Keto Week 3 – Oh There It Is!

Finally got the big drop I always expect and look for in the first week. Keto and my body is a weird combination. I’m down 4 pounds this week, that’s 10.5 pounds so far since I started.

This is the easiest diet I’ve ever followed. I know that’s not the reputation keto brings, but for me, with all the other ridiculous extreme programs I’ve followed in my life, this is easy. I eat meat, full-fat dairy, veggies, whole eggs, nuts, and dark chocolate. Most of these have been off-limits to me on most other programs I’ve done. The only thing I miss is fruit, but when I’m missing fruit I just stuff a little more cheese in my mouth and I forget it pretty quickly. And eating in a restaurant is easy on this program. That’s not something that’s ever been the case on the other diets I’ve followed.

Keto isn’t my long-term plan, btw. I am very aware that eating like this isn’t going to be healthy for me long-term (colon cancer in a direct maternal line to me, I’m very aware). My plan is to follow keto long enough to drop the excess weight I’ve gained over the last 3 years, then transition to a healthier, moderate low-carb plan where I can eat more veggies and fruit on top of my healthy proteins and fats. In fact, over the last week I’ve been modifying my intake to include more fish and poultry and less red meat. Red meat was easy in the beginning, but I need to make it a once-in-a-while thing for me. Except for bacon, I eat that every morning with my eggs.

But that’s all getting ahead of myself. This week I’m just happy to have finally seen the kind of drop I was expecting at the beginning.

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Keto Week 2

This week I had some significant challenges – a weekend getaway to Medieval Fantasy Land (aka a weekend re-enactor event), for one. Which meant staying in a hotel, and possibly some challenging food pusher situations. Fortunately, I had a plan and executed it perfectly. It helps that I was having so much fun and so busy all weekend that I wasn’t even thinking of eating!

Although keto does allow for some alcohol – spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey, etc, and some dry wines, I elected not to drink any alcohol regardless. Even though everyone else was, it’s perfectly easy to drink club soda or other bubbly water in those situations where drinks are consumed. Mostly I just didn’t want to take the calorie hit and tempt fate with a migraine. I sort of failed because Sunday morning I did wake up with a migraine (fun hangover?!) but otherwise I don’t regret that decision at all.

Another thing my husband and I discovered is that Red Lobster doesn’t suck nearly as hard as they did the last time I was in one, well over 10 years ago, and they have lots of keto options!! Shellfish is a keto dream – lobster, shrimp, crab, dunked in some melted butter – boom keto dinner!

In fact, all around I find this an easy diet to stick to, the foods are tasty and I’m rarely hungry. Honestly, being able to go 6-8 hours between meals feels like a superpower. When I was doing low-cal/low-fat I had to eat every 2-3 hours or I got shaky and weak. It was kind of a constant hassle, having to eat so often.

Ok, I’ll quit stalling, this weeks results are: down 1.5 pounds.  Keto total (2 weeks): 6.5 pounds

(MFP thinks I’ve only lost 3 because I forgot to reset it when I restarted keto. pffft)

Pretty good! We are still in the “may just be regular body fluctuations” zone (hey, I have a big zone), but I am committed to giving this a fair try, at least a month or two. And this morning while I was exercising I was reminded of a great quote: “Success is a process, not an event.”

That can’t be right

You ever step on the scale and just go….No. That’s wrong.

I did it this morning. I’ve been back from vacation and doing keto again for four days now. This morning, just to check in and see how things are going, I got on the scale and it said I was down 8.5 pounds. No way, body, stop messing with me.

I mean, obviously that would be awesome, because I gained 6.5 pounds on vacation, and wiping those out plus another 2 would seriously make my day. And yeah, when you weigh yourself the day after a transcontinental flight, like I did Tuesday, you are always going to be retaining a ton of water. But…wow.

I am optimistic for the first time in a long time. Because keto is, right now, and maybe only today, doing the thing I was promised – fast weight loss, feeling energetic and good.

It’s the second part I’m most amazed by, though. The first time I did keto earlier this month I suffered badly from “keto flu.” This time…not so much. I felt a little headachey yesterday (regular headaches, not a migraine, and if you know my history of chronic migraines you know a little old regular headache doesn’t much faze me), a little tired in the evening, but that’s been ALL.

And for the last two days I’ve woken up at 6am full of energy to take on the world. I am back to my harder workouts – two days now of kickboxing workouts FTW! I’m still rebuilding my endurance, but having a body that feels like even trying at all is a huge improvement!

I expect my body to probably regain a bit by the time I check in again next week – that is water weight without a doubt that’s been coming off these last few days and things need to equalize a bit. But, good start, body! Let’s keep it up!

How Dare I?

I maintained this week. I expected a huge gain, like 4 pounds, but I was exactly the same. The reason I expected a gain is because I wasn’t counting calories and exercising to exhaustion every day, which my previous 14 years of experience had led me to believe is the only way to not gain. My new world is exciting and delightful.

I had two “cheat days” last week, because Saturday one of my best friends got married and I ate whatever I wanted, including two pieces of cake – with lots of frosting (OMG I LOVE FROSTING). But no gain.

I eat so much now that I start thinking I should cut back. One of my biggest pleasures, that was denied to me for so many years of my life, is nuts. I may have a pistachio problem. I eat pistachios like candy, piles of them. The sorts of volume that I would have trembled in fear at just 6 months ago. They, clearly, are not a problem for me following the new method. I don’t even fast much, I skip breakfast a couple of days a week and that’s about it.

What all this tells me is that if I did decide I wanted to drop some pounds it would be easy because I currently feel the opposite of deprived. I feel so satisfied, so sated, that sometimes I think maybe I’m abusing my privilege, or getting away with something naughty, by eating so deliciously. How dare I enjoy my meals and eating experience so much without gaining weight and beating myself up mentally? How dare I be so happy when there are starving dieters in America?

And yet here I sit, perfectly happy with my body, not willing to cut back to drop some pounds because I love myself just the way that I am. What the hell, seriously, HOW DARE I?

Week Three of the Code

Wednesday is my weigh-in day. I started finding daily weigh-ins frustrating, so once a week is good for me now. This morning I discovered two things. One, I’m down another pound and a half (that’s 10.5 pounds in 3 weeks) and two, my scale is garbage. My home scale will give you a different weight every single time you step on it, so I’ve decided to just go with the first weight I get and stop stepping on it more than once. I did it this morning out of curiosity, and now I know: My scale is unreliable. Since I don’t have anywhere else to weigh myself I’ll just have to look at it as a rough guide. I sometimes think I can see a difference in my body already, but 10.5 pounds on my frame is basically negligible so it could just be wishful thinking.

I also learned this week not to fast on a day I wake up with even the smallest vestiges of a migraine, because pain is infinitely increased by hunger, there’s a bit of a runaway-train effect. Both are magnified.

In migraine news, I’ve only had 2 non-alcohol-related migraines since I started this new way of eating three weeks ago. I would like to say I’m definitely not going to drink red wine anymore but jeez, how many times have I said that? It’s almost never worth the pain and yet I persist. Anyway, migraines seem to be down since I’ve cut out sugar, flour, and artificial sweeteners. Dammit.

My husband recently read my copy of The Obesity Code and the day he finished it he walked into the kitchen and threw everything with refined carbs in it out of our refrigerator. That’s teamwork, baby!

Grocery shopping has been interesting – our cart is full of fruits and veggies, meat, cheese, and eggs. That’s about it. We are making all our meals from scratch now and I’m, surprisingly, enjoying it. No more frozen Lean Cuisine lunches – the food I’m making now is much more tasty and filling.

One other thing I noticed – after the first couple of weeks, my urge to snack between meals has disappeared. My body has adjusted to the new schedule and no longer demands constant snacks throughout the day. Yes, I’m very hungry by the time dinner rolls around, but a normal amount of healthy food fills me up just fine.

And to replace diet soda and combat hunger on fast days, I’m making my own sodas now, using seltzer water, a squeeze of lime juice, pinch of salt, and a little cider vinegar. Sounds weird, but surprisingly tasty!

More Numeric Ruminations

Last week Trystan commented here that despite the number on the scale, I still do a healthy lifestyle better than almost anyone. I am hugely proud to hear that, but also it reminded me that people don’t just come here because I’m specifically keeping off 200 pounds (because I’m not), but for other reasons and living a healthy lifestyle may very well be one of them.

So, today I’m going to ramble about last week’s numbers. Last week I burned 3,780 calories in exercise. That’s well above the 2000/week recommended by a lot of programs – almost double, in fact. All that, and I even took Saturday as a rest day! How did I get there? Well, I could break it down and tell you that represents 305 minutes of activity (a little over 5 hours) that week. That’s an average of 12 calories burned per minute, but I don’t exercise in averages. A majority of my exercise was at a high intensity (running, kickboxing), which using my ballpark calculations I estimate at 14 calories/minute. The rest of it was at moderate or medium intensity (walking, yoga, weightlifting), which I ballpark at 8 calories a minute. These numbers are based on my weight and change when my weight does – when I weigh less I burn less per minute, when I weigh more I burn more. Most days I do 40-60 minutes of exercise.

I also did a great job last week at journaling my food intake (except Saturday which was unusual). I saw a steady downward motion on the scale – started at 224.5 on Monday morning and by Sunday morning I was at 221.5, excellent progress.

Yesterday I went for a long, hard run. I didn’t have anywhere to be, and the usual symphony of bodily complaints was at a mere whisper, so I decided to go for it. Not my longest route, but a portion of it which was 5.5 miles and included a serious hill in the middle. It is a steep, high hill and I don’t attempt it very often because it is HARD. But when I do attempt it I have only a single goal – to not drop into a walk on the way up it. That’s it. That’s the only thing I want to accomplish on that run. On Sunday I powered through and made it up the hill, then back down again. By the end my legs were burning pretty hard – not only a longer run than I have done all year, but a seriously strenuous section in the middle. That run took me about 90 minutes, and burned ~1260 calories. I took a long nap after that run. Yesterday I consumed approximately 1600 calories all day. Pretty good in/out ratio there!

So naturally, as you can imagine, I woke up this morning to the highest weight I have seen in years – 225. That’s right, running  shoots my weight up. Always. Running harder than usual will spike it higher than usual. That’s just how it goes. Maybe not for everyone, but always and without fail for me. At this point I’m just looking at the numbers out of objective, scientific curiosity. “Oh, huh, that’s a surprising number to see after yesterday. Wow. Body, you never fail to confound me.”

I started reading a new book I bought on Rianh’s recommendation last week, The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I’m about halfway through, so nobody spoil the ending for me (the butler did it, right? It’s always the butler!), but so far it makes a lot of sense and I am hoping there will be a “how to do this” section in the back, because I will probably want to give his ideas a try. What do I have to lose, other than all this fabulous and exciting fat?! I’ll keep you posted as I go.

Brain Games

I’ve noticed something interesting going on in my brain. It has to do with the scale. You guys know I have a fraught relationship with the scale. I try to get on it as little as possible. In fact, I haven’t been on it since November. I am trying to learn to maintain and manage my weight by eating healthy and exercising. I don’t want to spend my whole life on a perpetual cycle of weight gain followed by fast loss through a program. I want to eat naturally, not shakes and pre-packaged foods I buy from a weight-loss system.

What’s weird is that I’ve been doing this since 2003, and I still feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I still feel like I have no idea how to lose weight. I have lots of friends who know exactly what you should do to lose weight and will happily expound at length on The Answer for Weight Loss. It is, of course, whatever worked for them. The further I get with this whole thing the less I know for sure.

Anyway, the brain thing.

I try not to weigh myself too often, usually because I just can’t bear it. I don’t want to be on the constant merry-go-round of hope, fear, disappointment, elation…it’s too much. Just too much. I just want to live a quiet, maintained life with my weight. So I do my exercise – 40-60 minutes of vigorous, breathing-hard, sweating, red-faced, hard exercise 5-6 days a week. And I watch my intake – lots of fruits and veggies, portions that aren’t too big, the occasional indulgence (but not too much). And I don’t get on the scale until my brain freaks out.

That’s what happens. I go for a few months and then my brain freaks out and convinces me that I’m DOING IT ALL WRONG and I’m clearly enjoying food too much, my eating is out of control, I must have gained tons of weight enjoying myself and I AM A FAILURE. My brain completely freaks out. I get depressed because I suck at this and I’m gaining weight and failing and all my exercise is for nothing because I must have gained 10 pounds since the last time I got on the scale.

And my brain starts making me notice things I hadn’t before, which are a sure sign that I’ve gained a ton of weight. Suddenly my hips are present to me in a way they weren’t before. My belly looks bloated. My legs feel sluggish and large. Clearly I’ve failed and am gaining weight and I need to get control of all this before I’m back up to my highest weight ever. I moan about how bad I’ve been and  how much weight I must have gained and, always, my husband says, “You look the same to me. Are you sure you’ve gained weight, or are you just guessing?”

Darling. I’m just guessing. I can’t face the scale so I don’t, I just guess that things are bad because my brain is telling me I’m a failure.

So after a few days or weeks of this I decide it’s time to Take Things In Hand. I need to get on the scale, get a handle on just how bad things have become, and start working on losing whatever huge amount of weight I’ve gained since I’ve been enjoying food and out of control. So this morning, after weeks of my brain convincing me I’d gained 10-20 pounds over the holidays I gave up and got on the scale so I could quantify the problem in order to begin working on it.

Up a half pound since the last time I weighed in November. That’s within regular fluctuation range. I am maintaining, my weight is extremely stable. Everything is going fine, I haven’t gained anything over the holidays, my system is working. It’s my brain that’s disordered.

I need a better system for brain management.