Letting the cat out of the bag

So I decided to start – yet again – with an old standby: butter – lots of it – wrapped in roast beef. I made 4 or 5 of these tiny little wraps, wrapped them in foil, and brought to work. In my experience there is nothing like butter to accelerate ketosis.

I remember the other side – a place where carb cravings lessen, where hunger is not so persistent, where a sort of calm descends.

The problem is getting there. As I’ve written on before, the body’s conversion from burning carbs to burning fat can be a rocky one. I’ve done it more times than I can remember but I always feel the physical effects: headache, dizziness, at least. Also – while you’re actually in the midst of the conversion you still have full-on carb cravings – worse because if you have put little effort into curbing carbs prior (raises hand) – you are going to notice.

I started the day with coffee with Atkins Shake as creamer, then had one of my mini wraps as breakfast when I got into work. It tasted OK. I must admit part of my difficulty in restarting my diet has been perhaps a tiredness as to my food choices. Why have just a burger when a burger on a toasted bun is so much better?

As the morning progressed I found the need to ask a colleague a question and – somehow – the conversation turned to diet.

I told this person I had started a diet – and told them my goal was to eat a stick of butter today to get ketosis going.

I got ‘that look’. Very used to it – I expect it. The larger issue is: I owned up to being on a diet. I’m on the hook. It was unintentional, but now I have some social pressure to keep me honest.

Late morning I had 2 big tablespoons of psyllium husk in a large glass of water – horrible stuff unflavored and not ground fine – but I am very used to it. That was about as far as my plan extended – I really had nothing after that, which wasn’t good.

I eventually took a ride to the fancy supermarket down the road and got mortadella and cream cheese. No carbs to be found – and both are on a shortlist of what I’d call the ‘Protein/Fat Inversion’. Most foods – even most fatty foods have more protein than fat – but not these two – both of these have more grams of fat than protein per serving.

The deli guy gave me 2 slices of mortadella as I waited – I guess that’s lunch. I really should eat more like that. Small, high-fat, high-calorie portions that aren’t really all that high calorie in the end because you’re not eating that much.

While mortadella is not exactly a health food, I just need to keep the fat up to get over the carb withdrawal hump. Eating things I like will ease the cutover – then I might be able to apply some discipline and eat less processed fare overall.

(I’m beginning to touch on some of the psychological aspects of food that usually derail me but I’ll avoid a discussion on that now.)

I also ‘cracked open’ my copy of ‘The Fat Fast Cookbook‘ – a mercifully short to-the-point book on basically eating 90% of your calories as fat to jumpstart a low carb diet, with a bunch of recipe ideas. It’s a Kindle book and so it’s always handy as long as at least I have my mobile phone with me.

I had an afternoon coffee and discovered – damn! – they DID use my picture! 

Well, I have proven talented at using a mirror without looking at myself in the mirror. There’s a difference. I’ll have to do the same with this.

Evening was so-so. Got a pizza for the family and had a slice. Also had some vodka.

All in all – it could have been worse.

Some external events prompt another go

God am I ugly.

I’m married, in my 50s, and don’t need to get through life on my looks – but man!

I had my picture taken for professional purposes and it is awful. I almost can’t bear to look at it.

Apparently – neither can others. It was going to be used as part of a group of photos representing a team I am on, but it appears that my assessment of the photo – and my visage – is objectively correct: I’ve been dropped from the group and my photo is missing.

I’m quite happy about this. I have never been photogenic. I’m lucky if a good picture gets taken. I tend to freeze up when a camera is pointed at me, and my ‘photo smile’ makes me look like a half-wit.

The pictures capture this perfectly. Artfully taken by a professional, they capture all the reasons why a camera should never be pointed at me.

Now – you can’t cure ugly, but the ugly is made worse by the fat. I’ve had some success at addressing the fat issue before – and this photo might be that tipping point that leads me away from the Land of Fun Starches back to the Land of Low Carb Reason – a place I know exists. I’ve been there before. I’ve lived there. It was OK. No – I didn’t eat White Castle hamburgers there, but I did eat, didn’t starve, lost weight and felt better.

And I didn’t look like Jabba the Hut on a bad hair day.


Pigs Fly – Day 17

Thursday, July 21, 2016


266.8 at morning weigh-in.

Not the best of days. Did all right during the day – and part of the evening as well – having my burgers and cheese – which I don’t seem to tire of.

Went off the rails while watching part of the Republican Convention, having cheese, lettuce, and mayo on a slice of bread, the moppings of the hamburger grease on a half slice of bread, and ate way too much of a Lindt chocolate bar with blackberries that I got for Father’s Day.

I went to bed before the candidate spoke. Not all that interested.

Calories: 2645
Net carbs: 83g
Protein: 119g
Fat: 200g

Pigs Fly – Day 16

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Morning weight was 266.4.

The previous day ( which I did not have time to document) showed me at 1300 calories and 45 net carbs.

I think I can attribute a lot of my nearly 12 pound loss to portion control rather than low carb as I’ve been (on the whole) better at reducing the overall amount of food I’ve eaten than at choosing low carb foods.

For example: I ate a baked yam – no butter or other flavors added – at midnight as I had to work (don’t ask).

I have a sneaking suspicion that, at least for me, a small amount of carbs might be OK as long as I rigidly adhere to portion control – and portion control is easier without carbs because carbs make me hungry.

On this particular Wednesday I did the daytime in what is becoming the norm: coffee and Atkins shakes. This isn’t proving a big deal – I’m kinda used to it.

When I got home there were 2 hot dogs and cheese on a single bun, 1/2 peanut butter(!) and jelly sandwich on a single piece of bread, a fat slice of tomato. and a slice of Margherita pizza my daughter ordered.

A few glasses of MiO-flavored water also accompanied dinner.

The guesstimate for the day was:

Calories: 1350
Net carbs: 86g
Protein: 73g
Fat: 75g



Pigs Fly – Day 14

Monday, July 18, 2016

My weight this morning was 269.4. Not quite sure why – I’ll blame it on fluid retention.

Seeing the number still under 270 is nice – I’ve been unable to hold it there for very long since February.

It’s a small victory, I guess…

I woke early – before 4am – probably because my back was sore rather than any bursts of energy from a low carb day on Sunday. It was going to be a stressful week and out of the gate it lived up to every expectation.

I wasn’t myself, however. My brain was sluggish – or perhaps things were moving too quickly for me to keep up – I wasn’t the only one who seemed to feel this.

My day ended up being a long and stressful one. I didn’t get out of work until 7:45pm and a power line down made me take a detour so even with little traffic at that time I ended up home 8;45pm.

I ate nothing all that time except for coffee, atkins shake as creamer, and psyllium with water. I wasn’t feeling particularly hurgry nor out-of-sorts, but I did feel that I needed to eat something – althouugh part of me toyed with just going straight to bed.

When I got home I had the same from the previous night – 2 burgers, each with 2 slices of cheese topped with ketchup – though I bought the reduced sugar version to cut the carbs.

Ha! like that mattered! Mentally fatigued and physically tired, there was no controlling an urge for junk – especially when right in front of me. Someone had bought pound cake and I ate 3 slices. At this point I was so spent I don’t remember what else I had – a glass of milk perhaps? I also had a half bagel with butter.

The guesstimate for the day were:

Calories: 2900
Net carbs: 201g
Protein: 140g
Fat: 168g



Pigs Fly – Day 13

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I awoke at 4am with my stomach hurting. I drank 16 ounces of whole milk, which did make me feel somewhat better…for a while.

Then a sudden rumbling in my gut made me think it prudent to make my way to the bathroom.

Boy, was I right.

Whatever got into me wanted out – and it did so without decorum.

I went back to bed with my stomach still hurting and had a fitful sleep until about 10 am.

At noon I had the psyllium husks with water.

I was content until evening when I had 2 broiled hamburgers, each with 2 slices of American cheese with ketchup on top.

As a snack I had a cup of ricotta cheese with the EZ-Sweetz pure Splenda sweetener. I used to eat this when I first started low carb. I didn’t much like it now. It had almost a gritty texture.

Maybe not this go-round.


Calories: 1572
Total carbs: 63g
Net carbs: 53g
Fiber: 10g
Protein: 104g
Fat: 101g


Pigs Fly – Day 12

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I was 268 when I got up. I felt sick and dazed however. I’ve been fighting a chest cold and it knocked the stuffing out of me.

I went back to bed and slept until nearly 4pm.

I ate…something around then – i think it was leftover scrambled eggs and butter on a slice of bread – then some toast on rye bread with butter.

Then I snoozed again.

Later I got up and had some wine and cooked up some kielbasa with sauerkraut and had that on some more bread.

I stayed up until my daughters came back from a movie then went to bed.

Too wiped to tally, but I’d guess the calories were not too high though the carbs probably were.

Pigs Fly – Day 11


Friday, July 15, 2016

I woke early – typically what happens when I eat sparingly and low carb – and skip the wine.

The scale told me that I was 269.4. I’m OK with that – I have to be – there’s no arguing the scale.

People can change their diet and start exercise and take vitamins and probiotics and say they ‘feel great’ – but there’s few real hard measures. In comparison, the scale measures the Truth: does a particular diet work for me? It answers with a single number – no placebo effect to cloud the result.

I’m suspect of most magic potions that claim to do something. Snake oil is the main ingredient in an endless array of supplements that either claim to do something and do nothing, or worse, include ingredients that can make us sick.

I’m a student of history in this area and I’m reminded of what might be the best Wall Street Journal headline ever: ‘The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Fell Off’  – the true story of a wealthy gentleman who drank radium because in the 1920s it was believed that small doses of radium boosted the metabolism and increased energy. He drank so much of this stuff that his bones were dissolving towards the end.

The larger point was a lot of people believed this shit at the time! Me, I’ve spent a lot of my life reading and studying beliefs and delusions – I’ve been drawn to the subject all my life – and there’s very little I believe – especially in the areas of health and nutrition.

I believe my scale though. It provides an uncomplicated truth.

My day was the usual coffee and Atkins shake in the am, then I had a working lunch at work. I had 1/2 a roast beef sandwich with extra mayo and then 1/2 of a turkey breast sandwich where I took the bread off and sliced up and ate just the meat.

There was a birthday and the first choice was The Cheesecake Factory.

Dum dum DUM!

That is NOT a good place to go if you’re on a diet. I was trying to remember what they had that I might eat and word came in – we’re going to Season’s 52 instead.

I’m not a big fan of the place because it’s a restaurant FOR dieters. The portions, while flavorful, are small and calorie-controlled. It is also expensive.

I was *very* frazzled after work and had some wine before we left. My daughter drove. I had a martini when there and as a meal had the mahi tuna salad which runs 380 calories as well as a few pieces of their ‘flatbread’ – long flat breads with various toppings.

I didn’t have any birthday cake.

I love the carb Manager app as it uses some food list that seems way more comprehensive and accurate than the loseit! app. I was able to find the exact foods from the restaurant.

The totals for the day were:

Calories: 2317
Net carbs: 107g
Protein: 87g
Fat: 74g




Pigs Fly – Day 10

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I was of two minds when I awoke this morning. One mind told me to get back on the horse and restart the diet – no long-term harm was done.

The other voice had a much more compelling presentation: thank GOD that’s over! That diet-stuff is for the birds! You can eat whatever you want now that you got your diet attempt out of your system. The World’s your oyster – or Egg McMuffin, or pizza, or more KFC extra-crispy chicken.

I liked that second voice more but started the day listening to the first one. I stopped at the store to pick up a birthday card and did NOT get bologna and rolls and make myself some low-rent cheap-ass bologna sandwiches.

When I went to work there was a congealed piece of pizza left from the previous day’s pizza lunch. I’m not above eating day-old cold pizza – and warming it up in the microwave would make it better – but I resisted that, too.

Instead, I made my coffee – but while it was brewing I had to look at the pizza in the box. Looked fine.

I didn’t have it though and instead just drank my coffee and began the maelstrom of a workday.

Oh, and was it a day! What I do is come up with technical solutions within complicated systems to make new ideas that might never have been intended for these systems work – and have to do so very fast as requirements change at a moment’s notice. This is not how technology is supposed to work, but I’ve been able to develop a way to make it work this way.

I have a very difficult time describing what I do – and so does everybody else I work with – but they seem to need me.

What I do does hurt my brain, however, and today my brain hurt a lot. I said to someone only half-joking: ‘I’m going to have a panic attack.’ in a low sing-song voice.

When I left I planned to go to Trader Joe’s and get more wine. Of COURSE this was a necessity, I told myself – there is no way any human can deal with the stress without medication! I drove with this single-minded purpose.

Then something happened. I listen to either Pandora or Spotify on my phone and was listening to Pandora and it suddenly stopped. A minute or so later Spotify stated. Huh? I know they are competitors in streaming music for smartphones – but one figured out a way to stop the other and launch itself?

Spotify was playing music from some random channel I did not pick – and the music was good. It engaged my brain and calmed it.

By the time I got home I didn’t want the wine anymore – I was still unsure if I *needed* it, but I didn’t want it.

I went home and cleaned the kitchen and realized when done – near 8pm – that except for coffee, 1/2 of an Atkins shake as creamer, and a glass of water with the psyllium husks that I had not eaten.

I really think I could have avoided eating all together. I didn’t feel particularly bad nor hungry.

I didn’t think that smart to do, however, so I mixed up a can of Wild Planet Skipjack Tuna with 4-5 tablespoons of mayonnaise and topped with zero-calorie sweet pickle relish and ate with pork rinds.

I can’t say I enjoyed this. The last few times I had tuna I have not enjoyed it – I don’t know why. I’ve always loved it – it was a go-to food. Perhaps I just miss it on bread too much – I think I would have enjoyed it between 2 slices of cheap white bread.

I ate this while drinking a few cups of ice water flavored with the lemonade-flavored MiO flavor enhancer crap. I’ve tried most of the flavors but they all began to wear on me except for the lemonade flavor.

I finished up the day’s calories with an Atkins shake and went to bed where I read on the phone that over 70 innocent people got run over by some evil idiot at a Bastille Day celebration in France.

The world is burning and there’s nothing I can do – that was my thought as I fell asleep.

The totals for the day were:

Calories: 1300
Net carbs: 2g
Protein: 133g
Fat: 81g

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.