Pigs Fly – Day 9 – Lost 10 Pounds and the Wheels Fall Off the Diet

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

 

 

Like I said – I play the short game well.

Not so much the long game.

Despite losing 10 pounds (yay!) the diet went completely off the rails on this day – pizza, KFC, wine. Tallies went out the window.

The only thing I can do is not delude myself that it is anything except a total failure and start again tomorrow.

Pigs Fly – Day 8

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

At weigh-in I was 269.2.

This morning I had coffee with real cream at home as we had some – and more coffee at work – 2 cups? 3 cups?

Mid-afternoon I had my 2 tablespoons of psyllium and maybe an hour or so after I had a shake.

The stress of the week was getting to me – I have the opportunity to ‘fail big’ and while that is an honor and privilege, it’s also scary as hell.

So I drank a bottle of wine along with my cup of Mexican Eggplant with Pork Belly and sour cream, then polished off 2 hot dogs on a single bun – then rounded this out with some leftover pork lo mein (noodles and grease with pork bits) from the grocery store.

Oh well…

Calories: 2400
Net carbs: 133g
Protein: 95g
Fat: 85g

The day was not a *total* loss. I had a long talk with my 9-year-old daughter about her day, told her stories about when I was a kid, talked about lying, honesty, and integrity,

It had nothing to do with my diet but everything to do about life, of which a diet is only a small part. I think it’s important to remember that.

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 7 – Tsk Tsk Edition

Monday, July 11, 2016

I was 271.4 pounds this morning, which, given last night’s behavior, was probably inevitable. That bagel was going to lead to me holding on to a lot of water.

The day wasn’t going to turn out all that great either – more an example of my erratic nature.

While I had my normal coffee with a few ounces of Atkins shake in the am, the rest of the day was unplanned. I had maybe 4 cups of coffee in work with a shake as creamer – but nothing else. My day was frenetic – and my job, by extension, is as a norm, so when it was as notable as it was, it’s pretty out there.

I didn’t eat the entire day. I also forgot to have my psyllium. I also forgot to take my vitamin.

When Ii left work I was hungry but not starving. I was not particularly distracted by ‘The Fast Food Mile’ – a strip of fast food chain I pass on the way home that have snared me many times. I was focused on going home and eating my eggplant and pork belly concoction that I made Sunday – perhaps with some sour cream.

That went out the window when I came home and my daughter had cooked fried chicken thighs in a mushroom cream sauce.

You have to understand something: my daughter has a supernatural ability to whip up dishes with whatever is in the house that people would pay money for. She is the best cook in the house by far.

I was *planning* to avoid her dish – she typically adds sugar and flour to her dishes – but I was unable to resist.

Before it was done I had an egg yolk and some Canadian bacon left over from my younger daughter’s leftover pickings of an eggs Benedict from the weekend, then tried a thigh.

Heaven. I could never come close even at my best.

She had also made mashed potatoes from the dehydrated flakes and used the chicken fat as the oil as well as cream instead of milk.

Sorry: low carb was out the window this day – I could only hope for portion control.

As the ‘what the Hell effect’ set in on the low carb aspect, I had 2 slices of bread with the thighs, potatoes and gravy.

And I had the lemon-flavored MiO in the 3 or 4 glasses of water I drank.

I did my best to guesstimate what I ate, then went to bed.

I used the quirky though more carb-friendly Carb Manager app to do the calculations. It works well. I don’t think I’ll be using the Loseit! app anytime again unless something comes up to change my mind.

The totals for the day were:

Calories: 1100
Net carbs: 80g
Protein: 58g
Fat: 58g

Ugh. Calories too low. Net carbs too high. Protein too low. No vitamin. No psyllium. No vegetables. Went too long without eating. TWO slices of bread. Mashed potatoes from a box!

There’s a reason why the tagline of this site is ‘The World’s Worst Low Carb Dieter’.

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 6

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The morning weigh-in showed I broke 270 – I was 269.6. That’s 8.4 lbs. in 6 days.

I’m still not impressed. I’ve made it to below 270 as recently as the beginning of June – only to spring back into the 270s – and most of last year was the 250s and 260s.

What is more impressive is my staying with my primary goal of portion control. I would agree with one correspondent that my diet is still ‘somewhat lacking’. Point taken. I also agree that I could probably use a little exercise – my schtick about dissing exercise being more sour grapes than anything.

But this is usually where the wheels fall off in most of my diet attempts. As I’ve gained ground during diet attempts in the past I’ve moved to being stricter: no Akins shakes because they are factory foods, only organic grass-fed beef, everything home-cooked, only homemade mayo, etc.

What would happen as I did this was that sticking to the diet would get harder – more steps – more stores – more restrictions – more time spent obsessing over the details. Nothing wrong if you find delight in this sort of thing but history shows I most certainly DON’T.

I feel OK as-is. I’ve noticed I have to hike up my pants more often. My stomach hurts less. I’ve pretty much stopped using Tums.

The battery in my glucose meter needs to be replaced so I haven’t checked, but I’m sure my blood glucose level is lower as well.

Why mess with things when they’re going well? It’s working – and it doesn’t feel like too much work. I feel I’m putting very little effort into this and that works for me.

Stay the course with a less-than-ideal diet that is a big improvement over my diet before I started, (hopefully) continue to lose weight, feel better, improve my energy levels as I acclimate to my new regimen and continue to focus on priority one: portion control.

There’s always time to improve the quality of foods I eat – and to maybe even start exercising – but that doesn’t have to start now – and might be the thing that paradoxically makes the diet fail because it’s too much, too soon.

Even if I lose every pound I want, this is still a lifelong change I need to make. There’s plenty of time for improvement – right now I need to be content to practice what I’ve learned so far before moving to the next level.

I also did want to comment on me writing all of this. I think the writing helps me sort out my thoughts and feelings on what I’m doing. Having an audience reading this rather than keeping it to myself causes me to be more careful in my thinking and provides comments from you folks that give me further food for thought. It *has* to be honest in order for this to work: if I was a poser – what good would your comments be? For me, it’s a critical part of the diet.

The day started as it usually does with coffee. A few dashes of Atkins shake as well to substitute for the cream I don’t have.

I wasn’t hungry yet, but at noon I conjured up a ‘Mexican Pork Belly and Eggplant’ dish with some leftover and ignored stuff I found in the house. I was inspired by looking through the 150+ so-called ‘recipes’ on the site. I’ve come up with some pretty good stuff. Some was awful. At this point I had not tasted my concoction so only the future would tell.

It made 6 servings and at 375 calories each and 21 grams of fat per serving, it’s a fat bomb – not that I have anything against that.

I finally ate a cup about 1:30 – not bad. Maybe a bit salty but otherwise OK. I enjoyed it. Pain in he ass calculating the nutrients, though.

Shortly after I had some coconut flakes in coconut milk with a bit of EZ-Sweetz just as an experiment. I warmed it up in the microwave and with a little work, might be an acceptable cereal substitute – but I at it for the wrong reasons. I was spending too much time looking at recipes and ate because of them – not hunger.

It got worse from here.

I went shopping with my younger daughter for lunches and snacks for the week. She asked for bagels and I said OK. Dad got himself some diet Coke as a decadent treat – even with aspartame in it, which can stall a low carb diet, how much harm can it do?

At home I had my soda – and it did not satisfy. At least I wasn’t going to drink the whole 6-pack.

It was early evening and my hunger was pretty much under control. The pork belly concoction kept me full for hours and I had been drinking water. I had bought pickles and decided on an old comfort food – pickles with mayo and cheese. I had 2 pickle halves with cheese and mayo, paused to have a glass of water, then had another.

I would have been fine except my daughter sat on my lap as she was eating a toasted bagel with cream cheese.

She offered me a bite and I – merely curious as to the quality of the bagel she bought compared to the authentic NYC bagels I grew up with as a kid living in the suburbs of the city in New Jersey, took a small bite.

Hmm…not a real bagel, of course, but an acceptable texture and flavor. 

Of course this was done simply for the sake of acquiring knowledge – nothing more.

So if that was the case, why did I have one half slathered in cream cheese – then follow it up with another slathered in butter?

It was over before I knew it. Charlie Brown thought he would kick the football Lucy held but ended up on the ground on his back once again – looking like an ass because once again, he fell for it.

This did me no good – I woke up multiple times needing Tums because of the indigestion.

It does seem obvious to me that 53 grams of carbs right before bed doesn’t make me feel well. It probably goes to follow that eating as much as I did right before bed isn’t all that great either.

Yeah – I know: Captain Obvious here reporting for duty, sir. So sue me. I can be fantastically stupid at times – and this was one of them.

While the day ended as a fail, it could have been worse – I could have been eating and drinking like I did before I started this attempt at a diet.

Calories: 2212
Net Carbs: 76 g
Protein: 62 g
Fat: 169 g

One other thing: based on a commenter’s recommendation I paid $2.99 for the Carb Manager iPhone app. While the interface is quirky and you apparently can’t build your own recipes in the app without a yearly subscription, it is certainly easier to use than Loseit! if you are following a low carb diet. I’ve used it for a day and it’s still too soon to tell if I will come to hate it more than Loseit! – but I don’t hate it more yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 5

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Still 270.2. I’m fine with that. Remember – for me this go-round the priorities are:

  1. Portion control
  2. Low carb
  3. Number on the scale

The number on the scale will come if I mind the other two first.

Low carb will probably veer off course occasionally when playing the long game.

Everything will be OK in the end if I make portion control the cornerstone of the diet – and as low carb reduces hunger it works quite well to help promote portion control without hunger.

I’d find it somewhat worrisome if the weight loss had continued – too fast is not good for you.

Also – yesterday I ate the most calories so far – though not by much – and it seemed a lot.

That perception shows I am beginning to habituate myself to a different idea of what a ‘portion’ is.

Prior to the diet there was a nice catered lunch at work and a standout was a mac & cheese dish with gouda cheese and bacon bits – fabulous. The next day leftovers were taken out and some of my coworkers were sitting and chatting and invited me to join them. I grabbed a plate of the Mac & cheese and sat to begin to eat. From the table a long ‘woah’ – like I had just jumped a motorcycles over 20 cars.

That might have been the case – I had taken maybe 2 cups of this incredibly heavy dish and plowed into it with gusto – perhaps I looked like a competitive eater to them.

Of course, as the fattest person in my small company, folks are going to pay attention to that.

It might also be interesting to note some of the other things I have NOT been doing. I haven’t been drinking. I’m obviously not chemically addicted since I stopped with no symptoms. That’s not to say that the amount I usually drank was healthy – it wasn’t – I just don’t have a physical addiction. I’m better off without though I *did* state as one of my goals that I won’t drink until I’m below 200 pounds – my new ultimate weight loss goal.

This leaves the door open for drinking – and why not? If I can maintain my weight where I want, I drink if I choose. If I don’t, I won’t.

I’ve also avoided artificial sweeteners except for the ones in the Atkins shakes. I used a lot of MiO ‘water enhancer’ in the past but this week I drank just plain water – or chicken broth.

Additionally, I have not had any bread or grains. I think this is probably what I miss the most. For me, bread is more addictive than sugar, alcohol, cigarettes – and perhaps even breathing itself.

Ugh – just thinking about it makes me sad.

Another thing I *think* I’ve avoided is the notion of a ‘flavor fast’ – but maybe that’s proof it’s working. My notion of a ‘flavor fast’ is that by reducing the variety of foods you make the foods you do eat taste better and reduce the urge to eat just for the flavors. I thought the food I ate last night was pretty yummy – almost decadent – but compared to a week ago it was highly restrictive – but I didn’t notice.

I’ve also avoided exercise. Not a fan. I really wish I could get into it but everyone I see doing it look miserable – I’ve never seen a smiling runner nor cyclist, weightlifter nor treadmiller. And they’re always talking about their ‘sports injuries’.

It’s always seemed to me that a good way to get injured is to do something stupid. You compound the stupid by doing the thing that injured you by doing it again. Exercise seems to cause repeated injuries so I think it’s smart of me to avoid it.

My day stated with a mug of coffee with a splash of Atkins shake, then another 1/2 mug. I cooked my younger daughter sunny-side-up eggs and there was a bit of yolk leftover that I ate.

Around 12:30, trying to keep to my weekday routine, I had the 2 tablespoons of psyllium stirred in a big glass of water.

Around 2:30 I had 1/2 avocado with salt sprinkled on it. Just by itself, I think this is delicious. The problem with avocados is finding one at the perfect ripeness. This one was so it was great. I then followed up with a multivitamin (Centrum Silver – the only supplement I take) and a glass of water.

Still hungry – or maybe bored? – I had some celery sticks. Ugh. This particular variety was way too stringy and had an off, overpowering flavor. It might be good stir-fried, or in a soup, but it was awful raw.

My daughter was cooking at the time and I had 4 pieces of the bacon she made, a bit of tomato and Kerry Gold cheese as well as a few slices of tomato.

Maybe around 3:30 I decided to take a nap. I love doing this when I can.

I woke around 7:30 and felt it time for dinner.

This is where I came closest to overindulging myself:

I had a burger with cheese and ketchup using 2 thin slices of onion as a substitute for bread. Nothing wrong here – but I followed it up with a second right after. In retrospect I should have paused, had a glass of water, then had the second.

I did have water afterward – as well as some of that seaweed in sheets that my family sometimes gets. My daughter opened a package and it was too spicy for her so she offered it to me. The stuff has nearly no calories (and I like it) so I had that as well.

I then need *something* to get that raw onion flavor out of my mouth so I had another Atkins shake.

Finally, right before bed I had 4 chunks of the leftover fried tofu from Friday.

I patiently tried to record all these itsy-bitsys in my Loseit! app – which again SUCKS because it doesn’t track net carbs on a daily basis anymore. I still use it, however, because the last time I checked all the other food tracking apps sucked even more.

Anyone have recommendations for a low-carb-friendly calorie tracking app?

So the totals for the day were certainly acceptable as well as under the total calculated for me my the app as my quota – a little under 2,000 per day.

I totaled out at about 1,900 calories. My net carbs were around 50 grams  – that’s fine. Protein was 130 grams – fine as well. Fat was about 120 gram – again, I’m fine with that.

After 4 days of fewer calories, this felt like reckless abandon, yet when comparing to how I ate prior to the diet I would have groaned at the restrictiveness. Weird how our perceptions of norms can change so quickly.

Still – no time for complacency – I am still ripe for a fail. There’s another day of the weekend to get through.

 

Pigs Fly – Day 4 – Lost 8 Pounds in 4 Days

Friday, July 8, 2016

This morning I was 270.2 – that means I’ve lost almost 8 pounds in 4 days.

Still, I’m not particularly impressed though I am encouraged.

As mentioned before, I’ve pulled off the short-game too many times to let this go to my head. While the number drop is way above average, the duration – 3 days – is way too short to prove anything except that I’m playing the short game again.

You know what would be impressive? 20 pounds lost.

So here’s my first short-term goal: 258 pounds.

That will bring me past my first milestone of 260, which was my highest weight ever just before I started low carb for the first time in September of 2003 after a trip to Montreal and Quebec City.

The question I have about this goal is: should I set a date?

Part of me says no – this could encourage more extreme dieting that might be a health risk. The body has its own rhythms and I believe plateaus are the body’s way of resting up and reconfiguring itself for the next leg of the weight loss journey.

Perhaps I can use the medically advised rate of 2 pounds per week. That would put my goal date at September 6th if I were to begin counting at July 5th. Seems far away – might that provide me the excuse to cheat? ‘I’m doing so well and so ahead of schedule that a few slices of pepperoni pizza won’t matter…’ = end of diet (I know me).

Maybe I need my goal to NOT focus on weight but eating. While I’d certainly like to be less large, a greater focus on healthy, portion-controlled eating might be a better primary goal – and the weight loss should come naturally from this.

Here’s the tough part – I KNOW I could have that pizza binge and not impact the diet – I’ve done it before. The problem was the pizza binge would NOT derail me at first – sometimes the scale would see me lose more weight after those days.

With this kind of feedback from the scale I had proof that I could pull this off occasionally. The problem was that the occasions would start occurring closer and closer together until the diet disappeared and the occasions became the routine.

This is why I’m thinking that – even more than low carb itself – portion control is the number one rule I shouldn’t break.

For me, low carb makes portion control easy – it kills my appetite dead. For example, except for an Atkins shake and the psyllium husks I had nothing to eat until evening. I didn’t feel particularly deprived, no real willpower needed, no distractions from hunger – and mind was sharp – late Friday afternoon a colleague way smarter than me got stuck on a really tricky technical problem and I was able to help him troubleshoot and find a resolution.

So if I really want to cheat – I can probably survive the occasional high-carb day – but this time I am going to put myself on alert that it’s the portion control that can’t slip.

I picked up KFC for myself and my family on the way home and got 2 of the grilled thighs for myself. They’re a great, almost no-carb fast food, though I wouldn’t call it ‘healthy’ as that chicken piece was probably marinated in more high-tech chemicals than I can imagine. Actually, I think I saw the list once – it’s a long list.

Regardless, 2 thighs are only 340 calories (If my stupid Loseit! calorie-counting app is correct). Before eating them I had only about 250 calories for the day so there easily was room for this.

Still hungry though, I paused for a glass of water then hit the fridge to have a hamburger with ketchup and cheese. After that a pause, more water and a hot dog with cheese and mustard (I warmed them up this particular night).

More water and half a movie later (‘The Agony and the Ecstasy‘ – the 60’s movie with Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison that is basically about a guy who paints a ceiling but doesn’t want to) I made a concoction I’ve had before: take maybe 1/3rd cup pasta sauce, cut up 3 slices provolone cheese, sprinkle oregano, nuke for a minute, stir, nuke again for a minute, cover in grated parm cheese and you’ve got a ‘cheese soup’ of sorts that can be a substitute for pizza cravings.

We’ll see what so many of my calories from cheese doest to me, though – I seem to do better when I moderate my cheese intake.

Right before bed I had one mango chunk from the bag my daughter was eating from as well as a half peach in syrup. I added these to my tally.

I finished the day at about 1,500 calories – still nearly 500 under what is recommended given my height by the weight loss app.

Of that, my net carbs were about 27 grams, the fat 97 grams and the protein 125 grams.

Now let’s see if I can navigate the weekend – it’s a good time to fail.

 

 

Pigs Fly – Day 3

Thursday, July 7, 2016 

272.

I’ve lost 6 pounds in 2 days.

I’m still not impressed. This was the easy weight. I had been hovering around 272 for weeks despite what I ate or didn’t and only zoomed up to 278 after a pre-holiday binge-fest with 2 lavish lunches at work (one served fresh and one just as large of the leftovers the next day) and then the long weekend where I sketched out some skeleton of  plan for a diet in the future while I gorged in the present.

It’s the coming days that are going to prove to be difficult compared to the past 2 – they were easy. Old habits that won’t go quietly gain strength under the waterline as I delude myself that ‘progress’ has been made – when I’m really back where I started. I can’t continue to lose 3 pounds per day and as much as I might intellectualize that, a stubborn number on the scale refusing to move despite my best efforts will help to aid the sublimated urges for eating whatever I want, whenever I want, most likely concluding in a small cheat that quickly unravels into a diet death-spiral that leads me back to the point right before I started.

I have to recognize this as my probable fate if I have *any* hope to avoid it. Even knowing this, the chances are thin. Ironic rebound – the notion that ‘I got this’ that lulls you into a false sense of confidence right before the old demons arise in unison and retake the fortress – is a bitch that I have to recognize in order to have any chance of succeeding at all.

Blather aside, my day started hot. Yesterday’s heat was dry – today the humidity would reach tropical levels and the temp would remain high. I got stuck in traffic on the way to work and tried to enjoy the early morning sauna in my car – figuring a positive attitude might help prevent me passing out.

Work included coffee and a shake in the morning – and I did notice feeling weird around noon. No headaches – just weird. The afternoon flew by somehow and around 3pm I skulked into the kitchen and went to the back to eat one of the things I stocked my drawer with as healthy choices – a can of Wild Planet Sardines in Marinara Sauce. I feel like a pariah eating this in public. I don’t usually care what people think, but I have enough eccentricities – I don’t want to add sardine-eating to the list.

I added it to my Loseit calorie tracker and scanned the bar code for the nutrient info. Of course it was wrong. First, the can contains 2.5 servings – like 2.5 people are going to huddle around the can and share it. I wish manufacturers would stop this.

Then the person that had entered the info only multiplied the calories by 2.5 and left the rest of the nutrients at the single-serving numbers, so I had to edit it and calculate the numbers in my head.

the Loseit! app is calorie focused – they even took out fiber tallies in their daily nutrient summary so I have a tough time calculating net carbs – and I’m not surprised some doofus entered the calories right and everything else wrong.

I again had a big drink of water before the ride home. It was still 95 degrees but the ride was not as bad as the day before. I seem to be acclimating to the heat.

I won’t say I didn’t enjoy the AC at home. It’s been acting weird itself lately and I’m thankful every day it works.

I was asked to pick up PF Chang’s on the way home and came in with a large bag of ribs, noodles, and fried tofu with broccoli.

I had water and finished up the Dan Brown novel ‘Inferno’.

Later, with little ceremony, I had maybe 5 ounces of hamburger with regular ketchup and onion as well as a hot dog with mustard. These were from the July 4th BBQ and I ate them cold.

I know I’ve grossed a lot of you out right there – but remember the phrase ‘food fast’ I bandied about on Day 1? This kind of embraces my notions behind that. Of course the burger and dog would taste better warmed up – but the more palatable the food, the more you want to eat. It’s easier to take in fewer calories when the food tastes just OK. It’s the same deal with the sardines. They’re OK, but I will never be caught binging on 5 or 6 cans of the stuff at one sitting.

I’ve heard of a notion called ‘hyperpalatable’ – modern manufactured foods that are intensively tested on focus group over and over can create foods that can literally bypass our higher thought processes by appealing to so many different hedonistic receptors in your brain that you conscious mind is overruled as naked desire overtakes logic and control.

This above pseudoscientific psychobabble is bullshit – but it passes the test of feeling close enough to what’s going on that I can use it as a working truth in lieu of the actual truth – which may never be known. There’s a term for this as well as an entire book on this: ‘True Enough‘.

Anyway, before bed I had an Atkins shake and a taste of the fried tofu and broccoli. No big deal.

My approximate tally for the day was maybe 1,300 calories, 70 grams of fat, less than 30 grams of net carbs, and over 100 grams of protein. I think I need to up my calorie intake slowly from here – it hasn’t been some intolerable deprivation to live this low in calories for the past 3 days, but I don’t think it’s healthy to do for more than a few days at a time.

Pigs Fly – Day 2

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The previous day knocked almost 3 pounds off my weight when I checked the scale in the morning. I was 275.2.

Meh. Water weight. Any dope could do what I did. I’m pleased but unimpressed. This is a long-game I’ve got to play and history has shown I play the short game well – it’s getting past the first week, the first month, and the first year that are the problem.

I’m not discouraging myself as much as steeling myself for a very long path of redemption – of saving myself from cookies and ice cream, pizza and beer. I do remember that I adapted to living without these things pretty well when I first lost weight. There was a withdrawal, then the cravings diminished, then for all practical purposes disappeared.

There *was* some unconscious willpower in this – not that I put much faith in that power over the long-term – it’s more a very slow replacement of one set of habits with another that becomes easier as time goes on and success is measured by smaller clothes and the plummeting number on the scale.

There were times, though, when stress levels went through the roof that the old habits tore through the new ones.

For instance: I looked out my window this morning to see a man walking on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette.

Lucky. I thought.

I smoked for a decade in my youth then quit. I started again when my first child was due, then quit and started, quit and started over and over. I would smoke for a few months, then stop again – sometimes for years at a time.

I probably smoked last over 2 years ago and I still miss it.

That sucks.

I don’t think I’ll be starting anytime soon but I need to watch myself.

The diet will need the same casual vigilance even after I get a head of steam up. Milestones can convince one to ‘celebrate’ with the stuff that caused your downfall. The mind can play tricks and convince you of things you know don’t work for you (like ‘moderation’ for me).

Anywho – I felt OK – maybe even a little energetic in the am. I had 1/2 cup of coffee with cream at home then drove to work. At this point – one I know too well – my energy levels careen up then down, mild headaches come and go. The mind goes foggy, then clears.

I’m used to this – it’s the way I feel as my body converts over to burning ketones – something it knows how to do well so I think it’s less profound for me than it might be for people new to low carb.

I had maybe 2 cups of coffee at work using a pour of an Atkins shake as a creamer for each.

It was around 3:30 in the afternoon that I seemed to first notice I had not eaten all day. I wasn’t bothered by it – maybe more a bit concerned. I do this low carb stuff and the appetite just disappears. It seems like a good thing but if my body isn’t accustomed to this sort of thing for a while it might act unpredictably.

Especially because the weatherman says it feels like 108 degrees outside and I have to drive an hour with the air conditioning in my car broken.

I decided to have a small handful of macadamia nuts – I keep these in my drawer at work. I attempted to add all this to my LoseIt! calorie-counting app, but sadly I don’t know if the handful weighed 30 grams because I don’t keep a friggin scale at work!

I hate calorie-counting apps. They have their use as a means to be more conscious about what you put in your mouth, but beyond that – I hate them.

Also – right before leaving work I had another glass of water. I wasn’t thirsty but low carb does deplete the body of excess water and I did lose 3 pounds of water weight in one day – and like I said the temp outside was feeling like 108 – and I’m fat and feel a little weird with the ketosis coming on.

I though I would prefer not being found in my car on the side of the road dry and crispy like a fly that couldn’t find his way out of a light fixture.

The ride wasn’t that bad – or perhaps I convinced myself of that because I had no choice. I was hungry when I got home but had quite the headache. I typically don’t get headaches and also know that some believe this to be a symptom of low carb dieting – you suddenly excrete a lot of salt and it messes you up.

To counteract this I drank 4 cups of chicken broth. I surely didn’t need that much and there was little rational reason to do so – but I did.

(As always – I am reporting – not recommending. I don’t give advice because I don’t know a damn thing.)

My older daughter, a superb cook, was making baked salmon fillets with a bit of apricot jam and almond slivers on top. I had the smallest of the 4 pieces and it was quite good.

I was still hungry though, and looking at the number of calories I estimated so far – maybe 700 – I could understand why. I am not trying to starve myself here as much as retrain myself about how much and how often I eat as well as what constitutes my food choices. I certainly had room for more.

I filled it with some slices of goat cheese on lettuce with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is probably the worst fat I consume regularly – I believe that ‘healthy fats’ come from meat & fish, dairy, eggs, and olive oil – and that’s about it. Vegetable oils are out.

Mayonnaise is loaded with vegetable oil. My particular mayonnaise is made with canola oil which isn’t as bad, say, as soybean oil, but I don’t consider it healthy.

Anyway, my total for the day was about 1,400 calories – low for a 5 foot, 10 inch tall guy, and my fat intake maybe around 70% – that’s kind of what I’m shooting for. My net carbs were probably in the 30 gram range and my protein was lower than I’ve heard it should be – 60 grams or so. I don’t remember the formula at the moment, but I’m low.

So I navigated day 2. Whoop-de-do. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.

Pigs Fly – Day 1

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I have little booklet where I had restarted a ritual that had worked well for me for close to a decade. I fold a piece of printer paper into a little 8-page book I could slip in my pocket. I kept my to-dos as well as my goals in this. Each week I rewrote it.

A lot of times the goals I wrote I didn’t achieve – but enough did to make it worthwhile.

I don’t have the book with me now but I recall the big ones being:

  • I eat low carb, healthy, and in small portions
  • I cook more and use the food saver to freeze meals
  • I don’t drink alcohol until I am 200 lbs.

I didn’t mention a weight loss goal – yet – because I have been so awful and didn’t know what I weighed.

I know what I weigh now – 278.0. Impressively BAD.

I got here because of a combination of factors – one of them being hedonism, and the other just not giving a shit.

I bought new clothes in larger sizes online than I can find in the store and made another hole in my belt this very morning so I don’t damage my internal organs using it to keep up my pants.

It’s a shitty situation and I’ve failed a thousand more times than i’ve succeeded – but here I am, embarrassing myself – trying again.

The chances of this happening beg the term: ‘when pigs fly’. She was correct in her usage. Wikipedia defines the phrase thusly:

“When pigs fly” is an adynaton, a way of saying that something will never happen. The phrase is often used for humorous effect, to scoff at over-ambition. There are numerous variations on the theme; when an individual with a reputation for failure finally succeeds, onlookers may sarcastically claim to see a flying pig.

I’m going to attempt to start with a ‘flavor fast’. It’s a name I’ve given to eating as few flavors as possible. The point of this to try to break the hedonistic desire for foods of many different flavors and textures and keep it to a few basics – and not necessarily stuff I really like.

I’m not quite sure how to go about not giving a shit – apathy is a tough one to get around. I’ve found small wins can help, but it hasn’t proven a magic bullet for me in a long while. That’s why I restarted the little paper booklet ritual again. Perhaps if I start with some focus and force myself to actually HAVE goals, then maybe – maybe – I’ll actually start heading in that direction.

So far I plan on Atkins Shakes and coffee – we’ll see what gets added from here.

I had an appointment with my doctor for July 7th that I cancelled and rescheduled for October. I told the nurse the doctor wanted me to come in to see some improvement since my last visit but I hadn’t done a damn thing and was going to start now – which she found quite funny.

By mid-afternoon I had a shake as well as a big glass of water with psyllium flakes. I use the raw, unpleasant kind rather than the finely ground and orangy Metamucil. Not that Metamucil is bad stuff – I’m just so used to the coarse-ground unflavored stuff that I don’t care.

When I first lost 80 pound on low carb starting in 2003 I used this stuff mostly because I though I might get ‘stopped up’ without it – though that wasn’t really the case. I also drank the shakes as well as a lot of water and it seemed to work then…maybe it will work 13 years later?

Late afternoon before leaving work I had some food fantasies: what else would I to my ‘flavor fast’? I began to imagine the chili I had made, the hamburgers and dogs from the day before. My stomach bothered me and sometimes I eat just to settle an upset stomach but this time I didn’t.

 

My family then went out while I sat and drank water, wondering what I would eat for ‘dinner’. I eventually decided on a leftover cheeseburger, without bun, with a bit of onion and ketchup.

And that was it for my eating.

They came back with takeout mussels from a local restaurant. I was offered some but didn’t have any.

My tally for the day was small: maybe 700 calories total. Under 20 grams net carbs. 54 grams of protein.

 

Who Is This Guy?

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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.