Las Vegas, NV| We interviewed Tom Martens known for his Youtube channel 'Black Sheep Keto', where he shares many Keto-friendly recipes and product reviews for keto, and also his own personal Keto journey. Here is what he has to say!
What is your Youtube channel about and why did you create it?
At Black Sheep Keto I focus on a sustainable form of the ketogenic diet that may be slightly different than what is required for medical uses. My focus is on weight-loss, as I lost 125 lbs through keto. To accomplish my goal of helping others see the same success that I did, I create simple, delicious keto recipes. I also show off various products, talk about how to do a keto diet in a non-medical setting, and track my progress. This has led to many great opportunities including a cookbook deal that came out last month!
When do you usually start your day & what's your morning routine?
My morning routine is pretty simple. I typically wake up around 7am to get ready for work. I wish I could say that I’m one of those people that springs out of bed and hits an early morning workout, but that’s not me. I’m just a normal dude with a 8-5 job. I stumble half asleep into the shower, get dressed, then drive to work. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but I do enjoy a good black coffee in the mornings.
Okay, tell us about yourself and your keto journey, what made you start doing keto?
I started doing keto in late 2015. I’m a software engineer and started putting on a lot of weight from sitting at a desk all day. I was working full time at a startup and taking 20 credit hours at UNLV. Every meal came from a drive-through. When I finally realized that I was gaining weight, I weighed roughly 325 lbs. One of my co-workers had lost a bunch of weight after having some medical issues, and I asked him how he did it. I thought he was insane at first, but he had the results to prove it. I started doing research and learned as much as I could about keto. At the time, it wasn’t a popular diet. Most of the information came from medical diets and a horrible reddit thread full of bad advice. That being said, I figured it out and never looked back. In about 2 years I lost 125 lbs on keto. Since then I’ve been able to keep the weight off and put on a pretty decent amount of muscle. Recently I’ve taken up powerlifting and absolutely love the challenge.
Now that you're on keto what differences have you noticed in your life & body?
I know a lot of people say that they feel like they have more consistent energy levels on keto, but it’s the truth. When I eat carbs I feel bloated and sluggish. On keto, I always have energy and feel great. I lost the weight that I needed to, but I still follow a keto diet because of how it makes me feel. I also feel that I have much clearer focus. This is a huge benefit because writing software takes quite a bit of brain power.
What challenges did you face while doing keto, and how did you overcome them?
When I started out there was very little information out there. This led to me having to figure out everything for myself. Eventually I was able to come up with my way of doing keto that is both effective and sustainable. Finding recipes early on was also hard, but that’s how my channel came to be. I would experiment with food, then share it with the world. I would say the moral of the story is to keep trying stuff and figure out what works for you.
What's your go-to keto meals?
My life is insanely busy, so taco bowls are kind of a go-to. It’s not hard to season some ground beef, then toss some toppings on it. As much as I love to cook, I just don’t have the time to make something awesome every night. That’s for the weekends.
What's a recipe you've created while on keto (if any)?
Honestly, I have a recipe for just about everything. There are over 100 original recipes in my new cookbook Ketogenic Diet for Two. I have even more available on my website, www.blacksheepketo.com, there are too many to list. My most popular one right now is my keto bread. Many people have told me, “This is the best keto bread that I’ve ever had.” I take pride in that.
What's something you see most people make the mistake of while committing to the keto lifestyle, and what common mistakes should people avoid on keto?
I think the most common mistake that I see is people blindly doing things without asking why. There are a million ways to do keto. The biggest complaint that I hear is that it’s too restrictive. When I talk to people who have that complaint, it seems that they tried to do everything that they ever read on the internet about keto. A lot of that information is medical and doesn’t apply to every person. You have to know your body and do what works for you. There is no sense in making things harder because someone else has a negative reaction to a food.
There are many reasons to avoid any number of foods, but you should know whether or not it affects ketosis and if it actually applies to you. If you’re doing an organic, grass-fed, non-gmo, soy-free, gluten-free, non-dairy, sweetener-free keto then it can be restrictive, but it doesn’t have to be. I just encourage people to look at the things you read online and determine if it applies to you. Question everyone and everything, including me.
What are your top 3 tips to be successful on the keto diet (for beginners)?
- Get rid of everything that is not keto in your house. I know this can be hard to do, but it is seriously the best way to make sure that the temptation isn’t there.
- Track and weigh everything that you eat. Most people are terrible at estimating. This can throw off your calorie and carb counts by more than you’d expect.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself! No one is perfect the first time they try something. Mistakes will likely happen. Learn from it and move on.
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