Week 1 of Keto

Can’t say I’m not disappointed. My results are not impressive – I lost 2 pounds for a week of effort and several days of feeling like utter and complete crap with the keto flu. In case you’re wondering, yes I worked the macros perfectly and was never once over on my target calories because I’m extremely disciplined and really good at dieting (20 years of practice, yo). I told y’all that my body was broken from decades of caloric restriction, and this is what that looks like. My husband lost 5 pounds. Usually the first week of a new diet one sees a big drop. If this is my big drop I am in for a very slow time.

Here are some of the keto resources I’ve been using, if you want to see your own very slow results (or if you’re a person with a functioning metabolism and you might get better results):

Keto In A Nutshell

Ketogenic Diet Food List

Carb Count Google Doc

Ruled.me Keto Diet Guides

So there you have it. I am going to keep working keto for a little while longer because, well, at least I saw SOME kind of drop, and I get to eat a lot of cheese and butter. My brain, which was raised in the 80s low-fat craze, is still marveling (and sometimes rebelling) at some of the things I’m encouraged to eat on this program, but my husband completely LOVES it so we’re going to continue.

And, well, I haven’t had any trouble feeling satisfied on a caloric deficit with this diet – usually I get to the end of a day and I think – wow, I’m 300 or 400 calories under my target calories but I have no urge to eat any more. I’m totally satisfied (although I still miss fruit) and that is a first.

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On My Way

I have successfully achieved ketosis. I know this because my sweet husband, who is doing the keto diet with me, ordered some ketone tester strips online and we tested our urine tonight and we are both in moderate ketosis. This is the goal of the diet, so I’m happy to have achieved the first step!

As for the diet itself… I really, really miss fruit. I am a fruit fiend so cutting all fruit out has been a challenge (I have just completed Day 3). OTOH, I can eat just about all the cheese I would ever want, bacon and eggs every morning for breakfast, olives, sour cream, avocados…all the stuff I had to avoid for the last decade-plus.

But there is one thing I need to tell you. The “keto flu” is a real thing, and it is not messing around. The listed symptoms at the link are, “feeling drowsy, achy, nauseous, dizzy, and irritable.”  Yep, that’s been me the last two days. I got some electrolyte solution (Electro-Mix) and drank some today and I’m feeling a bit better tonight. I’m not sure if that’s because the electrolytes were what I needed, or I was just coming to the natural conclusion of the keto flu anyway. I’ll see when I wake up tomorrow, I guess. Yesterday and today when I’ve been feeling so bad I’ve only had 30 and 40 minute yoga sessions in me. I’m hoping to get back to something a little more intense, hopefully tomorrow or the next day.

I’ve been promised tons of energy and not feeling hungry, once I’ve passed through this initial crummy phase. I’m looking forward to that and hoping it’s all true.

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

I thought I was all done getting up. These last few months have been a disaster for me, mentally. I finally broke down a couple of weeks ago and accepted that the ~30 pounds I’ve gained (despite all my frantic, desperate, constant efforts) over the last 3-4 years is not going to come off again and bought myself some jeans at the Fat Lady Store. I haven’t shopped at the Fat Lady Store for around 14 years. It is a huge defeat for me to have to shop there again. But acceptance is the eventual result of the grieving process. Also comfortable jeans for the first time in about 15 years is weird.*

Last month I made a push again – watched my portions, avoided sugar, exercised an hour a day. Gained 2 1/2 pounds. When I say my metabolism is shot, this is what I mean. It’s astoundingly demoralizing to be stuck in this body. All my efforts seem to be for naught anymore.

So I’m surprised as anybody to find myself saddling up the ol’ diet-plan horse again and giving it just one more try. My friend Angie has convinced me to give keto a try. It’s true – in a lifetime of dieting I’ve never done keto, mostly because it seemed so complicated. I can count calories all day long, but having to also count fats, carbs, and proteins is like uhhhnngggggg so much work! But she sent me a bunch of resources for keto how-tos and it seems worth a try. Basically, eat meat, green leafy veggies, and fat. So I adjusted My Fitness Pal to the right ratio of Goals, and I’m giving it a shot. I know so many people that have had success with it, so why not me?**

Today is Day 1. I’m keeping it simple for now – veggies, meat, fats. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch. For dinner we’ve got salmon and some broccolini. And cheese if I need a snack at any point. Curious to see how this plays out. I am hopeful for the first time in a long time. But guardedly so.

 

*It’s a fact. The entire time I’ve been a standard size I’ve been completely unable to find comfortable jeans. Fat Lady jeans probably have more give in them or something. They’re just more forgiving.

**This may be when we discover that my metabolism is truly, irredeemably shot. That’s always a possibility. That would be the possible why not.

The Downill/Upward Slide

I haven’t posted in a while. My weight has been stable, I’ve been doing 24-hour fasts one or two days a week. I didn’t regain the 9 I lost when I did the 4-day fast, which makes me think it was real fat I lost, not just water.

I’ve also been struggling with loathing my body. I want to love my body, I just have SO much baggage – a whole lifetime’s worth.

This morning I went for a run and I was trying to focus on thinking about my entire journey, not just the last 10 years. Because over the entire arc of my life, things are looking pretty good. Over the last 10 years, I am NOT happy. Since I passed 40 it’s been a long downhill (or rather upward) trajectory. I gain weight and nothing I try seems to change it.

Yet, if I consider where I started (weighing ~400 pounds) I should be ecstatic – I’m still keeping 175 pounds off! I just want to be 25 pounds down from where I am. But nothing I do is working, now that I’m 43 my body simply won’t tolerate further attempts to lose. I’m tired of it all.

I do wonder if other people who have lost massive amounts of weight hit a similar wall. I think it’s hormonal. I wonder if others in my boat have a similar situation where they are able to maintain a huge loss for 10+ years but then once they hit 40 (or 50, or whatever their personal limit is) and suddenly the hormonal changes take hold and nothing they do can keep them from gaining a certain amount. At least I appear to be holding the line here where I am (for now). Maybe evolutionarily speaking, holding 25 extra pounds is something my body needs to do at this age? It doesn’t seem right to me, but there are so few people in my situation that it’s hard to have any basis of comparison.

Extended Fasting – 4 Day Fast

(aka: I continue to experiment on me)

So this week I tried extended fasting. I did a 4 day fast. Here’s how it went weight-wise:

Day 1 weight: 228.5

Day 2 weight: 223.5

Day 3 weight: 220.5

Day 4 weight: 219.5

On day 4 I broke my fast and ate a very reasonable dinner of beef kabobs, asparagus, caprese salad, with some nuts and cheese as an early appetizer (to break my fast slowly) and a square of 85% chocolate for dessert. I expected to gain back some weight as I went off the fast and my liver re-started glycogenesis and began storing more water for it.

Day 5 weight: 219.5.

Didn’t regain. Yet.

It wasn’t impossible, I just didn’t eat after dinner Sunday until dinner on Thursday. I was promised all sorts of things about how the fasting experience would go and those were mostly lies.

  1. They say that after day 2 the hunger goes away. NO.
  2. They say that after day 2 as your brain transitions to running on ketones you get amazing mental clarity and focus. NO.
  3. They say you get tons of energy as your body starts pumping up adrenaline and growth hormone. NO.

Basically, I didn’t get any of the benefits that are promised from extended fasting, other than weight loss. And I still expect that I will gain back a bit of that.

I eagerly awaited the loss of hunger and increase in mental clarity I’ve been assured would kick in on day 3, however day 3 was the WORST hunger yet – late in the day I felt weak and shaky, and day 4 was also bad for hunger, to the point where what I’d intended to be a 5 day fast was cut short. This being my first attempt at extended fasting I didn’t really know how long I’d last, so aiming for a 5-day fast was pretty arbitrary. I will say I noticed a slight increase in mental focus – on food.

So, IDK if all those promises about hunger going away and mental clarity are just pretty lies ginned up to get people to give it a try, or if for people with normal metabolisms (mine is NOT) that actually happens, but it sure as hell didn’t happen for me.

During the fast I consumed water, coffee, tea, cider vinegar sodas (soda water plus cider vinegar and a pinch of salt), and bone broth (only on days 3 and 4 when I finally got it made…hmmm, wonder if that was actually contributing to my hunger instead of helping?)

I’m pleased with the loss, but I recognize it may have been largely water. I am not sure if I will try it again. If you are feeling the urge to come into the comments and freak out on me about fasting please go read about it first, because there is tons of literature about it and it’s not dangerous for otherwise healthy overweight people – quite the opposite. Further updates as events warrant.

(More) Stuff That Doesn’t Work

Here I am, back for another episode of “Shit That Doesn’t Work For Me.” Since I have the most recalcitrant body I am aware of (due to years of low-cal, low-fat dieting – learn from my fail!) I have more things on my list of “shit that don’t work” than anybody I know. This week’s installment: Intermittent Fasting.

Tried that, along with a low-carb diet. I tried 24-hour fasts 2-3 days a week and got no results, so I thought I’d give “eating once a day” a try, so basically for two weeks I ate once a day at dinner time. It was hard, but I managed because I thought it would work for me.

The first week I lost 6 pounds!

The second week I gained one of them back!

FML.

So we’ll just add that to the list of things that don’t work. No fucking way I’m doing that ANOTHER week only to find I’ve gained again. It’s too hard to do, to be seeing a gain already.

I’m trying something new this week. I’m not ready to talk about it, but give me a few weeks and I may be back with another installment of shit that doesn’t work. Or maybe I’ll have finally found the thing that works for me. All I know is I can’t stay where I am right now. In any case, please don’t invite me to do food-based socializing for a while, while I sort this out.

The new reality

Down half a pound this week, which is basically within the margin of error and/or negligible. So this is my new weight, I guess. After gaining 9 pounds in a week last time, I’ve basically come to a conclusion:

I don’t know shit about weight management.

The longer I’ve been working at this (and we’re up to, uh, about 15 years now?) the less I seem to know. The things that worked initially no longer work for me, and the things I used to do I can’t anymore. So I don’t bloody know.

Laurie made a point last week that is, maybe, a ray of light. She pointed out that I completely changed my way of eating, and didn’t gain anything. Which, if you factor out the weight-suppressing medicine I was on for the last four months, it’s true – my weight now and the weight I was at prior to starting (then stopping 2 weeks ago) that drug is exactly the same (maybe down half a pound). So in the end, the Obesity Code rules are at least helping me to eat in a way that I enjoy more and feels less deprived, which on its own is a good change in my life. Regardless of my body and it’s ongoing lifelong constant rebellion against my brain and what I want.

The eleven pounds I thought I had lost following the OC program were actually due to the medication I was on. That’s been quite a blow, as I thought I had found something that worked for me, finally. I had, it just wasn’t what I thought it was, and it’s something I can’t do long-term (take a drug that causes me more migraines). I don’t want to talk about weight and diet right now.