So I’m about 3 weeks into ketosis and at one point had probably lost about 15 lbs. from my worst to where I’m close to 10 lbs now. I lost the weight not really paying attention to what I ate, except that it came from a long list of what can be considered ‘low carb’. This can be an Atkins shake, some sliced salami, hot dogs with cheese, beef chili, and bologna.
A vegetable or two did creep in. A kid’s party resulted in 2 side salads that I ate the other day but it was just to prevent food waste mostly. Nothing really carby on these two – mostly iceberg lettuce. I haven’t really left the low carb ranch at all.
But here I am at day 21 or something like that and I have a decision to make. But I’m NOT on day 21 of anything! If you’ve read some of my recent previous posts, I didn’t intend to start a keto diet – it just sort of happened.
Since I don’t want to ask this question of myself, dear reader, I ask you: I have come to a fork in the road.
Do I keep using the keto blood tests instead of the scale as my guide? Do I let my ketones guide me – scale be damned – or do I expend the effort to ‘dial in my macros’ – and start to follow my eating so that every gram of carbs is tracked and their origin is also tracked so that I can define my low carb food triggers and accelerate weight loss? Do I monitor it it so that I determine that carbs from bologna are worse than those from olives? Or vice versa for me?
Or do I just tell myself: ‘meh – you can’t fake ketosis – if you’re in it and you’re not stressed out, don’t worry about weight. It might take 5 years – you don’t care. It isn’t the scale you’re bound to – it’s the ketones.
And even if you never lose the weight, it’s OK. It’s all about the ketones.
6 thoughts on “Since I don’t have a plan I’ll ask you”
As a person who has been on keto on and off for well over a decade and low carb since 2001, I’ll give you my two cents. What I would suggest is ditching the scale and the test strips. If you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and you’re starting to feel better, and your clothes are starting to fit better, then there’s no reason to verify ketosis or obsess over the number on the scale. Try doing some measurements and weighing yourself only once a month.
I don’t feel like I’m there yet. Part of it is I am still feeling my way through what foods work for me and what don’t. I have not eaten anything off-plan but I did have some name-brand grilled chicken strips and a few hours later the ketones were 0.2 – my lowest read so far. So Ok – I’ll avoid them for whatever reason they cause this. I’m also testing out some of my old recipes (4-alarm chili) and new ones and I’m looking for compatibility with my life – they’re easy to make, relatively ‘clean’, I can eat them over and over, and they don’t have some unexpected impact on ketone levels.
I guess what I am saying is I have chosen to ‘dial in my macros’ – again in this roundabout way. I don’t feel I’ve chosen this path as much as it has chosen me. Perhaps a keto diet is like a ‘muscle memory’ for me after 19 years.
I didn’t always have the luxury of measuring blood ketones so I can see myself getting to a place where I have my meals planned somewhat but I never gave up the scale entirely. I got to the point where I didn’t fret much when it didn’t move in the preferred direction on a given day, but did reflect on what I was eating if I stalled or it was continually moving in the wrong direction. Giving that one up would be hard, but again, I don’t beat myself up over the number a scale tells me.
My two cents .. I agree with Victoria’s comment.
However, I am similar as you in some of those thought processes – it is hardwired in me, too. I eat low carb and naturally gravitate towards those foods without a second thought. My clothes naturally get looser, achy joints disappear and I feel a lot better. Still, if I slip (meaning the one slip can lead to days of exceptionally poor food choices), I need to recalibrate and track my food and macros for a week and that seems to reset me. I hate it but it does serve a purpose primarily in my confidence to make choices going forward without tracking.
Tracking macros has always been an issue for me. It reminds me of my old Diet Centre days of yesteryear (30 years ago) where the staff wore nursing uniforms (they weren’t actually nurses) and one of those ‘nurses’ berated me for going up a 1/2 pound at a weekly weigh-in. Since then, I have associated ‘tracking macros’ with her as a negative and humiliating experience. (Fun fact: I never returned to DC or any formalized weight loss program ever again after that.)
Okay, this wasn’t meant to be a confessional but aligns similarly with my last comment about caring/not caring. I care about myself, I care about my fuel but I really don’t care nor want to put any energy into tracking at this point of my life. This is just me, it works, I am content and not obsessing over minutia. The only thing I do is weigh myself once in a while, otherwise I leave tracking off the table. I don’t need another battle.
I think you answered your own question – if you aren’t beating yourself up over what the scale says (and you shouldn’t) and you are aware of what foods work best for you, you can probably let go of the ketone measurement.
In my view the ketogenic approach does not address the omega-3/6 imbalance which, in my view again, is what is causing the global obesity/diabetes problem. If you want the unvarnished truth about the diet/disease/obesity connection, Google – Glen D. Lawrence saturated fat.
Oh – keto folks who spend any amount of time researching the diet know this.
Of course there’s folks that don’t research or don’t care – but there’s lots of talk about this on keto sites.
Yes, well the ratio is important. But toxicity is also a consideration. “Chicken meat with reduced concentration of arachidonic acid (AA) and reduced ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids has potential health benefits because a reduction in AA intake dampens prostanoid signaling, and the proportion between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is too high in our diet.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20398309/
One can improve the ratio by either adding omega-3 or subtracting omega-6. However, “Combining reduction of the intake of AA with enhancement of the intake of oleic acid will, moreover, also be a better strategy for reducing the total extent of in vivo lipid peroxidation, rather than adding more EPA (with 5 double bonds) and DHA (with 6 double bonds) to a diet already over-abundant in arachidonic acid and linoleic acid.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2875212/
My wife lost over 30 pounds in 4 months without experiencing discomfort on a plant-based diet emphasizing carbohydrate: potatoes, rice, oatmeal, etc. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe that the reduction in arachidonic acid intake is what helped her lose the weight.