Day 19: Halloween Candy

The ritual morning Atkins bar was at 9am.

Then there were clients at work – and that meant bagels.

And bagels means cream cheese – which I ate on a pepper (not a bagel). I also picked at the cream cheese throughout the day, keeping my salmon chowder lunch for tomorrow.

The evening was a trek to the grocery store for Halloween candy, then home to carve a pumpkin.

I had some wine while I carved the pumpkin to my daughter’s specification, and my meal was essentially grazing – I had a pickle with mayo and cheese, and a bit of the leftover chowder.

Right before bed I got a sweet tooth, and went out to the car and got a second Atkins bar.

I’d say that my appetite was ‘subdued’ today – while it could be from a number of things, this also happens to me when I’ve been in Atkins induction for a while. For example: still surrounded by pasta, cookies, and leftover fast food – not to mention Halloween cookies, it just didn’t register. I didn’t have to resist them because I wasn’t thinking of them.

Weight? 204.4 – up 1 lb. from yesterday – and 9.6 lbs. down from the beginning.

Day18: Salmon Chowder – And A Pomegranate

The day started with an Atkins bar at 9am.

12:30 was a burger on greens (peppers and celery) with vinaigrette – and an Atkins shake.

When I got home for dinner, I was somehow inspired by a can of salmon I had in the pantry, so I went on the Internet quick, found a recipe for chowder, then made one up off of that. Here’s the recipe I started with – and here’s the one I made:

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 kielbasa, diced
  • 1 small squash, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 5 large pinches of both lemon pepper and thyme

I took the veggies and kielbasa and fried them in the butter until soft and just beginning to get golden. Next went in the salmon. After that was mixed in good, in went the cream and chicken broth. I then seasoned and turned down to flame to the lowest possible, and left for maybe 15 minutes.

I had a very small bowl and was very full after – it was very filling.

And the taste? It was good, but there was some component missing – or something out of proportion. The original recipe called for sherry – I used chicken broth and that might have been the wrong note. I might also cut back on the kilebasa, drain the salmon, and add more cream next time to trim back the salt a bit.

The senior member of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel came home, and I mentioned that there was chowder. 

Her eyes brightened: “Where did you get it?”

“I made it myself – I came up with my own recipe.”

“That scares me.” She said, though she did have a bite. 

“Not bad – too salty though.”

She ended up eating some for dinner. She said she actually liked it, though it was “too heavy to have too much” – which I agree with – I was not hungry the rest of the evening.

I did have half a Pomegranate – I never knew how to eat one before. My wife explained: “don’t worry about the seeds – just eat them.”

I did and it was wonderful. I’ll be getting more of those.

The weigh-in shows: 203.4 – down almost 2 lbs. from yesterday – and 10.6 lbs. down from the beginning.

The salmon chowder will be lunch for today – and I’ll give the recipe a go again (with some mods) in the near future – especially if it fills me up as it did and I peel off 2lbs in a day after eating it for dinner.

Day 17: Persistence

“I will study and prepare, and someday my opportunity will come.”
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

On the trip into work, I started off with an Atkins bar. I wanted another right after, but resisted the urge, and the hunger disappeared until about noon, when I had a burger with lettuce and low carb ketchup. Hungry in the afternoon, I had some Brazil nuts (I squirt a little mustard on them – weird, I know). 

DInner was some of the Italian stew from the other day. I also had some chicken wings, and a slice of low carb bread with sauce and mozzarella cheese – I melted the mozzarella cheese in the microwave and at the result with a knife & fork – a very distant analog of pizza, but it seems to fill that niche – sometimes.

Some food boredom is setting in. This was something I experimented with during the summer and early fall, and it’s something I found I need to avoid to stay on course. I’ll have to mix things up soon – either go back to the archives and pull out a recipe or conjure up something new.

I followed my low carb diet well, but I have completely failed in my news diet. I’m obsessed, frankly. The news these days is like the car crash you can’t look away from, though what you are seeing is horrifying.

I can’t wait until the US election is over. 

I’m going back and reading my own posts for inspiration. I reread the post on changing your habits. Good point, Me. Poorly written, but what do you expect from something dashed off at 5am – Hemingway?

The point survives – it’s time to make new habits, and with a little persistence, they will persist.

I know this. I did this. And can do it again.

And the weigh-in numbers for today?


205.2 – down 2 lbs. from yesterday – and 8.8 lbs. from the start.

Looking at my stats, I’d say I lost 5 days of progress because of a bad weekend, but, again – this is a marathon, not a sprint.

And I have lost this weight eating a heckuva lot of rich, high-calorie, satisfying foods, and had little hunger.

Day 16: The Halfway Point

Halfway though, this committment to bore the living hell out of my regular visitors with my ill-informed drivel on the financial mess and a laundry list of what I’ve eaten for the day has been successful so far.

It’s the diet part that ain’t going so good.

To put a positive spin on it, today I weigh 207.2 – down 6.8 lbs from my starting weight of 214.

6 lbs ain’t much, but at the rate I was gaining, it’s good to see I stopped that trend, and I am lower than when I started.

A few awful days put me back, and I’ve come to understand that the notion of a ‘golden time’ – that first shot at Atkins where the weight comes off easy – is probably accurate. After 5+ years doing low carb, your body becomes acclimated to it, and you just can’t achieve the same rapid weight loss.

That’s not to say that Low carb doesn’t work – it does, it’s just harder the second time ’round.

Advice to first-timers who’ve lost weight at this: DON’T LET THE WEIGHT COME BACK!

There’s also a trapped-feeling to all this. It’s something I suppose everyone who diets, loses weight, and keeps it off for the long-term feels: you are trapped doing this forever.

Whatever diet you do, if it works – welcome to the rest of your life, sucker. That’s why low carb is a pretty attractive style of diet to go on. You don’t have to restrict quantities as much as other diets, and the food you can eat is actually quite diverse and healthy – and tasty – no sugar-free rice cakes here.

Imagine living on rice cakes the rest of your life…pathetic.

Of course, you do have to give up some pretty yummy stuff – you’ll find no good baguette, and science will never recreate a genuine New York bagel in a low carb version.

Oh well. To the folks that can eat that sort of stuff and still keep thin: to hell with you!

Ok…where was I? My foodies for yesterday:

Breakfast was an Atkins bar.

Guzzled down the 50oz. water. 

Around noon I finished off the beef stroganoff. That kept me until I got home.

7:30pm was a 1/2 pint of mock potato salad, and some kilebasa slices, a burger on lettuce with low carb ketchup, and a few chicken wings – washed down with a lot of 4C drink mix.

No cheats, though I was again surrounded by pasta, mac & cheese, and fresh baked cookies and cupcakes.

I’d like to think I can get under 200 by the end of this – it’s not too ambitious of a goal, but when you’re in it for the long haul, you gotta pin your hopes on a series of small victories – the big ones don’t come along all that often.

Day 15: An Impressive Calculation…For the Wrong Reasons

“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

Churchill supposedly said this, and it is not only appropriate to the coming of World War II (his reason for saying it), but to the current financial meltdown, and my diet.

Jeez – Iwas listening to a commentator discuss the fact that people weren’t depressed because the stock market went down over 300 points Friday – he said that it has to fall further. He described it as: you know how Bush described the market as being drunk? Well, now it’s trying to throw up.

16 trillion dollars disappeared in about a month. That probably will never truly sink in since the number is so damn big, that it can only be an abstraction to us humans. We look at the number and all we can say is it’s ‘really big’.

Folks – if you’re alive and living through this with Me, we have the dubious privilege of living through an event of such historic proportions that it eclipses every historical event that has come before.

Like a charging rhino, shot in the head and still running, you look around you and things seem pretty much like they did before. 

They won’t for long. 

As I said to a friend the other day: if I described in January what would happen by the US election, I’d have been locked up as a lunatic.

This is not a blog about the markets, or the meltdown, but this series of postings is about me trying to lose weight amist all the crap going on. That’s why all this nonsense about the meltdown is here: I don’t live in a world where only my diet matters, but in the real world – and my diet needs to coexist with the meltdown.

Ok – now the food.

1pm – Atkins bar. 

3:30 – open faced cheese, lettuce, mayo

4:30 burger

6pm – ricotta with splenda and 2 pieces low carb toast w/butter.

It was about here things became unhinged.

I made my daughters mac and cheese, which I had not made them for some time, and they quite liked it. I also made some fried chicken – the frozen type that you can nuke, which goes well with the mac and cheese.

Sitting next to my older daughter, we were talking about how the tilt of the Earth’s axis causes the seasons, and some of the leftover chicken was sitting next to me.

I had a bite, and the avalanche occured.

I did say the mac and cheese goes good with the chicken, right? I know because I had some. Then I did my usual cheat routine – a search-and-destroy mission for all the forbidden stuff that my wife and kids usually eat.

In times like these, I usually take an ‘oh-well-tomorrow’s-another-day’ approach to things. Heck – I enjoyed myself – even had some of the baguette – now well on the road to being stale, but still good.

I did not enjoy my daily meeting with Mr. Scale: he told me that I gained 1.8 lbs. from yesterday for a weight of 208.6 – 5.4 lbs. down from the beginning. 

I calculated that if I keep gaining weight at the average of my weight gain on my 2 cheat days, I will weigh 228 lbs. by day 30 – now that would be impressive, wouldn’t it?

Day 14: A Kitchen Experiment…and a Baguette

I wanted something Italian, and I wanted to buy some chicken – and do it in the crock pot. Chicken Caccitore seemed to fit the bill.

As usual, I found a recipe, then threw it away and came up with my own version:

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • tub of fresh mushrooms
  • oregano
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • small can tomato paste
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • can of pizza sauce (usually much lower in carbs than jarred sauces, for some reason – mine was 4 grams of carbs)
Chopped the veggies large and threw them in the pot with the chicken broth and oregano. Then I laid this chicken on this, and smeared the tomato paste on the legs, then sprinkled on the crushed garlic. An hour later I put the pizza sauce on top. 
Cook on high for about 4-1/2 hours.
It came out good, though way too ‘soupy’. I ladeled out a quart of liquid into a container and set it aside – there – that’s better.
 I had some of the broth as brunch and it made a nice tomato soup – and a bowl of the stuff later, covered in melted mozzarella cheese and parm, was good as well.
But not great.
Why? I thought of a number of reasons:
  • The recipe actually sucks – and I can’t bring myself to admit it.
  • The meat falls off the bone in this recipe and you have to fish through the stuff to pick them all out – and you don’t get every last bone and piece of grizzle.
  • I want pasta with Italian flavors, dammit!
  • Just not in the mood for chicken.
  • My wife brought in a baguette and it distracted me the entire day.
I think it was the last one. My wife brought a baguette back from the farmer’s market. Known as ‘french bread’, this stuff is high on the list of Best Bread Ever. Rip off a hunk, smear with some salted butter, and you have a meal.
My wife and older daughter went out for the afternoon and I stayed with my 2-year-old. She’s a great Kid, and I like cartoons, so we make a great pair. 
But the entire time, the baguette sat right next to my ‘Italian Stew’. Looking all tasty. 
Ugh, I was tempted…but then I had a bowl of the Italian stew. I also had an open-faced cream cheese and 0 cal jelly on a slice of the low carb bread, as well as a cheese, lettuce, mayo open-faced sandwich as well. I also had some cream, and a few glasses of the 4C Splenda-containing-rug-staining electric red fruit punch.
The baguette was under constant threat, but it made it through the day untouched. The pity of it is that, if my family follows their past behavior: they won’t even eat the damn thing! It will sit until hard and useless, except as a club. A baguette has to be eaten as soon as possible – and not after the first day.
I held out little hope in the scale department, and I was right: I’m 207 – 1 lb. up from yesterday and 7 lbs. down from the start. 
After a cheat, if I keep the carbs real low, I can cancel out the bad day totally, but the low carb bread and the tomatoes probably made the carb count higher than necessary.
I actually don’t feel that bad about it, because I feel better about adhering to my committment than my concern for the scale numbers: if I can keep to my low carb eating regimen, the weight will come off, eventually.

Day 13: It’s the End of The World As We Know It

Hungry in the morning – had 2 open-faced cheese sandwiches with lettuce and mayo

Lunch was early and was a container of the beef stroganoff

A little after that it was an Atkins bar.

Home after 7 it was a glass of wine. Then another. 

Then I cooked dinner for the kids – pasta. 

Then I ate the leftover pasta. Then an italian ice, then a banana, then some more stuff that shouldn’t be included in a low carb diet.

Obviously, I held little hope for the scale to be forgiving after that, and it met my expectations: 208.0 – a gain of 3 lbs., but still 6 lbs off the start point.

I’ve been here before, and if you follow a bad day with a good day, you can usually get back to where you were in 24 hours. So that’s the task for today.

Day 12: Just The Facts, Ma’am

It started with an Atkins bar on the drive to work. 

Next up, a big bowl of the beef stroganoff at 10:30am

At about 5:30 pm, I had an Atkins shake, as well as some brazil nuts, which I keep at work for food emergencies.

When I got home, I had eggs and sausages, as well as a few strawberries. And more wine.

A chunk of Lindt chocolate followed.

Still in ketosis.

And the weigh-in? 204.8 – an insignifigant gain from yesterday, and still down by 9lbs. and change from the beginning.

Day 11: The Bloodletting

The problems with the economy have hit home. Massive layoffs. The boss’s boss let go, the person next to you let go, people allowed to stay until the end of the month, like a living corpse – corporate-style. Calling someone about a project and saying: “Oh, you’re being cut? That’s too bad – are you going to complete that project?” What else can you say? You’re expected to work while people around you turn into living ghosts.

The morning commute was 2 Atkins bars, then I had the other 1/2 lb. of bologna. That kept me until the commute home, where I ate my mock potato salad. 

If you think driving while talking on a cel is bad, you should have seen me trying to eat this stuff during my commute. 

I did this because I had to take my daughter to her piano lesson. 

When we came home a little before 9pm, I had 4 fried eggs for dinner – and wine. I can tell you the number of eggs, but I’m not sure on the number of glasses of wine – I drank it while I helped my daughter with some homework, and cleaned the kitchen.

I ended my evening with a nice bowl of ricotta cheese and Splenda as dessert.

This morning’s weight? I got it to move downward a bit: 204.4 – down 9.6 lbs. from the start.

Day 10: Revenge of the Meatloaf

This morning I forgot to grab an Atkins bar when I got out of the car to go to work, and said to hell with it – I’ll skip having it first thing in the morning.

I drank (chugged) my 50 oz of water, and drank way too much coffee.

By lunch I was way hungry, and food boredom had set in, I think. I didn’t want my mock potato salad, so I took a ride to Kings.

In my area of the country, Kings is a high-end grocery store that I resent because it is way over-priced. It does sell Boar’s Head Low Sodium Bologna, which I love – and I have never seen it anywhere else.

So OK – I go to get some of this beloved low carb crap food – I know it’s not good for me, but it won’t kill the diet. While waiting for the gal at the counter to slice my meat, I notice that they have store-prepared meatloaf.

My thoughts went back to being a kid, and my Mom’s meatloaf. I think there was a comfort-food thing going through me at this point, and I noticed that they had a prepackaged 1/2 lb. hunk right next to me – and it was on sale – curious, as their ‘sales’ were small to non-existent, at least as far as I could see.

Perhaps the global financial meltdown was impacting them? Whatever the reason, I went for it, and trudged back to work with my lunch.

Little did I know.

I had the meatloaf and about a 1/4 lb. of the bologna, and was good until later in the day when I got thirsty. I had an Atkins Shake about then.

That held me over until I got home about 7:30. I checked – yep, still in ketosis – good.  Then, like the night before, I ate heavily.

I figured that it would be good for me to have a salad to get my veggies.

Then I said to Hell with that.

First, I had 2 pickle halves with american cheese and mayo on them.

Next up, 2 slices of The Baker Low Carb Bread – 5 grams net carbs each – I had them as toast – one with butter and one with cream cheese and Walden Farms Zero Calorie jelly.

I finished this off with 3 fried eggs, which I hadn’t had in a while – and thoroughly enjoyed.

Actually, I enjoyed all of it – it had been 10 days since I had bread and I love The Baker products – not only is the product low carb, the ingredients don’t read like a manifest for a chemical factory.

Then the fireworks began.

I accuse the discounted meatloaf for what happened next: a severe case of the ‘trots’, to put it delicately. After about the 4th run to the john, my daughter asked: “Daddy, why do you keep going to the bathroom?”

After about the 10th visit, the meatloaf had run it’s course, and the rumbling in my stomach, that sounded like distant thunder and held the same foreboding for the violence to soon come, subsided.

Oddly, leftover french fries, cookies, and chicken nuggets still tempted me at this point, but I ignored their cries.

Really tired at this point, and my 2 daughters both asleep on the couch, I nodded off as well, and when my wife came home from a meeting, we all went up to bed.

This morning’s weight is exactly the same as yesterday’s: 205.4 still down 8.6 lbs. from the start.

I’m 1/3 the way through my 30-day commitment, and an 8 lb. loss is OK if I take the long perspective, though of course, a 2-day stall is frustrating.