Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 7

Day 7 – Friday, January 1, 2016 – Wt: 269.0 Blood Glucose 96 – 4.6 Lbs. Lost – 74.0 pounds to go – In Ketosis

Happy New Year to you – and may happiness, health, and prosperity for you and your families come with this new year.

And for the specific readers of these sorts of blogs, may you reach your weight loss goals, safely, and with serenity.

Me – I achieved my week 1 goals:

  1. Got into ketosis
  2. Lost more than the 2 pounds per week I’m aiming for
  3. Got under 270
  4. Got under the 75 pound mark of weight I need to lose

The fact that I was in ketosis this morning is interesting. Probably leftover ketones from the day before. I’ll probably clear those out today, then back on the diet today and they’ll be back in a day or two. My big win is I proved to myself I still can do this – and it’s not that hard.

I woke up late and was hungry after having my coffee with heavy cream. Not supised – eating carbs makes me hungry. It is a simple, reliable cause and effect. We still had some of that wonderful beef from the other day slowly transforming from leftover to chemistry experiment in the fridge so I thought I’d abort the process and have that.

My God, was it fatty. The fat was soft, with an excellent texture. I recall long ago being grossed out by eating chunks of pure fat, but an extreme low carb diet is an acquired taste like oysters, or frog legs, or sashimi, or anchovies, or an almost nameless amount of other foods that never touch the lips of ‘picky eaters’.

I would imagine that an aggressive ketogenic low carb diet must be hell for these people. My only encouragement is that I was once a ‘picky eater’ and not at all interested in trying new foods. I grew up in the 70s in a middle class family that chose from a pretty narrow group of foods.

It was only in adulthood – and through sometimes closing my eyes while I ate something – that I learned that there are a world of tastes out there and if other people eat it and it doesn’t kill them, it’s worth trying at least. You might not like it – but then again you might love it.

Sashimi – just a slab of cold, raw fish – is a prime example for me. Up until my 30s, just the though would set off a gag reflex, but as I began to get more adventuresome by always keeping in mind: ‘millions of people eat this stuff every day’, I tried the stuff and it has become a favorite of mine.

A slab of extremely fresh raw tuna, with a little soy sauce and wasabi is a taste that I am glad I did not miss in this life.

I went from a picky eater to an explorer: I began to seek out the more esoteric items on the menu, and learned that I love some of them, are OK with others, and don’t like some things at all. I did not die nore even barf from this exercise, and became exposed to amazing foods from many different cultures.

Here’s an example of one I didn’t particularly like: chicken feet. They actually don’t taste bad, but there are so many little bones that it is a hassle. The Chinese are used to pulling bones from their mouth while they eat. This isn’t an American thing. I do it sometimes, and sometimes it’s worth it, but I’ve just never gotten used to it, so I could eat chicken feet, but just prefer not to.

If you are starting a ketogenic diet, if you are a picky eater you might want to consider a New Year’s resolution to be more adventurous. You don’t have to start with chicken feet – go out of your comfort zone slowly. You don’t have to like something immediately – sometimes it takes a few tries. If after a few tries you still hate the stuff, then it’s OK to hate it – just keep trying new things.

The more variety in your diet, the better the chance of success. You can’t eat scrambled eggs with bacon every day.

You have to also discard any notion of ‘eating light’. This might be real hard for a newbie. I was eating semi-vegetarian when I first went on low carb and I stopped after a week because the heavy, greasiness disgusted me – but went back on low carb after a day or two because I realized I felt like crap eating the way I used to after a week on low carb.

Ramble aside, the rest of the day was OK, but not perfect. I had an energy drink, y psyllium, and then had some dinner my wife had made. There was chicken and vegetables with scrambled eggs, and I had that. There wew also Chinese dumplings and i could not but help to have maybe a half-dozen.

I also had a plain yogurt with a few drops of EZ_Sweetz and 2 clementines.

Something wasn’t right, however. I felt real tired after this and went to bed – and then dealt with what I believe were the consequences of maybe eating too much before bed – coughing and choking and burning in my throat – GERD, I believe.

I also had an amazingly vivid dream though I will spare you the details as most people’s dreams are actually quite dull in the retelling.

 

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Happy New Year – Day 6

Day 6 – Thursday, December 31, 2015 – Wt: 267.0 Blood Glucose 88 – 6.6 Lbs. Lost – 72.0 pounds to go – In Ketosis

I’ll be honest: I am so pleased with how well I am responding that I feel *something* has to go wrong.

I had to go to work this morning but they released us around 12:30. When I came home just for fun I weighed myself as well as checked my blood glucose.

Weight: 265.8

Blood Glucose: 77

Those are some impressive numbers. The weight of 265 is a milestone number for me. It was at 265 that I started low carb in 2003. So now I am at least no fatter than I was 15 years ago at my fattest. It’s not much of an achievement, but I’ll take what I can get.

The blood glucose at 88 in the morning before taking my meds? Unbelievable. I usually suffer from the ‘dawn effect’ where your blood sugar spikes as your body wakes, so a number that low is remarkable. Even more remarkable is the 77 when I came home at 2:30.

It’s almost worrying, in fact. The blood sugar plunge, the weight loss, and the ketones leaving me with no appetite – I might have gone 24 hours without eating now – might be too much progress too fast.

I might need to persuade myself to eat something as I’m not all that hungry right now. This isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon, and I need to pace myself or someone – me – might get hurt.

I was actually concerned about that 77 blood glucose number and while I had some steak, for lunch, I also had maybe 1 slice of the leftover kid’s frozen pizza and a few of these bite-sized mini tacos that were left over.

Then I took a nap.

I woke up before 6, catching up on a bit of sleep, at least, then headed over to our friends house for New Year’s. I decided I would drink wine but wasn’t all that hungry. I had white wine mostly, had a small amounts of the low carb main course (turkey, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chopped spinach) as well as some escargot – snails – by themselves and in dough. When cheese came out I had some of that, and when dessert came out I had some of that also. I didn’t restrict myself but I didn’t gorge, either.

At midnight I took a sip of champagne and left the rest. We went home soon after 12. It seems everyone was tired or just not in the mood.

Whatever the damage is – it is – I’ll do what I’ve been doing since the beginning and be back to normal in a day or two. No big deal.

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 5

Day 5 – Wednesday, December 30, 2015 – Wt: 269.8 Blood Glucose 95 – 74.8 pounds to go – in Ketosis

My favorite number here is not the weight, nor being in ketosis. My favorite number is the blood glucose – 95. This is before taking my medication. This was also my blood glucose more than 10 years ago when I had gotten down to 180 pounds after 2 years on a low carb diet.

It is also a 25-35 point drop from before I started this diet. It also puts me in the ‘normal’ range – before taking my meds.

This is why diabetics need to be careful on a low carb diet: the blood glucose drop from the diet can be so pronounced that their regular dose of diabetes medication is now too high and needs to be adjusted lower. If you are doing a low carb diet you should be checking your blood glucose and reporting any drastic lowering to your doctor so they can advise you about your medications.

I took my blood glucose a few more times during the day – at one point it was at 90 – not bad. If I was able to get it to be in the mid 80s even with the low dosage diabetes medication I’m taking, it would be a fucking miracle given my family history and siblings with severe diabetes that started in their 40s.

My Half-Assed Science Minute
[As always, remember that I am not qualified to write what I am about to write – it’s just my understanding – which might be quite flawed. If fact, if you are knowledgeable in the field and see an error, please let me know. There’s enough misinformation on the Internet spread my well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) dopes like me. You might want to read my disclaimer also.]

As I understand it, a spot-check of your blood glucose is a cheap and easy way to measure whether you are a type II diabetic, and if so, how much. Now, you need glucose in your bloodstream as some parts of your body will NOT run on ketones. You’d think that – hey – I’m not eating ANY sugar or carbs – where is it coming from?

Gluconeogenesis – that’s where. Your body will take protein and make enough glucose for you to function unless there’s something wrong with this mechanism in you.

What doesn’t get measured is insulin resistance. Typically, in someone like me, I eat crap food full of carbs, my body has WAY more carbs than it can deal with and they get poured into my bloodstream. While you need glucose, it is WAY too much of a good thing. Blood glucose is like you car’s gasoline – you need it to run the car, but you wouldn’t start pumping it all over the surface and over the seats. Putting the fire hazard aside, it is FUEL. Fuel is corrosive and would ruin your paint and interior.

Same thing with blood glucose. You want the amount your body needs – no more and no less – because extra can wreak havoc on your tiny blood vessels – like the ones in your eyes and fingers and toes. Untreated, it can lead to blindness amputations, organ failure – a whole bunch of great stuff. It might also be a major cause of dementia.

You body is pretty on top of this, however, and if it sees glucose levels go up it tells the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin then persuades the cells to take up the glucose which is burned for fuel, stored (you can store a few days worth as glycogen in your muscles and liver), or converted into fat.

Simply put: insulin produces fat. In fact, some type I diabetics (people who don’t produce their own insulin) take their lives in their hands and intentionally NOT inject themselves with insulin when they should because they lose weight this way.

All of this is complicated by the poorly understood and increasingly common ‘insulin resistance’. I told you insulin makes your body get rid of the excess glucose by producing insulin that signals the cells to take it up.

Over years of a constant diet of Ho-Hos, gummy bears, beer, and pizza, this relentless carb-loading and resultant insulin-producing causes your body to stop responding to insulin as efficiently. Your body then produces MORE insulin, overworking your pancreas, which over time, makes the cells even less responsive to insulin and makes your pancreas pump out even more insulin.

At this point you are more or less metabolically damaged. Your blood glucose shoots up, your overworked pancreas is pumping out way more insulin than normal, and the insulin storing fat like crazy – even when the insulin can no longer regulate your blood glucose, it seems it’s still great at storing fat.

At this point you’ve broken a finely-tuned and complex mechanism that is meant to regulate the energy in your body – and now you’re fucked.

The good news (you mean after all that theres good news?!?) is that there are medications that can help – but some can make you fat. Another way – drumroll – is a low carb diet.

Now back to that blood glucose measurement. When I look at my number today – 95 – I have to ask myself: is that because my pancreas is chugging out so much insulin, combined with my elimination of most carbs, to get to that number? Or is my insulin resistance lessening and my body more responsive to insulin because I’ve stopped carb-loading?

I dunno. You’d have to measure your blood insulin to know that – and most doctors – for reasons I don’t know. stop at the blood glucose side of the equation. Your run-of-the-mill blood test has a fasting glucose test. When diabetes is suspected, the A1C test is requested. This is more than a simple snapshot like your fasting glucose and gives a 3-month average of your blood glucose.

While they tell you to fast in the morning before the blood test, for people with insulin resistance, that fasting glucose level could vary greatly depending on what you ate the night before. If you ate a quart of Haagen Daz the night before, the fasting in the morning isn’t enough time to correct things. The A1C is way more reliable.

As for me, I’d like to think that the 95 shows a combination of the reduction of insulin production and a gradual lessening of the insulin resistance. The hope is the lessening of the insulin will reduce fat storage – and the blood glucose level is just darn good for my overall health.

So while day 5 only shows a loss of around 3 pounds, there are other signs of improving health – and that’s the bigger picture of what I want to achieve in the new year: better overall health.

The New Year’s Dilemma

About mid-afternoon I got grumpy. I have to go to work tomorrow – and then a party. I was *so* enjoying my malingering. I usually experience this type of grumpiness Sunday afternoons – but I am also usually used to the work grind – I’m out of condition now.

And then I can’t just come home and recharge because we were invited to a party.

I also have a dilemma: to drink or not to drink at the party.

I’m not ‘party material’, not being one for mingling with strangers and small talk, and alcohol is a great social lubricant. Booze is also not carbs, but it’s own food category. It would not hurt me to have a few drinks – as long as they stay on the left side of midnight. If I mess up and bring it into 2016, I’ve screwed the pooch.

I did say I would give up alcohol for new years but started early. I don’t know what to do at present – I’ll have to think about it.

What I ate

I woke around 7:30 and had my usual coffee and cream. About 11:30am I had a few ounces of good quality roast beef and cream cheese with salt and pepper – that was *really* good.

It wasn’t until 7:30 that I grabbed a half tomato and 3 pieces of american cheese before running out to pick my wife up from the train.

Once I came home I had my psyllium with a glass of water. I had put it off from the afternoon.

Then I drank an energy drink, perhaps stupidly, as it was past 8pm when I finished and I want to get up at 5am tomorrow to go to work.

And that was it. I wan’t hungry anymore and went to bed – thought that dam energy drink kept me up past 1am.

 

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 4

Some random stuff

To some extent this is a hijacking. The blog I maintained since 2007 until the end of 2014 – then essentially left fallow for 2015 – was written by what seems like another fellow. In a lot of ways, I ain’t him. First of, that guy was way thinner than I am. Another was that guy got up at 4am and sometimes wrote and edited for 2 hours – then wouldn’t post because something just wasn’t right. I have hundreds of unposted posts. He was also younger. I feel much older than him.

At day 4, I see this go-round as something else. While I am hoping to post more frequently – perhaps as a means of accountability as one commenter said – I am probably going to be more brief in my posts as I don’t have the time I once did. I am also not going to spend much time editing. This is going to suck for you if you happen to be a grammar Nazi, but I simply don’t have the time. Even edited my stuff is full of grammatical errors and they are going to increase. This is going to be more stream-of-consciousness and that might mean I repeat myself in the same post, I repeat myself across posts, I will no doubt contradict myself, I confuse it’s and its all the time. There will be flagrant acts of misspelling, Random Acts of Capitalization, and a whole host of other egregious errors, awkward constructions, and malaprops to torture the language to such an extent that it would confess to anything to please make me stop.

I don’t do this for a living – or even side income. The advertising you might see is not chosen by me, and the income might buy my family a nice dinner once a year. I also don’t get a kickback from the links I might post to products.

And I don’t care if anyone reads this or not. I write mostly for the same reason dogs chew bones – I like it.

My hope is that, buried within the dashed off drivel will come forth a more clear set of goals, larger than just a number on the scale, as well as a means to get there that is not some grim march but a path that I would come I find I like to be on, one that makes me feel better – and maybe even be a better person.

Let’s face it: this is an endless struggle. Even if I were to lose all the weight i wanted to, the chances of maintaining that loss are 95 to 1. You think losing is hard? Maintaining is even worse. I maintained 2/3rds of my original 80 lb. weight loss (+/- 30 lbs.) for a decade, so it can be done. I did a lousy job of it, however, and then I gave up, lost the mojo, and got fat again.

I find putting thoughts into words clarify thoughts. If it helps anyone else, I will be glad. If it satisfies some voyeristic tendencies – hey – whatever you’re into. If it makes you feel superior – glad to be of help.

There is little in the way of a plan at this point other than: try to stick to diet, eat and post, eat and post.

So pardon the mess that is and that is to come – hopefully. I can’t even promise another post. I might just go *poof* again and become just another dead blog.

Got to take this day by day.

Day 4 – Tuesday, December 29, 2015 – Wt: 270.6 Blood Glucose 103 – 75.6 pounds to go

I gained a little. It’s OK. One thing I want to do in this go-round is focus on the ketogenic diet and less on the weight. Yes – the weight loss is important – but I don’t want to the number on the scale to derail me from being in ketosis as many days as possible this year and see what it gets me.

Up around 7:30 I had my coffee and cream. It wasn’t until 11am that I tested for ketones. Yep. I’m spilling them. That’s what I’ve heard it called when you are using the using test strips, which are pretty unreliable beyond the simple: ‘ketosis? Yes or no’. They are actually an awful indicator of just how deeply you are in ketosis. You could be deeply in ketosis, drink a lot of water, and the strips will hardly turn color at all; conversely, you could be in mild ketosis, be dehydrated, and the strips turn dark.

For real accuracy you need a blood test kit. The problem here is the strips are ridiculously expensive. I think I paid $2 per strip. I know it takes weeks to see your blood ketone level rise to an optimal level – and I need to do some research to determine what I think my ‘optimal level’ is. People go on ketogenic diets for epilepsy, cancer, and a few other ailments. I simply do not know what the ideal number is for weight loss – or if anybody knows.

I can tell you this: in one very intense go at ketosis, I had gotten my blood level up to 3.0 mmol – which is pretty high. I was walking outside on a hot summer day and while I wasn’t quite sure how to describe how I felt, I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be long before I passed out. (By the way – I’ve never passed out in my life.)

Luckily there was a place that sold bottled water right next to me and within a few minutes we had sat down for a light lunch of salad and cheese and I felt way better after that.

So how much ketosis, how much food, what food – and a million other details – still need to be sorted out.

You might say: ‘Dope! Look at your blog! You’ve been writing since 2007! Isn’t it all here?!?’

Maybe – I just hate reading my own stuff. Right now my short-sited goals are:

  1. Stay in ketosis
  2. Manage the carb and booze cravings
  3. Navigate the upcoming New Year’s Eve party

Despite the fact I’m home within view of the fridge, the craving have been quite low for most of the day. I had some liverwurst and mustard on pork rinds at 12, then fell asleep reading (I am going to miss my afternoon naps when I go back to work!), then when I woke up I had another zero-calorie energy drink. My Drink of choice? Rock Star – the energy drink with the cheesiest graphics and lame copy. What they DO have is a mix of ingredients that seem to do the trick. How do I know? Well, one morning I stupidly drank one after coffee on an otherwise empty stomach and had a panic attack on the highway. Does YOUR energy drink give you panic attacks?

If it doesn’t then it’s not a Rock Star.

Anywho. In the evening I made frozen pizza for my daughter. This is a crap food I quite enjoy, but despite cooking it and cutting it, then wrapping the remainder, my tongue didn’t hang out. This – I believe – is the power of ketosis. I love carbs but they don’t love me. If I can just get myself into ketosis, it goes a long way toward reducing carb cravings. This doesn’t mean that I’m invulnerable to a weak moment or a thoughtless cheat, but it’s a big help and a reason why I find a diet that restricts certain foods superior to one where you eat anything – but watch portion size. I lost weight like that in my 20s and when people asked me my secret I told them: learn to be hungry all the time.

I myself decided to have 2 of the spicy Italian sausages for dinner around 7:30. I did not drench them in their oil and sprinkle with parm cheese this time but rather had slices with pats of butter. I probably ate half a stick. I like the combo – and for me, butter is the most powerful ketogenic food I’ve found.

This is where I frighten my friends. This is how it goes: On a diet? Good for you. Low carb you say? I’ve heard it works for a lot of people…HALF A STICK OF BUTTER?!? The wheels come off the conversation about then and that smile one wears when talking to a lunatic appears on their faces. I don’t talk about it much anymore unless for whatever reason I want people to think I’m nuts. There’s no convincing most people who eating a half-stick of butter might be healthy in certain, special cases – but then they enjoy a nice bowl of New England Clam Chowder at a restaurant and pay little attention that it is primarily cream and butter with some clams and a few chunks of potato thrown in.

Digression aside, after the sausages and butter I was a bit thirsty. I’d already had 2 energy drinks and that’s my limit for the day so I took the freakin’ HUGE Wendy’s plastic cup from when I got my daughter a large soda and thought that meant a reasonable size instead of a diabetic-coma-inducing amount of sugared soda, filled with ice, gave it a huge squirt of lemon juice, topped with water and added 4 drops of EZ-Sweetz. This made for a perfectly serviceable lemonade.

Before bed I had 5-6 spoonfuls of vanilla creme fraise and 4 pieces of American cheese, then lights out.

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – A Rambling Intro to Low Carb and Starting Ketosis – Day 3

Day 3 – Monday, December 28, 2015 – Wt: 270.0 – Down 3.6 – Blood Glucose 104 – 75.0 pounds to go

I woke about 7:30 am and for breakfast I had coffee and maybe 3 tablespoons of cream. I don’t measure – I just pour. I don’t even know where the measuring spoon is.

Lunch was around 3pm when I had an avocado sprinkled with salt, then tomato slices on 4 slices of American cheese with mayonnaise. This is a mess to eat without bread to soak up the juiciness of the tomato so I usually eat this standing over the sink. While it might not be something you want to eat in front of other, the combination of a good tomato with American cheese and mayo is something I’ve always delighted in and has been in the past a ‘go-to’ low carb meal.

As it’s a vacation day I took the luxury of a nap. I attempted to listen to an audiobook ‘Excellent Sheep’ which is about the hypercompetiveness of college these days but I could not keep my mind focused. I fell asleep listening, then woke up before 6pm.

It was about this time that carvings hit. cravings for carbs, cravings for alcohol. Heck – throw in cigarettes while you’re at it. It was a craving for something to fill some empty void somewhere in me. I think it’s a craving familiar to many people – a longing to fill some unspecified emptiness and the present moment: simple and routine, just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t hungry, and after a sugar-free energy drink I wasn’t thirsty either. Yet there was this hole that could have been filled with food, booze, or cigarettes. This was an old friend – I need to recognize him sooner on this diet go-round and instead of letting him catch me unawares, turn to him and welcome him and ask him to sit with me.

Recognizing him seemed to make him lose his power. The cravings subsided – mostly.

I felt my mind going weird on me and decided to see if perhaps I had run out of carbs and was beginning to express ketones. I tested.

It wasn’t a lot but it was beginning. This explains a lot the crazy-talk above. My brain might be crapping out bits like that while it adapts to running on ketones.

Later in the night I had 2 fried Italian hot sausages with grated parm cheese, then my wife made an enormous, fatty slab of beef. Wonderful stuff. I gorged on that.

Later on I began the dull headache that announces real ketosis. I’m in the zone – I just need to stay in the zone now.

My biggest threat now is I have just been invited to a New Year’s Eve party. I had expected to go to bed early. There will be 30 people. I’ll need to navigate this one carefully.

(DISCLAIMER: I’m about to get a little sciency. As I am writing this off-the-cuff. Take anything I say here and anywhere in this blog as my understanding of things I am not trained to understand – meaning I might be very, very wrong. Do your own research.)

If I stick to my guns it should be long until I run out of carbs and my body has to switch to fat as fuel – ketosis. As I’ve documented here, that switcheroo can be a weird one. A low carb ketogenic diet is not like a calorie-restriction diet where you simply consume fewer calories. Your typical diet has plenty of carbs that your body can make glucose from and can happily feed all the cells their normal fuel.

But..when you change your diet to a low carb ketogenic diet, not only do you change your diet but almost every cell in your body has to change their diet as well. Just like you, they don’t necessarily like going on a diet, so there is a sort of sputtering and backfiring as the cells get used to the new fuel. This is known as ‘keto-adaptation’ and is a normal body process. This is how starving people survive: their body adapts to lack of food by burning fat.

Except on a ketogenic diet, you aren’t starving, but because you aren’t feeding your body carbs, the only option is to burn fat, and your body gets used to it. This getting used to can take up to 6 weeks to 2 months, but the first week can be a doozy. It can be worth it, however. Being keto-adapted can feel pretty good.

There are certain cells in the body that can’t metabolize ketones and need glucose. Your body has a card up it’s sleeve for this: a process called gluconeogenesis where your body can turn protein into glucose.

The problem for starving people is that your body will begin to consume its own muscle to manufacture this glucose. The heart is a muscle. You can see the problem here.

The low carb ketogenic dieter, however, is not removing protein from their diet but rather moderating it. If I remember correctly, a rule of thumb is about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of ideal weight. This rule of thumb varies based on how active you are and if you exercise. Muscles need protein to repair themselves after exercising so active people need more. The sedentary – like me – need less.

So math time again. There’s 2.2 pounds in a kilo so if my ideal weight is 195, then 195 / 2.2 = 88.64 grams of protein per day as my requirement. Too little and I risk the loss of muscle mass. Too high and my body might produce too much glucose.

Let’s not get too anal about the exactness of these numbers. This is more or less what I need. If I go over or under – even by a lot on a given day it’s not the end of the world. If I can manage it as an average though, I should be OK.

One thing I did notice: when I lost weight on low-calorie diets in my youth I also lost muscle mass – I looked emaciated. Losing weight on low carb helps preserve muscle mass and you just look better after the weight comes off.

Like anything, ketosis is not for everyone and DOES come with its problems. Your body does counterintuitive things and the remedies seem odd as well.

First off, you can get leg cramps. This can be remedied with magnesium supplements. Usually, there’s enough in your multivitamin. Also remember: the best cure for a leg cramp is standing on it. No – really. Works every time for me.

Also – if you don’t know how your gallbladder is, you might have gallstones and not know it. A ketogenic diet could trigger a gallbladder attack if you have a propensity for it but don’t know you do. This is one of the reasons that it’s recommended you drink a lot of water.

Another reason to drink a lot of water is for the sake of your kidneys. Let’s be clear here: a ketogenic diet is NOT a high protein diet – it’s a moderate protein diet. If you have kidney disease you probably shouldn’t be on a low carb diet. High protein diets CAN beat up your kidneys and NOBODY except maybe athletes should even consider a high protein diet.

There’s also weakness, wooziness, and headaches that you might experience. Part of the reason might be salt depletion. You excrete salt on a low carb diet and need more than the average bear. The people who actually know what they’re talking about recommend 1-2 cups of chicken broth (not the low sodium type) per day to counteract this.

A low carb diet is also a powerful diuretic. Carbs retain water. You can get dehydrated more easily. Again the solution is to drink more water.

I also read *somewhere* that there’s an itsy-bitsy chance of triggering appendicitis. I was in ketosis when I had *my* appendicitis so maybe there’s something to that. I really don’t think there’s much in the way of evidence here though.

There’s also the annoyance of keto odor. You can find your body odor changing to smell a bit like nail polish remover. This really can’t be helped. You are actually exhaling ketones in your breath and it comes out of your pores. You might notice you stink like hell the first few days but then it mostly subsides. A daily shower, teeth brushing, deodorant – the usual daily hygiene stuff – should keep this in check, Altoids also have sugarless mints which sometimes you just need in case you are in a situation where you are meeting someone new, job interviews – that sort of stuff. Actually, I find the sugarless Altoids make my breath *worse* after they dissolve – perhaps a secret ingredient to sell more Altoids.

Either parsley or fennel is used by some to cleanse the palate naturally – but are you going to walk around with parsley or fennel?

You are also going to provide quite a surprise to your gut biome. Your gut is filled with bacteria – thousands of species that digest your food and you can’t live without – and we really don’t understand all that much about how it all works. I think we can safely say that some like carbs and some like fat. Go on a ketogenic diet and it’s probably correct to say that the populations of the various types will change.

This change might lead to either work stoppages or fireworks down there while you adjust. The psyllium can help with this and it usually resolves itself in a few days.

Lastly, there’s the types of fat. Not all fat is equal. Actually, in low carb circles, the recommendations are about as opposite to what’s normally recommended that you will seem to be living in a parallel universe and will scare your friends and family when you tell them the fats you eat.

The long-demonized saturated fat is your friend. You’ll find this mostly in animal products so doing a ketogenic diet as a vegetarian is tough – if not impossible. Avocados and macadamia nuts are the only two non-animal sources of sat fat I can think of at the moment.

The fats that aren’t your friend? Seed oils. Peanut oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil – and a slew of others. This is a complicated topic I do not have the smarts to explain, so I will merely say that I stick to animal fats, butter, extra virgin olive oil, and will only allow cold-pressed canola oil in my diet not because it’s good, but because it sucks the least of all the seed oils.

OK – end of ramble. I have some vacation days to use up and have the time for this at present. When I’m back at work my posts will probably be much briefer.

 

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 2

Day 2 – Sunday, December 27, 2015 – Wt: 270.6 – Blood Glucose 117- Down 3.0 lbs. from start – 75.6 pounds to go

Jeez – I’m so fat that on a BAD day I can lose 3 pounds.

I woke up late – 10am – my days of waking at 4am are long-gone. I had coffee with maybe 4 tablespoons of cream. The days of my drinking pots of coffee have also passed.

My 9-year-old daughter wanted to try to cook her own ‘over easy” eggs. It didn’t come out as she planned so the eggs were abandoned. They became my breakfast. They might not have been picture perfect, but they tasted OK.

My stomach ain’t what it used to be, either. I can’t seem to abuse it like I once did. I have been taking Align, which is supposed to help with your gut bacteria, but I can’t for the life of me tell you if it’s done anything.

It appears that since my appendectomy I have a hard time taking antibiotics. I had to take a round in the fall due to an active infection from some dental work. I haven’t felt the same since – and it has put me off antibiotics.

One of the things I am attempting to reincorporate into my daily routine is psyllium. I took it a lot when I first lost weight as a means to get fiber when I had little of it in my diet. I gave up taking it because I thought I was maybe a little obsessive.

Maybe I NEED to be a little obsessive to lose weight.

I had 2 tablespoons of the stuff with a big glass water, chugged down quickly before the psyllium turns to slime. This is not the most pleasant of experiences, I’ll admit, but I must have done it a 1,000 times so it’s no big deal.

If YOU do it, there’s a good chance you’ll think it’s a big deal, however, if you haven’t tried this yet.

To make it worse, I use the coarse ground organic, flavorless variety sold by Whole Foods rather than the fine-ground, orange-flavored Metamucil. Same stuff – just one is more for the hard-core types. If you were to try this, you might want to try the Metamucil first.

Around 5 in the evening I had 3-4 pieces of cheese, 2 tablespoons of mayo between a healthy pile of romaine lettuce leaves. It was a damned mess to eat.

Note to self: I like this combo, but iceberg lettuce works better from an engineering standpoint.

I’ve forgotten what to eat – what I *can* eat – and a lot of the tricks that worked for me in the past. I have much to relearn; to remind myself of. Much of it is in this blog – as well as at least 500 pages of writing – blog posts as well as entire books unpublished – but I can’t stand reading my own writing for the most part.

I also calculated that if I post daily until October 1, regardless if i lose weight or not, that’s 280 posts.

Dear Lord, I feel for you if you choose to stick this out. Just remember: you can always unsubscribe.

Later on I had a hot dog with 2 slices of cheese on romaine lettuce. My wife noticed my eating and asked: “Are you starting a diet?”

“Absolutely not.”

After that I picked at some roast duck from Xmas, as well as had some of the brussels sprouts cooked in the pan with him, as well as a few of the roasted garlic.

Lastly I had a small glass of sour cream mixed with 2 drops of sucralose – the pure stuff – EZ-Sweetz.

Day 2 actually met the criteria for a low carb diet, unlike day 1 – and it didn’t really suck.

 

 

Just Start your Diet, Will Ya?!? – Day 1

I said in my last post I’d see ya at 250 when I was about 260 – then gained 12 or 13 pounds.

I guess holding my posts hostage as a means to lose weight doesn’t work.

So maybe instead I *should* post and clutter up the Internet unnecessarily? I’ve posted and lost weight – and posted and GAINED weight. I’ve posted and stayed the same.

Does my posting matter?

How about this? Let’s pretend: yeah – posting has some magical influence on my weight and posting sheds pounds.

And maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about cluttering up my little backwater on the Internet. How much virtual ink has been spilled on Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, and other innumerable fame-whores who crowd out the real news unless it is a full-blown terrorist attack?

Do my self-absorbed fat-posts really change anything a whit?

Let’s suppose not – at least for now. Here’s what I am going to do – or try to do – this might be another pointless ‘begin again’ post that does nothing and goes nowhere. I go a lot of these here.

Anyway: each day – or most days – I will attempt to briefly post what I ate, what I weigh, how I’m doing, and probably prattle on about something unrelated (I have a well-documented tendency to do this).

The diet? Ketogenic.Why? It’s worked well for me in the past. That’s not to say that it *will* work for me this time – this could end up another diary of failure. The best features of the ketogenic diet – one where you get most of your calories from fat, enough protein to avoid your muscles from wasting away, and very few carb (under 50 grams per day) – for me is a huge reduction in overall hunger and, given enough time in ketosis, a certain calm. It literally mellows me out.

Exercise? Nah. I’m 270 plus on a 5′ 10″ frame and a lifelong endomorph lacking grace in movement. Exercise is more likely to damage me than help me at this point.

As a reminder – or an intro to those new to the blog. I’m a guy in my 54th year who lost 80 pounds on low carb in 2004 and kept a good part of that off for about a decade – then rapidly gained it all back – and a little more – to where I am now,

I’m not big on New Year’s and like to start my next year’s resolutions early so today, the day after Christmas 2015, I started my new diet.

God – it sounds like a joke to write that. Like *I* don’t even believe it.

Another thing I should warn you about if you’re new and plan to stick around and see what happens to this fool: I’m a grump. If by some miracle I keep writing and that changes, then it is probably due to ketosis – which mellows me out – or somebody’s slipping happy pills into my Metformin bottle.

So let’s get on with this – shall we?

Setting Some Goals

Let’s play with some numbers. According to the BMI I should be in the 170s – but screw that. The BMI is a bullshit measurement. It’s also unflattering for me. I lost major amounts of weight 3 times in my life and when I was in the 170s people thought I had Anorexia.

I’m going to pick a number as a goal that is realistic for me. That’s a funny sentence to write because losing ANY weight right now seems as likely as finding a pony in my bedroom wearing a bowtie and singing Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Regardless how laughable, I have to have a goal so let’s pick a number out of my butt – 195 lbs. This was my high school weight. I wasn’t thin then, but I stood out because most kids start their fattening well after high school.  Being 53 and too thin (unless you’re cut) looks like you’re sick. 195 on my current frame, decades removed from high school, would be fine.

So next step is: how long will this take? Not that I am in a rush (I am but let’s pretend not), but having an ongoing expectation of rate of loss helps to anchor this in reality somewhat.

Now, science says a lot of things regarding nutrition and obesity that I don’t agree wth, but with regards to the rate of safe weight loss I am going to go with their 2 pounds per week. This will not be a steady incline (if it works) but a jagged bouncing about with spikes and crevices punctuated by plateaus. I’ve never seen it NOT work like this so to expect different would be pointless.

Success will have me weaving above and below the 2lbs./week line until landing at 195.

So how much weight are we talking about? 273.6 – 195 = 78.6 pounds to lose. Ugh.

If I lose 78.6 pounds at 2 pounds per week it will take me 78.6 / 2 = 39.3 weeks. As these decimals suck, I’m going to ditch them and round up to an even 40 weeks – a nice round number.

I used the calculator at http://www.timeanddate.com/date/dateadd.html to add 40 weeks to today and got a target date of October 1, 2016.

10 months to lose almost 80 pounds is aggressive but not too aggressive.

I still have lots to figure out (again) but at least I have a goal and a date.

Day 1 – Saturday, December 26, 2015 – Wt: 273.6 Blood Glucose 106 – 78.6 pounds to go

For breakfast I had 3 fried eggs cooked in butter. I also had coffee with cream. I don’t know if I am ready to start the infernal counting and measuring – I’m just going to get a few days under my ever-tightening belt of eating the ‘right’ things.

Even if I screw up nutrient balance, fat to protein ratio, or some other detail – I don’t care: I just need to get some ketones going and can adjust from there.

For lunch I had an entire container of cream fraise – over 800 calories of pure fat.

I stumbled at dinner. i had some leftover chicken, duck and vegetables from Christmas, but then gave in to some mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a slice of bread. I also had a chocolate-dipped dried apricot.

Not exactly the perfect start but you’ll find the word ‘perfect’ does not apply to any of my characteristics – unless you count ‘fool’.

 

I’m Not Dead Yet

im-not-dead-yet

Hey.

I’m still here.

I haven’t written much because there wasn’t much to say. It was like being the weatherman in Arizona: ‘by golly, it’s going to be hot and sunny again.’

My version of that is, I suppose ‘fat guy who got thin then got fat again still fat.’ What’s the point in writing that over and over?

There *has* been a change, however.

I totally gave up alcohol August 1st. I didn’t feel like resuming my diet at that time, but that felt like a good first step. I felt no particular discomfort despite being able to pack away 1-2 bottles in an evening maybe 3-4 times a week.

I guess that would be considered ‘heavy drinking’. Interesting, though – a lot of people don’t know this – but the CDC came out not too long ago with research that showed that 90% of heavy drinkers are not alcoholics – they just like the stuff. Call them ‘enthusiasts’, I suppose.

‘Enthusiasts’ have many of the same problems as the truly addicted alcoholics – the difference being that they didn’t have the same physical withdrawal symptoms.

Since I stopped without any ill effect, I suppose I was an ‘enthusiast’.

So thousands upon thousands of empty calories disappeared from my weekly consumption – not to count the extra food that the alcohol made all that much more fun to eat.

And yet…my weight did nothing. Or maybe it stabilized. I might have continued to gain, but I’ve stabilized at between 260 and 265 – a bit more than my 5′ 10″ frame should support. At this exact moment I am 259.8.

While my energy is better, it’s still in the crapper from the level it once was. I apparently snore like hell which makes me a candidate for sleep apnea, which among the many side effects including killing you, also results in low energy because of lack of good sleep.

So here I am on a Sunday, contemplating starting my low carb diet yet again. I’m 12 years older than my first go at it – and the difference between my 40s and my 50s – for me – was big.

Still not a believer in exercise – at least when I’m this fat – too much risk of injury.

So I will proclaim one of those proclamations that people who have done nothing to move toward their goal proclaim: I will start my new low carb diet today. I will lose 10 pounds.

I won’t write anything until I lose those 10 pounds. If I lost the 10 pounds, I’ll see ya then.

If I don’t lose the 10…then I’ll see ya.

The Physical

“I don’t have time for this. I have other patients to see.” Said my doctor, clearly indicating that I had used up all my allocated time for my yearly physical – or had finally pushed enough of his buttons. One or the other. It was awfully late and I thought I was his last patient. Perhaps it was true that he had other patients to see, or maybe it would have been more truthful for him to say: “I’ve had enough of arguing with you. I’m hungry and tired and want to go home and see my wife and kids.”

Either way I wasn’t offended. I am an exasperating patient. I am exasperating human in general, always questioning the obvious, asking questions that generate cow-stares or mild shock from those within earshot, or saying what I believe to be the unvarnished truth when it might be more prudent to just shut the fuck up.

In this particular instance of exasperating another human being, it was because my doctor, assessing my spectacular weight gain of 40 pounds since my last visit and a crappy total cholesterol count in the 260s, wanted to put me on statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs.

He showed me a worksheet from the American Heart Association that, when my crappy blood work numbers were plugged in, said I had a 14% chance of a heart attack in the next 5 years. He had done his homework probably because he knew I was a hard sell. We had the ‘statin talk’ last year when I was about 207 pounds and my total cholesterol was only a little elevated. I told him ‘no’ then.

And 40 pounds heavier and with really shitty blood work – the worst ever, I told him ‘no’ again.

I told him: “I have to be honest with you: I’m not a big fan of statins. They have not been shown to reduce all-cause mortality in patients like me and they also have a curious side effect, little discussed, of increasing the risk of violent death and suicide.”

My doc is a chill guy. I like him, though we don’t agree on a lot of things. I’ve mentioned this to people and they say: “Why don’t you change doctors?”

“Why? I’m not looking for somebody to always agree with me.” He’s smart and has a good 15 years of experience as a clinician. I also think he cares. He took the time to prep for me coming in by running that American Heart Association risk assessment. I think that counts as ‘going the extra mile’. He genuinely thought that he had the evidence to convince me – a seemingly rational and  medically knowledgeable layperson – to comply with his recommendation.

And I exasperated him by still saying ‘no’.

So I suppose I like him because, with nearly every relationship I have, there is a certain aspect to it where the other person has to put up with me.

People in their professional roles sometime turn into caricatures – and I suppose doctors are probably more guilty of this than most professions. In a line of business where on any given day your job might be to tell a seemingly young and healthy parent who came in with what they thought to be some minor ill that they need to ‘get their affairs in order’ because they are going to die soon, I can’t judge them harshly for perhaps putting up a wall of sorts between their patients and themselves.

But I am fascinated with these walls we put up as part of our daily interactions – and I love to break through them. Being exasperating frequently causes people’s walls to unexpectedly crumble – and what’s behind them is usually interesting.

So when I mentioned the statin research showing no benefit in all-cause mortality for patients without active cardiac vascular disease – and the crack about the increased risk of suicide and violent death, my doc’s usual chill turned less chill. He seemed slightly taken aback by the all-cause mortality, violent death and suicide bit and said with reserved force: “I challenge you to produce the evidence on these.”

I could easily find these mentioned in respected journals like the Oxford University Press, Pubmed, and the Lancet sitting in my car on my smart phone before leaving the parking lot of his office. I’ll be printing out whatever isn’t paywalled before my next visit.

Here’s one link: http://www.thennt.com/nnt/statins-for-heart-disease-prevention-without-prior-heart-disease/

It says – and backs it up with a boatload of legitimate citations – that after 5 years of statin use in patients without known cardiac vascular disease:

  • None were helped (life saved)
  • 1 in 104 were helped (preventing heart attack)
  • 1 in 154 were helped (preventing stroke)
  • 1 in 50 were harmed (develop diabetes)
  • 1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)

Here’s another: http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/97/4/229 – you might have heard of Oxford, it is the world’s second oldest university, having been around since 1167. 16 Nobel prizes in medicine were awarded to alumni. It’s not a citation from some jackass with a blog and an axe to grind.

The study was small and warrants further investigation, surely, but a few people put on statins got really grumpy afterward. The link notes:

Manifestations of severe irritability included homicidal impulses, threats to others, road rage, generation of fear in family members, and damage to property.

Now – don’t get me wrong – statins have their place. In people with CVD it is a lifesaver (http://www.thennt.com/nnt/statins-for-heart-disease-prevention-with-known-heart-disease/). However, I come from a family with no predisposition toward heart disease even though my father’s side of my family ate and drank with abandon and all had potbellies and ruddy faces from all the beer they drank. A good part of my heredity ate whatever the hell they wanted and lived well past 80 – with 80 being the point where the dodginess from the family predisposition toward Alzheimer’s began to take full effect.

I don’t have known heart disease, nor do I have diabetes though my brother, sister, father, and mother all had it – with my siblings getting it way before the age I currently am. I don’t have a family history of CVD. I see nothing in my medical history nor my heredity that makes me a good candidate for statins and have to put up with the potential to develop diabetes, the potential for muscle damage, or the potential for negative psychological effects.

Before the ‘statin talk’ I had already parried with him on diet. As I sat in my underwear, an unpleasant sight except perhaps to a clinician who has trained themselves to be detached and doesn’t really give a shit as a protection mechanism from going insane, he mentioned in what in retrospect was carefully chosen language that “I was a much larger patient” than when he last saw me – and he hoped I had a plan.

“Yeah. My plan is to go on a low carb diet.” I said.

“Do you mean below 100 grams of carbs or below 50 grams?” He asked.

“Oh, I want to do a ketogenic diet. I’ve been on one on and off for a decade and I find it works quite well for me. It even seems to make me calmer.”

“What is recommended is a calorie-restricted diets with legumes, whole grains, and lean meat, along with vigorous exercise most days of the week.”

“Well, a ketogenic diet has worked for me in the past.”

His tone changed. He was going into his ‘learned clinician schtick’. It became more patronizing. “Well you know, a ketogenic diet puts your body into a mode similar to starving. You body can’t live without glucose. What is most important is that a diet be sustainable – and a low carb diet isn’t sustainable.”

OK – a decade of sustained weight loss shows it isn’t ‘sustainable’ – he’s right – I gained weight after a decade. Got it.

I did counter on the glucose thing, though: “Um…but your body can create the glucose it needs from a moderate protein diet and converts the protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis – right?”

He didn’t say anything for a bit – frankly, I don’t recall a direct response at all. Perhaps he had busied himself with the next part of the examination – the part that included the snap of a latex glove and ‘bend over’.

Given the asymmetry of the situation – he fully clothed and I in my skivvies – I wasn’t about to tell him that my lack of exercise is almost a badge of honor for me. I follow the advice of a quote I once read: ‘Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.’ I have a sneaking suspicion that the relentless advocation of ‘exercise for everyone’ is not so much for the health of individuals but rather the health of the economy: every gym membership, every Thighmaster, every pair of running shoes raises the GDP – and so do the attendant sports injuries: muscle pulls and torn ligaments provide physical therapists gainful employment; injections of steroids provide income to doctors as well as relief to the patients who have exercised their way to worn out joints, and finally the people who thrive on a steady stream of former exercise enthusiasts who, instead of choosing the next pair of running shoes to buy, now have a choice between a hip replacement or a walker and constant pain.

I also feel that above a given weight, it is smart to start losing weight without the exercise (it can be done – I did it) – and with an increasingly lighter body comes more energy and the freedom of movement that can make you *want* to exercise.

And I haven’t even begun with my feelings about what constitutes ‘healthy eating’. If my differences with the standard accepted notions on exercise were a flaming match head, my differences on nutrition from most people were a nuclear bomb.

As I left I mentioned he should check out the book ‘The Big Fat Suprise‘ – a masterfully written work that clearly explains just how we ended up vilifying fat as a nutrient because of bad science, big egos, and politics. He just snorted. It was only a:

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • Named one of The Economist’s Books of the Year 2014
  • Named one of The Wall Street Journal’s Top Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
  • Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
  • Forbes’s Most Memorable Healthcare Book of 2014
  • Named a Best Food Book of 2014 by Mother Jones
  • Named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014

Kinda what I expected. 

For those of you unfamiliar with my backstory, in 2003 I lost 80 pounds on a low carb diet. Unlike most people who would have reveled in their success, bought new clothes and left it at that, I needed to know why. How could I eat like I did and lose weight? I had only read the Atkins book, and learned about ketosis: a chemical transformation to your body that allows you to run your body on ketones – the product of burning fat – instead of glucose – which comes from sugars and starches and is what the vast majority of human beings run on these days. In fact, running your body on ketones is so rare that one way of measuring your ketones to track your progress – urine strips – are actually manufactured for people with severe diabetes to manage a severe side effect called ‘ketoacidosis’.

Being slightly obsessive – or maybe a tad more than ‘slight’ – I spent the next 10 years reading books, research, blogs, and articles and all aspects of diet nutrition, the history of diets and dieting, how diet has changed over the centuries, the psychology and sociology of food and eating, as well as a myriad of odd little detours into admittedly wacky material produced by people with dubious credibility as well as my own hare-brained ideas.

All that obsession spilled out into a blog on low carb which I started on a whim and then wrote and published over 500 articles over 7 years. I sort of abandoned writing on low carb and shuttered the blog at the end of 2014 for reasons not entirely clear to me. Perhaps I had grown tired of it all. Perhaps I had said all that I had to say on the subject.

Perhaps I was just paying lip-service to my low carb lifestyle and writing about it – as I gained weight – seemed disingenuous.

Perhaps I needed to regain enough weight to give a shit again.

Who Is This Guy?

IMG_2452

After a newfound commitment to begin again, and off to a great start in week one, things slowly drifted back to the habits that helped get me fat again and the passionate indifference returned.

I’m now back to pretty much where I started.

Iv’e spent some time reading some of my old posts – which I typically forget moments after writing and have to ask: who IS this guy? He seems more eloquent than I. He seems more curious, more committed, and more energetic.

He *is* younger than me – and thinner. I don’t think that time spent on the right-hand side of the big five-zero has been kind to him. He can’t claim any bad luck – actually the Universe has been quite generous to him in comparison to many of his age. Yes – there have been the sort of things one starts to expect as the car passes the 50,000 mile mark. Parts start to wear.

My eyesight isn’t what it once was and while wearing readers for almost a decade, it seems I need them now more than ever. I also have Uveitis in one eye – a condition that makes the vision quite blurry in that eye – and is treated with an injection – INTO THE EYEBALL.

Did that make you cringe? It really isn’t as awful procedure as you’d imagine, but it does make your eye blood red for a while.

And the 12-year-old in me get a kick by seeing the faces of the people who ask why my eye looks like that and I tell them it’s because I got an injection in it.

An appendix got removed. It’s wasn’t a big deal except that it was a milestone of sorts: my first surgery. Yet more proof that the Universe has been kind: how many people get cut open for a myriad of reasons well before the half-century mark?

Still – despite my good fortune in many aspects of my life, something seems changed. I’m different than the guy who wrote all these posts.

First, I’ve become somewhat tired of the science aspect of a lot of nutrition. Perhaps it’s that I know enough – or at least I think I do.

I think that it was the Buddha that tried to teach his students that his teachings didn’t need to be worshipped, made sacred, or endlessly studied but were only a tool meant to be used to accomplish a goal and discarded. He described it as a boat to cross a deep river. Even though it was valuable to make the crossing, once the river was crossed there was no need to carry the damn boat all over creation – it could be left on the shore while the journey continued unburdened by it.

In Zen Buddhism there is a state where an adherent is said to ‘stink of Zen’. It means they are going overboard. The tool has become more important than its purpose. The study has become more important than its application.

Zen has little tolerance for righteousness or for excessive knowledge. It’s about the practice.

Perhaps I know enough and it’s time to get my nose out of the books and practice more.

Second, which might be the bigger problem, is that I’ve become bored with low carb eating – and this extends from the fact that I’ve become tired of low carb cooking. As my enjoyment of cooking has waned, low carb eating by necessity becomes less varied, and perhaps this is what is derailing me.

Third, perhaps the gain in weight, combined with age, and combined with the fact I no longer drink 3 pots of coffee a day, contribute to a lack of energy. I used to happily get up at 4am, drink a pot of coffee, write blog posts, maintain a little notebook of goals and to-dos, then leave for work, put in my time while putting away another 2 pots of coffee, and come home and cook and do other chores. Now I get up between 5 and 6, have a cup of coffee while staring into space, then go to work where I have maybe 3 or 4 cups.

The decline in coffee drinking was not intentional – not something I wanted to necessarily do – it just happened. Perhaps being a caffeinated speed-freak was good for me, but it’s not me anymore.

Fourth, perhaps my long-documented love of sloth – and the ability to lose weight without it – has to come to an end. I don’t know where I read it, but the case was made that, while this nonsense of burning calories talked about as if it is a financial transaction: “If I run for 30 minutes I will burn 200 calories” is a simplistic explanation, wrong, and yet enshrined as a myth so strong that every treadmill purports to tell the user down to the calorie just how much they’ve ‘burned’, it was said that there is *something* more subtle going on with exercise and weight. It isn’t well understood – but there’s a connection.

I can buy that.

After years of reading all sorts of research on these topics, I’m more comfortable with the people who know that ‘I dunno’ is not an admission of stupidity but one of honesty.

A good friend is moving and giving away their treadmill. I’m going to try to get it. Maybe it will jumpstart some better habits.

Maybe my repeated failures shows I’m not ready for a full-blown low carb diet just yet. I’ve done a hard-core program before with great result – and I can do it now, too – for about a week. Then I crumple like a cheap suit.

Maybe I’m not ready for a diet just yet, but instead in need of a ‘pre-diet rehabilitation’. Maybe I should start small, make small wins where I can, and proceed slowly in the direction of the headwinds of the right direction than to think I’m going to do it in a dash.

After thinking this, I bought a salad – just vegetables – and bought that home. My wife asked if this was the start of a new beginning. I told her: “I’m not being that ambitious. I’m just thinking that ‘maybe a salad now and than wouldn’t kill me'”.

Her birthday is soon and I’m thinking of giving her a gift: I abstain from alcohol until I’m under 200 pounds.

The dynamics are different here: promising yourself is one thing – but promising the spouse you love? That’s another.

The occasional salad and the abstention from alcohol are not going to result in an almost 60 pound weight loss – but they might not hurt.

I have a quote on the recent change in dietary guidelines that has announced that all the dietary cholesterol we were supposed to be worried about? Nah – they were wrong. “It isn’t a nutrient of concern.” Apologies to all those egg lovers frightened into avoiding a food they loved by science that has now been dismissed.

One section really struck me of the article on the topic in the Washington Post (emphasis mine):

“These reversals in the field do make us wonder and scratch our heads,” said David Allison, a public health professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But in science, change is normal and expected.”

When our view of the cosmos shifted from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Newton and Einstein, Allison said, “the reaction was not to say, ‘Oh my gosh, something is wrong with physics!’ We say, ‘Oh my gosh, isn’t this cool?’ ”

Allison said the problem in nutrition stems from the arrogance that sometimes accompanies dietary advice. A little humility could go a long way.

“Where nutrition has some trouble,” he said, “is all the confidence and vitriol and moralism that goes along with our recommendations.”

Perhaps professor Allison’s admonition to his colleagues might apply to those of us trying to lose weight as well. More humility, less moralism, less hubris about progress  – those resolutions the emptily echo because you know you and know it ain’t gonna play out like that. Patience and tolerance for ourselves while gradually moving toward a better way of eating – without worrying about the scale as much as how we feel might do a world of good before taking the plunge into a more serious diet.

For me that means trying to score me a treadmill and maybe replacing a few meals a week with a salad.