Keto is the Bitcoin of Diets

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For all you folks who do not spend their lives reading charts, a little explanation. This chart is from Google Trends, a tool that lets you see how often search terms are entered into Google. You can also compare one search term to another.

Now what the above chart shows is that the term ‘low carb’ (in blue) has been chugging along and has been steadily been gaining interest. It’s a far cry from the obscurity after the ‘Atkins Craze’ of 2003 popped and people moved on to the next trendy diet.

An interesting thing to note: see those little spikes in interest regularly spaced on the blue line? That happens every January when people decide to go on a diet as a New Year’s resolution.

Now take a look at ‘keto’ (blue line). Back when I started this blog, nobody would have known what Keto meant.

Well, things have changed. Look at that spike – keto is the Bitcoin of diets right now. It used to be called ‘Atkins Induction’ but after Atkins died the term was dropped because it seemed too harsh. Atkins himself recommended a diet of 20 grams of carbs or less, moderate protein, and high fat only for the first two weeks – then you were supposed to begin adding more carbs back in.

I ignored that advice back then and instead tried to stay in ‘Atkins Induction’ indefinitely.

I was ‘keto’ before ‘keto’ even existed.

Today, keto is everywhere. People who’ve only learned about the diet a year ago prop themselves up as experts, start Facebook pages, and build businesses around this diet. I got nothing against free enterprise, but it seems to me some of these folks are going off half-cocked. There’s one guy who advocates eating nothing but bacon for 30 days. Compared to him, this blog expands your choices to meat in general – and water.

The bacon guy is trying to build a nice little business off of this – you can join his special insider program for about $100. I bet he’s doing OK – it’s pretty easy to separate desperate obese people from their money.

I don’t want to imply anything bad about the guy. He seems sincere, came up with a trick that worked for him, and figures he can make a buck off of it. It also seems to work for a bunch of people – so who am I to nay say? Nothing wrong there.

The only problem I would have – and a big reason I have never tried to sell anything nor claim that I am right about anything (read my disclaimer here) – is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending *any* diet to *anybody* because I ain’t no doctor.

Anyway, ‘keto’ – like Bitcoin – is in a bubble. I have spent a lot of time in the past year on these Keto Facebook pages and there’s a lot of hopeful folks who stream in, asking the same questions asked the day before, unwilling to read the pinned posts, who just want a magic bullet. These people don’t want to do the work – they just want to lose weight fast. I don’t blame them, but as more and more people stream in, try the diet without doing their homework, get bad advice from people on the page as ignorant as they are, they will give up, tell their friend that keto doesn’t work – and the bubble will pop and we’ll be on to the next diet fad. This happened in 2003 with Atkins – and has been happening with great regularity for over a century.

The thing is: I believe keto works for a lot of people. I think, like most diets, it can be hard. I think you need to do your homework, and be able to tease out the good information from all the bad information out there.

I will even go so far as to say that there is probably a lot of bad information on this blog. I’ve been writing for 11 years and my thinking on the diet has changed.

If I plan to start posting regularly, I think I also need to go back and either edit old posts or delete them entirely.

So moving forward I’ll be ‘The keto blog with the low carb name’.

Hey – AT&T stands for ‘American Telephone and Telegraph’ – and a telegraph hasn’t been sent in the US since 2006.

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Short Update

I decided to stop by my site to look up some recipes and thought I’d take a moment to write an update – if there’s anybody out there.

First of all: I’m still alive, obviously. The other day I visited the blog of someone who I used to read all the time and the guy had DIED.

Second: the last recorded weight in a blog post here was 278 lbs. Through hard work and perseverance I was able to get that number up to 283.0 on January 23rd of 2017, but since then I have been ever so slowly losing weight.

Today I am 260.4. 23 Lbs. is not insignificant, though as has always been the case I am bumbling my way to weight loss without much in the way of a real plan. There’s been a bit of a plan I have been following – as always – I’m reporting – not recommending.

My morning always starts with between 1-2 mugs of coffee with heavy cream. I almost never eat breakfast.

My work days pass with me drinking coffee laced with Atkins Chocolate Shakes. They are currently very affordable on Amazon – something like $15 for a 12-pack.

I also have a large glass of water with 4 teaspoons of psyllium husks.

Late in the afternoon I have 3 hard-boiled eggs. I do this in an attempt to feel full as I drive home past at least 50 fast food joints. (No, I haven’t counted, but it is probably close to that if you include supermarkets with takeout food, Chinese takeout, and Sushi places.)

This fails a lot and I typically get a meatball sandwich at Wawa (a local convenience chain with a cult following) or 3 double cheeseburgers at McDonald’s.

Evenings are random chaos. Sometimes I eat whatever is around. Sometimes I don’t eat because I ate on the way home.

What I typically DO regularly is drink about a liter of seltzer water from my Sodastream – I’d say I’ve had that thing for nearly a decade and it’s seen use most of that time. I guess that was one kitchen gadget that was worth the purchase.

I usually drink it with a lot of ice and lately I have been in love with the Target store brand version of MiO. They have an ‘Orange-Tangerine’ flavor. that has become my favorite (until I get sick of it).

I did give up drinking alcohol. Usually it was red wine. I stopped on July 4th. I have never lost weight while drinking alcohol despite numerous tries so I decided to ditch it. I’ve lost maybe 13 Lbs. since.

I have also been spending time on a number of the Facebook ‘Keto’ groups. I’ve got a few good recipes from them but there’s a lot of contradictory info – I pity the poor beginner starting there. I also have NOT been living ‘keto’ I have a higher carb count than 20 grams and don’t know yet if I want to go fully keto all the time.

I can say getting to 260 is a motivator. Let’s see if I can keep this up

Can You Get Into Ketosis While Drinking Alcohol?

As I decided to change my evil ways and give up bread and pasta, as well as all the other carbs that suck me in like a tractor beam, I knew my inner imp would not allow me to perform this feat which I haven’t been able to do for some time without *some* rascality along the way.

Because of this I decided to go through carb withdrawal while drinking copious amounts of red wine – 1 to 2 bottles a night. I didn’t track calories but would usually go through the day without much more than the fat from my coffee and cream in the morning and the use of Atkins shakes as a creamer in my coffee at work. There was a can or two of sardines in there as well.

At home, I would accompany the wine with something small. Maybe a piece of salmon the size of my hand with 2 tablespoons of butter. A chopped veggie salad with oil and vinegar. 10 breakfast sausages with ketchup. I did not count calories but aside from the alcohol (which is not a carb but does have 7 calories per gram, making it calorically dense) the amounts eaten were small and even the rare carby stuff like the ketchup and 2 mouthfuls of mac and cheese I had would not have put me out of a carb total for any given day well below 50 grams.

This worked extremely well in carb withdrawal. I seemed to lose my craving for carbs by the 2nd day in. I had 2 people at work discussing their prodigious eating over the weekend after I told them I started a diet and I said: “Thank you for telling me all this right after I told you I started a diet.”

“You’re welcome.” One said without missing a beat, and they continued.

I work with a tough crowd and certainly there was no maliciousness intended – busting chops is a sport where I work – a way of blowing off steam by busting one another. It is not for the faint of heart nor those ‘special snowflakes’ out there prone to being offended by ‘microaggression’.

We specialize in interpersonal microaggression as well as macroaggression, and striaght-ahead aggression.

It’s a game played with the unspoken rule that only people who have shown there are tough enough are allowed in the club. We’re not *trying* to make people cry – it’s to blow off steam and the easily offended are treated with the respect they desire.

The initiates do all they can to embarrass and annoy their fellow players. I’ve heard this behavior called ‘ranking’ or ‘the dozens’.

But the thing is: despite them talking about the great food they ate, and talking about ice cream runs while talking longingly of ice cream, it was as if these foods were an abstraction for me. None of this talk made me hungry or crave anything.

But I had my wine. I figured that ketosis nor weight loss would ever happen while drinking – I was just focusing on the carbs withdrawal first, which was going well.

Two surprises:

Surprise one – I got into ketosis by day 4 of this routine.

Surprise two – I lost 2 pounds by this time – and the weight keeps coming off.

Yesterday as I write I mixed things up a bit. I had cream cheese wrapped in chicken breast for breakfast, then American cheese and lettuce for dinner. I skipped the alcohol and had water with that MiO ‘water enhancer’ crap – I like the lemonade flavor.

This morning I was 270.8 – 6.6 pounds down in 6 days.

There’s much left to be desired in my eating patterns according to orthodoxy: I’m eating like a deranged person. The rules are still sketchy as I make them up as I go along, but at least encouraging patterns are emerging and evolving hopefully into something at least *somewhat* healthy (whatever that means) – though I can attest to the fact that I feel better – more energetic, clearer head, need less sleep – than when I was eating carbs like a normal person. Frankly, looking back, while my favorite carbs taste great going down, I felt poisoned afterwards.

As an aside, I have also passed the ‘pizza test’ – pizza got ordered last night and it didn’t register at all on my interest scale.

So in conclusion: can I get into ketosis AND lose weight while drinking too much?

Apparently so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I ate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That sounds a lot like me.