So back on November 28 I was 291.1. Today I am 281.7. So 10 lbs lost. So what are some of the things – to sum up pages and pages of word-vomit in my personal journal – that I did?
I tried eating nothing but bacon. This did not work, but trying to do so reset my way of thinking about going on a diet. On day 2 of nothing but bacon, I needed something else. I reached for celery we had and – hey – I enjoyed it. If Bacon made me enjoy celery more then maybe it can get me to enjoy other veggies more. That mindset led to me eating a lot of vegetables.
I began reducing my ‘flavor palette’. This isn’t a new idea to me, nor is it a new idea at all – I remember watching a documentary where a miserable test subject was kept in a chamber – probably to measure temperature and gases to try and learn about metabolism – and this person could eat all they wanted – except all they could eat looked like baby food that was sucked through a clear plastic tube in the wall. The voice-over said they lost weight. I’ll bet! Trying to eat just bacon wasn’t cutting it for me but I thought: what if instead of one flavor I give myself 5? 10? I didn’t know what the magic number was but I started to explore this.
I don’t eat until noon. I am attempting an 18:6 intermittent fast routine and I guess you can say I’m close. It does vary and is sometimes more a 16:8 but trying too hard is a good way to fuck up a diet. Trying to be perfect has screwed me up more times than I can count
I began eating veggies. The first thing I added was celery, chia seed pudding, and cucumbers. I also added ground beef and slathered it in sugar free ketchup. The chia seeds were loaded with MiO and man, my pleasure neurons lit up from that sweetness! I also had some cheese and mayo, and sausage with mustard, and Atkins Shakes.
I narrowed my flavor palette more. By December 4th I had:
- Stopped getting takeout
- Stopped eating bread or any grains
- Stopped eating sugar
- Started tracking my food
- Got into ketosis
But then I got the crazy notion of narrowing my flavor palette even more. So I gave up artificial sweeteners, and cheese, and mayo and tried sticking to the following foods:
|Bacon||Butter||Pork||Eggs||Ground Beef||Bacon Grease|
|Olive oil||Hearts of Palm||Chia seeds||Seasonings||Mushrooms||Cucumber|
|Celery||Green beans||Zucchini||Mustard||Nutritional Yeast||Chicken thighs|
|Cooked broccoli||Cooked cauliflower||Tomato paste (small amounts)||Brazil nuts (selenium supplement)||Lettuce / mixed greens||Lemon juice|
Nearly a week later, I did pretty good. This really did mess with my head however. Hunger became a very different creature. I didn’t deviate much from this list and the only items not on the list that I had were a dozen cherry tomatoes, 1/2 dozen raspberries, and maybe 10 blueberries. I also use apple cider vinegar (ACV). I purposely tried to avoid foods that lit up my pleasure centers in the brain effortlessly – like MiO. That sweet hit like heroin. And it struck me that most people lived in an environment where that kind of pleasure hit a dozen times a day. I was going for zero hits like that. Two things happened: I began getting these dopamine hits from the mustard and lemon juice. And plain chia seed pudding, which I found gross on my first serving, improved on my second serving. Still not an orgy of flavor, mind you, but it was ok.
Tracking helps. I use Cronometer and with a combination of weighing, eyeballing (so I don’t weigh everything all the time), and a reduced set of foods, This way tracking doesn’t drive me up the wall. But is it accurate? Seems accurate enough.
It seems getting the right amount of calories is important. There have been days where I ate less than my targets – and other days more, but I stuck to the script. It seems that getting adequate calories is important. Even if it was healthy I can’t starve myself thin. It’s a matter of the right food choices, more or less around the proper number of calories and macros, and it seems I’ve found a working combination.
I feel weird. My ketones have been as high as 2.5, and removing cheese, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and bread – and replacing them with green veggies – must be having a profound impact on my body chemistry. Keto by itself changes the fuel your brain runs on, and without carb reserves, most of your body had to change over to this different fuel source. But then I take it an extra step and remove all sorts of interactions that dairy, even small amounts of grains, and both real and artificial sugars have in this walking chemistry experiment that is me. The bacteria in my gut has no choice but to change. Some thrive, some die off, some minorities take a larger role – and all of this impacts your brain in ways we don’t really understand because the gut is in constant communication with the brain through the vagus nerve. Of course I feel weird – how could I not?
I write a lot. And this is a summary and might feel incomplete. Sorry ‘bout that.
So what’s next? I’m thinking of continuing this reduced flavor palette experiment. I’ve had no broccoli or cauliflower so I’m thinking I’ll pick that up – and maybe some other vegetables. I have plenty of bacon and will continue (I’ve perfected the laziest technique for perfect bacon and will share eventually). I’ll also take a hard look for something new. I did have seasoned roast beef from Trader Joe’s – perhaps I’ll pick more up. Maybe some ham? I might want to reduce or eliminate the lemon juice and mustard. They both give a little hedonistic hit to foods and I am trying to lessen those. Lemon juice is also bad for your tooth enamel.
So you might be a little confused about my eliminating flavors from my diet. It’s worked well for me in that I’ve lost 10 lbs – but why so extreme?
Because I’m not doing it just because I’m trying to lose weight – I’m also doing it so I can learn a new programming language.
More confused? The explanation is a different post for another day. There is a LOT not mentioned in this update that will need to wait for another post (if I get around to it).
So TL;DR: I lost 10 lbs so far and am going to try to stay the course for the upcoming week.