit more tricky. Often I can ‘warn’ the host in advance that I don’t eat any carbs and that I’ll just leave the side dishes be and that I don’t eat any sweets at all. As time goes on, more people are used to me eating this way and they don’t get offended when I turn down the cake for instance.

 

Pernilla: For the holidays, isn’t it difficult to follow the keto diet when staying away from home?

Tim: It isn’t easy at all times, that’s true. Mostly it works out well, but it needs some planning in advance. I always take some coconut flakes and nuts, like macadamias and also chocolate with 100% cacao with me. In that case, I always have something should I get hungry and there is no keto food to buy.

 

Pernilla: What was the biggest roadblock for you to overcome?

Tim: It is actually how to organize the holidays and how to deal with invitations.

Once, the whole family was invited for coffee and cake by a couple we didn’t yet know very well. Beforehand, I told them that I do not eat any sweets and that I’m perfectly happy with just a cup of coffee. As we arrived, the host was very proud and happy, she had baked something especially for me – a banana cake with almond flour. Almond flour is OK, but not bananas. Of course, I couldn’t deny having a piece of the cake she baked especially for me. These are minor stumbling blocks but it’s also not the end of the world.

 

Pernilla: Is the ketogenic diet more expensive than standard food, like for example processed food?

Tim: A lot of staples on Keto, like steak or avocados can be quite expensive depending on the country where you live. Unfortunately, it's true that healthy, fresh and or organic foods are in general more expensive than unhealthy products. Walk into any supermarket and you will find that empty calories are much cheaper. A bag of chips delivers many more calories for a lot less money than for instance salad or fruit.

In short, I think keto is more expensive than a junk food diet but not terribly much more than any other healthy fresh food diets. Many people combine keto with intermittent fasting, which would then mean that you eat less frequently. In that way, you can also save to compensate for the higher prices.

 

Pernilla: What would you recommend someone who wants to start following the keto diet?

Tim: I would especially recommend getting as much information about the keto diet as possible before starting the diet. It is important to know how it works, what you can eat and not, and know about the different kinds of side effects which can occur. When you know about all these things, you are prepared and can overcome the side effects much easier and the weight loss, as well as the reversal of diseases, are more effective. Taking a few coaching sessions might also be a good way to get started. The quicker you see the results the more motivated you get to carry on.

 

Pernilla: How did you gain the keto diet know-how?

Tim: I informed myself on the internet. There are countless websites, youtube clips, books and cookbooks about this topic.

 

Pernilla: We have arrived at the end of the interview and I've got one last question. What is your overall experience with the keto diet?

Tim: The keto diet has totally changed my life for the better. I’ve lost many kilos, I feel energized and I can think more clearly than before. I don’t get any hunger pangs anymore and I’m not tired after having eaten a meal. Not to speak about the health aspects when following the keto diet.

All this has motivated me to try and help other people by getting certified as a Keto Coach myself.

 

A handshake - thank you

 

Pernilla: Thank you so much, Tim, for taking your time doing this interview and sharing your experiences following the ketogenic diet in daily life. It was most interesting and I’m looking forward to presenting your future online business as a certified Keto Coach professionally helping people to a healthier life.

May 2018

 

 


The Keto Way, Keeps the Pounds Away

 

What are your thoughts about the keto diet?
Do you have any questions or need some additional tips?
Please, leave your comment below, excited to hear from you!

 

15 Thoughts on “The Ketogenic Diet in Daily Life – A Success Story”

  • Hi, Pernilla,

    What a lovely interview! You were asking so essential questions about keto diet, and Tim, as a person, practicing it, gave me so many “gems,” about real-life situations, related to the keto diet.

    The book you recommended in your previous post, and the info, given in this interview, covered a lot of theoretical and practical aspects of the keto diet.

    Congratulations, about you both! Your interview was exhaustive, but if you meet Tim again, and being able to ask him, I would be happy to learn if keto diet is more expensive than a standard food?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Tony,

      Thank you for your very positive feedback about the interview with Tim. I’ll tell him that you found the interview very interesting and inspiring. That’s a good question you’ve asked if the keto food is more expensive than standard food. I’ll ask Tim personally and give you the answer as soon as possible.

      Looking forward to hearing from you again – always appreciate your very useful inputs.

      Pernilla

    • Tony, I have now received the answer to your question from Tim, here it is:

      “A lot of staples on Keto, like steak or avocados can be quite expensive depending on the country where you live.
      Unfortunately, it’s true that healthy, fresh and or organic foods are in general more expensive than unhealthy products. Walk into any supermarket and you will find that empty calories are much cheaper. A bag of chips delivers many more calories for a lot less money than for instance salad or fruit.
      In short, I think keto is more expensive than a junk food diet but not terribly much more than any other healthy fresh food diet. Many people combine keto with intermittent fasting, which would then mean that you eat less frequently. In that way, you can also save to compensate for the higher prices.”

      Thank you so much for asking this question, Tony. In fact, I will add this question to the interview, because I believe, other readers will find it very interesting too.

      Should you have any more questions, please, contact me at any time.

      All the best,
      Pernilla

      • Hi, Pernilla,

        You and Tim were so kind to answer me this question:) Your effort appreciated very much! The answer was constructive, as I haven’t thought of the other part of the equation – eating less food, though a bit more expensive, balances the budget and in the end, it may appear very similar to standard food budget!

        It was my pleasure again:)

        • Thank you, Tony, the pleasure was ours. Tim sends his regards and he told me he is very happy to hear of the great response of the interview.

          All the best,
          Pernilla

  • Hi Pernilla,
    Congratulations on a very informative interview with Tim Frese. I think it enabled the reader to dismiss some of the myths associated with the Ketogenic diet such as it will add to high levels of unhealthy cholesterol.
    I think by showing how Tim used Keto to shifts the body to use fat as its primary fuel instead of carbohydrates, you demonstrated that accumulating cholesterol is an unwarranted fear. This is important because when people first see the amount of fat consumed as part of the diet it’s natural to assume that this is very bad in the long run.

    That said, I still agree with your earlier comment on the previous post about the Ketogenic. You pointed out that people who are in an exercise program that involves heavy training should still consider eating foods with low glycemic carbohydrates such as whole grain and brown rice.

    Also, any diet which is restricted in calories, whether Ketogenic or not, will show a decrease in micro-nutrient intake compared to a similar diet at higher calories.
    Thereby, I am wondering if the Ketogenic diet should really be long term (unless indicated for medical reasons), or individuals on the Ketogenic diet should use their small carb allowance to maximize vegetable intake.

    Excellent post.

    Thabo

    • Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for your comment with remarkable observations and insights. The ketogenic diet experts say that an adult person can follow the strict ketogenic diet without having lack of nutrients. When you eat plenty of fresh vegetables, a moderate amount of protein, and plenty of the healthy fats the body has all that it needs to function properly. Salt and magnesium are the only necessary additions to the diet. Most people who follow the keto diet, they add a small amount of low-glycemic carbohydrates to their daily diet after they have reached their preferred weight.

      All the best, and hopefully hear from you soon again.
      Pernilla

  • Pernilla! What a great interview and it helped me sort out a lot of questions I had for myself about the Keto diet and what is acceptable with respect to eating certain amounts of protein. I also like that I can have a natural sweetener if necessary. Giving up the carbs shouldn’t be too difficult as I love salmon, eggs, chicken and fish so I can easily switch over. I like the fact that I can eat many vegetables as well. This sounds like a great and healthy way to lose weight and stay healthy! Thanks for such great information.

    • Hello Amy!

      Happy to greet you at my website this week again! I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to make this interview with Tim. Glad it answered your questions.

      It certainly is a very effective way to lose weight. People who stick to the keto diet lose overweight and also decrease the inflammation in their body. I do follow a low carb diet, but not the strict keto diet. A low carb diet also helps to stay healthy and lose weight, but not as quickly as with the strict keto diet. After having studied the keto diet, I want to be even more attentive to avoid high-glycemic carbs.

      All the best,
      Pernilla

  • I had to leave a comment after reading this great interview.

    I have been living the Keto lifestyle for almost 2 years now starting in September of 2016. I was over weight and felt horrible most of the time. When starting the Keto lifestyle the weight just started falling off at about 2 to 3 pounds a week. I can say I have lost over 100lbs and feel great! Yes I have also been able to maintain that weight loss for the last year continuing to eat the Keto way. I can definitely relate with many of the answers in the interview from Tim. Keto is a lifestyle change not so much a diet. Thanks for your post and Keto On.

    • Hello Dena,

      I’m very delighted to receive your comment and kind compliment, thank you so much. It is so wonderful to hear about your great success, having lost overweight and feeling great. This confirms what Tim told me when I made the interview with him.

      Dena, your story is very valuable for me as it will be of great help when I give advice to people further on.

      Wish you a happy & healthy life!
      Pernilla

  • Great piece of work Pernilla this was an amazing interview and I did learn some more about the keto diet. The thing that I like about keto diet is you still get to eat meat, eggs, fish and many good foods that I like to eat now. Sugar might be the hardest thing to cut out but they are options that take care of that to. Low-carb has to be taken into consideration here also in that we would have to eat foods that have fewer carbs and stay aware of that.

    • Hello Fred,

      Thank you for your uplifting comment. So good to hear your thoughts about the keto diet after having read the interview with Tim.

      Sugar can be very addictive and if we are not aware of the fact that there is a lot of sugar in most processed food, the consumption can rise far too high. When following the keto diet, you eat fresh unprocessed food and the amount of “hidden” sugar sources in your diet are minimized. If we only ate less processed food (in particular ready-made meals, sweets, and soft drinks), the average sugar intake per day would decrease significantly.

      All the best,
      Pernilla

  • This interview was a good motivation and continuation to continue on this ketogenic diet. I have been doing it for 3 weeks now. So far it has been fairly easy to stick to. I do miss some carbs though I have to admit. It is not the bread so much as rice and pasta for me, unlike Tim. It is hard to tell if I have been suffering any of the effects of the keto flu, as I battle an autoimmune that is flaring right now. That can make me ache everywhere as well. I have noticed an increase in energy after the first 2 weeks. I was a bit surprised by the surge. I am more alert in the evenings where before I would get in a “slug” phase after dinner meal time. The first week I lost 6 pounds. I thought this is just water weight. The second I lost 7, was shocked. This past week I lost 2. I am expecting to slow down. But 15 pounds in 3 weeks is GREAT! I am not doing it so much for the weight loss even though I need to lose it. My goal is the health benefit. I have decided now that I will not do any weighing for a month. In a month I will be going back to the doctor and I will see where I am then. I will also take measurements then. I am tracking how I feel, this will be my greatest scale!

    • Christina, thank you for telling about your experiences with the ketogenic diet. I really appreciate hearing how it is working out for you following the keto way of living. Your achievements are stunning – having lost 15 pounds in three weeks and feeling more energetic than before. I´m so happy for you! This confirms that the keto diet really is working like promised by the keto coaches and experts. I really hope that the flares and aches will disappear and that you´ll be able to live a life without pain in the near future. I´m eager to hear how it all develops for you. Please, let me know if I can do something more for you. If you need some more information and help, I´m here for you.
      Pernilla

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