Posted in books

‘Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data’ By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

I must confess that I have learned a lot from this book. The more I learned about the true nature of the human beings, the more I have experienced a wide range of feelings… I felt disgusted, scared, then as the stories moved along, I felt surprised and started laughing! Then I felt angry again. The author used Google searches to measure racismself-induced abortiondepressionchild abusehateful mobsthe science of humorsexual preferenceanxiety, son preference, and sexual insecurity, among many other topics. This great emotional roller coaster book is written by the internet data expert Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

Davidowitz worked for one-and-a-half years as a data scientist at Google and is currently a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times. He is a former visiting lecturer at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his BA in philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford, and his PhD in economics from Harvard.

His 2017 book that I will review today, Everybody Lies, published by HarperCollins, was a New York Times bestseller; a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year; and an Economist Book of the Year.

Enjoy.

For this study, Davidowitz downloaded all of Wikipedia, pored through Facebook profiles, and scraped Stormfront. Plus PornHub, gave him its complete data on the searches and video views of anonymous people around the world.

Google Trends, a tool that was released with little fanfare in 2009, tells users how frequently any word or phrase has been searched in different locations at different times. The everyday act  of typing a word or phrase into a compact, rectangular white box leaves a small trace of truth that, when multiplied by millions, eventually reveals profound realities.

RELATIONSHIPS: On Google, the top complaint about marriage is not having sex: Searches for “sexless marriage” are three and a half times more common than “unhappy marriage” and eight times more common than “loveless marriage”. Relationship themed most searches are “abusive relationship” 😦

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Sometimes new data reveals cultural differences: The writer gives the example of different ways that men around the world respond to their wives being pregnant. In Mexico, the top searches about “my pregnant wife” include “frases de amor para mi esposa embarazada” (words of love to my pregnant wife” and “poemes para mi esposa embarazada” (poems for my pregnant wife”. In the United States, the top searches include “my wife is pregnant now what” and “my wife is pregnant what do I do.” (Blogger’s note: Nope. Not as romantic.)

After daters took some recording with them and data analysts digitized these audios into words, we had an interesting set of information about how to have a successful first date! On the first date, for instance, one of the ways a man signals that he is attracted is obvious: he laughs at a woman’s jokes. When speaking, they limit the range of their pitch. There is a research that suggests a monotone voice is often seen by women as masculine. The scientists found that a woman signals her interest by varying her pitch, speaking more softly, and taking shorter turns talking. A woman is unlikely to be interested when she uses hedge words and phrases such as “probably” or “I guess”. Also, a woman is likely to be interested if she is using “I” and self making phrases such as “Ya know?” and “I mean”. This research revealed that men are more likely to report clicking with a woman who talks about herself. If there are lots of questions asked on a date, it is less likely that both will report a connection.

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Among the Facebook data scientists’ findings, Christmas is one of the happiest days of the year BUT Davidowitz doesn’t trust Facebook data very much: He thinks Facebook is digital brag-to-my-friends-about-how-good-my-life-is serum. In Facebook world, family life seems perfect, in the real world, family life is messy. So don’t trust relationship posts very much.

Compare, for example, the way that people describe their husbands on public social media and in anonymous searches:

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So human beings are liars? NO WAY! haha!

FEMALE-MALE: Parents are 2.5 more likely to ask “Is my son gifted?” than “Is my daughter gifted?” Parents show a similar bias when using other phrases related to intelligence that they may shy away from saying aloud, like, “Is my son a genius?”. Which is funny is that in American schools, girls are 9 percent more likely than boys to be in gifted programs. So what are the most searches about daughters?: “Is my daughter overweight?” This phrase was searched roughly as frequently as they Google “Is my son overweight?”

Parents are also 1.5 times more likely to ask whether their daughter is beautiful than whether their son is handsome. And they are 3 times more likely to ask whether their daughter is ugly than whether their son is ugly. (Author’s note: How Google is expected to know whether a child is beautiful or ugly is hard to say 🙂 ) (Bloggers note: Maybe parents are the ones who were causing females’ insecurities about how they look?). In general, parents seem more likely to use positive words in questions about sons.

Another interesting male/female difference: women use the word “tomorrow” far more often than men do. Adding the letter “o” to the word “so” like “Sooo” is one of the most feminine linguistic traits.

On Facebook, among the words used much more frequently by men than women are “fuck” “shit” “bullshit” “Fucking and Fuckers ” (Blogger’s note: Dear men, take a chill pill! haha) Whereas for women it is “shopping””excited” “cute” “happy””family” “soooo” “yay”(Blogger’s note: Soooo happy to be a woman! Yay!”)

SEX: Data science makes many parts of Freud falsifiable – it puts many of his famous theories to the test. For example: Freud’s theory of the phallic (shape of male genital) symbols in dreams. According to big data, the substance that is most dreamed is water. The top twenty foods include chicken, bread, sandwiches, and rice – all notably un-Freudian. Bananas are the second most common fruit to appear in dreams. But they are also the second most commonly consumed fruit

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Consider all Google searches of the form “I want to have sex with my…” The number one way to complete this search is “mom”. 😮 Overall, more than 3/4 of searches of this form are incestuous. Again, according to Google and PornHub Data, men retain an inordinate number of fantasies related to childhood (including mom, babysitter, wearing diapers, breast feeding, etc.)

Americans search for “porn”more than they search for “weather”.

There are twice as many complaints that a boyfriend won’t have sex than that a girlfriend won’t have sex. By far, the number one search complaint about a boyfriend is “My boyfriend won’t have sex with me”.

Do women care about penis size? Rarely, according to Google researches. More than 40%
of complaints about a partner’s penis size say that it’s too big. For every search women make a partner’s phallus, men make roughly 170 searches about their own! Men’s second most common sex question is how to make their sexual encounters longer. Once again, the insecurities of men do not appear to match the concerns of women. Women’s concern isn’t about when or how long it happened but why it isn’t happening at all.

However, women still outpace them when it comes to insecurity about how they look.

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In 2004, in some parts of the US, the most common search regarding changing one’s butt was how to make it smaller. Beginning in 2010, however, the desire for bigger butts grew. Does women’s growing preference for a larger bottom match men’s preferences? Interestingly, yes. Again internet says men show a preference for large breasts. But natural ones: About 3 percent of big-breast porn searches explicitly say they want to see natural breasts (Blogger’s note: Thank you Beyonce, J-Lo, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian!!)

Men make as many searches looking for ways to perform oral sex on themselves as they do how to give a woman an orgasm (This was among authors favorite facts in Google search data) (Blogger’s note: How is it even possible?? And nope, I won’t Google it!)

RACISM: Roughly one in every hundred Google searches that included the word “Obama” also included “kkk” or “nigger(s)”. There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from the traditional sources but was quite apparent in the searches that people made. Places with the highest racist search rates included upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, industrial Michigan and rural Illinois, along with West Virginia, southern Louisiana and Mississippi. The true divide, Google search data suggested, was not South versus North; it was East versus West, and racism was not limited to Republicans.

Black Americans told polls they would turn out in large numbers to oppose Trump. But Google searches for information on voting in heavily black areas were way down.

You can see on Google, where users ask sometimes questions such as “Why are black people rude?” or “Why are Jews evil? Below, in order, are the top five negative words used in searches about various groups:

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Top 5 negative words used in searchers for specific groups

Shortly after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015, the top search in CA with the word “Muslims” in it at the same time was “kill Muslims”.

What is super interesting that as Obama gave more speeches on TV about ‘equality’ and ‘racism’ it created an opposite effect. In his speech, he said “It is the responsibility  of All Americans – of every faith – to reject discrimination” Searches calling Muslims “terrorists” “bad””violent” and “evil” doubled during and shortly after the speech (But then one of Obama’s speeches succeeded, to find out which one, keep reading!)

Guess when are searches for “nigger(s)” or “nigger jokes” most common? Whenever African-Americans are in the news. Among the periods when such searches were highest was the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when television and newspapers showed images of desperate black people in New Orleans struggling for their survival. They also went up during Obama’s first election. And searches for “nigger jokes” rise on average about 30% on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Davidowitz claims that there is a hidden explicit racism in the USA.

HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS OUTSIDE SUPERDOME
Victims of Hurricane Katrina argue with National Guard Troops as they try to get on buses headed to Houston, TX on Thursday morning, September 1, 2005.

POLITICS: Nate Silver,  an American statistician and writer, noticed that the areas where Trump performed best made for an odd map. Silver looks for variables to try to explain this map. Then he found that the single factor that best correlated with Donald Trump’s support in the Republican primaries was that made the most Google searches for “nigger”.

Google searches for “how to vote” or “where to vote” weeks before an election can accurately predict which parts of the country are going to have a big showing at the polls.

The most important year for developing political views is age 18 (Blogger note: I guess voting age being 18 was the right decision).

STRESS: Google searches reflecting anxiety tend to be higher in places with lower levels of education, lower median incomes, and where a larger portion of the population lives in rural areas.

The author was surprised with one fact. you would think that people would search for more jokes when they are sad or depressed to cheer themselves up. However, data shows that searches for jokes are lowest on Mondays, the day when people report they are most unhappy. They are lowest on cloudy and rainy days. They actually seek out jokes when things are going well in life.

In winter months, warn climates, such as that of Honolulu, Hawaii, have 40 percent fewer depression searches than cold climates, such as that of Chicago, Illinois.

HEALTH: In Google, searching for a back pain and then yellowing skin turned out to be a sign of pancreatic cancer; searching for just back pain alone made it unlikely someone had pancreatic cancer. These weren’t listed as symptoms before.

We tend to overestimate the prevalence of anything that makes for a memorable story. People rank tornadoes as a more common cause of death than asthma. In fact, asthma causes about seventy times more deaths. But deaths by asthma don’t stand out- and don’t make the news. Same goes for flu and shark attacks.

Search rates for self-induced abortion were fairly steady from 2004 through 2007. They began to rise in late 2008, coinciding with the financial crisis and the recession that followed. They took a big leap in 2011 jumping 40% – when 92 state provisions restricted access to abortion were enacted. The state with the highest Google searches for self-induced abortions in Mississippi, a state with roughly three million people and, now, just one abortion clinic.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Google engineers created a service: Google Correlate that gives solitaire-logooutside researchers the means to experiment with the same type of analyses across a wide range of fields. One day Davidowitz put the US unemployment rate from 2004 through 2011 into Google Correlate. Of the trillions of Google researches during that time, what do you think turned out to be the most tightly connected to unemployment? “New jobs”? No. It was “Slutload” That’s right the most frequent search was a pornographic site. Many are stuck at home, alone and bored. The second most common search: Spider Solitaire. Again, not so surprising.

More rich people in a city means the poor there live longer. Poor people in NYC for example, lives a lot longer than poor people in Detroit: Contagious behavior maybe driving some of this (Behaviors like healthy eating habits, exercising, less stress, etc.)

SPORTS: The data tells us that in worse-off families. in worse-off communities, there are NBA-level talents who are not in the NBA.

Internet data shows that the most important year in a man’s life for the purposes of cementing his favorite baseball team as an adult, is when he is more or less 8 years old. This peak age for women is 22.

HOW BIG DATA WORKS: In prediction business, you just need to know that something works, not why. For example: Before a hurricane hit Southeast in 2004, Walmart (the biggest supermarket chain in the US) suspected -correctly- that people’s shopping habits may change when a city is about to be pummeled by a storm. They pored through sales data from previous hurricanes to see what people might want to buy. A major answer? Strawberry Pop-Tarts. This product sells seven times faster than normal in the days leading up to a hurricane. We don’t ask why, we care about what.

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By using Google Ngrams, you can search through millions of digitized books for particular words or phrase. This way, you can see how the popularity of a phrase changed among hundreds of years.

If you type “Why is…” the first two Google auto-completes currently are “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why is there a leap day?” suggesting these are the two most common ways to complete this search. The third: “Why is my poop green?” And Google auto-complete can get disturbing. Today, if you type “Is it normal to want to…” the first suggestion is “kill” If you type in “Is it normal to want to kill…” The first suggestion is my family.

People are seven times more likely to ask Google whether they will regret not having children than whether they will regret having children. Adults with children are 3.6 times more likely to tell Google they regret their decision than are adults without children.

MARKETING: One day, across the internet, the researchers found 949 scanned yearbooks from American high schools spanning the years 1905-2013. Americans, and particularly women, started smiling as the years pass by. They went from nearly stone-faced at the start of the twentieth century to beaming by the end.

When photographs were first invented, people thought of them like paintings. Subjects in photos adopted the same look. In the mid-20th century, Kodak, the film and camera company was frustrated by the limited numbers of pictures people were taking and ended up with a strategy to get them take more. Kodak’s advertising began associating photos with happiness. (Blogger’s note: SO CLEVER, isn’t it? This reminded me of the increase in dental cleaning appointments since ‘selfies’ became a thing. Although, I’m sure dentists are not behind this whole selfie craziness).

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Answer these questions for me:

  • Have you ever cheated on an exam?
  • Have you ever killed someone in your dream?

Were you tempted to lie? Many people under-report embarrassing behaviors and thoughts on surveys. They want to look good, even though most surveys are anonymous. This is called social desirability bias. Why do people misinform anonymous surveys? Roger Tourangeau, a research professor emeritus at the University of Michigan explains: “About 1/3 of the time, people lie in real life. The habits carry over to surveys.”

Netflix was confused because in the beginning, when it let its users to create a queue of movies to watch later, they realized something odd. When the users were reminded of these movies later, they rarely clicked. Because they were filling the queue with award winning highbrow films like black and white World War II or foreign movies. But when they come home from work, they were clicking on at lowbrow comedies or romance films. They were lying to themselves. So, Netflix created an algorithm based on users’ choices. The former data scientist at Netflix, Xavier Amatriain says “The algorithms know you better than you know yourself”.

Also, apparently on Facebook or YouTube, “Content is more likely to become viral the more positive it is”. (Bloggers note: I found this very strange when I think about my news feed which is full of bad news.)

CRIME: For every percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there was an associated 3 percent increase in the search rate for “child abuse” or “child neglect”. The author argues that it’s safe to say that the Great Recession did make child abuse worse, although the traditional measures did not show it but Big Data did.

BIG DATA LESSON: When we lecture angry people, the search data implies that their fury can grow. But subtly provoking people’s curiosity, giving new information, and offering new images of the group that is stoking their rage may turn their thoughts in different, more positive directions. According to Google researches, Obama’s one of the most successful speech was this: “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes and yes, they are our men and women in uniform, who are willing to die in defense of our country.”

Here is his speech:

DOPPELGANGERS AND A/B TESTING

Doppelgangers play a huge role in predicting. Let’s see what it means first:

Doppelganger: an apparition or double of a living person.

Of course, we are not talking about looking exactly the same, but we are talking about correlating the data to find the most similar people in database to predict the future of that person.

Think about a sick person suffering from certain disease symptoms. Her age is 34, her height is 5’5, her weight is 132 lbs, she has no smoking or drinking habits, she had Pneumonia when she was seven. She lives in Kentucky.  If we run the analysis and find once upon a time 24 year old female who lived in Kentucky  with 5’5 height and around 132 lbs, with no smoking or drinking history who had Pneumonia when she was little, suffering from the same symptoms, we can predict what might happen to the patient. Because what happened to her doppelganger(s) will probably happen to her, as well.

ortizLet’s explain it with a real example: 35 year old baseball player Ortiz was about to be fired because of his old age. But, data analysts went through every single information about him and correlated to historical records. They found 20 ballplayers who played like he did when he was 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33. Then see how Ortiz’s doppelgängers’ careers progressed. Data showed that Ortiz was about to enter the peak of his career. So Boston decided to be patient with is aging slugger. And they won. He took his team to World series at the age of 37, Ortiz was also voted for World Series MVP.

So how about A/B testing? What is it?

A/B Testing is basically testing two different controlled groups. Google wants to know how to get more people to click on ads on their sites, they may try two shades of blue in ads – one shade for Group A another for Group B. Then Google can compare these click rates. Facebook now runs a thousand A/B tests per day. A former Google employee Dan Siroker, used A/B testing for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He A/B tested the campaign home page. In 2012, he used 3 different pictures (see below), 2 different slogans and 3 different ‘click buttons’ which one do you think got more clicks and so more donations?

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The winner was picture of Obama’s family and the button “Learn More”.

EDUCATION: What makes some places better at allowing a poor kid to have a pretty good life?

  • Areas that spend more on education provide a better chance to poor kids.
  • Places with more religious people and lower crime do better.
  • Places with more black people do worse. Interestingly, this has an effect on not just the black kids but on the white kids living there as well.
  • Places with lots of single mothers do worse.

To see which cities/states have the most successful people the author zoomed in names of the people who are baby boomers and who took a place in Wikipedia. Roughly 1 in 1,209 baby boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964) born in California reached Wikipedia with their success. Roughly 1 in 748 baby boomers born in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where Boston is located, made it to Wikipedia. Be careful, not ‘went to school’ but ‘born’. The reason for this seems to be early exposure to innovation. Besides, New York City apparently produces notable journalists at the highest rate, Boston produces notable scientists at the highest rate and Los Angeles produces notable actors and actresses at the highest rate.

The greater the percentage of foreign born residents in an area, the higher the proportion of children born there who go on to notable success (Davidowitz’s note: Take that, Donald Trump!) (Blogger’s comment: Ditto that!)

Education spending did not correlate with rates of producing notable writers, artists, or business leaders.

What I found very motivational as a reader was on page 237. Even though you couldn’t finish the best school, you still have an equal chance to be as successful as those people who graduated from Harvard, MIT or Stanford. People adapt to their experience and people who are going to be successful find advantages in any situation. The factors hat make you successful are your talent and your drive.

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Davidowitz also discusses other interesting topics, which I don’t mention here such as “who gets loans more easily, who doesn’t” or “How much the casinos let you lose” or what other jaw dropping data analyses are being used in marketing.

In his final words, he emphasizes that social science is becoming a real science (Blogger’s note: Finally!!! I was so tired of people not seeing social science as real science! Thank you Davidowitz!). And this new, real science is poised to improve our lives.

If a violent movie comes to a city, does crime go up or down? If more people are exposed to an ad, do more people use the product? If a baseball team wins when a boy is twenty, will he be more likely to root for them when he is forty? These are all clear questions with clear yes-or-no answers. And in the mountains of honest data, we can find them

This is the stuff of science, not pseudoscience.

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I strongly recommend this book! And after you read, please feel free to share your comments below 🙂

-Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

My KETO Journey

Who likes dieting? Yeah, right. Of course… NO ONE.

But for some of us, it is a must. Because we love food, we are social people and our metabolism is not working as generously as it does for others.

I’m now 36 years old and I have tried any kind of diet possible out there, on and off, since I was 16. And let me tell you… Nothing worked like KETO did.

I want to talk to you about my KETO journey. What you SHOULD do and what you SHOULDN’T do, based on my own experience. I will give you some recipes, some links to help you prepare you for Keto and also will give you some #hashtags to follow on Instagram.

I have lost 16 pounds (~7 kg) in 2.5 months. I lost 10 pounds of it during the first week. If you stick to the rules religiously, you will get results. But KETO is a difficult diet to do for a lot of people.

Why Some People Think Keto is Difficult?

  1. You need to weigh your food. Why? Look at number 2.
  2. You need to count your macros. You need to know how many calories, how much carbs, protein and fat you are eating every day. There are many apps for that including Mymacros and Fitnesspal. Internet has pretty much has nutrition facts for all kinds of food. We need to make sure we are getting enough fat and protein, getting no more than 20g carb and not going above your calorie limit.
  3. You need to do meal prep. Otherwise, you will fail. Because of number 1 and number 2, eating out is not a great option.
  4. No Cheat meal allowed in KETO.
  5. Absolutely NO alcohol.
  6. Absolutely NO sugar.
  7. If you are a fruit lover, sorry. Only berries are allowed (And Avacado!)
  8. Well… No fruit rule of course comes with no fruit juice rule.
  9. No Soda.
  10. It is an expensive diet. On top of buying meat, cheese, organic vegetables, almond flour and nuts, you also will need to buy some nutritional supplements.

Why KETO is good then??

  1. Rapid weight loss gives you motivation. The first week, if you are doing everything right, you will lose 3-10 pounds, which is the water weight. Even though it is not the fat burn, it still makes you feel better and focus on your diet.
  2. The food is delicious. In comparison to other diets that I have tried, Keto has a lot of options. Steak, wings, eggs, bacon, cheese, butter, peanuts, almonds, these are all Keto friendly. Tell you this; anything with butter and cheese on them eventually tastes good.
  3. You feel full very quickly, even when you don’t eat much. In other diets I tried, this was my biggest problem. Half of the time, I was hungry. But on KETO, I never feel hungry. Never.
  4. You feel more energetic, the heavy feeling that carbs give you disappears. I had bloating and gas problems, they are all gone. It also balances your blood sugar levels. It also improved my stomach and sleeping problems. My skin got smoother healthier (see pphotos below, no filter in either! My dark wrinkles disappeared and my skin got smoother-PS. Can’t believe I’m sharing my ridiculous photos with you, haha).

Who SHOULDN’T Do Keto Diet?

  • People with High cholesterol
  • Growing Kids
  • People with Thyroid problem
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • People with Type 2 Diabetes (KETO is good for Type 1 diabetes. My dad has it and KETO worked on him so well. He lost 10 pounds in a month and he used to get 38 units of insulin a day, in a month he took maybe 65 units in total!)
  • People with no gallbladder
  • Although there is a myth that KETO might affect kidneys in a bad way since it increases the acidity in urine, doctors are conflicted about this. As long as protein intake is moderate, keto diet is safe they say.

So, what is KETO diet anyway?

This is what http://www.ruled.me says:

When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.

  • Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
  • Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

Photo from KETOGEEK

The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. 

How Do I Know my Daily Calorie Intake and Macros?

There are many ways to calculate your daily calorie intake. It depends also on how much activity you have in your life. The more active you are the more easily you are going to burn fat. If you give a 500 calories deficit a day, you should be able to lose 1-2 pounds every week. Here is the link I recommend to calculate your macros: https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator For example, tight now, when I enter my info these are the macros that are calculated:

How Do You Track Your Macros?

This is a screenshot from the app that I use. If you are not technology friendly, you can use an excel sheet instead.

Once you create an entry in your app and save it, next time when you eat it, it will be already there for you.

One thing that you should not forget about your macros:

Only count Net Carbs! Net carbs means that you need to substract any fiber or sugar alcohol (not sugar!) from the total amount of carbs, that is the net carb. Keto only cares about the net carbs.

Common Mistakes in KETO

  • Eating not enough fat: “Fat is bad!” is ingrained in our brains so much that we fear the fat. But fat is the only source your body can use to make energy during Keto. You need to give it the fat it wants. This is why having set macros in the beginning is important. Don’t hesitate to put an extra splash of olive oil in your salad, or have extra butter in your eggs.
  • Eating too much protein: When people deprive themselves from the fat, they tend to turn to protein instead. However, eating too much protein is neither healthy nor helpful for weight loss.
  • Not counting calories: The dilemma is we need fat, but high fat foods have usually high calories. So the ‘amount’ of food is important.
  • Not drinking enough water: It is super important that you drink a LOT OF WATER during the day because KETO makes you lose a lot of water. Water molecules clinges on carbs in your cells and if there is no carb, then they are set free. You need to hydrate your body, otherwise you cannot function (And yes, you go to bathroom a lot during KETO :D)
  • Not taking nutritional supplements: Fruits have electrolytes that are necessary for our bodies and during KETO we are deprived of them. So, we need to get electrolyte supplements.
  • Forgetting about gut health: Try to stay away from sweeteners and try to use bone broth in your cooking. More information can be found here:https://drjockers.com/keto-diet-bad-microbiome/

What Are the Side Effects?

There are some side effects that I experienced.

  1. Keto Flu: During the adaptation phase, people commonly feel brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, intense hunger, irritability, and depression. It lasted 3 days or so for me. I was going to bed at 9:00 PM and I was getting mad at unnecessary things!
  2. Bad Breath: I did Keto twice. In the first one, I had bad breath and in the second one, I did not. I learned that bad breath is normal because Ketosis occurs when your body breaks down fat for energy. Fatty acids are then converted into ketones, which are natural chemicals your body produces when you burn fat for energy. These include beta hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. That is why it smells bad.
  3. Leg Cramps: Low carb diets causes rapid water loss, that is why your electolides such as Zinc, Magnesium and Potassium get washed out of your body. If you do not replace them, you get cramps. Especially because I was working out, I got a lot of cramps in the beginning until I figured out what the problem was. After starting the take supplements, cramps disappeared.
  4. Hair Loss: This one is going to scare a lot of people, I know. It scared the hell out of me too, believe me. It can be due to many things but I suspect that mine was the stress that my body underwent during the rapid weight loss. I lost 1/3 of my hair. I will be honest, it was scary but I see that new hairs coming out and the doctors say the hair will come back in 3-6 months. I take Biotin and electrolide supplements. So I will keep you updated on that later. You can see my sad hair loss in the below picture (Also consider that I had a hair cut).

Where to Start?

  • First, read more about Keto from here, and calculate your macros and calorie goal here. Write it somewhere.
  • Take pictures of yourself in a way that you can see the change later from the front, side and the rear view.
  • Follow all the #keto accounts on Instagram. My favorite accounts are: ‘@thejoeduff’ for amazing dessert recipes and ‘@stay_snatched’ and ‘@flavcity’ or ‘@keto.meal’ for Keto meals in general.
  • Make a weekly meal plan and do shopping. Sundays are the best days for cooking marathon for me.
  • While cooking, add your meal logs in your macros app. What are the macros per each serving?
  • Start your diet not TOMORROW but TODAY. If you want to decide on ‘when is the best time to start a diet’ please check the beginning of my other post here: When to start dieting
  • Weigh yourself every Saturday, in the morning, naked and after you use the restroom, on an empty stomach. Record this weight in your macros app. Take a photo of your body from each side, every Saturday. The first week, you will start losing way on your third day.
  • Please please please remember to drink lots of water. Carry a bottle with you everywhere.
  • Compare your weight and photos every week.
  • Do not forget to recalculate your macros once you start losing weight. Because the lighter you get, the less calorie intake you need to lose weight.

What to cook?

I have tried a variety of different recipes, mostly from basic Google search or Instagram search. I have already told you my favorite accounts on instagram. You can also follow me ‘@eceketo’ on Instagram. Definitely follow instagram for motivation and recipe ideas 🙂 . I gathered my favorite recipes here: KETO_Cookbook_EceGurler

Also, you can look at the meals I cooked before and have an idea:

I sticked with the rules and I got results. The first week will be tough, but then you will get used to it and it will get easier, fun and you will feel much better. Just don’t forget to count your macros, get your supplements and drink your water!

You can do this!!!!

-Hoscakalin

Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

How to Keep Your Weight After Diet

I have always been curvy. Sometimes I got fatter, sometimes thinner. I always tried different diets and my body always have had good days and bad days.

ben1Ben2After trying Keto for 6 weeks and getting great results this year, I realized low carb diets are the best for me. Quick fat loss and delicious food. Plus, you don’t get hungry. Of course, there were side effects such as leg cramps, bad breath and hair loss. But the purpose of this blog is actually different than explaining Keto diet, which I will do in the future in detail. But it is more about why we fail the diets. Meaning, why do we gain the weight we lost after we finish dieting?

It is all in your head: your psychology. In other words, your thought process and your habits.

After we finish our diet with success, we are so happy and we gave ourselves a promise that, now, we will eat healthy, we will keep exercising, and we won’t make the same mistakes. But then what happens? 85% of all dieters regain their weight. Some of them even gain more than before!

It seems easy for some people to stay healthy and everyone seems to have an opinion:

“Oh, just stay away from flour, sugar and salt, you will lose weight, you don’t need a diet”

“My friend of a friend of a friend became vegan and now she looks so healthy”

“You should try gluten free”

“Just don’t eat that second slice of pizza!”

“I run every morning for an hour and I eat everything I want, just start running!”

“It is just calorie intake. Lower it, then you will lose weight! That’s it”

Well, That is not it.

I tried everything (except being vegan, against my nature): I tried fasting, I tried lowering my calorie intake and increasing exercise, I tried cutting flour, sugar and salt, I tried low fat, I tried low carb. Trust me, I tried EVERYTHING. Only diet seems to be working on me was Keto (A kind of low carb diet) and I got great results. However, afterwards, I slowly started to gain the weight back. While I was going through this process, I assessed my psychological swings. There were so many ups and downs. This blog is the story of the feelings I had and the battles I won and I lost with my consciousness.

Before I go through these dangerous psychological battles, I have a few pieces of advice about dieting:

  1. Timing is important: If your birthday or anniversary is coming up, if holiday season is at the door, don’t even bother start dieting. There is a 99% chance that you will fail. Also, if you are changing your routine, let’s say you are moving somewhere or changing jobs, getting a divorce, etc. it is not the best time to do a diet, either.
  2. Absolutely no alcohol during the weight loss process: Trust me on this. It slows down your weight loss process so much that it is a huge demotivator and it is not worth it.
  3. Who you hang out with is important: Peer pressure is real. When your friends are celebrating they want you to drink alcohol or eat shitty food with them. If you don’t, they start to make fun of you or they judge you”  ‘Oh, eat today, you can diet again tomorrow! haha” (As if it is really funny? No, I already started, thank you!) “You are not drinking? C’mon! This is why we came here!” (So are you saying that I have no business being here? So you accept me because I repeat what you do? Well, thanks, good to know!) “You are being boring” (Thanks for the motivation. If I say “I’m diabetic” or “I’ve food allergy” or “I’m pregnant” you would be so understanding though, and suddenly, I wouldn’t be boring, would I??)
  4. Exercise: It can be 30 min walk every day, you don’t have to run. Or you can do aerobics, you can do slow-medium speed biking. Or you can choose to do weight lifting. Just whatever you choose, light or intense, please ‘move’ your body. Some people don’t exercise thinking that light exercise doesn’t make a change. IT REALLY DOES. But, when you do it consistently. Consistency is the key.
  5. Count your calories and macros: Most people hate counting nutritional values. But in order to have a successful diet, you have to. At least you have to calculate and add your daily calorie intake. Afterall, you don’t want to fall below your daily calorie limit, either. Because then your body will think that you are starving and it will start storing fat.There are many apps that can help you count your calories and macros, such as MyMacros and Fitnesspal. But you can simply look at the nutrition label of your meal ingredients and calculate it yourself. Trust me, it is not rocket science 🙂
  6. Try to find delicous and relatively healthy recipes!: Cauliflower pizza, zucchini enchiladas, oven baked parmesan garlic broccoli, stew, salad with feta cheese, arugula, cherry tomatoes, avacado and pomegranate sauce. These were my favorite healthy recipes on Keto and my mouth was watering each time I made them.

 

Now… Let’s talk about the dangerous thoughts that cross your mind after you finish your diet.

  1. Now I want pizza, beer and wings and fries! I deserved it!

This is the first thought you will have after ending your diet. Although you can have these and you definitely deserved the food you missed, you need to be logical. Plan ahead: In the same week, are you going to eat out again? Celebrate something? Is there a possibility that you will have a happy hour after work? If one of these is the case, maybe you should delay your feast to one of these days. Don’t cross the line (meaning take more unhealthy calories than normally you  burn) more than once a week. If you have a deficit of 3500 calories in 1 week, you will lose 1 pound (~0.45 kg) but the reverse is also true. Those fries, beers and burgers can become the fat on your hips after the week ends.

2. I lost weight once, I can lose again. 

So, I will eat now whatever I want. Rachel Berman, R.D. says “It’s encouraging to see results fast and a restrictive diet may lead to more rapid weight loss,” she explains. “However, being on too much of a restrictive diet and losing weight quickly impacts your hunger hormones.” So, the second time you do the diet, you might not get the same results. Also, think about this: Where is this cycle going to end? Will continue forever? You can do better than this. Once this thought appears, just tell yourself that you want something stable and permanent. You don’t have the energy to go through the same diet again.

3. She is skinny/He is fit and they are eating all those mac and cheese and burgers! Therefore, so can I.

This is your amygdala speaking, the pleasure and reward center of your brain wants that cheesy bread or chocolate cake in your mouth. The scientists suggest the high-sugar and fat diet was actually impairing the ability of the brain to block food cravings. You need to silence that thought immediately.

You don’t know that skinny girl or the fit guy. Her situation might be genetic. Her metabolism might be working faster. I knew this skinny colleague of mine, eating Burger King everyday and she never gained a pound over the years. But I don’t know how her liver or cardiovascular system looks like now of course. Also that fit man might be exercising 2-3 hours a day. Are you? If your answer is no, then you need to forget this thought, as well.

4. I will eat those hot dogs now, I will eat healthy tomorrow and exercise

Well, what if you can’t? It is true that moderation and balancing things out is important. If you ate more than your daily calories today, it makes sense to fall below the next day to balance. So it is important that when you really say this, you actually mean it and do it the next day. If you are not sure, then, don’t trust your own word. Try not to go overboard.

5. I have already eaten a lot of bad food. Now there is no turning back.

Well, there is. Right at this very moment. Go back to healthier eating habits and you will be fine. Unfortunately, our psychology is weird in the sense that once we pass the treshold on something, we feel like we can’t stop. But it is all in our heads. You can stop doing anything, anytime you want. You need to take control of your brain, you shouldn’t run it on automatic and let it take control of you.

6. These people in movies are drinking alcohol and eating bar food all the time and they look fabulous.

In the movies, yes. Not in real life. Jennifer Anniston chugging down the beer in ‘Friends’ but in real life she exercises twice a day and she is on a secret diet. Show business is her job, she needs to stay healthy, this is what she is paid for. James Bond drinks his whisky daily, but he has the best body! Miracle, right? Winchester brothers in Supernatural literally feed on fast food and beer everyday in episodes. And yet their bodies have zero fat (I have attention to detail, that’s all). Magic! Well, not really guys… What I’m saying is, all American TV shows and movies are full of scenes with diners, bars, parties and fit guys and girls. In real life, if you eat like them, you won’t look like them. Your brain is tricking you by making an association between how they look and how they live. Even though you know that this is not real life.

 

After fighting these thoughts, your battle is still not over. In order not to gain the weight back, you need to have a plan. Most of the time people have an awesome diet plan and they do more or less a good job sticking to it. However, they forget to make a plan for afterwards, which is even more important. Your plan should include these elements:

  1. Daily calorie limit: Have a target and stay at that target. Here you can calculate the daily calorie intake you need: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
  2. Nutrition balance: Make sure that you are getting enough protein, carbs and fat. Also make sure you are getting the vitamins and electrolites that your body needs.
  3. Emergency plan (travelling, moving, etc. change of routine): How are you going to eat healthy during this change period? Are there any restaurants that you can order from that serve relatively healthy food?
  4. Cheat meals: Which day of the week do you want to allow yourself to eat the cheat meal? What is it going to include?
  5. Exercise: 3-5 days of the week, what kind of exercises can you do?
  6. Be careful about offerings: I work at a school. Everyday students offer me food or snacks. Every staff meeting there are donuts and pizzas. It is already hard to say no to food, when it is free, it is almost impossible. Well, try your best to say no. Because you are gaining extra calories for a pleasure that will not last more than 5 minutes and it will cost you 30 minutes of running. It is like the question you ask to yourself when you are shopping on a short budget: “Do I really need this? or do I just want it?” If you can’t afford it, leave it.
  7. Do not confuse hunger with thirst: Do you sometimes feel hungry just a couple of hours after eating? It might be just that you are thirsty. Our brain confuses hunger with thirst sometimes. Drink a glass of water and see if that will get rid of the craving.
  8. When you go out, try to be reasonable: As a social person, it is my big problem that I found myself hanging out a lot. I tried to find ways to be more reasonable. For example, instead of 2 beers, I order 1 glass of red wine. Because I drink it more slowly. I usually drink 2 beers in 1 hour, it takes the same amount of time for me to finish 1 glass of wine. Less calories. If I ate bar food that night, I try chips or fries instead of full meal. And next day, I eat salad for lunch and soup for dinner, etc.

I’m going on a diet again on January 2nd. I know that once I’m done with it I will feel and look great. I want to keep that though, that’s why I will try to follow my own advice here. It is all about how we look at the food, how we approach feeding and how we fight with our brain’s reward system. We don’t have to deprive ourselves from everything, or starve ourselves, diet shouldn’t mean suffering. But we need to learn moderation and how to take control of our eating habits. I will keep you updated on my adventure!

Hoscakalin,

-Ece