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

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

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

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

Me – I achieved my week 1 goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Weight: 265.8

Blood Glucose: 77

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

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

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

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

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

Then I took a nap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Year’s Dilemma

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

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

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

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

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

What I ate

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Some random stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got to take this day by day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Absolutely not.”

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Does my posting matter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So let’s get on with this – shall we?

Setting Some Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Revenge of the Red Snapper

He was a handsome red snapper, eyes bright, that committed the crime. He had a somewhat startled look on his face, as if to say: “What the hell happened?!?” He had reason to ask this, of course – he was dead, and on the command of my wife he had his guts pulled from him. He didn’t care about that part – being dead removes these sorts of concerns from a fish’s mind – but this never-sentient, now non-being, would exact revenge for my wife’s rendezvous with the fish monger.

There was no grand gesture he could make to get back at us for his life being taken as he lie wrapped in paper in our shopping cart, but he could get us in a dozen different ways. The first occurred at the checkout: $15.44 it would cost us to cart his dead body home.

The second insult he perpetrated on us was the leakage of his fish fluids on our vegetables. You can’t rinse that off and put away your salad greens after – it meant cooking up something with the vegetables impromptu, and because it was impromptu, it went uneaten. From the pulling out of the sautée pan, the chopping board, the spices and the oil, the chopping, sautéing, then storing in a dish in the fridge, the cleaning of the board, the pan, and the utensils, and the eventual tossing of the uneaten vegetables a week later and the cleaning of the storage bowl all likely added up to probably $8 in wasted food thrown away and an hour of a human’s life for all that taking out, cooking, cleaning, storing & tossing.

Well played, red snapper, well played.

And he wasn’t done yet.

He was bought without a plan – which fit neatly into his. He was ours because we felt he’d be a meal ‘some time during the week’ but his arrival in the house without immediate utility meant that he would have to compete for space in our overcrowded fridge, and since dead red snapper have lost all of their competitive nature, we would have to take on the challenge.

He was a leaker – we already knew that, so we took extra care to wrap him in a plastic bag and find him space on the lower shelf, where competition was fierce. He ended up as bedding for a carton of eggs and when we finally found him a home, he was promptly forgotten as he had hoped.

A fresh red snapper is excellent broiled with some ginger and scallions with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. The simple preparation brings out the delicate flavor of the fresh fish. Not so the less-than-fresh red snapper – as ours proceeded into with each subsequent day he was forgotten in the hustle and rush of typical weekday.

Now, way past his prime – not yet foul but not still able to wear the label of ‘fresh’ – he was discovered late in the week during a random rummage. This was perfect for our snapper’s plan for revenge. He was still too good to just straight toss and this would be his grand finale of destruction and revenge for our pescetarianism.

It was thought that he might not be a smart candidate for a light broil due to his age, but he might fare better as part of a fish soup, cooked a little more thoroughly. Out came the soup pot and the cutting board, some complimentary vegetables, and the prep and cooking time needed to make our sunk-cost fallacy – and the snapper’s revenge – complete.

The kids and the husband wanted nothing of Mom’s impromptu fish soup made from fish rescued from the trash, so they ate leftovers. Mom had a bowl, but that left a pot – a huge pot – on the stove. There was no room for it in the fridge so it took up residence on the stovetop with a lid on it – and was forgotten again.

Only when Mom walked in from work two days later and said: “What’s that smell?” Did we realize that the snapper had begun to exact the most fragrant part of his revenge – saving the best for last. Getting rid of a large pot of ripening fish flesh is like dealing with nuclear waste – one must carefully think through the options or the cleanup could be worse than the problem you are trying to deal with.

We removed enough dishes from the sink so as to allow us to pour the remainder of the soup into the food disposal and with a whir and a run of water, he was gone, though we needed to throw a lemon in there to get the fish smell out of the disposal.

There was still the pot to be dealt with, however. The red snapper had left a portion of his skin on the pot-side like an inner-city gang tag spray-painted on a random wall – he would not let himself be forgotten that easily. It was late and the pot seemed too much a task to clean, so it was filled with hot soapy water and left to sit.

And it sat. Having no established kitchen cleaning rules except ‘somebody is going to have to clean that up!’ means that the family plays a game of ‘kitchen-chicken’: while the utensils become less and less and cooking pots scarce, the sink fills more and more, arguments ensue about who is the biggest culprit in filling the sink. The blamestorming and finger-pointing can continue for days while the cups and utensils get further depleted and tensions build. This particular week was particularly contentious because of the black pot of now-fermenting snapper, now with a slight lavender scent from the soap detergent, that awaited the first person to blink in the high-stakes game of: ‘who’s going to clean the kitchen?’

Dad played the ‘sick’ card having been actually sick – why not use it to his advantage? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade – right? But no one else did it either. Dad started feeling better and the kitchen began to drive him nuts, so he blinked and began to clean.

He saved the pot of the end. It was omnipresent while Dad cleaned around it, and dreaded the entire time. A half-measure was taken: drain out the fermenting water that had been soaking up the fish remains for 2 days and replace it with fresh water and soap. This bought some time, but then the showdown came – and it consisted of Dad sticking his arm in the pot and scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing the fish skin off the side of the pot. It did not want to leave. The fish laughed. Dad scrubbed. After what seemed like a few hours, elbow grease and scalding hot water finally yielded a clean pot.

The snapper was finally gone, leaving in his wake two containers of mostly wasted food, innumerable dishes and utensils to clean, pots to scour, fish remnants to toss in the trash, a fishy lingering smell in our kitchen, hours of human life taken never to return dealing with the results of his revenge, and probably a total of $25 for 1 bowl of old fish soup.

Next time I’ll recommend the wife have a bologna sandwich instead. Who says convenience foods suck?

The April Fool: Day 7 Continued

I got up late – most likely due to the fact that I woke up choking in the middle of the night. Ugh. I also felt like merde. My breakfast of black coffee didn’t seem to bother me much – my body is far too used to this to consider it abuse – in fact, I sometimes find black coffee *settles* my stomach – but I don’t know how THAT works.

Lunch was a Fage yogurt with EZ-Sweetz and by then I felt a heck of a lot better. Not 100%, but not like I did when I rolled into work. Mid afternoon I felt a slump coming on and treated myself to Dunkin Donuts coffee with cream – of course I always get the largest container they have.

Late afternoon was 3 pieces of American cheese and 2 hard-boiled eggs with ketchup.

At home we had a friend over and my wife had ordered pizza. I came in a bit late after having to detour to the high school to pick my daughter up from practice. I said my greetings, avoided the pizza and garlic knots with mariana dipping sauce and went for my oldest avocado. I mixed it up with some salsa and sour cream and sat down with them at the kitchen table next to a plate of my younger daughter’s half-eaten pizza and knots and ate my dip with chip.

My friend knows of my – ahem – peculiarities – in eating but it came into the forefront because I was sitting there eating like this in front of him for the first time.

“So what do you eat?”

“Well, I tend to eat a lot of fat. I feel better this way. I try to get 70% or more of my diet from fats.”

“You avoid saturated fat, right?” He smiled.

“Oh no – I eat plenty of saturated fat.”

His smile froze. He was born and raised in France and is one of the nicest and most gracious people I know, and he wasn’t going to be impolite and tell me that I was insane.

“Saturated fat isn’t actually all that bad for you, its seed oils like sunflower oil and peanut oil that you find in most processed foods that contain way too much Omega-6 that I believe is bad for you.”

“So I suppose you don’t eat a lot of nuts.” He offered.

“Well, some nuts are worse than others. I avoid peanuts but I eat macadamias. It depends on the nut. I drink almond milk, which isn’t that bad. I really can’t eat the way most people eat – I feel awful and get fat doing it.”

I then said: “I suppose you can call me a food faddist. Yes – my diet is a bit extreme. But before I ate this way I was 265 pounds. I ate this way and lost 80 pounds – and the only reason I’ve gained weight is because I DON’T always eat like this.”

“Look at me.” He said. “I eat whatever I want.”

“You are a product of a culture that always ate freshly prepared whole foods. You’ve always been athletic. You moderate your intake of sweets. this stuff was ingrained into you from childhood. I lived in a culture where you grab a box of processed crap, add water, microwave and you have Mac & Cheese. 30 years of you eating and living your way left you thin and fit. 30 years of eating my way left me metabolically-damaged.”

“I’m not telling you to eat the way I do.” I continued. “You’re fine. Me – I eat they way I eat and avoid a host of problems.” I then told him this story that I wrote but never became a blog post but now it is.

I go to the grocery store and the woman at the checkout asks if I’ve ever tried the grass-fed frozen beef I’m buying. I tell her no, and say that I sometimes buy the grain -fed organic. She answers: “I *only* eat grass-fed.” For the brief time it took for me to check out, we found common ground in keeping grains to a minimum, shared a laugh over one of her fat-phobic customers, but differed on whether low carb is ‘going too far’.

In work, a pair of perpetual dieters do the low-calorie, low-fat diet and exercise. Not being one of ‘them’, I diet alone. Lean Cuisines and low-fat yogurt populate the fridge at work, brought in by others who keep their dietary habits more mainstream.

On a business trip, at dinner, the person to the left of me told us they were a vegan raw foodie who ate whatever they wanted when they traveled, but at home lived on vegan paleo smoothies. A strapping, handsome guy – it apparently suits him well. The person across from me was into Crossfit, the exercise cult, and was being pressured to go full-blown Paleo but was only doing it part way, to the chagrin of her trainers.

To the right of me was a fellow who ‘ate meat only when offered’ and said he ate a lot of hummus.

My wife inundated me with daily diet tidbits from her social network, apparently filled with people beginning to feel their age and catching glimpses of the spectre of death for the first time: “if you avoid/eat X you’ll live 20 years longer.” She’ll say sagely.

On the phone with a colleague I noticed her speaking about 30% faster than normal. I didn’t recognize her voice initially and told her.

“Oh, I’m doing a cleanse and it must be the energy shake I take every morning.”

Maybe it’s me, but it seems like everybody is following – or trying to follow – a diet routine chosen somewhat haphazardly or even randomly – a friend recommended it, Dr. Oz recommended it, or they just cherry-picked a bunch of rules and rolled their own diet.

The French culture has a healthy relationship with food for the most part. My friend never *had* to think about these things because the habits he was raised with are by their nature healthy and come to him without much thought.

“You mentioned you have a blog – what is the name?”

Now I got uncomfortable.

“I keep it anonymous. This way I can write freely. I wouldn’t be able to write it if people I knew read it – it’s an experiment in authenticity. It’s really a sort of private diary that I should probably keep to myself but instead I post it.”

“It’s really quite boring.” My wife chimed in.

“It is.” I agreed. But people still come. There are a lot of little niches out there and some people – especially people trying a low carb diet – find this stuff interesting.”

“I think it is also somewhat voyeuristic.” My wife added. “People like to look into the lives of other people.”

“That’s true. People have admitted that to me. But I also get comments about how a particular post resonated with them, or how my blog keeps them going on their own diet. Because I post frequently, Google is very kind to my blog and people who are starting low carb stumble across mine. One post I dashed off years ago has gotten 70,000 hits – some famous authors haven’t gotten that many people to read their stuff in times past. This year I am on track to have 750,000 page views.”

Thankfully, the subject got dropped about this time and we moved on to other topics. As I might have mentioned before, my anonymity is important to me. If I know my friends were reading this I would censor myself – and there would be little point in continuing. Discussing my waking with GERD the other day is TMI for my circle of friends. Unlike most miscreants, I don’t use my anonymity to be an idiot to other people – I use it to express myself without the burden of my public persona. If you think about it, this is how it was for the vast majority of writers even 50 years ago. Few people would ever tie them to their work. Even using their real names, they had an expectation of anonymity for the most part.

Today with the Internet, maintaining an Internet presence becomes a part of your public persona. Before you go on a job interview, the HR person is going to Google you. I think this has led to a very great loss: the pursuit of unattractive authenticity. Honest, deep feelings get left on the cutting-room floor because we need to meet certain societal norms. To some extent we’ve become an Internet of ‘posers’ and are constantly warned through stories about people posting honest opinions that sometimes there is a price to pay for honesty.

It’s why I hate Facebook: my friends – who are my friends because I felt a deep connection to them – seem like cartoon cutouts of their real selves. There’s a community pressure to conform and breaking this means you can be forever typecast, labeled, and once labeled, discarded. Labels are a way of drawing conclusions and moving on. You become: ‘the lady ow always posts cat pictures’ or ‘the guy who posts bible quotes’. All the rich complexity that is ‘you’ disappears and you become as deep as a minor character in a bad sitcom.

All that aside, after our friend left I ate a bit of the cheese my daughter pulled off her pizza and went to bed to read.

It sucks not having pizza. It sucks not eating the raspberry ice cream my daughter left on my nightstand – but I felt a hell of a lot better by the end of the day than I did at the beginning.

And that truth would not be posted for those of you who find value in it without my anonymity.

Low Carb Confidential is 6 Years Old

It would have passed without notice but I got a notification from WordPress – the nice people who host this blog – that I have been cluttering the Internet with my navel-gazing and filling search engines with useless search results for 6 years now.

With the passing of time and over 500+ posts, I think it’s time for a bit of a cleanup.

As with 500 of anything, some stuff here is better than other stuff here – and it can be quite hard for find the gems among the thought-turds I’ve dropped across the span of 6 years.

So I am going to begin a cleanup.

Little-by-little, I am going to do some spring cleaning, which might make this blog a better resource for folks looking for information – or maybe just a semi-entertaining read. It also give me a chance to see how I’ve changed and grown over the years.

And this reflection might also be the source of new posts. My thinking on low carb has surely evolved over the 10 years I’ve been plugging away. I’ve done a lot of experimentation, failed a lot – and learned a lot.

As well as most likely forgotten some things I perhaps should remember again.

This blog is a constant surprise to me. I had only the goal of keeping recipes online so I could review them at work and maybe stop at the grocery store to pick up some items on the way home, and I assumed that I would be the only visitor.

It somehow morphed into this.

I’m as curious as you might be to see what happens. As always, it will be without an overarching plan, timelines, or direction.

Same as it ever was.