Lose 20 Pounds on a Keto Diet – But You’re Probably Not Going to Like This Post

On April 2, 2018, I was 269.8 and my blood glucose, which had more or less behaved by staying in the 120s, had begin rising into the 140s in the morning and staying there all day.

Not good.

My cocky, thin doc, who I am sure thought me just another fat slob, had told me years ago that, considering my family history, there was no way I *wasn’t* getting diabetes. “It’s going to happen sooner or later.” He said, seeming to enjoy saying it.

I swore I would bury this doctor at that moment.

Since I’ve been more or less on a low carb diet since the Atkins Craze of 2003, and although during this time there were long stretches where I didn’t follow the diet at all, overall, the past 15 years I have probably kept my carbs lower than the average person. Nearly Every. Single. Day. of these past 15 years has seen me in front of my computer, typing out the goals for my fresh start at my diet. I’d have good streaks – and bad streaks. Sometimes I didn’t get through lunch.

I’ve had this blog for a loooong time. But writing about failing all the time was getting kinda old. So I more or less stopped and wrote only when I thought I had something interesting to say or to report.

I’d been losing and gaining back the same 10 pounds for years – how dull is that? I decided that, unless I could lose 20 lbs., it was not worth my time nor your to blog about weight loss.

So today I can report that I just weighed myself and I was 248.6 lbs. Over 20 pounds lost from the start.

My blood glucose levels have also fallen by 40 points.

You’re probably not going to like how I did it – but stick with me here: there’s something weird and different this time than every other time. I am going to try and explain it the best I can, but first let me explain a little bit more about why I got to the point where I decided I needed to make a change.

So I’ve told this story before and I won’t go into detail, but I was 207 lbs. and actively following a low carb diet when I got appendicitis and had my appendix removed. Within 9 months of that surgery my weight ballooned to 287 for reasons no one can explain, then came down a bit and settled in the 260-270 range.

I had kept off maybe 50-60 lbs. of an initial weight loss of 80 lbs. When I went on Atkins in 2003 for most of a decade at that point – which is statistically impossible. The disheartening truth is – even for the folks who lose weight – most gain it all back in 5 years.

At least that *was* the thinking. Things might be changing. I certainly did.

Gaining all that weight after surgery was a real bummer. Much of that time I was doing low carb and it just didn’t seem to work. It probably has something to do with the appendix removal – but we really don’t understand the appendix that well yet, so any statement would be conjecture – we just don’t know.

My asshole doctor said: “It’s because of lack of exercise after surgery.” Idiot – I didn’t exercise BEFORE surgery!

There’s an old joke: why do people say ‘I found my wallet in the last place I looked!’? Who keeps looking for their wallet after they found it?

My 80-lb. loss on Atkins convinced me there was no other way than a low carb diet for me – but it didn’t seem to work anymore – and I had read and learned too much to just move on to some other diet.

So for a while, I gave up.

I also changed my route to work. Instead of highways with grassy edges, I took a slower but shorter route along what used to be a country road that is now dotted with at least 20 fast food places along my route.

My commute is long and my family doesn’t have regular evening meals for the most part – everyone seems to be somewhere else than the dinner table at the proper time – sadly, this is more normal than it should be these days.

So pizza might be lunch for me, and McDonald’s, usually, would be dinner if I didn’t go home and cook or eat leftovers. I also had a brief but intense love affair with bologna on Kaiser rolls as a breakfast for a while. This was pure comfort food as a kid, conjuring up my Mom and Dad and our breakfast together on Sundays after church. (OK – we didn’t have bologna sandwiches – we had eggs and bacon with the rolls  – but the Kaiser Rolls would bring me back to that table in the 1970s.)

And I didn’t think about it too much because my weight hovered in that 10-lb. range and another attempt at low carb or keto would bring me back to the low end of 260.

Then I’d fuck things up, eat more crap, and go to the top of the range again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

But this time it was the blood glucose that made me take action. I’m not a hypochondriac – imagining diseases – but I am a bit obsessive on tracking stuff – and the words of that doctor whose funeral I plan to attend still burned hot in my memory. This 20-point rise was fast – I was eating the same crap but now my pancreas apparently said: “Fuck this!” and decided to give up.

I know a lot of the science behind this – I was becoming increasingly insulin resistant to the point where my pancreas simply couldn’t keep up.

The poor thing needed a rest. So on April 2, I decided to start my diet again – but I needed to do something different – the old script wasn’t working. I was also older and what worked for me 15 years ago might not work now.

I had no doubt that a low carb / keto approach was the only way – but within those labels are a world full of different ways to approach this way of eating.

I’ve written way too much already so I’ll continue what I did differently in a part 2 of this post.

Update: here’s part 2 for those of you who care.

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Review: A Jawbone fitness tracker for a dirt-cheap price UPDATE

UPDATE 05/27/18: While my tracker still works at tracking steps, it now tells me that it ‘Can’t connect to the network.’ I think that’s because they liquidated the company last week and they pulled the plug on the server and the Jawbone.com site has apparently been taken down. The app is still in the IOS App Store (who knows for how long), but I’m not sure that you would be able to set up a new device – so I *DON’T* recommend buying it anymore. The device is useless without the app, so I’d say the party’s over…

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 7.16.14 AM

Years ago I had what I think was the original FitBit. I tracked your steps, told the time, and claimed it could track how many stairs you climbed. It also needed to be changed frequently and was a pain in the ass to sync to the app. It cost $99.

Then it got lost.

The FitBit One was the replacement. It was slicker in design – but I could never get the damn thing to work reliably. It cost $99.

In total, that was $200 I would never see again.

Fast forward to April, 2018. I wanted a cheap clip-on fitness tracker to just count steps. Instead, everything is now on a wrist band – which I didn’t want as I hate wearing anything on my wrists and can’t even wear a watch – and tells the time, tracks heartbeats, tracks sleep, etc.

I didn’t want all that – I just wanted to track steps, but I couldn’t find anything that simple. There also seemed to be only 2 options: buy a well-known brand for $100 and up, or buy a no-name brand with crappy reviews. Clip-ons were almost impossible to find.

I did a lot of looking and, almost hiding on Amazon was this Jawbone clip-on tracker ranging in price from about $9.00 to $15.00, depending on how ugly a color you are willing to tolerate.

I got one. I have been very impressed.

It has a battery that they say does not need replacing for 6 months – so no hassle charging it all the time. It syncs with the iPhone app pretty flawlessly. It has a whole bunch of features I don’t use – like sleep tracking – that don’t get in the way if you don’t want to use them, though if I do choose to use them someday they seem well-designed.

I believe these are discontinued models. While I think it’s a great design, it probably just couldn’t be found among all the other models – or maybe clips are so like 10 minutes ago.

My primary worry is that the device will outlast that app. If it is really a discontinued model, will they keep the app updated? Balance that question with: is it worth the risk at $9 bucks?

You make that decision for yourself.

Please note: I bought and paid for this thing myself. Nobody asked me to write this. I don’t get any money for this. Buy it – don’t buy it – no skin off my nose.

Here’s a link: http://a.co/inCFnhw

 

 

 

I Lost 10 Lbs. While Sucking at My Low Carb Diet – Day 23

You though I packed it in, didn’t you? No such luck – at least not yet.

Day 17 – Sunday, January 10, 2016 – Wt: ?? Blood Glucose ?? – ?? pounds to go – ?? lbs. lost – no Ketosis

As I write this Sunday was a few days ago and I don’t remember. It’s probably accurate to say that the day was low carb-ish and the volume of food moderate – no binging on a quart of Hagen Daz or anything like that – I’d remember an escapade like that.

Day 18 – Monday, January 11, 2016 – Wt: ?? Blood Glucose ?? – ?? pounds to go – ?? lbs. lost – no Ketosis

I brought a cup of yogurt to work and that was it for food during the day – except for coffee and cream in the AM, of course. An issue at work kept me there until 7:30pm. I was starving and stopped at Mc Donald’s and got 3 double cheeseburger, ate them on the way home, and exhausted, went to bed.

To put a smily face on a bad day, my calories were probably under 1,500 and my carbs around 100g.

Day 19 – Tuesday, January 12, 2016 – Wt: 267.4 

I’m holding on to shreds of my diet, inspired by a comment left on one of my previous posts: every low carb meal is a victory. I’m paraphrasing, but it was the general point of the post. I stopped the cocktail habit a few days back – it was an unremarkable and unconscious change. Through my life there have been times when I drank – and years where I didn’t. What I’ve learned is that I can’t pick the day to stop drinking – the days pick me. When I stopped this time for this go at a diet I wasn’t ready. I suppose a few days ago I was ready – and just stopped.

I made 4 eggs with cheese and butter and brought that to work. I also stopped to get American cheese at the supermarket and saw they had my favorite bologna pre-sliced and waiting. I couldn’t help myself: I bought a roll and the bologna and made a sandwich I ate in the car while finishing the drive to work

I ate half the egg and cheese late in the day, had black coffee and an Atkins shake, and when I left work I went to Jersey Mike’s Subs and got 2 giant subs for the family. I had 2 quarters of the Italian sub, some ice water, and went to bed the usual time.

Day 20 – Wednesday, January 13, 2016 – Wt: 267.4 

I haven’t been able to measure my blood glucose the past few days (long story) – hope to get back to that soon.

Coffee and cream – as usual in the AM, an Atkins shake and the remainder of the egg and cheese from the day before at work.

At home I just had a glass of milk while listening to a podcast, then fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up I was hungry and had some of that bologna on a hot dog roll, then went to bed.

Day 21 – Thursday, January 14, 2016 – Wt: 265.4 

End of week 3. As is usual with me, the diet is all over the place.

I’m not sure what to attribute the weight loss to. Maybe a natural fluctuation or perhaps just a little water weight – let’s see where it goes from here.

It is the lowest morning weight so far – down 8.2 lbs. – which – if we look back at my 2 lbs. / week goal – means I’m still on track – even ahead of the game – despite doing a pretty shitty job so far.

The normal coffee and cream in the AM. I had defrosted some chili and brought 2 cups (in separate containers) to work.

I didn’t eat it. I ate nothing all day. Don’t think I intentionally starved myself – I just wasn’t hungry.

At home I had the last quarter of the Italian sub with added bologna and American cheese. I also had a lot of water – and that’s all, folks.

Day 22  – Friday, January 15, 2016 – Wt: 266.0

A slight gain – probably from all the water I drank.

I had the obligatory coffee and cream for breakfast, and a cup of chili in the afternoon. I know some of you can’t conceive how I can survive 14-15 hours subsisting on so little, but I find it works for me. I feel fine – and eating earlier in the day – no matter what it is – tends to spark more eating overall – but again: I am not fighting hunger. I eat when hungry.

Then I decided to celebrate the weekend by buying some wine. I also bought burgers, cooked these up, and made my own double-cheeseburger. I had this on 2 slices of white bread and – somewhat more than a bottle of the wine.

I chanced across a free copy of Dan Brown’s book ‘Inferno’ and read that while I drank my wine. Dan Brown is a good ‘bad’ author. He’s no Hemingway nor Steinbeck, but he can craft a good thriller. I fell asleep in the chair reading, my younger daughter across from me asleep on the couch.

Day 23  – Saturday, January 16, 2016 – Wt: 263.0

Cool – on day 23 I’ve lost over 10 pounds – 10.6 to be exact. Remarkable, actually, considering just how crappy my diet has been – or has it? It’s been pretty low carb – though certainly not ketogenic. The major changes probably come down to: eating less overall, eating fewer carbs, and drinking less – though still drinking.

I’m not sure that the recent past will be sufficient roadmap for the future, however. The first 10 pounds are the easy weight – probably a good portion of it water-weight and some fat loss. I’ve probably gotten enough protein to avoid muscle loss – but you can’t really know.

Speaking of muscles – OF COURSE I haven’t exercised. I *did* download an exercise app for my iPhone that has a 7-minute workout. I haven’t opened it yet – 7 minutes is a long time, but I am firmly committed to looking at it eventually – that’s an ironclad promise to myself.

I can also note that I don’t feel as tired. I’ve unconsciously cut back on the energy drinks. I allow myself 2 per day but I think I’ve had maybe 2 this past week.

Am I going to do anything different going forward? I dunno – does anything here look like a plan!?! Does anything I’ve written since beginning this go at a diet lead you to believe I can even stick to a plan?

I’m guessing I’ll bumble on – I do feel better and my clothes are less tight by a teensy bit. Maybe some real motivation will come along – or maybe not.

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 15 & 16

Friday, January 8, 2016 – Wt: 267.0 Blood Glucose 129 – 72.0 pounds to go – 6.6 lbs. lost – no Ketosis

Another decent day followed by a not-so-decent evening. Nothing much remarkable or different.

Saturday, January 9, 2016 – Wt: 267.6 Blood Glucose ? – 72.6 pounds to go – 6.0 lbs. lost – no Ketosis

Again, little remarkable. I did have some Wallaby Organic Greek yogurt with sucralose – and went to the movies with my wife – and I was oblivious of the popcorn she had – just zero interest. The evening followed the pattern of ‘treading water’ of the past few days: cocktails, lowish carb intake, and overall, eating a lot less in general than I had before I started the diet – but that first week’s level of focus – is not there.

I really need to cook more and focus more. Perhaps tomorrow I can do some cooking and reset my diet.

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 14

Day 14 – Thursday, January 7, 2016 – Wt: 267.0 Blood Glucose 133 – 72.0 pounds to go – 6.6 lbs. lost – in Ketosis

Despite the bumps, bruises, and other non-linear detours I have managed to lose 6.6 pounds in 2 weeks. This is above the 2 lb./week goal I set for myself so I can safely say this is the best that I’ve done at attempting weight loss in a while.

Now I’ve been no angel while doing this: New Year’s Eve party, pasta, cheesecake, vodka – all no-no’s – played guest appearances. Still, the carbs have been in portion sizes that don’t necessarily kick me out of ketosis – though they do prevent me from getting deeply into it.

Let’s say I’m ‘easing’ into the diet, bumbling my way toward healthier eating. I’m in no way there yet – to be sure – but it seems I am bumbling in the right direction.

That blood glucose number is pretty awful, for example. I need to get that down by eating less carbs. I need to cook more – a lot of the carb eating is more due to a lack of goto meals in the house combined with a lack of discipline.

There’s a reason why my blog’s tagline is ‘The world’s worst low carb dieter’. It’s not hyperbole.

My daytime has become routine – coffee and cream in the morning, a cup of chili during the day, and black coffee through the day.

The cracks are appearing in the evening – as they always do. It’s tough to have a routine when you literally have little more than 2 hours per day of free time in the evenings during the week – and kids sometimes have evening activities that can cut into that short window. It’s at these times that I tend to grab less than optimal foods just due to the fatigue of the day – up around 5am for an hour of so of solitude, coffee, writing and reading, then get myself and the kids out the door, drop the kids at school and then an hour’s drive to work – and not back home until 7:15pm. Weekends are the time to cook – but a lot of errands get left for the weekends.

You might have noticed a gradual disintegration of the diet. Hopefully I can keep it together until the weekend, get some cooking in, and have low carb choices for the week.

What I ate

Coffee and cream at home – and black coffee at work. A cup of chili at work. At home there was no pretense of a low carb diet as I ate bread as I dashed out to pick up my teenager, then came back and had some Chinese takeout, 2 vodka cocktails, then some chocolate cake.

Low carb diet?!? What low carb diet?!?

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 13

Day 13 – Wednesday, January 6, 2016 – Wt: 267.4 Blood Glucose 108 – 72.4 pounds to go – 6.2 lbs. lost – Ketosis ?

I woke before the alarm and was able to get up – that a big improvement over yesterday, though I didn’t think I’m ready to take on the world just yet. I functioned OK, felt well and was in good spirits despite having to do an immensely tedious job that required a lot of concentration while also being long and boring.

Being able to do it seems proof my brain is functioning fine.

The operant feeling for the day was an unusual lack of hunger. Unusual because carbs late at night usually make me hungry the next day. Possibly because I ate only a small amount yesterday? Though it was pasta and garlic bread, there’s a good chance the whole thing was under 50 grams of net carbs since it was a small portion.

There was also no stomach discomfort even though I had my coffee and cream in the AM.

I ate a cup of chili at about 5pm. A cup is small, but it does the job these days. I’ve also noticed the unnoticed: the McDonald’s that used to be a regular stop on the way home doesn’t seem to even get a thought these days. That’s a big win.

I had an evil idea – or at least one of those ideas that gets you into trouble. When I go home I was 265.4 and in ketosis – and thought that I might have just ONE drink of vodka before eating. Nothing wrong with one – right? Well, it turned into two, which again is not necessarily a big deal – alcohol is not a carb, a protein, nor a fat – it’s in its own category. You CAN drink on a low carb diet but it will slow weight loss.

I think the vodka (on the rocks with lemon juice, BTW) was more of an issue in messing up my food choices. Cheese, mayo, and lettuce? That was fine. The leftover tuna salad? Fine, if I skipped the bread I had it on. And the tortellini? No excuse there, but the excuse I gave was ‘just a little bit’.

Let’s be honest: my diet still sucks but it sucks less than it did compared to before I started. I’m getting better but there’s room for improvement. All this needs to be balanced with a way to sustain sanity: would I have given up and made NO progress if I had been more strict?

I feel quite sane at this point – so maybe half-assed is all the ass I can put into the game for now and I must be patient, persistent and forgiving to myself as I bumble my way toward my goal.

That sounds a lot like me.

 

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 12

Day 12 – Tuesday, January 5, 2016 – Wt: 267.4 Blood Glucose ? – 72.4 pounds to go – 6.2 lbs. lost – Ketosis ?

Kind of a lost day.

All I did was sleep. I couldn’t drink coffee and my stomach was doing loop-de-loops. I drove my kids to school, hoping I would feel good enough that when I got home I could shower and get to work.

Uh-uh.

I came home, went straight to bed and slept almost 8 hours straight. Then I fell back to sleep and slept until 7:30.

I really wasn’t hungry, but I was dehydrated and had a lot of water. The kids had tortellini with garlic bread. I had a small bowl of that with some of the bread. That was the only thing I ate and drank for the whole day.

I then went back to bed around 9:30 and had no problem falling asleep.