On October 8th I wrote an introduction to what I felt would be a reset of my diet. On that day I was 234 pounds.
The odd thing is that this weight gain has been accompanied by a sudden and severe bout of not giving a shit. It’s hard to find the motivation when you don’t give a shit – self-loathing, fear, embarrassment, anger – even despair, though to a lesser extent – can be a motivator.
Indifference is *not* a motivator.
In fact, after I wrote my October 8th missive it appeared as if I was trying to win some competition for how many fast food meals I could tuck in. If there was an actual competition, the judges would have been impressed. Every mealtime a voice inside of me said: ‘screw this diet shit – maybe next time.’
It was the truth. Like a tiger in India that acquired a taste for human blood, I had flim-flammed myself into thinking that I could ‘moderate’ my carb intake. Instead, I had artfully bullshitted myself again. I fell for my own bullshit and had abandoned low carb like I never had before. The villagers would have to kill the carb-loving tiger before *any* semblance of order would return.
I tried being less obsessive about my diet. For the first time in a decade I gave myself the latitude to not think about dieting in an intense, personal fashion. I banished this extra housemate, this dietary burden on myself and my family – and it did nobody good. Thinner and obsessive, I was annoying and eccentric. Now I’m fatter, crankier, and still annoying and eccentric.
It wasn’t a good tradeoff.
Perhaps my lot in life is to be an obsessive, compulsive dieter. Perhaps I can never be ‘normal’. I think I’ll keep more of it to myself, however: no one wants to hear about ‘your diet’ – excepting perhaps present company, of course.
Every single freakin’ day since then I tried to start my diet only to have it crumple like a cheap suit from the smallest of excuses. What IS hunger?!? I asked myself. Intellectually, you know you’ve taken in adequate nutrition, then hunger appears, you tell it to go pound sand, feel good about yourself – and find yourself moments later midway through a McDonald’s Double-Cheeseburger wondering: what the hell happened in between the onset of hunger and a gullet being filled with McCrap? Surely some higher-level cognitive functions were operating to navigate the car to the drive thru, place the order, pay, and start eating – but what some psychologists call the ‘Executive Function’ – that force within us that causes smart people not to do dumb things – had checked out completely.
Hunger won out and I was up to 236.6.
I decided I needed to pull out a weapon against hunger I only use sparingly because it comes off as so bat-shit crazy that even I take pause before I reach for it: the full-immersion fat blast.
In a nutshell the thinking goes like this: for me, a day or two of overeating as much fat as possible is the fastest way to get into ketosis and get the appetite-supressing properties of ketones in my bloodstream. I’m overeating *anyway* but this type of overeating at least leads to appetite suppression after a while. So on October 21 I ate:
- Coffee with cream
- Coffee with a dash of Atkins shake as a creamer substitute
- A tiny bit of roast beef wrapped around what ended up being near a half-stick of butter
- a cup of fatty pork belly with 2 eggs, fried, with a huge dollop of sour cream
- Pork rinds with a tuna salad with a big dollop of mayonnaise as well as more sour cream
- A dessert of a few tablespoons of sour cream with some Mio flavoring
While I didn’t track calories, I’m sure my intake was well over 2,000 calories, with lots of fat, moderate protein, and probably under 10 grams of carbs.
The next day I was down 3.2 pounds to 233.4 – nothing shocking, actually, as you shed water as you deplete the carbs in your body and I am capable of holding onto perhaps up to 8 pounds of water weight by my estimate. While I don’t miss the extra weight, it wasn’t the point – ketosis and the appetite killer that travels shotgun with it is what I’m aiming for.
I ate nothing until mid afternoon – the coffee, cream and Atkins shake as creamer kept me going until then, when I had half a package of cream cheese on two small pieces of roast beef.
Not too long after that I felt the heaviness, the tiredness without sleepiness, that signals the onset of ketone production for me.
At home I checked for ketones – yep – I was starting ketosis.
I had 2 burgers with cheese along with a bit of regular ketchup (no low carb in the house) as well as a few ounces of vodka. There was also the leftover tuna from the day before with lettuce.
There was some longing for more food, but not the kind of hunger where I find a plate of pasta half-eaten before I know what the hell was going on.
The nature of my hunger had already changed. It’s what I was looking for: when hunger comes now it is merely present – not omnipresent – that’s the biggest benefit of a ketogenic low carb diet to me.
Again, the point here is to just get into ketosis – not losing weight – but when I woke up on Saturday, October 25th, I was 229.8 – down almost 7 pounds.
Of course, its times like these where I post an impressive 2-day weight loss, and then completely screw things up moments after I hit the ‘post button’.
Frankly, the odds are against me. With Halloween around the corner with piles of leftover candy strewn in so many places as to be seen in every glance, then Thanksgiving, the official US binge-eating holiday, through a food-filled Christmas season, and coming to a Bacchanalian climax with the world-wide celebration of alcohol abuse called ‘New Years’, this is a perilous time for any dieter.
Stay tuned to see if I can beat the odds.
17 thoughts on “The Un-Diet and the Full-Immersion Fat Bast”
I’m glad you’re back to the blog because we are in exactly the same place, and it’s helpful to me to see you articulating these things! Nearly everything you wrote is true for me, too: Where I was as of just last week and where I am now. I’m focusing on higher fat, lower carb, and reaping some benefits already. Here’s hoping….
Hey, well I find this interesting. I, like you, have tried the eating in moderation schtick, and I like you always manage to find a way to eat more than necessary and put on weight. Not only that I find that not obsessing about food makes me obsessive about how to not obsess about food. I think we are just screwed in that way. I have known a friend that lost heaps of weight intuitive eating so it works for some, just not me.
Sometimes you can get stuck in those funks where you just can’t seem to find the motivation to have two days straight of good dieting. God I know how that feels. At the risk of sounding insane I have always found that a good dose of extreme black and white thinking always works. For me the whole ‘getting into keto-adaptation’ thing has worked wonders, simply because I know if I do cheat I have fucked it all up, and have to start again. Thats enough for me to stay consistent. It seems you found a similar tool.
I think you and I are two peas from the same pod when it comes to food.
I agree with Danrex on the black/white thing. I have a hard time moderating the carbs – better to avoid them as much as possible. Otherwise, the roast beef with butter just doesn’t sound too good to me. I’ll slather it with mayo for sure, but butter?
The butter does get…old, Tom, but I find it the fastest way to get into ketosis. There’s just something about butter that beats other fats for me. I also *love* roast beef slathered in mayo – and wrapping roast beef around a hunk of cream cheese ain’t bad, either.
As to the black and white thing…I am conflicted. I’ve always been a ‘shades of gray’ kinda guy, but when it comes to carbs, perhaps I do need to take a more extreme approach. Perhaps, like a person with a peanut allergy, I simply must accept that I am just not meant to eat PB&J sandwiches. A decade on low carb has been a continual series of failures (some quite enjoyable) where I conned myself into sliding down the slippery slope of too many carbs only to have to pull myself out of the hole again.
Here’s the question I struggle to answer though: can you be a black/white person without being an insufferable bore – or worse, a jerk?
Jury is still out. But this is my thinking. Getting and staying in keto-adaptation is hard work. If you screw up one day your chucked out of the club and have to begin at day zero again. Although this is scary it is also highly motivating. You simply DON”T fuck up because the amount of effort to get back into it are not worth it. Also, my understanding is that keto-adaptation reduces appetite. If it does then you won’t be needing food as much,and by default talking or thinking about it. Again another motivator not to break out of it. Just like people with asthma need inhalers (you wouldn’t tell one of them just stop taking it), we may need lower carbs.
Work in progress for me. Still not in keto-adaptation yet so dont know if it does reduce hunger. But it has been a tough and hard commitment and if it does work, by golly I’m not giving that shit up for some cheesecake.
About keto-adaptation: while just one bad day can bring your ketones to zero, getting back to where you were if you’ve been at it for a while *is* no doubt a couple of days of work – but it doesn’t bring you back to day zero. If you’ve been in ketosis a month then have a cheat, you’ve still gained the benefit of your body’s fuel system learning the ropes of burning ketones – while your ketone level might need a few days to right itself, the cellular adaptation doesn’t just disappear. In my personal example, I am able to get into a solid burning of ketones in a day and a half. I think I can do this because my body is quite practiced at living on few carbs.
Did you measure that with blood ketones or ketone stick?
I typically use the sticks at the outset. When I’ve got a good head of steam, then I will test blood ketones weekly and pull back on the use of the sticks. At least in the US, the blood test strips for ketones are awfully expensive.
During the summer I decided I’d eat more carbs. Result: 15 pound gain. It has taken me until now to get rid of it. Peanuts had to go but macadamias stayed. I love butter and Blue Plate mayo. Even though I like vegetables, my huge quantity of them wasn’t doing me any good in the weight loss department. Now I am back where I was a year ago with the same old 20 pounds to say farewell to. I kept my calories around 1300-1400 at first and now I am thinking to lower them to 1100/1200. Who knows if this will do it. Isn’t it great when ketosis hits and hunger fades?! Please keep blogging! Thanks!
I am following your story for a while. As a female who cooks all food at home, I am in a more convenient position to choose wht to eat, but I also make no-LC foods , for example, I bake a sourdough rye bread for my husband. My extra (probably main) motivation for cutting carbs – migraine prevention, also gluten gives me worsening of allergies and swollen joints on my hands, so I get a strong reinforcement from my body to stick to my diet, I also stopped catching seasonal colds and having urinary tract infection after I started LCarbing at November 2007.
I wish you would get more support from your family. It could be beneficial for some of your family members as well. It starts with you – from reading your blog it is easy to get an impression that you almost feel guilty for eating differently than most people. Try to look positively on it – what if your are giving an important example to observe for your children? May be your wife will need to change how she eats in a future due to hormonal changes? In my case LC is very helpful in controlling hot flashes besides migraines and allergies. What if you are the first in your family to check how many carbohydrates you eat, and somebody else would follow your in a future? May be your doters would limits sugar in the diet of their future children?May be your children will be facing their own weight issues in a future. From observing you, they would know that self-starving or avoiding fats or any short extreme diet intervention wouldn’t work to solve problem. I never tried to impose my diet on my son who is naturally lean, but after looking at me dramatically improving my health, he avoids sugar and junk food on his own, he is almost 22 now. He also go on a LC diet when he feels like he may be getting a flu. He has an eczema, and my example also gave him an idea that eating a gluten-free food could help him, and it did. I seriously limited sweets and snacks when he was growing up, or he would eat nothing else, as a result he had no cavities and no need in braces and now is grateful to me. He told me he would do it to his children in a future.
Insightful. As I only have partial control over what foods come in the house, there are things bought that I would avoid buying. These make it easier for me to grab a bite (or two, or three) and while I can blame anyone but myself for eating them, it does make things that much harder.
Secondly: yes – I do feel guilty eating the way I do. If only I ate ‘normal’ like the rest of the family and practiced portion control then mealtimes would be easier. Even this blog is considered a monumental waste of my time when I could be doing something more useful.
Try to talk yourself from feeling guilty for the sake of your family. Would you want for your children to feel guilty in a future if they had to limit carbs? There is no warranty for them being naturally lean as they grow and age. It is better not to feel that your diet is your punishment for not having an iron will or the perfect genetic predisposition to leanness.
I have struggled all my life with food cravings similar to what you have described in this post. I am particularly vulnerable to anything sweet. I had tried many techniques for combating the cravings but had never been completely successful. Then I came across the work of Dr. Julia Ross and learned that the amino acid L-Glutamine can help stop cravings for sugar. It’s available over-the-counter at health food stores and also online. This simple supplement has worked magic in my life and finally helped me to subdue my cravings and keep binge eating under control. I strongly encourage anyone who is having problems with uncontrollable eating to look into Ross’ work. There’s a good summary of her recommendations on how to use L-Glutamine here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-beat-sugar-cravings-glutamine/.
My comment here is a bit (or more) off topic but I wanted to let you know how I am doing on a straight 1200-1500 calorie diet. It’s been three months and I am down 14 pounds. I keep a food diary and write everything down. It works best if I also stop, before eating, and count the calories. I find it all to be a very “negative” experience but my clothes fit again. In fact, my clothes fit a body that was about 20 pound lighter than I am now. I find this fascinating. I still find it difficult to pass by the cookies at work. Or the pizza my husband eats. Or the pasta. So now I weigh out 4 ounces, dry, cook that and eat it with a ratatouille sauce I made and froze all summer. Once a week.
Low carb worked to keep my weight stable (as it was an appetite suppressor) but it never produced ANY weight loss. The high fat diet added pounds (over 30). I love that it works for you but there are many of us out here, reading, whose bodies just do not ever go into ketosis.
To the last point first: if you get your carbs and protein low enough your body HAS to go into ketosis – you’d die if you didn’t.
Ketosis isn’t for everybody, comes with a host of its own challenges, and does NOT allow you to eat as much as you want. Instead, you eat less because ketosis can bring you almost to the point of nauseousness – it’s quite the appetite-killer for some. For others, ketosis doesn’t seem to slow down their appetite – or at least the ability to eat – at all.
If what you got going is working for you – go for it. As for me, I tried some form of moderation after my vacation and it went nowhere. It seems I need to take a ‘monk-like’ approach for anything to work – and it’s not going to be all unicorns and puppies and rainbows. Frankly, I think a ‘positive attitude’ is overrated and puts us in denial of our real feelings. I like my optimism ‘reality-based’.
As of right now, this diet sucks – but it sucks less than the alternative. Jeez – I can’t even get the *hang* of it being I took so long a break from it. I will keep plugging along, however, and it will come back to me – eventually.
I will continue to read your words and copy your “recipes” into my food journal. I think all diets “suck” as it’s best to just be so busy and happy that you forget to eat. I gained weight RIGHT after writing that first comment–so I think I will keep my weight to myself from now on. LOL
I call the announcing of weight loss right before a gain: ‘crowing, then eating crow.’ Been there a lot.