My Work is Done Here…

The chart above is from Google Trends, a nifty tool where anyone can go in and compare how popular search terms are. There are plenty of people typing stuff into Google all the time, so this is a pretty good reflection of how popular something is.

The red line is the search term ‘low carb’. Notice how the chart descends in 2004? That’s the last gasp of the ‘Atkins Craze’ – and right around the time I first went on a low carb diet. Low carb died just as I started losing weight. I used to go to the Vitamin Shoppe and get my Atkins shakes – they had a whole wall devoted to low carb products. For a while Costco was selling huge cartons of them and I bought my supply there, but then they stopped selling them.

I went back to The Vitamin Shoppe after some time and the shelves of low carb stuff were gone! I remember asking the guy behind the counter and he told me: “Yeah, that’s not popular anymore. The big thing now is the Perricone Prescription.”

Wait…wut? I’m not looking for another diet. The one I’m on is working fine. The Atkins Nutritionals – the company that manufactured low carb products after Dr. Atkins died – produced wonderful bread and bagels I could buy in my local supermarket. The price was unreasonable – but the stuff was good. About the same time all these baked goods suddenly had ‘Manager’s Special’ stickers and deep discounts.

I knew what that meant. I bought and freezed what I could.

They were soon gone.

In August of 2005, Atkins Nutritionals declared bankruptcy. I had also lost about 60 pounds on the diet and had no intention of chasing the next big thing. It worked for me, my bloodwork was better, and I felt great.

Meanwhile, I read somewhere that the unsold Atkins Shakes I could no longer find were being donated to food pantries.

It was dark times for Atkins dieters. There’s always people who revel in Schadenfreude when something that becomes big explodes – I’m one of them – but I had no intention of changing what was working for me. Atkins dieters went underground.

Low carb disappeared from the general discussion, was dismissed as a fad, and mostly forgotten – except for a small band of bloggers that kept persisting in the belief that this stupid diet still had merit.

And here’s a necessary shout-out to Jimmy Moore. While I have my issues with the gentleman, and he still remains controversial among many, he was the loudest voice in low carb circles for many years. (I found his KetoTalk podcast to be pretty good and listened to a lot of episodes last year.)

Gary Taubes also published Good Calories, Bad Calories in 2007. This was the type of book needed to reignite interest in low carb – but this wasn’t the book. It was not a good read at all. It was a struggle. I’ve listened to Gary talk and he’s quite interesting (you can listen here) – but this book was a slog.

I also started this blog with the original purpose to have a place to store recipes so I can get ingredient lists at work so I could pick up stuff to cook when I got home.

The same year I posted to this blog a post: Am I the Last Person on Atkins?

It sure felt like it.

So because I liked to write I just wrote – not caring if anyone read it, but I found that more people than I ever expected came and read and commented.

I liked the feedback and thoughtful comments and kept doing it – steadily – for most of a decade.

for the Internet, that’s almost unheard of.

Now let’s look at a second chart:

This is a chart showing my website traffic by month. I can take pride in the fact that – me – dumb little me – was able to get over one million views. I didn’t have to expose body parts, or actually do anything that interesting except share some mediocre recipes I invented or discuss something about low carb diets.

Not bad.

But you can see that it’s coming to an end.

With the rise of ‘keto’, there are now so many sources for recipes that my pathetic selection is a waste of your time.

And my commentary is old. So much has been spoken and written about the diet that much of what is here isn’t worth very much. There’s 500+ posts and I’m not sure more than a few dozen are worth reading today.

These days, the place I go to most for info on keto diets is Impulsive Keto. I don’t know who this guy is, but I like his thinking. (While his site is not that impressive, he really shines on Facebook – check him out there – join his Impulsive Keto Facebook group.)

I also have a tendency to ramble on. It’s not cool anymore. I am a TL;DR blogger to be sure.

I also *also* have little new to say because…well…there’s so many people talking about this subject that, well, what’s *left* to say?!?

I still follow a low carb/ketogenic diet and do not plan to change any time soon. I don’t always meet my goals but my target is always under 20 grams of carbs per day.

But the reality is that this blog is a bit of an anachronism. When nobody talked about low carb/keto diets, I was, and people came. Now everybody talks about it and my blog gets lost in the noise – and perhaps rightly so – because there are better sources of information than me.

So going back to the 2 charts above, you can see that people coming to my website dropped like a stone as ‘keto’ took off. That’s probably as it should be. There’s people way better at packaging this sort of information who get the search engine hits I used to get.

I’m OK with that. This was never about me trying to make a buck doing this. I was passionate about low carb when it seemed no one else was, I liked to write, and and it seemed other lost souls seemed to respond to the fact that someone else felt the same way they did about the diet. At best, I’ve had a tiny walk-on part in the history of low carb – and the money I got from the ads on this site over a decade where I wrote over 1,000 posts would pay for maybe a half-dozen casual dining restaurant meals (no bar tab) for my family.

I think I can say my mission is done. I helped keep the lights on for low carb. It’s come roaring back as keto and there’s some really good science that didn’t exist when I started.

I don’t plan on going anywhere, and might continue to post as the mood strikes, but I’d say my tour of duty is done.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I ate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That sounds a lot like me.

 

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

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

Kind of a lost day.

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

Uh-uh.

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

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

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