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Cut (2023)

I bulked, now it's time to cut. I'll follow my program for at least 2 months (April & May), and organize all my learnings here.

Final results (down 20 lbs in 2 months): before and after losing 20 lbs, me flexing

It was some of the most productive time in my career so far -- I made dozens of incremental improvements & they really added up! Weekly progress below.

tl;dr is summarized on


Here's what I looked like at the end of bulking (205 lbs):

Week 1

The first week on keto almost feels like cheating because the weight just falls off of you (200 lbs):

Week 2

This week was a little bit harder, mostly because I had planned an intentional cheat-day on Tuesday (a social thing where I decided to have some beers). But, I'm feeling really good now energy-wise.

I also experimented with ketone esters to reduce the "keto-flu" feeling during the transition, and it helped a little bit... discipline is still the most valuable supplement, though (197.8 lbs):

Week 3 coming next Monday!

Week 3

I ate a lot of food this week -- I avoided carbs, but had lots of proteins (and some alcohol) on ~3 occasions. We had new co-workers join at work, and it was Easter Sunday.

I'm trying not to get discouraged with the slow progress -- I dropped less than 1 pound this week, but I suspect that I'm just a little bloated now & will see a steeper drop next week that reflects more of the work I put in (197.0 lbs):

Week 4 coming next Monday!

Week 4

I felt really good about this week! I had some unexpected travel come up (for a funeral... connecting flights with 2 kids...), but I adjusted my plan & stuck to the revision. Given the circumstances, I wanted to participate with my family as much as possible, which meant eating my Uncle's famous cakes (coconut & key-lime) and trying my brother's tacos at the new restaurant. I stayed strong besides that & made sure to exercise + stretch a lot.

My quads are starting to scream during certain types of cardio after ~30 mins. It's not quite a cramp, but I can almost tell they're looking for energy or fuel that isn't there. I mostly solved my energy / productivity problem via ketone esters. I drink coffee, butter, and ketone esters on an empty stomach, and I get a rush of energy that's really helpful. I tried 2 brands (delta-g coffee booster, KetoneAid Ke-4). They're the same price after shipping -- I slightly prefer the delta-g (tastes better & mixes with coffee), but they both make my brain feel good (and nothing else -- they don't really get you into "ketosis" or anything).

Anyways, my weight was way down this week, but that's mostly because of fluctuations in the measurement. Technically down 3.8 pounds, probably more like 2.5 (193.2 lbs):

Week 5 coming next Monday!

Week 5

Another week down!

I felt a little bloated, but that's because I drank 1 light beer on 3 separate occasions. I make stupider food decisions after having literally 1 beer (still stuck to keto, just had a lot of calories). So I'm going to only possibly drink 1 beer this week on Friday night, no exceptions.

I also finally caught up on sleep this weekend after some travel-backlash (from kids & everything), stocked the fridge with healthy food... we're gonna have a great week!

I technically only lost 1 pound last week, and I'm working way too hard for that... but also, this is just a noisy way to measure progress. I expect to break below 190 next week, mostly because of work I already put in. (192.2 lbs):

Week 6 coming next Monday!

Week 6

I'm more than halfway through this cut, and I feel awesome. I didn't drink alcohol at all this week, and I slept better than ever last night. My HRV has increased > 20% since starting this cut.

I also tried using MCT powder to achieve short bursts of energy without breaking ketosis. It worked, but I also didn't lose as much weight this week, so I suspect that my body skips the hard work of breaking down its own fats when these easy-to-burn MCTs are readily available. It's still a great tool, just not something-for-nothing magic.

I didn't lose much weight (I was expecting a steep drop after a lackluster previous week) -- maybe I'm building muscle, or maybe it's the MCTs, or maybe that "low-carb" Freebird monster steak burrito I ate on Thursday isn't helping... but I feel amazing & I'm encouraged to keep going! (191.0 lbs):

Week 7 coming next Monday!

Week 7

I had a great week! I might have passed the aesthetic tipping-point where "less fat == better" ceases to be absolutely true. The change from last week isn't major... but every previous week has been a small win, and looking at these pictures now, I think I actually looked better last week (with more fat).

I overate & had some drinks on 1 night (Cinco de Mayo), but no carbs. I think keto makes it harder to bounce back from even a few drinks, so I might just stop alcohol altogether.

I also developed some mild shingles (or similar), you can sort-of see it in the picture on my chest. Being on keto makes it easier to function on less sleep, so I pushed myself at work a few days this week (Monday past 2am & Wednesday past 4am). I felt the tingles in my chest-nerves then... I should chill out, my body still has limits.

I also only worked out 2x last week (I'm getting construction done at home, things are chaotic). I'm going to:

  • sleep more
  • not drink
  • exercise 5x

and keep making great progress this week! (189.4 lbs):

Week 8 coming next Monday!

Week 8

I managed to not sleep enough this week, so I'm going to focus on recovery now. Sick kids, lots of work, construction projects at home, etc...

BUT I stayed disciplined & managed to eat strict keto. I only got 2 medoicre lifts in, and only 2 light runs. I didn't have any alcohol, but probably had way too much caffeine.

I'm honestly feeling pretty low right now; I know sleep will help, though. I only lost 1/2 pound this week, and looking at the photo it seems like maybe I dropped some muscle... or maybe my pump just isn't as good? (189.0 lbs):

Week 9 coming next Monday, goal is to finish strong (2 weeks left)!

Week 9

I had a great week, but my whole family got an awful stomach bug over the weekend (at first I got paranoid & thought it was because of this diet, but it was completely unrelated).

I'm totally recovered now, but only down 0.5lbs this week. I've apparently plateaued, which is a bummer considering how much time I spend thinking about this fitness stuff. I honestly think it's because I've been eating a ridiculous amount of almonds -- that's the 1 snack I allow myself, and I've eaten a totally absurd amount. Now that I think about it, this is obvious. I'm working super hard, and then un-doing it in the least gratifying way (freaking almonds, totally not worth it). I'm going to cut almonds. (188.6 lbs):

Week 10 coming next Monday! I originally said I'd continue this diet throughout May, so the end date is next Thursday. I'll do a Monday check-in, and then a final results pic (I'd love to get to 185, but don't want to be stupid).

Week 10

Hell yea! Awesome week. I was exactly at my goal weight this morning (185.0 lbs).

Big takeaways:

  • I replaced dinner with greek yogurt + peanut butter flavored protein powder 3 nights. Kind-of sad, but kind-of awesome.
  • I stopped snacking on almonds -- I stopped myself a lot, and just let myself get slightly hungry throughout the day.
  • I sipped on Bodied Coffee (with ice + water) early in the afternoons some days, only drinking 1/2 pack each time. Amazing for productivity, especially while hungry... but I don't want to get too dependent.
  • I added tiny amounts of peanut-butter flavored MCT oil powder in my protein + water shakes whenever I felt really drained -- it gives me an energy kick (the short fats are really easy to convert into energy) with no slump later (it doesn't knock me out of ketosis, so I don't have to transition back in later).
  • I read that prodigious amounts flax-seeds can affect my Testosterone levels, so I decided to cut those for a couple weeks. I upped my leafy greens (fiber) & greek yogurt (general digestive health) to balance this.

All these tiny hacks came together... mostly "don't eat almonds" and "skipping dinner." I lost 3.6 lbs this week (185.0lbs): cut_10

I'd like to try & maintain this weight as I re-introduce carbs, but I'll definitely gain 5-10 lbs of water weight... so I probably can't.

I could lose more weight first (get down to ~180) and then try... but I'm not sure how healthy it is to push myself that low. I feel amazing & productive, so I really want to maintain that. I'll think about what's next, but I'll keep this going through Thursday at least (the end of May).