Day 9: Homeostasis

Today started with an Atkins bar at about 8am. At Noon, I ate a pint of the mock potato salad. Then at 3pm I had another bar.

I did feel rather dizzy during the day, but I attributed this to my getting maybe 4 hours of sleep the night before.

It was when I got home that all hell broke loose.

I had 2 bowls of the beef stroganoff with sour cream, which is really filling. Then I had some slices of kielbasa – at least a half-dozen. Then finished it off with a half-dozen slices of some cheddar cheese and 2 squares of the Lindt chocolate.

Still in ketosis – the stick went dark. Personally, I don’t obssess on the color – if it turns a little bit, you’re in ketosis – the color has more to do with how much water you’ve drank and how efficiently your body is burning ketones – neither of which I concern myself with.

I’ve also been drinking some 4C drink mix – they use Splenda instead of Crystal Light, which uses Nutrasweet. I haven’t tried their 2Go products – I buy the tubs. Of the flavors they offer in this container type, I like the Pomegranate best – the fruit punch is a kid-taste and the lemonade is just so pedestrian. I like the Crystal Light Orange stuff, and 4C apparently makes something similar, but not in a tub. Oh well…

Today’s temptation: Mc Donalds. I get a call on the way home to pick up fries and chicken nuggets, so I ride home with the bags next to me. Then home, there’s chips, cookies, and noodles seemingly everywhere I look. 

I resisted, though. Perhaps this is why I scarfed down all the low carb stuff I did.

But this isn’t a race, nor a diet, really – it’s a lifestyle. I need to restrict my diet like a diabetic does – as I’m probably going to end up being one if I don’t – or as a vegetarian, or a devout member of the Muslim or Jewish faith would. 

This morning weight is 205.4 still down 8.6 lbs. from the start

Impressive for some, but for me, an indication I really let myself go this time, and my internal ‘set point’ shifted higher. Oh well, I’m in this for the long haul, and the trend it in the right direction.

Day 8: Dr. Dan – I Think You Nailed It – And In Other News, Wall St. Spends Bailout Money on Bonuses, and The Earth Will Burn to a Crisp

It was a comment by Dr. Dan that hit home: this bit about no time to go on a diet but going on one anyway, the feeling that things are out of control yet going back on Atkins hardcore, might be a psychological compensation mechanism so I can feel a sense of control over something.

Why didn’t I recognize this before?

Oh, yeah – because ego defenses are by definition, unconscious – Dr. Dan just pulled the rug out from under that, though.

I should have noticed this myself – jeez, I’m driving around with a copy of ‘The Ego and Its Defenses’ in my car as reading material when I’m waiting for my wife and/or kids, which is a lot. I was reading just yesterday about the ego defense of ‘compensation’ – I should have put 2 & 2 together, but again, an ego defense is unconscious by definition, so that explains it.

So what happens now? The truth is out, and now I’ll pork up on White Castle burgers and be fat, dumb, and happy?

For those of you interested in plumbing the depths of your own psyche, you can check out this article. What ego defenses do you have up and running full bore? Take a read and see – if you dare. Please note that while the defenses themselves are pretty real (you’ll see them in use by yourself and others), the whys of all this, as described by Freud, are crap, in my opinion. 

But…I digress, this is a blog about low carb diets, right? Where’s the recipes, the tips, the observations about being a low carb person in a high-carb world?

Oh yeah. Anyhow, I started the day with coffee and cream (cream is a weekend luxury – I drink coffee during the week black.) Had my fiber therapy, and started my ‘cabbage noodles’ for the beef stroganoff I am making.

Next up was the beef. I cooked that more or less to the recipe, though I didn’t bother with the cover with water and cook for an hour part. It came out fine. It had been a while since I made this – the last time I did, I got lazy on cutting the cabbage thin and cooking it long enough to soften the cabbage to the range of al dente pasta (with a few crunchy parts).

This time I cooked the cabbage correctly and had a bowl for breakfast at 9am. It was great. I had my 2-year-old try some, and she ate it, but didn’t ask for more. 

At least she didn’t spit it out.

The Heliosphere

I then read an article about how the Sun’s heliosphere is disappearing, and this could lead to the destruction of all life on Earth. Jeez – I can’t do anything about that – recycling more of my waste paper or combining trips to save gas won’t do squat.

So…first, we have to deal with global financial collapse, THEN cope with the wacky US election that now has the entire world on edge because it has been made obvious how what happens here can completely screw up the entire earth – even the countries we like – then I read the sun can burn the inhabitants of the planet to a crisp in less than 30 years if the current heliosphere diminishing continues.

Oh, wait – the scientists who noticed this, though they never saw such a thing before, said the heliosphere will probably go back to normal again – nothing to worry about. 

They might be right, but is that before or after the sun microwaves us into oblivion?

Ahem, where was I…the diet, yeah. Tried making some crunchy cheese crackers – I took 4 slices of american cheese (not the processed crap in plastic, but the crap you have to carefully peel apart) and while 4-slices thick, sprinkled them with cayenne pepper and cut them into small squares. These I took and put in the countertop convection oven on ‘broil’.

Well, because broiling cooks from the top, each cheese thing swelled up like a bubble and burned the top – it looked like a chesty girl leaned over a campfire too far. The bottoms were still mushy, though. They still tasted good, and my older daughter and I finished them up.

I’ll have to try this again – maybe watching when they bubble up, then turn the oven to bake?

I had about 3 slices of cheese-worth of these things around noon – that was lunch. Later in the day I tried the green bean recipe I mentioned before, but more or less only used one trick from it – the addition of lemon juice. I think that was a nice touch – it brightened the flavor considerably.

Still in ketosis, but as I was home, I jumped on the scale a few times during the afternoon: 206.4, 206.0, 205.4…odd. My scale is pretty exact from time to time – was my weight really fluctuating like that?

Later I had another tomato, mayo, bacon bit whatever – finishing up the tomato I tore into the previous day – and a cup of coffee with cream and Splenda.

Evening consisted of the last of the pork chop I made the other day – about 1/2. 

I was surrounded by cookies, cookies, cookies as my daughter had a friend over and she brought home-made chocolate chip cookies. Then the two older girls went out with my wife and came back with even more cookies. There was also warm apple cider, and a pathetic attempt by yours truely to start a fire in the fireplace.

So I go into the week with some low carb home-cooked dishes to get me through the week. And the weight?

205.2 – a loss of 8.8 from my start weight of 214 – and essentially no change from the day before.

Oh – and I just read that 70 billion in salary and bonuses will be paid out to Wall St. – courtesy of Uncle Sam

Now I see why the people on Wall St. thought the bailout was necessary – they have payments on their yachts to keep up with.

I’m beginning to see a diet analogy to all this: let’s say I’m fat as a house, and I come to you and say ‘I need to go on a diet. Give me some money, make it 700 billion, and I’m going to go out and buy some healthy food and maybe an exercise bike.’

Then I go and blow it on fast food, scooter pies, cigarettes and booze.

To me, that’s Wall St.

Day 7: The Hungries

As today was Saturday, I took the time to try and do some vague meal planning. I figured in the next week I would have:

Green beans, as I have 3 bags of the stuff in deep cryogenic storage in the back of the freezer. To try and jazz them up a little, I found a recipe that seemed to be interesting and easy

I also have brocolli – and found another recipe which sounds good. 

A tip of the hat to the person who runs Taming the Diabeastie – there are a vast number of recipes – all for folks who are controlling their diabetes through low carb – they’re our closest affinity group – us low carbers. They might not be using it to lose weight, and some of the recipes might be higher in carbs than we like, but with some careful selection, and maybe some mods to a recipe, there’s a wealth of meal ideas here.

I finished off the meal planning with more of my mock potato salad with kilebasa and this beef stroganoff recipe

As it’s the weekend, my daily ritual was not the same. Here’s how it went:

11:15am I had the leftover pork from yesterday – about 3/4 of a chop – along with the butter sauce (the grease). I wasn’t all that hungry, but I ate it anyway, as I think skipping meals, while tempting during a diet because your first thought is you’ll lose weight faster, actually wreaks more havoc.

12:30pm – a few spoonfuls of sour cream with Splenda to finish up the container. “Finish up the container” – how many of us have got hugely fat because of that kind of thinking?

6:00pm – two large tomato, bacon, mayo and cheese sandwiches wrapped in lettuce – and an Atkins bar. These tomatoes were locally-grown heirloom tomatoes – these slices were as big and thick as a lumberjack’s hand. I’ll have to remember this trick come spring, because once the farmer’s market closes next week, I’ll have to forego the store-bought variety as even the expensive, vine-ripened ones totally suck in comparison.

I was really darn full after the tomato meal…for a little while.

Then I wasn’t.

An attack of the hungries hit – and I went on a search-and-destroy mission for something else to eat.

At 7pm, I had 3 oz cream cheese w/Splenda + square chocolate.

Still hungry, I had some chicken broth with some soy sauce.

I fell asleep on the couch with my 2-year old daughter. When I woke up, I carried her up to bed, and got her some milk. During the wait to heat the milk, I had half a Claussen pickle. 

I went to bed still hungry, with the voices of the fried potatoes, noodles, cake, and candy apples in the fridge – waiting to be eaten  by someone who would really appreciate their worth – not these kids, who take a few bites and leave the parent-as-busboy (Me) to put away the leftovers.

I ignored their screams and fell asleep.

And this morning’s weight, as provided by my overly accurate and unforgiving Tanita bathroom scale? 205.4 – a GAIN of 2+ lbs. from the day before, though still down 8.6 lbs. for the week

My take on this is: I didn’t have my evening course of fiber therapy, and I ate later in the day. I don’t think I ate all that much more today than other days, so I’m guessing that my metabolism really needs that jumpstart early in the morning. 

I checked about 7pm – I was still in ketosis, which is an encouraging sign.

I think the 2 lbs. will come off easily if I adhere to my diet – let’s see where I’m at tomorrow.

Day 6: “You GOTTA Go!”

It was not a good day from a psychological perspective. As I said, this is no time to go on a diet for me – it’s nice to start a diet when your life is humming along, things are pretty routine, and your mental energy is high – this isn’t me. I’m not asking for sympathy, nor feeling sorry for myself (OK, maybe I am feeling sorry for my self somewhat), but trying to work through the challenge of doing something when you damn well don’t feel like it. 

I was walking through a store yesterday and saw a shirt – ‘Pain is the feeling of weakness leaving the body’ – or something to that effect. Yeah – that’s sort of how I’m trying to reframe all this. 

How do you empower yourself when you just don’t feel all that powerful? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

I’m reminded of a concept from NLP – neurolinguistic programming, which I’d describe as a pseudo-scientific psycho-babble that does have a few elements worth exploring. The concept is: “Act as if”.

Simply put: if you are unhappy – put a smile on your face and pretend you are. The act of pretending you are happy can actually trick your body into feeling happy.

Sounds loopy, but there is something to this.

So I go to work, people ask me how it’s going, and I tell them ‘great’ – well, actually, it all sucks, but I spare them the tedium of listening to my dumbass problems – and after a while I tend to lose focus on it, get into the tasks at work, and the day ain’t so bad.

I wish I could report that my weight loss is cheering me up, but it isn’t – jeez – a few weeks ago I was at the weight I am now – I’ve been doing all this work to get to a point I was at for most of this year – not much of a victory.

So…blah blah blah, LCC – what did you eat and what do you weigh?

In the morning I had an Atkins bar – I never found them to be helpful before, but this time, by leaving them in the car, the rationing of them is easier – I had one as my breakfast, and I was good til noon. 

At noon I had leftover pork – ate about 1 chop. A few minutes later, my boss came in and invited me to the chinese resturant for a goodbye lunch for a coworker moving to a new job. I declined, but he said: “You GOTTA Go”. I did have a good rapport with this person, and would have felt bad if I hadn’t gone, so I went and had a second lunch of spare ribs.

With 2 lunches, I was not hungry til 9pm, when I came home finally. We had some yummy tomatoes that needed to be eaten, so I took a fat slice of tomato (like 3/4″ thick), put mayo on it, then bacon bits, then 2 slices of american cheese. I ate 2 of these. If I had lettuce, I could have wrapped these suckers in that, but since I didn’t, it was a messy meal, but good – just not something to be eaten in polite company.

I also cooked up some fried spagetti for the kids, which they didn’t eat. Great. I did manage to put it in the fridge with only 2 bites of meatball in my gullet.

Finished it off with 2 squares of Lindt Dark Chocolate – a low carb fave of mine.

So this morning’s weight? 203.6 – down 10.8 lbs. from the start.

Day 5: Wild Tymes

I ate a lot on day 5. I was hungry on the drive in so had an Atkins bar. I keep them in the car so that I don’t eat them in a serial fashion. This works great when I’m in work or home – I have to go out to the car for a bar – it requires a level of activity that’s reduces impulse. The risk is when I’m in the car, however – but this time there was no second-bar follow-up.

When I got into work, I had my lunch, immediately – leftover pork chop and the rest of the mock potato salad. As this was a healthy amount of food, it actually lasted me the whole day – I actually forgot to eat lunch – another aspect of low carb that always amazes me. 

The evening meal was 2 more pork chops – this time I pan fried them in butter and oil, and used Wild Tymes Spicy Moroccan Dipping Sauce as a topping and had a large salad with Ken’s Ranch Dressing and some broken up pork rinds as crouton replacements, which I never tried before. The piggy-skin crouton replacements were pretty darn good, and Wild Tymes makes a great line of exotic, but expensive, sauces. While I usually like my pork chops with a milder flavor, this was good. 

Forgot to check for ketosis, but I’ve eaten nothing to prevent it, so I assume I’m still in it.

This morning’s weight: 205.6 – down 8.4 lbs. from the start.

Day 4: Getting in the Groove

Breakfast was tuna and mayo at 9am. At about noon I had another Atkins bar. Before leaving work, I finished up the tuna and mayo with a couple of green peppers.

I had made some mock potato salad – this recipe, but with kielbasa instead, the preferred ingredient. Jeez – I forgot how good this stuff was, and perhaps I ate a bit too much. 

I also pan fried 2 boneless pork chops that were pretty good, but not great. I ate 1-1/2. I watched the debate, ate some sour cream and splenda for dessert, and went to bed past my bedtime – about midnight. 

Oddly, it has always seemed to me that carb restriction, for me, allows me to get along on less sleep. I got up easily at 5am this morning.

I am also in deep ketosis. It was the first time I checked, knowing it takes a few days to get all the carbs out of your system. Except for a few brief times, I didn’t get the weird feeling you get when you’ve crossed the threshold into ketosis and your body acclimates itself to running on ketones. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to it, or maybe it’s the 50oz. of water I’m literally chugging first thing in the morning when I get to work. That’s worked out better than expected. I’m bringing the water from home – it’s filtered with my Pur Water Filter, and it’s in a reused spring water bottle. I was using a screw-top wide mouth bottle and found drinking water to be more difficult – could it have been as simple as changing the bottle type and bringing the water from home?

Anyway – This morning’s weight: 206.4 – down 7.6 lbs. from the start.

Day 3: I’m Better, Really

I’ve put myself on a news diet and feel much better. I’ve concluded that we are in for some tough economic times, and it will probably last a decade. I also had my catharsis with my bleeding heart screed, so I’m more clear-headed.

Or maybe the clear-headedness is from the carb restriction?

Other than coffee and my 50oz. of water, I had 1/2 lb. of bologna at 9am and an Atkins peanut butter bar at about 2pm. I’m beginning to feel that ‘feeling’ you get when doing this – it seems to scare folks unaccustomed to low carb, but I actually find it a positive feeling – it beats the sluggishness and crankiness I have when eating too many carbs.

Around 5:30pm I had a hard-boiled egg and a raw green pepper. Yep – I’ll just munch on a raw veggie when at work. I’ve been experimenting with the notion of eating more raw veggies all summer and can go very simple, especially at work. 

After I got home, I had a bunch of different items: a bowl of stir-fried peppers and eggs, some stir-fried celery, sour pickle with cheese and mayo, some miso broth, and a few pork rinds with some cream cheese.

As is usual, the day went by without much acid reflux – as is always the case, that pretty much disappears after the first 2 days when I eat low carb. I still have a bit of it, though the frequency, length, and severity are much reduced. I’ve also noticed that the morning water – 50 oz. at the start of the workday, has possibly prevented that low carb headache one frequently gets on low carb.

I also wanted to add to my to do list:

  • Take a heaping spoonful of fiber therapy at least once a day in the morning – and an optional second one in the evening. 
  • Take my vitamins every day, in the evening, after my main meal of the day.
I feel I should cook more – it’s just I’ve been so busy, I’ve left that skill to atrophy a bit. As I started this diet before I had my ‘plan’, I’m still living on ‘this and that’, but I’m pulling out the low carb cookbooks, and reviewing my own recipes for some ideas for more formal eats.
This morning’s weight: 208.0 – down 6 lbs. from the start. 

Day 2: Perhaps my purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others

Squeezed into my slacks this morning, glad that the front fastener was not a button, because there would be a good chance that it would fly off. Looking back, one of the best decisions I ever made was to toss my fat clothes when I lost the weight. If that wasn’t the case, I’d be in the basement pulling them out of a bag, and I’d be on the road to fatville again.

I recenlty hard the term ‘muffintop’ to describe people with pants so tight that their belly hangs over their waistline. 

Count me as one of them (sigh).

I’m trying to take my own advice. Things I’ve written here in the past that I ignore – let’s not even get into the ‘why’ of this, it’s just not worth it. ‘Stupidity’ will suffice as an explanation for those of you hell-bent on explaining things.

The advice I’m giving myself is:

  • Eat breakfast – when I lost most of my weight, I ate breakfast.
  • Eat at least every 6 hours – Atkins said it, I did it – and lost weight.
  • Drink 64 oz. of water at least – my own unscientific analysis seems to indicate when I drink lots of water, the weight seems to come off easier.
  • Sat Fat is Where It’s At – Be sure to get enough saturated fat. The more I ate, the more I lost (to a point). The most memorable time was when I ate huge bowls of chili where I did not drain the fat from the meat. I ate it for lunnch every day for a week – and lost 5 lbs in that week.

Breakfast was 2 hard-boiled eggs. I also guzzled down 50oz. of water. At lunch I bought some Boar’s Head Low Sodium Bologna – this qualifies as ‘comfort food’ AND a great source of sat fat to get the low carb engine stoked. Had 8 slices for lunch, and another 8 at 5:30pm – maybe a half-pound total.

When I got home at 7pm, I helped feed the kids – they got pasta and chicken. I helped clean potatoes, and watched my wife have a few yummy tarts. I kept away from the junk successfully. I grazed on some hamburger, lettuce, chicken, cheese, mayo, a bit of cream, and some pork rinds. I have some leftovers and open bags that need going through, so this was part meal and part cleanup.

In my household, there is little time for sit-down meals very often, so I frequently graze, which is what I did this night. 

This morning’s weight: 209.8 – down 4.2 from the beginning. Encouraging, but not all that spectacular, as I know I’ve got a few pounds of water weight that I’m shedding.

I’m thinking that I need to come up with some new recipes, so I started reading through Dana Carpender’s ’15 – Minute Low Carb Recipes’ for some inspiration. 

The ‘Other’ Issue

Note: The second half of this post contains material some might consider off-topic. It’s not, really, because it’s what going on in my head while I try to lose the pounds I packed on as of late – and my fat body is connected to my fat head – so there.

If you’ve read some of my other postings, you might have concluded that I think too much. It’s true. And as I look today, the stock market is up 600 points. But I’m angry, and getting angrier.

What’s happened is that the governments of the world decided to invent a lot of money. In the wink of an eye, without much effort, the United States created a trillion dollars out of thin air. All the bailout money didn’t come from any hard work – it just appeared. The Federal Reserve wrote a number on the back of a napkin, and it was real.

Now bankers across the country append a few zeroes to numbers in a computer somewhere and a catastrophe is averted. That’s great – if we didn’t do this, the amount of human suffering would be a lot worse.

But this got me to thinking: if they were able to do this all along, how could they allow crimes such as homeless children to continue unaddressed? I thought the reasoning was: we can’t afford it. Well, it seems they can afford it – in fact, if they used as little as 1% of the bailout – $1,000,000,000 – to make sure no child in America ever slept in a car or went a day without a meal, I’ll bet you it would last a while. AIG tore through 85 billion pretty quick – and got a lot more almost without comment. The people who help the homeless could probably stretch that 1% at least a little longer before coming back to the trough for more.

They could have done it all along – they just didn’t feel like it. Call me a bleeding heart because I don’t want to see kids suffering, but the fact is: we just don’t care – and to see how quickly we can spring to action on something we obviously do care about only proves what heartless bastards we all are.

What’s the arguments against us lending a hand again? The money would only be wasted? They are lazy and don’t deserve it? They want something for nothing? They think the world owes them a living? The money wouldn’t go to the problem at hand, but be siphoned off by the dishonest ones? The situation is just too complex to throw money at it and expect that to be of help?

Am I talking about the homeless or bankers here? Right now, with the way the world looks, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Day 1: Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you’re ready or not, to put this plan into action.”  – Napolean Hill, Motivational Writer

I received this in a ‘Quote of the Day’ email I got on day 1. Perfect timing: a quote on starting something when you’re not ready to do so – that’s me.

It was a mediocre start to my diet. As I mentioned, my mental state is not all that great. If I had my druthers, I would have spent the day whining, but I didn’t. Instead, I did some long overdue organizing of my home office and cleaned the house from the wreckage of the past week.

I had nothing but black coffee til 3pm, then I had half a hamburger with low carb ketchup and lettuce. I wanted to dig in to more but controlled myself. Drank lots of water, which I hate because I end up running to the bathroom every half hour.

Control went out the window after 6pm, when I had some red wine. I know I can’t drink and lose weight, but I gave myself the excuse that I’d ‘finish up what’s left’. 

I always fall for that one.

The rest of the evening was plain awful, and included cookies, a bit of the baguette from the day before, and a few raviolis I cooked up for my daughters. 

Dieting would be easier if I didn’t live in a house full of goodies – and I can whine about that, but I wont.

Today’s weight: 213.2 – I was down to 211 yesterday as the water weight was shed during the day, but the evening carbs helped keep me as bloated as a water balloon. 

How will I do today? I don’t know – will another major bank fail? Will the stock market go down another 700 points? I stated in an earlier post that you should only pay attention to the news if it has some direct bearing on your life. The global financial situation fits that criteria, and I am obsessed with the news. Maybe I should cut back, but I think that current events are just too important to ignore.

What will the future be like? I don’t quite know, but I can tell you: it’s a damn good time to take control of your health and lose some weight.

This is No Time To Go On A Diet

Low carb? What’s low carb?

I’m saying this because a look at my diet as of late would not make you think I knew what a low carb diet was. I have been lavishing in high carb crapola with reckless abandon, and it shows.

It’s been five years since I started following a low carb lifestyle, and I feel it when I carb out. I feel vaguely sick most of the time, sluggish, and I need to carry Tums around because of the acid indigestion I almost continually feel.

But the truth is: I just don’t feel like dieting. 

WIth the entire frigging world dancing on the precipice of global financial collapse, an evaporating 401k, and a US presidential election that is not giving me any reassurance that things will be better any time soon, it’s a great time to say: to hell with it.

And I have said ‘to hell with it’ and carbed out big time. Just yesterday I overindulged in dim sum – a Chinese specialty – a meal consisting of many different small dumplings. It was great. I ate until I was full – and kept on eating. Before that I ate half a baguette… And before that I had…etc.

You know where I’m coming from.

You know how easy it is to make a firm, unshakable commitment to yourself that you are buckling down and going to lose weight – right after a big meal? You betcha you do (wink).

My friends, I’ve been there many a time, and as of late these moments were followed a few hours later by a total lapse of reason where commitments were forgotten and fingers almost lost in the frenzied feeding that ensued.

I don’t want to stop, unfortunately, but reluctantly, I must. 

You see, I refuse to buy larger clothes – and the ones I have are well past their rated capacity. I’ve had to go through them and put some away, the pieces that run small, and am now living with an abbreviated wardrobe.

Pretty soon I’ll have to cut holes in trashbags and use those as clothes.

So, here I am – the world’s most reluctant dieter – telling the world that, with no resolve, no iron commitment, I’m plunging forward with yet another attempt to de-fat myself.

How is this going to work? This is no time to go on a diet!

Here’s my angle: I’m telling you all this, so if I don’t lose weight, I’ll look like a dope on my blog.

I’m going to chronicle the next 30 days – good or bad – and let the whole world see, for better or worse.

It is 6am on Sunday and I just weighed myself: 214.0

Let’s see if this low carb fanboy can walk the walk.