Thursday, January 02, 2014

Diet, Not Dying

So one of my New Year's Resolutions is to lose 15-20 lbs. This has been Day 2 of mine and Scott's keto diet.

Very briefly, for those of you who won't be interested enough to click the link, the ketogenic diet is a diet that puts your body into ketosis. Similar to things like Atkins, keto is very low carb (between 20-50g a day, ish), very high protein and high (animal) fat. IT'S NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS. It is very effective for diabetics, for instance, as it keeps blood sugar low and insulin steady. When Scott first told me about this diet a year and a half ago, I was appalled, but through time, he's convinced me. He lost over 40lbs in 3 months last time he went on this diet and kept most of it off

When we eat carbs all day, which turn into fat, our body burns that for energy, leaving the fat stores alone. In ketosis, the body starts burning the fat stores off for fuel. As long as you don't under-eat, or eat less than about 20g of carbs a day, your body won't go into starvation mode. Besides, carbs make you tired and sluggish and are just generally not good for a healthy, balanced diet.

(Let me add I'm still new to this, particularly the science part, so if I've made any errors above, someone more knowledgeable about it than me is welcome to correct.)

When you start a low-carb diet, the first few days are MISERABLE. Not only does your mind crave carbs, so does your body. Yesterday, my first day carb-less, was awful. I was grouchy, touchy, irritable, felt clammy and achy, and all I could think about was bread and cake and those delicious, fudgy dark chocolate brownies left over from Hogmanay. I went to bed last night at 10 just to escape my misery.

Today was a whole different experience. I woke up optimistic. I weighed myself and found I'd already lost 4 lbs. In one day! It was only water weight, but I'm not complaining. That's nearly a quarter of my total goal!

I also felt less sluggish today than I have been feeling lately. Also more motivated. I decided to take the kids to the zoo. Normally I dread the idea of taking my kids somewhere like that on my own, because I'm lazy and I prefer some company to keep me sane, but even with both my buddy Devon and my SIL Charity unable to join me, I still showered, fixed my hair and makeup, dressed the kids, and packed them all into the car with bottles of water and a stroller. The four of us were practically the only people in the whole zoo. We saw only two other families the whole time.

... Side note: I'm sure glad we have a zoo membership though, and I hadn't actually paid to get the four of us in. All the animals were hiding. It was a lot colder today than I realized. The only animals we saw were the tiger, the elephants, the giraffe (who was inside his house), and the primates and reptiles that were inside a building. The indoor birds section was closed for repairs, and all the other animals were no where to be found. Even the penguins were hiding indoors. We still managed to spend an hour at the zoo, though, walking around and getting some cold, fresh air.

Here kitty kitty kitty.

I came home, made lunch, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner... all feeling very with it, calm, and motivated. Supposedly this feeling only gets better as my body adjusts to its low-carb and healthier state. I'm still expecting another crash at some point before I start feeling really good, but today was pretty awesome.

So what have I eaten these past two days without starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, or those delicious, gooey brownies?

Day 1 (Jan 1)
3 egg omelet with bacon, cheese and red chilli flakes with 1 avocado on the side (4g carbs all together)
A few slices of cheese wrapped in deli-sliced turkey and 1 sugar-free jello (0g)
A few slices of cheese and 5 olives (1g)
1 smoked rib with a little BBQ sauce and fried okra (roughly 20g because of the okra and BBQ)
Cup of tea with milk and a sugar-free jello (1g)
Total for the day: 26g

Day 2 (Jan 2)
3 egg omelet with bacon and 1/2 an avocado (2g)
Lettuce, turkey and cheese rolls with 10 olives (2g)
Sugar-free jello with whipped cream (1g)
A boiled egg and a string cheese (1g)
Beef mince and pureed cauliflower (looked/tasted like mashed potatoes) and green beans (5g)
Total for the day: 11g which means I need to actually go eat at least 9 more! Think I'll have half a clementine!

It's amazing. Yesterday, I was peckish all day. I kept opening the cupboards hoping to find something magical to eat. Today, I never really did that. In fact, my dinner STUFFED me.

I'm feeling so positive about this diet now. Last time I tried it, I had only just had a baby a couple of months prior, and it was a really bad idea to try it then. My milk supply went down, and I felt very 'carb-fluey', and it was really bad compounded with post-partum lethargy and life adjustment. Now seems to be a much better time in my life for it, and I'm ready.

Let's do this!

This is a positive, smiling, ready to get healthy me.


  1. please be careful of sugar free stuff (like sugar free jello). Aspartame is really, really bad for you. The molecule breaks down into methanol (wood alcohol, highly toxic and causes blindness) and formaldehyde at temperatures around 86-90 degrees Fahrenheit (so at less than body temperature). Personally, I can't tolerate aspartame at all and always got horrendous migraines coupled with a strange metallic taste in my mouth back in college when I'd put it into my tea. It scared me and I started staying away from it. Only years later did I learn the science behind what this substance does to us. Splenda is not much better, as it is made up of chorine parts, and it systematically kills all of the good bacteria in your intestines, sort of how antibiotics do when they give you diarrhea as a side effect. We do low carb, too. Actually, since I was diagnosed with Lupus, I've been trying to eat gluten free. (Although today I had a hamburger. sigh.) My son was very sick a few years ago, and I finally put him on a strict no-carb diet after months of antibiotic prescriptions had only made him worse. In about 2-3 weeks, he made a huge improvement, and he has eaten almost a paleo diet since then. We snack on almonds a lot. I eat avocados and kefir to fill up. Eating fat does keep you from getting hungry between meals. I like to make frittatas where I cook vegetables (usually peppers and spinach) in a good amount of butter, then add eggs and cheese, cover the frying pan, and let it cook over low heat until done. After you get used to not having much sugar, it doesn't taste good to you, and after awhile it starts to really turn your stomach if you have sugary foods. We don't do strict paleo... we eat sweet potatoes and brown rice, and even sometimes white potatoes and white rice (but very little if any wheat). I do eat corn chips and bean chips, hummus and legumes. Those have more carbs than the strict paleo eater will eat, but I have to do this for a lifetime, so I have to make it do-able.

    But really, please, please stay away from artificial sweeteners. They are very dangerous. It's even much better for your body to have a little real sweetener, because the flavor triggers an insulin response from your body, and if the corresponding blood sugar rise never happens, your body is left feeling cheated and craving more sweet, which then stimulates more cravings for sweet (which is why studies have shown that people who drink a lot of diet soda actually have a higher rate of obesity than those who do not).

    I like to eat a square (one) of good quality dark chocolate every day. And I sometimes eat a spoonful of raw honey for a quick energy boost (once or twice a month). Doing these two things helps me not to get a sweet craving that makes me go over the edge.

    I hope I have not offended you, and that I am not being too bossy. On my blog, in the sidebar, there is a good article on Whole New Mom right now, about an offer for a paleo diet system. I'm thinking abut trying it because I fell off the wagon when I had stomach flu a couple weeks ago and had to eat poached eggs on white toast for a few days.

  2. Thanks, Ruth, for all that. I'm not offended at all. In fact, I'd forgotten a lot of that about fake sugar. I used to never touch arificial sweeteners, but I'd kind of forgotten about it. The keto part of this diet is only short term. After that, I plan on going into a more paleo-influenced diet as a lifestyle. At that point, I will keep in mind all that about artificial sweeteners. As for now, if I have too much real sugar, I'll be knocked out of ketosis, which isn't want I want for weight loss purposes.

    I don't plan to be on keto any longer than 3 months tops. My goal is to be my desired weight by my birthday, April 1st!

    Thanks for all that info. I'm also trying to figure out how to transition the kids into a paleo diet without them noticing too much!

  3. As far as calorie-free sweeteners, stevia is pretty safe, especially if you get the kind called Nu-Stevia. I think Truvia is gross.


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