Progress Report – 5/26/17

I’m happy to report it was a great week! While my weight went up a smidge – up .7 pounds to 268.8 – I stayed true to my low carb eating plan, started meeting with a nutritionist, and saw my fasting blood sugars continue to fall. I’m encouraged! This week I’d like to see my weight reflect my effort, so I’ll identify a couple key changes to make. The biggest change I’ll be making is at the request of my nutritionist – begin focusing on nourishing foods. Sure, I didn’t eat many carbs this week, but most of what I did eat was cheap and refined (i.e. plenty of cheap cheese, bacon, and ground meat). This weekend I’ll take a field trip to Whole Foods to begin familiarizing myself with nourishing, filling foods, raised ethically and healthily. I’m pretty darn excited to see what I find!

I’ve also decided I’d like to implement a “moderate ketogenic” diet. This means I’ll try to keep my daily carb intake below 50g, rather than the strict keto goal of 30g. I believe this will allow me to integrate a few carb-containing foods into my day, resulting in fewer cravings and more overall satisfaction.

In other news, yesterday I took my first walk in over a month! I’ve had to do my best to stay off my foot since the surgery, but this week my doctor said I could start putting some weight on it from time to time. So, I leashed up my new dog Walter (!!!) and explored my apartment complex. We were out for about a half hour, and we walked maybe a half-mile (partly due to my foot, and partly due to Walter’s ridiculous sniffing of everything). But, we were outside enjoying the day.

So, there you have it. Onward!

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Beginning again

Okay, the allotted period of toe mourning is over. It’s time to get started on some major life changes. I mean, I didn’t wait until I posted this to make any changes to my diet and overall lifestyle. But, today, May 8th, is the day my new life begins. Low carb, low calorie, and a renewed focus on lowering my a1c level. I’m no longer in denial. I mean, I can’t take a step without being reminded of my commitment. That’s right, I’m not going all “woe is me” on the whole toe thing. Nope. It’s now a reminder of my commitment to health and living a long, active, and fruitful life.

One thing I’ve learned over the last six months or so is the whole keto thing is a lot more difficult to sustain than I thought it would be. I tend to go all-in with diets, and, well, that’s never worked. So, I’ve started up a low-carb-but-not-quite-keto plan for eating. I’d love to go full-on keto, but I need to be realistic. Also, fast food is out. I’ve been successful with that in the past, and I’ve gotten pretty relaxed with that lately.

So, there you have it. Expect to see weekly progress reports on Fridays again!

I’m cheating on you

This post is different, because I really have no idea what I’m talking about. How’s that for an opening line to draw you in?

Virtually everyone on any sort of structured eating plan recommends some type of cheating. But what  constitutes a “cheat”? What are the parameters? Do I throw caution to the wind and eat as many pizzas as possible? Is it a cheat meal or a cheat day?

I have so many questions!

So, do you allow yourself a cheat meal? A cheat day? What’s your favorite cheat food? How often do you cheat?

Food Holiday

Tomorrow those of us in the USA will join together with family and friends to celebrate something near and dear to all our hearts – food.

Sure, we may call it Thanksgiving, but let’s be honest here, we’re all excited about the mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and pumpkin pie. Notice something about all of those? They’re full of carbs!

In years past I’ve attempted to eliminate those items from my meal. Of course, they’re all sitting there at the table, and I end up eating them anyway. So, not only do I still have the carbs, but I get a nice, big helping of shame too!

Here’s the deal – Thanksgiving is a single day. Sure, green bean casserole (which must be at least 50% French’s fried onions) will drop me out of ketosis, and the pie a la mode won’t help the waist line. But this is a single day to gather with family. Enjoy yourself.

Now, when Thanksgiving is over, it’s over. Friday isn’t part of the Thanksgiving meal. That leftover pie goes home with someone else, and we’re back on the wagon come Friday morning. Go for a nice, long walk, (preferably without killing people in a mad rush to the discount TVs), and get yourself back into ketosis.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lifestyles of the healthy and keto

“It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle.”

Yeah, BS. Anything that doesn’t allow me to go crazy on doughnuts and mozzarella sticks isn’t a lifestyle.

Okay, not really.

I’m having quite a bit of difficulty adjusting my mindset here. I really don’t want to be on a diet for the rest of my life. However, as a diabetic, there are certain lifestyle changes I need to make. They aren’t convenient, and they aren’t enjoyable, at least as of this moment. But, with a little adjustment in my thinking, I can shift from a diet mentality to a lifestyle mentality.

So, what’s keeping me from seeing this as a lifestyle? I honestly have no idea. There are moments when I think “Oh yeah, I can do this forever!” Then there are others when it’s all I can do not to buy out the entire potato chip aisle.

How do you view healthy eating? Do you see it as a lifestyle, or is it more of a rhythm of healthy choices with indulgences mixed in?

Progress Report – 11/11/2016

Welp, this week sucked. Emotions ran high, depression made a nice little comeback, and Clayton fell off the keto wagon with epic consequences. This week I gained 4 pounds, jumping back up to 270.3. So that’s pretty fantastic.

Here’s what I know: I’m not strong enough to maintain a strict eating plan when dealing with episodes of depression. That means I need to reach out to friends and family in those moments. A good friend has been keeping tabs on me. His texts and calls have kept me from turning to binges as a way to cope with the emotions I’ve felt.

I do nothing in a silo. I live in community with others, and sometimes I need to call on them to support me. Let’s reach out to each other when we’re at our worst, and help others when we’re at our best.

Until next week!

Why I used to suck at health stuffs

Goals. We all have them. In fact, the new year is just around the corner (cue the sad trombone), so goals are starting floating to the top of our collective mind.

I used to consider food a reward. Weird, right? Probably not, now that I think about it. Western society views food as the proper celebratory medium.

Birthday? Have some cheesecake!

Lose 20 pounds? Have a pizza! Yes, the whole thing; we’re celebrating!

One of the best celebration strategies I learned is to reward myself with non-food things. New clothes, a fun experience, tickets to a baseball game, etc. Here are the next two rewards I’ve set for myself:

  • Hit 250 pounds – Treat myself to a massage. And not a creepy-dude-with-a-chair-in-the-mall massage – a legit massage!
  • Hit 225 pounds – Finally get the tattoo I’ve been thinking about for years. The one I have is getting lonely. It’s time for another.

What rewards have you given yourself for living a healthy lifestyle? Have you bought yourself a new hat because you ran five times in a week? Perhaps you skipped the drive-through for a month, and now you have tickets to the next Wild game. What motivates you?

Progress Report – 11/4/2016

Monday brought the beginning of my true LCHF lifestyle. I had been weaning myself off carb-heavy foods for the month leading up to it, and I finally took the plunge. The scale congratulated me for my efforts this morning with a 4.4 pound loss! That brings my weight down to 266.3. I started this journey at 292, so this means I’ve officially lost over 25 pounds! I can’t tell you how great this feels. Wait… yes I can. This feels great!

I’m finding the LCHF lifestyle to be a bit of a transition. I was consuming 50-100g of carbs at every meal, but now I’m staying below 30g per day. That has brought about some intestinal… difficulties… But, 5 days in, things are starting to settle down. The one huge benefit I’ve seen is that I can actually tell the difference between a craving and true hunger. Last night around 9pm I thought to myself, “Man, I’m hungry.” Then I stopped and realized, nope, I feel full, and I really just want pizza. So, I popped a couple pepperonis and called it an evening.

This week was a bit light on the blog posts, but I’ll be ramping those up again next week. Stay tuned!

Progress Report – 10/28/2016

Well, it was a crappy week. Like I mentioned in my last post, I had a binge episode on Tuesday evening, and I spent the last three days attempting to right the ship. I wasn’t very successful. I gained 1.1 pounds, bouncing back up to 270.7 pounds. But, considering the week I had, I’m not very concerned. It’s been an emotional, trying time for me. A Thursday evening session with my counselor brought some encouragement and affirmation to my soul, which will launch me into this week with a renewed focus.

Monday I start the LCHF plan in earnest. I’ve been weaning myself off carbs for the last month, and it’s high time I commit and begin reaping the benefits of ketosis.

For now, I’m recovering from a rough week with a weekend trip out to Denver to visit a couple of my best friends in the world. 80 degrees, sunshine, and a round of disc golf at the #5 course in the nation will do my soul well.

Oh carbs, how I love thee

I love carbs. I regularly crave potato chips, Oreos, and pizza crust. In fact, I crave just about everything that even hints at the presence of sugar.

In college I survived on a steady diet of Mountain Dew, soft serve ice cream, and rice (preferably with sesame anything).

Enter “the betes.”

That’s right – I have type II diabetes, and it sucks. I give myself two insulin shots each day (before lunch and dinner), and test my blood glucose three times each day. I send my reports to my endocrinologist and diabetes nurse every Friday. It’s a pain.

So, I’ve decided to start weaning myself off carbs and starches. Goodbye Oreos. Goodbye Mountain Dew. You gave me diabetes.

I started off easy – I stopped “treating” myself to cookies and doughnuts. Seems pretty obvious, right? So, I did that for a week. Next, I switched from brown rice to wild rice. Wild rice has half the carbs, and it tastes pretty fantastic. Last week, I attempted to keep my mealtime carb intake to a max of 30g. I say “attempted” because I was only successful with about half my meals. I generally kept my carb intake to 45g per meal, and one meal skyrocketed to about 100g thanks to a low blood glucose reading (high 40s) and the intense hunger that followed. So, we’re back to that goal today. I want to be successful in that goal before I move to more strict goals.

“Who are you? A disciple of Robert Atkins?” Not quite.

A Diabetes Primer

I’m going to do this fast. You ready? Diabetes = insulin resistance. Here’s how it works:

high carb intake –> fat is stored in the liver –> fat is stored in the pancreas –> cells become resistant to insulin –> more sugar is left in the blood stream –> the pancreas is forced to pump out more insulin –> beta cells in the pancreas can’t keep up with insulin production –> “the betes”

Diabetes, then, is not primarily a disease of high blood sugar, but a disease of insulin resistance. Reason dictates, then, reduced/eliminated intake of carbohydrates leads to less fat stored in the liver, pancreas, and beta cells start firing again.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I was told I would have it my entire life. “It is a chronic, degenerative disease. It is irreversible.” However, recent studies have shown type II diabetes is, in fact, reversible. The key is how we view the core cause of diabetes.

We like things simple here in the US. We want our potatoes freedom-fried, our candidates with catchy phrases, and our diabetes treatment straightforward. More sugar in your blood? Pop a little insulin in there, and boom, Wilfred Brimley gets his pay check. This keeps us from that pesky behavioral change and allows us to continue eating the food we crave.

The problem is, we’re treating the symptom, not the cause. It’s like using Head-On to treat the flu. You remember those amazing commercials – “Head On, apply directly to the forehead. Head On, apply directly to the fore head. Head On, apply directly to the forehead” (I’m not kidding). But the headache isn’t what’s causing the flu. Your antivaxxer cousin is. Okay, not really (hopefully). But it makes sense, right? A topical cream (or whatever the heck Head On is) isn’t going to cure your flu.

So, to reverse insulin resistance we must reduce our carb intake. For a time, we may even need to eliminate it entirely. Short term pain for long term gain – the antithesis of American values.

Of course, along with the reduction in carbs we have weight loss, increased energy, and an improvement of our overall health.

So, what’s keeping you from making better choices with your carbs? What is your favorite carb? Can you go without it for a day? A week? Let’s do this in community, my friends!