SASCHA K: NO CARBS, NO SUGAR

“THERE’S A REASON WHY KETO DIETS AND PALEO NEVER REALLY FELT LIKE THEY WERE ‘MY DIET.’ AS MUCH AS I’M GAME TO TRY VARIATIONS ON HEALTH TRENDS, CUTTING DOWN ON CARBS AND SUGAR WERE NEVER ON MY ‘TO DO LIST.’

So imagine my enthusiasm when I was told that I’d have to do just that. Cut carbs and sugar from my diet…yay.

Ever since I ran in pageants a trillion years ago, I’ve staunchly been in the “eat to be happy and healthy” corner; a world without fluffy, starchy bread or creamy late night gelato did not sound appealing. I’m in for a challenge, I thought.

As I prepared for a full diet overhaul, I was mentally steeling myself for the worst—and to not enjoy the process. I was wrong.

Daily Rizap food program meals
Documenting my daily meals.

“Komina’s calculations says I need to hit a certain number of calories per day while also having to meet my goals per meal. On top of that, I have to check my macros (that’s macro nutrients) and be sure that I am hitting my needs for them all, too.

These were some of the learning curves I had to adjust to and it was exhausting.”

— SASCHA

THE FIRST WEEK: OVERWHELM

The magic of RIZAP isn’t that the methods are revolutionary. It’s that it takes your goals and raises them from back-burner “I’ll get to it on Monday” mentality to WE ARE GETTING THIS DONE ASAP. If my past few months have proven anything, it’s that this method is NOT a casual diet or treatment, it’s a solid solution to a problem that should be addressed.

To get me started, Komina gave me a book, The Book—my RIZAP bible—if you will, to go over the methodology, my personal goals, and my stats that need to be calculated after reviewing my weight, age, height, and astrological sign (I kid, but not really).

So when I began my first full day (on a Wednesday), I was overwhelmed with information that I was still processing.

For example, The Book says no carrots (high sugar) but I just bought a Costco ton of carrots (I made carrot soup for the family and miso soup for me that week).

Komina's calculations says I need to hit a certain number of calories per day while also having to meet my goals per meal. On top of that, I have to check my macros (that’s macro nutrients) and be sure that I am hitting my needs for them all, too.

These were some of the learning curves I had to adjust to and it was exhausting.

SUGAR WITHDRAWAL

I also heard that people go through sugar withdrawals and that headaches for up to 2 weeks were normal. Fortunately for me, I was already eating a relatively healthy diet so my headache only lasted 2 days.

However, I started to crave chocolate and starches and did obsessively go on the hunt for good bread alternatives and sugar alternatives. I found Lakanto (monk fruit) works wonders but I prefer Swerve, a natural sugar alternative that’s also non-GMO.

Chicken Miso Soup from Rizap program
My variation on a recipe found in The Book from RIZAP: a Chicken & vegetable miso soup.

DAILY TEXTS WITH KOMINA.

Looking back, I can see how this is where my relationship with Komina, my trainer, gets to be so important. In the beginning especially, if I were to try to figure out everything on my own and not ask her for help, I’d be drowning and tempted to give up right after day 2. On the flip side, if she were to only check in with me once a week or less, I’d also feel like I’m not getting anywhere.

However, because part of the RIZAP program requires that I text her my meals and my stats daily, Komina has realtime insight to my changes as she looks over everything and guides me in the right direction.

Her earlier texts to me included things like '“Try to hit all your macros” and “You will need to eat more.” She also sent me recipes and brand recommendations as she got used to my tastes and lifestyle.

THE JOYS OF BREAKFAST

The most helpful suggestion she made in that first week was telling me to keep breakfast simple and stick to it.

I went from not having any breakfast (most days) to suddenly putting a pan on the stove before I’ve been up for a full hour. It felt both indulgent and amazing; breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, probably because I am so used to skipping it or grabbing something insufficient on the fly almost all of my life. Sitting for breakfast was something I did on vacation or during the weekend—not a daily routine.

After trying to come up with something different every day, Komina’s suggestion resonated. Yes, I’d be happy with 2 eggs, a salad and some cheese, or a variation on this. And so, I settled on My Breakfast lineup.

Spinach Egg Tofu Breakfast
A typical line up. I love adding a piece of “toast,” too.

“I was surprised when I lost a full pound in 2 days. But, Komina saw my stats and said ‘we need to adjust.’ Once we did, I was on a roll and was shocked when I lost a full 8lb in less than a month.”

— SASCHA

INSTANT WEIGHT DROP

I was surprised when I lost a full pound in 2 days. But, Komina saw my stats and said “we need to adjust.” Once we did, I was on a roll and was shocked when I lost a full 8lb in less than a month. In two months, I had dropped a total of 19lbs, safely and in a healthy manner.

While there are a variety of macro nutrient targeting to try and to consider, Komina was skilled and experienced enough to adjust my stats on the fly for the right results. We track my stats via MyFitnessPal and I noticed that the app also came up with similar stats as her recommends. However, it was quickly apparent that had I stuck with what the app gave me, my progress would not have been nearly as fast nor as dramatic as it was under Komina’s watchful eye.

Sascha Progress pictures using rizap plan
May 2021. As a former fashion stylist, I knew how to dress for my shape so it was hard for friends to believe that I needed help.

MY KETO OBSESSION

I quickly became obsessed with finding foods and ingredients that I could enjoy. After all, if you love food, part of that love comes from the discovery of a new find or flavor combination.

Luckily, the grocers—Foodland Farms and Whole Foods in particular, carry a lot of Keto-friendly options. I quickly zero’d in on all of the labels that read “KETO FRIENDLY,” “KETO CERTIFIED,” and “KETO APPROVED.” I learned to read the back of the labels to see if those claims checked out and importantly, learned that not all Keto brands are made equal. Like, at all.

I was also hungry for Keto-recipes but with two kids and a new puppy, I preferred finding things that were already made—or easy to make with kids around. I’ve found and make Keto bagels, Keto brownies, keto pancakes, and keto muffins. The bagels were a family favorite and relatively easy to make.

But by far, my favorite KETO find is my KETO ice cream. Yep, finding that in the freezer isle was a game changer because I felt a sort of “return to normalcy” while also eating something that’s good (or better) for me that regular ice cream or gelato.

Keto Bagel for Rizap Diet
My homemade Keto bagel. I froze a batch and got a fresh bagel everyday.