Keto Q&A: Busting Cultural Barriers with Coach Vic

The unexpected part of my journey by far has been the fact that I now eat to live, not live to eat.

Vic Basmadjian aka @KetoCoachVic

I’ve had the good fortune of finding out about keto at a time where the internet is teeming with successful adopters of this ultra low-carb lifestyle. All over social media, blogs (this one humbly included), podcasts, and even occasional mainstream news showcases how impactful “going keto” has been for so many. One such Keto Rockstar I’ve encountered is Keto Coach Vic.

I discovered Vic on Twitter, as he was making contributions to the ever-growing online Keto community. It was so easy to relate to his anecdotes – you cut me deep, Vic – clearly, it’s not just Italians who have traditions rooted in carbs! I was further intrigued when I listened to his full story on the Low Carb MD podcast; I recognized we were kindred spirits from the Great White North with a different spin on what it’s like ditching the carbs. Coach Vic and I decided it would be fun to publish a little Q&A series about how we each managed to bust through our cultural barriers and take back our health. Hope you enjoy.

Without further ado, let me introduce you all to Keto Coach Vic Basmadjian!

Bio:
Vic Basmadjian
– Armenian, Canadian
– Recovered carboholic
– Beat life long battle with obesity
– Lost 100 lbs on keto and I/F lifestyle
– Off all meds,BP/GERD/CPAP machine
– On a mission to spread the word
– Keto is my life and passion

Social media:
– Website: ketocoaching.ca
– Twitter: @ketocoachvic
– Instagram: @ketocoachvic

Vic and I go back and forth on the questions below, hope you find value and if so, let us know in the comments or connect on social media.


On to the Q&A!

1) Describe what it was like to tell your family you were going keto. Any tips for that conversation?

VB – Vic

VB – Actually, the door was open. It was my son, who seeing that I had started low carb , suggested I look into keto. So as far as my wife and kids were concerned, they supported my journey from day one. Having said that, my mom and extended family had a totally different reaction. 

AG – Anth

AG – For me, it was sort of a slow reveal as I gradually reduced carbs until deciding to go fully keto – so when finally telling anyone, they were well-prepared. Tips? I reassured them I was feeling fantastic, wasn’t sick (or insane), and had plenty of energy all day. I never avoided a family gathering due to ‘fear’ of judgement – I showed up, was honest about low carb, and moved on.


2) How did your family react? What was their immediate response and what is it like now, years later?

Anth

AG – They were skeptical for sure, and worried about the amount of fat I was now eating. Keto goes against their (and my!) comfort zone around food. But, they left me alone after 3-4 attempts at feeding me pasta or bread or cannoli. They were happy to see I ate double meat and veggies instead. For a while it was awkward saying no to things they prepared the ‘thought’ I could eat… so educating them on what I could consume on keto took some time.

Three years later, it’s known that I don’t eat carbs, so there’s really no discussion. Everybody sees the results (I’m happier, look great, and have tons of energy). In fact, some of my family are trying keto themselves! Well, except Nonna, she challenges me to ‘mangia la pasta!’ to this day – love her 🙂

Vic

VB – It was no surprise I pretty much knew how they would react. 
– You’re crazy
– That’s not healthy
– That’s not a life
– You’re going to pass out without bread
– …And so on
 
Two years later, they have come to terms with my lifestyle and believe it or not, although not all the time, they do watch their carbs and sugar intake (at least when I’m around lol). 50% improvement, I’ll take that as a huge win. They have also endorsed and have accepted my alternate cultural recipes. 


3) What favorite dish have you had to say farewell to & do you still crave it?

A sample of @KetoCoachVic’s instagram feed. Carbs, Shmarbs!
Vic

VB – My favorite dish to say farewell to was an Armenian dish called Mante. It is a meat dumpling in a chicken broth topped with yogurt and sumac. I always said once I’m in maintenance, it would be the first thing I had as a treat. One year into maintenance, still have not had it. I simply don’t crave it.

Anth

AG – I have to say baked ziti from my nonna and mashed potatoes + gravy from my mom, and there isn’t a real replacement for it on Keto (I’ve tried!). I miss it, but I’ve come to realize that it’s just food. The thing I value most is actually the time I spend with the family. I make it a point now (which I never did before) to arrive early or stay late for family meals and spend time with them away from the table (in the yard gardening, or taking a walk around the block).


4) What has been unexpected in your journey?

Anth

AG – I did not expect that simply changing what I ate would liberate so much of my mental energy (away from food). I have a new appreciation for things I love. Linked to this, I also can’t believe how easy it’s been to ditch carbs “for good” – something I never considered possible before.

Vic

VB – The unexpected part of my journey by far has been the fact that I now eat to live, not live to eat. I still enjoy the majority of my favorite foods and cultural dishes and in no way feel deprived. There is no better feeling of being in control of your food, instead of the food controlling you. 



Til Next Time…

That concludes this special guest Q&A post. Let us know in the comments if you enjoy this format, and ask questions you’d like to see answered in future posts. Vic and I are eager to put our experiences down for everyone’s benefits.

Thanks again Vic! Follow on Twitter , Instagram + check out his website ketocoaching.ca.

2 Comments

  1. Love the blog. Will you be posting recipes?

    1) how did you transition to maintenance? What were tyou parameters to know that it was time for maintence–body weight, body fat %, waist measurement, lab parameters? Did you increase your fats? How do you not becpome complacent and keep you brain in the game?

    2) Have you had a relapse (per Robert Cywes) where you regained some of the weight that you had lost? How did you cope with this?

    1. Hi Robin, thanks for the comment!
      I’ve got a recipe section over here https://italiangoesketo.com/recipes-2/ (check the menu / navigation bar to access that page).

      I’m going to take these questions for a future q&a with Vic. My brief answers below:

      1) Maintenance is still a goal of mine, I’m not where I want to be and am continuing to tinker with what works to shed remaining body fat. I’ve spent time building muscle through resistance exercise and go through cycles of fasting to help balance anabolic and catabolic states. It’s about you, ultimately, and what your goals are. Personally I don’t think I’ll ever stop having a new goal, else I may find my progress stagnating. More to cover on this excellent question!

      2) (love Robert Cywes!) not a relapse per se, but my lowest weight was after a prolonged fast, where I knew I had little muscle mass compared to myself now. So I’m weighing more, but my physique and clothes fit is much better than that time. I think having a relapse on the scale needs to be kept in context with your overall feelings of health, as that’s just one number. Important, but remember muscle mass / strength, waist measurements, clothing fit, and mood / energy all contribute to your “success”.

      Feel free to reach out to me via the “contact” section of the site of you have more detailed questions, and thanks for reading!

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