Eats, December 16

After the drag-my-ass-to-the-gym-and-do-my mile routine, I had my coffee and cream just before 5am.

I was hungry today and had a cup of the celery stir fry before 10.

Later I went out to the store to get ‘lunch’ – a pound of Boar’s Head lower sodium bologna. I ate more than a half pound around lunch.

Today I just couldn’t put out the fire – my hunger as all-consuming. We can’t blame our ol’ demon carbs here, folks – I’m in induction, remember? Your appetite is supposed to go down.

The only thing I can pin it on, other than a natural fluctation without causation – is exercise.

Here’s a wonderful article by Gary Taubes that is perfect for all you exercise-haters. It basically says that there’s no evidence that exercise helps in weight loss – and it can hurt because exercise is an appetite stimulant.

Note, however, that I am exercising despite this. See what I wrote about this last year when I first posted the article.

Anyhow – this was that type of hunger where you have food fantasies – where you imagine the plate of whatever you desire – you see it in your mind’s eye. 

To me this is the most dangerous type of hunger there is – I feel it’s being expressed from deep within – not from some Freundian-crapola type of way, but from the recesses of our primitive brain – the unconscious beast we all are that resides behind our rational cerebrum, locked in by our rational mind, but still dangerous, and ready to escape if we tire or let our guard down.

Is there some nutrients I am deficient in that my body is craving? I did forget to take my vitamins twice already this week – could that be playing a role?

In the afternoon, this hunger-beast demanded the rest of the bologna – that’s a pound in an afternoon. I also had another cup of the stir fry celery. Then I had a few handfuls of macadamia nuts I keep in my drawer.

I then drank the bottle of mineral water I had – I thought that it might help eliminate the hunger, since all that food didn’t really do it.

I remained hungry for the next few hours, which is damn distracting when you know that there’s no real cellular hunger going on here – you’ve eaten enough for a day – and you are trying to do brain work that requires a clear head.

On the ride home, I ate one of the Atkins bars I have stashed in the car. I swore off them except for emergencies – I guess this was one. I wanted another, but didn’t. I also had a strong desire to stop at the local McDonalds I pass every night on the way home for some of their food-like consumables, but I didn’t.

When I finally got home, I had a large bowl of an Asian-inspired sour soup with pickled cabbage and pork ribs. Pretty darn good, but not sour enough for me – I added some malt vinegar – the kind Brits like to put on their chips (aka fries).

I also drank up another bottle of mineral water with lemon Crystal Light. I try to avoid the stuff because of the aspartame, but again, I’m really drawn to sours lately, and I understood that I had to give in to these urges somewhat, or there would be some horrible payback when the beast escapes. I had to keep him away from all the cookies that lie about, as well as the plate of pasta that my daughter didn’t eat that sat in front of me. 

I finished up with some Swiss cheese and mustard. Went to bed early because I was just so tired.

The morning scale reported 207.0 – no surprises considering the day.

Update: an hour later the scale sez 205.8 – go figure.

Eats, December 15

Woke at 4am and dragged my sorry ass to the dark and empty gym. Turned on the lights and did my 1 mile at 3 miles per hour.

Standard issue 16 oz coffee with cream started the day when I got back home.

The morning boiled egg eating ceremony was held at about 11.

My boss had a departmental lunch so we went to a high-brow burger joint where I had a ‘Willie burger’ – a burger with Canadian bacon and a fried egg on top. I turned down the fries and told the waitress ‘no bun’. She asked be if I wanted a salad instead. They had a balsamic vinaigrette that didn’t sound too full of sugar, so I ordered it and asked for the dressing on the side.

The meal came with the bun, and with the dressing on the salad. The bun was a gloriously fresh kaiser roll, toasted to perfection, with a thin veneer of crunchy goodness surrounding the soft and fluffy carb-laden heaven that lay within.

The salad dressing didn’t seem to have too much sweet to it, so I ate most of that – along with the burger, which was pretty good. I tossed the bun.

My co-workers remarked: “You’re doing that high-protein diet, right? What is it, Atkins?”

Throw another log on the fire of my eccentricity.

I had seltzer with lemon as my drink.

I have been feeling a bit run-down the past few days – induction can make you out of sorts for a bit until you acclimate. It can also be from stress – and it can be from some residual caffeine withdrawal as I have continued my cutback on coffee.

I did take the offer at desert for some java and had two cups with half and half, which made me feel somewhat much better. 

The afternoon continued and I began to get hungry late afternoon, but events of the day got in the way and I figured I’d eat when I get home.

A change of plans was thrown me – my wife asked me to pick up my daughter at her piano lesson – so I went there instead, read my book on ego defenses that I keep in the car for just this sort of event, and when my daughter’s lesson was done, we went home.

At home, I decided that I wanted more broiled burgers. So I did exactly what I did yesterday – 6 mini burgers (not that mini – 6 probably total 1.3 lbs.) wrapped in lettuce with onion and low carb ketchup.

I followed that with some sour cream and Splenda, and finished off the eats with 4 or 5 cherries and a single grape.

The scale reports 206.4 – down a lb. from yesterday.

Low Carb Meets Chinese Medicine – and Eats, December 13

We went out Xmas shopping and there was a health fair at the mall. There was an acupuncture table there offering a free ‘pulse diagnosis’ – they would have you take a test to measure your meridians – this was done by you holding a metal bar connected to a computer in your right hand, while the tester taps another probe also connected to the computer at various points on both hands and both feet. 

This (somehow) measures your energy fields, analyzes them, and spits out a printed result with a chart corresponding to various organs and their balance, along with a sheet that looks a bit like a blood test.

Briefly, acupuncture believes that you have these ‘pathways’ of energy that flow through your body which they refer to as meridians. In their thinking, these can be blocked, causing imbalance.

By using very fine needles, inserted into your skin along the proper meridian line, these blockages can be eliminated and balance restored.

I personally don’t have a prior experience with acupuncture myself, but I accept that there might be something there.

You can read more about it here, but regarding the science on this – there really isn’t much. 

But it’s the same with hypnotism – western scientists have studied this for years and concluded little, except that there might be something going on here, but they don’t know what it is.

Michael Shermer, in his book: The Borderlands of Science, calls hypnosis a ‘borderland science’. It’s not complete quackery, but it’s not a solid body of proven knowledge either, like, say, physics. 

I’d say that acupuncture falls in about the same place. As the article on acupuncture states:

“emerging clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions.”

So anyway, I took the test, figuring it might be fun. 

Let’s see how low carb stands up to Chinese medicine.

My wife took the test, and the chart that got spit out had several red bars, indicating imbalances. The doctor then did the pulse diagnosis by laying 4 fingers on the pulse-points of both arms. 

I didn’t hear the exact diagnosis as I was having my own test done at the time.

When my test was done and it started to print out, the tester smiled and said: “This is the best result anyone has gotten all day!”

I took it to my wife and the Chinese doctor and told them what the tester said. The doctor grabbed the results from me, and looked them over carefully.

“This is very good. You should be very happy.”

He then did my pulse diagnosis. The form you fill out asks you what major health complaints you have – I left it blank: I wanted him to tell me what they were.

He asked me: “You left this blank – you have nothing wrong with you?”

I said, “Well, I’d like to lose some weight and exercise.” 

“Well, that is a matter of proper diet – stay away from fat – greasy stuff, you know?”

“Oh no, not for me – I live low carb, and eat a lot of fat and meat.”

He looked at me like he didn’t quite understand. “Well, that’s why you can’t lose weight – your diet.”

“No, actually I lost 80 lbs. The reason I’m overweight now is because I am not doing low carb strict enough.”

His eyes widened. “You lost 80 lbs.? It must have been the exercise you were doing.”

“But I didn’t exercise – I lost 80 lbs. without exercise.”

His eyes stayed wide as he attempted to process this information. He looked at my wife and daughter: “Do they eat like you?”


He looked at them, and scrunched his eyes, “Good, don’t eat like he does. You need vegetables in your diet.”

“But I do have vegetables – I just stay away from sugars and other refined carbohydrates.”

He asked. “What diet was this?”

“Low carb – Atkins.”

He repeated the name: “Atkins” under his breath as he continued the pulse diagnosis for a few minutes.

There were 23 bars on the chart, and only one was in the red – just slightly out of range. It had to do with my urinary tract. 

He asked. “Do you have problems urinating?”

“Yeah – I think it’s called BPH – benign prostatic hypertrophy. It’s been like this since I was in my 20s. When I told my doctor and gave him my own diagnosis, he seemed to agree with me and didn’t seem to be worried about it.”

“When were you last at the doctor?”

“In the summer. For a checkup.”

“What were the results?”

“Well, I have diabetes in my family, and my blood sugar was a bit high. My cholesterol was slightly high as well, but nothing he felt was worth medicating.”

The doctor saw an in: “Well of course your cholesterol is high – it’s because of all the meat and fat you eat.”

“Oh no, it’s because I was eating too many carbs. When I had lost the 80 lbs. and had a blood test, my blood work improved, with a total cholesterol of 186, the HDL/LDL ratios perfect, and the triglycerides were through the floor.”

His eyes did the pie-plate thing again.

“I am a vegan.” He said suddenly. 

“Oh – that’s works very good for a lot of people. Do you watch your ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats?”

He looked at me a bit strange, maybe almost defensively. “I know what you are talking about. I eat almonds and take flaxseed oil.”

“You might want to research the flaxseed oil. I’ve read two sources where it mentions that for men, flaxseed might be linked to prostate cancer.”

“I had not heard that.” He said. He appeared to be listening very carefully.

“Yeah – I had first learned about it reading a book by Dean Ornish.”


“He’s a very respected doctor that wrote books on reversing heart disease through a very low fat diet.”

He asked me to repeat the name.

“I am going to research this.” He said solemnly. We said our goodbyes.

Walking with my wife in the store a little later, she said: “do you believe what he was doing?”

“I don’t know – he did point out the BPH, but at the same time, if you are presented with a 46 year old guy and the chart is high corresponding to the urinary tract, it’s a pretty simple guess to think it has something to do with the prostate. Also – why didn’t he see that my back hurts a lot? Why didn’t he pick that up in his test?”

My back was hurting when I sat down with the tester, so you’d a thunk that the thing would have picked it up, right?

The Eats

First up, and hardly needing mention, was the 5am 16oz coffee with 2 tablespoons of cream. 

I was thirsty afterward, however, and had a bottle of San Pellegrino at 7am. At about noon I had a hard-boiled egg, then at about 3pm I have about a 1/3 of the remaining cup of Italian chicken.

In the evening I was hungry – maybe because I had people pushing me to eat spring rolls all day. These spring rolls were hand-made and deep-fried in peanut oil.

These things were to die for. 

Instead, I had the remaining 2/3 rds cup of the Italian chicken, a pickle, 3 slices of cheese, some leftover steak with butter, and one of my cryogenic meals frozen a few weeks ago – Italian sausage & meatballs. I washed all this down with a bottle of San Pellegrino.

I put lemon and two packets of Splenda in the San Pellegrino – the 2 packets of Splenda were the extent of my sweets for the day.

Later on in the evening, I sat down with some brie cheese and pork rinds with some wine. 

And right before bed, I had 2 leftover Swedish meatballs.

Now, while I typically don’t catalog it, I do weigh myself in the evenings. I have a theory about easy weight and hard weight.

Most days, I will notice a significant difference – maybe 2 lbs – from my morning weight and my evening weight. Then I eat dinner and this difference might disappear, or I might keep the pound or two off.

If I notice no change, or a slight increase during the day, I know that, even if I just drank water for the rest of the evening, I will probably gain weight.

So I wasn’t surprised that the scale reported a 2.6 lb. increase this morning to 206.6.

Now, if that did not happen, that would have been a pointer toward Irvingia having some impact, in my estimation. 

But instead, my body did what it usually does when it gets close to my setpoint weight of 203 – it bounces up.

No matter. It’s been little more than a week. There’s still 5 weeks to go, and nothing in the research on Irvingia indicated that there would be any impact on weight this early.

Not that it wouldn’t have been nice…

Eats, December 12 – And An Irvingia Update (With Chart)

Well, the day, as always, started off with that big cup of coffee with 2 tablespoons of cream at 4am. I kept stating the number of calories wrong – pointed out to me by you – so now I can properly report that it’s 54 calories per tablespoon for a total of 100 Kcals.

The first hard-boiled egg of the day was at about 11am.

It was a very busy day, and my brain had shut down toward the end of it – I ate my Italian chicken (1 cup) at 5:30. Yes – I have been eating this stuff all week, but I have really been enjoying it.

I also had more of the San Pellegrino – 1.5 bottles of the stuff during the day. I wish I didn’t promise I would fill these bottles with filtered water – I’m really enjoying it. I actually felt deprived as I ran out during the day. I even stopped on the way home and bought a few more bottles, and drank one on the way home.

I did check for ketosis when I got home, just for the hell of it – nope.

In the evening, I made the kids pasta while I cooked up a pound of bacon. I played with the kids, pulled a deer tick out of the dog, cleaned up dog pee, picked on bacon, ate some of the kielbasa from the other day, then had a half-slice of low carb bread with 3 slices of the much maligned American cheese.

My older daughter wanted me to read to her, so we went to her bed, where I read to her until she fell asleep. I was about to go to sleep when I was tasked with getting a bottle for my younger daughter. 

I put the bottle in the warmer and waited in the kitchen. When it was ready, I, the bottle, and my wife and daughter all went to sleep.

What’s interesting to observe here, at this particular point:

  • I didn’t drink more than 1 cup of coffee – again – I have been drinking a pot or more every day for 20 years. That’s a physical addiction – how could I so quickly taper off the stuff without any effort whatsoever?
  • I’m regularly drinking water – well, San Pellegrino mineral water to be exact, daily, and with pleasure. I don’t like water in general, and I typically don’t like sparkling water either – I bought the San Pellegrino only because it is probably the only item in the water aisle that still comes in glass, and I’m trying to avoid plastic bottles. But now, I do like it – and I’ll probably buy a case of the stuff over the weekend – I’m drinking some right now and it’s 7am.
  • My appetite seems to be very low – the total food for the day could have fit on one small plate.
  • I had little desire to grab some of the kid’s leftover pasta – it was like I didn’t even see it.
  • I had little desire for sweets – today and yesterday, I had none to speak of. I still have a stash of Atkins bars, but haven’t touched them.
  • Stomach has been somewhat upset, but it is a mild upset and not too bothersome.
  • I’ve had a strong craving for sour – the pickle juice in the fridge still seems enticing, but I’m trying to avoid all the salt.

Now, I am very careful in that I don’t want to attribute any of the above to the Irvingia I’m taking – just yet. But – if I were to propose a hypothesis, I might say that Irvingia, after about a week on 2x daily, has for me:

  • Lessened appetite significantly
  • Reduced cravings for sweets
  • Reduced an existing caffeine addiction
  • Increased overall stomach upset
  • Increased cravings for water
  • Increased cravings for sours

I also had an interesting Out Of Body experience on the scale this morning. I was 204.0 – down 2.2 lbs from yesterday, 3.7 lbs. from the day before.

I’ve had these trends before, but what is really interesting is in the chart below. I have been recording my weight daily since October 12, so I went back to each post and put the weight into an Excel spreadsheet – which sucked by the way – I had to read through all the crap I’ve written over 2 months – jeez – where does all this drivel in my head come from? 

Anyway, here it is:

weight-chart-121308Now the vertical numbers on the right are pounds, the numbers along the bottom are the dates. The little triangle is where I started taking Irvingia. The blue line is my weight over the past 63 days. The black line is a trend line based on my weight on Dec 4 of 207 (I’ve tossed the decimal points – a fraction of a pound is insignificant for a chart like this).

The trend points to my gaining weight – and the chart also shows a jump in weight, not seen in almost 60 days, after starting Irvingia. It also shows that my weight is reaching my lower ‘set point’ – my weight has only been lower than this – and only by a fraction of a pound – 4 days in the past 63. 

I have only been at this lower than this weight 6.3% of the time in the past 63 days.

It also shows an unusual sustained decline in the last few days, that hasn’t been seen since I began in mid October.

So the odds say I shouldn’t be this low – and past data would predict that my weight will begin to trend upward after this.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the next week’s worth of chart data might indicate that, by George, theremight be something to this stuff.

Right now, all this reminds me of a very insightful quote:

Statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is tantalizing, but what they conceal is vital.

More will be revealed over the next week or so – nothing conclusive, I believe, but revealing.

Stay tuned.

Eats, December 11 – and The Philosophy of Brutal Honesty

Had my 1  – 16 oz coffee at 4:30am – with my 400 cals of 100% fat cream.

Before I left for work I had a teaspoon of crushed ginger as my stomach was not quite right.

I stopped on my way to work to get water in glass bottles. I wrote a while back about plastic bottles not being good for you because of the chemicals that leach out of the plastic – thank GOD they found this out only 25 years after they were introduced, right? 

I finally got around to making this change today.

Finding water in a glass bottle proved harder than I imagined – no plain water comes in glass – and of the sparkling types, even Perrier is in plastic now.

I settled for the San Pellegrino, one of the last glass holdouts.

I like the Pellegrino, but I can’t bear the thought of cases and cases of this stuff being flown all over creation just so I can burp impolitely at my desk. When empty, I’m just fill them with water from my water filter.

I had my hard-boiled egg at about 10am. Hungrier than yesterday, with an upset stomach, I had my 1 cup of the Italian chicken – the same stuff from yeaterday at about 11:30.

Today was destined to be a bad food day, as I had 2 – yes – 2 events I had to attend where food was part of the event: a meeting over lunch and to celebrate a corporate anniversary of sorts.

The lunch was at 12 – I had completely forgot, or I would have not eaten what I brought. My lunch mates ordered fish and chips with a beer – I had a bacon cheeseburger sans bun, with lettuce, pickle, onion & tomato – with seltzer.

Then at 3pm, at the anniversary party, where a spread of cookies, cakes, chips, sandwiches, wine & beer was laid out, I had the inside of a philly cheesesteak (no bread), some cheese and pepperoni, and two Cokes.

Not that I needed this, mind you – I’m on my third lunch here – but there’s an inner need, I think, to participate in these group food orgies. 

And I’m a gavone – what can I say?

Still, my stomach was upset. Not sure of the reason. The Irvingia? Nah – probably the darn coffee on an empty stomach and wine before bed – and the years are creeping up on me – I can’t abuse myself like in days of old.

I didn’t eat until 9pm, when I had a 1/2 cup of the Italian chicken (the recipe was in this post) – yes, it does seem I’ve been eating this way too often, but it really came out good, in my estimation and I’m enjoying every bite.

I also drank a bottle of seltzer.

And…that’s it. Though I had 3 lunches in so many hours, they were all Atkins induction – friendly. 

The weight today was 206.2 – down maybe 1.5 lbs. from yesterday.

It has been 7 days since the start of the Irvingia, and I’ve lost 3 lbs. since the start. I can in no way attribute this to Irvingia, as this is well within my normal range of weight fluctuation. The fact that I have somehow weaned myself off of a major coffee habit seems to be a strange coincidence. It is real important to note that correlation does not equal causation. To tie a change in my coffee habits to Irvingia is like seeing faces in the clouds – we humans are great at detecting patterns – so much so we see patterns where there are none.

Still, this is a dramatic change in behavior – perhaps a short-term fluctuation, but we’ll see on this.

My evening moderation might also be partly Irvingia – it might also be a result of the day-long stomach upset – and maybe partly because of the stinging comment from a poster yesterday to ‘GET ON INDUCTION ALREADY’.

This blog is a lot of things – a place for me to post my so-called recipes, a place for me to exercise my overactive mind – and it’s also an experiment in a kind of brutal authenticity.

Did you ever play that card game where each player puts a playing card to their forehead? The basis of this game is that you can clearly see what every player’s card is – except your own.

Life is a lot like this.

I’m sure you go through life and see other people walk around with these glaringly obvious flaws that they themselves don’t see.

It’s really hard to see our own flaws, however. Nothing to feel guilty about – it is such a deep-rooted part of our human nature. It’s how most of us get through the day.

We usually see these in other people and we don’t point these out – either as a kindness or because it’s none of our business.

But when we’ve connected with a person on some level, some of us might bridge that chasm and point out to another person what we see in them.

Can this be wrong? Boy, it sure can! How many people have you known that decided to ‘tell it like it is’  and merely only revealed how clueless they might be?

But sometimes their aim is true, their shot pierces the armor, and you’re legitimately wounded. Their observation resonates.

I’ve always been of the mind that having as small an ego as possible is a pretty good way of getting through life. I don’t mean having low self-esteem, which is having a big ego that isn’t reinforced by the world around you.

When you have a big ego, it’s always in the way, and you’ve got to spend a lot of time defending it and maintaining it, making excuses, and running other people down so you can compare yourself to them and win the competition.

I try to keep my ego small and manageable, so I’m interested in other people’s perceptions of me – especially the negative perceptions. Because of this, a while back I started a ‘Labels Collection’ – I started writing down the labels other people put on me. Here’s a couple:

  • “Passive-aggressive” – SL 5/13/07
  • “Resiliant” – TB 2006
  • “Has alligator skin” – JM 2006
  • “Calm, understated, gets the job done.” – LN – 3/08

So what can I learn about this? Someone once said that we are actually 3 different people:

  1. The person we know ourselves to be
  2. The person we think we let others see
  3. The person that others actually see

I like to think that my life so far has been an unending effort to merge these 3 people that I am, and each day I welcome insights that allow me to peel away yet another layer of ego defense and see myself for what I really am.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and each time there’s still more layers to peel away.

So when something pierces my armor, I try not to rush and plug the hole in my armor – or put new armor on.

I try to respond: “Oh – I am wearing armor I didn’t know I had!”

Then take that armor off.

This, I think, is what helps to make me ‘comfortable in my own skin’.

What new personal delusions and blind spots will be revealed to me today?

I can’t wait to find out. I might not enjoy it, but I can’t think of a better way to go through life.

Just my personal opinion.

Eats, December 10

Had the morning tub O’Joe at about 4:30am with my 400 cal worth of heavy cream. I stopped there, and did NOT do my usual drink another routine – am I actually thinking about cutting back on coffee?!?

It must be the Irvingia clouding my judgement.

I ate my fast-becoming-ritual hard-boiled egg at about 11am.

That lasted me until about 1:30, when I had a small portion of lunch – the rubber chicken from the other day. 

It’s not that bad, really.

Anyway, I did something slightly different. As a means of portion control, I used 2 containers, each 1 cup in size, as opposed to a larger container. I think the container might dictate what I eat more than my appetite.

So at 1:30, I had maybe only a third of a cup – and followed it up with some psyllium in water.

One poster to this blog had mentioned the theory that fiber might block the absorbtion of some calories. I don’t know if this is true, but that tiny bit of chicken and a glass of the fiber sure filled me up.

Around 5pm I finished up the remainder of the cup. This evening was music lessons for my daughter, so I ran home to pick her up, grabbed a hard-boiled egg and brought her to the teacher.

When I finally got home I really didn’t seem all that hungry. I had 3 fried eggs and some steak, with some wine, then a few slices of the kilebasa from the day before with saurkraut.

I followed this with some sour cream with Splenda for dessert.

If the my day was 23.5 hours long, I would have been OK. 

But it isn’t.

After getting in bed, I needed to get a bottle for my daughter. So I went to the kitchen and stood there waiting for the bottle to warm.

Jeez – what’s a tired and bored dieter to do, all alone in a kitchen full of candy and cookies?

I’ll let you guess: choose one from the following:

  • Congratulate oneself on the incredible willpower and fortitude in resisting temptation
  • Eat a few handfulls of M&Ms

So…anyway, the scale this morning told me 207.8 – it’s less, not by much, but less.

Irvingia Field Report

On the Irvingia front, I would say that day 5 and day 6 did seem to have a reduction in appetite overall. Now, I am adjusting my diet more toward real Atkins than faux Atkins, and am trying to cut out nitrated meats, the low carb crap food, and cutting back on the Splenda. This could confound any evidence for the effectiveness of Irvingia, but I said this isn’t scientific. Point is – If I’m in the low 190s at the end of the 60 days, I’d say there might be something here, as I have not been able to get to that weight in a long time.

Some posters are getting impatient – me, I’m trying to forget I’m taking it. I’m just going to watch for any effect other than weight loss and be patient.  This isn’t touted as ‘Lose 10 Lbs. in 5 Days’ – the study showed only a 7 lb. weight loss in 4 weeks.  

Here’s the chart:







Irvingia group

215 pounds 207 pounds 197 pounds 187 pounds

Placebo group

212 pounds 210 pounds 209 pounds 211 pounds 


So if at the start I was 209, I would expect (if my results were the same as reported) to be 201 on Jan 4, 2009, and 191.2 on February 3. 

So a week into this, to have noticed nothing should be expected. Personally, if I reach 201 by Jan, that wouldn’t convince me either way that Irvingia had an impact.

But if I’m 191 in Feb? Wow – I’d say there’s something to this – but I have to wait until Feb to know this. 

I also seem to notice increased thirst – also noted by someone else, and an odd an unexplainable reduction in my coffee drinking. Suddenly, too much coffee isn’t sitting well in my stomach, and for 2 days I’ve had my morning 16oz mug’s worth – and that’s it. One coworker looked at me in surprise when I didn’t go for the coffee.

But the kicker is – I didn’t seem to miss it all that much. I’ve been substituting water and actually enjoying it – maybe ‘enjoy’ is too strong – I haven’t been hating it like I’ve done in the past.

I also noticed some slight dizziness the first few days that I dismissed as part of my normal variations – but one poster noted the same thing, so maybe there’s some connection – maybe.

But it was mild, and I don’t seem to be bothered with it now.

Eats, December 9

My usual mug of coffee with 4 tablespoons of cream started my day at 5 am.

A hard-boiled egg was breakfast – if you don’t count the  400 calories of cream at 5am – at about 9:30am

Around 11:30 I had 3/4 of the Italian chicken from yesterday. Tasted better today – or maybe I’m hungry.

I finished the stuff up close to 5pm. 

Evening was odd in that it didn’t fit my normal pattern (rut) for some reason. I ate rather light, and I was craving sour. 

I had a pickle with cheese, and a small cup of pickle juice, even. I made kielbasa and sauerkraut and had maybe 5 slices inside some small sweet peppers. says that these little guys are only 5 grams of net carbs, which is fine – you need some carbs, in my estimation, and peppers might be one of the best places you can get these from.

I also had at least a cup of the sauerkraut by itself. And seltzer with a little lemon juice. 

Lastly, a small chunk of Stilton cheese. Never had it before, reminds me of a mild bleu cheese.

It would be hard to imagine a more sour meal.

In the evening I had a slight stomach ache – perhaps from all the acidic food, but it was gone when I woke.

The day seems odd for the number of normal routines that were not apparent – it wasn’t like I was trying, really, they just happened:

  • I just had that one cup of coffee in the morning – I had none at work
  • I did not have my bulk of calories in the evening
  • I didn’t have any wine with dinner
  • I drank water during the day more from desire than duty
  • I didn’t feel the need to satisify my sweet tooth.

If I had consciously tried to do all of these, it wouldn’t have worked, I think.

The scale did not reward me of any of this – perhaps it’s fed up with me. I was 208.8 – only a bit lower, which one might explain as water retention from all the sodium – I drank pickle juice for goodness’ sake – what else would I expect?

On another topic, I was thinking of the fact that there are a number of foods that, while low carb, I feel guilty about eating. The part of me that is a pragmatist says: whatever it takes – if it’s low carb and you want it, eat it. Don’t restrict yourself too much as it makes the ultimate goal that much harder – and it’s already hard enough as it is.

The other part says: I don’t believe that, long-term, these things are healthy. I wish I could avoid these foods and ingredients.

This list includes:

  • Splenda: it’s made from sugar, right? It’s almost natural. Well, cyanide can be made from apricot pits, so this imaginary association that it’s ‘natural because it’s made from sugar’ doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not natural sugar improved by the molecule being altered so we can’t absorb it – it’s a chemical made from sugar which might or might not have an impact on us long term – nobody knows – even if they say they do. Also, the fact is that even the taste of sweets can set off an insulin response in some people.  The quandary here is that it’s hard enough to live on artificial sweeteners – I can’t quite imagine living with a total prohibition of sweets – even artificial ones. Here’s a detailed article in defense of Splenda if you’re interested – put your thinking cap on.
  • Nitrated meats: I once found an article that said that nitrates might have some protective aspects to them. I also once read that it is silly to get hung up on nitrates in meat if you eat vegetables – they are full of nitrates from their fertilizers. To confound this further, I also read that there is a molecular difference in these two nitrates, so there is some difference in how they impact you. The short of it is: the preponderance of data points to nitrated meats as increasing the risk of cancer. There is also the increased risk of listeria bacteria. I think I’d be better off staying away from the stuff, but I love a good hot dog now and then – and don’t get me started on bologna. Now, I know that they make hot dogs without nitrates, but the food handling warnings on the labels make them sound truly dangerous – and not very enticing.
  • Low carb crap food: example: Atkins bars and shakes. Sorry, Atkins Nutritionals, I freely admit that I lost almost 90 lbs. at one point using your products, and I still use them, but I’d rather not need this crutch. Still, your revenue stream from me appears safe as I can’t imagine I can banish my sweet tooth forever. Still, the Atkins stuff is heads above their competitors. I once had to use the SlimFast low carb shakes – yuck! – did the people who manufactured these ever taste it themselves?
I’ll end here – let’s see what today brings.


Eats, December 8

Here’s another attempt at getting a handle on what I’m eating.

I guess I’m too stupid to know when to quit.

It certainly seems carbs are like a poison for me, so I’ve got to eliminate them with extreme prejudice. I also have to start measuring stuff as much as possible.

OK – first up was one 32oz coffee with 4 tablespoons of cream at about 5am. That’s 400 or so calories and 24 grams of fat – the low fat folks cringe in horror!

Around 11am I had two hard-boiled eggs at about 70 calories per.

I had a few forkfulls of the pork and tomatoes at 1pm. It wasn’t that I was all that hungry as much as my stomach began to hurt. I *do* drink too much coffee on an empty stomach. I thought this morning I might try to lessen the intake a bit. 

I only had that single morning cup – amazing.

Early afternoon I finished up the Pork & Tomatoes, and that was it until evening. I stopped on the way home, picked up some chicken breasts and whipped up some fried chicken parm:

  • 7 chicken breasts
  • olive oil 
  • butter
  • mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 can pizza sauce (3 net carbs per 1/4 cup serving – lowest carb count I can find)
  • parm cheese
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach

I fried the seasoned breasts in olive oil and butter for 10 minutes on high, then added the remaining ingredients on the top of each breast, let that cook on high for 10 minutes, then turned it to a simmer for another 10.

The taste was good, but for reasons that escape me, the chicken turns out rubbery when I cook it this way. I thought about baking it before I took the stove top route, but I decided against it as too hard – I don’t know why I thought that, but I went with it nonetheless.

It wasn’t bad, though I did screw up when I thought the cayenne pepper was the paprika and put way too much for most mortals to handle.

Oh well, I guess I’ll have to eat the whole thing myself – I’ll freeze some, and eat the rest over the next few days.

The night finished off with the last of the cream cheese pumpkin filling with the cranberry sauce – and a few bites of a mini watermelon.

No bread, no Atkins bars, no cookies, crackers, pasta, cake, or milk. 

The day counts in my estimation as an ‘Atkins Phase 3 or 4’ day, certainly not an induction day. I think that’s part of my problem – I’ve forgotten what ‘Atkins Induction’ is really like – and am living in ‘maintenance mode’, and not losing weight – and wondering why.


Someone also pointed out that Splenda has carbs. Yep – but I said to myself that such a small amount – about 0.7 (I contacted the company and asked) – doesn’t matter.

And it doesn’t – on Atkins maintenance of course. It matters a lot when you need to be in induction.

And I need to be in induction to lose any weight.

As to the scale, it reported 210.0 – it’s going in the right direction, but that damn number is still too high.

I had set a goal for 200 by Jan 1 – HA! – from where I am, and how I’ve done this year it seems like a chance in Hell.

But what else do I have?

Eats, December 7: Am I SAD?

A Note on Irvingia: I’m going to post my observations on my Irvingia testing as comments to the Irvingia Field Reports page onward and see how that works. This way, the blog doen’t get entirely taken over by the topic, and people who are interested in Irvignia know where to go – and the folks who could care less don’t need to be botheredIf you are taking Irvingia and would like to let readers know of your experience, please post there.

I started my eating with a cup of the Crock pot pork and tomatoes, followed up by a cup of the celery stir fry. This was about 12:30. Hungry again around 4pm, I had some ham and two slices of low carb bread.

Still more thirsty than usual, I guzzled down 2 glasses of seltzer splashed over some 4c drink mix. I don’t mix up the stuff all at once, but I store it in an old prescription bottle and add a dash here and there when I want it. 

This saves room in the fridge, and avoids my 2-year old from seeing it, wanting some, and spilling it all over the white couch, where the neon red of the dye they use in the stuff necessitates pulling off the slipcover and washing it – again.

In the evening I had wine & pasta, a cookie, Stilton cheese, pork rinds, and some Greek toast with my daughter. 

The scale reports 212.0 – an impressive increase in just a few short days. 

If you look at these results, based on what I ate, it would make sense that I don’t lose any weight – but to gain so much?

If I look back a year, the EXACT same weight gain occured at the same time – in December 07, I shot up to 215, then worked my way back down.

I did a search on ‘seasonal weight gain’ – and got a lot of links for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Great. I don’t WANT a friggin disorder, especially one that seems like a disorder exclusively for hypochondriacs. I’m a guy – I want my disorders to have clearly defined symptoms – like a limb ripped off, or sky-high blood pressure.

These can be objectively measured, actions taken (limb reattached, blood pressure brought under control through medication), and objectively measured again to determine if the action was a success. It’s a guy thing.

With this disorder, you sit in front of a light, and ‘feel better’ – nothing objectively measureable. 

But…it really irks me that these symptoms from an article on the Clevland Clinic website seem to overlay where I’m at right now:

People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression: Sadness, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. They often have symptoms such as extreme fatigue and lack of energy, increased need for sleep, craving for carbohydrates, and increased appetite and weight gain.

Symptoms of winter SAD include:
  • Fatigue
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Decreased levels of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased desire to be alone

Now – a person has to be wary of what I’ve heard called ‘First year medical students disease’. This is where medical students start reading about diseases and their symptoms, overlay a vague set of symptoms on their complaints, and scare themselves silly that they are gonna die from a given disease.

It’s easy – here – play along: next time you have a headache, what if it not just muscle tension, but rather bacterial spinal menningitis

Taking that into consideration, might there be something to SAD? Might it explain a number of things going on?

And more importantly, might a stupid light fix it?

More Food Journaling 12-07-08

Had 3 eggs in a tablespoon of butter around 10am. I was hungry maybe an hour and a half later, so I had some cream cheese mixed with pumpkin and Splenda as a spread on low carb bread, then some of the cranberry sauce I made as the ‘jelly’. I really like the cranberry sauce. Boil cranberries in just enough water to cover until they burst open, then add Splenda to taste. I probably put 8 packets of Splenda in the last batch. It’s low carb, fresh made, and full of antioxidants. 

I could probably live without store-made zero calorie FrankenJellies.

Went shopping, and when I came home I was famished. I ate 3 slices of cheese with mayo and bread, and a ham sandwich. Couldn’t help myself. At this particular instant, there was NO indication that the Irvingia was diminishing my appetite. 

What I have noticed is being unusually thirsty. I am not usually guzzling down glasses of liquids, but when I came home, I couldn’t wait to have a drink of seltzer – I used some Crystal Light on ice – and drank at least 16 oz. very quickly – then had more.

I was in a funk the first half of the day. Maybe it was because I had a Christmas party to go to and I had no nice clothes. My nice clothes are all too small – and the ones that I do fit in just barely fit. It is a bummer of awesome proportions to buy clothes when you have clothes that would be just fine – if you could fit in them.

This means that I bought a pair of 36 waist pants for the first time in years. This really scares me, as I believe that not having ‘fat pants’ is, right now, a key to keeping myself at least at the weight I’m managing at presently.

This – along with a disastrous shopping trip with a toddler on the verge of a meltdown and a general anxiety that I normally have about parties, kept the stress hormone flowing today.

I whipped together a recipe for the Greek Pork & Tomatoes I made the other day – this time in the crock pot. All I did was put the contents listed above in the crockpot, set it for high for 8 hours, and went to take a nap because I was exhausted – and had a late night party to go to.

I took my nightly Irvingia right before I left for the party. I also weighed myself – 207.0.

The party turned out to be the high point of the day. Nice people and a relaxed atmosphere.

I had a rum and Diet Coke, then some champagne.

For eats I had some meat balls – maybe six. A little later I had some of the pastries, a small roast beef sandwich 
(with the bread),  and maybe a chip or two as they sat in front of me on a table.

The scale reported 209.8 in the morning – not unexpected, but not welcome, either.