Atkins Induction Day 10 – Ketosis Hits Like a Ton of Bricks

I said yesterday that I went into ketosis and didn’t feel it.

I spoke too soon.

That heaviness hit – and what I would describe as tiredness without sleepiness. This lasted most of the day, though it didn’t impact my performance at work – mind still clear, still solved a few tough problems. I always go to work and ask myself: “Did I deserve that check I get for the work I put in today?” I think I did.

I’m down to 208.0 as I write this. No dramatic weight loss. The water weight loss that strips off a few pounds overnight is over – now it’s just getting into the groove for the long haul.

There are some people I feel comfortable talking about this stuff with at work. Others, I don’t. One colleague knew of my somewhat odd dietary proclivities because, stuck in a long meeting together, I grabbed some lunch of roast beef and butter and ate it as a wrap. He was visibly shaken, as if he had suddenly realized that this guy he had worked with for months was a fucking lunatic.

With some people, I take an approach similar to that Grandpa that pulls out his dentures and chases the frightened children with them. With some people I let my low carb freak flag fly, and this fellow, after the initial revulsion, was somewhat intrigued, in the way one might be if they came across a strange new type of human being.

He asked me: “Does your family know that you eat like this?” The very structure of the sentence conveying the underlying fact that he must think me a harmless crazy person and someone like me, like the Elephant Man, should keep these proclivities hidden from the light of day.

“I’ve been eating like this for nearly a decade.” I said. “They know.”

“Do they ever say anything?”

“Well, my daughter DOES occasionally make a comment like ‘Daddy, that’s a lot of butter.’ when I put almost half a stick on a single piece of low carb bread.”

He said nothing, though his lips drew tight together. He is a decent fellow, and has been brought to be polite and not tell people they are fucking nuts to their face.

I HAVE been eating some decidedly odd things this time around.

If you haven’t noticed, I like experimenting. Lately I have been experimenting with what to eat and have come up with a few good things, some (ahem) interesting things, and a few no-gos.

If anything might dissuade you from reading more on this blog – this might be it.

Yogurt and green tabasco sauce – I had a yogurt and I had the green, milder tabasco sauce. What the hell. Mixed together, it was actually pretty good. I think adding salsa to the mix will be my next trick.

Tablespoon of butter and a packet of splenda – a little bit of sugar – or splenda – makes this pretty tasty. It worked on unsalted butter better than the salted kind, but I liked it on both.

Bacon and Lindt 90% Dark Chocolate – Um, no. This didn’t work at all. I warned you.

‘Milk’ – I had a hankering for milk so I turned to a 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in a 4 ounce cup with a drop or 2 or liquid splenda and a drop of vanilla. This was great – I’ll be doing this again.

Hamburger wrapped in ham – Hamburgers are no fun eating with a knife and fork. I’ve taken to eating them wrapped in ham. You can hold the sandwich in a paper towel.

Ham and cheese and onion – A variation on the above, the ham acts as the container for the cheese, onion and sugar free ketchup.

In the past few days I’ve also had to coexist with pizza and McDonald’s. Again, I don’t like to demonize ANY food, and I love pizza and McDonald’s. I don’t necessarily feel all that great after eating the stuff, but I’m not going to try to pretend to myself I don’t like it when I know I do – I’m just going to try and avoid it at present.

I managed to avoid the McDonald’s except for a single french fry – which was good, and did not set me off. I also navigated the pizza so far, except to have the cheese topping my 6-year-old pulls off. Neither one was a cause for concern, though there is still pizza leftover in the fridge so the navigation around it continues.

My wife saw me eating the cheese. I am in and out of my diet so much, announcing that I am on a diet to her would be like announcing “I am breathing.” It is nothing worthy of announcement. She asked: “You’ve been trying to good lately, right? You couldn’t help yourself?”

“I’m just having the cheese – not the crust.” I said. “It’s harmless.

Her question probably sprung from her natural competitiveness.

She has always been long and lean, but as of late put on ‘a few pounds’. Nothing to be alarmed about in my estimation: she’s still beautiful to me. It’s bothering her, and she’s begun running to ‘lose weight’.

I told her: “Exercise is great – but you won’t lose weight doing it. You’ll feel better, but if you are doing it to lose pounds you have to change your diet.”

She ignores me, though. She’s lived with me long enough to have come to the same conclusion my colleague has: I’m fucking nuts.

 

Want to Stop Eating Food? Here’s Someone Working on That

soylent

I was very interested to read about Soylent – an experiment by an individual in replacing eating with a simple drink consisting of all the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients sourced as individual chemicals.

This is all the fellow lived on for a month and he’s taking this ‘on the road’ so to speak as he is offering this concoction with other people to learn more about it through other people’s experience with it.

I applaud his N=1 research in this, as he is trying to solve what is to him, dual issues: optimal feeding as well as getting back all that time and money spent prepping food. He takes the approach that eating is somewhat outdated and might be done only for ‘sport’ in that it remains an option for social events rather than something he must do every day – sort of like people use to hunt and fish to sustain themselves but now mostly do it for the pleasure of the act itself. Continue reading “Want to Stop Eating Food? Here’s Someone Working on That”

Should We Have Laws Against Large Sodas Served in Restaurants?

If you have any interest at all in petty local politics, a well-meaning gentleman by the name of Michael Bloomberg, who happens to be mayor of New York City, would like to ban ‘super-sized’ sodas from being sold in city restaurants because they are bad for you.

I’m OK with the ‘bad for you’ part. A legal ban on a large soda? Not so much. Continue reading “Should We Have Laws Against Large Sodas Served in Restaurants?”

13 Simple Rules To Lose Weight and Be Happy Doing It

There’s so much advice on weight loss – where to begin?!?

May I be so bold as to say begin here?

You want some simple rules that will peel off the weight? Based on real-world experience from a not-too-bright person who doesn’t really exercise, doesn’t have all that much willpower, and loses weight? A guy who has been at it for 9 years and has kept off 65 pounds most of that time? Here you go:

  1. Write down everything you eat. Practice keeping a journal. The definition of ‘practice’ is that you will fail a lot, but you keep at it and get better  – like playing the piano. Make your journal as simple or as detailed as you like. Experiment. Journaling raises awareness
  2. Ride the motivation wave. When motivation is high – go with the flow. When it isn’t – relax. It’s like sailing: when the wind doesn’t blow, wait patiently and enjoy the view.
  3. Don’t be in a rush.
  4. If you are unhappy on your diet, mix it up. People lose weight on low carb diets AND low-calorie diets. It’s not illegal to switch back and forth. I won’t tell
  5. Practice not snacking.
  6. Don’t drink your calories if you can help it. Make this a practice as well.
  7. Practice the reducing of processed foods in your diet as much as possible. Avoid as many chemicals and additives as you can
  8. Stay away from weight-loss supplements – they’re expensive, possibly dangerous, and will NOT lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss
  9. If you have a lot of weight to lose, consider going on a diet first, take off some weight, then exercise. Anyone who tells you that you can’t lose weight without exercising is simply wrong.
  10. Unplanned cheats should NEVER upset you. In the long-term, they don’t matter. Just get back on the horse tomorrow
  11. If you lose weight then plateau, think of it as a place to rest. To throttle back, to recuperate before the next leg of your journey
  12. Don’t do anything to yourself that smacks of emotional abuse or physical abuse. Your health and well-being can’t be measured by a number on a scale.
  13. Realize that weight loss might make you happier but it won’t make you happy. If you pin all your hopes on weight loss making you happy, you’re in for a letdown when you reach your target. Happiness is being at peace with yourself now – not in some future place. It doesn’t mean you don’t strive for things, or don’t work hard, or even fail occasionally. If you count your blessings and fight the good fight every day, you’re in a good place.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Start your practice now.

MiO Drink Mix (sorry -‘Water Enhancer’) – A Replacement for the Sodastream Soda Mixes?

 

I have already stated – somewhere – that as part of my 2012 resolutions I was going to try to ditch the drink mixes.

the reason I’m writing about MiO, however, is because my resolutions are not necessarily your resolutions, and I thought you’d appreciate an honest review.

Prior to going on vacation, I wanted to bring some drink mix and stopped in the local grocery store – and this stuff was all that I could find that didn’t come in huge tubs or contain Nutrasweet.

I grabbed 2 – Berry Pomegranate and Strawberry Watermelon. They are little squirt bottles, and as long as I packed them in my luggage and not my carry-on, they probably wouldn’t be considered potential explosive devices by the TSA.

When in the Caribbean, we’re big fans of Badoit sparkling water – a brand I never saw in the US. Here’s a pic for the hell of it:

I drank a lot of the Badoit with these 2 mixes. I found 2 squirts were about right on the rocks. The 2 containers lasted me the entire 10-day trip, with only a little left over.

These containers are certainly more portable than the SodaStream soda mixes, that’s for sure, and as I’ve NEVER used the Sodamix the way SodaStream expects me to (pouring a cup full of flavoring into the liter bottle), this packaging concept works quite well for me. In fact, the MiO bottles are refillable (I’m sure they don’t want you to know that!) and I could see myself – if I were to continue to use the Sodastream soda mix, to actually pour the stuff into these little squeeze bottles and use it that way.

As to the flavors I got – I enjoyed them both. Maybe I liked the pomegranate a tad bit better.

I didn’t do a direct cost comparison. These were a bit pricy, but I don’t know if the stuff inside is more concentrated than the Sodastream stuff.

As to the ingredients – same artificial crap, more or less. I’m not faulting them there – it’s a drink mix – what do you expect?

You can check out their website, and their awesome, over-the-top advertising copy that seems like they cured cancer AND found a way to convert the simple intake of fluids into a religious experience.

http://www.kraftbrands.com/mio/index.html

A Year of Losing Weight – or Maybe Eight Years

Last Thanksgiving, after a year where I had ballooned up to about 238 pounds rather quickly, I recommitted to low carb yet again.

Today, one year later, I am down to 205.

That works out to 33 pounds in 1 year, or 0.63 pounds a week, an absolutely horrible number – if you’re in a rush about things. But for me, its different. I’ve been doing this low carb thing for eight friggin years. It’s not a diet I go on thinking I lose weight, then go back to old habits and somehow thinking the weight won’t come back.

You take a different perspective when you’re in it for the long haul like I am. Eight years ago I was 265. Today I am 60 pound lighter. Plenty of people can lose a lot of weight, and almost all of them gain it all back within five years. I didn’t, which makes me something of a freak.

I’m sure you’d all like to know my secret, and I’d love to tell you – but the more I reflect on it, it’s not all that simple.

I’ve concluded that low carb, at least for me, is not what you think. And losing weight is not just low carb.

Losing weight and keeping it off for the long-term is more of an elaborate con job that a person must consciously perform on their own mind, their body, and on other people. And a big part of the con is that what works now might not work later, so to keep the con going, you have to be prepared to adapt.

For me, 8 years ago, the place to start was Atkins. I got the book, followed it, and got myself into ketosis – lots of ketosis. I got used to living on very low carbs – maybe under 40g per day – and did so for months at a time. The weight came off: 70 the first year, and another 10 the second that got me to my target weight.

I felt great and had more energy and mental clarity than ever. I was also completely insufferable – blabbing on and on about low carb to anyone who would listen. The problem is: no one cares. And if they might care, like other fat folks, they think you are a little nuts to go on low carb.

Being an insufferable food fanatic aside, I had given up alcohol as part of this 2-year go at the diet. This was hard as I had always loved drinking. A die-hard beer drinker, I gave it up forever. At the 2 year mark, however, I thought I could add alcohol (though not beer) back in, so I would have red wine, martinis, and vodka & tonics.

Bad idea.

I’ve done a lot of (ahem) personal research in this area and have concluded that if I want to maintain my weight loss – as well as be able to manage the inevitable weight gain that tries to creep back – I need to completely abstain from the stuff.

So here’s the bargain: drink and gain weight or don’t drink and lose weight and/or keep it off.

I have been trying to prove this bargain wrong for the better part of the past 6 years and have not been able get it to work.

So I’ve stopped drinking, completely, about 6-7 months ago, and I believe it has contributed to my weight loss.

I’m lucky in that my life is not one where the conviviality of alcohol is an important component of my happiness. I don’t go bar-hopping, don’t ‘watch the game with the guys’, nor do I do much of the other things that usually involve alcohol.

I like reading and writing, and spending time with my family. Call me boring.

For those of you that do enjoy partying, I am well aware of the problem. People who drink to have a good time want you to drink as well, and it is awkward to say no. There is also the tendency to think that people who don’t drink and once did must be alcoholics – and if you are not drinking, you not only must be one, but you bring to mind in others that they might be one as well.

It is also hard to stop drinking without sounding sanctimonious.

I think PJ O’Rourke once said something to the effect that: you have to drink to prove you are not an alcoholic.

The subject of drinking came up yesterday with a bunch of young adults I work with. Asking my drinking habits, I said: “If I drink, I get fat – so I don’t drink.” Said to a bunch of skinny kids just getting their start in a world of alcohol-laced good times, I’m sure that I sounded weird. One girl said to me helpfully (as everyone is a diet consultant): “Just don’t drink beer.”

If only…

Our drinking discussion continued as I had much drinking-related experience to share with them, and I doubt I came off as sanctimonious, but you never can tell. No lectures necessary, no detailed personal stories required, except the personal excess stories that people relate in good humor about the joys of alcohol. I remember. I enjoyed them. I have only good memories as alcohol was never a problem for me – I just don’t drink anymore.

So maybe I’m not totally cool, but I’m OK, I guess. Or maybe not. I’ve long ago given up caring what other people think about me, which is handy if you are going to go on a low carb diet anyway.

Next up is that I have come to the conclusion that low carb doesn’t work in the long run. Now, before you freak at this heresy, let me explain.

Low carb is a con job that you can pull on your body and lose a bunch of weight that will stop working after a couple of years.

The good news here is: Low carb works for a couple of years.

In low carb circles, there is talk of ‘The Golden Time’. It’s that magical first-time shot at Atkins where the weight melts off. The story usually continues that the individual relating the story then gains the weight back, and their second go at Atkins does not work as well.

This is a complicated thing to understand (for me, at least), but as I see it, you are fat forever. Once you have gained weight, you have acclimated your body to that weight. No matter how thin you might get, your body remembers that higher weight, and wants to go there again. I read of a study that measured chemical markers (or some such thing) in fat folks who lost a lot of weight and they were similar to the markers of people who were starving.

I can only conclude that the best way to avoid being fat is to never allow yourself to get fat in the first place.

Yeah, I know: a little late for that wisdom.

So all this sucks, and if you’d like to set some time aside to feel sorry for yourself, please do so. I always recommend feeling sorry for yourself as part of a normal and necessary grieving process – but put a solid end date on it. Commit to a solid period of teeth-gnashing, wailing, and hand-wringing, but put a circle around the day on the calendar when you’ll stop. Get it out of your system. Then c’mon back and let’s get back to business.

OK – done feeling sorry for yourself? Then let’s continue.

Here’s why low carb doesn’t work in the long run: your thyroid.

Anthony Colpo, once a darling to the low carb community, has spent enormous time and energy bashing low carb because he experienced symptoms of hypothyroidism after being on low carb for a couple of years. I think he’s right. I myself have experienced some of the same issues he mentioned, as well as others:

  • Feeling cold when other people don’t
  • thinning hair
  • depression
  • crappy memory

As your thyroid controls your metabolism, and a slower metabolism means that weight loss becomes harder, this also means that extreme low carb will ultimately fail – and might lead you to go to a doctor because of the depression and crappy memory and instead of accurately diagnosing the lower thyroid, they misdiagnose you as depressed and put you on a anti-depressant, which might deal with the depression, but provide you with a whole host of new issues to deal with  – and still not address the fundamental issue of low-carb-induced hypothyroidism.

Here’s a link to Anthony Colpo’s article on low carb and hypothyroidism. Please be advised – he’s a bit of a jerk – and he knows it – but I still like him and think that his points here have some science to back them, as well as my own experience.

Anthony’s failure in all this is to think that low carb is bad because people in the low carb community think that low carb is forever. I think they’re both wrong.

I think – and am betting on – that ketogenic low carb is a great way to lose weight, but it’s use is limited to a few short years at most. After that, a more complicated meal plan – one that not only allows for, but needs carbs, becomes necessary to keep the metabolism up and running.

So if you’re new to this – ignore Anthony Colpo for a year or two. Then carefully read what he has to say. Use your one-shot at ketogenic low carb for all it’s worth, and be aware that just when you’ve acclimated yourself to avoid nasty, evil carbs, those same carbs will come back to save your ass from hypothyroidism.

Now, there’s one important assumption that I am making here that I freely admit I might be wrong about – because what the hell do I know?

My assumption is that hypothyroidism induced from ketogenic low carb is reversible. I might also be wrong, not being a doctor, that my self-diagnosis of hypothyroidism is even correct, though the fact remains that hypothyroidism is known to be under-diagnosed, at least this hyperbolic website – Stop The Thyroid Madness – thinks so.

Others do too, but I’m too lazy to link them – find ’em yourself.

Now you might make a reasonable argument here: why would I go on any diet that could cause hypothyroidism? Great question.

I answered that for myself as: because every other diet I tried doesn’t work.

I lost a lot of weight in my twenties by strict calorie counting and exercise. I gained all of it back in a year – and then some.

I lost a lot of weight in my thirties by strict calorie-counting and exercise. I gained all of it back in a year – and then some.

I tried going on an extreme low-fat diet (Dr. Ornish). I never lost any weight.

I went on low carb in my forties and lost 80 lbs., stopped suffering from the symptoms of GERD, stopped eating tums like candy, stopped getting low blood sugar plunges in the afternoon that I could barely keep awake through, have kept a family propensity for diabetes from occurring, had greater mental clarity, and more energy – and have more or less kept a good portion of this weight loss off for most of the last six years, and done so without exercise, which I don’t really enjoy.

I’ll deal with the possibility of hypothyroidism 60 lbs. lighter over all that other stuff. I ‘can’t have it all’.

The introduction of carbs is tough – it’s like threading a needle. I love carbs, and given the opportunity, I would sit and eat a bag of chips like any good fat person could. While I try to avoid bad carbs like the chips, candy, cake, cookies and the like – I don’t.

I do have much less than I used to, before low carb, in the days when my junk food consumption took on awesome proportions, but I am still able to pack away a good amount of carbs before I know it.

This probably has something to do with my 0.63 lb per week weight loss, but there’s another aspect to this.

Sustainability.

Is a diet that goes on for 8 years a ‘diet’? Is the whole concept of ‘dieting’ so screwed up that we are all doomed to fail at them? How can we possibly think that we can undergo some temporary period of deprivation to get thin and we’ll stay that way? It’s rubbish.

I might be spinning a fantasy out of whole cloth, but I might be able to look back at the past couple of years and say this:

After the first few inital years of ketogenic low carb success, the onslaught of age, along with the reduction in thyroid function, combined with alcohol, began the inexorable climb in weight – which I beat myself up over even though it wasn’t really willpower, but rather a combination of things. As I increased the effort, I not only saw no results, but decreased my thyroid function further, making me a cranky and depressed bastard to be around. I then recognized that I was beating myself up over it, with my family as collateral damage to all this, and stopped. When offered carbs, I didn’t act like I was attacked, I ate them. I enjoyed myself, the food I ate, and my family.

And my weight ballooned. Obviously, low carb works for me because when I stray from it even for a few short months, the weight comes back. Like I said before, my body is permanently fat, regardless of my weight, and unless I eat a certain way, I will gain it all back.

I don’t look back at this as a bad thing. It was learning. Effort is not without cost. Willpower can get you through some things short-term, but long-term goals need something else.

When I recommitted last November, it was with the new angle that I would not allow myself to engage in self-abuse as part of the diet. I do my best. If the family wants to do something like go to a restaurant that’s high carb, I do my best there, too. And that might mean carbs, and it might mean a day in the proverbial toilet as far as the diet is concerned, but it’s family, it’s joy, life is a series of moments that never come again, and I am not going to miss them, or participate under a cloud of resentment and acrimony because of a diet.

There are plenty of other times that I can enforce an austerity in eating – a food monotony, if you will – that keeps this all together. Eating at work I reduced to a routine that is simple to maintain and that I enjoy. I have my Fage yogurt when I get hungry first thing in the day – whenever that is. I don’t manage my weight as much as my hunger. Folks – I find this to be the single most important thing you can take from this rambling post. If you manage your hunger, you won’t suffer as much. So I eat when hungry – screw the science about eating breakfast. If it works for you – great. I’m listening closely to find my own rhythms.

Next meal might be a can of tuna or sardines. If I cooked over the weekend, it might be some low carb meal I cooked.

Evenings are hit or miss. Sometimes its low carb. Sometimes not. I always aim for low carb, but if that falls by the wayside, I try to limit the portion size. Considering that my total carb count until evening is possibly as low as 5 grams, coming home and having some bread at dinner, which seems lavish for a low carb dieter, can still keep my total net carbs under 50. One slice of bread is maybe 11 grams net carbs.

You might argue that I am wasting my carb intake on bread, which is far less good for you than the carbs from vegetables. I agree. But unlike alcohol, I would like to maintain a truce of sorts with bread and eat it in limited amounts as the past year has proven I can.

For the past month, I have plateaued between 205 and 210. A lot of dieters get frustrated at plateaus – I’m not. On a long climb, a plateau is where you can rest, reflect, and gain energy for the next part of the hike. Switching metaphors, I went to the casino, and won – and I’ve walked away from the table, and kept my winnings. I still low carb, but I don’t do it guns a-blazing right now. The holidays are coming and I’ll focus on keeping my gains only.

The last part of this regards science. I’m sick of science, really, and at this point I’m giving that a rest. I’ve concluded that if I wanted to, I could pick any position regarding weight loss and nutrition, back it up with science I find on the Internet, and have rousing debates with other folks on the Internet who might believe essentially the same thing as I do, but differ in the details.

It can be quite interesting, the character assassination notwithstanding, but does all this science achieve what we all want it to achieve: health and weight loss?

Looking around, it doesn’t appear so.

Right now I’m spending my reading time on the history of diets and the history of medicines, as well as the sociology of diets and dieting. Without an understanding of history, we can fool ourselves into thinking ‘we’ve got it figured out this time!’ while with history, we can see that sometimes it’s the same damn thing all over again, it’s just this time our technology is better and more precise.

It doesn’t necessarily mean our thinking has evolved, but that we’re more sophisticated fools.

I’m going to conclude this ramble with an apology. I’m sorry I took you through this meandering mess of thoughts. The post I wanted to write is in here somewhere, but my time to write is limited. We’ll have to go with this – and I’m sorry if I wasted your time.

Book Review: Unwasted by Sacha Scoblic

Note: I tend not to do book reviews because I feel I’m awful at them – and I’d only bother to do a review of a book that I enjoyed and found to be of value. If you agree that this attempt is a hatchet job like I do, I ask you to check out some real reviews, as this work deserves a look. 

I was at my local B&N one lunchtime trying to decompress from a brain-sucking morning at work when I stumbled across this book. I read a few pages and was hooked. As the Kindle version was a few bucks cheaper and reading on the iPhone doesn’t bother me for certain books, I bought it for that and consumed this short book in a few days.

While the book is about giving up alcohol, and dealing with the pitfalls of sobriety in a world where booze ads are everywhere and there’s a bar on every corner, it is also about any decision to go against the flow. The awkwardness that others might have in dealing with us. The awkwardness we might have with ourselves as we leave the comfort of our routines.

And the simple fact that addiction is a bitch – the Uncontrollable that We Must Control.

It reminded me a lot of low carb dieting.

It bothers me that I always feel the outsider – planning for a day where my food choices might not be under my control. Trying to avoid the carbs that set me off. Asking sheepishly what the menu will be. Trying not to be the pain in the ass. Eating ahead of time. Turning down food offered by well-intentioned and sometimes very demanding folks who don’t quite understand.

Then there’s the explanations. The wrinkling of their brow. Their trying to understand – sincerely trying to frame the information so it makes sense to them.

And if they have made sense of it – it’s usually only insofar as to partition you as unlike them. You’re now the Outsider. When dessert is served, they ask: “Can you have this? It’s low in calorie.”

They don’t quite ‘get’ low carb – it’s not their fault – not their deal, really. It’s yours.

And the really awful part of all this? You really WANT what they’re serving. But you say no.

In some ways Sacha has it easier. An alcoholic embraces sobriety by a total abstention of drink. But people on a diet still need to eat – the slippery-slope of no-carb to low-carb to high-carb to eating an entire pint of Hagen Daz is much easier for those of us prone to this.

You might might read her book and say: this isn’t me. She’s a druggie and an alcoholic. She did Ecstasy!

Is your Ecstasy a box of Oreos and a quart of milk?

I give her a lot of credit for writing such an honest and authentic memoir. I didn’t feel sorry for her. It’s obvious she doesn’t want our pity.

She makes a very good point about ‘hitting bottom’. It’s not necessarily the same for all of us. It doesn’t fit a stereotype.

It’s when you’ve decided to stop digging.

This point can apply to alcoholism, obesity, or a dozen other things in our lives we should control – that we tell ourselves: “Tomorrow I’ll do it.”

But don’t.

There is another strong similarity between alcoholism and obesity: you are never ‘cured’ of either.

You don’t stop being prone to obesity because you lose weight any more than you stop being an alcoholic because you don’t drink.

No matter how thin you get, you are only a few months away from gaining it all back.

If you’re here because you’re fat and want to be thin, or trying to stay thin, you should check out this book.

Even if you’ve never had a drink in your life, you’ll relate.

 

How I lost 10 Lbs.: Jan 2, 2011 to Feb 5, 2011

My Weight from Jan 1, 2010 to Feb 5, 2010

On Jan 3, I wrote this post, starting a new stab at peeling off the pounds. To spare the internet more pointless blogging, I stated that I’d write about it again only when I lost 10 lbs. It’s really only interesting then – most of us play around is a 5-pound range and it’s water weight a lot of time. But when you get to 10, some fat had to go.

This morning the scale read 222.0. I lost 10 lbs.

It took about 5 weeks to lose it. I did it in my usual half-assed way, but the weight did come off. That’s a respectable 2 pounds per week – the recommended rate. I actually chronicled many of the days, but it’s just so much blah, blah, blah that I’ll spare you and give you the short version:

The Good:

  • Ate lots of kale soup with locavore pork sausage, burgers from grass-fed beef with organic onions, Fage yogurt, nitrate-free hot dogs, organic eggs, organic butter, organic lettuce, high-end low mercury tuna, sardines, smoked oysters, broiled trout – among other things low carb, on my healthy list, and forgotten.
  • I’ve noticed a general lack of cravings for sweets (though I’ve had my moments)
  • Some days, my appetite goes dead – I have to remind myself to eat.
  • While I don’t check every day, I’ve been in ketosis on and off throughout the month.
  • I’m controlling my blood sugar. In the past, I’ve woken to blood sugar as high as 157, and averaged it the 130s. Now I’m seeing blood sugar in the 80s twice in a week and my average is staying below 120.
  • Indulged myself here and there. A cookie here, a Lindt chocolate ball there. Some Chinese food that probably contained carbs I could have avoided. Half a slice of pizza and the leftover pizza toppings my kids pull off. I lived a little, gave in to my cravings in moderation, and still took off 2 pounds per week. It adds a balance to my life to be able to do this and still lose weight. It’s not easy, but it seems to be getting easier.
  • There is a direct correlation between my weight and my happiness. Despite the bad and the ugly below, I feel better.
  • My clothes that I bought in the fall to fit me – before I put on even MORE weight – now fit again.

The Bad:

  • Probably drink too much coffee, though I’ve noticed my cravings for it decline in the past month.
  • Drank too much red wine, which I’m sure has slowed the rate of weight loss.
  • I’m seriously torn about vitamins because I’ve come to believe we can’t trust what’s in ’em. I have only had my vitamins a few days in the past 5 weeks. I don’t know what’s worse – taking them or not taking them.
  • I don’t eat consistently. No routine. Sometimes when the appetite goes dead, I don’t eat for extended periods, which I don’t feel is good for you.
  • While trying to avoid chemicals, I have indulged in the SodaStream soda mixes, nitrated deli meats, deli cheese and putting EZ-Sweetz on my Fage yogurt, though I am adapting to having the plain Fage yogurt without the sweetener – sometimes I do – sometimes I don’t.
  • I have been sick with a chest cold since December. I think I’m on the verge of shaking it – but I’ve been saying this for weeks now. I’ve been the victim of the Northeast snow and freezing rain, and I’m sure having to shovel snow for hours has not helped me get better (though it might have burned some calories – quite a workout).
  • I gave up the exercise when I got sick – figuring that I needed rest more than exercise – but I haven’t started up yet.
  • I probably don’t eat enough veggies, with the exception of the kale soup – I’ve simplified and refined the recipe and it’s awesome. Throw some shredded cheese on top and melt it into the soup and it’s even more awesome.

The Ugly:

  • The nicotine lozenges, which helped me kick the cigarette habit I briefly took up during my vacation, is now a habit.
  • Unusually high levels of stress from work have not made things ideal for cutting back on the wine or the lozenges – both have to go, but right now isn’t the time – I need to get through a crisis period at work and have a clear head to tackle these.

The Curious:

  • I noticed what could be coincidence – but maybe a correlation? On a number of nights after a very low carb day, I would splurge with a small high-carb treat – say 20 grams of nearly pure glucose – and in the morning my blood sugar would DROP. My unprofessional, amateur endocrinologist hypothesis is that insulin response needs periods of ‘exercise’ to keep in top shape when on a very low carb diet. Most people’s insulin response is like a chronic, obsessive exerciser – exhausted from too much working out. But on a very low carb diet, it gets time to relax and recover. The occasional Lindt chocolate ball is like moderate exercise and keeps the insulin response fit and trim – but what do I know?

So now on to the next 10 – see you at 212.

An Experiment in Making My Own Yogurt

It started when I tried to do what, on the surface, should be a simple thing.

Buy yogurt.

Call me fussy, but I didn’t want low-fat milk, sprinkles, sparkles, fruit on the bottom, chocolate-chip laden yogurt: I just wanted yogurt.

I went to what I thought would be my best source: the price-gouging faux ‘good-food’ store – Whole Foods.

I grudgingly shop there as they are the only source of a few things I can’t find anywhere else in the area, like a mayonnaise that is NOT made with soybean oil, but rather expeller-pressed canola. I don’t think either oil is necessarily great for you, but I think the expeller-pressed canola sucks less than the soybean oil. Continue reading “An Experiment in Making My Own Yogurt”

A List of Low Carb Recipe Sites

“If I go on low carb, what the heck am I going to eat?”

It seem I hear that a lot – most people think it’s bacon, eggs, butter and steak.

The problem is that most people go on a low carb diet before they read up on it. They usually end up eating eggs and bacon until they’re about to puke at the thought of any more, then quit and say low carb doesn’t work.

It’s a little bit more varied than that. Continue reading “A List of Low Carb Recipe Sites”