From Zero to Keto in 21 Days: Things I Learned From Dr. Boz
But “low-carb” worked so well for me that I never really learned about the benefits and power of a true ketogenic diet.
That all started to change when I was first introduced to Annette Bosworth, MD, who delivered a compelling presentation titled “Why Average Glucose Matters Most” at the 2023 Symposium for Metabolic Health in Boca Raton, Florida.
The presentation focused on the critical importance of A1c, a snapshot of one’s average blood sugar levels over a period of about 2 to 3 months. Unlike daily glucose tests, which provide immediate but transient data, the A1c test provides a longer-term view of how well blood sugar is being managed.
“We have learned that one number, A1c, is extremely good at predicting your life expectancy,” she told me. Higher average glucose levels lead to a long list of chronic diseases, she explained, and a ketogenic diet can be used to bring those glucose levels down.
Dr. Bosworth said her discovery of the benefits of the ketogenic diet caused her to rethink much of what she learned in medical school. “In today’s world, we’ve all relied too much on what the guidelines say, instead of opening our eyes and asking which of our patients are healthiest, and what are the behaviors and strategies we can be using to create more of that?”
I found her presentation fascinating, and was curious about whether the ketogenic diet might provide me with some additional health or quality of life benefits beyond those I had already achieved by eliminating most sugar, processed carbohydrates and seed oils from my diet.
Between sessions, I had the opportunity to get her feedback on a number of my questions, and she encouraged me to give the ketogenic diet a try. As someone with at least a couple autoimmune conditions (including vitiligo and sarcoidosis), I was interested in whether therapeutic ketosis might be beneficial. And I was also extremely curious about whether I would be able to employ the ketogenic diet while training for my first marathon.
Dr. Boz assured me that she would recommend the ketogenic diet to me if I were her own brother, and she predicted the diet would have no ill effects on my running.
I decided to enroll in her 21-Day Metabolic Kick online course, and the experience was enlightening to say the least.
Here are a few of the things I took away from the course:
- Keto-Mojo GK+ Blood Glucose & Ketone Meter – Through the structured online classes, I quickly learned how to properly use the Keto-Mojo meter and app. I am not always great when it comes to making the best use of apps and technology, but this class got me up to speed on the very first day.
- Support and Accountability – Each student was placed in a class, and my instructor was Sandra, who was determined to make sure that each of us got as much out of the class as possible. In our daily classes, Sandra reviewed course material, answered questions, and provided insights related to our blood and ketone readings (which were available through our shared dashboards). Going through this as a group was powerful, and made the various assignments (including 40+ hour fasts and an 80-hour sardine fast) seem so much more managable.
- Benefits of Fasting – Although I was very familiar with time restricted eating (I have been doing 16:8 intermittent fasting most days for several years), I had never before fasted more than 24 hours. During this three-week course, I discovered that longer fasts were nowhere near as difficult as I’d imagined. After passing the 24-hour mark, I was extremely surprised at the lack of hunger and cravings, and how much energy I felt. In fact, I did several training runs during the two fasts as well as the sardine fast, and my times were fast and energy levels were high. I also experienced high levels of focus while working, something I found surprising. I had expected to be distracted by thoughts of my next meal.
- Learning About Benefits of Ketosis – In the daily sessions with Dr. Boz, we learned a wide variety of things related to the benefits of therapeutic ketosis, and there were many case studies presented, involving others who had used keto to overcome a wide range of medical conditions. By the end of the 21 days, I possessed a solid understanding of how to get into ketosis and how to use the information in my Keto-Mojo app.
I completed my first marathon in Los Angeles about a month after finishing the 21-Day Metabolic Kick, and have used what I learned regularly over the past six months. Whereas I had been consuming 50-90 grams of carbs daily before taking the course, I have typically been consuming 30-60 grams of carbs over the past several months.
In retrospect, I wish I had discovered Dr. Boz at the beginning of my low-carb journey, because I think I could have benefitted from this knowledge earlier on.
Here are a few of the journal entries I wrote while taking the course. These were shared with my classmates:
- Learning on the Run – As we near the end of our first week, I want to acknowledge how much this course has already helped me. A few days ago, I completed my first-ever fast longer than 24 hours, something I never envisioned being to do. I have also been concentrating on getting more (& better) sleep. Today, I ran 16 miles (my farthest run ever). I started the run 12 hours fasted, & consumed about 30 grams of carbs over the last 8 miles. After the run, my glucose was 84 & ketones were 1.1. I’m really learning a lot from the Keto-Mojo app. The week prior to the class, I experimented pushing my daily carbs down from 80-90 grams to around 50 grams. Now, after talking with Coach Sandra, I’m trying to push the carb numbers lower, to around 20/day if possible. It may have to be a little higher on long run days. Looking forward to the sardine experiment (in a twisted sort of way😂). Also looking forward to the next fast (& a little scared). Hope you all have a great weekend!
- Running on Sardines – Although I must admit I’m getting sick of sardines, I want to share how amazing I’m feeling physically right now, more than 60 hours into this zero-carb experiment (last carbs I had was 11 pm Saturday night). I just returned from a 4-mile run, my fastest 4-miler in ~35 years. I haven’t yet eaten anything today, yet my energy levels are extremely high. I was actually planning to stop my sardine fest at midday today (48 hours) but I’ve just decided to stick it out for the entire 72 hours. I really appreciate all I’m learning (I was truly a novice with respect to ketones & metering, etc), & grateful to Coach @Sandra Case-Reeves PHC (& of course Dr. Boz). Looking forward to seeing my ketones get back above my glucose again this afternoon.
- Fasting Thoughts – Just looking back on the end of my sardine fast. I broke my fast with bacon and eggs and it was glorious. Went back to about 25 carbs for the day, mostly in the form of blueberries and yogurt. I continued to feel great throughout the day. My eating window did not really change too much during the sardine fast (although I was definitely getting tired of eating sardines).
- Looking Back on the Past 21 Days – I had serious doubts about experimenting with fasts & the ketogenic diet while training for my first marathon at age 58. A couple of people said I was crazy. It turned out that this course actually helped me learn some important things about fueling my marathon, & my performance has improved significantly over the past 3 weeks. More importantly, I’ve learned some very important things about fasting and ketones that I’m confident will help me in other areas of my life moving forward. I wish I’d known some of what I learned during this course back in 2015 when I weighed 278 pounds. Up until 3 weeks ago, my longest ever fast was 24 hours & I didn’t believe I could voluntarily last any longer. Since then, I completed an 80+ hour sardine fast & two 40+ hour water fasts. The energy & focus I derived was incredible, and I set a couple of personal bests on 4-mile runs during those fasts. I plan to continue working on these fasts over the next few weeks as my marathon approaches (March 19 in Los Angeles). I’ve reduced my daily carb intake to less than 30 grams most days (down from 50-90 per day), & I’m feeling great. After the marathon is done, I’ll be experimenting further to see if I can benefit from getting my DBR even lower than the 41 I achieved a couple of days ago. I found great value in both the daily lectures and the classes. Sandra is an excellent coach & my classmates were great. The process of learning together & sharing the experiences along the day is amazing. I’ll be writing more as I take a step back and review my notes & data. Quite sure I will see many more benefits from this course in the coming months and years! Wishing you all the best in your respective health & life journeys.
In Conclusion: I would recommend this experience to anyone who can fit it into their budget and calendar. What you will learn about the ketogenic diet and yourself will most likely surprise you, and it might just change your life.
This article was written by Chris Cornell. You can follow Chris on LinkedIn and be inspired by more articles like this one!