Water Weight

It has been ten days.  I have lost 5.2 pounds.  That’s not bad.  I often read newbie’s posts on Facebook groups and ketogenic diet forums stating that they lose 6-10 pounds in three days, but then they are so upset that after those first few days the numbers on the scale are not steadily dropping or that they are both rising and falling.  This is frustrating, I know.  The good news is, it evens out.

 

The thing is, the first few pounds you lose on a keto diet, as well as a conventional low-fat high-carb diet, is water weight.  Losing water weight is not a bad thing.  Don’t let anybody make you think that it is, or even that it’s insignificant.  In fact, it is a good thing, and it’s important.  Your body is constantly adjusting to electrolyte concentrations and pH levels.  It uses stored fluid in order to manipulate these controls.  Normally, on a high-carb diet, glycogen stores require a lot more water in order to sustain them.  On a ketogenic diet, you barely have a need to maintain your glycogen stores because you are virtually eliminating glucose from your diet.

 

You can expect a certain amount of weight variations throughout the course of your diet, as well as through the rest of your existence.  Your body is just doing what it needs to do in order to survive.

weight-progress

 

Chart courtesy of DietKeto.com

 

My advice: ditch the scales.

 

I have learned, through trial and error (especially over the previous 14 months), that one of the most frustrating elements to weight loss is relying too much on the number on your scale.  The scale is one of my boulders.  I recognize that it is a necessary evil in order to evaluate your progress, but fixating on it is not going to do you any good.  I have decided to keep my scale in the closet.  I will be digging it out every 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month to track my progress.  That is it.  I weighed myself on the first, but that was just to get me started, and then I will do so again in March, because there are not enough days in February.  You get the idea.

Keto Flu

I have experienced keto flu many times.  That’s my own fault, because I have fallen off the wagon so much this past year.  It is definitely real.  Many keto newbies aren’t prepared for it, and this causes them to lose faith in this way of eating.  They don’t understand that it is temporary.  It is also different for everybody.

 

Some symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches, diarrhea…. Pretty much traditional flu-like symptoms, and then on top of that muscle cramps and mental fogginess.  Not everyone experiences all of these, and not everyone gets through them as quickly as others.  My keto flu symptoms consisted of fatigue, headaches, mental fogginess, and diarrhea.  Luckily, I haven’t had the muscle cramps or nausea.  I also did not start experiencing them until between the third and fourth day.  As of now, I am pretty much past it.

 

There are different ways to handle the keto flu.  Some people jump in head first and reduce their carb intake as directed (usually to no more than 50g).  Other people gradually adjust in increments of 10g.  Either way is okay.  Personally, I dove in head first.  I didn’t know if adjusting my carbs gradually would induce keto flu symptoms each time, and I just didn’t want to take that chance.  Plus, I really wanted to see weight loss results, and I thought a gradual reduction would slow that process.

 

It also recommended that you increase your intake of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.  Some people will also include bone broth into their diet.  This will help to balance your electrolytes and will perhaps minimize your keto flu experience.  I just add more sea salt to my foods and take a magnesium supplement.  As far as potassium goes, I have been taking that per prescription due to my heart condition.

 

Keep in mind that everyone experiences keto flu differently, but it will pass.  Do not let keto flu be a boulder to your health and weight loss goals.  A few days of adjustment is a small price to pay for a lifetime of happiness and good health.

No More Joe

Joe was a boulder.  Our relationship was purely one-sided.  I never liked coffee.  I only used it for the cream and sugar.  I had been thinking about the things that were positive to my weight loss efforts in the past, and I had remembered that during one of my first visits with Dr. Barry Mennen  I was asked if I drank coffee.  At the time I did not.  He told me to keep it that way.

I eventually strayed from that advice, and picked up a cup of coffee one cold morning in the break room at work.  It was innocent enough, I suppose.  But it naturally led me to seeking it out every morning afterwards (and then, consequently, mid-morning, afternoon, and evening).  I was hooked, but was never a true coffee lover.  I literally had to have it half and half – half coffee, half cream, and tons of sweetener.  I didn’t use the handy coffee creamer singles, as tempting as all of the delectable flavors were.  I was following the keto plan and brought my own real heavy whipping cream.

I decided to quit coffee for a couple of reasons.  Number one being my love of the creamer and sweetener.  I know that I never counted any of it toward my caloric intake, but I also never really considered it bad for me because of the low carb content.  However, if you drink enough of it, it can add up quickly and should not be overlooked.  The second reason, but the most important reason, is due to my heart condition.  Recently, I received a call from my cardiologist.  I have cardiomyopathy and an implantable defibrillator.  My readings for the day get transferred every night to my cardiologist’s office.  Apparently, I had been having really fast heart rate readings that were lasting a very long time.  As my cardiologist explained to me, any longer and I would have received a shock.

It’s been a week now that I have not had any coffee.  I had a headache for the first couple of days, but lately I have been doing pretty well.  And I’m sleeping a little better.  I thought about it this morning, and exactly why I quit, as I was wiping down the now-impractical Keurig machine in the corner of my counter space.  I really don’t know whether or not caffeine is beneficial to weight loss.  There is always some new report stating one way or the other.  Dr. Mennen obviously thought not.  We’ll see.

Day One

How many times have I done Day One this past year?  Too many.  I belong to a couple of Facebook groups that concentrate on ketogenic dieting.  All of these groups advise to follow a formula that is based on calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake.  In my own experience over the past year, weighing, measuring, and calculating has not gotten me very far – only frustrated with slow weight loss and continuous tweaking of my macros (carbs/protein/fat).  I have decided to do some things differently than the prescribed regimen.

 

I am going to go back to my old way of dieting.  I first learned of this way of eating from Dr. Barry Mennen.  My daughter’s best friend had been seeing him and having much success with her weight loss.  She gave me his number and I made an appointment.  Dr. Mennen spent so much time with me, explaining to me how insulin works and its role in fat production.  He gave me a list of food to eat, food not to eat, told me to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, drink lots of water, and do not snack.

 

I looked at the foods not to eat.  I remember feeling devastated – bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sugar, sugar, sugar… It all added up to sugar in the end.  But I put on my big girl panties and started his plan the very next day.  I did everything he instructed.  The pounds began to melt off: 15 pounds the first month, 15 pounds the second month.  I could not believe it.  And I could not believe how good I felt.  Admittedly, there was medication involved.  It was a combination of fluoxetine and phentermine.  It helped to curb my appetite and give me energy.  After about 4 months, my dosage began decreasing and after about six months I no longer needed the medication.

 

I had learned enough about this way of eating that I was able to continue losing weight, and after a good 8 or 9 months had lost 70 pounds.  I maintained that weight for over two years by continuing to eat the way I had learned.  People kept telling me that I looked as if I was still losing, and although the scale said otherwise, I was continuing to buy smaller clothes.  What was I doing so differently then than what I had been doing this past year?  Calculating macros.

 

Before I get backlash for deviating from the ketogenic plan, this way of eating does not work the same for everyone.  This fact is stated in every book I’ve read and on every ketogenic Facebook group that I belong to, and based on posts from other members, this is true.  Tracking the food you eat and counting macros is encouraged, and it may be useful for me to do that if I get into a stall, but since I have already experienced weight loss following a ketogenic diet, I am going to do what I know works for me.

 

So, Day One.  It’s a good idea to plan your meals to be sure you are prepared.  This is especially true if you work outside of the home.  There were a few times in the past that I had forgotten my lunch, and it’s not a good idea to just grab the first thing you can when you are on this diet.  So, I would drink tons of water to try to keep me full throughout the afternoon until I could get home for dinner.  Today I am having sausage patties and fried eggs in butter for breakfast (2 each); a green leaf bed of lettuce with leftover chicken thighs and a sprinkling of shredded cheddar, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt for lunch; and a hamburger with sautéed peppers, American cheese and mayo for dinner.  Lately, I haven’t been eating breakfast, and today I will be eating three meals, so I don’t foresee having issues with hunger today.  I’ll let you know.

 

 

These Aisles

Last night I made my grocery list for this WOE (way of eating).  I am following the recommended foods and amounts from the Ketogenic Diet Resource website.  For the most part, I will be buying meats, eggs, cheese, and green leafy vegetables.  I have found that if I shop the perimeter of most grocery stores I am better off.

 

These grocery aisles are another boulder for me.  Every grocery store contains them.  The center aisles usually contain the prepackaged processed foods that you need to stay away from on this WOE.  I have a huge problem with grains.  I love corn chips.  Especially Doritos.  I can eat an entire party size bag in one sitting.  Bread is another evil.  Sometimes the smell of roasting pork reminds me of bread.  Yes, it is that bad.

 

I keep my selections simple while grocery shopping.  I really am not into cooking anything complicated.  I have a full life with a lot of responsibility.  And, most importantly, I have done this all before.  I think part of the problem that I had in sticking with this WOE in the past was all of the yummy pictures and recipes of keto-friendly foods that are available on the Internet.  Some of the recipes call for things like coconut and almond flour, which, for me, I believe, could have contributed to me falling off the wagon, as they say.  I think I should leave these recipes for the maintenance phase of my new lifestyle, or for the occasional special dinner.  I had not ever reached my goal weight in 2015 when things started going downhill for me.  I had been experimenting with new flavors that were just, honestly, too enticing and opened up the door for cravings to return – along with all of the stress I had been experiencing.

 

I am actually excited to go grocery shopping today.  This surprises me.  I usually hate confronting all of the decisions that comes with each aisle.  Do I need to go down this one or not?  Today, I will not be needing to go down any aisles.  I will be sticking to the perimeter of the store where the fresh meats, produce and dairy products are kept.  This will limit my exposure to the processed food, thus, hopefully, curb any of my impulses.

 

Tomorrow is Day One.

My Own Worst Enemy

I know you’ve heard them all before: I had a bad day. I didn’t plan my meal. I am at a party and everyone else is eating. This isn’t working for me because… Or the most truthful one of all, I love food too much. 

 

I have been trying to get back on my diet for the past 14 months.  Really.  Fourteen months!  The excuses? They are my boulders.  I now think of them in terms of Sisyphus and his boulder.  You know, the guy who is eternally condemned to push a boulder to the top of the mountain only to have it roll back down to the bottom every time?  This is me.  I have a great run, sticking to my diet for a week, two, sometimes three, and then that boulder rolls back right on top of me.

 

Like most of us, I am my own worst enemy.  That old cliché.  But it’s true.  I have the best support system in the world.  My fiancé is always on board when I’m eating healthy.  My daughter “woot woot”s me as I lose each pound.  And I get the ever-encouraging “I’m so proud of you” from my mother when I tell her how well I’m sticking to it.  There is no one or nothing that I can blame, other than myself and my own emotional adversaries.  I eat when I am happy, sad, angry, and bored.  I eat when I am around other people who are eating, just to fit in.  This has been my pattern for as long as I can remember.

 

It hasn’t been so long ago that I lost 70 pounds and maintained it for over two years.  I began gaining it back during my last two terms in college, the middle of 2015.  I was struggling with my courses due to a hospitalization during the first of those terms, and then I just flat out stressed over the final course that I needed to complete my degree.

 

Since then, I have quite consistently adopted my old bad eating habits. I also quite consistently began to balloon out of my clothes.  You know, I was profoundly shocked when I first discovered that my favorite blouse no longer showed off my pretty arms.  Instead, the short sleeves squeezed them, like sausages busting through their casings.  I’m pretty sure the astonishment of splitting the seams in my blouse wasn’t due to actually gaining back the weight. I think I was more flabbergasted at how quickly I put it back on.

 

I am tired.  Simply put.  I am always tired.  I am always feeling sick.  I have a headache just about every day.  I have a history of fibromyalgia.  I have recently injured my hips in a fall.  This pain should be gone by now, but sometimes it hurts so bad it’s difficult to stand up, sit down, walk, and even sleep.  I also have cardiomyopathy.  That is my biggest worry.  Although I do not have hardened arteries or any history of cholesterol issues, a little over ten years ago it was discovered that my left ventricle had become enlarged due to a virus.  So, my heart has trouble pumping, and that should be enough to keep me on track with a healthy diet.  You would think, right?

 

So, it’s time.  It’s time to suck it up and get back on board.  I have already informed my fiancé and my daughter that I am cutting the carbs again.  My daughter is so excited that she wants to tackle this with me.  I am so happy she has decided to do this.  She works very hard and has a three year old daughter to take care of on her own.  I honestly do not know how she does it.  This will be so good for her.  I am looking forward to both of us feeling so much better.

 

Tomorrow is grocery shopping day.