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21 days progress with strict Keto: Awesome Sauce! (also 2 years since my last “cheat” meal)

This entry is part 154 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

As mentioned earlier, starting January 1, 2017, I committed to writing down everything I eat in Cron-o-meter before I eat it. Turns out this works quite well, which I already knew but somehow was ignoring and doing “lazy keto” for the last few months by only eating Keto Friendly food but not really tracking food closely. Yes, Jalapeño poppers are, generally, keto friendly – but if you eat 20 of them you’re going to go over your net carbs for the day. Anyhow, I’m doing great and still writing everything down. I’m also still lifting – today I’ll be squatting 90lbs, it’s starting to get harder =) A couple days ago I failed to notice it was the 2 year anniversary of the last time I had a “cheat” meal on January 21, 2015. Since then, I’ve only deliberately eaten non-keto food once: a bite of breaded fish in September 2015, spat it out. I expect that I’ll be living HFLC for the rest of my life, sounds fun.

“Cheating” on Keto is self-sabotage. Imagine you’re trying to climb a giant sand dune. It’s really hard to get up to the top (and you get sand in your shoes, guaranteed) but once you’re there, staying on the top is easy. It’s especially easy compared to the amount of effort required to get back on top if you decide to roll down to the bottom. Being fat adapted is very similar to this: you’ve worked so hard to get your body burning fat instead of glucose, why would you ruin months of work? My advice: embrace living keto, focus on the awesome foods you can enjoy, not the foods you choose not to eat (not “can’t eat”).

Here’s an updated weight log of my progress:

Calories consumed per day (I had a tummy ache on Jan 15, ended up fasting a bit over 2h hours):

Net carbs per day:

On track with my New Year Resolutions

This entry is part 151 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I have two health-related resolutions this year:

  1. Strength training 3x a week (StrongLifts 5×5).
  2. I’m not eating anything until it’s ALREADY logged into Cron-O-Meter.

So far, so good, on StrongLifts 5×5. I did it 3x last week (which is the recommendation for the program): Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday because Friday was a crazy evening. I did StrongLifts regularly last year but we remodeled some bedrooms in the basement and the workout area was turned into a bedroom with the power rack cage becoming a closet. That’s all done, as well as the Christmas mayhem so it’s time to get back into lifting! These first few weeks are relatively easy since the SL5x5 app had me “deload” all the way back down to starting weight. I see that as a good thing since even squatting an empty bar that first time made me sore for 4 days. There’s an excellent article over on Art of Manliness about various fitness programs – he didn’t like StrongLifts as much as he likes Starting Strength due to the number of reps. I might check that one out at a later date if I hit a wall. SS has an app but it’s $9 and I doubt it has the amazing Android Wear integration SL5x5 has. It’s seriously awesome to track my workout entirely on my watch.

As for tracking my food in Cron-O-Meter, I did this 100% all last week, I have a perfect record for 2017 =). Writing down what I eat before I eat it has an interesting effect on reducing what I’m eating. Either I decide not to eat something because I’m too lazy to write it down; or I write it down, check to see how the addition affects my macros and decide “yeah, not going to eat that after all.”

Due to the aforementioned laziness, all but one of my meals last week were Keto Chow. It’s pretty easy to enter 3x “Rich Chocolate with 50ml heavy cream and MCT” from the list of frequent foods. Saturday evening we needed to drop off some kids for a thing and then hang around for 2 hours until they finished, so we took the remaining children to dinner at Red Robin. I knew this was coming so I messed around with their nutrition calculator page (requires flash) and decided on the Guacamole Bacon Burger. I added the standard one in Cron-o-Meter, then edited a copy to change the values for carbs, fat, protein etc… I haven’t tried to do that on mobile, doing it in a web browser with multiple windows open was quite simple. Red Robin is pretty proud of the fact that they can make any burger “wedgie style” (lettuce wrap), and you can do bottomless steamed broccoli or side salads instead of the fries. I opted for the salads, ended up getting 3 of them by the time I was done =) You can see the spike in calories consumed:

Anyhow, looking at the averages for the last week, I’m quite happy with the 18.9g net carb average. I could probably go higher than 20g/day but I’m going to keep it low.

In the end, one of the big ones is: how is this affecting my weight? I’m happy to report that: Hey! I’m losing weight again! That big spike (banana for scale) in the graph below was the morning of Sunday, January 1 2017.

We had a New Year game party with our friends (who are also doing keto) and our kids (not doing keto). We made individual “fathead” (keto) pizzas for us and regular dough pizzas for the kids. I ended up eating a lot of salt and it clearly shows that following morning in water weight. I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t keto friendly that night but you eat too much keto food and you’ll be over your macros easily. I also noticed that my weight doesn’t fluctuate as much when I’m mostly eating Keto Chow and the mild heartburn I had in the morning since mid-December is gone.

So, here’s to a successful new year for everyone! May the odds ever be in your favor!

Day 100 – 100 days of Keto (Chow) retrospective plus a rant about skinny weight loss coaches

This entry is part 81 of 81 in the series 100 days of keto

Weight change for the 100 days: 209.9 lbs to 205.4 lbs. That’s not really stellar progress but compared to gaining I suppose I’ll take it. I also didn’t “cheat” once; meaning I didn’t ever deliberately eat foods containing sugar, starch or other carbohydrates – but that wasn’t a surprise, aside from “robins eggs” that are still kicking around my house I’m not tempted at all by carby foods. For the most part I did have 3 meals of Keto Chow a day for the 100 days but it’s the “extra” stuff that was detrimental.

This 100 day experiment was a good experience though. I can see a direct correlation between my progress and the amount of malitol I consumed, for one thing. Malitol is a relatively common “sugar free” sweetener. And by “sugar free” I’m using the loose standard the food industry uses since it is a sugar alcohol and is arguably better than sucrose, though not by much. Because malitol is cheaper than most of the sugar alcohols like Erythritol it gets used pretty frequently in sugar free stuff. Like Russell Stover chocolates, sugar free lemon heads and others. My advice to myself and to others: if it has malitol then you can’t subtract the sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. In other words: just avoid it entirely. Go get some Swerve sweetener and make your own stuff instead. Seriously, it’s my downfall and I’m finally coming to terms with it. As much as people rail against aspartame and sucralose at least I know they don’t affect my metabolism.

So, I didn’t lose much weight during the experiment, what about blood ketones? First off: measuring your ketones is generally a really bad idea. It’s motivational to get some of the urine test strips when you are very first starting out doing keto since you can see a tangible and almost immediate result. As your body adapts to ketosis the urine test strips become useless though, you stop producing extra that gets excreted and the strips stop working. So you can test with blood tests or breath acetone tests. The blood tests are like $2 each and the breath tester is $150. You also fall into a non-constructive pattern if you are constantly testing and “chasing ketones”. You’re better off just limiting your carbohydrates, tracking food in general and keeping at it. Keep Calm and Keto On (KCKO) as they say. So I did measure my blood ketone levels every day. Near the end of the experiment I discovered that I was doing it wrong! Thanks to the “dawn phenomenon” my glucose was high and ketones were low every morning when I tested. That can partially account for why I only averaged 0.5 mmol/L during the experiment (you want to be in the 1.5-3.0 range). the rest of it is the aforementioned malitol.

So here’s where I get into my rant: I feel your pain because it’s my pain too.

Losing weight can be very, very difficult for people (at times it can also be really easy for others). The irony is that almost all of the people you see that advocate exercise, active lifestyles and other “traditional” forms of weight loss have never experienced Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance or Diabetes. You see the rail thin “never been overweight” paragons of fitness selling exercise plans to get people skinny, or body wraps, or ab crunchers. Even the models they use for weight reduction surgery look like they’ve NEVER been obese. They just don’t understand, and it drives me nuts. Unfortunately society as a whole also subscribes to the notion that all you have to do to be skinny is exercise, fat people are lazy, it’s a moral weakness.

Being fat is a lack of character so far as being allergic to peanuts is a lack of character. Some people can’t handle gluten, others get sunburn almost by looking at a photograph of the sun. Are those problems with their moral fiber, with their will power? Should society look down on them? Maybe they should just try not being diabetic, or celiac , or ginger. Your body’s ability or inability to process glucose/carbohydrates isn’t your fault. If people happen to have won the genetic lottery and their cells haven’t become resistant to insulin yet then that’s also not something they should be applauded for. That’s just how your body may be.

When I was a skinny little kid with asthma I couldn’t gain weight for anything. Then I overcame that and, by the outward indicators, slowly worked up resistance to insulin. I stopped processing glucose like I was supposed to. I don’t know if that was genetics, environment, or (more likely) a result of what I was eating combined with the two.  Regardless, I got fat and stayed fat. To date, the only thing that has had a consistent effect on my weight was coming to terms with how I personally metabolize glucose (or rather don’t). Switching to a ketogenic diet has impacted my health and weight tremendously and I don’t see any reason I would ever stop. Why eat bread when you can eat bacon?

So I consider these 100 days a success for the additional experience I gained. Sure it would have been awesome to be down to 180, but when people report that they’re having issues losing weight I more than understand. I’ve had the same frustrations and maybe even done the same things that are hindering your/their progress.

Day 024 – 100 days of Keto (Chow)

This entry is part 22 of 81 in the series 100 days of keto
  • Weight: 208.0
  • Blood ketones: 0.2 mmol/L

Weight is still coming down and I had time to run on the treadmill last night. Going to try to do that again today. Today marks the end of week 1 of my city’s weight loss program (“Mission: Slim Possible”) so I’ll be doing my first weigh in for that after work. They send out an email with the names of the 3 people who lost the most each week. Last year I was in the top 3 like 5 times (and finished 2nd overall) – I doubt I’ll be in the top 3 this first week but if I can stick to my plan and stay away from malitol and other high GI sugar alcohols I should do well the subsequent weeks.

The graph comes from “Withings” which I use to track my weight, in turn it feeds data over to Fitbit and CRON-O-meter. The App and site are free to use though they like it if you buy one of their wifi scales =) I got the WS-50 a bit over a year ago and it works well aside from randomly switching to Kilograms.

By |2017-03-20T12:21:46-06:00January 27th, 2016|Categories: 100 days of keto, Keto Chow|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

6 months of Ketogenic nutritionally complete “future foods”, I’m 81% the man I used to be

Apparently I drank too much water yesterday and my weight ticked up from 209.4 to 210.7 – wasn’t the direction I wanted to go for my actual 6 month keto anniversary. I was hoping to reach an even 50lbs lost but it was not to be (that would have been 207.8) and today I’m sitting at 47.1 lbs lost.

6months_keto

Aside from the weight loss I’ve also

  • lost 2 shirt sizes (XXL to L)
  • lost 4 inches (38 to 34)
  • Made 4 new holes in my belts
  • Won second place in a weight loss contest
  • MyFitnessPal says I’m on a 182 day streak.
  • My scale says I’ve gone from 36.9% body fat in November to 26.6%
  • From a BMI of 34.0 (“obese”) to 27.8 (“overweight”) and am getting closer to the “magic” 24.9 where I won’t even be “overweight”!
  • My blood pressure has gone down from 142/98 to 128/84 (it was actually lower last week but whatever)

Here’s a really brief summary (you can real the whole story here) of my experience that I’ve stolen from one of my own posts on Reddit:

I’ve tried 5 different formulations of Ketogenic soylents over the last 6 months and it’s what I’m currently using as my staple (although I do still eat some beef jerky, kipper snacks, bacon and whatnot).

I’ve tried:

  • QuidNYC Induction Phase Ketofood – WAY too much chia seeds and other stuff. I couldn’t even do a full week
  • QuidNYC Ketofood for ongoing ketosis was tolerable compared to the induction. It tasted far better though it was still really gritty. I changed the recipe a bit to suit my own tastes
  • Ketosoy – made by fellow redditor /u/ketosoy – it’s pretty good, especially compared to Ketofood. Far less gritty, it was was opened me up to the possibility the ketogenic soylent could actually taste good. Full review here.
  • Kennufs Keto 9.3 – by /u/kennufs this recipe changed everything for me. Hardly any grit at all, tasted amazing thanks to ample heavy cream, even my wife thought it tasted good. I cloned his recipe, changed some stuff around and made my own…
  • Keto Chow – I aligned many of the ingredients with stuff I had from making super carby “People Chow”, took out the coconut flour, added moar fiber and changed the protein to one I could get quicker (next day vs. 9 business days). I’m currently consuming Keto Chow and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. It’s tasty enough that even when I do hit my target goal I won’t have any problem continuing with it as my staple.

For any that are insanely curious, here’s my weight for the last 15 months drinking soylent. You can see where I started People Chow, slowly gained the weight back and then started Keto.

15 months of soylents

By |2018-06-25T16:05:13-06:00April 21st, 2015|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow, Ketogenic, Weight Loss|Tags: , , , , , |7 Comments

Totally got trolled by my scale this morning

This entry is part 43 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I’m pretty happy that I finally got through my stall; I was stuck between 222 and 220 for 2 1/2 weeks. Yesterday I weighed in at 217.9. This morning the scale said 212.2. While it would be awesome to have dropped 5.7 lbs in a day I’m not buying it. Even my scale saw it as a large enough departure from previous values it couldn’t figure out who to assign the weigh in to:trolled

I picked it up, shook it a bit and tried again: 213. Moved it to a different place on the tile entirely: 218.5. Moved it back: 218.4.

Stupid trolling scale.

By |2016-10-14T07:18:03-06:00March 4th, 2015|Categories: Future Foods, Weight Loss|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Keto Photo Friday: 4 months, 37 lbs – got a long way to go still =)

This entry is part 42 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I posted this to /r/keto last week, decided it might be nice to have it here too. I started “Obese” (>30 BMI) now I’m just “Overweight”.

First time posting progress pics. I was going to wait longer but I was just at a conference where they were doing headshots. I had a similar one taken right before I started keto. Time for a comparison.

Here you have before and after. 4 months, 37 lbs. Oddly enough, both were taken at SalesForce conferences.

Here you have before and after. 4 months, 37 lbs. Oddly enough, both were taken at SalesForce conferences.

2000-05 Wedding - According to my wife I weighed 220 when we were married 15 years ago.

2000-05 Wedding – According to my wife I weighed 220 when we were married 15 years ago.

2006-10 - In 2006 I started keeping track (mostly daily) of my weight, this picture is very close to when I weighed 276. I later lost quite a lot of weight doing the "Shangri-La" diet and then again lost more doing something similar to "Whole 30".

2006-10 – In 2006 I started keeping track (mostly daily) of my weight, this picture is very close to when I weighed 276. I later lost quite a lot of weight doing the “Shangri-La” diet and then again lost more doing something similar to “Whole 30”.

Here's my complete weight log from October 2006 until February 2015 (excepting the year or so I stopped keeping track in 2009)

Here’s my complete weight log from October 2006 until February 2015 (excepting the year or so I stopped keeping track in 2009)

2014-10-13 Dreamforce - This was just before I started keto. I weighed 258.

2014-10-13 Dreamforce – This was just before I started keto. I weighed 258.

2014-10-13 - Also at Dreamforce. This is mostly just for fun.

2014-10-13 – Also at Dreamforce. This is mostly just for fun.

2014-10-25 - This was taken 4 days after I started Keto. I was already down 8lbs. My wife looks awesome.

2014-10-25 – This was taken 4 days after I started Keto. I was already down 8lbs. My wife looks awesome.

The spike in January is when I ate carbs for a week in preparation for a weight loss contest. Gotta level the playing field!

The spike in January is when I ate carbs for a week in preparation for a weight loss contest. Gotta level the playing field!

2015-02-20 - 4 months and 37 lbs. I was down to 220.5. It's awfully close to how much I weighed when I got married plus it's almost exactly 100kg.

2015-02-20 – 4 months and 37 lbs. I was down to 220.5. It’s awfully close to how much I weighed when I got married plus it’s almost exactly 100kg.

2015-02-26 - Hey, every one of these has to have a selfie right? Yes I wear a tie to work every day. Yes that's a Napoleon Dynamite figurine, it talks.

2015-02-26 – Hey, every one of these has to have a selfie right? Yes I wear a tie to work every day. Yes that’s a Napoleon Dynamite figurine, it talks.

The apps and tools I’m using to track my progress

This entry is part 30 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

A coworker asked me a while ago about all the stuff I’m using, I figure I might as well document it. Here are the Apps, monitors and other things I’m using to track stuff about my health.

Activity Monitor

I grabbed a used Fitbit Flex off eBay about a month ago to see if I would like it better than the Jawbone Up I had. Ultimately the Fitbit won and the Jawbone is in my backpack in case anybody on craigslist decides they want to buy it for $40. The Jawbone app was actually far better than the Fitbit one and gave me better information but I like the bluetooth sync function of the Fitbit and couldn’t find an Up24 for cheap. Neither do automatic sleep tracking, you had to tell the device it was nap time and again tell it when you woke up. The more expensive trackers do more stuff automatically. Both Up and Fitbit talk quite nicely to all the other apps mentioned here, sending activity data over automatically.

Fitbit Web UI

Fitbit Web UI

Fitbit Android UI

Fitbit Android UI

Weight Tracking

The Withings app/website does a great job of tracking weight, blood pressure and a number of other metrics. It’s also free to use and will send the weight data to a large number of applications. By having it send that data I don’t have to go into 5 different apps to update my weight all the time, it just does it automagically for me. You can use the Withings app and site with the Withings Wi-Fi scale or one of their fitness trackers, but you don’t need to. I did eventually end up buying a Withings scale but I used the app for about a month and a half before that. You can also import and export all the measurements very easily. I imported my weight logs from all the way back to October 2006.

Withings Web UI

Withings Web UI

Withings Android UI

Withings Android UI

Nutrition Tracking

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for 2 or 3 years to (occasionally, up until 4 months ago) track my nutrition. Currently I’m on a 87 day streak of putting in my food, weight and activity. I use MFP as a sort of “central hub” for everything else. All my activity monitoring, weight and workouts head here. On a Ketogenic Diet I also need to track how many carbs I’m eating and it does a good job of that. There’s some settings and a userscript that enhance MFP for keto diets. It’s particularly nice to be able to scan a barcode to add food and with how I’m eating mostly the same stuff every day it’s a cinch. I used to use My Net Diary but MFP is way more useful.

MyFitnessPal Web UI

MyFitnessPal Web UI

MyFitnessPal Android UI

MyFitnessPal Android UI

Workout tracking

I’m using Digifit on my phone to track exercise (via a heart rate monitor, see below). On an ideal day I’m doing 30 minutes of elliptical in the morning and 30 minutes of running/walking in the evening. They have Android and iOS apps that have limited functionality unless you pay the $1.99 or whatever to upgrade it – it was worth it and I used an account that is shared on all my family’s phones and devices to pay so my wife gets the upgrade too. It can be used indoors on exercise equipment (which is what I mostly do) but it really likes going outside to fire up your GPS and correlate actual distance and speed with heart rate. It gets weight data automatically from Withings to use in calorie calculations.

Digifit Web UI

Digifit Web UI

Digifit Android UI

Digifit Android UI

Heart Rate Monitoring

I bought a Jarv Bluetooth 4.0 Chest Heart Rate Monitor for myself and then another one for my wife about 3 days later since it works so well (then we can work out together!). It works exceptionally well and communicates to Digifit just fine, although occasionally it takes a bit of prodding or wetting the chest contacts to wake it up. Coupled with Digifit, it does a much better job at calculating the actual calories you are burning. This morning with the heart rate monitor, Digifit calculated that I burned 439 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical. That’s a far cry from the machine’s solely weight based calculation of 870.

Ketone Level Monitoring

After a few weeks in Ketosis you get accustomed to what it feels like and can mostly just Keep Calm & Keto On. I do still occasionally check my ketone levels. When I first started I bought a 200 pack of  2 Parameter Glucose & Ketone Test (URS) Urinalysis Reagent Strip (C 200 Strips). I also picked up a very, very cheap blood alcohol breathalyzer about 2 months ago for fun because the super cheap ones can’t distinguish the difference between alcohol on your breath and acetone. Actual breathalyzers that cost more than $5-10 can tell the difference just fine. I’m very proud to report that this morning I blew 0.05% even though I have no alcohol in my system at all.

Cheap Breathalyzer

Cheap Breathalyzer

Ketone Test Strip looks great!

Ketone Test Strip looks great!

By |2016-10-14T07:18:04-06:00January 14th, 2015|Categories: Future Foods|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments