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Ketosis Or Calorie Restriction? Post 2

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This is the second post on my Keto Journey blog, which I meant to finish last week. That never happened so, as you’ll see, I began writing on Wednesday of last week. I’m going to leave it as is.

 

Check out the first post in this blog series to understand the background of the ketogenic diet and why I decided to embark on this journey.

Today is Wednesday, a week and a half after I started this journey. As I sit here writing this I’m watching the show Brothers and Sisters and it’s reminding me how much I wish I could have a glass of wine. The motley crew of a family seems to always be having dinner with bottles of wine all over the table and it reminds me of that fragrant, tart-ish, woodsy-ish, with-a-hint-of-sweetness beverage I so love. It was red. Oh dear, I didn’t realize how much I love wine.

Honestly, this is the most difficult part of being on this “diet”, and probably the only thing that reminds me that this is a “diet.” This, of course, is one of the main reasons I felt the need to embark on this journey in the first place. I hope you wanted full disclosure because you’re going to get full disclosure.

It’s not so much that I felt I was in danger of anything really associated with drinking the wine; at least not in the short term. It was more that I felt I had developed a less-than-healthy habit of having a glass or two (generally at the most, unless it was a weekend), nearly every evening, which I knew was not helping in the weight management area. I know a glass of red wine is actually not bad for you and it has even been said to be good for you, resveratrol and all (yay!), but I didn’t really like that I felt the need to pair every yummy meal with a bottle of wine. Between this and eating out more than I felt was a good idea, I was ready for something…healthy.

Most people know I’m into cleansing and detoxing. I’ve been doing it for years with the longest break probably not being longer than a year and in some cases the time between cleanses has been as little as six months. I try to do it early in the year, or at least at a time when there isn’t much going on, think summertime! It is difficult to do at anytime but mostly when there are holidays or activities planned every weekend.

Little did I know getting into ketosis would prove this difficult because of the time of year I decided to embark on this journey. Needless to say, however, even though I have not yet been able to allow my body to switch its metabolism from glucose to ketones, I’m having some success anyway, at least as far as weight loss. Still, this is not good enough for me. Like I said, losing weight has never been an incentive enough for me to do anything drastic (like giving up wine for two whole weeks. Sheesh!).

So, the main reason I decided to do this was for the health benefits. I’d been feeling sluggish in the afternoons for one thing. For another, I could always use brain-boosting benefits. And, from what Dr. Perlmutter says, it’s critical to give your brain ketones. Apparently those “senior moments” that even those of us who are not-so-senior have, which we tend to laugh off are not so funny after all. It turns out those are warning signs of danger ahead – danger of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Scary stuff.

Not only this, but after finding out about my loved one’s brain tumor, thinking of others who have had them, and reading about the causes and how they progress I got spooked. The statistics show that 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes and 1 in 3 women. This is way too much, and too close for comfort. I began wondering how many people I care about might have a brain tumor or some other kind of cancer just waiting to surface. I began wondering, what if I have a brain tumor? Yikes. These thoughts are not far-fetched so please try not to judge me for sounding a little hypochondriac-ish. You know what they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

I know I’m bombarded by toxins all day long, mainly of the variety I cannot control and then I have this little affinity for wine – and now craft beer (dammit, how did I allow THAT to happen??), which, right at the moment, I am not quite willing to quit. So if I can stave off cancer or, God forbid, treat something already happening in my body, especially with a diet that really is not difficult at all then I’m all for it.

Okay, so where am I right now? Well, like I said, I’m struggling to get into ketosis. It’s all my fault, really. The weekend rolls around, friends invite me to do things, and for some reason the refreshing beverages are a little too difficult to refuse. So when I started this almost two weeks ago I decided to be diligent about the macros – 75% calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% from carbs. I took the advice of the personal trainer in one of the videos I first saw about this diet and paid no attention to carbs at all and only focused on making sure I was eating fats.

 

I also decided to do intermittent fasting while going keto, which is essentially shortening the window of eating during the day. From Sunday through Friday of the first week I would have my first meal around noon and my last meal finished by 8 PM. Sunday through Thursday it was all keto. By the end of the week I lost 4 or 5 pounds. In six days! I wasn’t going to rest on those laurels though because, even though I had not yet received my keto strips, I knew I was not in ketosis. Then Friday rolled around and there was wine available, and then a margarita so, crap, there went that. Saturday rolled around and there was a Spanish Market to attend in Santa Fe and there were mimosas available, and then a margarita (how can you resist margaritas this time of year? Especially in Santa Fe?!), so there went that.

Sunday I decided to go for a five-mile run with a friend. I had only run once that week and Sunday I was slow. Oh man, it was tough! It didn’t help that we ran in the heat of the late morning with no shade, but even so I was super sluggish. I walked a lot. Clearly I was not in ketosis and my body was scavenging every nook and cranny for a carb. Oops. I do know that exercise can sometime send someone into ketosis but I think you have to have already been in ketosis once in your life. I can’t say I ever have.

I started keto again that day and when I weighed myself the next day I was up a couple of pounds. Darn it all, but that’s what I get for imbibing. I was very low carb all weekend otherwise.

Fast forward to Friday again, and I’m down another two pounds. So, as of Friday, I had a net loss of 5 pounds, which is still very good for two weeks.

But, guess what, it was Friday after all and it is summertime after all and I had an overnight camping trip with my running girls planned that night and a hike in the morning – I hope I don’t die! Never mind, I won’t die.  I’m sorry but the prospect of potentially keeling over on a hike was not enjoyable so I kind of carbed it up that night. It is what it is. This is a journey after all. (Update: we bagged on the hike. Whew!) Then Saturday we had not one but two social events. I did everything I could to not have a tasty beer but I could make no promises. I have not been diagnosed with any illness so…

As it were, the fact that I got barely any sleep Friday night at our overnight camp trip – not because we necessarily partied it up but because a group of insensitive jerks with about a zillion kids decided to take up the camp spot next to us at set up at midnight (!) and then were up by 6:30 AM, shouting to each other, kids running around, playing guitar and the boom box (are they still called that?). Anyway, I was exhausted. I am the type of person who simply cannot function on less than seven hours of sleep. Needless to say I managed a beer and a half at our first soiree and zilch at the second. I was so tired.

That was yesterday and although I got around eight hours last night I’m still a little drained. I got back on the keto train today. I weighed myself this morning and apparently my weekend indulgence reared its ugly head. Did I mention there were these beautiful, incredible, sweet, gourmet mini donuts from Rebel Donut at the first get-together yesterday? I rarely eat donuts but there was no way I could resist these ones. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see…and understand why.

Oh and, oops, I almost forgot to mention my keto diet ended on Thursday, ahem, afternoon. My neighbor BFF who happens to be a doctor was not on call that evening and invited us over for a little vino. How could I say no? It’s not everyday that she’s not on call! Okay, I know that was a lame excuse. I’ll remember next time she invites me to just say no. It’s so important to limit the so-called cheat days, especially if I haven’t gotten into ketosis yet. Actually I shouldn’t have a cheat day at all until I become keto-adapted. Again, journey.

So, after having falling off the keto wagon I’m back at it. I won’t tell you what my net loss is as of today because I don’t think it is accurate – at least I hope it isn’t. Ha! But I will say there still is a net loss from two weeks ago so it all hasn’t been a bust. Either way I deserve it for overindulging this weekend. Like I said this is a journey and, like it or not, you’re going to read about the good, the bad, and the ugly. No judgment.

This doesn’t mean the incentive to get into ketosis and get healthy is not there. It is. BIG TIME! But I’m going to continue trying until I am able to go two weeks straight….or whatever it takes to get into ketosis. My strips are in, apparently they were delivered last Wednesday but I haven’t been to the P.O. so once I do now I’ll be able to really check it out. I bet seeing it with my own eyes will kick me into high gear!

In the meantime, clearly the high fat, low carb thing is working. I tried intermittent fasting one time with my regular diet and it didn’t work so all I can attribute it to is the food. I’ve always been able to lose weight by having a light dinner before 6, but this is different. Since I started this sometimes I don’t eat until 9, and then the next day my first meal will be around 1 or 2 PM. I do believe I’m restricting some calories, simply because eating a high fat diet is very satisfying so I’m not always starving – like I used to be. But, honestly, I think the weight loss is due to the macros. In the past when I would eat my regular diet while fasting intermittently I wouldn’t drop a pound.

If I haven’t already said it the food is delicious! Not only do I get to eat butter (from grass-fed cows of course) but I also get to have cream sauces with my (moderate amount of) steak, and it is encouraged to salt things up, as people in ketosis can tend to have very low electrolytes.

Take from this what you wish. The weight loss might be from the intermittent fasting or the calorie restriction, or both, but it is not from ketosis. I’m losing weight, which is the icing on the cake, but I really want to get all the amazing benefits from being in ketosis so this will be my goal. Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting!

Oh, by the way, here are two pics of some of the yummy food I’ve been eating. The food part is NOT hard at all!

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